Pyromancer: The Burners

From RPGnet
Jump to: navigation, search

Pyromancer: Main Page -> Pyromancer: The Burners

What is a Burner?[edit]

Simply put, a Burner is one who won't accept the status quo.

The triumvirate of Church, Guild and Hadar who control the power in the Shining Domain hold onto that power jealously. They squabble amongst themselves over who will control what, but at the end of the day they are unified in making sure that the power stays in their collective hands. The rich and wealthy, who are part of this ruling elite, have it easy. They create the laws, so they are above the law. They control the flow of resources, so only they can enjoy luxury. They control society, so no-one can take that control from them.

The Shining Domain has almost zero social mobility in its society. A man who is born in the gutter can never hope to work his way out of there. A worker who starts on the factory floor can at best only raise to a position of petty middle management, lording over his fellow workers. No-one climbs in society, and no-one falls, and the gap between rich and poor grows wider every year. People don't like the situation, but have been forced to accept it because the powers that be control their heat, light and necessities for survival. Its hard to rebel when you are cold and hungry! With the passage of centuries, society has come to accept that this is the way things are, and no-one even thinks to try to change the system any more.

No-one, that is, save the Burners.

A Burner is one who looks at the world as it is, and decides to change things. A Burner must be an exceptional individual to survive with this attitude, as the full weight of the authorities will turn to fall on any who express even the smallest rebellious idea. From the first time a Burner turns against the powers that be, he brands himself and outlaw and renegade, and knows that he must either succeed in changing the world or die trying.

What motivates Burners?[edit]

It takes a considerable leap of courage to go from ordinary citizen to rebellious Burner. Becoming a Burner means knowing that you are stepping outside of society, and taking a chance on your own. It means biting the hand that feeds, and spitting in the faces of the authorities who control your food, water, light and heat. It's more that just moving outside the law too - any schumck can do that by signing up as a soldier for the Hadar, but that does nothing more for your prospects that giving you a different set of oppressors. Its becoming not just lawless but unbound, a free agent willing to risk everything.

So where do Burners find this courage?

Generally speaking, the motivation of Burners can come from five directions.

First, there is the motivation of wealth. Anyone with half a mind can see that the world is set up to make the rich even richer and the poor penniless. For the average man in the street, there's no way to break this pattern within society, not through serving the Church, nor through employment in the Guilds, nor even in swearing fealty to the Hadar. Some Burners simply look at the world and decide that they want a piece of it for themselves. They don't necessarily want to tear the system down - its just that they don't think its fair that they personally are kept away from power, status and luxury. However, most ordinary citizens don't have the ambition or hunger to be driven to become a Burner for money alone. Most have the insight to recognise the risks involved. Most are conditioned to regard becoming a Burner as anathema to their psychologies. Thus to become a Burner for wealth alone generally requires some circumstance bringing out this desperation - such as needing money for a beloved's medical treatment, or owing a vast sum to the Hadar. Only the rarest (and some might say most sociopathic) Burner will just wake up one day and decide that he needs money for its own sake, and will risk everything to get it.

Second, there is the motivation of idealism. In the Shining Domain, this is a rare quality. There's zeal and faith aplenty, encouraged by the Church, and there's a societally accepted view of what is correct and proper (working hard, keeping your head down, etc.). What there isn't, generally, is a sense of social injustice and a desire to see things made right for their own sake. The society of the Shining Domain has been around for a long time, and they've been careful to stamp out any political ideas that might cause dissent. Sometimes though, ideas of equality and social justice may be rediscovered. Perhaps a Burner is passed a copy of a communist-style manifesto, or a text on ancient democracy. Or perhaps he is a true genius, and comes up with these ideas independently on his own. A fire lights within him, something awakens, and he takes up the mantle of the Burner to change the world.

Third, there is the motivation of passion. Anger is the most likely driving passion for a burner, for example a desire for revenge after Guild soldiers kill an innocent friend or relative, or Hadar mobsters push a little too hard. However, other passions can drive a man to become a Burner as well, such as love for a rebel or hatred of a priest who abuses his flock. Burners driven by passion are generally amongst the most ardent and devoted to the cause of all rebels, but are also commonly viewed as a liability by their peers. You can know that a wealth-seeker will follow the money, and that an idealist will think through the best way to achieve their goals, but a passionate man is dangerous company, as he is irrational and prone to impulsive behaviour.

Fourth, there is the motivation of exclusion. Beyond their own choice, citizens are sometimes excluded from society and have no choice but to become Burners. The most common circumstance for this is the manifestation of "Demon-Marks", where a normal member of society will spontaneously develop physical attributes that are declared heretical by the Church. As the Church wants them dead anyway, they might as well be rebels! Of course, supernatural mutation is not the only reason a citizen might be forced out of society. An ordinary man might be framed for a crime he didn't commit, or stumble into a Church-sponsored black operation that no witnesses were meant to see. Society is unforgiving and has a tendency to execute or imprison rather than give men a second chance, so the excluded take the only choice they have - rebellion, and unwanted freedom.

Fifth, and finally, there is the motivation of madness.

What can Burners do?[edit]