Friday, September 7, 2012

[Fiasco Actual Play] The Quest For The Golden Panda

With Blair's Cthulhutech game having wrapped up the previous week, the five of us sat down to play some Fiasco on Tuesday night to fill in the gap. Here's the mayhem that followed.

The Cast
Me - Xan Wu
Blair - Meelo Wu Ming
Heather - Kaede Ming
Doc - Granny Ming
Anna - Kotatsu Ming

Act One
It all begins at the Green Market Place. Meelo is looking for something cool to buy with his pocket money, and is offered a scroll by a creepy old merchant, which he claims is a map to adventure. Later, as Granny Ming is beating Meelo senseless to take the map from him - because she's a nasty old crone like that - his grandfather (Kotatsu) mistakenly eats a dragon egg. As a result, he starts belching flames, and the map catches on fire. Granny Ming is able to put out the flames and hides the somewhat charred map on her person. The shopkeeper who had the dragon's egg on his stall comes out and is very troubled by this turn of events. It turns out, anyone who dares to eat a dragon's egg, will become a dragon themselves! In order to break the curse, they must eat the stem of a white lotus flower, but it must first be cut by the Sword of the Golden Panda. Kotatsu knows where this blade may be found, because he works as the sweeper for the temple where it is kept. While Meelo lays barely conscious and Kaede goes to get her sword, Granny and Kotatsu journey to the temple and meet the temple guardian, Xan Wu, who has some sort of history with the family and is none too pleased at Kotatsu for bringing his wife to the temple. Nonetheless, Xan agrees to help them and retrieves the Sword of the Golden Panda from the inner sanctum. However, he will not allow them to carry the sword. Only it's guardian may wield it properly, and for any unworthy soul who tries there will be dire consequences. Xan agrees to accompany them on their quest to cure Kotatsu.

Meanwhile, it turns out Meelo managed to steal the scroll back from Granny, and has set off on his own. Unfortunately, he encounters a bandit at a bridge, who demands a toll. Before the bandit can extract said toll though, the others arrive, and the bandit is given a sound telling off by Grandma Ming. The adventurers continue their quest, encountering another bandit with a giant panda as a bodyguard along the way, and fending them off. Eventually, they reach the Hanging Coffin Gorge where the white lotus can be found. Before they proceed, Xan calls upon the spirits through the Golden Panda sword, to seek permission to take a cutting of the flower.

The four elemental spirits tell Xan that they must first acquire an artifact to represent each element, and that a sacrifice must be made. Xan thinks he knows what the spirits mean, and mutters: 'Oh, so it's time then.' (In reality, the spirits are just making stuff up as they go.)

The Tilt
Mayhem - Magnificent Self-Destruction
Tragedy - Confusion, followed by Pain

Act Two
The adventurers journey deeper into the gorge, where Xan locates a particular crack in the rock and drives his sword into it. This causes the crack to widen and form a tunnel the adventurers can follow to find the artifacts they need. No sooner does Meelo rush inside the crack, than a deluge of water sprays forth from within. Luckily, Kaede is able to rescue her son, and scoops up the water talisman as it is flushed out in the water. They then find themselves besieged by a pack of wild pandas, which Kotatsu sets alight with his fire breath. This doesn't stop them though, so now the adventurers are faced with a pack of flaming pandas. (Confusion, followed by pain.)
Luckily, Xan is able to put out the flames by using his sword to blow them out with the power of Air. The pandas, having lost all their fur to the flames, run away in embarrassment. The air spirit appears and says they have passed the second test, and reveals the air talisman to them.

They then come to the hanging coffins for which the gorge got its name, and the earth spirit unleashes a horde of zombies from within the coffins. At the urging of his fellows, Xan uses the sword to return the zombies to the earth, by causing the earth to open up and swallow them back down. He does not come out of this unscathed though, and gets bit in the leg. The earth spirit grants them its talisman as reward.

The fire spirit's challenge turns out to be a school of flaming fish, which the adventurers easily dispatch and gain the fire talisman. causing the other spirits to ridicule him for such a lame challenge. Then their 'boss' shows up, and decides to make up for activating the dormant volcano inside the mountain. The adventurers flee in panic from the volcanic flow, with Kaede staying behind to try and hold off the flow of the lava with her sword, even though it's not mystical in any way, and getting burnt to a crisp. (Magnificent self-destruction.) Granny Ming, distraught by her daughter's death, steals the Golden Panda sword from Xan and tries to use it to stop the lava flow. However, as she is not its rightful owner, it does not respond to her will, and she can't use its power. She too is burnt to a crisp. Xan summons the sword back to himself, and retreats down the mountain with Kotatsu and Meelo in tow.

Arriving back at the grove where the white lotus grows, Xan receives permission to cut the white lotus flower and gives it to Kotatsu, who eats it and is cured of turning into a dragon...mostly. Xan must still make one final sacrifice to fulfil the bargain with the spirits, and reveals to Meelo that the Golden Panda sword is a sacred relic which can only be passed down from father to son...and then he tells Meelo that it will soon be his. Xan is Meelo's father. He's about to stab himself with the sword, but Meelo moves things along a bit by pushing the sword into his stomach himself. Xan can only gasp a shocked final breath as Meelo withdraws the sword: "Yay, I have a magic sword!"

The Aftermath
Granny Ming (White 6: Weak) - Granny Ming finds herself in the afterlife, where she is consigned to eternity working in a tea shop (her idea of hell), where the customers all look like her husband Kotatsu and constantly make very complex orders and irritate the hell out of her. Eventually she decides to make the best of it, and starts beating the snot out of all her customers.
Kaede (Black 9: Nothing to write home about) - Kaede returns to the early plane to wander as a ghost, watching over her wayward son to keep him out of trouble, because he's far too young to be adventuring on his own.
Kotatsu (Zero: The worst thing in the universe) - The quest to cure him of his transformation into a dragon has cost him his wife and daughter, and it's all for nought. The white lotus only partially cured Kotatsu of the curse. His body isn't transforming into a dragon anymore, but his mind still is. Eventually he's reduced to little more than an animal, cast out by the villagers, and occasionally having strange dreams of being multiple people in a tea shop, being beaten over and over again by Granny Ming.
Meelo (White 10: Not too shabby) - Meelo has a magic sword, yay! All it cost him was the lives of his entire family. Oh well. He's off to go adventuring now!
Xan (Black 11: Pretty good) - When Xan reaches the afterlife he is told that he jumped the gun a little with his sacrifice. It wasn't time for Meelo to have the sword yet, and he will require a mentor to teach him to use it responsibly. As such, Xan is sent back to earth to be Meelo's spirit guide: 'Did you really think you could get rid of me so easily, son?'

Closing Thoughts
I think this one got away from us a little. You may have noticed that it's a bit unclear whose scene is whose in the sequence of events shown above. This is because people weren't very familiar with the game, so we weren't managing to establish scenes that focused specifically on the spotlight player's character. It may not have helped that the needs we came up with during the setup went largely unexplored and we went off in a completely different direction than our original setup indicated. This was all really down to me, as facilitator, failing to properly explain how the game is supposed to work to the players. So, my bad.
 It was still fun, it just...went a little more off the rails than even Fiasco is supposed to. I'll try to do a better job as facilitator and make sure people know what they're supposed to be doing next time.

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