Fiasco! – Reign of Fire

Fiasco! Actual Play session with, contrary to what the rulebook advises, six players. Fiasco! says that six people is too many, and it is better to split that group in two groups of three. But 1) I already had played Fiasco! with six twice and it worked well enough, and 2) I expected one relatively unreliable player to drop out mid-session.

I prepared six playsets and knowing how ugly things get when someone falls in love with an idea that another one hates I asked for what people would NOT want to play. That quickly eliminated four playsets, then we had one so-so, and one strong remaining option. We played “Dragon Slayers”.

We had white and yellow dice, so we called the whites “clean like fresh snow” and the yellows “piss-poor results”.

The crew

We had Roscoe “Yellow Face” and his war pal Naruto Usomaki. Roscoe was also the veteran adventuring mentor of a rookie called John, who worked for the brutal welsh warrior Gwyar, who neglected John a lot because Gwyar loved to hang out with Cecilia, an ambitious misanthrop who dabbled in magic: Cecilia had a Simulacrum called Tinley and a Genie bottle that she wanted to use to destroy things when the time was right. Like Gwyar neglected John, Cecilia neglected Tinley, who sought refuge at the bottom of bottles a lot.

The crew was not the worst to get together for a dragon slaying. Four experienced killers, one rookie killer, and a Simulacrum of a killer. There are worse groups to fight a big adversary with.

Time management

Six players means 12 scenes per act. That is a lot of scenes, but the group did not drag their feet: Scenes were set up very quickly and cut short very quickly too. There was never any argument who should set up and who should decide outcomes, we always had the person in the spotlight set up and the group decide the outcome, no deviation. Other than that, one scene blended into the next relatively seamlessly, so we rolled through it in about 2 hours.

One aspect of that was that Act 2 turned out to be shorter based on what happened in the game.

Attention

Six players also means that some people will have opportunities to get distracted. This happened. The players of Tinley, Cecilia, Gwyar, and John (the unreliable player expected to drop out) drifted off to handle books or phones under the table if they were not actively pulled into the action. That was a minor problem though, as the group stayed together almost constatly and everyone was in the majority of scenes, so they got pulled into the action a lot and had no time to follow social media or read books. Had the group split up more with a number of one-on-one-scenes, that would have become a problem and it would have been necessary to remove items from the table.

Act 1

Still in the small town that had the dragon problem, Tinley was already delving into strong liquor, and Naruto failed to stop her from making a mess. After Tinley collapsed, damaging the trust of the townsfolk in their latest “saviors”, Roscoe and Naruto carried her out of sight into the blacksmith’s shop, where Gwyar, Cecilia, and John were busy building an experimental weapon, a kind of gun to take the dragon down with. But it was still untested, and Roscoe insisted the group should test it before going after the dragon. A good place to test it would be the old troll bridge in the northwest.

The trouble was, though, that Tinley’s drunken antics made the townsfolk wary of letting the team go northwest, basically away from the dragon cave. What if they just up and fled, after all the cost they had already incurred? No, the mayor and the blacksmith confronted the group and demanded that they get their act together and go confront the dragon.

Field test

Roscoe relented, and they moved southeast under the watchful eyes of the townspeople. Cecilia made a big show of waving and patting down the gun, and promising quick results. Outside in the wood, they tested the gun on some trees instead of the troll bridge, and the results were middling: Two big trees or four smaller trees were felled with one shot. Would that be enough for a dragon?

Infighting

Cecilia and Roscoe voiced doubts, and that got Gwyar to snap. The angry welshman attacked Cecilia, and had to be restrained by the combined effort of Cecilia, Roscoe, and Naruto. John did not dare to intervene, Gwyar being his boss after all.
One drunk and one traitor, and all that before reaching the dragon cave! Roscoe bundled Gwyar up next to the gun and they moved in on the cave. But Gwyar had built the gun and knew the sharp bits of its frame inside out, so he was able to rub the ropes against it to slowly get free.

Deadly doorbell prank

The dragon cave turned out to be a cozy one with a big wooden portal, a doormat and a bell. So the dragon was not a primitive slaughter machine, it was somewhat civilised. Cecilia planned the attack like a doorbell prank: She went forward to activate the doorbell and hide to the side. When the dragon would come to open up, Roscoe and John (the latter as a replacement for bound-up Gwyar, his boss) would shoot the gun at the beast. Naruto hid close to the entrance to play plan B in case anything went wrong.

The doorbell was rang, the dragon came to open up (played by Tinley’s player), and the gun was fired. However, that went bad. The dragon reacted to the shot with fire breathing and melted down the gun mid-shot. Roscoe and John barely had time to roll out of the way before their position was incinerated.

But Naruto Usomaki blindsided the dragon and came at him from the left, employing jutsu techniques to overcome the dragon and put it to sleep.

Misguided mercy

The group gathered around the sleeping dragon and decided this was a golden opportunity: They went on to tie it up with chains instead of killing it, as a living dragon would yield a lot more in the way of gold than some chopped-up dragon meat. To prevent any fire breathing, Roscoe and Naruto tied the maw shut extra hard. Cecilia and Gwyar both had their own ideas about that: They both secretly wanted to bring destruction and death over the world, and they saw the chance to do that with a dragon of their own.

Tilt

Two tilt elements added: “Cold-blooded revenge“, and “Something precious is on fire“, for the group to incorporate in the game. And John’s player did not return after a trip to the bathroom, dropping out as expected. John, who had been a pretty minor character anyway, was therefore NPC’d and the game went on.

Act 2

In Act 2, Tinley had woken up with a hangover and lit some torches, and Naruto and Roscoe went into the dragon cave to see what was to be found in there — dragons have hoards after all, everyone knows that. Roscoe as a veteran adventurer took the lead in this “dungeon delve”, naturally. But it went badly for him, and just as he noticed the glint of gold ahead, he fell into a deep pit trap, breaking both legs.

Treason and Theft

The others with him staged a bigger rescue operation. Outside, Gwyar shed his bounds and went to wake up the dragon to get to some mutual understanding with him. That went well for him, and then Cecilia came out of the cave bringing the keys to unlock and open the chains. This trio infernale proceeded to wing it, with Gwyar and Cecilia riding the dragon to the town to burn it to the ground — unnoticed by the others back in the cave.

Tinley used to distraction of Roscoe’s mishap to sneak forward into the dragon cave proper and identify the treasure: mostly useless chunk, but with a good-sized amount of gold in between. Tinley quickly nabbed the gold, figuring that this treasure would pay for a LOT of drink in the future. As John and Naruto made Roscoe comfortable, Tinley snuck the gold past them and beat it.

Something precious is on fire

That went bad for Tinley, so on his way through the woods, weighed down with gold, Tinley ran into a swath of underbrush that the dragon lit up, and poor Tinley was burned to a crisp, and the gold flowed across the ground, molten by the inhuman heat. Thus died the alcoholic simulacrum, never to taste the sweet burning of rich liquor ever again.

Naruto went to the town to find a doctor for Roscoe’s legs. He found a flaming hell and a destroyed town, but his mission went well anyway: He managed to find the doctor among the refugees and convinced him to come help Roscoe. The doc patched up the adventurer, and now the group found out that Tinley had stolen the gold.

Cold blooded revenge

Roscoe swore he would find Tinley and exact gruesome revenge on him for betraying his team mates, or he would not want to be called “Yellow Face” any longer. Aided by a pair of strong crutches he hopped out of the cave and went on to follow the tracks of Tinley to slay him slowly. He failed to find the tracks, though, so he missed the fact that Tinley had died all alone, and set out to seek him farther away, limping off into the distance.

Djinn Power

Gwyar and Cecilia thought it was time to bring forth Cecilia’s djinn and get cracking to bring the whole world to heel. They asked the djinn to make them invincible and give them enormous power to bring down the human race, which the djinn granted by turning them into gigantic fire elementals.

Reign of Fire

The dragon, once more played by Tinley’s player, saw the signs on the wall and called out to all dragons of the world: The day of prophecy was upon them, and now all dragons the world over crawled up to assert dominance over the Earth. Fire elementals and Fire dragons together went on to burn down the lands one by one, to go on and rule over a world of ash and brimstone. John died with the others, while Naruto Usomaki went on to protect survivors where he could find them and showed them how to eke out a living in the cracks under the mountains, a lower species suffering a small existence out of sight from the new dragon overlords.

Only Roscoe remained untouched, forever doomed to limp through a nightmare world seeking Tinley, bound to an oath of revenge that would go unfulfilled until his last day.

Aftermath

No aftermath was necessary, as the last scenes had already neatly included the days, years, and decades to come.

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