In our face to face group, the GM missed the session, so one of us asked for Fiasco!, expressing hope that the short notice would be enough for the prep needed. “Fiasco! is a zero-prep-game” I reminded him, brought it along and offered Sci-Fi, High School, Fantasy, or Heist for playsets.
Sci-Fi and Heist were discarded fast, then High School narrowly won in a vote.
Fiasco! is for 3 to 5 players, but it is possible to do it differently, and we did: We set up for seven players.
I was Chip, the Quarterback, and had a Line man pal called Alessandro. We liked to hang out behind the gym. Alessandro had a friend called Pollux, with whom he liked to skip class and smoke, and they were fascinated with an old school uniform.
Chip was doing a beer run with a kid called Nathan. Their common location was the Vice principal’s office. In play, these two things, albeit in the first moment daunting and hard to tackle, became the driver and focal point of the show, and spawned a very important NPC.
Never underestimate a location!
“Nice boy” Nathan was in the Chess- and Math-club with timid nerd Henry, and they had an urgent need for funds for their clubs.
Henry played WoW with Kimmy and desired nothing more than a yearbook signed by her; to his eternal chagrin, she ignored his desires and hardly remembered who he was outside of their WoW sessions.
Kimmy was lording it at school, a rich girl out of an important family, the president of the debate club and owner of a super rare classic car, a 1934 vintage Bugatti. Her enemy was Cassandra, master debater from another school, who spent her lunchbreaks in the park with Pollux, the smoker. They both had a need: To find out the truth about their grades.
Cassandra’s player was Polluxes significant other. She had no roleplaying experience, but he had felt that she would be a great candidate to bring in. That was clearly not the case. She came with the expectation to be a spectator and maybe side commenter, basically audience. As she understood that she was expected to participate, she immediately tried to flake out, citing tiredness and headaches, and attempted to stall the game. We made it clear that she did not have to play, but was welcome to, but she was still apprehensive and tried to prevent the game from starting. As this dragged on, Nathan prompted Alessandro to set the first scene. He set it in our location behind the gym. We struggled a bit at first, especially because Cassandra kept a rival dialogue going to sap attention away from what might result in a game. But then we suddenly managed a coherent direction in our dialogue, and that captured the attention of all the gamers at the table. When Cassandra realized that it was actually happening, she stood up and laid down on a sofa.
Communication is key. Communicate expectations. Communicate hopes and dreams. Communicate!!
And even though it is natural to want the SO to share your hobby: second-guess this dream and be realistic. Some people are no gamers and never will be.
We removed four dice from the pool and kept going.
Chip told Alessandro about the big barrel of beer that was stored in the vice principal’s office, and offered Alessandro a good split of the goods, should he help get it: The office window was high up, and we needed his help. Nathan and Chip used Alessandro’s bulk as stepladder and scaled to the window, then retrieved and dropped the beer down to him, so he had to break its fall.
One day before that, Nathan and Henry were at Vice Principal Snape’s office to request more funds for the club, and that was when Nathan noticed the huge barrel of beer stored in the back, and the plan formed in his mind … all he needed were sportsy types to do the heavy lifting.
Also in the past: Henry had an introductory scene about his hopeless simping for Kimmy.
Back to today: Kimmy came up to the parking lot and met us with the beer. We had a debate about transportation, and we wanted Kimmy, who had an (expensive) car to ship our beer off, also for a small split. “Sure”, she said, and let us carefully lift it into the trunk. Then she floored the pedal and raced off with the beer, leaving us boys behind in a cloud of dust.
There was a big debate contest coming up the next day, and Kimmy brought the beer to the hostel of the opposing team, to get them drunk and sabotage their performance. So Cassandra was drunk as a skunk. Pollux wondered why he did not find his smoking buddy, but he was caught by Vice Principal Snape, who dragged him off to his office to call his parents about the smoking — and that was when he noticed that the beer was gone. He suspected Pollux. Smoking and drinking go hand in hand, don’t they? So Pollux got on the black list, but he claimed that a big bad unknown man had given him the smokes and that he was totally innocent, and promised to rat out the real beer thieves.
Alessandro searched for the beer and found Kimmy. She gave him clear directions to find the beer and bade him put it back into her car. Her idea: Get rid of the evidence in the hostel. Alessandro asked Pollux to help him with the transport, and called Chip too. Chip was against helping Kimmy the beer-thief, but Nathan told him that was a great chance to smear her, by telling Snape about her beer connection.
Nathan and Pollux told Snape about the beer in Kimmy’s trunk, fingering her as the thief. Snape could hardly believe it.
The procession marched to Kimmy’s car. Henry quickly texted her about the raid on her car. She was in the middle of the debate contest, but with the opponents still drunk or hungover, she could safely let the B team win and run off to save her bacon. Snape noticed the furious texting though and saw that Henry had a Kimmy-photo as a screensaver, so he connected the dots and was not as positive towards Kimmy as teachers usually were when she suddenly showed up and tried to prevent the searching of her car — but too late, as Pollux opened the trunk and the beer was found.
Kimmy tried to debate her way out of there, but the scene ended badly for her. He was disappointed in the weak line of arguments she strung together, citing her attempt to bring the beer back, keep it safe from bad actors, etc. “I had expected more of the president of the debate club” he chided, and demanded to see the culprits in his office the next day.
“But tomorrow is Saturday! No school!” protested Kimmy.
“Even better!” growled Snape, “then we have a whole weekend for community work!”
He confiscated beer and smokes and was off.
Pollux felt that this was the moment to get the truth about his grades — he enlisted Alessandro for another break-in in the Vice Principal’s office to get the smokes back .. and used the moment when Alessandro broke open the drawer to get the smokes to break open the grade cabinet. He found out he was listed as an F! And he had no better idea than to correct that to a “P”, because that was easiest to forge. Then they once again stole the beer, to get it to the party.
The tilt brought all-time-favourite: “Fire” and “Paranoia: A stranger appears to settle a score”.
We were sure that if anything had to burn it was the 1934 vintage Bugatti. A stranger … that could be a drug dealer who was looking for Pollux.
On the next morning, it was clear that Vice Principal Snape would be there very early to be there before the culprits. So when Alessandro told Chip and Nathan that he had stolen the beer, they were horrified: Their hope to hang Kimmy would fail with the evidence gone: “We have to get it back to the office pronto!” Despite Alessandro’s feeble protests, Chip and Nathan used him as a stepladder again and climbed up to get the beer back in. Alas! As they opened up the window to lift up the beer, they looked into the wide eyes of the facility lady.
Shocked, they dropped everything and ran away. The beer remained in the bushes right below Snape’s window.
When Snape showed up he was also shocked: The window, open. His file cabinets and drawers: broken open, the desk moved, and the beer: gone! Snape was furious, and awaited the students to make their lives a living hell. But Henry sat there and thought it all through, logically. And he figured it out! The weight of the beer, the order of events. The muscles needed. He knew who had stolen the beer: Alessandro and Chip! He could tell that to Kimmy, and she would be saved, and as thanks she would finally sign his yearbook.
Kimmy got the tip from Henry and used it to her best advantage. In Snape’s presence, she did not outright finger the boys — she planned to use them via blackmail! — instead, she argued that the office was not the right place to store important items. She offered a better place: The club room of the chess and mathematics club! Thereby she hoped to pay her dues for Henry’s tip. Alas, Snape wanted nothing of it. The man was too pig-headed to be led by the nose. But he let the three, Henry, Kimmy, and Pollux, off the hook for now.
Pollux, on the way out, cracked the case with the school trophies and stole the old school uniform that Alessandro always dreamed about — the very school uniform in which Vice Principal Snape, back in his time as football player, had secured the district title for the school.
Now only bad dice remained. So everything had to go south.
Alessandro and Pollux met with Chip behind the gym and shared a big smoke to calm down. Alessandro put on the uniform. But as he lay down on the grass to smoke, the ashes lit up the synthetic material, and suddenly Alessandro burned! He tore off the burning uniform, suffering burn scars, and threw it randomly through the back window into the gym. The gym started burning, and it burned good, well, and long, because the fire brigade had had their own beer festival the night before.
Chip ran away to hide under the tribunes of the outdoor field — the very place where Pollux usually bought his weed. And he ran right into a stranger! The stranger grabbed him and felt that he had the right boy, the one who owed the organisation a good deal of money. Chip struggled, but was powerless, and the stranger knocked him out.
Nathan had returned to the school, figuring that the beer had to be there still. And it was! He dragged it out of the bushes, but it was too heavy. So he rolled it, hoping to get it behind the gym to Chip. Alas, the way to the gym went downhill, and as he saw the gym alight and smoke billowing up, he lost grip on it — the beer rolled out of his hands, and down, right at the parking lot — where Kimmy’s car was just rolling towards the road.
Henry was sitting in Kimmy’s car. His wildest dreams had come true! She knew his name, and she was even open to finally sign his yearbook. As they rolled off the parking lot, she stopped for a second to sign it. And then they saw, shocked, how the beer barrel barrelled down the hill, and behind it, Nathan, wide eyed and helpless.
The beer barrel smashed right into Kimmy’s 1934 Bugatti, crumpled the frame, smashed the window, and dropped right into Henry’s lap. And at that moment Snape came out of the building, seeing “nice boy” Henry lolling in Kimmy’s smashed up car, with the missing beer barrel on their laps.
And Pollux ran away from the burning gym, with smokes and fire, right into the oncoming fire brigade, waving his lighter.
Chip rolled 14 negative, the only super outcome. Everyone else rolled between 3 and 7.
So as Fire Brigade and police rolled in, they managed to apprehend Jimmy “The Fish” DeLuca, on school grounds. Apparently brave Chip Anderson, school Quarterback and picture book poster boy, had seen him and Pollux — and had deftly attempted a citizen arrest of the gangster. He was badly beaten, but he had held on. A hero. He received damages from a civil lawsuit and a reward money, and he used it to rebuild the gym. Now the new gym is named Chip Anderson Gym, he got a sports stipend, and a bright future awaits him.
Alessandro suffered the burn scars, so he never forgot his horrible failure of a school year, and he and Pollux were implicated in the arson, and went to prison, and the forged grade “P” became legend. Henry, Nathan and Kimmy were thrown out of school and their beer theft was never forgotten in their home town, they never got good grades, no colleges took them, and nobody gave them jobs. Their futures destroyed, they all became alcoholics.
Kimmy was especially traumatised as she had lost everything as she had for one single time let her guard down and been nice to a loser. Her irreplaceable car was smashed to bits, her parents furious and disappointed, her grades a mess. In a great explosion of self-destructive energy, she ended up marrying the loser Henry, and the kids that start crying when they see her — they are her own. Henry still holds on to a yearbook with a single Ki… as the start of a signature.
Photo: Photo by JT on Unsplash