Saturday, May 15, 2010

BRP, Swashbuckling, and Delayed Explanations

My wife and I took Basic Role-Playing out for a spin last night. I was GM; I made up a buncha cockamamie bee-ess about fantasy-analog 1600s Europe, Musketeers (but without muskets), intrigue and The Fair Folk. I engaged in little to no planning. Wanna know how it went? If yes, keep reading.

Basically, and such as it is: There used to be faeries all over the place, until the humans and the fae fought. Now the fae live on the other side of "The Veil" (like you do). That worked out OK except that faeries are assholes and they keep crossing over to muck things up. They aren't really welcome and they're up to something malicious, so obviously good guys with rapiers and big-ass plumes in their hats have to settle their hash in the name of The King.

For the human world, I declared that it's a mash-up of Musketeer France, swashbuckly Italy and Spain In The Age Of Stuff Like That. So basically like 7th Sea only not. The faeries, on the other hand, were inspired both by my days playing Changeling and an excellent article by Ken Hite (it's in Suppressed Transmission Vol. I). Then I decided, "Fights and Intrigue!" And I was done.

Pretty simple. Amber's character is a veteran Muske--well, okay, something like a Musketeer (remember, no boomsticks). The Marchioness Marise d'Soub...Soubl...something gives her a simple, but important task: Take a message to a minor noble dude named Don Diego Alameda, and make sure no one takes it but him. Most importantly, though, her Mission Objective #0 is to see WTF Don Diego is up to because he's been acting squirrelly.

So she goes to his villa in the city, takes a couple of mooks (Mooksketeers! Ha!) with her, and proceeds to proceeding. Don Diego's doorman, Veccio, blocks her right off -- Don Diego is "not feeling well", and can't be seen. Amber's character (crap, I forget her name!) is all, like, nuh-uh, look at my signet ring, I get in where I want. Veccio folds, lets the three envoys into the courtyard, and goes off to talk to his boss.

Things get squirrelly for sure. The horses get panicky, there's a weird smell coming from the house (it keeps switching between cinnamon and mold), she hears a weird sibilant voice and Don Diego saying "Send them away!"; finally, some flowers on the house start moving on their own and changing color.

Here, Amber is unsure of what she should do. Clearly there's faerie magic (i.e. bad guys!), but she's not sure what authority her character has. So I say to her:

"Pretend you're a police detective like on CSI, you go to a trailer, and you can smell meth."

Boom. She busts down the door, takes one of the mooks (we named him Lorenzo), and heads upstairs. Paintings on the wall are moving of their own accord. They top the stairs into a hallway, and a figure in a peacock-colored cloak and with glowing blue eyes literally glides out of a doorway, spots them, and casts a spell.

Lorenzo blows his Resistance Roll; Amber's character makes it. Lorenzo passes out. The faerie throws up another hand and the floor, the walls and the ceiling melt together into a wall in front of Our Heroine -- but she sees through the illusion and it disappears to reveal the faerie making an escape.

Amber's character lunges forward and attacks, impaling the fae and killing it outright. The creature gasps, its eyes go from blue to purple, and its body crumples inward like a piece of wrinkled paper.

Don Diego, who keeps saying "It wasn't my idea! I resisted!" has a lot of 'splainin to do, so he is...not arrested, but taken to see the Marchioness. The faerie has a sword, which Amber confiscates, but it turns to ice and melts.

The End.

I ladled on the optional rules last night, at least as far as character creation is concerned -- Heroic Level, Increased Personal Skill Points, Personality Type, Higher Starting Characteristics and Skill Category Bonuses. It made creation take a while but it was worth it.

Gameplay was a breeze. A pure, simple freaking breeze. N % chance of success; roll equal to or less than N. I looked some stuff up, but that was because I wanted to, and was pleased.

Awesome. We're definitely doin' that again. Oh, sure -- lots of questions were left unanswered, but that's okay.

That's what downtime is for, right?