Friday, January 9, 2015

Actual Play Recap - Numenera Fiasco Playset - Playtest #1

I've been a fan of Numenera since its inception, and a fan of Fiasco since +Wil Wheaton featured it on TableTop. Late last year I decided to start working on a play-set for Fiasco based on Numenera.

Last night I had +John Marvin +Andrew Cady and +andrew lyon join me in a Google Hangout to playtest the set.  The following is a brief recap.


  • Isem - a Thief with a cypher capable of controlling the Iron Wind. He was looking to get some cash for it from his usual fence, Nojo. Isem is drinking buddies with Rick. - played by me
  • Rick - A mutant. Rick and Isem are drinking buddies and had a need to purge mutation between them (that played out as Rick having a mutation and Isem having a cure). Rick was the target of an assassin, Rico. - played by +andrew lyon 
  • Rico - An assassin targeting Rick for some killing out at the abhuman village.  Rico was connected to Nojo by his sister who had married Noji and then been killed by him (accidentally). The two were looking to a powerful Numenera to raise the dead woman. - played by +Andrew Cady 
  • Nojo - A fence connected to Rico and Isem, by bonds of criminal enterprise and blood. - played by +John Marvin 
Act 1
Scene 1 - Isem visited Nojo looking to sell his powerful and dangerous cypher. Things went well enough with the pair agreeing to a potential 3-way trade for a powerful healing item held by Isem's drinking buddy Rick.

Scene 2 - Rick and Isem share some drinks and agree to trade the iron wind controller for the healing device. A GM Intrusion by John (a mechanic I had not planned on, but which worked well enough to be included for the next playtest) had the bar's waitress evesdropping on the conversation. This set in motion basically all the remaining bad stuff.

Scene 3 - Rico learns from his girlfriend, the waitress, that a mutant named Rick has a powerful healing item.  Rico decided to ambush and steal the item to revive his dead sister. The GF sought the item for her own ends, to revive her dead mother.

Scene 4 - Nojo and Rico plot to steal the healing item and revive their wife & sister (respectively)

The Tilt
DEATH - Right on Time
[we didn't get the best use out of the tilt, but we were running an abbreviated session, so its something to work on next time]

Act 2
Scene 1 - Nojo is visited late at night by Isem who has traded the cypher for the healing item. They agree to a trade for a phasing artifact and Isem leaves to retrieve the goods. Nojo mentions, offhandedly, to tell Rico "never mind" if Isem sees him.

Scene 2 - Rico ambushed Rick trying to steal the healing artifact but learns that Rick has already traded it for the iron wind device, and is not afraid to use it ...

Scene 3 - Flashback - Rick finds out from his girlfriend, who is also Rico's girlfriend, that Rico is coming for him.  He resolves to be ready for the encounter. He does have a powerful weapon now after all.

Scene 4 - The next morning Isem sees the disaster wrought by the unleashed iron wind and goes to investigate.  He finds both Rico and Rick, and after some confusion learns that they have switched bodies thanks to the iron wind. Rick is now mutation free, which is a win ... after a fashion.

The Aftermath
Things generally went poorly for everybody.  
  • Isem dies because his phasing suit failed first time out and he was cut in half by a wall
  • Rick, now mutation free, loses his GF anyways because she's mad that she cannot revive her mother.
  • Rico, loses his GF and has to live his life as a mutant, a thing he had previously abhorred, Death would have been a better fate for him.
  • Nojo revived his wife to life, but not to original health. She is also angry at him about the fate of her brother. 

Overall I think the session went well. The players all agreed that the playset made the characters and setting really come through as feeling like Numenera. During after-play discussion we came up with a way to codify the GM intrusion for next time.  The shorter than normal game (usually you play two scenes per person in each act instead of one), generated some odd results, but I think it still felt both like a Fiasco and a Numenera game.  

Thanks again to +Andrew Cady +andrew lyon and +John Marvin for joining me and providing good ideas and feedback both during play and after.