“Fortune’s Fool” one-shot notes

Giuseppe de Cellini
Halfling swashbuckler

Josh and fellow role-players, thanks again for your and Sara’s hospitality this past weekend! I enjoyed your Fortune’s Fool one-shot on Saturday, 29 October 2011. Here are some notes from the alternate history/fantasy game:

>>Player Characters for Josh C.’s Fortune’s Fool scenario:

-“Giuseppe de Cellini” [Gene D.]-male Italian Halfling, gentleman rogue and swashbuckler

-“Ziva Avram” [Sara F.]-female Middle Eastern Goblin, merchant

-“Tatiana Du Lupin” [Ginger]-female French Sylvan Elf, aristocrat and pagan, with hawk

-“Farouk ibn Alahad” [Rob]-male Moorish Orc, duelist and demon hunter

-“Pierre Lefew” [Robyn]-male French Halfling, pauper and thief

-“Santidio Ravoche” [Bruce K.]-male French Elf, duelist and scoundrel

-“Axbeard Beardaxe” [Rich C.G.]-male Italian Dwarf, wealthy merchant with wolfhound

>>”Paris, 28 to 31 October 1546 A.D./C.E.:” My dear brother, while you attend to family matters back in Roma and Firenze, I have had an eventful vacation here in the City of Lights. As you well know, I first arrived in the French capital without prejudice, and I have found its people and cuisine tres magnifique, if occasionally obtuse.

In fact, I was initially so impressed by the court of King Francois I that I’ve considered buying a small chateau. The High Elves have renewed interest in classical art, and painting, music, and sculpture have flourished as they have at home.

However, dark dealings shadowed my stay, and I must confide in someone in our family. We have yet to fully plumb these murky depths, but I want word of my misadventures to reach your eyes before foes add slander to our injuries.

Bishop Victor Garceau, a fellow Halfling and highly placed cleric, summoned our motley group. He asked us to look into rumors of a cult that supposedly planned to summon demons beneath Paris on All Hallows’ Eve. As indulgences were offered, I happily accepted, but others needed gold or other favors to be convinced.

I hired scruffy Pierre to be my manservant, but only after he got a bath. Unfortunately, it would take me too long to acquire proper tools for the Halfling rapscallion, but I could at least share my love of fromage, truffles, and pasta. Pierre was most eager and helpful.

I found Mlle. Du Lupin to be an excellent representative of le ancien regime, with Elven knowledge deep of things in the woods. By contrast, Mssr. Ravoche’s freebooting attitude is a good match for my own, and he engaged in verbal duels with a Dwarf countryman of ours, Axebeard Beardaxe.

Indeed, even peoples beyond Christendom were represented in our band, including the quiet but clever Goblin Ziva and the looming but impressively civilized Orc Farouk. With such a diverse collection, it should come as no surprise that it took us some time to decide on a course of action.

I, Giuseppe, went with Farouk to the Sarbonne, but the Inquisition (whose very name I even hesitate to commit in ink) had preceded us in scouring its tomes of land records and demonology. At least we knew we were on the right trail.

Ziva and Axebeard made discreet inquiries with their underworld contacts. I later learned that they even posted a bounty for information on cultists, but that instead drew the attention of one “Merlin,” an Elf met at one of Paris’ many cafes.

He claimed that the Roman Catholic Church, which is in league with the crown, sent us to persecute dissidents hiding beneath the city. This Merlin said that those we actually needed to worry about were preparing for Samhain in the woods to the north. A man named Giles and a dozen followers were the cultists we sought, Merlin said.

Meanwhile, Santidio, Tatiana, and Pierre snuck into the mines near the metropolis. They observed men in aristocratic garb copying various manuscripts. Tatiana made herself invisible, but unfortunately not inaudible. Pierre managed to grab a book and run out, and Santidio slipped away and reported their findings so far to the bishop.

My companions and I reunited at a café for strong drinks and stronger words. Axebeard took the book of witchcraft that Pierre had seized and put it in a safe. With nearly three days before the holiday, we ultimately decided to first check out the mines, which I understand would make fine catacombs like those in the Eternal City.

Farouk, Santidio, Axebeard, and Ziva led the way, while Tatiana with her hawk, Pierre on Axebeard’s dog, and I waited outside to prevent any foes from escaping. In response, the people hiding in the mine retaliated with a Fireball spell and summoned a gargoyle or drake!

Drawing his blade, Farouk’s first lunge was a miss, as was Axebeard’s first swing. Santidio dropped his weapon belt in an attempt to parley, but he soon had to chase after the leader. Ziva fired her crossbow at the winged beast.

Pierre went to see what the noise inside was about, and Tatiana and I soon joined the fray. Farouk and Axebeard’s luck improved only slightly, with the Dwarf’s axe cutting the imp in twain. Santidio caught the leader, whom we threatened to turn over to the Church unless he explained.

In fact, Merlin was correct: The scribes were copying books of demonology in desperation and an attempt to discredit the ruling authorities. They had no plans to summon any monsters around All Hallows’ Eve, so we had to make haste toward the woods….

Despite a slow start and the arrival of this past weekend’s Nor’easter, I thought the Fortune’s Fool scenario went fairly well. It was nice to play alongside people I normally don’t get to do so with, and I look forward to other one-shots, such as Jason’s Fvlminata or Rich’s Call of Cthulhu! I hope you had a Happy Halloween….

P.S.: Here are my character‘s stats…

>>Fortune’s Fool Player Character: Giuseppe de Cellini

>>Role-player: Gene D.

>>Game Master: Josh C., 29 October 2011

>>Attributes:

Agility: 9

Body: 4

Heart: 7

Perception: 7

Status: 9

Martial: 3

>>Race: Halfling

Gender: Male

Size: Small (-1 movement on foot)

Age: Youth

-Birthright: Eldest

Environment: City (Roma)

Social class: Nobility

Wealth: Rich

Religion: Roman Catholic

Fate pool/twists: 2 (from religion) — Harbinger of Death (pull Death card), Prudence (minor Arcanum)

>>Skills (and source; out of 12; +1 expertise point from youth):

-Art (class): 8

-Charm (class): 8

-Culinary (race): 7

-Driver (gender): 7

-Etiquette (environment): 9

-Languages (birthright): Italian, French

-Latin (religion/arcane): 10 (advanced)

-Literacy (birthright): N/A

-Scholarship (class): N/A

-Traps (to get?)

>>Martial skills:

Fencing — allows use of half Agility rather than half Body to determine Hand Combat with a fencing blade; can put opponents on point if foe blunders, disarmed, or stunned

Instinctive Parry — can parry ranged attacks (not firearms)

Toughness — may ignore Incapacitation and Stun effects on successful Heart draws

Weapon Expertise: +1 to hit

>>Derived attributes:

Dodge: 9

Hand Attack: 5

Ranged Attack: 7

Movement: 6 (before the -1 size penalty)

Initiative: 8

Stealth: 8

Hit Points: 19

>>Weapons:

-rapier: 7 to Hit, 3 Parry, Type: Lethal, Damage — Frowns 5, Smiles 10, Shines 15

-parrying dagger/main gauche: 7 Hit, 2 Parry, Type: Lethal, Frowns 4, Smiles 9, Shines 12

-pistol: 7 Hit, Type: Lethal, Range: Short, Frowns 7, Smiles 17, Shines 21

>>Armor: leather jerkin, Light, 1

>>Fortune (race):

Smiles: Cups, Swords

Frowns: Pentacles, Wands

>>Major arcana shines (and source):

-Chariot (VII; environment)

-Hanged man (XII; environment)

-Hierophant (V; environment)

-High Priestess (size)

-Justice (XI; environment)

-Lovers (VI; age)

-Star (size, age)

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Snow on the scarecrow

 

This just doesn't seem right
Happy Halloween 2011!

After an optometrist appointment on Saturday, 29 October 2011, I drove to the spacious apartment of Josh C. & Sara F. in Abington, Massachusetts, for Josh’s one-shot of Fortune’s Fool. I enjoyed the alternate history/fantasy game, in which I role-played “Giuseppe de Cellini,” an Italian Halfling gentleman rogue and swashbuckler.

I was joined by Bruce K. and Rich C.G., who are in one of my FATE 3e “Vortex” space opera teams, as well as Josh & Sara’s friends Rob & Ginger and Robyn, whom I had met at a cookout. The scenario involved our Player Characters looking for demon summoners around fourteenth century Paris. Despite a slow start, we enjoyed the Fortune’s Fool session, Josh’s punch spiked with mist-making dry ice, and the Chinese food that we ordered. Janice had also baked brownies for the potluck.

We did find Fortune’s Fool‘s rules, which use Tarot cards rather than polyhedral dice for conflict resolution, to be overly specific for combat (reminiscent of D20). They were also a bit “swingy,” granting only about a 50% chance of success for anything, given our average skill levels.

History buffs like Jason E.R. and I also had some questions about why a Renaissance would even be necessary in a world whose demihumans had long lifespans and memories of classical culture and technology, but such details would be more of a concern in a long-term campaign. I’ve tried to blend fantasy and alternate history in my own GURPS Steampunk/D20 Etherscope: “Gaslight Grimoire” adventures.

Bruce, Rich, and I left around dinnertime, before Josh & Sara’s Halloween party, to avoid the worst of an early Nor’easter. Boston’s inner suburbs got only a few inches of wet, heavy snow, but areas north and west of us got as much as a foot. Most of our autumn leaves haven’t even fallen yet, but raking will have to wait until after the snow melts.

Janice and I lost power briefly on Sunday night, but our Verizon FIOS (telephone, Internet, and cable television) was disrupted. Fortunately, we have more than enough to read and watch on DVD in the meantime. For instance, we watched some more 1940s Superman serials, Batman: Year One, and a few episodes of the anime Case Closed.

I thought that Year One was very faithful to the influential Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli graphic novel, which depicts Bruce Wayne, Jim Gordon, and Selina Kyle at the start of their crime-fighting careers. I also look forward to the all-star voice cast (similar to that of the videogame Batman: Arkham City) for the upcoming direct-to-video release of Justice League: Doom.

Without connectivity or quorum, my Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landstelecom fantasy game again didn’t meet last night, and the “Vortex” group is skipping a week because of the holiday. I look forward to greeting trick-or-treaters tonight. Have a Happy Halloween!

P.S.: Verizon will be sending a technician out this coming Thursday, so I won’t have land-line phone, Web, or TV until then. Still, my situation is better than those of the many people still without power. Stay warm!