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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What We Played: Hell Hath No Fury (Fiasco)

What We Played: Hell Hath No Fury (Fiasco)

user 8415259
Seattle, WA
Post #: 5
Thursday, Oct 28
Players: Martin, Marc, Shuo, Pat

Set in the wild west town of Dodge, three cunning women vie for stolen cash and revenge, and a cowardly snake oil salesman struggles to court the object of his unvarnished lust. Double crosses! Explosions! Gun fire! Murder conspiracies! Yet... no one really got killed.

I'll let the others chime in with details if they like.

Thoughts: Real fun group! We had some interesting plot twists and some hilarious moments. I enjoyed Fiasco, although at times (as Marc pointed out) it did feel a little aimless. I think we needed to antagonize one another more through the dice resolutions so it wasn't so easy to resolve our relationships.

Thanks again to Martin for facilitating.
user 13294625
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1
This was my first story game and it was AWESOME. I credit the good structure as well as my amazing teammates. I agree with Pat about antagonizing each other more. The only character who seemed to have the worst luck was the good doctor himself. Poor lustful, drunk, maimed, blind Dr. Farnsworth.

Our game was set in the Wild West but there's lots of other settings / time periods that we could have chose. My character was the newly widowed Jane Bradford, an outlaw with a past. I was scheming the murder of my mother-in-law Kitty Bradford, the heiress of a seven-roomed "hotel", for revenge and inheritance money. I coerced an old outlaw collaborator, Clara "The Black Widow", to be my hit-woman for money and a lover's revenge. Her boyfriend and business partner, Dr. Farnsworth, has been cheating on her with Kitty. Not even the whiskey-based invigorating tonics which he sold—and drank often—could smooth out the passions of his unvarnished lust for the heiress. Unfortunately, Kitty has had a change of heart after learning the War was coming to an end. Her husband, a soldier, will surely be back and he would not be too please to see her in the arms of another man. As a reminder to her new found fidelity, she keeps a tiny oil portrait of her soldier husband with her at all times. When she and I are reunited (aka, when she finds me sneaking around her storm cellar), she's doubtful of my explanation of the mysterious disappearance of her son, but accepts it because she wants to patch things up with us and become a family.

Scene by scene after that, the murder plan slowly runs into many complications. Ultimately, because of Kitty's strong will, every disastrous product Dr. Farnsworth puts his name on (love letters, tonics, dynamite), a couple visitors from the past, a strange local whiskey drinking custom, and Clara's continuous breech of multiple kill contracts, no one dies and no one gets the money.

All in all, it was a great experience. I learned a lot and I laughed so hard that I was in tears. The bar has been set ridiculously high for my subsequent story games. Thanks again to all my teammates and organizers for a wonderful night. :)
Olympia, WA
Post #: 1
What an excellent evening! Many thanks to my outstanding teammates for bringing some wacky ideas to the table. This was my first time playing Fiasco, and I really enjoyed it.

I think Shuo summed up our story quite well, so I'll just toss in a few tidbits that spring to mind:

One of the biggest perks of story games is how organic they are. I feel that Fiasco in particular allows for a very natural growth of both character and plot, primarily because of the way the game it set up. In Fiasco, the characters are first defined by their relationships to each other: the only piece of information anyone has about their characters initially is whether they share a mutual need, some treasured object, or a common trait or location with another character. Due to this fact, what can start as a totally arbitrary choice (say, to have two characters be in business together, and make them snake oil salesmen) can later become a critical plot element (when, say, a character accidentally poisons himself with his own blindness-inducing snake oil). And during the telling of the tale itself, what begins as a minor roleplaying goof (a character I was roleplaying smashed the glass of whiskey he was drinking... and then chugged the whiskey. We decided he had two glasses: one to smash, and one to drink) and become, again, a major plot twist (while attempting to poison William Bradford, the soldier husband of Kitty Bradford, Dr. Farnsworth pours poison in two glasses of whiskey, so when William smashes one, he'll still have a poisoned one to drink. Unfortunately, Dr. Farnsworth instinctively smashed his own glass and downed one of the poisoned ones). This organic transformation from tiny seeds into huge plot blossoms is what makes story games so fascinating to me. Our group did an excellent job of pulling at those little threads and seeing what unravelled.

The biggest difficulty to surmount in Fiasco is, as has been said, the lack of purpose. Our characters were defined by what they wanted from each other, but we managed to more or less fulfill those desires by the Tilt (the halfway point of the game). What was left for us to do? No one really knew what their characters wanted beyond what we'd initially been told, and thus the action tended to wander a bit. I think the way around this is, as Ben mentioned, to prevent characters from getting what they want until the end (or at all). Antagonizing each other more is definitely another option: by making each others' lives hell, we could force the characters into very difficult situations... and that makes for excellent storytelling.

All in all, a fantastic night in the old west. Thanks again to Martin, Pat, and Shuo for a really fun time, and to the organizers for putting the evening together. I'll see ya'll again in High Mesa, the whiskey capital of Texas!
Jamie F.
user 12636925
Bellevue, WA
Post #: 8
I've only played it twice, but haven't seen the lack of purpose. This may be because:
both times, we had two Needs.
both times, I read the page from the book out loud where it asks you to think about your starting situation and consider if it will work well. We've never said no, but maybe the act of considering the needs on the table motivates you to pursue or oppose them.
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