Actual Play – Fiasco: The Arctic North (4/23/2010)

Players: Travis, Alec, Fattig and Sean
System: Fiasco

For our second Fiasco we picked the Arctic North setting. I wanted something a little more edgy than Suburbia and was looking to play a more ambitious character than William from last nights game.

Characters – Relationships:

Fattig – Sean were former lovers and they shared an object, a butcher knife. We gave this a little more depth and decided that since last night we had a secret romance going on, this one would be a wildly public one. A breakup full of drama where Guy had ruined men for Shelia and she became a lesbian. Guy, of course wasn’t over her and desperately wanted to get her back. They used to fight a lot and the fights got brutal, at one point Shelia threw a butcher knife at Guy, that he kept her around to remind her of how crazy she is.

Travis – Fattig were two of a kind misanthropes who needed to get laid anywhere, anytime to dull the pain of being in this hellhole. They chased skirts together and bitched about the pathetic state of humanity.

Alec – Travis
were volunteer safety coordinators that tried to keep people from getting a killed due to their own stupidity (and failed often). The shared a firetruck that they drove around the compound on “rescue” missions.

Sean – Alec were co-workers in a research lab that was developing a sex enhancement drug for women, which they were determined to sabotage the FDA approval so they could sell the final product on the black market.

Some highlights

  • Having forsworn men for all time, Guy and Shelia had sex in the second scene anyway!
  • We crashed an FDA plane to prevent it from crashing.
  • Mildred brained a navy officer with a wrench and then got the cook to finish him off for her.
  • Guy, in a panic, shot Mildred’s roommate brook in the face with a flare gun and then tried hide the evidence by throwing her body into the frozen water, but the body didn’t break the ice.
  • The safety coordinator (who didn’t have a name till the epilogue) almost made it with so many different ladies so many times, but ended up with an orgy in his fire truck.
  • The same safety coordinator had a “lose” fire axe that landed square in the chest of the navy officer inspecting what the hell was going on.
  • Mildred performed an autopsy by removing the sex organs from a man and declaring cause of death was hypothermia. Apparently test case 46c didn’t make it.
  • Shelia was constantly thwarted as she tried to get with Mildred’s roommate Brook. The final straw was the greasy cook getting with her (mostly because Mildred had been secretly doping her with the experimental drug) which made Shelia flip out on the navy officers.
  • There were plenty more. Considering we only had 16 scenes, nearly every one of them was awesome.


What rocked

This time we had a crime in mind from the beginning (sneaking the drugs out facility and sabotaging the FDA approval process), which really helped focus some of the scenes.

We also had two needs, which constantly drove the story. I feel like objects and locations make for interesting set pieces but don’t really push the narrative like needs do. Of course in the last game, we had a gun that just went wild and opened up the option of gratuitous violence when it wouldn’t have otherwise been there in suburbia. In the Arctic north, however, lethal weapons were a dime a dozen (drugs, turning off the lights on the landing strip, a wrench, a flare gun, etc).

All of our characters we’re driving forward for something. Last game I made William a very George-Michael Bluth ( and character. He spent most of the game wide eyed overwhelmed by the situation. Even when he was making out with his step mom he really didn’t know what to do. This game Guy was a misogynistic bastard who wanted to prove his manliness but wasn’t at all above drugging his ex-girlfriend to do so. He looked dumb but had a pretty deviously scientific mind. He was also a coward, but that didn’t stop him from doing ridiculously dangerous and stupid things when under pressure (which he was most of the game).

As before the tilt really ramped up the tension in the game. We identified that our drug smuggling operation was going a bit too smoothly so we brought in some Navy marines on an ice breaker and ratcheted up the pressure from the FDA auditing team. More pressure meant more desperation = win.

What could have been improved.

As before I think we’re still a little gonzo on the over-sexed, murderous characters. Of course they are appropriate to the game but at times the story stretched suspension of disbelief pretty far. I think this game is all about what mood you’re in when you play it. I was tired when we started and not feeling particularly imaginative, so I compensated with a barrage of profanity, vulgarity and lack of anything resembling human decency. I’d like to play the game with people that were a bit more “normal” at first and only moved to acts of horrible debauchery because of their situation, rather than amoral sociopaths.

It’s not very hard to “game” the system and end with an “Awesome” result, which I got in the second game. I’m intentionally going to avoid doing that in the future. I felt a little cheap at the end of the game, knowing I had engineered my success. Next time I’m just taking whatever dice come my way.

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