Games in the Car

Driving home from camping in Zion this last Saturday, I ran a couple of very short, casual adventures of my very vague understanding of Fate Accelerated, further simplified from my only source of knowledge: GM Showcase. This is my favorite “system” to run when while driving or just lounging around in hammocks, and it can be easily adapted for any setting (I may need to buy some actual Fate Dice, rather than just using an app). Part of what I love about it (specifically the Labyrinth of Eternal Horror and also Knives variant) is that when a major aspect of the story is ridiculousness, I can take the players at their word without hesitation and just have things backfire in nonsensical ways. My phone died not far into the first set, taking our dice app with it, but that just meant that I could twist what they were doing in a fun way without having to check what the dice said.

There were some character changes between the scenarios, so here are the characters for the first one:

  • Lance (RiS)-A giant blade master who struggles with ranged situations
  • Cadence (EnS)-A bird-man arcane archer who can’t stand bad music
  • Slayer (TaS)-A human who has all the equipment imaginable, except some vital things he forgot
  • Phoenix (CaS)-A human elementalist whose weakness is dark magic
  • Drej (TrS)-A psuedodragon that spits acid but can’t speak

They all awakened in a strange, empty city of massive proportions from a Play-by-post campaign that fizzled some years ago. After Cadence shot down the middle finger on a pair of hand statues near the center of the city, they investigated the dry fountain near them and focused on some runes none of them could understand (the most learned character rolled a -3!).

They decided to look for a library in the empty city so they could learn about the runes. On arrival, they met a zombie librarian who grunted enough instructions for them to find the runes section, only to learn that all the books in the library were written in this unknown language. Cadence set about searching for a book with runes matching those from the fountain, finding one (a history of the city they were in). Meanwhile, Drej attempted to interact with the librarian, causing him to scream “no pets!” repeatedly before melting to mush.

At this point, Phoenix went a little nuts, opposing Drej and lighting the library on fire. They fled the library and when Phoenix started making more fires, a voice called out stop destroying its city. A pall of darkness fell (accompanied by a thumb raising on the left hand) causing Phoenix to be paralyzed. Having seen enough, Cadence attempted to fly out of the city, only to find it flying high above the ocean with no land in sight in any direction.

Upon his return, they all decide to threaten the being behind the hands and Cadence destroys the right hand. It becomes enraged, lighting the whole city on fire with the left index finger. Cadence destroys the other hand and they negotiate (amid insistence that they repair its hands so the city doesn’t go off course and crash) that it will teach them the runes before they fix it, and then it will send them home. It agrees and sends everyone but Slayer home.

The next scenario took place without dice at all based on a session played with my dad as DM in my own youth. The character changes included (TrS) switching to “Q”, a master of stealth with no charisma and (TaS) switching to “Charisma”, a man who can talk himself out of anything (which I chose to interpret as powers of delusion, to which he agreed, until later changing his powers to teleportation). (CaS) clarified that his weakness was DARK magic, as in forbidden magic, not darkness.

They found themselves being processed to enter prison and were soon all transported to individual cells, except for Lance and Cadence, who were put in the ape exhibit and bird exhibit respectively of what seemed to be a zoo.

Cadence first got himself out of the bird exhibit by cutting through the nets, releasing all of the birds. He then helped Lance out, mostly by riling up the apes, who rampaged through the zoo killing everything there. Charisma (having given up on convincing himself he wasn’t in a prison) teleported to the zoo and joined them.

Meanwhile, Q slipped past his feeding robot to run through the facility, eventually hiding himself in a broom closet where he used a mop head to disguise himself as a woman. Phoenix received his food and ate it, finding in it a key that, though it didn’t open anything in the cell, turned out to be someone trapped in key form by dark magic. This caused him a great deal of alarm, but he encased the key in stone and agreed to help it escape. This escape turned out to be pounding on the metal door until the prison AI asked him to stop, claiming it was mahogany. When the pounding continued, the AI relented and released him, stating that everything else was going wrong anyway.

Back at the zoo, the feral apes, with help from Cadence, Charisma, and especially Lance, their new king, had wiped out the security robots that came to stop them. Q, disguised as a woman, made his way to a control room, followed by Phoenix. There he tried buttons, finding a map of the space ship on which the prison was located, including where he could find his confiscated effects (particularly his campaign flyers and documents for Verdis for Mayor). He also released all of the prisoners. Chaos broke out across the ship.

With the prisoner effects locker near the zoo, they all met up there quite by coincidence. Q then immediately ditched the others, making his way to an escape pod that launched into a wall of rock, killing him instantly. He awoke back in Citadel House.

The others, fighting off wild and horrible prisoners with the help of the apes, decided to try to escape the ship as well. Phoenix magically cut a whole in the hull and dirt poured in. Despite his efforts to stop it, the ship pitched and fell with all of them into darkness. They awoke in their own beds.

Did any of this make any sense? No, not at all, but we all enjoyed the drive a lot more for it, and would have played more if I’d had the mental energy to conjure up another scenario.

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