Thursday, March 10, 2016

Reunion : Homebrewed Oneshot


Romantic Comedy One-Shot Game
Home-brewed System

During the September Gamers & GMs Philippines mini-convention, I decided to try the unlikely and offered to run a Romantic Comedy game which I cooked up.  I wanted to try to offer a game for people who weren't usually gamers, maybe even people who might have only showed up in the event because a significant other dragged the other along.  Luckily, I was able to get four players who were willing to try the game.   Character creation involved having each player choose a positive trait for their character, and a player on their left or right choosing a negative trait that the character may or may not have been aware of.   There would be a third trait, by the last player who was neither on the left nor right, who would choose their final positive note.

The game was set in New York City, and the cast included the following:

Maria O'Conner
(Anne Hathaway) played by Bogs.
She is Shy by Passionate, Conservative but Open to New Things, and ultimately a social Chameleon.  Deep down she believes she was "meant to be" with John, but was always shy and conservative, with some slight pervy secrets of her own.  Her company, "Something Something" was the major sponsor for the event.

Bill Raison (Benedict Cumberbatch) played by Robert.  He is Confident but tends to be a Clutz. He is a Hot-headed Person but is secretly quite Evil.  He loves the fact he is Tireless.  Back in school, he was the school editor in chief and had an ear in the administration.

John "McDreamy" McToole (Liam Neeson) played by Drexx.  He was nicknamed, "Big Mac" and was always Optimistic and Deep.  He had a tendency to be Naive and Charming.  He was very Fast and thus was the prom king and the jock in the group.  Few were ready to discover that he had now become a priest.

Felicity Scarlet (Natalie Portman) played by Emi.  She was Perceptive but Picky.  She was Slow To Anger but had a tendency to be Manipulative (to give her the feeling she belonged).  She always had Perfect Poise.  The class all knew her to be their friend, although deep down she was never really friends with anyone.

The whole group votes to have Felicity be the main character of the Romantic Comedy, and all the others were to be supporting roles.

The story began with them all receiving invitations to attend the upcoming High School Reunion.  With Felicity going through a break up, Maria conniving for a chance to get close to McDreamy, and the others merely curious to see how much their friends have changed, the four eventually get back in touch with a host of old friends and enemies.  Andy, who used to be Felicity's closest buddy, offers to help her when he notices she's not having that good day.  Neil, who sees himself as the ultra popular guy, starts musing all about John and begins asking everyone, "Have you seen John?"  Shirley, who handles the front desk, isn't too happy to see Felicity, but seems less happy to notice Maria.  She does bring up the feeling of having been neglected, but neither seem to even notice - more so when Maria notices Mabel, the outcast of the class, lingering around the edges and darting off to the rest room.  Shirley tries to say hello to Bill, whom she had the hots for.  But Bill noncommittally says hello, which infuriates her more. When Mark, the other jock, approaches John to welcome him back there is a clear unspoken tension existing between the two.

As the reunion continues, Maria follows Mabel to the restroom and sees an unexpected sight!  Some kind of grand machine of sorts had been set up in the restroom.  Mabel thanks Maria for being a friend, and warns her that all will be better.  And before anything else could be done, a white flash envelops the whole room.

Maria and John discover they are... celebrities.  And more interesting, are a couple.  John is supposedly part of some kind of boy band, while Maria is seen as his stage manager and wife.  Elsewhere in the city, Bill finds himself waking up to be working at some Italian Restaurant.  And strangely, his wife turns out to be Shirley herself, who doesn't seem to be confused why this is happening.

Felicity, on the other hand, finds herself in an entirely different world.  Machines talk to her about the end of the Earth, and how sentient living trees now revisit the planet often to reminisce on the once thriving species.

Soon, Felicity breaks free from the future, which turns out to be a false reality created using technology.   She had broken down into a terrifying state of self-destruction when she first discovered the world had changed, and Neil and Mark had combined their efforts to save her by plugging her into the machine that would hold her on a repeated stasis until she mentally fought to reclaim her life back.

Bill, John and Maria almost literally bump into each other when Bill runs away from Shirley, who had become some kind of Italian Mob Queen, and by running off nearly slams into John and Maria who are on a bus.   Maria realizes the "reality" they are in seems.. too perfect for her.  And shares her suspicion that Mabel might have a hand in things.

The stories eventually converge as the two groups rush back to the reunion location and true enough discover that Mabel is still there, maintaining this massive machine which has been keeping this alternate perfect world running.  Being the class nerd, Mabel had someone created a machine that allowed her to shift everyone to an alternate world where her preferred events had transpired for her schoolmates.  Felicity, whom she hated the most, was thrown into a series of events that nearly caused her to commit suicide from insanity had Mark and Neil not stepped in.

As they confront her, and try to stop her and her machine, Felicity finally apologizes to Mabel for not being a true friend and promises to her that had she had the chance, she would do what she can to start over.  Mabel agrees to shut the machine, and the group finds themselves back in the Reunion as if nothing had happened...

... although everyone remembered what had transpired.  

Felicity walks up to Mabel, apologizes and gives her a sincere hug.  Neil glances at Mark, who finally chooses to come out and admit that he is gay and in love with Neil.  John and Maria agree that their lives are better off separate.  Bill tells Shirley that while they aren't meant to be either, they at least know how interesting things could have been.  Shirley just winks back at him.

And finally, Neil gets to Felicity and asks her if she's seen John yet and everyone laughs as they consider the events to be a true Re: Union of sorts.


Thankfully the players had fun and I would like to think the game can be further tweaked for eventual release.  Special thanks again to my players that day for trying the game out!

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