The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.
GURPS is a registered(®) trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and some art here is copyrighted(©) by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Pyramid Logo


Back the way you came.
Back to Index
#051
v0.12

COVER:
This article describes adventure to be found in an over-the-top occasion, focusing on a wedding as a prime example. It is rife with system-independent adventure seeds. As such, the article is almost completely composed of plot ideas. The word count is approximately 2,000.
ARTICLE:
The Biggest Day
or
King Ring Thing Fling
- By Eric Funk

So, the frog prince restored by the heroes is to marry the damsel rescued from dragon #3? The tycoon, who was kidnapped by the mole men, proposed to the scientists' daughter during the attack of the giant shrews? In any case, some important (N)PCs are getting hitched, and the party has a chance to make a difference. This can allow the heroes to meet NPCs that would otherwise have been out of reach, or foreshadow their influence. This event, as already elaborated on in the two links following, can be a useful abutment for a successful campaign, and a launching point into new directions.

As noted by Steven Marsh in "Mawwaige", a wedding is one of the few universal celebrations of an individual, and is the only one that a person can actively participate in (the other being a funeral). Players often enjoy being able to make a difference. In this scenario, the heroes may not materially profit, but the political connections and reputation they gain may be significant. For an order of proceedings, see With This Power Ring .

This article will address an over-the-top occasion. While presented as a wedding, it could almost equally apply to a commendation, a graduation, a victory celebration, or a funeral, provided it is paid for by a millionaire of the times.

Who

The list of participants begins with the wedding party, which may include the PCs as groomsmen, bride's maids, or as officiates. If so, this could grant them virtually unlimited access to any part of the proceedings, but limit them chronologically due to the duties therein. Next come the guests. The invited vary from celebrities to business allies and competitors to grandparents and cousins. Some relatives may be more welcome than others. Others will make themselves unwelcome, or just be rude. In grand tradition, the rich often have famous singers and musicians come play or entertain. Famous performers can also be eccentric individuals who must be addressed and catered to with delicacy... Finally, where money and free food are to be found, there will likely be party crashers and perhaps lobbyists.

Adventure

While at a social, the PCs may have the opportunity to de-fuse
- A potential argument between relatives. - A firecracker rolled under a table by a youth. - An exotic dish (that contains alcohol) burning out of control. - A bomb. - A portal to the Nth dimension about to absorb the life energies of all gathered, or merely about to release Something from Beyond (if it doesn't turn out to be on the guest list, that is!).

Elsewhere
A Discworld wedding: friends of the bride: trolls, friends of the groom: dwarfs.
A Banestorm wedding: friends of the bride: elves, friends of the groom: orcs.
- With a Banestorm Kobold on the guest list, there will be pranks pulled. A few even pushed.
A Nearly Anywhere wedding: friends of the bride: devout Muslims, friends of the groom: devout Christians
- At an outdoor wedding, around the bushes there are some muddy pigs/dogs that are chased through the area. "Boy you should have seen their faces!"
- A prankster puts dabs of super glue on each of the chairs/pews.
- A mouse released by a youth just as the bouquet is being thrown to the eligible women.

What

Depending on the occult level of the campaign, the PCs may be asked to acquire, create, arrange for the creation of, or protect various items, such as the wedding rings, gifts for the wedding party, and even the clothes (see "tailored armor," pp. UTT 73) (Don't forget spares for emergencies, and don't let the groom see the wedding dress). Other tasks may include making arrangements for caterers, securing a copy of a piece of poetry from a remote Tibetan monastery, decorators, and in a supers/cliffhangers setting, laying traps for crashers who will not use the front door.

"Gag" gifts may also be found amid expected gifts, given by any of an assortment of characters, be they jokers, close friends, or even enemies. In this scenario, consider the evil witch who didn't receive an invitation, or relative who doesn't like the union. Other "dud" gifts may be tacky, tasteless, and volumetric. Consider a hot air balloon with the words "have a gas" to be middle-of-the-road.

Adventure

At the last moment, and an item goes missing (ring(s), gift(s), caterer goes bankrupt). No exact replacement can be found... except through a foe, who "happens to have one." For extra spice, it may even be that one of the betrothed has "cold feet!" Find them and convince them to return!

A relation of the groom gives the couple a handmade Swiss grandfather clock with gold and platinum works and cesium timer. Then the bride's immediate family gives the traditional gift of a simple locally made handmade grandfather clock (as given to every couple since time began). Was it a simple mistake, or intended as an insult?

Spice!
- Someone spiked the punch.
- Someone spiked the food.
- Someone poisoned the food/drink.
- Someone has a peanut allergy, and someone forgot to make sure all the caterers knew.
- The victim is the bride or groom.

Banestorm/Technomancer wedding:
- Combining Beer/Wine and the existence of the Purify Water spell can mean many disappointed guests. "Laugh, it's funny. ahhh, you're no fun."
- Offensive gifts: "What lovely... dragon skin armor" "Thank ya', I made it me self" answers the King of the Dwarves. At this, the Dragon Lord storms off from the back of the room (perhaps literally). Other equally controversial ideas include an orc/elf-bone flute, or lizardman-skin suitcases.
- Hot Potato: An insulting wedding gift among nobles might include the land that was gifted by the family of the wedding party less than a generation ago. It may interest the players if one of their characters has feudal obligations tied to this seemingly undesirable land!

Where

In an over-the-top wedding, bigger is better. Someone rich enough may hold the ceremony in a theater, and have it televised in a stadium! Instead, it may be held on a yacht in a lagoon dug in the stadium! Often one has three "venues" for activities, the ceremony, the pictures, and the reception. If the locations are large and dynamic enough, the same location could hold both the ceremony and reception, with the photo session buying time for the room to be changed. That is unlikely in this case. Depending on the expected crowds, the party may have dedicated limousines, watercraft, or even air transport to be able to travel amid (or apart from) the throngs of people! While weather cannot normally be pre-ordered, if such technology or magic exists, then someone this rich surely would have purchased "sunny day insurance." If not, then tents are the backup plan...

With a billionaire footing the bill, it could very well be that the ceremony itself will take place in an exotic environment, be it on the world's largest airship, on the ocean's floor, over Victoria Falls, in orbit, or on the Moon. If time travel or gateways to parallel worlds are available, why not travel to Camelot, Rome, a land of Dinosaurs, or witness the Big Bang?

Adventure

As the time approaches, a respected geomancer declares that the site of the vows has very bad Feng Shui. It will be a toss-up between changing venue locations, and making all the recommended changes to the venue to "fix" the dragon/ley lines. The latter requires changing colors, and moving/adding a lot of shrubbery outside, but who will draw the line at painting the white roses red?

Banestorm/Technomancer wedding:
- A weak Repel rug in the aisle where the bride and bridesmaids will go, just enough to lift the dresses up...

When

Time is of the essence! Wedding guides suggest that, for sanity's sake, no less than a year should pass between the commencement of plans and the day itself. Two is even better! The venue(s) should be planned and reserved based on predicted attendance, and invitations, rings, caterers, ordered... the list cascades from there. On a scale this large, one might also have to plan for extra security personnel at all entrances, for the gifts, and for parking. The city will likely need to be contacted to shut down streets, provide traffic control, and security liaison for parades and around venues. With large crowds, it might be advisable to have fire and paramedic crews on standby at the venues! If the VIP is mind-bogglingly rich, holds military rank, or expects military guests, there may be armed forces to help dissuade criminal masterminds. The couple will have to decide how much direct media coverage to allow on the already stressful day. If rich enough, the family could have private film and photographers, and release select footage a few hours (or days) later.

One of the most crucial arrangements to make is that of an officiant. Depending on the origins of the couple, and the local customs, they could be seeking a priest, bureaucrat, or shaman! The officiant may insist on the couple filling out forms that detail birthplace and lineage, and require medical proof of genetic compatibility before agreeing to the process. Some officiants want to ensure the long-term viability of any marriage they conduct, and may insist on clear commitments by the parties involved. In the eyes of the law, the ceremony itself is superfluous, the real act is the signing of the papers by the couple, the officiant, and the witnesses. Religion, on the other hand, may accept a blessing and consent of the officiant and witnesses. A cautious celebrity may perform the "real" legal or religious ceremony privately, and sign mock documents on "stage"... (A villain might sign the papers at his mansion at eight in the morning, just in case the heroes find out that the official ceremony is in the cathedral at noon...)

Adventure

The couple is looking for one last thrill before tying the knot. They want to take just a few close friends (e.g. the PCs) hunting or (sky-)diving. Of course, something happens involving wild animals, high currents, ignorant poachers, and/or arch-villains.

A memory emerges that causes problems for someone in the wedding party, either as just a random flashback or fainting spell, or a trigger placed to cause problems for someone. In an over-the-top campaign, a supervillain could have planted a memory or personality in a guest. It could be triggered at the time when a certain phrase is spoken (e.g. "Speak now or forever hold your peace"), and the victim seizes a conveniently planted loaded pistol. It triggers a hypnotic suggestion to start a rampage and kill randomly, starting with the Senator to his/her left.

The PCs realize that, at the last minute, their officiant has been switched with Folger's Crystals-- a homunculus, duplicate, shapeshifter, or body double. Now they must quietly sequester the fake and find the original.

Why Not?

What is there to do?

The Roast
A starchy food dish overheats and flash-burns, setting adjacent foods and floral arrangements aflame. The tablecloth spreads the flames quickly, igniting the clothes of a few guests. The PCs are the nearest individuals to the fire extinguisher... will they save the already burning guests, or extinguish the table, which is threatening to become an even greater conflagration?

The Heat
The police covertly contact the PCs and their security liaison. A suspect who held up a bank is thought to have infiltrated the guests. If the quarry is spotted, the police should be notified so they can surround the individual. If possible, he should be innocuously detained within a public area.

The Burn
An anonymous tip has come in: one of the wedding gifts holds a bomb powerful enough to destroy the building. They threaten that the bomb will explode if the building is evacuated, or will otherwise go off in 1 hour, unless demands are met.

Variant

Presto-Chango
Starting from the top of the page, switch "wedding" with "funeral," and activities are with the bereaved... Two articles in one!

Wish on One's Worst Enemy?
So the arch-villain of the campaign is getting married. If it is possible the couple may actually love each other, will the heroes attend? Will they trust an invitation? Will they try to stop or disrupt it? The heroes must keep their plans quiet, as the throngs of variably inebriated celebrants would likely oppose someone who is against their benefactor...

Pyramid

Links to What Can Go Wrong

Special Thanks to Bevan Thomas and Dustin Tranberg for helping to make this a blast!


© October 2005 by Eric Funk

Back the way you came.
Back to Index
Ω