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One-Shots: Feng Shui

I’ve been accreting a Las Vegas Feng Shui setting since we lived in Austin, where I ran a couple of sessions of Feng Shui set there. The idea stuck and I really liked Jay Ackel, PI; the Chairman of the Board; and a few other NPCs. I also enjoyed working with a primary faction conflict consisting of two Ascended factions. California is home of the bears, right?

So it’s been slowly gaining mass since then. I have a Scrivener file that gets a little more weighty every time I open it up. That isn’t all that often, mind you. Regardless, if I’m gonna run a Feng Shui one-shot, it’ll be in my Las Vegas.

Rather than write up an adventure I decided I knew the setting well enough so that I could just write an oracle. It’d work as a skeleton for any city, although you’d have to replace a bunch of People and Locations entries, plus a couple of the McGuffins. If you’re interested, grab the PDF here.

Let’s do a quick test run:

Two 5s for my first faction means Independent Actor. A 1 and a 5 means either the Eaters of the Lotus or the Four Monarchs; let’s go with the Eaters of the Lotus, particularly since I already know what they’re up to in Vegas.

The McGuffin is … I’m not using a geek thing for a Lotus plot, so let’s make it a token granting a single favor. The independent actor wants it for revenge, and the Lotus want it for the sake of disruption. The Lotus really need to be disruptive in the modern juncture; this works well. I think that in both cases, the factions want to use the favor to get their motivation satisfied. Not sure who is granting the favor yet.

The person most directly related to the token is either a casino waitress/waiter or a martial arts instructor. I’ll go with the casino employee. Aha, there we go — the token is a casino chip, and someone important accidentally tipped the waitress with it. I think I’ll backtrack a bit: the independent actor is the one who accidentally tipped the waitress, and we’ll let the revenge motivation fade into the background a bit. The Lotus heard about this somehow and decided that they could get their hands on the token before the original possessor did.

For the location, I rolled a 5 and a 4. Let’s go with the less glamorous Denny’s. I’d rather start smaller and build, anyhow. And there’s my starting scene — the PCs are eating in a Denny’s, and they see some punk stage magician in a stupid tuxedo with a stupid top hat is hassling a woman who clearly just got off shift.

Let’s roll up another person in case we need some more spice for that initial scene. Feng Shui PCs are meant to be heroes so you’d think they’d be willing to get involved if the Eater of the Lotus is sufficiently mean, but just in case… we get either a college student or a torch singer. Hm. Put the college student aside; she’s dating the waitress and she’s my ace in the hole in case the PCs don’t take the bait. I’ll use her to beg for help afterwards. One more roll: there we go, there’s a helicopter pilot. He’s the independent actor, why not? And he’s ready to crash the scene (literally) as needed. Otherwise I’ll save him for later.

Open questions: how is the pilot tracking the waitress? That’s a fun question to answer in play. Who spilled to the Lotus? Hm, I bet that’s the college student and she may regret it. What happens next? Um, hm, what does the waitress want? Motivation is: revenge again! She wants to get revenge on someone who did her wrong. OK, this is a functional set-up.

That worked reasonably well. The tables are good enough as is, but before I stuff this into my Scrivener file I’ll want to make sure the diagonal line from top left to bottom right has interesting stuff on it, since doubles mean you don’t have any choice in your oracle. I should also make sure paired cells are very distinct: Four Monarchs and Eaters of the Lotus are too similar to be a great choice (magic, ancient past, etc.). But I’m happy with this as is.


  1. Sterbl Sterbl

    That’s an excellent Motivations table! I love the FOMO and amusement thrown in there with all the standard highbrow stuff!

    • I couldn’t resist tossing FOMO in there! Motivations don’t gotta be smart.

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