Belle of the Ball
After receiving a cryptic request from their wealthy patron, the crew arrives at his floating estate on Bellerophon. The crew is escorted to see Harvey Killian by an actual butler and on entering his study, the crew is greeted warmly. Patron dissembles for several minutes then finally asks if the crew thinks they can help him with a matter of great delicacy and even greater importance. The Grand Bellerophon Debutant Ball is in three days. His daughter Daphne will be coming out at the event and while he loves his daughter dearly, his recently deceased wife usually handled such things. Can the crew help a loving father assist his daughter in having a successful introduction to society? Given the aide he has already provided and with the way he presents the request, it is unlikely the PCs can refuse such a sincere request. When the PCs agree, Killian calls for his Daphne to meet them and the first thing they are struck by is the young woman’s monumental ugliness. Getting this woman prepared to be a debutant is going to be much more difficult than they imagined
As the Debutant Ball is the social event of the season, even the fine clothes the crew acquired for the benefit dinner prior to the medical mission are both out of date and completely too informal for this gala social. Even the etiquette for this event is different, but the first challenge the crew faces is to learn proper etiquette and get fitted for proper clothing. Their patron has the contacts to have the proper clothes fitted, so this won’t be a major problem, but the etiquette is going to be very difficult to pick up in less than three days.
Added to these complications, the girl loves the idea of being a debutant, but hasn’t the slightest idea of how to actually be one, as despite the best attempts by her mother, she is a big-boned, tall, tom-boy at heart. She dearly loves her father and will do all she can to please him by being a proper debutant, but another complication is that she finds most of the other girls vacuous idiots and is not above settling slights with her fists.
If the crew has someone adept at social skills, they will have to do the bulk of the coaching for everyone. This character will face a disadvantage in that the specific etiquette for the ball is very different from what they have seen before. They will have to make a Difficult Influence roll to pick up the nuances properly to be able to teach others. For each level this roll fails by, add a step to all training rolls. If no one in the crew can act as the trainer, Killian’s butler can take on this critical role, but has the advantage of knowing the local etiquette perfectly.
In addition to teaching Daphne how to be a debutant, there may be several other members of the crew that will have to step out of their own shells to properly assist in the shindig. Any character with Crude, or Ugly as Sin will face greater than normal problems. Leaky Brainpan, Traumatic Flashbacks, or Twitchy will also have problems covering their issues during a grand soiree as well to successfully complete the job.
The special outfits for the ball will take several hours to have properly fit. Due to the great demands for the ball, only two tailors are available, thus only two of the crew can be fitted at a time with each outfit taking 2D3 hours to fully tailor. Each PC will have to make an Average VIT + Discipline roll to properly model for the tailor. Failing this roll results in an outfit that doesn’t fit perfectly and a one step penalty to all social rolls at the party
The etiquette lessons will be the most time consuming and are a Hard Complex Action rolling INT + Knowledge, Performance, or Discipline with each roll taking an hour. Failing to learn the proper manner to behave will be a two step penalty to all social rolls at the party. If by some miracle the PC can succeed at a Formidable Complex Action, they will gain a one step bonus.
The extensive preparation for the ball precludes any side deals during the three days before the ball. PCs are welcome to try setting up clandestine late night deals, but if they fail a Hard VIT + Athletics, they will suffer a one step penalty to the above etiquette lessons due to fatigue.
Getting Daphne prepared proves to be a major challenge in itself. First, she is about as graceful as a brick in addition to her “Ugly as Sin” complication. Teaching her the basics will require one on one instruction and the task is a Formidable Complex Action rolling INT + Knowledge with each roll taking an hour. Daphne will earn or lose steps to any social rolls based on her success or failure to master these skills. She has an intelligent and disciplined mind and truly wants to please her father. She is capable of acting as a proper lady and careful Artistry can give her the trappings of a proper lady, one critical thing to know is that Daphne will not be a cliché ugly duckling waiting to be transformed into a swan. She is unattractive and she knows it. The task of the crew is to help her play the part of a debutant, not actually change into one.
On the day of the Grand Ball, the crew acts as escorts for Daphne Killian. The code of conduct for such an affair means there will be scanners every where and no weapons of any kind are allowed. The decorations, music, food, and costumes will be exquisite. This is the event of the season and it shows. One of the most important parts of this job is not only getting Daphne ready for the ball, but to protect the girl from anyone trying to take advantage of her while playing the delicate roll of steering possible legitimate suitors her way.
There are many business opportunities available at such an event as many people of power are in attendance and frequently conduct significant deals at these affairs. The who’s who of this event is public knowledge and is an Easy INT + Covert, Knowledge, or Technical Engineering roll to discover. Finding out who is most likely to deal is a Formidable test of the same skills. A success will yield the names of several prospects. Approaching one of these people will take a Hard INT + Influence, Fast Talk, Seduction, or Performance roll, modified by their tailoring and etiquette preparation rolls. A successful approach allows for a second “pitch” roll of the same skills, but the task is a Formidable one as these people are movers and shakers that do not have time for nonsense. A success in this roll will give the PC a contact that can be called on once.
The ball is everything the hoopla said it would be and the trick for the crew will be to screen any one that approaches Daphne and to steer possible suitors her way if they do not. Only two men will approach Daphne on their own initiative it will only take an Average INT + Streetwise to recognize that these men are only trying to get to Killian’s money. As these men are strictly gigolos they will not stand up to a well placed warning to back off. An Average INT + Influence will make these men move on to easier game. It the PCs fail to recognize these men for what they are, Daphne should be more than intelligent enough to do so and will on anything other than a Botch to her own INT + Streetwise.
Steering would be suitors toward Daphne is a much tougher task. With so many beautiful women in attendance, she is easy to ignore. Female PCs can roll ALE + Perception to pick out a true gentleman in the crowd with a Formidable roll. Males can roll a Formidable INT + Perception to make the same find Talking the man into speaking with Daphne is a Hard INT + Influence roll.
The GM is free to add or subtract any humorous events to flesh out the party. As this is meant to be a light-hearted job, avoiding actual duels would be a good thing unless it happens to suit the style of your campaign.
Among the things that can be added to the party:
A woman far past her prime decides to make one of the young male PCs her latest conquest.
A lovely young woman asks a PC to help find a missing earring. Is she legit or is she trying to distract the PC for some other reason?
A hot-headed young fop takes exception to a PC stepping on his foot by accident. Can the PC talk his way out of a duel without losing face?
An older gentleman has misplaced his wallet, is there a pickpocket working the event or has the man simply forgotten where he placed it?
A very special complication would be for Daphne to take a shine to one of the PCs during the training process, an exceptional moment would be if it happens to be a female, which would offer a different explanation of why she has “always seemed so awkward around boys.”
The crew must avoid social gaffes, while ensuring that “Daddy’s Little Girl” has the time of her life, but not THAT much of the time of her life. The GM can work out any special payment for the job in the form of guaranteed cargo runs, contacts, or as a ships charter (the standard rate for a four day charter of a Firefly would run €320).
Daphne Killian AGL D6, STR D6, VIT D8, ALE D10, INT D10, WIL D10, INIT D6+D10, Life Points 18
Assets:Highly Educated – minor, Moneyed Individual – major
Complications:Chip on Shoulder – minor, Straight Shooter – minor, Ugly as Sin – minor
Skills: Animal Handling D6, Athletics D6, Covert D6, Guns D6, Influence D6 – Streetwise D8, Knowledge D8, Medical Expertise D2, Mechanical Engineering D2, Perception D6, Planetary Vehicles D4, Survival D4, Technical Engineering D2, Unarmed Combat D6