Best Day of Their Lives
Pitch: You represent the Sovereigns of the Interstellar Realm of Queertopia on a diplomatic mission to the neighboring Empire of Heteronormia. The Crown Prince of the Heteronormian Empire is to be married; as the Queertopian delegation, you’re there to advance the interests and values of your people. This adventure tends to fall on the “goofy” end of the tone spectrum, and can also be a cathartic power fantasy.
Hook: After a chilly welcome, you discover that the Crown Prince is missing on his own wedding day, and the Hets are quick to blame you.
GM: After your players select their playbooks, ask the following questions. If the listed playbooks aren’t in play, ask the question of someone else. Everyone should answer at least one question. If more than one named playbook is in play, they can each answer from their point of view or agree on an answer.
Anyone: The wedding will take place on a particular planet within the Empire of Heteronormia. What is that planet most known for, and what is the planet called?
Chosen: Are you the bride? Is marrying the Prince your Destiny?
Chosen or Trickster: If the Chosen isn’t the bride, who is, and why is this wedding politically important? Does Queertopia have a direct stake in the wedding going forward?
Devoted or Seeker: What do the people of this planet do better than Queertopia?
Infamous or Scoundrel: Why are the Battle Nuns of Heteronormia so powerful in battle?
Beast, Nature Witch, or Spooky Witch: You have heard a legend of a dangerous creature that lives in the wilderness of this planet. What is it and how can you tell when it has struck?
GM Section: Contains Spoilers
What's Really Going On? One Possibility
First of all, Heteronormia is ridiculous. It’s a bit scary, certainly, with its spacefaring navy and fearsome Battle Nuns, but it’s also a fairly over-the-top parody of real-world patriarchy. As written, it’s specifically a parody of Western patriarchy, with room to tailor the elements to focus on what you want to mock or rewrite for a different feel.
The Princess of Heteronormia is in love with the bride and has conspired with the Prince for him to be “abducted” by his boyfriend, a revolutionary. In other words, both Prince and Princess are likely to need the Queertopians’ help before day’s end. Of course, the Queertopians bring their own complications—the Infamous or the Scoundrel may have wronged the bride or the Princess. The Chosen may have a nemesis on the scene. The Seeker may be a native Heteronormian and find their internal conflict becomes external.
The bride is not rigidly defined in this scenario so that her identity can be tailored to an ongoing game, or the Chosen can step into the role, or players can have input into who she is and why they have a stake in what’s going on. If the Chosen takes the role of the bride, the Princess will likely try to woo them during the chaos.
An Unfriendly Greeting: The Queertopian vessel is directed to a somewhat remote landing site, where they’re greeted by a squad of Battle Nuns led by Captain Dolores. She informs them in an unenthusiastic tone that it’s her duty to greet them and escort them to the wedding venue. This scene is an opportunity to do at least two things:
Make it clear that Captain Dolores isn’t happy with the Queertopians’ presence. Privately, she’s fiercely devoted to Princess Jennifer of Heteronormia and she knows that the Princess has become confused about her sexuality of late. She is looking for a reason to confine the Queertopians and keep them away from the Princess.
Start to highlight the over-the-top elements of Heteronormia. What is the wedding venue? A sports arena? A brand-new resort built on paved-over slums or clear-cut endangered forest? A cathedral devoted to the solemn ritual of marriage? Build on the questions you asked the PCs.
The Missing Groom: Shortly after arriving at the venue, the PCs overhear an alert on Dolores’s communicator. The Prince has been abducted! The report says that the investigators found glitter at the site of the struggle, cementing Dolores’s excuse to blame the Queertopians. The site might also resemble an attack by the legendary creature of the world’s wilderness. In truth, Prince Bradley’s boyfriend, Captain Cucumber, has faked a monster attack to cover the Prince’s escape. But Captain Cucumber, being such a great fan of Queertopia, has left some glitter behind. More on Cucumber later.
At this point, the PCs will likely want to prove their innocence and help investigate the Prince’s disappearance. Dolores doesn’t want them to leave, so they may have to sneak out or find another way to escape.
If they stay and gather information from the assembled guests, Princess Jennifer will find them, expressing her pleasure that they came. Jennifer is suspiciously unconcerned about her brother’s disappearance, and is also the first friendly face the PCs meet in Heteronormia (unless they’ve already seduced Dolores, which is a distinct possibility).
Jennifer actually knows a great deal of what’s going on here, and the PCs may get a pretty good picture of things if they get her to confide in them. Of course, they may also get the impression that she’s the villain, arranging the abduction of her brother, or they may be separated when a concerned parent or Battle Nun intervenes. The Battle Nuns may also insist on searching the Queertopian ship (and intend to plant evidence).
What Jennifer really wants, but is afraid to ask for, is to invoke the ancient tradition of Heteronormia: if the elder sibling can’t go through with a marriage, the younger sibling takes their place. Of course, the Hets never contemplated a same-sex wedding (or really thought of women as people at all). Jennifer and the bride are afraid of the Hets’ reaction if they invoke that tradition (or perhaps the bride is unwilling to invoke it unless she knows Jennifer will stand up to her parents). Certainly the King and Queen of Heteronormia won’t go along with it easily.
It’s perfectly alright if the PCs learn none of this at this stage and run off to investigate the Prince’s disappearance. They’ll have another chance later.
On the Glitter Trail: The PCs will likely find themselves investigating the site of Prince Bradley’s disappearance at some point. The site has been doctored to make it look like an attack of the legendary beast, and there is indeed glitter—Queertopian glitter, which would only be available on the black market in Heternormia.
Now that the PCs have a plausible way of tracking, they can pursue the prince’s abductor to a secret hideout. Don’t make this too hard—crime scene investigation isn’t the focus of this game, and the PCs are badasses.
The trail leads them to the lair of Captain Cucumber. Give it an over-the-top revolutionary/pirate aesthetic.
Captain Cucumber has no direct exposure to Queertopian culture—he learned about it through the queer-coded villains of Hetero media and caricatures—but he embraces it. He’s got the black market glitter and the rainbow cape and he is committed to the Revolution! He hopes that footage of his daring and romantic adventure with Prince Bradley will inspire others.
To that end, he has a variety of nets and nonlethal traps set up at the entrance to his lair, and he is prepared to confront his pursuers while Bradley hides in a closet and films the whole thing.
The first PC to enter should Defy Disaster or find themselves ensnared, and Captain Cucumber eagerly challenges any other pursuers to a duel.
When he realizes they are Queertopians, he’s simply thrilled to be dueling with them. He doesn’t want tohurtthem; he wants to put on a good show for the camera. He’s going to be famous! At what he deems to be the right moment, he exclaims, “Would you truly get in the way of our True Love!?” and strikes a dramatic pose, revealing Bradley (if the PCs haven’t discovered him already).
The two lovebirds don’t have much of a plan. Bradley thinks that Jennifer will take his place in the wedding—he doesn’t know that she’s having cold feet about invoking her interpretation of Heteronormian tradition. After that, he might just slip away? He’s terrified of his parents and wants to flee to Queertopia, while Captain Cucumber wants to stay and fight to change things.
Two Weddings and a Duel? The adventure can go many different ways from here. The Prince and Princess aren’t willing to confront their parents, though the PCs might be able to persuade them. They’ll probably need backup, though. Whether through trickery, persuasion, blackmail, or valor, the PCs need to help if these lovebirds are to have their happy ending. Pick an NPC to be the main obstacle to the wedding. You can let the PCs at them directly or pace things out more by putting other obstacles in their path. For instance:
- Captain Dolores truly cares about her childhood friend the Princess but hasn’t accepted her sexuality
- The Queen and/or King definitely have swords and are prepared to use them
- The Princess and Prince need emotional support if they’re going to stand up to their parents’ disapproval
- Captain Cucumber wants to escalate things too far
- Some of the NPC lovebirds become enamored with the PCs as well
The PCs should also have opportunities to hash out their issues with themselves or one another. At the end, we’ll see who has grown and whether the new generation of Heteronormians can be with the ones they love.
- Queen Martha Chadworth
- King Branson Chadworth
- Princess Jennifer Chadworth
- Crown Prince Bradley Chadworth, the Groom
- Captain Dolores, Battle Nun
- Sister Frances, Battle Nun
- Sister Maribel, Battle Nun
- Captain Cucumber, Gay Revolutionary
Captain Cucumber wants to make good on the Revolution, and also wants to learn how to move past the stereotypes he’s been taught and become part of the community he’s never had.
Heteronormia’s system of patriarchy rejects any change of heart from the people in power, and seeks to depose them in favor of something even worse. Will the PCs support the royal family as the lesser evil? Or will they use this moment to seek more radical change?
The Sovereigns of Queertopia are so delighted that they dispatch the PCs to a series of weddings as envoys or perhaps interstellar wedding planners.