What Do I Know About One Shots? Pasion de las Pasiones (PBTA)

After trying to get it on the schedule for a while, my group finally managed to play Pasión de las Pasiones, and we had a great time. Had a few

observations in play, but I’ll save that for the final bits.

Dramatis Personae

We had the following characters for our session:

  • El Turismo (El Hefe)–a mysterious man from Spain who sits at the center of a dangerous web. He is obsessed with Aurora, the young woman working for his former rival’s widow.
  • Aurora (The Empleada)–a young woman trying to do her best by her ailing mother and her troubled brother. She is caught between her feelings for her employer’s daughter, and for the mysterious El Torismo.
  • Soraya (La Belleza)–a young woman struggling to be her own person under her mother’s shadow, while enjoying the high life.
  • Valencia (La Doña)–The matron of the family, whose husband was lost after he began associating with El Torismo.

Opening Scenes

When we open on El Turismo, he is interrogating a person in his “crime office,” with tiled floors and a drain in the center. His thugs hold a man still in a chair, and when El Torismo is done speaking to the man, he shoots him in the forehead. Immediately thereafter, he receives a call from his receptionist, and meets a woman from the government in his “business office” on the other side of the estate.

The woman tells him that the government may be extraditing him to Spain soon, but he tells her that it would be a shame to meet under such sad circumstances. He seduces her, and she agrees that she will help him with his case when the time comes.

Valencia is visited by a smarmy lawyer that tells her that he is here to let her know that her husband, who recently died in a mysterious fishing accident while meeting with El Torisumo, had a second, secret will. That will indicate that he had several illegitimate children, and that the estate may need to be liquidated to divide the fortune among them. While she is trying to determine what to do next, she invites to lawyer to stay on the grounds of the estate until she can read through the paperwork, and he agrees.

In the file, we see the camera linger on the top-most revealed heir, a man named Hector.

We cut away to the parlor on the other side of the estate, where Soraya is entertaining a handsome older man, who has been courting her. He wants to take her away to his private island on vacation. She knows her mother won’t approve, but that makes it even more enticing. As the older suiter goes to leave, we see that Hector is this man’s “son.”

Aurora is getting the smarmy lawyer’s quarters ready when she receives a call from her mother, telling her that she is losing the family home. Aurora is upset, because she is already spending all of her money on her mother’s medicine, but she tells her mother to stay calm, and she will think of something. Her brother then calls, telling her that if she can raise about half the money that her mother needs for the house, he can invest it in a business deal that will make them all rich, and they will never need to worry about bills again.

Audience Reactions

El Torismo is causing quite a bit of consternation with the audience over his villainous actions right at the start of the episode. Valencia still comes across rather sympathetic to the audience so far. Our opening shot of Soraya sees her standing on the balcony overlooking the sea, with her hair flowing around her, which gets a positive reaction. Everyone feels sorry for Aurora from the start.

After the Commercial Break

Aurora is hoping to get an advance of some kind from Valencia, and goes to talk to her. She mentions to Valencia that Soraya is planning on taking a trip to her suitor’s island. She does not tell Valencia that this makes her sad for other reasons. Valencia tells Aurora that if she can convince Soraya to stay home and complete her schooling that she will help out Aurora’s family any way she can, and as an advance, she gives her half the money she needs for the house payment.

Aurora talks to Soraya and asks her to stay. She wants to know how well Soraya actually knows this man courting her. Soraya says that she has no reason to stay, because no one really cares for her here. Aurora tells her that more people care about her than she knows, and this convinces Soraya to put off the trip.

Aurora calls her brother and tells him that she has half the money. He is very excited. Then she says that she will have the other half soon, and they won’t need to go in on his risky business deal. He is less thrilled. He says goodbye in a more ominous way that one might for hanging up the phone, and tells his sister that he loves her.

We then cut to El Torismo, standing next to the brother, who is surrounded by El Torismo’s thugs. El Torismo tells the brother that the penalty for lack of payment is well known, but for the love of his sister, he will keep him alive . . . but El Torismo owns him now.

Audience Reactions

The crowd turns on Valencia, because she is definitely meddling with her daughter’s life now. Everyone continues to feel bad for Aurora, especially finding out about her brother and her unrequited love for Soraya. El Torismo is still terrible, but the audience didn’t get a chance to be wowed by Soraya.

More Scheming

Valencia sets up a meeting with El Torismo at an expensive hotel bar. She wants him to help her discredit the lawyer and all of the new heirs to the family fortune. She thinks back to her attempts to gather information on El Turismo, looking for records of his involvement with her husband. Unfortunately, El Torismo is well aware of these files, and in the corner of El Torismo’s office, in this flashback, we see that he has already been working with Hector to bring Valencia’s family to their knees.

As El Torismo turns down Valencia’s offer, we cut back to El Torismo’s plans, which show him sending an assassin in to the family compound and assassinating the lawyer, and gathering evidence that Valencia had him killed.

When Valencia leaves the bar, she is arrested. We then see her in a very posh prison cell, calling Aurora. She promises to make sure Aurora’s family will never need to want for anything if Aurora will just find the files that the lawyer had in his room, and burn them. Aurora finds the missing records, but she also finds other files the lawyer had, which implicate Valencia in the assassination of several of Soraya’s past suitors.

Soraya is distressed at the arrest of her mother, and decides to take Aurora out shopping, and buys her a surprisingly slinky dress. Hector is enraged, telling El Turismo that Valencia’s husband ruined his family, and now that Soraya has turned down her suitor, the actor he hired to take her away can’t do his part of the plan. Valencia is in jail, but that doesn’t ruin the family. El Torismo tells him to calm down and be patient.

Audience Reactions

Valencia is scoring big sighs from all of her meddling in Soraya’s life at this point. In fact, she’s so unpopular that nobody is really all that upset with El Turismo over his actions. It’s just two terrible people doing terrible things to the audience at this point.

Desperate Times

Hector finds Soraya out shopping, knocks out her driver, and kidnaps her. Aurora is with her shopping, sees this, and calls the police. As we see Soraya shoved into the car by Hector, we flash back to Soraya deciding that she may need to defend herself, and buying a handgun, which is concealed in her purse.

We see Aurora calling Valencia in prison, and then we flash back to Valencia cutting a deal for state’s evidence on El Turismo, and we find out that the federal officials are on their way to his estate, which is also where Hector, Soraya, and the police are heading. Because she called the police, one of the police cars picks up Aurora and brings her to the estate as well.

Hector pulls Soraya with him and demands that El Torismo do something more to help him destroy Valencia’s family. El Torismo taunts him, and Hector points the gun at El Turismo. Soraya takes this opportunity to pull out her gun and shoot Hector. As she is shooting Hector, Hector’s gun goes off, and Aurora walks in the door, and gets shot.

El Turismo flashes back to the work he has been doing since this entire mess started, and shows that he has been putting together information that makes it look like he is entirely innocent of anything he has done, tying it all back to a blackmail plot by Hector. El Torismo, back in the present, leaps on Hector and punches him right in his gunshot wound, then hands over the “evidence” he has gathered on Hector.

Soraya runs over to Aurora to see if she is okay. She turns Aurora over, to see that she doesn’t have a serious injury. Soraya tells Aurora that she doesn’t know what she would do without Aurora, and Aurora says she feels the same. Soraya declares her love, and Aurora kisses her passionately.

For a brief moment, we started to see El Torismo’s more heroic side, but as he sees Soraya and Aurora kissing, he is enraged at Soraya, and the camera sees him slide back into the shadows in the corner of his office, with only his eyes showing. He’s still evil.

Audience Reactions

The audience loves this scene, but El Torismo is heroic, Valencia is still reaping the rewards of her efforts, Aurora is happy, and Soraya is content, so no one is playing to type at the moment. That’s good for a resolution, but let’s get back to the chaos!

Seeds of Tomorrow

Aurora accidentally tells Soraya that she can understand why her mother has done the things that she has done to protect her daughter. This gets Soraya interesting in finding out exactly what her mother has done to protect her, and makes her wary of Aurora, just a little.

El Torismo gives Aurora’s brother a very dangerous future assignment, to prove that he has power over him. He is going to be smuggling drugs. He also sends photographs of Soraya and Aurora together to Valencia.

Valencia is home on house arrest, with only an ankle bracelet to show for her former incarceration. She calls Aurora into the room, and tells her that instead of living in the old family home, what if her family moved into the guest house, which is much larger than their home. She is thrilled and calls her mother, and Valencia knows she can keep a much tighter leash on Aurora now.

Final Audience Numbers

El Turismo goes back to being evil, and is ruining Aurora’s happiness! Bad man! Valencia will never stop ruining Soraya’s life! Why does poor Aurora have to put up with all of this?

In the Writer’s Room

We all had a lot of fun with this game. I think it worked really well, especially for this being the first time we’ve used the rules. Using the questions for the bonus to the roll is really interesting, and puts you in the mindset of thinking about the character’s circumstance a lot, and knowing the yes and nos earlier lead to knowing the disposition as the scene progresses.

We did feel that the Leverage mechanics didn’t come in to play as much in a one shot, but might have more time to build in a shorter arc. We also didn’t have many 6- results, but we had a lot of complications in the 7-9 range of the moves.

Valencia was on her way to a meltdown because of the amount of stress she burned for her flashbacks. We got some interesting character insight from people when they processed their feelings out loud, and I really like that move for this genre.

Everyone got a good amount of screen time, but it definitely felt like El Torismo and Valencia were driving the plot with their scheming, and Aurora and Soraya were doing a lot of damage control from being on the edge of their plots.

Initially, Soraya’s player was thinking of taking the “Twin” playbook, but we decided that for our first outing with the game, we’d rather see more “ground level” tropes, and the group said if they had a fifth player, it may have been more tempting. El Caballero didn’t really excite anyone at the table, although no one thought it was bad, just more narrow in focus for what they wanted to play.

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