February 14, 1998

Decisions Decisions...

Woke up around 10 to get ready by 10:30 and heard the phone ring while I was still in the bathroom. Reflexes, since the knee, have been really bad to my awareness of telephones and their ringing. I can no longer run for the phone. At all. I don't even bother worrying about a ringing telephone anymore, because it's been long enough that there was absolutely no chance of me getting it that it's become habit.

It was only after the phone stopped that I realized that it might have been Carl and company trying to reach me to make sure that I was coming for breakfast. Opps. So I finished what I was doing and went out and called Carl's room and no one was there, so I got dressed and the phone rang again right there, so I answered it and, indeed it was folks for breakfast. Cera, Earl, Carl, Ed/Dirque and I went to get food.

We went to Country Waffle place and the waffles were excellent as always, the service good and even though it was fairly prompt it took us a while as we had great conversation as we went through our meal. Chrisber met us there, and we all went to Trader Joe's for yummy snacks for the weekend and then I rode back with Chrisber so that he would know the way. I gathered up all my gaming stuff and met everyone at Cera and Earl's room and we started to try and figure out what it was we were going to play.

First, it was characters. I decided early on that I'd just play B.T., the really big troll from a previous adventure. Ed made the interesting observation that B.T.'s name, in Chinese, meant snot. Which was really amusing to me and seemed to fit really well. I already had my character sheet, so ran down to the dealer's room with Cera after she finished her character and we bought dice. I got a bunch of silver ten-siders because I wanted them, but then Cera said that she wanted them for her newly generated elven killer-artiste, so I traded the silvers I got for one of each of the other colors so she'd have some to play with.

Cera's character, Gala, was built as an elven quick-killer. Someone that could fire guns really, really well, slender, petite for an elf, quick as lightening and with a very psychotic aesthetic sense. Death as art. Earl played an air mage named Morgen, Ed played a burnt out fire mage called Brainfeed who was on the wire, and Chrisber played a human named Rum, short for Rumplestitskin, who was equipped to look like a Troll. A team with that much magical backup and that many trolls is a really, really good hit team on mages. So much so that we decided to call ourselves the Broken Arc, a team known for the rather dangerous habit of breaking up ritual circles.

Ritual circles, in the Shadowrun universe, are made up of an entire group of mages that all work together. They become attuned to each other in many ways and have to trust each other implicitly because when they do really bit ritual sorceries, their powers all add together to do spells bigger than any single one of them could survive. So they play with more power than anyone, but are at risk if one member of the circle should fail to carry their part as it would destroy the whole. What was really scary about this team was that they were good enough that they could probably destroy just parts of a ritual circle rather than all of it.

When we got back we found Earl and Carl and folks in a gradually rambling debate about what to do with the characters. The only problem was that they were discussing the scenarios in detail, way too much detail to actually play the games that were being discussed. Eventually, we got around to the consensus that we should just have all our characters in a bar, as they probably would interact with anything that might happen there.

So we all started at the Under the Bridge troll biker bar, the night before Valentine's day, all of us without a date and some of us not really needing one for the next day. But we all decided that Brainfeed needed a date, so we started to grill him on what kind of women he liked. He rambled on about 5'4" redheads with intelligence and charm, and of all the folks in the party it was B.T. that suddenly lit up and said, "I know! You kin see Torch! She's cute and smart and has red hair and knows things."

So, of course, having it come from the huge, really dumb troll made Brainfeed distrust the advice, even as everyone else thought it might actually be an okay idea.

At that point a small redhead ran into the bar and dove under our table. She was quickly followed by three huge trolls with really large weapons, so B.T. stood up to meet them. Just as Morgen dove under the table as well. Mages do not do fist fights. B.T. just used his fists at first, because he didn't really want to hurt anyone, but then the two follow-up trolls pulled out a spiked club and a thing that looked like troll toenail clippers and they tried to take Gala's head off and whacked Rum pretty hard. So he decided not to be so nice and picked up a chair and whacked the leader and the idiot with the toenail clippers over the head with the chair.

They make chairs pretty sturdy in troll bars. He felled one of 'em, and then Gala started shooting. The rest either went down or ran away carrying the leader that went down.

The clean up was pretty quick, and we eventually figured out that she was a spirit, not a real girl, that was bound to a magician that did some high-level magical thefts using magic. She was a wisp sent to find help when the magician had been hijacked by trolls.

Amid all this Gala decided that Brainfeed's name was the reason he wasn't getting any and so decided to start calling him Ember. This confused B.T. a lot, but since the pretty one was telling him to call the ugly mage by a different label, he complied.

So we walked into troll gang territory. Or at least started that way, with B.T. in front, when a troll, hiding behind the corner of a building let loose with a shotgun at nearly point-blank range at B.T.. B.T.'s coat took an awful beating, but he basically swung around with his sword and cut the troll apart with a single swing. He also destroyed the shotgun. After that they were mostly left alone. They found the car that the mage had been in a complete wreck, mostly from all the parts being stripped of it while it lay in the street. There was also a van with tinted windows near it, but we left it alone though the wisp was curious.

After being polite to the local gang and finding out that they were going to do a retaliatory strike at the gang that had gone into their territory to life the mage, we went into the territory of the gang that took the magician. There was a wizened old lady troll with a necklace of rat skulls, whom B.T. was very polite to. We stopped to talk to her and found out that they'd already turned over the people but hadn't turned over a tiny box which had a scorpion made from human hair. It was a typical thing for Aztechnology to do to one of their corporate mages, and the magical fetish kinda acts as a leash, with one you could trace the person whose hair it was anywhere they might run or be. The Pyramid/Aztechnology had a nasty habit of cutting out the hearts of its enemies and of it's own people if they betrayed the Pyramid. They were very powerful and ruthless and bad for 'Runners to tackle.

We talked with the lady a bit more and found out that they already knew that the other gang was coming for a return attack. She was also the speaker for the gang leader, and so we negotiated with her for what she had to give. So we traded an after-the-fight kegger for the license number of the car that took the girl away, and a few thousand nuyen for the box, mostly because our mages knew that it would likely be worth a whole lot more to someone else. The license number led, but a very round-about way to Renraku.

At this point we realized that to actually rescue the mage would take all the firepower we had and then some. Perhaps to even track the mage down would take outside help. The question though was if we should and why. B.T. was already in love with the wisp, everyone else had real questions and real reasoning to get into. So for the next hour or so Cera, Earl, and Chrisber started talking through all the possibilities. Some of which was that the fixer of the mage had betrayed her to the trolls, that she had been picked up by Renraku (i.e. the Japanese Mafia which is just about as bad as Az to pick on) since the company that was raided for the little artifact was owned by companies that were owned by companies that were owned by companies that were owned by Renraku. Or that perhaps she'd been betrayed by something or someone else or just by luck, as if it had been the fixer, why the heck would the fixer have forgotten to tell them *what* had been left behind? All kinds of random conjecture.

Ed just kinda listened as he didn't have nearly enough background on the world, and I sat and mostly listened as B.T. didn't have the brains of a gnat. So he and the wisp tickled each other and had fun surprising each other and giggling a lot. To me it really looked like Renraku had stolen the Aztechnology fetish and we might be ground in the middle of an corporate war if we stepped into the grinder. But it might also have been an excellent opportunity to cause both corporations to lose money and face at the same time, if we wanted to take the risk.

The good thing about Carl's games is that he really takes to heart the fact that P.C.'s should define their own destinies and he really liked to run moral dilemma games. The only problem is that then the players have to figure out what it is that their characters would choose, which does, depending on the players and the characters involved, take a lot of time. In this case it also took a lot of argument, and wibbling and oddities of personality mixes. They're both sides, in some ways though, of a coin that I'm rather fond of, though it was frustrating to really not be able to participate because B.T. mostly doesn't make decisions, he's just good a carrying them out. To balance that, he's also kinda cool to play in that, in order to make all his sentences come out in words of one syllable, I really, really have to think hard to get them to come out. So I talk about as slowly as he can think. *grin* Talk about a great way to stay in-character.

Okay. I also got kinda frustrated with all the random conjecture. *grin* But then I'm also kinda the push-a-button and see what happens kinda person, too, rather than guessing what'll happen before I do it. So that made sense. Okay... that plus the fact that it was about 3am.

So they decided to sell the fetish and the wisp to the fixer that had fixed up the magician. Turned out that the fixer had Torch on duty for him along with a somewhat very nervous wireboy, whom B.T. ignored on the most part, other than moving between it and Morgen. Rum took care to cover Ember, and then we negotiated. Okay... first Gala flirted with him, then Ember stomped over and took care of the concrete details. That was cool. The group got a good price, paid B.T. his fair share, which is kinda unusual for him as Mr. Washington just gave him what made him happy, which was usually much less than he'd actually made and the adventure was finished.

B.T. told the wisp that he'd help her out if she wanted, at the end. I'm not sure if he actually will get to do anything, but that's that. Maybe I should ask Carl to do that PBEM, sometime or somehow.

So we finished around 4am and Carl and I wandered about a bit, talked a bit and then, around 5am, I went back to my room to bed. Folks were going to meet in the morning for breakfast in the hotel to get an earlier start, as we kinda wanted to play a quick game in the early afternoon and then another game in the evening.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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