A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Funny late night conversations

an aim conversation from this evening.

sirgreendragon (10:36:38 PM): hello
NSFJermX (10:36:48 PM): hey
sirgreendragon (10:37:00 PM): I just emailed you, but then I saw you online
NSFJermX (10:37:21 PM): Fire away, I havent seen an email from you yet...
sirgreendragon (10:37:37 PM): once I log in to the website, how do I download the rep client
NSFJermX (10:38:01 PM): umm, what's a rep client?
sirgreendragon (10:38:15 PM): maybe you aren't who I thought you were
NSFJermX (10:38:19 PM): perhaps..
sirgreendragon (10:38:27 PM): never mind
sirgreendragon (10:38:31 PM): sorry
NSFJermX (10:38:33 PM): good luck!

P.S. I blame Davery for my sudden interest in Black Strap Rum.

Strange excercise: Mafia

Okay, I have a request for anyone who reads this.

(I have enough role playing games at the moment, thanks, but that doesn't mean that I don't bend my mind around stuff as it occurs to me. I mean c'mon, if I was more into our healthcare system, I'd TOTALLY be into the adult ADHD thing. Anyway:)

I've spent the last few days kicking around ideas for a role playing game centered on Mobsters. I posted about it a few days ago, with "alternative" mobsters, either Werewolves or Ron Edwards style Sorcerers, or even Shadowrunners.

I watched "The Sopranos", I've seen my fair share of mobster movies, and done as much reading as I can on the internet, which seems to be mostly limited to books available on amazon.com and wikipedia.

Anyway, here's what I'm after. I'm not involved in organized crime. But I sure am curious. On the off chance that I end up being able to run a game that focuses on organized crime, I would love to get some feedback from people about... well.. about what they'd do.

See.. okay well, let's say you sat down to play a game, and the guy running it said "Okay, you're a made man. You and your crew are loose as a goose, and need to create some territory and get some cash flow going. You've got zero current operations, you're starting from scratch, though of course, the boss that you'll be reporting to expects $10,000 or %20 of your take, whichever is greater, per month. You've got a small crew and a small front operation. What's your plan?"

This has struck me in such a way as to generate interest in making it some kind of online game, either a play-by-blog or play-by-email thing, but I'm not there yet, and shouldn't even be sharing that information with you.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is, as I asked: what would you do if you were playing this game?

This is what I'm up to (working, apparently)

I'm working about 23 extra hours this week, at my second job. Monday morning was the pits. I worked midnight to 6am, then got to work my usual 8-5 on about 2 hours of sleep. I was functional, but I wouldn't call myself 'keen' or 'alert'. I do not mind the evenings and weekends, but the night stuff is crap. I mentioned to one of the semi-managers that the sunday night thing wasn't going to work for me. I always have a weakness when it comes to telling someone that I will be unable to fulfill their expectations, but this is kinda serious to me, so I managed.

Worked aquatics and reptiles tonight. There ya go - boring details. Yknow, its kinda fun. I don't mind - heck, I'd go as far as 'like' - working with people. I'm fairly charismatic, and I adapt pretty well to having two or three things that need to be done "right now", so I don't mind retail. These 6:30PM to 9:30 or 10PM things are alright. Heck, would you believe that I managed to come home, exercise, run 3 miles, eat, and go to work at 6:30?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Mafia group game



On my mind

randomly, here's some stuff that is kicking around in my head or that I'm just plain drooling over - and links..

Xbox 360 games: Assassins Creed, GTA IV, Halo 3, Beautiful Katamari.

I've returned to the idea of a Mafia game. Now with a twist though. And I don't think I'd use TSOY (gasp!!!!). Actually considering the World of Darkness system or maybe, just maybe, Modern d20. Don't quote me on that. The mob thing has been kicking around though, partly thanks to this thread on the Forge forums, which I intend to possibly plagiarize from. Mobsters with a twist: either Werewolf mobsters, or Sorcerous mobsters, or even Shadowrun mobsters. There's just so much for a wise guy to do, trying to muscle in and carve out some new territory, make it run, keep it going, and keep all the other wise guys, irish mobsters, street gangs, Vory, Triad, Yakuza, Latin Kings, and maybe MS13 at bay.


1. Breach
2. Running
3. Work/sleep
4. Gaming

As promised, I saw Breach. It was terrible. It one of those movies that tried to be sortof about computer stuff, and so it has the "computer people" throw around words like "IP", and "Router", and "Gigabit", and "Bandwidth". A great deal of eyerolling was done. It also features lame dialog and characters. It is based on a true story, but we all know how those "based on" things work. Next up: The Simpsons Movie

I've been a bit lax with my running and exercise. But I can honestly blame a lack of time, rather than laziness. I intend to get a run in on Wednesday, but I don't know if I'll have an opportunity before then.

So I'm working two jobs, which is mostly okay. I've put in a couple of evenings, and a Saturday. It's alright. Nothing super exciting - it's retail in a pet store, so I won't try to bore you with mundane details. However, they had me do a midnight to 6AM shift this morning (Monday). So I got an hour or two of sleep Sunday evening, went to work for 6 hours, slept for another hour, and am at work again. It kinda sucks. The kicker I think is the money. I don't mind so much, giving up some of my evening and weekend free time in return for just a little more than federal minimum wage, but I'm not so sure that I'm cool with giving up sleep, and dragging during my real job for the same low pay. And my feet hurt.

Ran some Shadowrun of Yesterday this past weekend. It went pretty dang well. There was good and bad. The good was that everyone got to be pretty involved, and it seemed to be alot of fun. I had a good time, and my players were hitting keys. The bad is that we continue to have some friction problems with my teenage player. I spoke with him after the game, trying to gently but firmly encourage him toward the behavior and so forth that I'm interested in. I don't want to come down on him in a way that completely discourages him, yet I'm more than willing to try to shape his gaming behavior in a way that benefits our group as a whole. Its a difficult situation for me. I'm not interested in just eliminating him as a player. Nor am I interested in giving him a total green light. This is - should be - a learning experience for him. I don't wanna give him boring "Here's how you're supposed to play the game" lectures, I'm trying positive reinforcement. I just need to keep working on bringing him out of and away from the "Kill all the orcs" mindset. It is classic adolescent gaming. I was there myself, and I see other folks talk about it or reference it all of the time.

Now: more coffee.

Friday, July 27, 2007

watched: Notes on a Scandal

imdb link

Last night we watched Notes on a Scandal. Cate Blanchett, and Judi Dench as the villan! Mmmmmm it was fantastic.

Next up:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What I've been up to

Feels like I haven't posted in awhile.

The weekend was pretty busy, and a little lazy. I ended up taking like 4 days off from running and excercising, which was a mistake. I just didn't feel like it.

We'd intended to run a werewolf game on Sunday afternoon, but Maddie got called in to work. So instead I had Jerry and Andrew and Jason over to play board games. We played For Sale, Citadels, and Zombies.

Afterward, we planned to do a Shadowrun of Yesterday game, and I invited Jerry and Andrew to stay for it. They did, and we had Jason, Davery, Christin, Jerry and Andrew all around the table for the game.

I have to say, I had a pretty fantastic time. I threw together quick characters for Jerry and Andrew - Jerry got a Rigger/Matrix type, while Andrew got a cybered shooter. For those of you keeping score, this was Davery and Christin's second time to play the TSOY system, and this was Jerry and Andrew's first time for both TSOY and Shadowrun. Oh, and Christin's second time for Shadowrun. Anyway, after going through quick explanation of the game and rules, I figured it'd be fun to give everyone a mini-prelude, basically giving each person a chance to roll the dice, and maybe get a couple of XP. So I did, Seat of the Pants style. Andrew's gun-guy had to outrun a go-gang on motorcycles, firing his piece over his shoulder at them, in order to get away, which he did. Christin's demolitions junkie found herself at the tail end of a shadowrun-gone-terribly-wrong, in the basement of a research facilty (its always a research facility), with the only viable option being to blow the whole fucking building up and make her escape. Win or lose, the building was going up, we just had to negotiate whether she got caught in the blast or not. She didn't. Davery was also stuck in a run-gone-wrong, his colleagues had abandoned him, and he was caught at a dead end in a corporate complex, with the security team closing in on him. He was gonna try to use a conjured Spirit of Man to play havoc with the security team so that he could make his escape. He rolled poorly, and and faster than I could blink, he Brought Down The Pain. Which was super fucking cool. This flowed pretty well, his intent was to Escape, my intent was to Capture Him. We had no problems coming up with actions for our volleys, and I enjoyed that he tried both causing Harm to them by directly effecting them, and also caused Harm to them by blowing a hole in the concrete wall so that he could escape from the building. I love this system. BdtP was kinda close, but Davery had the lead, and the security team gave up. We skipped Jason, cause we were trying to move quickly, and he already knew how this stuff works. Jerry's hacker/rigger was subcontracted by a shadowrun team to provide matrix overwatch for them, and to open a few doors. Right to conflict we went, after explaining how he was in, and doing his thing, and him ad-libbing right along, I explained that a corporate security rigger was coming online and trying to not only track him down, but also trying to shut off the exits for the shadowrun team, trapping them in the building with a bunch of angry (and armed) drones. We did some mad fantastic ad-libbing, making up all kinds of shit on the fly (I'm sure that if any Shadowrun writers had been in the room, they would have had a fit), and banged out some stakes, and rolled some dice. Oh - folks were already handing out gift dice, which was rocking. As I recall, through various means, Jerry ended up rolling four gift dice(!!!!!) along with his roll, and despite my going ahead and using some pool and such to pump my side of the roll, he passed with flying colors, and walked away squeaky clean. Already, just running these little encounters, these folks were picking right up on the game system, and the Shadowrun world. I guided gently, but we were all right together, they wanted to do things and to do them in ways that fit right in with my perception of the semi-future of Shadowrun, and they all did fantastic at being Narrative and doing some awesome stuff.

That done, I whizzed them through the parts about meeting with the Johnson, arranging payment, and threw them at the mission. I wanted to throw them at something fun and challenging, that would likely let all of them get to use their skills and roll some dice. Making shit up as I went, they took a small boat across the harbor to a top secret corporate (research) facility, stealthily took out a drone, snuck onto the island, and then stopped and, in true shadowrun fashion, mulled over the planning for their assault. They got seemingly sorta stuck on the beach, faced with patrolling guards and drones, a monofilament topped chain security fence, and a 25 foot tall concrete barrier, but hey - I didn't want things to be too easy. I wanted them to think, and they did. When it seemed to bog down though in indecision and waiting, I threw them a bone: a security checkpoint and gate just a ways down from where they were. They took the bait and headed that way, again making some plans, but ultimately assaulting it (in a quiet fashion), and taking the checkpoint. We left off there.

A few observations and comments:
- I had a TON of fun.
- My players seemed to have a ton of fun.
- Andrew, after we wrapped and they were about to leave, asked if we were going to play again. I said "Sure..", he looked eager, and I asked him if he wanted me to invite him around again when we did, "Yeah!". I love it when people give me positive reinforcement and validation.
- As I mentioned, I am SO pleased with how well these folks are picking up on the nuances of the game system, and the Shadowrun world. Fantastic.
- During the fight at the guard checkpoint, Andrew (who has been wanting to shoot things with guns for as long as I've been playing with him), said that he was mowing down the combat mage with his assault rifle. We went to dice, but he had no problem with it. After his success, I asked him if he was mowing him down "In the way that makes every alarm and claxon on the island go off? Or the silent way that mows him down with a hail of silenced and very quiet gunfire", The quiet type, he said.
- We had a number of times in which the players said "I want to do X", and we went to dice, came up with stakes, rolled dice, and had a tie. This gave me a bit of a curve, because I was unsure of how to best recover. When the stakes are "Win - shoot the guard, he's down and out. Lose - clip the guard, now obviously he knows that someone is shooting and he radios an alarm.", I was at a loss for how to give that an outcome of "Draw", and didn't want to make it a roll-off, cause that seemed cheezy and weak. I managed, but I still do not have a good long-term resolution in mind.
- Davery said that while he really likes the system, and thinks that it/we are doing a good job of mirroring Shadowrun, he finds that stopping to do Stakes Negotiation brings him out of his Imaginitive Space. I easily see this as well, and am not sure of a fix.
- I cannot stress how much I love not feeling restrained by books and shit that someone else wrote. I'm trying to keep it close to Shadowrun, and when in doubt, I've asked the two players who were big Shadowrun fans what they're opinion and perspective is on the topic, but ultimately, I didn't crack a Shadowrun book a single time during play. That goes for adventures/missions as well. In the future, I intend to blatantly plagarize from published material, but not to "Read the adventure to the players".
- Davery and Christin pointed out that our group speaks in the Third Person when playing. Everything is "My characer says 'X'." I had not noticed that we were so consistent with this, and we discussed how it is likely used as a defense mechanism by perhaps weaker or more timid role players, because (it seems to me) it is easier and somewhat less confrontational to make it Third Person instead of First Person. So I created the Key of First Person, intended to be given as a global key. 1 XP when you speak in first person during the game. (subject of course to the normal 3xp limit). 3 XP when you masterfully deal with other characters in the game while speaking in the first person, and your fellow players commend your grasp of drama and role playing.
- The game really seemed to mirror the better aspects of Shadowrun. I saw all of the trappings of it - the planning, concern about every possible unforseen eventuality, the indecision, then the frantic culmination of planning/lack of planning.
- It rocked.

Now, on an unrelated note, or notes:

I watched part of Casino Royale, the new Bond movie, twice. I saw this previously in the theater and IIRC I enjoyed it, with the exception of the ending. On (sortof) rewatching it, I don't think I like it as much. It is really long, and does thing that so many movies do: it makes wild assumptions and leaps of logic, and skips right over them, offering to the viewer that its just that way.
fairly mild spoilers

The movie starts with a phone call. Bond then traces the phone call by some technoarcane means to have originated from a hotel in the bahamas. So he travels there, and walks into the open and unmanned security office, and reviews the security tape, and simply looks for the video of who is arriving in front of the building at the time that the call is made. Now, if I was trying to determine who made a phone call from a building, I would not base my case on who was getting out of a car in front of the building at that specific time. It seems like pretty flimsy circumstantial evidence. Maybe I'm dim and missed something else important here, but that was all that I could make out.

Later he uses another cell phone to track down the next lead, again, just by looking in the "Dialed Calls" bit of the phone. Flimsy.

Oh, and Chekov's Defibrilator, in the glove box of the car.

This isn't the only movie I've seen that does this stuff. Its common. But that grates on me a bit. I'm not trying to be holier-than-thou, I'm sure I could come up with a few movies that I like that do the same thing.. I dunno, sometimes I'm willing to buy it. But it does annoy me.


I saw this in the theater, I guess late last year, and I thought I'd mentioned it here, but apparently I didn't. So - yknow what else bugs me about this movie? How, during the poker scene in Casino Royale, we've got a helpful fellow explaining to the audience, how to play poker. I'm not completely certain of why this bugs me so much, but let me take a stab at it: it completely pulls the curtain back, for me. No longer am I (potentially) absorbed and engrossed by the movie, now I'm being addressed from on screen by one of the actors, as he explains the game that's going on, just in case I'm too stupid to understand what is happening, or maybe in case I don't know how poker works, and so that I can follow the action. This drives me absolutely up the wall.

Also - I have seen the first half of this movie 3 times, and the last half only once, and I saw the last half more than 6 months ago, so while I do not recall specifics, I recall being annoyed by the circumstances regarding the death of the chick. Perhaps this would be more effective communication if I could point out exactly what bits annoyed me, but I cannot. I do recall that his actions seemed out of character, her motivations seemed weak and dumb, and something else that I cannot remember struck me as being very Deus Ex Machina.

End spoilers.

I've caught a bit of extra work here and there at my second job. It is kinda tiring, but I haven't put in tons of hours yet. I gotta share with you though - after putting in 5 hours in an evening, its tough to look back on that 5 hours of sorta hard work, and be satisified with the, um, seemingly small (insignificant?) amount of money that its earned me. Short term. The desire for a computer hardware upgrade.. and an Xbox 360, still burns within me. It just needs to burn quietly.

Anyway, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Did I mention that on Tuesday I did 5 miles in 43 minutes? Yeah, that's good time for me. New running shoes rock.

Followed up with 3 miles on Wednesday at a much slower ~32 minutes.

Going to take a day off and hit it again on Friday.

It's D&D!

Gaming flowchart - this seems to apply especially to D&D


And since I titled this post "It's D&D!", here is the "It's D&D" song.



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

a letter to my representative

Mr. Wicker,

I am writing to you today to express my outrage at the lies and corruption of our Vice President, Dick Cheney. Specifically, I believe that he has purposefully misled the American voting public. He has been party to misinformation regarding Iraq, and its role regarding both Weapons of Mass Destruction, as well as its involvement with Al Qaeda prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His office has links with the outing of CIA Agent Valarie Plame, which I still do not believe has been investigated fully. His claim that his office does not fall under the Executive branch regarding requirements to turn over material, I believe is absolutely wrong, and I think that he needs to answer for this. He has refused to work with investigators or congress on matters such as his meetings with energy executives, including those of Enron. Furthermore, his belligerent stance on Iran is frightening and worrying to me. Finally, I think that he has served no interest but his own, and that of his friends, specifically and especially with regard to finances, ensuring that his corporate buddies get rich, which much of middle class, and especially the poor, suffer. Mr. Cheney is not above the law, but it seems as though he thinks that he is.

As my elected representative, I ask that you look at this matter, not in partisan light. I ask that you look at it in simple terms of right and wrong. Democrat or Republican aside, what Mr. Cheney is doing is consistently wrong. What Mr. Cheney is doing is consistently wrong for America.

I urge you to consider H Res 333, which outlines further the complaints against Mr. Cheney.

I fear that many Republican politicians will brush this aside as being partisan politics, but I beg you to consider what is really at the heart of this issue, and that is whether or not what Mr. Cheney is doing is right or wrong.

Please support H Res 333. I support the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Jeremy Williams

Monday, July 16, 2007

A website which will remain nameless

Yknow what I want when I go to an organizations web page? Wait - specifically, an organization that sells stuff to consumers. What I want is to be able to find stuff on it.

Here's what I would consider poor design:

I'm looking for some shoes on your website. When I click on "Mens", and "Shoes", the closest option that I see is "Sneakers", so I click it, but I do not see the shoes that I'm looking for. I go back to "Mens" and "Shoes", but that's the closest thing I see. Then I notice that I'm in something called "New Arrivals". Ok, how about All, or something like that? Nope. No such thing on here. Well, what else is on here. "Clearance". Huh. I'm not looking for clearance, at least, I don't think I am, but I'll try it. Nope, this does not have the shoes I'm looking for either. Let's try a search, we'll put in "shoes". What does that get us? Two pair of shoes that are not the ones we are looking for, and two pages of jeans. Wow. I have no idea how my search for shoes turned up almost no shoes, and a ton of jeans.

This website could only have been less helpful if it stole money from me and/or punched me in the face.



New running shoes. Linky here (PDF). Took them out for 3 miles, then 5 miles. I haven't been doing running updates here as frequently, I guess because it feels kinda repetitious, but also, yknow when you do something more frequently, and it becomes routine instead of an exception, its harder to make a big deal out of it and, for example, blog about. But I did 5 on Sunday in 45 minutes, which is fine time for me.

I did not pay for, but I saw the Transformers movie. I will simply say that I did not enjoy it.

I also saw The Good German, which I did very much enjoy. It's black and white, and filmed and edited in a way that makes it actually appear to be a movie from the 50's. It's chock full of intrigue. I also have to comment that in addition to liking George Clooney in general, I enjoy the protagonist characters that he protrays. Unlike some other movies, in which the hero is tortured mercilessly, and responds by laughing, or taunting the torturer, or singing a bawdy song or something, Clooney's character get beat up routinely, and get their fingernails pulled out. But they still sometimes come out arguably on top, in the end, thanks to their resourcefulness and cleverness. And I like that. I don't need my protagonist to actually be superman.

We watched the first four or five episodes of Doctor Who, which we enjoyed very much. I like Christopher Eccleston (and what I've seen of David Tennant, in the one episode that I've seen of season 3). Eccleston always does intense really well, and I love the ridiculous grin and his seeming seat of the pants approach to things. Also, it was fun to see Simon Pegg play a bad guy in an episode. Pegg rocks.

I am no longer simply gainfully employed. I am now double employed. I got a callback from an employer the other day, interviewed, and am going to go in and do two hours of work/training this evening. A little nervous, but just cause its something new.

That's all that I can think of. Oh - I'm super excited about some of the games coming out for Xbox 360. Now if only Microsoft will drop the price by two or three hundred dollars :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Shadowrun of Yesterday - 2nd session

Originally dated July 10, 2007:

So last night I got Jason and Davery and Christin together. Our fourth player, my dear wife, was sick with a headcold and dosed up on medicine, so she did not join us.

We got together shortly after 6:30, and immediately set about explaining Shadowrun. Davery and Jason are both old shadowrun fans, but Christin had not played any shadowrun before, so we laid out the setting, and touched on theme and tone. Then, we got right down to character creation. Character creation in TSOY is a simple process, especially when compared to D&D and alot of other systems out there. Still, it took us awhile, because we were teaching our new players how the system works. Eventually, we had shared enough info that we were able to get both of our new players setup with characters. Christin decided to play a gun-adept type who was also proficient with demolitions, and Davery went for the mage. As we went, we continued to explain some of the details of Shadowrun and the TSOY system, spending some time on how the system had abstracted many elements. For instance, in Shadowrun, for gun-types, the kind of gun you have is pretty important. Both from a shopping standpoint, browsing through all of the various types of guns available, to mechanically, when it comes down to figuring out how much damage your gun does. We talked about how that didn't really matter, and in Shadowrun of Yesterday, we assumed that gun-folks have a gun. What type of gun? Well, I asked Christin, "So what type of gun?" She seemed surprised for a second, confused for half a second, then grokked to it, and responded "A cool gun." We went into how Secrets could represent more static elements of play. If having a car, or a really big gun was super important to the character, then they could take a secret to represent it. The other question was related to equipment, and I think that's actually what led into the guns discussion. I told them that they had whatever equipment was appropriate. Guns? Sure. Knives? Ok. Explosives? Well, that's what her character does, so it makes sense that she's have, or have access to, moderate amounts of explosives. Need to blow a door? No problem, you've got that covered. Need to blow up the Sears Tower? That's going to take a little more prep.

Davery seemed a little crestfallen when we told him that there was no Smartgun link in Shadowrun of Yesterday. See, players of shadowrun know that 99 out of 100 people who fire guns for a living have a smartgun link. Its just the norm. But so far, I haven't mirrored it in Shadowrun of Yesterday. Why? Because the mechanical benefit that it creates in Shadowrun is handled differently TSOY rules. Can we put it in there? Sure, I suppose. But it'll mimic some other secrets already available.

Anyway, we got to playing, and I ran them through meeting with Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson was the owner of a corporate retreat facility who wanted them to investigate the kidnapping and randsom of an Ares executive from said corporate retreat place. He let them sniff around the place looking for clues, during which time, of course Jason wanted to muck about a little, and so we did a roll to see if he could sneak out from under the nose of Mr. Johnson and cronies, who were less than interested in these contract employees running around the facility, mixing with the corporate execs.

Sadly, I have let enough time escape that I've forgotten some of the details, mostly the good ones, like our stakes negotiation and so forth. I do recall that this adventure seemed to gravitate toward talking stuff out, and so Jason's character got to really shine - unfortunately a bit to the exclusion of Davery and Christin's characters. This wasn't Jason's fault, and I'll have to pay some mind to crafting adventures so that everyone can take nearly equal part. But everyone did get to roll some dice, and everyone did get some XP. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and I'm looking forward to running it again.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Shadowrun of Yesterday - 1st session

So over the weekend I sat Jason and Krissi down to beta-test (and play, duh) Shadowrun of Yesterday, which is my conversion of Shadowrun to Shadow of Yesterday rules. For the novice, with no clue of what I'm talking about, Shadowrun is a cyberpunk-with-magic game that is pretty "crunchy", or rules heavy. Resolving two guys shooting guns at each other takes awhile since everyone has to roll for each shot, and roll to avoid damage and roll to soak damage, and then shoot back, etc etc etc. Shadow of Yesterday is a rules-light and very flexible system that is geared toward fantasy sword-and-sorcery gaming.

So having come up with a conversion that seemed to work on paper and in my head, I figured we'd give it a real try.

Jason created a "Face" type character, and Krissi created a covert-ops/physical adept type of character. On the fly, I planned a pretty simple delivery run, and quickly arranged for them to meet with Mr. Johnson. It felt a little funny when I said "He explains the job, and offers a price, which is a pretty fair price." It felt a little funny because one of the elements of the games of Shadowrun that I was always in, involved haggling over the cost, and trying to get more cash out of the Johnson, since 'Runners are always starved for cash. Delta grade cyberware is expensive. Anyway, after feeling off balance for just a moment, it kinda resolved itself - Jason had "Key of the Face", and we figured we could make a conflict out of it - I think Jason used "Sway", and I used a "Negotiate" ability for the Johnson. We negotiated stakes that if Jason won the conflict, he would net 2XP for hitting his key, but if he lost, he wouldn't take the XP for hitting the key, and he would have to spend a Pool point from Mind. He won the conflict. Note to self - maybe we should not make "not getting XP" part of stakes. Seems as though that might be somewhat against the spirit of the game.

The Johnson wanted them to deliver a small package to a Research and Development facility across town. Expected resistance? Yes, but small time, no details beyond that. So off they went, into their car, and onto the highway. Only a few minutes passed before they saw the blue lights of a local security corp cruiser behind them. They pulled over, and were ordered out of the car, felony style. Realizing that this was not a usual traffic stop, they decided to cut and run, and hopped into the car, narrowly avoiding being tazed. That was a conflict, btw. Just to keep things interesting and continue flexing the system, Krissi wanted her character to hop back into her car, dukes of hazard style. The cops would of course react, so I told her that we'd go to the dice. If she won, she was in the car and accelerating, if she lost, she got hit with a tazer and was on the ground and hurting and that we'd go from there. She was down with this, and she won. Off they went, and the police cruiser behind them. Now we had a car chase. Again, we went to the dice, deciding that if Krissi won, she'd thrown off her pursuit, but if she lost, that she'd found herself stuck in traffic, the cop pulling up right behind her, with few or no options for continuing in her car. My players were spending pool points, and a couple of gift dice, and I was spending some pool points for my NPCs. They tied, and so no one was successful, Krissi's character didn't evade, but she was still on open road. On the chase went, now down on city streets, instead of on the highway. Another security vehicle pulled in for the chase, and I figured we'd go to dice again. If she won, she lost them in the narrow city streets, but if she lost, she was boxed in by four security cars. ouch! She won. The security vehicles sped off, in futile pursuit of a target that they'd lost.

They proceeded across town, reaching the corporate enclave where the R&D facility was. It was gated and guarded, so they pulled into the line of cars waiting at one of the security gates. After thinking about trying to sneak in, they decided to try their luck with the guards, and so Jason's character straightened his hair and easily talked the security guard into letting them into the facility. It was a conflict, with the stakes being either them being allowed in, or turned away and forced to find another means of entry. Inside, they found the facility and pulled into the parking lot. Just on the fly, and since I wanted to throw something more at them, I decided that there were a couple of guys who wanted to get their hands on the package, and that they'd setup an ambush here in the parking lot. Our characters parked and surveyed the scene, expecting a trap (hey - its shadowrun). They decided that Krissi's character would lurk through the parking lot, basically lying in ambush for any ambushers, while Jason's character headed for the front door. Sure enough, from around the corner a small but armed drone came toward them, while from the other direction a minivan pulled toward them. Krissi's character immediately leapt for the drone, getting XP for Seat Of The Pants, and using one of her Secrets that involved her jumping clean over a parked car, while Jason's character sought cover from the minivan. We went to dice for Krissi, and she won, allowing her to bust up the drone's miniguns, and meanwhile a combat mage stepped out of the van, and Jason's character took a shot at him. We went to dice, Jason wanting to take out the mage, and the mage in turn wanting to take out Jason. Jason lost the contest, and so Brought Down the Pain. The mage's intent was to render Jason's character unconscious - he wanted the package. Jason's intent was simply to resist the manabolts that the mage was going to be throwing at him. I paused here, as Jason and I haggled over intentions for a BDtP, and how it felt to me that Jason's intent was too granular, and seemed more like an action to me. Jason's character had a higher Resist attribute than he did Firearms. We worked out that Jason's character was focusing on resisting the stunning effects of the mage's manabolts, hoping that the mage would take more drain than he could handle and be taken out of the fight. This is an unusual use of this ability. Normally, the Resist ability, which is innate, is defensive only, and you cannot cause harm with it. Well, the whole point of BDtP is to cause harm to your opponent and make your intent come to pass. It only took one round for Jason to realize that if he was being Defensive only, that he'd inevitably loose the fight. He wanted to use Resist to cause Harm to the mage. Winging it, I told him sure, and that we'd work out the details afterward, so the mage used his Destruction ability, while Jason used his Resist ability. I wanted this to be Parallel, or that they would both be damaging each other. Jason wanted it to be Perpendicular, where the winner did harm to the loser. We'd rolled, the mage getting one success, and Jason getting four successes. I argued that it would be possible for the mage to do one harm to Jason, while taking four harm himself, from Drain. Jason wanted the mage to take three harm, and none himself. I relented, when it seemed clear that neither of us were going to be completely persuaded to the other perspective. So we went a few more rounds, with Jason consistently rolling better than the mage was, and soon the mage dropped out of the conflict, causing Jason's intent to come to pass. They'd taken out their opposition, and now had an unobstructed path to the door. Still not wanting to "give up", I threw a little more opposition at them, a cybered up street samurai came around from behind the van, a katana raised over his head. Krissi declared that her character would rush to meet him, and wanted a close combat ability check, but wanted to use her Athletics to support it, hoping for some bonus dice. I told her sure, that her successes or failures would give her bonus or penalty dice on the combat roll, and decided that in turn, the street sam would use his Battle ability, looking for an advantage, to mirror Krissi's mechanics. She got like four bonus dice, while the street sam only got two. We rolled the conflict and she won, handily sending the street sam to the pavement. They walked into the facility, made the hand off, and were done.

It seemed to go well to me, and both players seemed to enjoy themselves. Jason is an old school shadowrun fan, who enjoys the game, likes the hard "crunch" of the system, but agrees that its sorta broken and takes a long time and gets bogged down in numbers. So, Shadowrun of Yesterday seemed mostly sweet for him, while still missing a little of the crunchiness of the regular shadowrun system.

We'll be playing again this evening, Krissi and Jason will be reprising their roles, and we'll have Davery and Christin joining us for more playing and testing fun.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

So I did the Firecracker 5k again this year. It was hot again. They did not have any hot dogs or anything afterward, again, which I'd forgotten about. And I only gripe because other 5k events have it, and I was sure looking forward to some yummy junk food.

But I was a goodly bit slower this year, 26:52. Disappointing, but I'll live. I'm glad I got out and ran it. Better next year I suppose.

Hrm, what else - Werewolf goes well, Davery has joined us and played a session, and apparently enjoyed himself. We're still every other week, due to people's schedules, and that's okay.

Also, in the interim: Shadowrun of Yesterday!