Note: A few years ago, I went to a gaming convention somewhere in Connecticut with my dear friend Dave, and had the opportunity to play a few games I’d never played before, which is why conventions exist. If you go to a convention and only play inside your comfort zone, you are totally missing out.
In the Shadowrun game, I played Samson, an enormous rock-headed troll who was about 90% metal and carried a large pistol, a large rifle, and something called a laser crescent axe, which sounded delightfully vicious. The rest of the group was Andy, a dwarf who liked shooting people and fixing stuff; Francis, an orc thug who liked shooting people and breaking stuff (especially when people called him “Frank”); Lee Chan, an elf punch n’ kick specialist; and Bobby, a zip-zowie-bang spellcaster.
First, the setup: We were involved in a scheme both lengthy and complicated, which included such things as the mean old company Wolfur & Sons, some doctor named Johnson, a stolen serum we had to recover, and a happy little business called Stubbs Medical Corporation who conducted research, explored scientific boundaries, and dabbled in human experimentation. Most of the folks there were just your average work-a-day data entry clerks and secretaries, and for some reason, that meant we couldn’t drive through the front door and fire high-caliber, explosive-shelled, glaser mega-rounds into everything that so much as winked in our direction.
So that night, a-sneakin’ we did go, through the first floor, then down some stairs to the basement, bonking the heads and tasering the dreams of the minimum wage security guards we met. Easy beans. We went down an elevator to the sub-basement, where we found the desired serum being injected into a sallow-faced street girl. We got the girl, and then everything went splat. Or more accurately, budda-budda-budda-budda, as a pair of nasty looking swivel machine guns popped out of the walls and started stitching new and exciting patterns through our brave group. Our clever computer girl went offline permanently, and our brave leader was reduced to grated cheese just after ba-banging one of the machine guns with a grenade. And here came some guards from the elevator, a trio of unhappy looking fellows, orc, troll, and human.
(COMMENCE PLAY): So began the firefight in the research bay, as Lee Chan hai-yahhed into combat, firing her gun and slashing with her mono blade, Andy the dwarf and Francis the orc engaged a little more cautiously, and Bobby the mage cast a few spells and nearly fainted from all the excitement. As only a true rock-headed troll can, I grabbed the barrel of the remaining swivel-gun and directed it at those party-pooping guards, but it refused to fire, so I tore it out of the wall. Shortly, the three guards were dispatched and we were discussing options on how to get the heck out of the building.
Air ventilation shaft? Nah, not big enough for the big-as-a-nightmare troll. Climb up the elevator shaft? Ride the elevator? Ride on top of the elevator? Form a barbershop quintet and tour the country? All excellent suggestions, but after exhaustive discussion, we settled on Francis the orc riding atop the elevator with Serum Girl, while the rest of us rode inside the elevator, humming along to “The Girl from Ipa Nima.” It was quite soothing.
In the basement we discovered our remaining team member sporting the latest in large bullet holes through various body parts. He had gone down fighting, polishing off the guards who surprised him there, but not in any shape to attend our after-mission party. Francis went into the security office and found a bank of monitors displaying all corners of the building, including the corners upstairs on the ground floor. This was how he spotted the armed guard hiding up there, waiting for us to come up the stairs so he could leap out and shout, “Surprise!” Instead of playing along, I tossed a concussion grenade into his immediate vicinity, and completely ruined his day. No, it didn’t kill him, but it made him very sad. We took him hostage and introduced him to Serum Girl, and the two hit it off famously.
Andy called up our ride outside, an excitable fellow with a name like Transit or Ransom (Transom?), and found out that he had been set upon by a couple vans as he waited outside to pick us up. Currently he was tearing all over town with the two vans pursuing, trying to keep close to the building while avoiding getting his body riddled with bullets and his sweet ride all dinged and scratched.
“How do you want me to come in?” Transom asked.
“Straight through the front glass,” Andy said. So that’s what driver-boy did.
CRRRASSSHHHHHHHHH! went the front of the building, and Transom skidded around in a tight circle and the side door slid open. We were in, and then we were gone.
We returned to our safe house where we dumped our prisoner and considered our situation. Dr. Johnson told us to meet him with the serum (now in girl form, with Retsin!) at Pier 17. We’d pile onto his yacht and all leave together for a new and better life, a life where the food is sweet, the drink is plentiful, the cartoon birds land on your shoulders, and nobody ever shoots you in the eye. Sounds great, except hardly any of us had been born the day before, so we made other plans.
We placed Serum Girl in Transom’s handy hands, and, after loading up on My-Tee Kill-Deth weapons and ammo, we secured our very own set of wheels, a large and muscular Humvee, and drove to the pier. It was located in the middle of a dreadfully run-down wharf, with abandoned warehouses, twisted chain link fences, and not the slightest sign of cartoon shoulder birds. Down at the end of Pier 17, we could see a town car idling beside a big old boat, and figured this must be the place.
Francis the orc exited the Humvee early and scampered towards one of the warehouses, and Lee Chan hopped out right after that, running around the other way. Andy the dwarf, Bobby the mage, and trolled-out me kept riding.
We all heard the gunfire from inside Francis’ warehouse, and I suggested to Andy the dwarf that he encourage the town car off the pier and into the water. Of course, I said it more like, “You smash, make boom,” so he did, stomping on the accelerator and roaring towards the town car. Two fellows who were definitely not Dr. Johnson dove out right before we hit, and the battle was joined.
I burst from the side of the Humvee and buried my axe into the side of an elf, who responded by blowing off most of my face with a pistol that fired a silent storm of razors. Yee-ouch! We exchanged blows for a while, me consistently missing, him consistently hitting me in the head area. Andy the dwarf and Bobby the mage tangled with the other guy, another spellcaster, who wanted to do something really nasty but couldn’t because Francis in the warehouse had found a sniper rifle and evaporated most of the spellcaster’s head. Lucky for me, the rest of the team shot, blasted, and slashed the elf before he was able to fatally razor me.
Lee Chan and Andy the dwarf examined the boat and discovered a trip-wire by tripping over it, and it blew in a massive explosion that nearly killed them, so we decided it was time to leave. There was a little bit of wrap-up and explanation, but suffice to say that we were
- didn’t have the serum
- there was no Dr. Johnson
- and most of my face was missing
But, the street girl wanted to join our group. So, it wasn’t a total loss.