One More Run Johnny...

Haven’t blogged in a while, but had something fun happen today and just wanted to share it. So as most of you know, I am a total geek, and for the last year I’ve been trying to stay in touch with that side of myself. One of the ways I have been doing this is through a weekly lunch-time Shadowrun game. Almost every Monday, a couple of my buddies and I from different companies come together on our lunch breaks, plan imaginary missions and schemes of daring-do, and roll dice. It’s been fun, and pretty amazing how much progress the little group can make in under an hour.

Due to some recent scheduling changes, we have to put the game on hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time and today was our last session. On the bright side, this lined up with the plot thread that I have been working through and today I sent the players on their last run. The mission was to take out a crime boss that had sparked a war among the various criminal syndicates in the Seattle metroplex. The players had floor plans and dossiers of the major players and set about putting together a plan that maximized stealth and efficiency.

Then all of a sudden their planning shifted. They started talking about what they could do to make the fight more dramatic. Soon they were planning actions purely for their cinematic value, rather for any real sense of gaining an advantage in the mission.

It was beautiful. It was everything I love about roleplaying games. It stopped being a game just about dice and numbers, but became a story. Not only that, it was a story they knew was coming to an end and they wanted it to be memorable. Eventually, they calmed down a little bit and put enough logic into their epic ideas to keep themselves from getting killed, but just barely.

The game ended with an incredible cinematic showdown. Everyone had their moment to shine and role-played it to the hilt. From the street samurai, who’s player rarely acts as the voice of the group verbally confronting the villain and delivering the message that the runners were there to make him pay for his crimes, to the mage standing fast against the cybered troll that charged across the room, tossing tables and chairs aside like tinker toys, everyone was enthralled and committed to the story we were telling. We were all a little late getting back to work, but were energized by the shared experience.

Truthfully, our little group will probably never play together again. One of the players is being transferred by his work to another city. It’s a good thing for both him and his family, but even if we start playing our lunchtime sessions again, it will probably be with a mostly new crew. But the experience has reminded me again of why I like games and of how meaningful that shared storytelling experience can be.

Tyson LivingstonComment