Shadowrun

Shadowrun Play => Gamemasters' Lounge => Topic started by: Wayfinder on (23:29:38/09-13-10)

Title: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Wayfinder on (23:29:38/09-13-10)
I've had players try to derail , red herring, left turn, or hijack a campaign in hundreds of different ways. I just have to post about the best one I've seen.

The players had decided among themselves to play a robin hood style of the game. This effort was spearheaded by a female character playing a pacifist shaman and a male character playing a holier than thou street sammie. In game the two started a romance that eventually led to the two becoming like a surrogate father and mother to the other players. One session the female character announced that she had a comm call and the player literally left the room. A few minutes later the player comes bounding into the room, smile from ear to ear, hopped into the lap of the sammie player looked at him and said "WE'RE PREGNANT!!!"

Now as a GM how would you handle it?
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Darkeus on (23:47:37/09-13-10)
Cumulative penalties to actions until labor takes her out of the game.

Cumulative penalties until all the stress from teh pregnant girlfriend on his SR team until she pops for him.

A hell of a lot of Lifestyle adjustments as we add baby boy/girl to the mix.  I mean what, a Shadowrunning couple with child has to have a pretty flexible babysitter and increased cost.  I would recommend a lifestyle increase of +1 at least and a min of Low for a semi-healthy child.

Hit them in the nuyen count, that is what I say!   8)
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: FastJack on (23:55:48/09-13-10)
Don't forget random rolls for morning sickness & stuff.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: GBL on (23:58:03/09-13-10)
Rebuild her character sheet, Call it Name(Pregnant)

Rejigger her stats for this new phase in her life, and give her nausea aswell.

Hand her normal sheet back after she recoveres from the birth.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Longshot23 on (00:49:47/09-14-10)
I had similar experience with my character, only the pregnant one was an NPC.  It was interesting times . . . how the hell do you get a Deer shaman to stand up for themselves?!

And then . . . SURGE happened . . .
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Doc Chaos on (00:54:34/09-14-10)
My shrink would probably have a lot to say about people not only playing couples, but introducing pregnancy in P&P... ;D
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The Cat on (04:12:09/09-14-10)
I was GMing a group where something very similar happened.  The female Shaman and the Male Adept started up a relationship and the players decided to "thumb their nose at god" (it was a running gag in that group that whoever was GM was, by the virtue of being able to control the world, a god) and decided she was pregnant.  So, god thumbed his nose back.

After that gaming session, I asked what their characters' intentions were with this pregnancy, got their feedback and then reacted accordingly.  Since she intended to keep the baby, she'd need prenatal care.  Since she was SINless it would cost a bit more than usual plus no insurance and that went for the birth as well.  So there's a large chunk of change (I forget what the actual number was, but I based it off a friend's medical costs for their pregnancy converting dollars to nuyen at a 1 to 1 rate and adding 10% for the black market aspect, but it was a ridiculous sum).

I then took my copy of her sheet and created one per trimester and then one for almost immediately after she gave birth (hello new flaw: Postpartum Depression).  She now had a total of 4 versions of her character, each with ever increasing flaws in both number and severity.  I also immediately added a custom "nausea" flaw to her sheet and a custom "overprotective" flaw to the adept's (his also went up in severity as she changed character sheets).

I also had her increase her lifestyle costs by one level (this was before custom lifestyles and such) but gain none of the benefits of the increased lifestyle to reflect her increased need for better food than the low lifestyle she had would provide.  She was also warned that damage taken could cause her to lose the kid (again, I don't remember the exact system I set up but each level of wounds had a specific target number and a specific number of boxes of damage dealt in one attack had a complete separate roll).

I had also set up a permanent "lifestyle modifier" if they decided to live together and once the baby had arrived.  Oddly, it pretty much mirrored what was eventually done officially with each person adding 10% to the base lifestyle costs and then their having to basically hire a live in nanny to handle their weird schedules who's cost was also added as a lifestyle every month one level below theirs.

At the three month in-game time mark I asked for her character sheet, made the final changes to my version to account for karma she'd distributed since the previous session and handed her the new sheet.  She was not happy.  She wanted her character to be as she'd made it, not this one with the new flaws and the modified stats ("Why is my quickness down by a point?  What do you mean my reaction is lower?  What do you mean I had to buy new armor? What is this list of modifiers for my skills?").  however, the rest of the group agreed, a pregnant woman would have altered stats and she grudging accepted it.

It was the 6-9 months version that really broke her.  Quickness -1 Strength -1 Charisma -1 Body -1 runs peed modified reduced, weight increased by 15kg, new armor again, Flaw: Cannot get up unassisted, Flaw: Damage Check for Child on a Fall, Flaw: Larger Target, Flaw: Mood Swings, Flaw: Tires Easily, Advantage: Shown Mercy, all skills requiring dexterity performed at +1TN, all skills requiring bodily dexterity +4TN and so on and so forth.  She declared the character unplayable.  I agreed, a 6-9 month pregnant woman would make a very difficult character to play in a Shadowrun game.  The group, however, backed me on the modifications.

It was at this point that she declared her character had been "joking" about being pregnant, even though she and the other player in on the "joke" had had that conversation about it with me and been playing their characters and accepting the mods as if it wasn't a joke.  Neither I nor the group bought the "joke" angle at all and gave her the option of playing the character out as was, retiring the character until after the birth or retiring her permanently.  She decided to retire until after the kid was born and I was ALMOST not going to show her the post-birth character sheet, but couldn't do that and showed it to her.  It was an out-of-shape shadowrunner who would take a good little while to get back into proper shape (as defined by her original character sheet) through the expenditure of karma.  The character was retired permanently after that and the Adept had to live with paying higher lifestyle costs for his now retired baby momma and the child plus the new "Family Man" flaw.

Not surprisingly, the group's female characters became VERY careful about getting pregnant after that in every game we played.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Juxtamon on (12:20:58/09-14-10)
Round of applause for Cat's wrangling.

 8)
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (12:51:59/09-14-10)
Sounds like some unnecessary bookkeeping in an effort to provide realism (or what a bunch of guys think is realism) at the expense of a player's fun.  

I'd just tack on a lifestyle increase, offer them an alternate character for the last trimester or so, and then ask 'em how they wanted to handle the game afterwards.  With magic and technology as capable as they are in Shadowrun, it doesn't need to be that big a deal.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Djinnocide on (13:10:00/09-14-10)
I was GMing a group where something very similar happened.  The female Shaman and the Male Adept started up a relationship and the players decided to "thumb their nose at god" (it was a running gag in that group that whoever was GM was, by the virtue of being able to control the world, a god) and decided she was pregnant.  So, god thumbed his nose back.

After that gaming session, I asked what their characters' intentions were with this pregnancy, got their feedback and then reacted accordingly.  Since she intended to keep the baby, she'd need prenatal care.  Since she was SINless it would cost a bit more than usual plus no insurance and that went for the birth as well.  So there's a large chunk of change (I forget what the actual number was, but I based it off a friend's medical costs for their pregnancy converting dollars to nuyen at a 1 to 1 rate and adding 10% for the black market aspect, but it was a ridiculous sum).

I then took my copy of her sheet and created one per trimester and then one for almost immediately after she gave birth (hello new flaw: Postpartum Depression).  She now had a total of 4 versions of her character, each with ever increasing flaws in both number and severity.  I also immediately added a custom "nausea" flaw to her sheet and a custom "overprotective" flaw to the adept's (his also went up in severity as she changed character sheets).

I also had her increase her lifestyle costs by one level (this was before custom lifestyles and such) but gain none of the benefits of the increased lifestyle to reflect her increased need for better food than the low lifestyle she had would provide.  She was also warned that damage taken could cause her to lose the kid (again, I don't remember the exact system I set up but each level of wounds had a specific target number and a specific number of boxes of damage dealt in one attack had a complete separate roll).

I had also set up a permanent "lifestyle modifier" if they decided to live together and once the baby had arrived.  Oddly, it pretty much mirrored what was eventually done officially with each person adding 10% to the base lifestyle costs and then their having to basically hire a live in nanny to handle their weird schedules who's cost was also added as a lifestyle every month one level below theirs.

At the three month in-game time mark I asked for her character sheet, made the final changes to my version to account for karma she'd distributed since the previous session and handed her the new sheet.  She was not happy.  She wanted her character to be as she'd made it, not this one with the new flaws and the modified stats ("Why is my quickness down by a point?  What do you mean my reaction is lower?  What do you mean I had to buy new armor? What is this list of modifiers for my skills?").  however, the rest of the group agreed, a pregnant woman would have altered stats and she grudging accepted it.

It was the 6-9 months version that really broke her.  Quickness -1 Strength -1 Charisma -1 Body -1 runs peed modified reduced, weight increased by 15kg, new armor again, Flaw: Cannot get up unassisted, Flaw: Damage Check for Child on a Fall, Flaw: Larger Target, Flaw: Mood Swings, Flaw: Tires Easily, Advantage: Shown Mercy, all skills requiring dexterity performed at +1TN, all skills requiring bodily dexterity +4TN and so on and so forth.  She declared the character unplayable.  I agreed, a 6-9 month pregnant woman would make a very difficult character to play in a Shadowrun game.  The group, however, backed me on the modifications.

It was at this point that she declared her character had been "joking" about being pregnant, even though she and the other player in on the "joke" had had that conversation about it with me and been playing their characters and accepting the mods as if it wasn't a joke.  Neither I nor the group bought the "joke" angle at all and gave her the option of playing the character out as was, retiring the character until after the birth or retiring her permanently.  She decided to retire until after the kid was born and I was ALMOST not going to show her the post-birth character sheet, but couldn't do that and showed it to her.  It was an out-of-shape shadowrunner who would take a good little while to get back into proper shape (as defined by her original character sheet) through the expenditure of karma.  The character was retired permanently after that and the Adept had to live with paying higher lifestyle costs for his now retired baby momma and the child plus the new "Family Man" flaw.

Not surprisingly, the group's female characters became VERY careful about getting pregnant after that in every game we played.

This is great!  :D
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Doc Chaos on (13:14:36/09-14-10)
*clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

Brilliantly played on the Cat's side.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Usda Beph on (14:22:01/09-14-10)
On a different twist. I had a Cavalier I was playing in a D&D campaign. I was at work and I told the DM My friend was NOT to play my character under ANY cercumstance. He doesn't do Lawful Good well at all :P

Well when I arrived at the game I was informed my Friend who WAS given my knight had gone off into the bushes with one of the local girls and had 'done the deed'. I was pissed to say the least. WORSE we were in the Abyss and the village girl was a Demoness! 6 months later we were strting a new adventure  & Our lady player wanted a winged folk. To add some continuity I asked if she wanted to be the daughter of My Knight. She said yes. I decided to play her 1/2 brother The Cambian son of the trist my friend caused. So we had Angelique & her Brother Damion!
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (16:52:34/09-14-10)
Sounds like some unnecessary bookkeeping in an effort to provide realism (or what a bunch of guys think is realism) at the expense of a player's fun.  

I'd just tack on a lifestyle increase, offer them an alternate character for the last trimester or so, and then ask 'em how they wanted to handle the game afterwards.  With magic and technology as capable as they are in Shadowrun, it doesn't need to be that big a deal.
I don't agree (don't completely disagree, though).  The player wanted a guilt and consequence free "life intrusion" in the game.  Children dramatically alter a person's life, be it a man or a woman, or even a couple.  Those things are serious, and blowing them off would feel like a cheap cop-out to me.

They could have just downtimed the last few months and just glossed over that time for all characters there.  That would have included the player's character a bit more, but still had the dramatic penalties for having a child.  And even with the advanced medical technology of the late 21st century, the mother is still SINless and would still need to aquire everything on the sly from the black market.  The price increase would accurately represent that.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The Cat on (20:42:09/09-14-10)
Sounds like some unnecessary bookkeeping in an effort to provide realism (or what a bunch of guys think is realism) at the expense of a player's fun. 

I'd just tack on a lifestyle increase, offer them an alternate character for the last trimester or so, and then ask 'em how they wanted to handle the game afterwards.  With magic and technology as capable as they are in Shadowrun, it doesn't need to be that big a deal.

I disagree, I treated the situation just as I would have any other situation in the game.  The player did something that would effect the character in a dramatic way.  Had the Shaman decided to get a cyberarm I would have docked essence and magic. Had they takes a deadly wound in one shot, I would have checked for appropriate damage to stats and magic.  Had they got pregnant, I would have made the appropriate modifications to their stats, advantage and flaws.  It's really no different.  It's not "at the expense of a player's fun" to drop their magic attribute when they get cyberware nor is it when they take massive damage and suffer stat or magic damage.  So why would it be and different to have an entire, somewhat fragile life-form growing inside them?

As for magic and tech, I agree, but no amount of magic or tech short of a surrogate or or an artificial incubation womb is going to make a pregnancy a "zero deal let's just continue as before" experience at any lifestyle level much less a low lifestyle as defined in SR.  A 6 months pregnant woman is not going to sprint down a hallway, kick in a door, hurdle a conference table, return fire on security, shoot out a window and repel down a building without some serious difficulties.  It took nothing more that a few minutes talking to currently and perviously pregnant friends to figure out what game stats would alter and what sort of flaws/advantages would be appropriate.

She could have, at any point said "I want to play another character now" and that been fine.  I'm usually fairly good at getting a new character in the game, I make a point to introduce a very powerful employer into the game fairly early who they typically end up either scared to death of or owing a very large favor to for just that purpose.  She choose not to exercise that option until she understood just how big of a change a pregnancy was for an active shadowrunner on the go.

As for the "what guys think of is realism" bit, our group consisted of 2 females and 4 males (counting me as the GM).  The other female player, who was on her second kid by then, thought I was going WAY to easy on her but her ideas were a bookkeeping nightmare of situational modifiers on the stats themselves (here's your sheet for standing, here's your sheet for sitting, here's one for laying down, here's one for dinner, here's one for when you wake up in the morning, here's one for just before you go to bed, and this one is for when you suddenly and inexplicably really really have to go to the bathroom).  I may be an evil GM but even I'm not that evil.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (23:27:00/09-14-10)
Well, yeah.  Of course you disagree, you've already shared how you handled it and that made your idea pretty clear.  I tried to be pretty brief and explain why I felt the way I did, but since that apparently didn't make my point clearly enough, that's fine;  I'll go a little more long-winded, too.

I'm not saying you're wrong or that you should be strung up, I just said that's not how I'd handle it.  The difference between magic loss for cybernetics or deadly wounds is that there are already rules for those;  these are things you made up, then shoved down the character's throat because they'd "thumbed their nose" at you.  The fact that your other players cheered and clapped doesn't change that fact, to me.  Likewise, the experience of the one other female player doesn't mean these aren't necessarily realistic;  I know women who've trucked along just fine through the vast majority of a pregnancy.

But the thing that cinches it for me?  Whenever you outright say "she was not happy," and "she wanted her character as she had made it, not this one..." it tells me maybe you should stop and re-evaluate your GMing style.  I'm as big a fan as the next guy of challenging players.  Hell, just ask some of my players.  But there's a difference between challening them, and making them outright "not happy," and offering them no alternative but to retire a character for several sessions or make a new character outright.

"Flaw: Cannot get up unassisted, Flaw: Damage Check for Child on a Fall, Flaw: Larger Target, Flaw: Mood Swings, Flaw: Tires Easily, Advantage: Shown Mercy" are all stereotypes of pregnant women, sure, but they're things that are pretty damned arbitrary to fling on a character who already was "not happy" the last time you'd tampered with their sheet.  How exactly does Mood Swings work?  What's the difference between Tires Easily and the Asthma negative quality?  How does "Larger Target" work (and why doesn't every Ork and Troll in the game already have it)?  Why does she have to check for damage on the baby when she falls, but not when she gets shot?  What counts as "assisted" for standing up (what Strength score is required), and why doesn't someone with a very high Body and a very low Strength get the same thing?  How exactly does "Shown Mercy" work, and why is it a universal truth in your game world that every NPC will react to a pregnant woman in the same way?

Tacking on outright attribute penalties (that are pretty crippling), and all I see is a GM that's getting cheered on by the other players, while punishing someone who wanted to role play adding some depth to their character...you gave them remarkably tangible drawbacks for no tangible benefit, because they "thumbed their nose" at you and everyone else at the table was clapping.

This is all -- in my opinion -- a lot of bookkeeping, a lot of house ruling, and a lot of punishment.  It's neater and easier to just adjust Lifestyle costs (the default "you're eating more" alteration, maybe even as much as a Suprathyroid Gland's drawback), and then gloss over the most physically incapacitating trimester.  I'd fast forward over those several months for all my players -- give everyone some training time, 3d6 x 1000 nuyen and 2d6 karma to cover "pick up jobs," and call it a day.  Keep the Lifestyle adjustment after the baby's born (a new mouth to feed), look into a Dependent Flaw balanced by a Will To Live or Guts or something (to show a newfound, parental, willpower and determination) ...and game on.

No hurt feelings, a player is encouraged to RP rather than discouraged, and I never have to type "she was not happy."  Everyone has fun, everyone gets a little down-time for Initiation or a trip to the Beta clinic or whatever, etc, etc.  It might not be as funny a story to tell on the internet to try and impress the other GMs, but I'd rather that my players enjoy my game than folks on an internet forum. 

Compare my end results to yours -- a retired character because the GM fucked it so hard, and another PC stuck throwing money away after every run -- and ask which game you'd probably rather be in?  Heck, I'm surprised that player hasn't posted about this in "Gaming horror stories," to be honest.

We complain over in Off-Topic about gamers having a bad rap, or about there not being enough female gamers...how would you guys like it if the shoe was on the other foot?  If your swaggering go-ganger just wrapped up a big job and had some money to spend, how would you like it if you laughingly scratched a thousand nuyen off your sheet (instead of carefully and meticulously spending every single dollar you earn, ever, on being a more lethal character) and said "Oh, and he goes and gets laid!" and then the GM started to scribble all over your character sheet due to a debilitating STD?  Would it be as funny if it was your PC that got their stats lowered, their karma spent for them, and a slew of new Negative Qualities? 

GMs moan and cry about characters only wanting to roll-play, and not role-play, but then a couple PCs engage in a romance and this is what they get for their trouble?  Really?  This is commendable?

But failing all that?  Why not tell her the in-game results of a pregnancy before you write up a new character sheet and make her run it (and then before you do that again, and before you do that again)?  Why ambush her with it like you did, if -- deep down, really -- you weren't out to punish her? 

You even said you asked what their intentions were before you "acted accordingly," so why not have another conversation with them and lay out exactly how gimped the character would be?  Instead you blindsided her with it, and did so so harshly she retired the character.  How did your campaign benefit as a result, except by nipping an inter-PC romance in the bud and taking some depth away from the group of player characters?

Those of you high-fiving him and clapping him on the back, here in this thread...ask yourselves, really, how did driving this character away, and making a PC miserable, make the game better?
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The Cat on (04:42:12/09-15-10)
I like long-winded, long-winded is good.

Well, considering that this gaming group survived intact all the way to third edition with me as GM, I'd say they rather enjoyed it.  Considering that three of them (the player in question most notably) asked me to GM their 3rd Edition game a few years later, I'd say they enjoyed it.  Considering that I do things similar to this with my current group (which is "shockingly" predominantly female except myself and one other player), I'd say they enjoy it.

Now why do/did they enjoy it?  Because that's the sort of groups they are.  They know that in my game worlds there are consequences for action.  You leave evidence, the Star (well, KE now) will come knocking.  You backstab that Johnson, someone will look for you.  You rampage through a corp killing every guard in sight, eventually one of their families will hire someone to find you.  You have unprotected sexual congress with anything that moves, you will catch an STD eventually.  If the Player declares his character visits hookers regularly, yes, I tack it on the lifestyle costs.  You get pregnant, you will eventually have to take maternity leave or you will lose the baby (possibly your life) if you try to keep up your active lifestyle.  The world operates in continual motion, not as an episode of a sit-com where the reset button gets pushed after every run.  You want to "add depth" fine, you will get depth added and you will see advantages and disadvantages from that depth in mechanical terms.  That also means you can do and try anything in my games but you may fail miserably.

It is no different from what can happen in the rules as written, and the penalties are no more severe.  Pregnancy and parenthood are life altering events and should be treated as such in any setting with an eye towards any form of realism.

So, yes, let's compares my results to yours.  The group plays together under me as a GM for years afterwards and returns over and over again after that to get me back as a GM because of the game worlds I run and the amount of effort I put into every aspect of the game or she keeps one character.  The group that runs for years continuously with a weekly (sometimes 2 games a week) and even after parts of the group move out of state continues to play online over 15 years after they started or the group where one person gets to keep their character after a life altering experience is completely glossed over by the GM?  The game where the GM puts time and effort not only into the game in general, but is willing to discuss your character's situation specifically and create generalized rules for your situation, or the game where the GM doesn't bother because it's cleaner and easier not to?  A game where the Role-Play effects the Roll-Play (and ideally the reverse) or the one where one apparently doesn't have a lot to do with the other in any meaningly, long-term way?  WHich group would you rather be in?

Different groups will answer those questions differently.  My groups always choose the former.  Other groups may not like things to operate that way and that is totally fine.

The key "take away point" to all this is that the group itself will determine what the GM does in this situation.  If your group likes somewhat realistic play, likes a world that is continuous, likes to see their characters face their own actions, then do something similar to what I did.  If not, gloss the whole thing over and act like it never happened.  If neither option seems like your group's style, find some point in the middle.

As a side point, if anyone is actually interested in the advantages and flaws that came up from this situation, I should still have a digital copy on one of the hundreds of 3.5 disks floating around here.  They will still be in Second Ed terms, I don't recall converting them to third but, I can attempt to track it and post it in the appropriate section.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Crimsondude on (12:59:33/09-15-10)
Best game derail by players ever. (http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?p=16434745#post16434745)
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (13:12:51/09-15-10)
If your group likes somewhat realistic play, likes a world that is continuous, likes to see their characters face their own actions, then do something similar to what I did.
Except that their characters didn't face their own actions, and the world wasn't very continuous;  why?  Because you fucked the character so hard the player tried to backtrack (and claim it was a joke), and then quit instead of running with someone so gimped.

Your idea of realism ended up, instead, making the entire thing a non-issue by breaking the character and removing it from the game.  How much deep, serious, role-play ensued when the Adept's girl was no longer a PC, and instead just turned into someone he got his nuyen drained by?  How "continuous" was your game when you had characters dropping out and new ones coming in, because you'd bullied them into quitting by arbitrarily scribbling all over their character sheet?

Quote
If not, gloss the whole thing over and act like it never happened.  If neither option seems like your group's style, find some point in the middle.
I would argue that in your campaign it's like the "whole thing" never happened, because you went overboard with the modifiers, and the character who dared to "thumb her nose" at you quit and made it a non-issue. 

Rather than gloss it over, you dwelt on it so ferociously she felt (a) she had to try and lie and backtrack away from it, and then (b) her character was no longer worth playing after what you'd done to it.  How is that a win?  How is that a good thing for a campaign?  When you use phrases like "she wasn't happy," and "she wanted to play her character, not the one I'd made," and "it was ______ that finally broke her," those should be red flags, not things to brag about, in my opinion.

The implication of your last few posts is that my games are all bubblegum and rainbows, where players are never challenged, where actions carry no consequences, and where player decisions carry no weight.  This is the part where I'm supposed to whip out my own e-penis, and we compare GMing history, time spent with the game, how large our gaming groups are, and then we both end up looking retarded.  I'm gonna skip that.

Your assumptions towards my games are pretty silly, but the difference is that I don't break a character.  I push them, and bend them, and let the dice fall where they may, with challenges, difficult combats, moral choices, etc, etc...but I'm careful to keep it from being personal (I don't worry about folks "thumbing their nose" at me, and take it as a challenge), and I'm careful to keep it at the level where characters are challenged, but not punished so severely they retire a character rather than want to keep playing.  You bend 'em, you don't shatter 'em.  Anyone can throw the whole Sixth World at a single Shadowrunner, or even a team of them, until the GM "wins."  That's easy.  It's also bullying.

If someone's character is no longer in a game I'm running, it's because that's where the dice fell in good, clean, combat, and they died.  Not because I arbitrarily changed their character sheet until they "broke" and didn't want to play any more.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Irian on (13:27:44/09-15-10)
*signed*
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: FastJack on (13:29:55/09-15-10)
Except that their characters didn't face their own actions, and the world wasn't very continuous;  why?  Because you fucked the character so hard the player tried to backtrack (and claim it was a joke), and then quit instead of running with someone so gimped.
Wait a minute, Critias. From what Cat's told us, the player didn't quit, simply retired the character (and, I assume, brought a new character in).

Now, his style may be different than others. I know if the same thing happened in my game, I'd make sure there were some adjustments made, maybe not in as much detail, but the character would definitely need to be out of play for at least the third trimester and some time afterward.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (13:41:46/09-15-10)
I specifically said "character," not "player," for who quit.

But I'd posit that the character being removed from play, effectively, removed the consequences of those actions from play. 

That's why you've got to find the "sweet spot" where players are getting screwed up, but not screwed over.  You've got to push hard enough they're feeling consequences and being challenged, but not push so hard they just give up on that character and make a new one.  If they just wad up the character sheet and throw it away, it means that (a) they weren't having fun with that character, which is a failure of the gaming group as a whole, and (b) they've now dodged all those consequences, effectively declaring bankrupcy instead of paying any bills (or whatever other analogy seems apt).  So they AREN'T suffering any consequences for their actions, they're just respawning with a new character as though the whole thing never happened.

It's a lose/lose.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (14:01:24/09-15-10)
Mmm, no you said the player quit when she couldn't backtrack.  
Quote
Except that their characters didn't face their own actions, and the world wasn't very continuous;  why?  Because you fucked the character so hard the player tried to backtrack (and claim it was a joke), and then quit instead of running with someone so gimped.

I disagree that there were no consequences.  Removing the character from play is the largest consequence of the actions of the character.  She had to give up a character she obviously enjoyed playing, thus suffering the ultimate consequence.

What he did was some extreme bookkeeping, to be sure, and I honestly would have just marched time forward during the third trimester so that everyone was on the same page.  Of course, that would also depend on the enemies they had made, too.  The child would still be there, and would need to be treated as an extra person taking up the mother's lifestyle (which is a 10% increase, IMS).  They would have had to work around the child, to be sure.  While I believe his treatment was extreme, blowing it off as you seem to suggest doing completely devalues the choices the player's made, and ruining the versimilitude of the other players.  If they never suffer consequences, then they will become bored of the game quickly.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (14:12:38/09-15-10)
Quote
and then quit instead of running with someone so gimped.
Quit running with that character, yes.  I'm sorry if I was unclear in that line, but I've already clarified what I meant once, as well as -- as best I can figure -- being more clear about it every other time I brought it up.

What he did was some extreme bookkeeping, to be sure, and I honestly would have just marched time forward during the third trimester so that everyone was on the same page.  Of course, that would also depend on the enemies they had made, too.  The child would still be there, and would need to be treated as an extra person taking up the mother's lifestyle (which is a 10% increase, IMS).  They would have had to work around the child, to be sure.  While I believe his treatment was extreme, blowing it off as you seem to suggest doing completely devalues the choices the player's made, and ruining the versimilitude of the other players.  If they never suffer consequences, then they will become bored of the game quickly.
...how am I suggesting "blowing it off," when my idea of how to handle it is almost exactly the same as how you just suggested it be handled?  A time jump over the third trimester, an increase in Lifestyle cost, and having to work around the child is pretty much what I suggested, last page.

This was the longer version of my suggestion, or idea, or resolution...or whatever you want to call it:
Quote
It's neater and easier to just adjust Lifestyle costs (the default "you're eating more" alteration, maybe even as much as a Suprathyroid Gland's drawback), and then gloss over the most physically incapacitating trimester.  I'd fast forward over those several months for all my players -- give everyone some training time, 3d6 x 1000 nuyen and 2d6 karma to cover "pick up jobs," and call it a day.  Keep the Lifestyle adjustment after the baby's born (a new mouth to feed), look into a Dependent Flaw balanced by a Will To Live or Guts or something (to show a newfound, parental, willpower and determination) ...and game on.

Please don't buy Cat's notion that I'm suggesting things be swept under the rug and ignored.  Your very suggestion in your post matches up to the vast majority of my suggestion.  If I'm blowing it off, so are you.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (14:39:40/09-15-10)
You seemed to be taking an extreme stance against what he said he did, emphasizing and over-emphasizing how cruel it was (which it wasn't, just bookkeeping heavy).  By seeming to foam at the mouth (with word choice, not actual foam) about the bookkeeping and how unfair it was to make a player suffer consequences for their actions, it seemed you were supporting the elimination of hardship or consequence.

Yes, what he did was extreme, but more like it was too much trouble to keep up with in my book, not that he was being unfair to the player.  A child is a heavy burden upon the parent(s), and the players decision to role-play their characters' having a child brought with it serious repercussions throughout the game.  Or it should have.  Playing through the first two trimesters should sink that notion into everyone at the table.  And playing light and fast through the last trimester (with everyone only making enough to pay the rent through the whole of the downtime) and then playing through the child raising time would have been better, IMO, but what he did was just fine.  I just have a problem with the details, and not the premise.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (14:41:30/09-15-10)
Trust me, this ain't foamin'.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Juxtamon on (14:44:02/09-15-10)
Dudes!  Easy!  Tension.

Cat-face there just told us a story about how he handled that situation once.
Critias especially doesn't like it.
Others found humour in it.

FastJack reminds me of someone.

And now, for something completely different.

(Attempts to distract)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTpUVAcvWfU



Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (14:46:04/09-15-10)
Oh, God.  I remember when that song came out.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The Cat on (15:39:22/09-15-10)
To reiterate, the key is for the GM to know the group they are in and have an idea how they will react to anything the GM does.

While I cannot know for sure, I assume from the previous posts that Critias knows their groups at least as well as I know my own.  What this is is a rather calm discussion of GMing style filtered through this specific (usually rare) situation.  I wouldn't even call it heated.

One thing a lot of people keep bringing up is bookkeeping.  This sort of thing doesn't have to be a bookkeeping problem.  One of the advantages of Edges and Flaws was that they helped sidestep all sorts of bookkeeping for the GM, and several groups I've played with or spoken with use them in a similar manner.  Rather than work out a rule set for something, it can succinctly and quickly be converted into a "nearly there" edge or flaw and sidestep the need for a notebook full of house rules on just that one subject.  If they're generalized and abstracted slightly, they can be made to cover a whole range of tangentially related ideas as well.

By way of example, in this specific instance I could have decided to sit down and come up with a random hit location chart and then a second chart specifically for pregnant women.  Then on every shot of combat used that chart to determine what effect each shot had.  That's a good bit of bookkeeping and extra rolling.  Rather than do that, we minimized the bookkeeping by creating the "Larger Target" flaw.  With it, some vital part of your body was either larger than normal or a particularly weak point.  Every time you got hit you made a roll against the remaining power of the attack and a failure indicated a hit to that larger than normal target with the damage stepping up like a called shot and any secondary effects the GM found reasonable.  Now instead of a random hit location chart and a roll on every shot of combat, the only extra rolling and extra bookkeeping is on just the effected character.  Was it perfect?  No, but it was dead reckoned in as a good compromise between the "perfect" hit location chart and minimizing rolling, bookkeeping and bogging down in combat.  The flaw was generalized enough that it was used some time later by a starting Troll Sammy who's schtick was that his cyberware was old and cobbled together by a slightly crazy but brilliant street doc and prone to amusing almost Inspector Gadget style malfunction while looking a bit like steampunk without the brass.  It was revived with a lower cost melee variant many years later by an Ork character who had a glass jaw.

These sorts of specialized situations do not have to be bookkeeping nightmares, and handled with an eye towards later generalization can add a number of factors to the game.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Crimsondude on (22:10:00/09-16-10)
This is the part where I'm supposed to whip out my own e-penis
I like your e-penis.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (00:11:21/09-17-10)
This is the part where I'm supposed to whip out my own e-penis
I like your e-penis.
Who doesn't?  It is the stuff of legend.   ;D
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (10:42:40/09-17-10)
As in "was there in ancient days and mostly fictitious?"

Sorry, it was too hard to resist.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Wayfinder on (18:24:36/09-17-10)
As in "was there in ancient days and mostly fictitious?"

Sorry, it was too hard to resist.

Did you just say that Critias's e-penis was too hard to resist?
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (12:51:56/09-18-10)
Yes, it was too hard to resist poking...at...

DAMMIT!
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: System on (13:52:32/09-19-10)
While I think Cat was a little bit too vicious with his "post birth" version of the character, the player chose the problems associated with having a child.  Assuming that her character would be able to be a Shadowrunner at 6-9 months pregnant is absurd.  A player thinking ahead about consequences would have just created an interim character.  It's not only foolish from a physical standpoint, but also from a psychological standpoint.  Shadowrunning isn't exactly safe or gentle.  It's an ongoing recipe for miscarriage. Only the most aloof and disinterested of mothers would continue any kind of "active" shadowrunning (and it sounds like she did since she was worried about buying new armor and reductions to physical stats).  Even seemingly "harmless" activities like decking/hacking could endanger a fetus based on the amount of neurological shock the mother could incur.  That character should have temporarily retired the second she found out she was pregnant unless the character was some kind of mentally disturbed individual.  In fact, as a GM I would have explained that before I even okayed the idea.  Fast forwarding a year to accommodate for pregnancy and then birth recovery just based on the choices made by a single player seems a bit unfair to everyone else unless you're playing in a campaign where time doesn't actually pass.

And if, fully understanding the impending consequences ahead of time she chose to go ahead, and assuming the player and GM agree that a female character having a child isn't an absurdly bad idea for a violent role playing game...


Don't punish the final character.  If the player is willing to sit though the gestation period, they shouldn't be unduly punished.  A woman who maintains an active lifestyle while pregnant and tries hard shouldn't have to try too hard to get their old physical capabilities back.  If you look at contemporary female athletes (and celebrities with good personal trainers) who have kids, they bounce back quickly.  Just because a lot of women dive into buckets of ice cream and plump up doesn't mean they all do.  Active moms don't lose too much of their bodies.  Maybe a short "recovery period" where their stats are reduced, but forcing the character to spend Karma to get back to normal seems punitive.  Realistically, the character should probably stay retired through that period too, but maybe the player wants to get the character back in action.  Shadowrunners shouldn't considered "typical".  Giving an active runner (ie non-sedentary hacker, rigger etc) the benefit of the doubt seems fair.  They are supposed to be above average after all.

Giving the character all sorts of arbitrary flaws like "Post Partum Depression" definitely isn't fair.  We're talking about a mental disorder suffered by a small fraction of women.  Again, shadorunners should be considered above average.  The consequences should be fairly significant.  After all, having kids is a huge change.  Anybody who has gamed into their thirties knows how many players have been "lost" from the group or severely limited once they had a kid.  For a shadowrunner, caring for a kid may well be the death blow to their career.  What would have been fair to the player was suggesting that the character give the child up for adoption, or find a foster parent for it.  It's a good way to explore the character's contacts, or even a way to bring their family or old friends into it.  Might make an interesting side plot of sorts if you're really into roleplaying it.  If they choose to keep the child, new flaws like "Dependent" are obviously appropriate.  Lifestyle adjustments are obviously appropriate too.

The very fact that the player decided to retire the character after enduring the hardships of playing a pregnant character shows that you probably handled it too heavy-handed.  While it's realistic to say that a Shadowmother would probably retire, and that's why I probably wouldn't allow it in my game unless the player absolutely insisted, it isn't very much fun.  However, don't worry about Critias.  He's not very pleasant a lot of the time.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (15:25:48/09-19-10)
However, don't worry about Critias.  He's not very pleasant a lot of the time.
Love you, too?  I've got no idea where that sort of hostility's coming from, but whatever floats your boat.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Irian on (16:29:21/09-19-10)
[..]

Very true, well said.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Angelone on (17:04:41/09-19-10)
I'm with Critias on this it was too harsh. Cat's idea was interesting, but harsh and extreme.

PS- You don't want to make Critias angry, you won't like him when he's angry.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: TranKirsaKali on (00:58:06/09-20-10)
Sounds like some unnecessary bookkeeping in an effort to provide realism (or what a bunch of guys think is realism) at the expense of a player's fun.  

I'd just tack on a lifestyle increase, offer them an alternate character for the last trimester or so, and then ask 'em how they wanted to handle the game afterwards.  With magic and technology as capable as they are in Shadowrun, it doesn't need to be that big a deal.
I don't agree (don't completely disagree, though).  The player wanted a guilt and consequence free "life intrusion" in the game.  Children dramatically alter a person's life, be it a man or a woman, or even a couple.  Those things are serious, and blowing them off would feel like a cheap cop-out to me.

They could have just downtimed the last few months and just glossed over that time for all characters there.  That would have included the player's character a bit more, but still had the dramatic penalties for having a child.  And even with the advanced medical technology of the late 21st century, the mother is still SINless and would still need to aquire everything on the sly from the black market.  The price increase would accurately represent that.

However, taking it to the level that several people seem to have seems a bit harsh.  It seems to me like they were intentionally punishing the people for wanting to add this in.  In our world today women keep working and moving and going even when pregnant. We do not disappear for 10 months to a year and just hide.  Not everyone gets morning sickness ect.  Some  changes are going to happen.  But I think people went to extremes from what I read.  Not that I would personally ever let my runner get pregnant till she was ready to retire. 
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Julius Q Enderby on (01:04:19/09-20-10)
Well, call me Switzerland. I like that Cat shared the derail situation and found his reaction a humorous read. My initial assessment was also very similar to Critias. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor player. However, Cat did point out that there was first a context of the players thumbing their noses at him.

Back in the day, I had runners decide to shack up also. Wedding and a baby on the way. But it was different in that it was not a derail so much as a rerail for a little while. No one's nose was being thumbed. The wedding and the pregnancy became the runs. It was great! They earned more than 2 Karma for that. They earned enemies by then so little Runner Jr Foetus was certainly not safe for those 9 months. (12 months? She was an elf; I can't remember if we decided the term was longer - can't recall if previous editions commented on gestation period. I only remember that SR1 clearly made sure that females had two mammae, whatever the metatype.  ??? )

I didn't touch lifestyle. I wasn't that savvy plus it was a good group; they deliberately sank nuyen into the affair. Not just the couple either, the rest of the team was fully supportive, committed to the success of the relationship and the safe coming to term of the baby, getting generous gifts and donating superb skills. The team had some monetary success by then so taking a hit on income for a while was not even really discussed. Sure there was some fast-forwarding involved but it made a nice change of pace and it still had action and other social challenges where there was clearly opposition but where blamyourdead solutions were out of the question. You don't do that to your inlaws. Even if racism and other biggotry is involved. Even if they're mob. (Especially if they're mob?).

While the parents might have wanted to keep a low profile for the rest of their lives, that wasn't going to be an option. She was an elf mob princess and he was Voodoo magician. The feotus started showing signs of "special" well before the birthday and not every power in the 'verse was content to let that slide.

That was before we had kids. Now that we know better, I would pretty well run that the same way. Good times. But no one was thumbing their nose at me. That might have made a difference.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: TranKirsaKali on (01:05:51/09-20-10)
Well, yeah.  Of course you disagree, you've already shared how you handled it and that made your idea pretty clear.  I tried to be pretty brief and explain why I felt the way I did, but since that apparently didn't make my point clearly enough, that's fine;  I'll go a little more long-winded, too.

snip

Those of you high-fiving him and clapping him on the back, here in this thread...ask yourselves, really, how did driving this character away, and making a PC miserable, make the game better?

I just have to say I really liked this post.  I thought it was very well thought out.  And yes it takes a certain kind of woman to RP.  I would hate for any to be driven away because of harshness.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Critias on (01:11:17/09-20-10)
They earned enemies by then so little Runner Jr Foetus was certainly not safe for those 9 months. (12 months? She was an elf; I can't remember if we decided the term was longer - can't recall if previous editions commented on gestation period. I only remember that SR1 clearly made sure that females had two mammae, whatever the metatype.  ??? )
For the record (not to derail or anything), SR1 sets the suckling time at 25 months, but has no mention of gestation.  SR2 sets gestation at 360 days and suckling time at "over 25 months" (so somewhere between 2050 and 2nd Edition, elf babies decided they liked boobies a little more?).  SR4 just confirms gestation at "just under a year."  I seem to have eaten my SR3 book, but I can't imagine it changed much (I seem to remember it being a little light on the pseudo-science).
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: System on (02:02:55/09-20-10)
(12 months? She was an elf; I can't remember if we decided the term was longer - can't recall if previous editions commented on gestation period.
For the overly curious, according to my trusty 1st Ed hardcover:

Dwarf:  284 Days (~9.5 months) w/15mos+ suckling
Elf: 365 Days (~1 year) w/25mos+ suckling
Human 266.5 Days (don't forget that half day you cheaters.  ~8.8 months) w/12mos+ suckling
Ork: 187 Days (Just over 6 months) w/7mos+ suckling
Troll: 259 Days (Just over eight and a half months) w/15 mos+ suckling

To answer Critias, 3rd's core book made no biological references to the races except for average height, weight, skin color (completely pointless as all entries were pale pink or pinkish white to ebony so it would have been easier to just have said at some point "Like normal human tones) and life span.  2nd's entries were identical to 1st's.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: System on (02:20:56/09-20-10)
In our world today women keep working and moving and going even when pregnant. We do not disappear for 10 months to a year and just hide. 
While this is true, few women have jobs that involve anything on the level of shadowrunning.  My friend's wife was in the military and they essentially put her behind a desk.  Not that females in the military participate in any of the more strenuous occupations, but she was relegated behind a desk, put in a non-deployable status, and excused from most of the physical training they did (it was assumed that she'd exercise on her own at her own pace) to prevent any complications that might arise from the physical nature of the job.  Shadowrunning is, on a regular basis, far more strenuous and dangerous than the stateside garrison life of a non combat arms military member.  Female firefighters, for example, are also the same way.  They get put on administrative duties as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

I think assuming that any sane or rational mother would continue to actively run is a stretch.  I freely admit to not being a woman, so by all means feel free to disagree with me.  The human fetus is a tougher little bastard than many people realize, but it seems like it would take a real callous and indifferent, or severely mentally unstable woman to continuously put her unborn child at that level of extreme risk. 
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The_Gun_Nut on (07:13:58/09-20-10)
Of course, "mentally unstable" might be all the description required for most shadowrunners.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Angelone on (10:17:58/09-20-10)
Out of curiosity, Cat how did your players thumb their noses at you? What were they doing? Were they being disruptive? Did their behavior bring the game to a screeching halt?  ???

I'm not trying to be combative, I am honestly curious about why you feel the situation should have been handled like it was and why you feel your players were insulting you.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: TranKirsaKali on (15:41:04/09-20-10)
In our world today women keep working and moving and going even when pregnant. We do not disappear for 10 months to a year and just hide. 
While this is true, few women have jobs that involve anything on the level of shadowrunning.  My friend's wife was in the military and they essentially put her behind a desk.  Not that females in the military participate in any of the more strenuous occupations, but she was relegated behind a desk, put in a non-deployable status, and excused from most of the physical training they did (it was assumed that she'd exercise on her own at her own pace) to prevent any complications that might arise from the physical nature of the job.  Shadowrunning is, on a regular basis, far more strenuous and dangerous than the stateside garrison life of a non combat arms military member.  Female firefighters, for example, are also the same way.  They get put on administrative duties as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

I think assuming that any sane or rational mother would continue to actively run is a stretch.  I freely admit to not being a woman, so by all means feel free to disagree with me.  The human fetus is a tougher little bastard than many people realize, but it seems like it would take a real callous and indifferent, or severely mentally unstable woman to continuously put her unborn child at that level of extreme risk. 

In this country we tend to treat pregnant women as though they were fragile flowers that would die if breathed on to hard.  In other countries women go to work in rice fields until the day they give birth.  Where as that is not as guns firing at you dangerous as the military.  It is still very dangerous.  And I did say I thought this was a bad character idea.  But the arbitrary way the GM decided what would happen to the character with out going over it with the player was harsh.  Talk to the player about what you for see by this change.  Give them the chance to change their minds.  Don't just arbitrarily give them problems just because they are the worst of what could happen.  And that is what it seems this GM did.  Most women do not suffer ppd.  Some do.  It is sever only for a very few.  Not being able to stand up with out help is ridiculous.  Women do that all the time right up to the day they go to give birth.  And I do not think you can assume that any shadowrunning woman is normal.  I am not saying making changes isn't necessary. It is.  Your body would change, your mental state will change.  But the severity was a bit much in my opinion.  Especially since it seems it was only aimed at the woman not at the man.  He did not seem to have any real changes to him happen at all.  Where is the flaw for protective instinct?  The desire to keep his family safe, the need to provide better food or a better life?  Why did she only suffer?
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: System on (16:35:46/09-20-10)
Well you may have missed my post, because I said most of the same things as you in regards to the somewhat arbitrary way he chose to handle things, especially the choice to give her PPD, but I absolutely feel that Shadowrunning lies way outside the realm of reasonably activity for a pregnant woman, from both the psychological and the physical standpoint.  He did say he assigned flaws to the male character too.

And judging by the player's reactions to the portions of Cat's measures I found to be reasonable, I don't think either of them fully thought out the whole process.  The player didn't think about just how life altering the process of pregnancy would be, and the GM didn't think or care to discuss the way it would be handled with the player.  And while maybe getting blindsided by pregnancy's difficulties is "realistic" ( I can't imagine it is easy to understand just how hard it would be until you're doing it), that certainly cuts down on the fun factor for a game. 

I think really the biggest lesson to be taken away is that if you want to role-play a family, buy The Sims, lol.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: TranKirsaKali on (17:13:01/09-20-10)
I may have read it.  I don't always remember who said what. Especially when the threads get past the second page.   ;D
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: System on (19:02:51/09-20-10)
I didn't take offense because you didn't quote me.  I was just curious.  Obviously I only have the opinion of a man who has observed pregnancy and the behavior of pregnant women.  They're not all concerned about the health of the child obviously.  The number of unfortunate children born with the consequences of alcohol, smoking, and drug use shows that.  And the reports of abandoned and dumped babies as well.  So I make allowances that not all mothers are "good" or care about their children.  But it would take a pretty strange player to want to role-play their deranged shadowrunner realistically enough to have them make a player decision to get pregnant and then knowingly endanger the fetus. 

Not sure if that's the kind of player I want at my table.  A little too intense for me, lol.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: TranKirsaKali on (19:59:59/09-20-10)
I didn't take offense because you didn't quote me.  I was just curious.  Obviously I only have the opinion of a man who has observed pregnancy and the behavior of pregnant women.  They're not all concerned about the health of the child obviously.  The number of unfortunate children born with the consequences of alcohol, smoking, and drug use shows that.  And the reports of abandoned and dumped babies as well.  So I make allowances that not all mothers are "good" or care about their children.  But it would take a pretty strange player to want to role-play their deranged shadowrunner realistically enough to have them make a player decision to get pregnant and then knowingly endanger the fetus. 

Not sure if that's the kind of player I want at my table.  A little too intense for me, lol.

No where was I saying that it was a good idea.  All I ever said was he went a little to harsh with it.  Not that there shouldn't be changes.  But that it should have been discussed with the player before they were implemented so the player could back out of the idea if she wanted to.  I actually said in a previous post that I thought it was a bad idea to role play that kind of thing and that I would never do it.  But the GM went over board with the consequences.  Yes there should be consequences for doing this kind of thing.  Should they be as sever as they were ?  No.  And as for the women I was talking about in other countries, it is not that they have no concern for the child.  It is that they have to survive and they can not stop working just because they are pregnant.  I was attempting to point out that women are tougher than given credit for a lot of the time. 
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: The Cat on (23:39:22/09-20-10)
Out of curiosity, Cat how did your players thumb their noses at you? What were they doing? Were they being disruptive? Did their behavior bring the game to a screeching halt?  ???

I'm not trying to be combative, I am honestly curious about why you feel the situation should have been handled like it was and why you feel your players were insulting you.

Back in the good old days (mind you this was the early 90s just after SR2 and the core books for it hit and we'd already began expanding on them for our specific situations - I can't even remember if Edges and Flaws were "official" at that point) and we were all college students, meaning, in retrospect, a ton of free time which we filled with RPGs of various types.  It was not at all unusual for the group to decide they wanted a gigantic central plot running for a full semester or even a full "year" of school (think the Harley duo but far far longer).  These games were different from the "what's tonight's mission?" games because they operated on a far larger scale.  They would have these sub-missions that seemed unconnected, but somehow tied into one side or the other's plans, and often would account for anywhere from 30 to 40 sessions (or more when we were playing more often) to get from one end of "giant plot from hell" to the other.  Above all, everyone involved in the game had previously agreed to partake in this gargantuan thing that the GM was putting together at their request.  It usually consisted of starting with a good "big" idea that was barely more than an outline and a mission or two, and then working to stay well ahead of the group on the "next time on the shadowrunner show" treadmill and fleshing out the outline over time.

Now, a bit about this group.  We'd been playing together for a few years at that point, from AD&D to SR1 and 2 to Tales From the Floating Vagabond and we even did the old FASA Dr Who RPG for a short while.  I'd both played and GMed with them in all those systems.  They, for their part, were wonderfully predictably unpredictable.  They were the sort of group that could absolutely murder a play session chasing a clue you actually named Red Herring or trying to purchase ammunition (NEVER let these people "go shopping" or you're in it for two sessions, a firefight or three and very likely someone is going to the hospital) and have a BALL with it, which keeps the GM and the players on their toes.  They also loved when their backgrounds and personalities came into play.  As the number of sessions climbed and they settled into the characters and the GM became more and more aware of what each character was about, things would start popping up directly "for" specific characters.  For instance, lets say you had a pacifistic character who was regularly pulling out the credstick and delivering medical supplies to parts of the Barrens.  On one run you encounter a problem in the Barrens and one of the communities you've been assisting puts their necks on the line to hide you and your team.  A few sessions later, the Mob Boss you owe a big favor to from 5 sessions ago calls it in and wants you to wack someone and saying "no" to him is not a good option.  These sorts of things popped up regularly in this group.

They could also be hilariously cruel to one another. In an AD&D game the fighter gave the starting thief a "Ring of Invulnerability" to use in a particularly hard dungeon.  The thief survived the entire dungeon without so much as a scratch and "forgot" to give the ring back.  Several sessions later the thief attempted to backstab something ridiculously powerful (I want to say a Lich King) and naturally got completely murdered.  When he complained about the having the ring the player of the fighter said, "you mean the +1 Ring of Fire Resistance I gave you?" and then the laughing started; his survival to up that point had been pretty much luck of the dice.

This was the type of players in this group.

In this particular incident, we were roughly half way through one of those grand "epic adventures."  We'd been back from winter break for a week or two and were a few sessions into the "getting out the cobwebs" restart of the runs.  The primary player in the incident had had a disastrous time in the previous session.  For some reason, everything she tried either went south on her, was completely wrong or the dice simply decided they hated her.  She had survived the run mostly because I have a pet GMing Rule that I will never let JUST the dice kill you.  If your idea is sound, the execution is good and at that pivotal moment you roll a dozen ones, once we finish marveling at your skill at rolling ones, you will survive; you may be badly hurt, you may blow the whole mission, but those dice will not be the only thing that kills you.  If the idea is insanely stupid, the execution goes up like a lead balloon and THEN you roll the dozen ones, you are a greasy spot on the floor.

At that point it the "run of Runs" everyone was pretty tied into the plot and metaplot running through the game, not so much someone leaving the group or a character dying couldn't be handled, but still very tightly tied into events.  Her Shaman was functioning as the primary point of contact for new missions and was the de-facto "face" for the group.  The downtime between runs was fairly short between those two, we usually had a month or so "lay low time" in between, but in this case, there was around a week's lag between the end of the last mission and the start of this one.  During the week, she'd taken some good natured ribbing from pretty much everyone about the disaster that was the previous run and I think that contributed to her pulling another player aside and coming up with the "we're in a relation" subplot.  All well and good, a bit sudden, but fine by me as the GM because that's just more places for me to go with the drama.


Before that night's session, someone had asked, "we really messed up the whole thing last week, didn't we?"  To which I replied something to the effect of, "after GMing for you guys this long I don't think there is anything you guys could do that I cannot incorporate into the plotline."

We'd just finished the summary of "what did you do in the last week" (one thing we did metagame was they always knew OOC how much downtime they would have before the next job offer and could make decisions IC based on that since it just made things easier for spending money and karma) when she popped up with the "I'm pregnant" announcement and a nice little "let's see you fit THIS into the plotline" grin.  We started and finished that session per usual, had a conversation about it afterwards and I said, "fine, we can go with that."

So I DID bring it into the plotline along with all the good and bad that came with it.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Mystic on (20:18:51/10-08-10)
Ok, getting away from the pregnancy thing, only because it's still fresh in my mind *looks at daughter bouncing on my knee*.

Best twist I remember is when two members of my group, who both ran their own SR games, decided to do a cross over in mid game. At one point we were literally shooting at our alter egos from the other's game. I knew a certain merc looked familiar and Im glad my rigger DIDNT scrag him (but it was DAMN close). The one GM was leaving for a new job and decided to hand off his game to the other, so we could continue to play the other characters if we chose. In story we all found out that we were after the same objective and did a fun "team up" for a couple of sessions before redoing the game roster.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Welshman on (23:59:07/10-10-10)
I think the contention on all this is tied up in the phrase "Player Twist".

If players set out to 'break the game', 'throw the GM for a loop', 'Set their own rules' and so on, then the GM needs to take a certain level of control. In these cases you almost have to take a harder line approach. If the players can't trust you to keep the game in control, then it will eventually not be fun to play anymore.

On the other side, if the player wants to try something new and they communicate with and work with the GM, then you've opened the door to a whole new playing opportunity. If the idea isn't totally off the wall ("hey GM, can I be an avatar of an alien civilization that was born to an Elf who became a banshee?"), then it is the GMs duty to work with that player and see where the idea and story could go. In the end it might get scrapped, but take the chance and see what the opportunity might bring.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Usda Beph on (11:27:45/10-19-10)
Mystic... That GM rocks! over the course of a few decades I have brought out retired characters as Bartenders, city guard captains, and the like. Having the Arch-Druid for your continent show up and give your party a talking to when he WAS once a PC is a good plot twist IYAM. ;D
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Mystic on (20:51:55/10-19-10)
That's pretty much what I have had to do with my main alter ego. He became so damn powerful I was seriously unbalancing things. But you grow so attached, you just can't let them totally fade away. Now, Shades pretty much acts as my main fixer in my games. He is either your best friend, or worst nightmare; kind of like how Doc Raven and Wolf Keis are for Mike Stackpole. A few times, I have let long-time players "reinvent" or re-envision old characters only to have Shades turn up as a mentor, contact, or Mr. Johnson.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Frostriese on (21:41:40/10-19-10)
As for magic and tech, I agree, but no amount of magic or tech short of a surrogate or or an artificial incubation womb is going to make a pregnancy a "zero deal let's just continue as before" experience at any lifestyle level much less a low lifestyle as defined in SR.
Mind, as its 2071, I kinda wonder where artifical uteri are. I mean, good god, at the upper end of the richness scale they have rejuvenation treatments that make one practically immortal! And yet nobody thought of such an obviously useful medical appliance like artficial uteri?

While I think Cat was a little bit too vicious with his "post birth" version of the character, the player chose the problems associated with having a child.  Assuming that her character would be able to be a Shadowrunner at 6-9 months pregnant is absurd.  A player thinking ahead about consequences would have just created an interim character.  It's not only foolish from a physical standpoint, but also from a psychological standpoint.  Shadowrunning isn't exactly safe or gentle.  It's an ongoing recipe for miscarriage.
True, but one would expect most 'runners to not be the most sane or caring persons. I dont say it has to be that way, just that its entirely realistic for a runner to decide "Screw that, Im not caring".


However, one general thing - a player of a female character just suddenly shouting "Im pregnant", I  know no group here where that would fly. That would have to be worked out between GM and player here first. I mean, its not like you can decide pregnancy status IRL, either ;) , while OTOH it would be unfair if a GM (being the agent of fate) just randomly decided Character X now is pregnant. So, yes, I would only see that valid after previous agreement between player and GM anyway, but each to his or her own, I guess...
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Angelone on (23:57:46/10-19-10)
They have artificial uteri, alot of corps moms use them so they don't have to miss work to have a baby. It's mentioned in Corp Guide. They are cloned iirc.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Bradd on (03:39:02/10-20-10)
True, but one would expect most 'runners to not be the most sane or caring persons. I dont say it has to be that way, just that its entirely realistic for a runner to decide "Screw that, Im not caring".

This! Desperation will take you pretty far too. Not everyone can afford to be careful. Sure, the army won't force a pregnant woman into danger (unless they can get away with it), but a pregnant criminal has a whole different set of priorities. It gets even better if she's an addict like half the runners in my group. Seriously, why assume that pregnant runners will act like affluent middle-class women?

Also, I'm pretty disheartened by the amount of sexism in gaming in general. I like to play a mix of male & female PCs (when I'm not GMing), but in some groups it's just unbearable to play women, between the obnoxious roleplaying and the obnoxious stereotypical rules for things like menstruation, pregnancy, and such.

As for players thumbing their noses: If it's a harmless prank, why punishment? And if the players are seriously rebelling, punishing the players is only going to foment resentment, not discourage it. Seriously, what's up with these power plays? Folks might put up with it, but that doesn't mean you're doing a fine job as a GM.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Frostriese on (10:25:54/10-20-10)
They have artificial uteri, alot of corps moms use them so they don't have to miss work to have a baby. It's mentioned in Corp Guide. They are cloned iirc.

Ah, interesting, that. Though that sounds like rather a silly demonisation of the technology ::)
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Angelone on (12:20:05/10-20-10)
I agree it is silly, I think it was added as some kind of example of how the Corps try to keep employees working as long as they can and how they dehumanize people.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Frostriese on (12:25:41/10-20-10)
I agree it is silly, I think it was added as some kind of example of how the Corps try to keep employees working as long as they can and how they dehumanize people.

I understood from your description it just... doesnt work. Because, I mean, this would be such an obviously useful and beneficial technology...

...ah well. Time to integrate that in my setting then ;) Who would be good producers of it? Oh, I know, Proteus has far too few products for a corp of its size :p

Quote from: Bradd
Also, I'm pretty disheartened by the amount of sexism in gaming in general. I like to play a mix of male & female PCs (when I'm not GMing), but in some groups it's just unbearable to play women, between the obnoxious roleplaying and the obnoxious stereotypical rules for things like menstruation, pregnancy, and such.
I must say, fortunately I havent encountered that much in playing here. But maybe Im just sheltered ;D
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Bradd on (19:26:11/10-20-10)
Luckily, it's not bad everywhere! I've also been in some really great groups, including my current one. I just hate it when people decide to make an issue out of sex or gender. While it might not be realistic to completely ignore them, I think most attempts to capture the real differences blow things way out of proportion, and pile on stereotypes. People vary a lot! I've had friends who were pretty much disabled for the last trimester of pregnancy, others who worked active jobs up until the last week or two.

But as for the bigger topic, I think player surprises are great. It's easy to react defensively, I know I often do! But ultimately I would rather turn it into a fun surprise than try to squash it. One of my least favorite things is when players come up with a neat idea that fizzles.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: FoxBoy on (14:52:57/10-26-10)
You guys think you have it bad when some of those high jinks happen...

FoxBoy is based on my tabletop character, about the same in most regards except for the name. And in the table top, he's now settling down 'cause an another fox shifter (an npc) the gang rescued in our first mission ended up bearing his kits. I had enough warning though to build up a bit of cash, so now he's on family leave for the next few months in game. Considering how fast foxes grow up... the GM made the joke that everyone could pick a kit and play them as the next runner group, with adepts, shamans, mystic adepts aplenty.

And the guys thought that was a fun idea, even started pitching in with their current characters to help train their next characters.

.
.
.

Ho boy.
Title: Re: BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER
Post by: Nomad Zophiel on (17:22:19/10-26-10)
As for magic and tech, I agree, but no amount of magic or tech short of a surrogate or or an artificial incubation womb is going to make a pregnancy a "zero deal let's just continue as before" experience at any lifestyle level much less a low lifestyle as defined in SR.
Mind, as its 2071, I kinda wonder where artifical uteri are. I mean, good god, at the upper end of the richness scale they have rejuvenation treatments that make one practically immortal! And yet nobody thought of such an obviously useful medical appliance like artficial uteri?

That could make for an interesting run in itself. Runner gets pregnant, gets the team to help her steal an artificial womb to tube her baby in. Then you have to find a street doc to hold it for you, one you can REALLY trust.

As to other previous comments that women outside the industrialized middle class can and do lead active, even dangerous lives while pregnant: Sure, and a desperate enough Shadowrunner can do it, too. Any character sheet modifications aside, though, it still won't be easy. Is the team ok with having a pregnant person along with them in a firefight and risking the baby? How about the Fixer who calls up the talent in the first place? How's Mr. J going to react to your maternity armor? I guess the flip side of that is that corp security will do its best to disable rather than kill a pregnant mother. All of these are generalizations, of course. There are surely plenty of people in the shadows who are callous enough to say "your baby, your risk". These are the kind of things that should be made clear in advance. Players have no way of knowing how Shadowrun society differs from their own except the books and the GM. Its only fair to fill them in on things their characters would know.

As a GM, though, I do not want to be the one to run the angst-ridden scene where momma gets shot up, calls Doc Wagon for resuscitation and finds out the baby didn't make it. Maybe Dumpshock can do a little three fold flyer called "so you're pregnant in the shadows" to let mothers to be know what to expect.

Once the baby is born, of course, the character has a new Dependant. So that's easy enough.