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BEST PLAYER TWIST EVER

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Wayfinder

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« 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?

Darkeus

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« Reply #1 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)
« Last Edit: (00:05:03/09-14-10) by Darkeus »
I thought what I'd do is; I would pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes.

FastJack

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« Reply #2 on: (23:55:48/09-13-10) »
Don't forget random rolls for morning sickness & stuff.

GBL

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« Reply #3 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.

Longshot23

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« Reply #4 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 . . .

Doc Chaos

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« Reply #5 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
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The Cat

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« Reply #6 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.

Juxtamon

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« Reply #7 on: (12:20:58/09-14-10) »
Round of applause for Cat's wrangling.

 8)
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Critias

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« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: (13:32:41/09-14-10) by Critias »

Djinnocide

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« Reply #9 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

Doc Chaos

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« Reply #10 on: (13:14:36/09-14-10) »
*clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

Brilliantly played on the Cat's side.
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Usda Beph

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« Reply #11 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!
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The_Gun_Nut

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« Reply #12 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.
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The Cat

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« Reply #13 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.

Critias

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« Reply #14 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?
« Last Edit: (23:36:36/09-14-10) by Critias »