Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tales of RPGs Past: Cray's lead-in

Picking up from where we left off last time, here's a lightly edited version of my character's lead-in as written by my old college Shadowrun GM, Mark Okuno. I really like how he picked up on the use of my characters and managed to present them in a way that makes me proud. Good on ya, Maruku-san!

RPG writing is fun and unique in that it's one of the only mediums in which you find the use of second-person narrative to be common. The "you" in this case refers synonymously to you, the player, and the character you're playing (i.e. the player character). Here's a good example:

“So, how come they love you so damn much?”

You look across the table at Arliss, as the twins get up, having warmed your lap for the last 20 minutes. You shrug and turn toward Tony who is looking over a black-colored dossier.

“It’s that stupid wig of yours,” Tony mumbles without bothering to look up. “And the eyes  definitely the eyes.” Tony flips through a number of pages.

“They don’t nearly seem so damn repugnant of you, and you ain’t that pretty neither, boy.” Arliss spits back, reaching up to adjust the wig. “It’s not like I don’t wash it now and then.…”

“Why even bother,” Tony continues without heed. “Just look at Red over here. Take that damn thing off. Flaunt it. Flash it.”

Red looks up from where he has been playing a game of round-the-clock solitaire. He reaches up to rub his polished scalp. Turning to face you, the immaculately dressed man pauses to look longingly at the dreadlock-like strands of hair hanging from your forehead. He sighs, then yawns, and resumes concentration upon his game.

“Yeah, well maybe I would if I didn’t have a number of HOLES in my noggin. It’s either this or a hat alright?” Arliss complains as he motions for another round of whatever brew he was drinking.

“How about a dog muzzle for the big one in the front of your face?” Tony looks up, setting the dossier down with his hand on top. “Just give up on those two. They don’t like you that much. What can you do?” Tony motions for a refill on his drink as well, seeing the serving girl pass by, and then the corporate man points a finger toward you. “Get my man here a pitcher of OJ. And ice.”

“So, how does it look?” Arliss asks the Italian as he gives you a once over.

“Cray here is the man for the job, no doubt. Looks like a little action is being put together for a hit on some museum. Extra muscle is what’s on the menu.” Tony looks over at you as well. “So how do you feel, Cray? That last scrap of yours took you out for a while. It’s been a couple of months.”

You look over at the seedy looking corporate man. “I’m fine.” Your guttural response comes out as a growl. “I feel even better.”

“Even your arm? Wasn’t it a compound fracture?” Arliss looks down and starts in surprise as he realizes that you are no longer wearing the cast.

You bend over, reaching down with a massive troll hand, gripping the edge of the table. To Arliss and Tony’s awe and surprise, you lift the cumbersome 50 kilo composite piece of metal and wood a full meter into the air, balancing it level as a board, all the while sitting down. Red grunts and stands up, continuing to flip cards onto the table.

“Holy shit, you’re a freak show.” Arliss whistles, drawing some attention from the nearby booths.

“I tell you, boy, he’s our man!” Tony laughs as he pounds his decker friend on the back. Red nods his head in agreement, eyes stuck to the cards.

“Well then,” Tony continues, “It looks like you’re ready alright. This one’s a private contractor, Cray, and for small timers like us, this is pretty big. This could be the one that puts Troika on the map.”

The serving girl returns with the drinks and Arliss grabs the pitcher of OJ, pouring it into your glass. As she leaves, Red quickly taps her on the ass, his hand immediately withdrawing back to his card game. The young girl turns around suspiciously, but can’t seem to figure out who violated her. Backing away slowly, she quickly turns and heads back toward the bar.

“It looks like a small group of people are being put together to jack something from a corporate owned museum in downtown Portland. This file doesn’t go into too much detail, but there’s gonna be a meet down at the pier on Tuesday night. Your name came up, Cray, as you’re one of the toughest sons of bitches to walk the Barrens, and they’re looking for some heavy duty bastard that can take a few hits.” He finishes, squaring you with a grin.

“Just tell me what I’m getting paid.” You bend over taking the glass of OJ as it disappears in your massive hand. Bringing it up to your mouth, you take a tiny sip as the glass immediately empties. With a sort of reproachful look, you stare at the glass and put it back down. Arliss immediately refills it for you.

“Well it says here that you’re gonna have to meet some guy named 'Scooter' on Tuesday night. You’re gonna have a little chat with him and some of the other goons they’re trying to recruit, and if all goes well, Troika will be wired five grand then, and 35 Gs after you’ve snatched the prize.”

You nod in acknowledgement. “So I still get thirty, right?”

“Yup, thirty percent’s your take on this one: that’s 12 Gs. So go down there, have a look see, and it’s your call on the spot. Just give me a call. We’ll be here.”

“Alright then.” You pick up the glass in your right hand, and the pitcher in your left. Five seconds later, both are empty.

“Remember, Tuesday night 9:30, pier 27. The man’s name is Scooter.” The three of them nod at you.

“Have fun!” Arliss laughs. Red flashes you a thumbs-up.