Da har jeg endelig prøvd sånn derre rollespill. Ettersom dette ikke er en sak om meg eller tegneserier, og som også de engelske leserne mine (som jeg har snakket rollespill med) setter pris på, har jeg valgt å skrive akkurat denne bloggposten på engelsk, og ettersom de fleste av dere, iallefall dere som selv har spilt rollespill, forstår engelsk, er det jo bare å klikke denne her.
Roleplaying games have fascinated me from the moment I first read about them in some videogame magazine in the early 90s. And while I have played a ton of computer RPGs since, I’ve never actually experienced the real thing. There’s a number of different reasons why. First, as a kid, my friends seemed interested in trying, but there was no games available in Norwegian, and none of us knew English at the required level. As I got older, old friends lost interest and newer ones had no interest at all. There was not really much of an Internet back then, not as it is today at least, and I didn’t dare to even approach the sweaty bunch of probably pretty nice people sitting around the table at my local comic book store.
A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon the online personality known as The Spoony One. I understand he can be pretty controversial, and he has a pretty dominant personality, so I take what he says with a grain of salt, but he did this one series of videos that fascinated me. It was called Counter Monkey, and it was all about telling stories from different RPGs he had played. Even if I had no idea how these games were played, these videos were both very entertaining to watch, for the most part, and it refreshed the fascination I’ve had since childhood.
Only problem, I still didn’t have any people to play with, and I had so much going on in my life I figured I just didn’t have time. I then moved away from Oslo, 550km north, to a small town near Trondheim.
My interest in RPGs was recently revived, when a Let’s Player I follow (Hi, Brickroad) started doing online D&D sessions weekly on his Twitch channel. Unfortunately, I still haven’t caught up with every session, but it’s out there on Youtube, and what I saw was pretty cool.
I figured I should finally give it a shot, so I got the D&D rulebook to figure out on my own what it was all about, while I was searching for groups near Trondheim.
I then stumbled upon a gaming club, Hexagon, who does weekly sessions designed for newbies. A chance to both try out RPGs as a newbie, and meet people and possibly game other stuff later.
Turns out they weren’t playing D&D there at the moment, but they were in the middle of a Shadowrun campaign. While I’m not really all that much into Cyberpunk, I figured I should try it anyway, and I’m glad I did. I spent my first evening getting guided advice on how to create my character, and spent a week actually creating him.
Character creation in Shadowrun is A LOT more complicated than in D&D. It seems easy at first, but the possibilities of customizations are near endless, and the rulebook seems a whole lot more advanced.
I decided to make a tough character as my first, because magic seemed to be a whole other level of gameplay. I wanted something simple, and as I didn’t get much time to get into the lore and backstory stuff, I wanted a kind of a character that can fit into any cyberpunk setting.
I created a Dwarf (Shadowrun is cyberpunk with magic) Street Samurai and did as best I could to build him around being a badass in combat. I got the advice that much of Shadowrun’s gameplay is to get around combat, which is cool, but I wanted my character to be able to be of as much use as possible, should my group enter combat.
His full name is Davis “Spikeball” Lane, which is kinda named after several more or less well known people, while Spikeball is my own idea. The nickname is based around the fact that he’s short, has a huge round afro, and that his Katana can be seen as a spike coming to poke you. He’s not very found of his nickname, but it seemed to stick, and some of the other characters even started to call him “Spike”, which I guess is a good sign.
The first session finally came around. They quickly checked my character sheet to see if I did anything totally wrong. I did a few mistakes here and there, but nothing major (and I’ll correct them until the next session).
The Campaign is based around a Guild giving guildmembers (players) weekly missions. That way, it’s possible to miss several sessions, or be a total newcomer to join in throughout the year, like I did (the campaign have been going since September).
Our mission this week was to pick up three big crates, weighting nearly a metric ton each, watch over them for one night, then deliver them to an address the next morning.
Of course, we had an elf with us, being very nosy and curious (which elves are, I guess) about what was inside the crates. Of course we had to open them!
At first, I stayed back a little. Spikeball is not a very streetsmart character, and while he mostly cares about getting the mission done and get payed, he kinda smelled a possible ambush coming up, so he had no major objections about the Elf (sorry, I remembered the name until I started writing this) wanting to take a little peek.
So we found this abandoned parking lot. Well, not entirely, there was a street gang hanging out there, but they were easily bribed off.
We parked the van and start working on opening the crates. I did put skillpoints into lockpicking, but unfortunately, I didn’t bring the tools for this kind of lock, so I had to stand as lookout. The troll character also started painting the car, and we never figured out why.
One crate eventually opens up, and out comes a Sasquatch… Bigfoot… who is being smuggled by one corporation. This is illegal, and the elf wants to tell, but Mr. Bigfoot gets curious about what we are up to and demands us to identify ourselves.
There are some failed negotiations with the creature, while my character still stands a bit back. I had a hard time keeping up, really, but I also wanted to observe the other players for a while, and learn.
But then, the Bigfoot proceeds to open up the other crates and release two Hellhounds. I can’t not do anything anymore.
Spikeball suddenly steps up, and tells this huge 2 and a half meter tall creature that our orders are to deliver him, inside the box, and that he can choose in how many pieces he wants to be delivered.
Everyone looks kinda shocked of what I just said. I did use the H-word (Hairball), but at the same time, I feel it was going to come to a fight anyway. Of course, the Bigfoot goes straight to attack me, and knocks me back, taking 6 stun damage.
The elf, currently riding the troll to get a better view of the situation, luckily decides to not waste any time. She shoots a rocket directly at the bigfoot, blowing up the van (which the troll had been carefully painting earlier). I have to throw myself away, but while I do, I use my Edge to compensate for my -2 stun roll, open up my armcannon and firing everything I got at the thing. The troll then finishes it off with a throwing knife.
At this moment, it kinda looks like this put the DM off a bit. He obviously wanted the thing to live longer, but we got some pretty amazing rolls, so the thing was dead.
The Doctor (which I do remember we called Dr. A), healed up my stun damage, which obviously angered one of the Hellhounds. One dog went for Dr. A, while the other one threw himself at me, without doing any damage.
I got initiative, and while I felt like I owed the good Doctor a rescue, it was obvious to target the closest dog who was at my throat. I burned my last Edge (only having two) and did an amazing roll nearly killing off the thing in one hit. That was my last lucky roll for the night, but the poor DM did all he could to save his creature. It didn’t seem planned that we would be so aggressive on his monsters, but we were.
The elf hacked the mind of the dog attacking Dr. A, to leave us alone, but the crippled beast was still going at me. And while it didn’t do any damage this time, it managed to throw me at the ground, with it’s claws around my neck. Luckily, I managed to push it away, just for the troll to come bouncing in, to give it one last whack with his mighty hammer.
One van blown up. One Bigfoot sliced open. One hellhound whacked flat, while the other one hacked out of his mind.
It was obvious we wouldn’t get paid for this one, so we scrammed out of there, deciding if we should put the blame on the scared-to-death neighborhood gang or not. The artistic troll painted a message on the wall in case someone came back to look.
And after some paperwork back at the guild, thus endeth my first roleplaying session.
Was it fun? It was! I didn’t have time to read up ANY of the rules in advance, but the group still managed to help me out, and I actually felt like I learned quite a bit while playing. The troll was also a new player, so I didn’t feel totally alone in that.
Did I do mistakes? Maybe? A 114 cm Dwarf talking shit to a 2,5m Bigfoot probably wasn’t my smartest move, but at the same time, it helped defining Spikeball as a character. He’s impatient, kinda racist, but at the same time, he has a code of honor (especially regarding his fellow dwarfs).
Spikeball was a few lucky rolls away from death, and I will probably be a lot more careful with my actions next time, but at the same time, these kinds of situations will probably stick with me. I was the dwarf leaping backwards, firing with my armcannon, towards a Bigfoot in the middle of an explosion.
You don’t see stuff like that in movies. It happened in my mind, because it happened in the game. I’m hooked, and I look forward to more Shadowrun, as well as trying out games like Pathfinder and D&D, among others, later.
And this does WONDERS to my inspirations as a cartoonist. I already have ideas for several characters and situations I can use, which all are original.
So to sum up: I have finally played an RPG and it’s damn fun!