We here in The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are now under a “shelter in place” order. That means all the things I was going to do this week are now illegal. I had an appointment with the Lab Rat Keeper, I needed to get my toes done, my neck is a bundle of knots that kneed untying, and all of those are now illegal because of the restrictions on activities because of COVID19. All barbershops, nail salons, and massage parlors have been closed. With fast food being closed except for delivery and to-go that eliminates just about everything I have to do this week, because they have also banned trips to a doctor that aren’t “urgent need”.
On the good side the RPG group has been “remotely meeting” for a while now. The service we use to meet with is having technical problems as basically everyone is trying to use it at the same time, so we had all kinds of audio problems, and by all kinds I mean of the list of issues they show on the logout screen, we had each one at some point during the game. But we managed to get a good game session in before the person with the most brain problems had to check out and take her meds. I managed to take out several bad guys without injuring any non-combatants. The last stronghold is taking longer because there are more people and this is the first place that had more than one non-combatant to look out for. I’m finally getting some use from all of that training in urban warfare from over 45 years ago. This is just like some of the classroom training we got way back in the 1970s. Not entirely like it, because in the training sessions we didn’t have to worry about not damaging the drugs, in fact it was exactly the opposite. Because it was the ’70s, and Nixon. You really had to have been there… I’m not getting any bad flashbacks, because we basically were just pretending about the urban warfare back then. So no dead people or anything like that to haunt my nightmares. Most of the stuff we did in that class we did after school and on weekends.
But getting back to the game, we were trying to shut down a drug gang in what used to be Arlington, hitting places where they sell drugs and prostitutes to disrupt their operation and stop them from sending money back to their big bosses in what used to be Mexico and Central America. So we have been tracking down all their drug distribution centers and whorehouses and destroying them, stealing the drugs and setting the prostitutes free. I think the reason we are getting paid for this is this puts a crimp in the cash flow for a megacorp. Not a serious interruption, but a noticeable interruption. Because we keep finding large stashes of drugs and large amounts of cash, and our Mr. Johnson never mentioned turning either one over to the client, the only thing I can think of why we are doing this is 1) we are trying to get the megacorp out of local organized crime or 2) the GM has a power fantasy about disrupting drugs and prostitution, or some from column A and some from column B. But anyway this last building is a little tricky because of the non-combatants, and one member of the group thinking my character is going to let any of the worse drugs back out on the streets.🤣
Game night is looking to be another disaster thanks to the medical non-care system.
The GM has been without meds since Tuesday because his insurance provider hasn’t approved his refill, so unless he gets his meds today he’s not going to be in condition to manage the game tonight. Fun, but that’s America these days, good medical care for those rich enough to afford it, and crap for middle class and below. And what makes it worse is we can see what we are missing out on because we have TV shows and movies that show rich people getting medical care, while we make do with OTC shit and herbal medicine that isn’t outlawed, or even that is but not heavily enforced. Seriously folks, this is stupid and needs to get fixed. M4A doesn’t come anywhere near what we need, the best we can say about it is “It’s better than what we have” which is basically nothing.
And we just got the notification while I was composing the above paragraph that the GM’s meds didn’t get approved either at all or in time to be effective for the game tonight. So our hostess doesn’t get to show off her mad cooking skillz, I don’t get to get out of the house and interact with other people, Mrs. the Poet doesn’t get a night off from cooking (she got one yesterday because I bought dinner), and our GM also doesn’t get to show off the devious plot he has set up for us to fail against. All because the US healthcare system basically sucks donkey dicks.
So the headline is wrong because in the time it took to compose this post what had been future tense became past tense. It’s not a potential disaster it is a disaster that exists. Game is officially ruined by not taking place, unlike last week when we lost a player to bad infrastructure.
The weird part was before I even got to the place we gamed in, as I was walking from the bus stop to the house. I tweeked my left knee a bit when I got off the bus because of no sidewalks and uneven terrain. Nothing unusual about that, but as I was walking to the house and limping a bit, a car pulled over and a hand full of wadded bills was shoved into my hand, $3 in ones to be precise. This isn’t the first time people have tried to give me money as I was trying to get someplace, and it’s not even the largest amount, but this was the first drive-by shoving of money in my hand and leaving quickly that I have experienced. The working hypothesis was since I have my winter
furbeard fully grown in I resemble a homeless person, or the popular stereotype of same even though I was wearing my police style outer shell from Alert Shirt that I use as an outer layer when things are cold and/or wet. Another weird thing is they had the money in fist out the window as they approached, like they were just waiting for someone to give money to. Basically they rolled up with a fist full of money, I said they didn’t need to do that, they said to have a good day and left. Not the first time people have tried to give me money as I walked to or from a bus stop, but the usual MO is to pull into a driveway or parking lot and get out of the vehicle to get me to take their money.
Then we had dinner of Teriyaki salmon filets with vegetable fried rice and some kind of seasoned baked potatoes that were good even if I couldn’t identify the exact cooking procedure. After we finished eating we tried to establish contact with the rest of the group so that we could finish the run before we lost our sniper/street samurai for 3 months until the end of May as he does his cast thing at Scarborough Faire, but the most important player, the one whose character has the explosives skill group, was out of communications contact. She lives in a Very Rural Area outside Houston and her Internet and phone are cell-based and somewhat intermittent, as in “not reliable and frequently blocked in bad weather”. After not being able to contact her via any means at our disposal and our hostess getting tired because of her meds and not getting enough mental stimulation to overcome the meds we ended the session early and I went home. We had planned on ending around 2230 or so, but circumstances dictated we shut down a little after 2100.
I got to blow a lot of shit and people up for the greater good. The group is trying to disrupt gang operations in the lawless zone formerly known as Arlington TX. The initial targets are drug distribution houses and warehouses near what used to be Six Flags. Some of the drugs are legal drugs diverted to the black market and still have shrinkwrapped seals with the pharmaceutical company names on them, those we take and sell back to legitimate vendors for medicinal purposes, some are herbs that have medicinal uses but need to be checked by a professional for strength and purity and we have a connection for that, and some are just for fun but have serious side effects like when you die you come back as a movie-type zombie. Those we destroy.
And The Old Man, the character I play that’s based on what I would be in Shadowrun, has zero inhibitions against killing drug runners. As in dropping multiple frag grenades into a room of gang members and doing damage between overkill and chunky salsa (damage levels in Shadowrun, overkill is damage in a single shot or impact between 2 and 3 multiples of body, chunky salsa is between 3 and 4 multiples of body, red mist is 5 or more multiples of body) and hitting a single NPC gang member with red mist, dropping a frag grenade between his feet that would blow up on impact. The Old Man likes drugs even less than Yr Fthfl Svnt author, and this is just a taste of how his character keeps the peace between the gangs near his home and enforces the DMZ.
The canon is that since my character can’t stay dead and even if I get redmisted I come back together, when I get killed I come back and kill you in front of your homies and tell them to act nice and not get on my bad side. Even with a charisma stat of 1 that makes an impression on people, trolls, and orcs. Less so on elves, but anything less than a dragon respects my reputation, even if I’m a mythical character to some people in the Shadowrun universe. I let a lot of stuff get by near my house, but drugs are my flashpoint. Also in canon is every time I die I get a little bit more insane, and I have died many times in and out of game. So I’m not quite Joker level yet, but Thanos is a pussycat in comparison.
Anyway, we finished the first house and had blown the front door of the second house when fatigue and muscle pain overtook a couple of players after 6 hours of fighting the technology that almost allows us to play in spite of being in several locations as much as 400 miles apart (but all still in TX, this is a big state) so we will finish this Run before we lose a player for 3 months for his annual side gig as a rogue for Scarborough Faire. End score for me was 4 dead drug runners ranging from overkill to redmist, and one other for the rest of the party, but in fairness everyone else set the targets up and all I did was knock them down.
There is a standing joke that the most difficult part of running an adult RPG group is getting everyone there at the same time a.k.a. scheduling. And we have one member of the group participating in a 3 day Magic the Gathering tournament who just happens to be the GM who’s running things… So no game today. Actually we would be playing this evening because one of the other members has a Sunday morning shift for some reason (he works for a bank?) and another member uses the morning and early afternoon to be with their Significant Other.
This is the game that my character is an AU version of myself, or as close as the game mechanics will let me, because some of the stuff I have done IRL would break the game mechanics. The specific instance I’m referring to is when I got hit with the truck. Now there is the possibility my character could survive that, but the player’s guide puts it outside human limits, not just by a little but a lot given the speed the truck was going when I was hit. I would have to be something with the Body stat of a Dragon but looked like a Human, and I’m not sure that exists in game. Or it could be that I have Natural Armor of some kind in the game. See my backstory page (link at top of this page).
Since we weren’t going to be playing I decided that maybe this would be a good day to go back to church since they don’t start until 1300, but when I got out of bed that idea was quickly vetoed by sharp pains in the bottoms of my feet, as I evidently Did Something my feet didn’t like. I have no idea what that might have been, but I have no doubts I Did It, because the evidence is there. It must have been something I did before I put my shoes on, which means it could have been almost anything. Or it could be just accumulated wear and tear coming back to bite me. See the previous paragraph for an example of “wear and tear” I have accumulated. And speaking of painful feet mine are getting cold and I need to lie down and get my feet under a blanket, so I think I should do that now.7
With this group we spend more time planning than doing, but because we spend so much time planning there usually isn’t much that needs to be done. Last night’s Shadowrun session was a good example of that. We were going up against a force 12 spirit that cursed us for moving a magical artifact a few runs back, and has caused loss of life (mine) or destruction of materiel (everybody else) for the party, so it had to be destroyed because it was created as a guardian for that magical artifact and can’t be negotiated out of doing what it was created for. So the potions we got from the previous run were not “Curse-be-gone” but actually a way of merging the astral and physical planes for a short period so that we could pull the spirit physically into our reality where we could shoot it.
The way that worked was to find a confined space with walls and sturdy doors that would confine the spirit within the area of effect of the spell released when the vial containing the potion was smashed on the floor. Otherwise the spirit could just wander away and we couldn’t hurt it, but it could still hurt us. So I moved the vehicles out of the garage under the house and we set up our ambush there, the garage having walls of reinforced concrete several feet thick and a bunker-strong outer door and inner door to prevent unsavory people from getting into the house through the garage, which would make it good enough to confine most embodied spirits who were below god-level strong. So after selecting ammunition that would do great damage to the spirit but not have a large enough area of effect (for fragmentation ammo, I had to just use slugs for both the grenade launcher and the Cybershot because other ammunition had too large a blast radius to use in the garage) we activated the potion to trap the curse spirit in the garage. And in less than a full round of initiative the curse spirit was no more. Seriously, I was fourth in initiative and I never got a chance to fire a round because of how well we selected ammo and weapons, that and a little dice karma wiped a force 12 spirit in less than one initiative pass.
Now we have to return the Pink Purse Poodle to the rich bitch we swiped her from a few runs ago. I’m trying to get the party to use the animal rescue in the back to get her to come to us and retrieve her dog. The tentative plan is to have the party member with the highest charisma stat “working” for the animal rescue when Ms. Rich Bitch comes to get her dog from the rescue, because I have the charisma needed to seduce orc and troll women, but that’s about as far as I can push it. Even in the 6th world, healing powers and plastic surgery can only do so much when you lead with your face into deadly situations. The plan so far is after the ransom is confirmed Ms. Rich Bitch gets a call the next morning saying her dog was identified as hers during a routine scan for ID chips, and she could either get it herself or send a pre-identified minion to pick it up. The alternative would be to use the regular employee and just tell them the story we want them to know so there is no need for anyone on our side of the transaction to be untruthful.
So that was my night last night, how was yours?
There was a problem with scheduling at the Lab Rat Keeper so I’m here and not there today. I have a new appointment same day and time next week, and this will be a fasting draw, meaning I get up and take my pill with water and don’t have anything to eat until after noon and nothing to eat after midnight the day before. Now ordinarily this would not be a problem but I eat a snack about 0200 so that I’m not famished as a bear in Spring when I get up. So I will be consciously monitoring my mood so as to not to bite anyone’s head off.
We are having game tomorrow instead of Sunday because there were multiple schedule conflicts on Sunday and everyone can make it on Thursday. And after I post this I’m going to get my toes done because they need it something awful because it has been a few months since the last time. Seriously they are starting to hurt again because the nails are that long. So another shower to make sure I smell nice after lunch and off to the nail spa for shorter toenails.
This time I woke up in a coffin at my viewing. I knew this would happen when the other party member just left my body lying in the dog run for the dog part of the animal and people rescue at the compound.
Explanation of the situation. We heisted the Pink Purse Poodle (official breed name for a poodle the size smaller than teacup with naturally pink hair) and had to have someone take care of the pupper until we could manage the transfer to the Johnson, so I brought it to my place where there is a registered animal rescue in case someone was tracking the ID chip. I put the dog into the fenced dog run so he could use the facility instead of making a puddle in the house, and as he was doing his business I heard lots of barking and growling. As I investigated the noise I saw what appeared to be a calico house cat roughly the size of a large tiger in the dog run. This creature is called a Talis Cat, and is a magically enlarged house cat with an appetite to match the size. Some people keep these as pets in the DFW Sprawl, and this was either one of those running loose, or a stray. I was still loaded up with 3 gel rounds and one lethal slug in my arm gun and managed to get 2 gel rounds on target against the Talis Cat before it got to me, and pretty much took me out in one attack. I had a very bad defense roll and it went through my entire damage pool and 4 ticks into overflow in the single attack, which is DEAD for most characters but not for The Old Man. This time I woke up in a coffin at the viewing because I was out in front of the house and when the party came to get the poodle for the Johnson to deliver for the client they just left my body for the neighbors to find. The Old Man is a beloved neighborhood figure and seeing me in that condition they naturally assumed I was Permanently Dead because there are tales of my surviving things that would kill a normal being but this was obviously not something I could live through. So, I woke up still missing some bits and regenerating them, including my implanted cat eye bioware (because bioware doesn’t need to be recharged to keep working). So I’m partially blind until I finish growing the new eyes (and the rest of my face), and announced to the people paying respects “I’m not dead yet! Don’t you people watch Monty Python? I was pining for the fjords.” Which caused the mourners great consternation except for those who watched the Monty Python marathon my character puts on for Halloween, they laughed.
So, anyway, The Old Man is currently growing back the bits the Talis Cat chewed up to ripped out while the rest of the group delivers the poodle to the Johnson and back to the person we dognapped it from so it could be used as a living spy device. The original plan was for me as head of the dog rescue to deliver the pupper as having gotten the address from the ID chip when we scanned the dog after it showed up looking for food/ got dropped at the delivery entrance/ whatever wild story we could think of. But since I was still not in condition to leave the house, that plan got scotched.
Incidentally Team Ruff beat Team Fluff in the Puppy Bowl, and there was some kind of a football game at the same time, some kind of a Superb Owl thing.
And I have yammered on enough.
Well game didn’t happen again this week because one critical player needs brain meds and his insurance company did the prior approval bullshit on him and he hasn’t had his meds in about a week and as a result has difficulty following conversations and formulating plans. Or as he himself put it “It’s like walking in a fog”. Since I’m still trying to keep this a PG-13 rated blog I won’t repeat what I said about the insurance company execs that came up with this process, except that “practicing medicine without actually having contact with the patient” came up a few times between graphic depictions of medieval forms of execution where death was the sweet relief from the rest of the execution.
We had a great lunch, and shared the second Giant Reese’s Cup. The hostess prepared a ton of fried rice with tilapia, and vegetables, but I neglected to get a picture of that.
Because the GM was bored and didn’t have anything to distract her the two former boyfriends got our eyebrows “done” with tweezers, well eyebrow changed to eyebrows in my case. The monobrow that extended from forehead to the tip of my nose was subdivided into housing lots by plucking a street down the middle. In not as colorful terms where I used to have one eyebrow and a hairy nose I now have two eyebrows and a bald nose. I’m not showing that in case my bi-eyebrowed doppelgänger reads my blog and wants to make an angry comment about how he looked better and I should quit copying him 😈. [Sheldon Cooper] Kidding of course, he’s never left a comment about either of our looks. [/Sheldon Cooper]
On another front I need to contact my bank about doing a temporary increase on my debit card to infinity so it doesn’t get declined when I go pay my taxes. That would be embarrassing to say the least. Since the one tax office is closed until next Monday that errand will probably have to wait until Friday, so I can get everything dome at once.
And I really need to get some practice time with the new model-building tools so this seems like a good time to take a break. I know I write fascinating prose 😹 but I will return tomorrow.
Well, hand singular, as the right hand still functions within tolerances. And that is a call back to how my business partner and I used to greet each other when we were in the same room instead of just the same country. “How ya doin’?” “Functioning within design tolerances if not design specifications. How about you?”
Yesterday we role-played the barbecue with the orcs and trolls and hangers-on, with much karma and contact points accrued. I got mine because you don’t give away 4 tons of real meat to starving people used living on soy and bugs without someone appreciating you for it, and the rest of the party because of whatever the inverse of guilt-by-association is, maybe halo effect? Anywho they got level one group contacts with one loyalty, I got level 3 with 3 loyalty. Mine are not quite take-a-bullet, but high enough. I have access to most of the gang activity on the east side of the DFW Sprawl and most of the rest of the sprawl, with multiple “favors” owed, because I. Take. Care. Of. People. They’re just Different-looking People. Which is just like I am IRL, easiest role-playing I ever did.
Now we are going to make a run where we steal a dog so it can be bugged and record the owner’s activities 24/7 by a third party hacking the dog’s RFID chip. And yes I know that can’t happen in this world, but this is Shadowrun with tech that interfaces prosthetic genitals to relay real sexual pleasure so of course the ID chip can be hacked into an audio-visual listening device. The hard part will be making sure the dog is awake and looking in the desired direction when something of interest to our employers is taking place, but that’s their problem, not ours. Ours is just to grab the dog from the owner’s purse and deliver it to the employer, then return it without getting caught. I’m going to suggest that on the return we claim we found it wandering the street near Casa de El Poeta and saved it from being somebody’s dinner and when we scanned the ID chip we found out who owned it. And if I bring it back I think it would be more likely to be believed, because I would be in my Benevolent Philanthropist role, not my Runner role.
And that pretty much covers the weekend for me, how are you?