Tabletop Confessions: Soy Un Perdedor

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Losing sucks. Defeat tastes more bitter than vegemite, not to offend any Aussies out there. And yet failure is a flavor we all must stomach now and again. More to the point, it is the price of admission when playing a game – nobody remains undefeated forever. Nonetheless gaming somehow attracts, perhaps even encourages, those who seem allergic to loss.

They reject it fiercely, from the very core of their being, in an outrage typically awkward to behold. Whether your friend who tosses the Playstation controller, a team of Russian hockey players snubbing the winning team’s national anthem, or that one kid who used to cry whenever his t-ball team lost, it is clear that winning matters more to some people than it does to others.

Instead of featuring a new game this week, my confession covers the tale of Sunny Phylnn’s untimely demise. Our Shadowrun session started as they always have. Some random nobody wanted to hire us for an odd job, only this time the task smelled funky from the get go. We were going to receive a disproportionate amount of nuyen (cash) for a simple delivery.

The orders were to meet a shipment entering the city, retrieve a package, and deliver said package to a to-be-disclosed location. There was only one stipulation – don’t open the box. Therein lay the root of Sunny’s demise; some people can’t help but try to peek into the damn box. As we waited for our contact to call with the rendezvous location, our cybernetically enhanced street samurai got a little too curious.

Unable to open the electronic lock, he resorted to punching through the side to bypass security. Note to future shadowrunners: don’t hit boxes with your robot arms when you don’t know what’s inside. If you do, you might just find out you have demolished a dragon egg. I didn’t exactly grasp the implications of what had transpired, being the noob I am, although Facepuncher, our minotaur boxer, certainly did. Even more so, he had been vocally against messing with the box to begin with.

Mr. Puncher responded in the only way he could; he lived up to his name. When the all-too-inquisitive street sam heard he was being attacked by his own team member, he lost it. I am too new to the tabletop scene to know how offensive or uncommon it is to fight another player in a pen-and-paper group. All I know is our egg-breaker took it very personally.

I’d never witness such rage quittery in all my days of gaming. Curses were spewed, bullshit was declared, awkward silence was had, and then he was gone. He got right up in the middle of the gaming shop and dipped out à la Half Baked. Props to the guy if it was all an elaborate role-playing ploy, though my shaman’s fate remains the same. As our party member fumed tableside, the broken egg’s mama dragon made swift work of our avatars in the Sixth World . Game over.

While it happened sooner than I thought it would, I’m going to take the opportunity to move on from Shadowrun. I’d like to revisit the setting once I have less esoteric systems under my belt. Watching my first RPG group implode over a botched mission was a spectacle in every sense of the word. The fact that such an outcome is even possible is exactly what brought me to tabletop gaming in the first place, the premise of a completely interactive storytelling experience.

The only question is where to next? Should anybody have a suggestion outside of the juggernaut that is D&D, definitely let me know. Chances are I end up checking out 5th Edition anyway.


Rem Fields
About Rem Fields (25 Articles)
Rem Fields (Managing Editor) aims to tell stories. As an IT professional he should be writing code or administrating systems, yet the only scripting that seems to get done is for his comic books. In between bouts of worldbuilding Rem fights the good fight as a freelance author operating out of St. Petersburg, Florida. His interests range from ukuleles to cryptocurrencies, though really he just can’t fall asleep until reminding his word processor who’s in charge.

Follow along at as he tries to bring his own brand of storytelling to the interwebs.

8 Comments on Tabletop Confessions: Soy Un Perdedor

  1. zombieChan // July 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    Of all the Shadowrun games I’ve GM, I have yet to have players try to kill each other. There was a moment where two characters almost killed each other, but the other runners defused the fight.

    Anyways some fun game suggestions: Trail of Cthulhu, World of Darkness, and TechNoir(if you want something cyberpunk again)

    • Rem Fields Rem Fields // July 16, 2015 at 1:12 am // Reply

      Heh. I guess my party just had that special somethin..

      Looks like we’ve got two votes for World of Darkness thus far. Time to do some digging.


  2. Try Mutants and Masterminds, World of Darkness, Exalted (if you like Wuxia), or Fate.

    • Rem Fields Rem Fields // July 16, 2015 at 1:14 am // Reply

      Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. You’re the second to mention the World of Darkness. A horror-themed tabletop RPG sounds like it could get pretty immersive.

  3. As it would happen, I’m GMing a group that is currently at odds with each other (secretly) because one collection is gun happy and shot up a restaurant, while the other collection is very non-combative. The non-combative group is attempting to get the combative group knocked out and arrested. >3

    I can suggest the old White Wolf games, particularly Werewolf and Mage: The Ascension as rather freeform and decently deep (but not head crushingly obtuse) games set in a modern setting. There’s also Vampire: The Masquerade, also quite good and also modern.

    If you don’t want D&D specifically, but do like the fantasy setting, you can try Pathfinder which many have claimed has taken up the torch of the old guard. There’s also the Dragon Age RPG system, which Wil Wheaton has demoed on TableTop. It seems rather simple, rules wise. There’s also the blast from the past, the Paladium RPG. A bit high on rules, but very interesting classes to choose from and as with any RPG it’s quite open to your groups tastes.

    If you’re up for super heroes, there’s the equally aged Heroes Unlimited, an old staple of super heroing for me. Champions (the pen and paper game from which the Champions Online MMO is birthed) is supposedly quite complete too, though I’ve never read the rules for it. The last one that seems to have my eye is Mutants and Masterminds thanks to its relation with Green Ronin (the group who does the Dragon Age RPG).

    • Rem Fields Rem Fields // July 16, 2015 at 1:18 am // Reply

      Dang. Factions splitting within the same party would make for some tense gaming, haha.

      I appreciate the suggestions. Pathfinder is still favored over 5e? If I go the fantasy route, it’ll definitely be one of those two.

      At the same time I don’t know if I could pass up roleplaying my own super hero..

  4. It’s fairly common in Shadowrun to have players working at slightly cross purposes but no one has ever come to blows or rage quit over it in all my years.

    Fun example:

    Back in the 90s we had a long running game in which the GM felt some of our razorgirls (always girls, always with names that sounded like a failed Irish metal band, it was weird) were powercreeping too much so he had one of them secretly approached by the Yakuza. They wanted a somewhat different outcome to a run, and in return, he got a bunch of side money. He took the up front money.

    Then the run went horribly, horribly wrong. Half the team ended up hospitalized and we only escaped because my decker, who had about 2 skill points in firearms, was the only person still healthy enough to hang out the back of a cargo plane and fire an air-to-air missile at a wyvern. They key element being that the Yakuza didn’t get what they paid for.

    This didn’t become an issue until about 4 real-life weeks later when the Yakuza’s payback plan resulted in several safehouses full of guns, a tricked out limo, and money getting hit by rockets. We had to burn most our fake identities and take a high-risk job out of Tir Tairngire in exchange for safe passage to someplace they couldn’t follow until it blew over.

    Still really good friends with the guy that sold us out. We gave him grief about it for years until he did something else funnier.

  5. Rem Fields Rem Fields // July 16, 2015 at 1:22 am // Reply

    Part of my problem might’ve been that this group formed by happenstance rather than anchoring around a group of friends.

    My hopes are to eventually get a campaign going with enough traction where I can look back and heckle my co-conspirators years from now.

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