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.