It's Wednesday and due to various constraints and forgetfulness I'm still awaiting the session round-up from two of the PCs involved in my Shadowrun game. However, the people who have responded so far have done a good job and all of them have mentioned a small part of the session that I had honestly forgotten. Strange, considering how much it seems to have meant to them. The item in question? The brief mention of one of the PC's contacts covering for the lack of a fireworks permit. Why did it matter? Well, that's what I'd like to talk about today.
The Full Situation
If you've been reading about my Shadowrun game then you may know that currently the group is on their first real Shadowrun and have pulled a pretty sweet protect the VIP mission. As part of their protect - and entertain - mission one of the PCs has decided to make home-made fireworks. He made the fireworks well, and during the night of a party set them off. Shortly after one of the other PC's contacts (a member of Knight Errant) called them wanting to know about the fireworks show and that he had covered for the lack of a permit.
Why Does This Matter?
Ultimately, when I made mention of the firework's license, I was just trying to make the world seem a bit more real and to give the contact a reason to call the PC. In doing that though, and as part of that, I had made a consequence for something the group hadn't done and a consequence for something the group had done. The action they hadn't done was get a permit for the fireworks they wanted to set off. Doesn't matter how expensive or hard to get one of those permits may be, they didn't get it. However, they had included a member of Knight Errant - the local police force - in their group for the run and that prevented it from becoming a small problem.
These small consequences to actions help, I like to think, make the world feel real. Sure, the big actions and consequences should be there but even non-reactive video-game worlds will react to you killing the big boss. What they don't do is have the farmer get upset because you cut through his grain field as a shortcut - and let you fix that by paying him or working to set it right.
In the case of my game it also helps that something the group had already done solved a problem they made recently. Why? Because it means that their prep-work has meant something. Problems aren't being forced on them, nor did they have to call in the prep-work specifically to solve the problem. Instead, the world just worked as we would expect the real world to work in those same situations.
At the end of the game this little altercation had all but completely faded from memory until my player's started mentioning it. I am glad that they caught it though, and that they reminded me about it, because it goes right along with something I hope to achieve in all my games. I want the world to feel like it could be real.