Friday, April 5, 2013

Critical Glitches and the Fun The Options They Bring

Wednesday was my Shadowrun game. I decided to crank it up a little bit and clued the players in that there was a "job" available with a potential 800,000 nuyen pay day. Big time money for the group that so far has had a "biggest" payday of about 30k. The mission is simple, in statement anyhow, of retrieving a stolen item and giving the thief - alive - to the wronged party. The group jumped at the job and was tracking down the thief when one of the players rolled a critical glitch on stealth. Fun ensued. I want to talk about that today, and what it could mean going forward.

The Glitch
The glitch in question was simple enough. The group had leads indicating that the thief had ties to a Russian bratva that operated in the city. They went to the 'russian district' to check things out. While 3 members of the group went in and scouted some other members circled the district and tried to stay out of the way and not draw attention. It was going pretty well too, until one of the PCs scouting the area rolled a critical glitch.

I ruled that the player had almost had a head on collision with their bike and a van, both her and the van driver stopping inches from impact. Through the front windshield of the van the PC could see someone tied up in blankets struggling and what looked like 5 rather large thuggish looking guys. The driver thought the PC was a cop and pulled a gun. The PC pulled a gun as well and a shootout started.

Now, to be fair, I ruled that the heavy hitting street sammy was also int he area. The 2 on 5 was going well until one of the badguys got a lucky roll with a full auto burst from a rifle. The shot was enough to drop the street sammy and the other PC managed to just barely get into the van and get away with the original hostage thinking that their friend was dead.

Why I Like This
I really like this scene, and the big reason is how dynamic it was. I didn't make things horrible for the PC, but I took the glitch to put them in a place where they could end up in a lot of trouble. Had the PC reacted to the gun by running for cover, then the Van likely would've just taken off and that would've been the end of it. Instead, the PC chose to act, got into an altercation, and things played out from there.

The abandoning of the downed PC is also something I like, but for another reason. If nothing else it shows that the player understands that in Shadowrun the GM will kill you if you go into a bad situation - or just end up in one and don't react right. I also like it though because it gives me a lot of options for going forward.

What Options?
Well, let's take a look at some facts. One, the PCs are looking for a thief with ties to the russian mob. Two, the downed PC has a megacorp as an enemy with a bounty hunter in city looking for him specifically. Three, the PCs recently took a hostage/victim from the russian mob.

Now, these three pieces can go together in a number of ways. For example, I can have the russian mob want to trade hostages (PC for the person in the blankets.) I could have the russians want to do that, but also have the hostage be the thief the players are looking for. Now they have to choose between their big pay day and their friend's life. I could have the person in the blanket offer a lot of money to do something, and get the same situation another way.

All of these are just basic, scraping the surface options as well. The situation, if you are willing to delve into it, really does bring up a lot of ways to play through.

Going Forward
Going forward in the game we have a PC who thinks they just abandoned a friend to die, a rescued hostage, a pending phone call, and a 800k job. Everything is set for a lot of good action, RP, and hopefully drama. All because a few extra 1s popped up on a casual roll. I think I'm definitely liking this idea of glitches and critical glitches, if only for the additional story complications they can interject.

1 comment:

  1. I still have the driver of the van unconscious in the van as well so not only did I take their hostage, I took one of them. The benefits to using gel rounds standard.

    As a player having glitches is all kinds of fun to me. Unlike critical failures which just has bad things happen, the entire point of a critical glitch or a glitch is that it introduces problems. Now my opinion of this may be colored because of How you handle glitches, but it's something I look forward to. Especially with things like stealth.