Monday, February 16, 2015

The Minds of Twelve-Year-Olds

While we walk in the woods together, Ben and I play a "game." He imagines it as something like Dungeons & Dragons, but we pay without dice or rules, so it is more like shared storytelling, with him mainly in control of the story. The game we are playing now is set on a post-apocalypse Earth full of mutants; much of the planet is ruled by an evil entity called The Government, but the story is set in the badlands beyond The Government's control. My character is an AWOL Government soldier, a genetically engineered half raccoon - half human. (He offered me the choice of a bunch of different mutant or zombie characters, of which the raccoon was actually the most plausible.) I conceal my true name but people call me Bandit; I speak in short, gruff sentences and work hard at never seeming excited or surprised. I travel with a party that consists of me, a recycling robot cobbled together from recycled parts himself, a softball-sized flying scout robot with a laser weapon, a "Big Dude" who sounds like the main character from one of those action movies featuring a pro wrestler, a mysterious hooded figure wearing gloves and goggles who seems to be alive but speaks in a digital voice and never shows its skin, and a purple mutant zombie dog named Disco. We have disco theme music that plays when we go into battle, or when we strut in to meet dignitaries. (I imagine this as like one of those weddings in which the wedding party dances down the aisle. But to the Bee Gees. And a gang of heavily armed border ruffians instead of a wedding party.) My character's main weapon is an old automatic rifle that I inherited from my father. Ben keeps trying to foist exotic weapons -- plasma rifles, laser guns, rocket launchers -- onto me, but I think the old-fashioned gun suits my gruff persona better. I think the main reason I travel in a big party is so he can dream up lots of crazy weapons to give everyone.

Most of my time has been spent traveling around as an escort for trading caravans, fighting off bad guys that include crystal mutant humans, crystal mutant spiders, crystal mutant worms, human bandits, rogue robots, and scouts for The Government. Lately my main mission, besides accumulating that ever-growing arsenal, has been to establish communication with robot scavengers, using communication modules we take from the hulks of robots that attack us; by befriending them instead of smashing them all I have managed to make a lot of money trading with them, so I no longer have to serve as a guard in other people's caravans.

Yesterday we were exploring an area where an old industrial district has been overrun by glaciers, so there are huge robotic factories frozen into the ice, with the odd still functioning robot or sealed vault. I have a map; one of the points of interest is a little golden revolver with the notation WEIRD. Saying, "When the going gets weird, the weird get going," which amused Ben to no end, I set out toward the golden gun. There I found a sealed vault. A holographic greeter named Bob welcomed us to the Emporium, but despite cheerful assurances from a series of holographic salespeople -- Steve, Kenny, and Susie, I think -- the shelves were bare. But then the last holographic emissary invited us to meet the Gun God, and we of course agreed. A huge golden car appeared, a convertible with big tail fins. We climbed in and flew off to an orbiting space station where we met the Gun God, who looks like a golden version of the masonic pyramid on the dollar bill. (Which Ben insists on calling the Illuminati pyramid, even though I explained to him that he was confusing different godless conspiracies.) The Gun God is an alien from Venus. It seems that he has a vendetta against The Government, and he offered us each the choice of a weapon from his golden weapon chests if we agreed to use them against his enemies. So we loaded up on energy swords and thunder hammers and plasma rifles, and went on our way.


ArEn said...

You guys are SO cool. :-)

Unknown said...

Word @ArEn. I want to be a recycling robot cobbled together from recycled parts!

G. Verloren said...

This reminds me of a few Shadowrun games I've been part of, despite the lack of a rule system.

As the best roleplayers (in my opinion) will typically tell you, all that truly matters is "The Rule of Fun". If a rules system helps you have more fun, then great! But if it gets in the way, never feel bad about bending or breaking rules to have fun. (Or about just throwing the rulebook away entirely!)