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Making a new character to join an existing Shadowrun 3rd Edition campaign. The concept is loosely based on first edition’s Burned Out Mage. This one is not so burned out, though. However, he is on the edge of really getting low in magic.

Here’s a draft sheet:

—[ Alain Langoire De Bussey ]—

Born in Montreal. PhD mother, Post Grad father at University.
Crash + awakenening. Magic at 11 y.o.
Part of formal study of magic. Left CAS for UCAS for economic and political reasons.
Moved into security work (forging wards) including surveillance & investigation.
Mother was killed in metahuman riots.
Father couldn’t live in the house any more and moved out to the nice rural properties.
Was baited into a ‘run via security work since he was depressed.
Kind of liked the thrill and the pay.
Still did contract Warding.
Forged a bit of a name for himself as a good support mage.
Went on a hellish run and tried to sacrifice himself with an overcasting.
Resulted in searing his stomach muscle tissue and burning his right eye.
Unctious Pilot dragged Alain out of that run and helped pay for his medical care.
Still owes Pilot money (she’s a bit merc).
Now trying to find the money to get a power focus & then initiation.
Cautious of being wounded because any further essence loss means magic rating loss.

————-[Lifepath]————
Clothing style: High fashion
Hair style: Buzzcut, natural hair colour – sandy brown

Likes: Personal electronics
Parents: middle-class academics
One parent dead (mother) – died in metahuman riots
no siblings
College (MIT)
Age; happenings
17; Wins, eq val 1100
18; –
19; losses, enemies (male, gov official, killed/injured his wife, Local Councillor Bob Graham)
20; wins, eq val 500
21; friends (female, like a teacher/student, "Unctious Pilot")
22; friends (female, college, "Gelly" Giselle de Winter)
23; losses, accident/fragged up run 2000 med-costs, lose pt of strength

——–[Character Sheet]———
Priorities
Full Mage: A
Skills: B (40)
Resources: C (90K)
Attributes: D (21)
Human: E

Attributes (21)
Body, 2 [4]
Quickness, 4
Strength, 1 (0) [2] {Max: 5}
Charisma, 3
Intelligence, 6
Willpower, 5
_Essence; 6
_Magic; 6
_Reaction; 5

Skills (Active: 40)
Conjuring, Int, 5
Sorcery, Int, 5
Aura Reading, Int, 4
Computer, Int, 4
Electronics, Int, 1
Pistols, Qu, 4
Stealth, Qu, 4
Etiquette, Cha, 3
Negotiation, Cha, 3
Interrogation, Cha, 3
Car, Rea, 2
Athletics, 2

Skills (Language: 9)
English
Netspeak

Skills (Knowledge: 30)
Matrix, magic knowledge, 2
Crime Org’s, 3
Safe houses, 3
Hermetic orders, 4
Paranormal animals, 5
Magic, 5
Corp’s, 3
Security procedures, 3
70’s music & gear, 2

Resources (78,570/90K):
  Lifestyle (10,500):
    Squatter (safehouse), 5 months
    Low, 5 months
  Contacts (20K):
    ‘Mr. Fox’ (Fixer), free
    ‘Gelly’ (Street shaman), 1  {Giselle De Winter, Dutch, Bay area shaman}
    ‘Michelangelo’ (Decker), 1 {Likely a mage}
    ‘Unctious Pilot’ (Hermetic order leader), 1
    ‘Sir Blackheart’, (Smuggler/talismonger), 1
  Spells (25 spell pts):
  {Limited: Fetish, -1, req’ fetish to cast; Exclusive, -2, req’ exclusive action to cast}
    Name, force (spell point cost)
    Combat sense, 1 (adds 1 combat pool per 2 SM)
    Physical mask, 5
    Mind Probe, 3 ex (1)
    Stealth, 3 ex (1)
    Control Actions, 6 f. {pocket watch, jewellery charm} (5)
    Increase Attribute (Intelligence), 3 ex (1)
    Phys barrier, 3 f. {tower qv. chess piece, jewellery charm} (2)
    Armor, 3 f. {flattened bullet, necklace piece} (2)
    Levitate, 1
    Magic fingers, 1
    Stunball, 3 ex (1)
    Lightning-bolt, 6 ex (4)
  Magical gear:
    Fetishes: 900
    Summoning materials: 10 force points worth (10,000)
  Equipment:
    Binoculars (100)
    Goggles (lowlight + thermal) (2,700)
    Jammer, rtg. 6 (6,000)
    WNG, rtg. 4 (6,000)
    PocSec (1000)
    DocWagon contract, basic (5,000)
    Pocket torch (10)
  Weapons:
    Ares Viper (600) fl. ammo, 180rds (1800), Regular 60rds (120) in mag’s.
    Armor Jacket (long coat) 5/3 conc. 6 (900)
    Grenades (30ea)
    Offensive AP, 6
    Concussion, 6

After injury from overcasting on a fragged run
    Muscle Augmentation, rtg. 2 (BI 0.8) 40,000
    Dermal sheath, rtg 1 (Ess -0.7) 24,000 [Body +2, Impact +1] {M&M pg. 28}
    Datajack (Ess -0.1) 1000
    Cyber-eye, Sony Hazelwood (replacement w/Flare Comp + Image (Ess -0.2) 7000
    Eye-covers (both): metallic neon blue, 100
    Total debt: 72,100
    Paid: 22,400
    Plus: 11,000 (out of starting resources)
    Owed: 38,700

Back to Shadowrun

Far Cry 3 – A Critique

Touted as an open-world shooter Far Cry 3 is a pretty long way from that. It is a sprawling environment that has little change. Mountainous tropical Pacific island with ruined Japanese fortifications from World War 2 and thoroughly despicable antagonists (slavers and drug dealers who are exterminating the natives) has little variety. It is really an updated Far Cry 2 with many of the same play elements but beefed up for the latest console players’ expectations.

Your character, Jason Brody, is a fantastically tough and mobile “natural with a gun” who is seeking to rescue his enslave friends before they can be ransomed, but sold off into slavery after the money is collected.

The writing of plot attempts edginess with quotes about sanity and the lack thereof from Alice in Wonderland: a favourite of shallow-writers attempting to be deep. Nietzsche would be a better source than the opiate riddled classic by an English diletante. All the writing really conveys is the shallow understanding that psychopaths/sociopaths cannot be reasoned with and attempting to is the definition of insanity; attempting the same thing expecting different results.

Some tribal magic loosely inspired by the Maori as Rakyat has a classic Serious Sam like monster encounter complete with closed arena and sprawling mass area attacks being put out whilst the monster must be struck in only one area. This kind of tired arcade trope should have died last century. For a game that claims originality it only manages to do a tried formula in fiction of having thoroughly hate-able antagonists, with a protagonist that has the abyss he stares into, look deeply back into him.

Still, the killing and jingoistic patriotism not so subtly veneered behind laconic humor is apropos for the USA audience and the thinly veiled un-PC snappy lines attempt an edginess that would be successful on all the minors who ought not be playing this game.

Game-play is polished to simplicity. There is a lack of leaning, replaced by context based “peek-a-boo” shooting conveyed to the played by the gun being lifted when close to an object – no slicing the pie and using lean in this game. Far Cry 3 successfully captures the kinetic fear of combat with an AI that will flank you well but it fails to suspend disbelief with spawn-behinds and impossible reinforcements, just like its predecessor.

Open-world is often only while you are not on a mission. It’s for this reason I have to say the game promoters are lying when they say it is open-world. It simply is not. If you are mid-mission you cannot leave the mission area without the mission auto-failing. Also if you stray to far from the islands you are locked into you will die auto-magically. This is like playing D&D with a 12 year old who can’t ad-lib, or a philosophy lecturer who gets upset with you not buying into her false dichotomies presented as moral paradox.

Morality is loosely touched on but there is no ramifications for actions in this game apart from auto-magical results. Ultimately it is a hint of a flavour but never really brought to the forefront. Many sequences intended to shock the player are better off left as a scripted cut-scene, in particular the torture of the younger brother, and the vanishing antagonists whom you are forced to work with become tiresome very quickly.

Far Cry 3 has many failings mostly with what the promoters claim it is meant to be. If presented as a frenetic shooter with visceral elements to build tension and a plot that has despicable enemies you will really want to take-out, then that would be accurate. Its open-world elements are limited to in-between missions and ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

Ultimately, though, it is an addictive experience because the AI is smart enough to be a challenge, the exploration rewarding enough to pursue, and the combat frenetic enough to be engaging. The main missions are a let down and if Far Cry 3 had a “non-story mode” it’d be a far better offering.

7/10

Far Cry 3 – A Critique