By Rob Heinsoo.
This is the first installment of the Good Parts writeup from Jose Garcia's Feng Shui campaign. Rather than chronicling the entire campaign, I'm doing character sketches.
My character isn't at the center of this first writeup, but I should say a few words to introduce him. I'm playing a transformed Dragon named Ken Xiaoyang. Ken is a professional race car driver, Formula I. He pops into Hong Kong between races. His melodramatic hook is that in his previous lifetime as a transformed Dragon he was horribly betrayed by a very highly placed member of the Lodge. He swore vengeance as he died. The Lodge is presently honor-bound not to screw with him until he messes with them. But sooner or later he's gonna mess with them in a big way. The problem is that he doesn't fully remember exactly who he needs to get vengeance against, so at the beginning of the campaign he's mainly concerned with gathering information and gathering talented allies, i.e., the other PCs. Ken is a leader-type. He's capable of negoiating in tough situations, but when he's made up his mind to take someone out he's a very hard man.
As a Good Parts writeup, we'll start with the most colorful bits. That would be Ace Williams, Brian Campbell's character. Ace is an Everyman Hero from a style of action movie you might not have immediately selected for your own games: he's a blaxploitation character! To be more precise, he looks a lot like the Fred Robinson character in From Dusk Till Dawn.
All us players fell in love with Ace when the PC group was trying to find an old Chinese man named Kar Fai in a restaurant named Shanghai Gardens. Ace had somehow not grokked what the rest of the PCs were trying to accomplish. Probably he'd been off on an errand, maintaining his little stable of forcibly-recruited mooks (see below). While the rest of the PCs roamed the restaurant, trying to find Kar Fai, Ace got himself into a drinking contest in the back room with "some old Chinese fool name of Kar Fai." While Kar Fai drank cups of sake, Ace downed brews. They were going at it pretty heavy when the first grenade flew in through the door. In the moment of silence which followed, someone yelled "Greetings from Fast Eddie Lo!" All the PCs ducked for cover or started drawing weapons except Ace, who just kept on drinking, telling Kar Fai, "You better not try and use this as an excuse [[BOOM!]] to run out on our contest, fool." "Yeah yeah yeah" said Kar Fai, finishing a drink. But when the gunmen started pouring into the room a couple seconds later, Kar Fai disappeared, inspiring future running commentary from Ace including lines such as such as "You're looking for that skinny old Kar Fai? What you want him for? Can't drink or fight. Ran away from a good drinking contest. If he fights as bad as he drinks I dont blame him."
Ace's signature weapon is a 70s vintage 88 Oldsmobile. Yeah! When we go cruising in the Acemobile Brian puts on his "Pimps, Players, and Private Eyes" CD. Choosing his car as his signature weapon is Brian's tricky way of making sure that the car always stays around. I dunno that choosing your car as your signature weapon meets the letter of the rules, but it sure grabbed the spirit of the game by the throat, so Jose gave it his thumbs-up. The Olds gets damaged plenty, but it's still holding itself together.
The funniest avalanche of automotive damage was when a woman dressed in a white ninja suit was cutting the PCs to shredlets. My PC, Ken, wasn't present, but as I understand the incident, Ace got everybody into his car and tried to run down the White Ninja (for yes, we believe it was she). He did pretty well, she planted one foot on the fender like she was going to vault over but then she slipped and rolled across the windshield onto the top of the car and over. Inside the car, the Killer, Sonny, said "Alright! I open up on her with Both Guns Blazing as she rolls across the roof of the car!" "You shoot through the roof?!" "Yeah!!" "Oh man, Ace's car!" but Sonny was not to be deterred (and Jose wouldn'ta let him take it back anyway) so blamblamblamblamblamrattarattarattatak, Sonny's twin MP-5s (his signature weapons) perforated the roof of Ace's signature weapon from the inside. Missed the White Ninja anyway.
Ace gets the PCs into all types of situations they wouldn't normally get involved in, including the position of Mook Managers. I don't know exactly when Ace recruited Our Mooks, but he apparently convinced two li'l gunmen it was in their best interests to work for us instead of against us. He makes a point of taking them snacks when they're on stakeouts. He also insists on rescuing them when they are invariably discovered and tied to chairs by the people they're supposed to be staking out.
Along with his sympathy for the underdogs of the gangworld, Ace has a serious grudge against cops. One of the characters who joined the PCs during the fight against the gunmen who disturbed the drinking contest was a Maverick Cop played by Bob Kruger, Shadowfist's (and Netrunner's) editor. At the very end of the fight, when Fast Eddies' mooks were running for their limos in the street, Bob's cop took a shot at the mooks and fumbled so badly that Jose had to bring down the wrath of the scriptwriter. "You hit an old lady in the back. She was trying to run out of the restaurant and bang, you hit her."
"Oh no," said Bob. "Is she alive?"
"Well, she seems to be breathing. But not by much."
"Oh man, what am I gonna do?" said Bob.
Out of character, I said "Quick... put a gun in her hand!" and collapsed helplessly into cruel laughter, not least because of the expression Bob gets whenever you get a good one in on him.
You'll have noted that I'm not referring to Bob's character by the character's name. That's because the character didn't survive the session. It's not that the character died, it's that Ace Williams made the Maverick Cop's life so unpleasant that Bob gladly chose to start a new character in the next session rather than face more "Are you a cop? Yes. Did you shoot that old lady? Hell yes, you shot that old lady."
Last modified: June 14, 1996; please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.