Near the beginning of my (now almost over) internship in New York City, I spent two weeks reading through nearly every Shadowrun book I have on PDF. The motherboard on my gaming laptop had died, and my backup computer is almost ten years old (can’t play games, can’t connect to the wifi, etc), so there wasn’t much else for me to do to keep myself entertained in the evenings. I figured, hey, I’ve got all this time, might as well use it so I can keep up with my friends who’ve been playing throughout the fall when I get back for winter quarter.
For this game, I’m playing a rigger. Specifically, I’m playing the hardware guy, the one who mods weapons and tweaks vehicles and lives in his garage because he spent all of his cash on his van, drones and guns. So I didn’t bother reading all that much on the magic side of things. Hacking, I read a little more about–probably not enough, considering how much a rigger relies on the Matrix and his various wireless connections. Frankly, even if you were asking me to do something simple, like grabbing data off an unsecured commlink, I would have no fucking idea how to proceed.
On the other hand, I know the prices and effects of nearly every kind of ammunition in the game. I know what gun to recommend for any particular task, and what mods would make it even better. I can identify most drones by name, and give you a brief run-down on the pros and cons of every major weapons manufacturer. I’ve got a piece of gear for just about every situation. Hell, I even know the different brands of clothing and the most popular in-universe music genres. In those two weeks that I had nothing better to do, I soaked my brain in Shadowrun. And then I went back to my blog and looked at the old picture I’d drawn of my character, and thought, you know, I can do better than that. Not only because that old picture is, frankly, shit, but because I know more about the world and, by extension, the character. I know what clothing he wears (“Ace of Clubs” from Vashon Island’s Aces High jacket line, Ares Victory-brand cargo pants and boots), I know what music he likes (chrome rock, goblin rap and French electro-swing), I know what he eats (mostly soy food substitutes manufactured by his cooking unit, which he hates with a passion), I know his runner name (“Control”), and I know how to be properly paranoid in the Sixth World’s information society (use the tag eraser on everything).
So I drew him again.
I think it came out a bit better this time.