It’s the year 2077 on the West Coast Sprawl. The world is ruled by the wealthy elite, a group of four megacorps who wield unlimited power. There is only one who can stop them…
I am a punk, one of the lawless kids always on the run from the law. And there’s only one thing that matters to me…
Looking good. What, you didn’t think I was the one that was going to stop them, did you??
Mirrorshades megagame by Horizon Megagames
That right. As a cyberpunk, my only concern was making sure I was cool and popular. My reputation and lifestyle were my paramount concern.
Unlike most other megagames, I wasn’t on a team, as such. I was a Punk player, like more than half the players, and I was in the cyberpunk grouping, but that was more of a shared ethos than anything more formal. I was an independent operative, out on my own. And I was a Face, one of those most adept at talking my way out of trouble – manipulating, scheming and bullshitting.
Heading up the punks was Fastjack… Well, I say heading them up, but it was more of a herding cats situation. They were free to choose to follow him, or not. But he was the only one that stood a chance at standing up to the Corps.
And what corps they were! Tyrell Ashpool, Ares, GHKS and of course Haas. Haas were my big enemy. They had wiped out my family when they got in their way, leaving me an orphan on the street at the age of four. Luckily my gift of the gab was good even then, and I survived to become what I am today.
You can call me Chaos Theory.
Running with Fastjack
In my youth I’d run into Fastjack a number of times, but I was flattered when he asked me to run with his crew, the Specters. Our target was Ares, and, since Fastjack was calling the shots, we managed to persuade the other punks to leave the lowest security base to us.
We didn’t have any kit, or any clue, but we charged in. His rigger, Raid, and gun, Glitch, worked in tandem to get us past the security, while I skulked in the background trying not to make it too obvious I wasn’t exactly contributing.
A panic door almost slammed shut on us as we headed into an office. It was the CEO of Ares, Director Knight. Glitch shoved a gun in his face, and I could see that his life was flashing before his eyes. I knew what to do.
“Let’s take a selfie!”
We weren’t monsters. We weren’t about to murder a man. And in the aftermath of the selfie when we were admiring the photo, he managed to get into a secret bunker and spend the rest of our visit cowering.
We headed on to the Development Lab, and then Fastjack showed us what he was about. He pounced on the holographic keyboard and his fingers danced. Within moments we had hacked into the database, and made it out with the plans for a new video game.
The Runner Must Run
The first turn success for Fastjack seemed to have secured his position on top of the Punks, and his cry of “The runner must run” rang out across the room.
My mind was elsewhere, as I demanded payment for my assistance (despite having done basically nothing). I took a lifestyle card, and in return donated $10k to Fastjack’s campaign. I also drew two lifestyle cards myself – we Faces always keep up with the latest styles, so we drew two per turn rather than one. I grinned when I saw what I’d managed to pick up.
Heading to the nearest bar in Downtown Angeles, I strolled in, arm-in-arm with my new Lover, Street Punk. Some may think it’s a description, but it’s totally his name.
Giving him a peck on the cheek, I excused myself to dash off for another run, leaving him to big me up to the bar regulars. It netted me an extra reputation, and left me free to go on another run.
My second run was again with Fastjack, and was again a success. And again I avoided rolling any dice. This time we cornered the Tyrell-Ashpool CEO, and he paid me $30K to keep his embarrassing photo off InstaFaceTube.
Life of an Independent Operative
But an indie-op like me can’t be tied down, so when Mac the Hacker came sniffing round to see if I’d be free for a different kind of job, I jumped at the task.
Mac had been making a name for himself as the go-to man for sorting out a high-paying and successful job. He was an independent cyberpunk like me, but a hacker, and the crew he pulled together also brought in the gun Hard Exit and the rigger Wrench.
Unfortunately I still missed out on any chance to use my skills, with the others around me whipping out +3s and +4s while I only had a +1 to my Charm from a lifestyle card. Our first run was a success despite me not pulling my weight in any way.
I found out afterwards that Mac had paid the others upfront while I hadn’t “negotiated better terms”. I snatched my $50K payment from his hand and turned my back, planning to head to the bar next turn instead.
Getting famous, punk style
But Mac came back begging, and this time he was even bringing along one of Arachnid Bethlehem’s filthy assistants, the sort of man that passes for a journalist in this messed up world. Clearly this was my chance to break into the big leagues, and become one of the most famous Faces out there. And he was willing to pay upfront this time.
Unfortunately, Mac had been massively exaggerating his own skills, and this run was a disaster. His first botch went unnoticed, and his second set claxxons going off throughout the building. When we got to the server room, the first time he touched a keyboard saw us tossed out on the streets. Luckily Wrench did his thing with the escape vehicle and we made it to the safe house unscathed.
The only comfort was that I’d managed to get a selfie with yet another CEO, who’d stumbled out of his office in response to the alert. GHKS, checked off the list.
But Mac had squandered my chances to be famous. I went immediately to the press to share my story, only to get the door slammed in my face. I wasn’t even influential enough to get interviewed.
Slowing the pace
Taking a turn off from running, I headed to the Angeles bar and hooked up with my Lover. I also took the opportunity to introduce him to the two other Lovers I had acquired, as well as having a nice chat with the Bar Owner whom I had also befriended. FYI, these were all cards.
Also on the cards for me was a shift up in my status. Despite failing to boast successfully in the bar, I was quickly moving up the lifestyle levels, from Lower to Middle to Upper. My rep was also on the rise – no longer a zero, I’d edged passed Chummer to Ronin level.
I also sweet-talked one of the Specters into buying me some disposable kit at the shop, that would put my Charm up by an extra +1. It wasn’t much, but my brief time at the shop didn’t show me any more likely options.
Taking matters into my own haands
So while things were progressing nicely, I’d managed to conduct a hit on three out of the four corps… but the one I was missing was Haas. Who had, in case you’d forgotten, killed my family. I totally hadn’t forgotten. Or anything.
So after drowning my sorrows at the bar, I pulled myself together and pulled a crew together. The target… Haas.
When Fastjack heard what I was plotting, he couldn’t resist joining me… which may have pissed off the other punks I’d got onboard, but who was I to turn down Fastjack. I somewhat imagined my character had a massive hero-worship crush on him tbh.
Or at least, thought she’d be more famous with him on her arm.
Unfortunately, while our run went well at first (and I still managed to dodge any actual work), we ran into a new type of technology that the Corps had developed: Vibration Detection. It stopped us in our tracks, and we barely made it back to a safehouse.
What’s worse, my sources told me Director Haas wasn’t even in the building. Completing my set would have to wait.
Setting the bar higher
It was clear I was never going to get anywhere with my netrunning career. But the rest of my punkish lifestyle was working out. With some careful dealing, I’d achieved Luxury status before any other player in the game. Most of the Corp players were still on Lower, the plebs! I’d also raised my rep to ProRunner status.
I decided to step away from running again, and head to my favourite bar. I’d recently picked up some smart investments in a bar, and since I also knew the owner of the bar, it was pretty easy to buy it. And name it Chaos Bar, natch.
I set my lovers to work. My Musician boyfriend played live music every night (exclusively cyberpunk natch), while the two Street Punks served behind the bar. Trust me, you wouldn’t want them to sing.
Run run run
By this point, the runs started blending together. I know I did another one against Tyrell-Ashpool, but I don’t even remember who it was with, or if there are others I’ve forgotten.
Unfortunately my runs continued to go downhill, and I didn’t have any more successes there. So let’s not focus on that.
A long list of lovers
Instead, I focused on my other skillset – acquiring lovers! Having reached a Luxury lifestyle, I no longer had any need for lifestyle cards mechanically. But I had already acquired three different ones, by swapping one of my Street Punk lovers for a Stripper – who was natch working at the bar too.
Most of the rest of the day was taken up with searching the room desperately for any lover cards. I’d found out there were eight of them – four Punk and four Corp, so this was also when I started speaking to the Corp players too. I managed to seek out the final Punk lover, a Ganger, but the Corp ones proved considerably harder to track down.
Even spending a turn away from any runs and devoting it all to tracking them down didn’t work.
How to become popular
So, having become basically the most famous and popular punk ever, there was only one thing I could do to become even more awesome.
DO A RUN ON INSTAFACETUBE!
The most amazing social media network in the world had a security breach, and we knew what. Fastjack wanted to take them down. And he wanted me to come along.
I had a great plan, to change the name to ChaosInstaFaceTube.
However all the punks had the same great idea, and we ended up having a massive group of us try the run. Unfortunately, a lot of the traps we hit had bigger penalties when there were more of you. And it was physically the hardest nut to crack in the entire game.
I made my first on-a-run dice roll in the game, on Charm against Security +7. I had a +4. We lost. We were thrown out before we even got halfway to the server room.
How to become unpopular
I managed to track down three of the Corp Lovers I needed: a Socialite, a High Flyer and a Simsense Star. But my last one was still eluding me, and I was sure that he was hiding from me.
I asked the media to put out a call for any Wage Slaves (the lover type I was missing), but they refused. On the plus side, I managed to make it up to Edgerunner in the reputation stakes, only one level below the top “Ace”.
Thinking Fastjack wouldn’t be up for it again, I spoke to Mac who wanted to put a crew together for one last massive hit on Ares. It was mere days before the election (yes politics were totally happening all this time). Payment: $150K upfront. I said yes.
Mac had pointed out that the shop stocked better kit for Faces than I had thought – they’d just been keeping it in a back room (aka at the bottom of the pile). So geared up with some cool new psychic language skills, I headed to my new assignment in SacSan.
As I arrived, Mac gave me some bad news. Our gun, Deckard, had made off with the money and wasn’t going to be showing up. Mac still intended to go ahead with the job, however.
Just then Glitch, Fastjack’s hacker, pulled me aside. “Come with us to take on InstaFaceTube again?”
I needed barely a moment’s thought to say yes, as you can see…
We had a full hand of kit and equipment, and a much smaller team. We had some of the best runners in the game (and me, who for some reason had a good rep as a runner).
Nothing can stop us
Of course, that wasn’t true. We made it to the server room this time, but by Punk God, those were hard damn cards. Fastjack got knocked out immediately, and we took to the streets.
But as we were on our way out, Glitch confided in me that he was afraid to leave the building. It turned out that he was an AI built by Ares, who they were now trying to “dispose of”. Seeing my chance, I ran to Abraham Bethlehem’s office and announced that I had an exclusive… as long as he agreed to run that ad for me.
I brought Bethlehem back with me as the action really hotted up. Deckard, who had backed out of Mac’s run, was pointing a gun at Glitch, who wasn’t backing down either. In all the disruption surrounding my entrance, Bethlehem managed to whisk Glitch to safety.
All you need is love
I listened desperately to the tannoy. There was all likelihood that Beth would go back on his promise. But no… wait… listen… he’d included it!
Moments after the announcements ended, someone sidled up to me and told me they knew where I could find a wage slave… not a hard thing in this world. For the small fee of $150K (the payment from Mac which I’d been considering returning), I got my introduction and found my wage slave. Eight lovers, and I was exhausted.
In almost perfect timing, the game was called at that point. Fastjack lost the election. The Corps had clubbed together and all voted for the head of GHKS to become the next President.
But that didn’t matter. What mattered was we were throwing the consolation party at Chaos Bar. The Ganger, Wage Slave and the Street Punk were on cocktails, the Musician, Stripper and Simsense Star on the ents, and the Corp High Flyer and Socialite would be helping to host. And I would centre of attention. It’s what I do best.
Mirrorshades was an INSANELY fun game, and a great followup to Alex Beck’s first game, Crisis in Elysium. While I think CIE had the better design overall, I had more fun at Mirrorshades – it was a much freer role and I had tons of capability to experiment and think outside the box.
My main critiques would be that the non-run actions for Punks (such as bragging or visiting the shop) weren’t very engaging, so if you didn’t do a run it was a long wait til the next turn.
But overall, I had a super day, and I think I’m going to try Choas Theory’s style again in the future – it was fun.