Chumley the Troll in Shadowrun
About 16 years or so ago, we had a fairly regular Shadowrun game going. For those not familiar with Shadowrun, it was basically what happened when you combined the (slightly) future world with the fantasy world. There are/were cyborgs, robots, very modern weapons, cars, AIs all combined with magic, elves, dwarfs, shamans, dragons, gods, swords, etc. Very neat and the books aren’t too bad either.
Anyway, my character in this game was my favorite all time character I ever played in a role-playing game… Chumley the Troll. Chumley was a fairly likable fellow. Part of Shadowrun was that a person could be born a human, then change into a metahuman (elf, dwarf, wendigo, whatever). Chumley was born a man and joined the British Army as soon as he was able. He went through special forces training, until an injury changed his MOS to armorer (fixer of guns).
Then, he changed. It started by eating two or three times normal at chow. He’d sneak in an extra MRE or two each day. This gave him about 8000 calories a day. Then the pain started.
When he came to a few weeks later, he was 8 foot 6 inches and weighed almost 400 pounds. He had lost many, many IQ points, but was epically strong. He had become a troll.
Over the next few years, he made his way to Egypt… Britain being a proper civilized country wouldn’t allow to him to remain in the country must less the military. He worked odd jobs and made some good money. Then he joined a group of thieves. That’s when the fun began.
He carried a pair of shotguns, but his favorite weapon was a titanium rod tht was five feet long and two inches in diameter. When he hit things, they went flying.
For one mission, the team had to infiltrate the magical material storage lab of the University of Cairo. The client wanted a particular bunch of stones… part of the teams payment was anything else they wanted to take. The lab was guarded by some serious nastiness. We had a pass key, but it could only be used by someone magical, but a mage or shaman would be too powerful and easy to spot. Everyone turned to the only metahuman in our party… Chumley.
So he walks in with three of the team behind him, dressed in lab coats with an illusion spell on everyone. We get past the human guards and into the back area and come to the first door. Chumley, whose hands are the size of small watermelons is trying to slide a magical key card through a slot in the wall. In real life I was rolling a bunch of dice. The first roll failed, we made it by one on the second roll and narrowly missed setting off the alarm. Everyone (RL and game character) breathed a sigh of relief.
Then we came to the second door into the lab proper. Again I had to make two rolls (two was all we had or alarms would sound). We were sweating at this point. Finally the storage room door. We dropped the illusion and I prepared to swipe the card one last time.
I rolled… counted up the 6s and failed… by a lot. The team was freaking out at this point. It was actually quite comical. The battle-hardened role players wouldn’t hesitate to send our characters into a major fire fight with impossible odds, yet we were all sweating as a troll swiped a magnetic card through a door.
I made the final roll and missed… by one 6. One of the team mates reminded me that once a night, I could change one die to a 6 if I used a karma point. Everyone held their breath as I check my character reference sheet to see if I had a Karma point. I did. We were in… at least I was.
So a truly gigantic troll eases into this tiny little storeroom. The door closes behind me so no one else could get in. I had a giant bag and was staring at hundreds of tiny little drawers with magical materials, stones, and metals of various purposes and properties. Then I realized the fundamental flaw in our little caper. I was playing a British troll… who, while quite smart for a troll… well that’s like being the best hockey player in all of Ecuador.
The drawers were covered in funny little squiggles. I turned my head to the team and said, “I can’t read Arabic.”
The team totally erupted.
Eventually, I ended up dumping almost everything in the drawers into the bag and one of my teammates managed to find the Arabic symbol for the material the client wanted. He drew it on paper and I held up drawers until the rest of the team said that they matched.
That entire night, not a single shot was fired from any player and it was the single most stressful role-playing game I’ve ever been in.
Chumley ended up having a wizards ensorcell the titanium rod so that it was really potent. We’re talking knocking down small buildings here.