Welcome, chummers! Hard to believe we’re already done with 6 episodes of “Shadowrun: Corporate SINs” at Hyper RPG. Last week, my character Ma1nfram3 made a major reveal of one of her secrets to the rest of MMFEC. It’s kind of her own fault for starting Truth or Dare in the first place, but I digress.
Who is Ma1nfram3? She is the character I play on #CorpSINs – the party’s Decker, who handles digital espionage and combat via the ubiquitous Shadowrun Matrix. She’s ever so slightly clumsy in real life, but fairly talented in the digital realm. She boasts a brash yet confusing Northeastern accent and hasn’t shared much about her past… until now.
If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read any further. I’ll just link the episode video here as a page break…
… Great. So, you still want details? (The reveal begins around the 26 minute mark in this video.)
Last week, at Part 2 of the Team MMFEC Slumber Party at Ma1nfram3’s apartment, Cromwell resumed the game by challenging Ma1n to Truth or Dare.
It’s important to note that the team had JUST come DIRECTLY from the extraction at Cross-Applied Technologies. Ma1nfram3 had a reasonably successful run, but also took a ton of stun damage, fell unconscious, and was jacked up on two stim patches. She desperately needed rest.
So when Cromwell challenged her, (1) she wasn’t really capable of Dares and (2) she was just happy someone was playing her game. So she picked Truth. Besides, what’s the worst question a slightly dim but well-meaning troll butler can ask?
Cromwell: “‘Ow come when I looks at you on the astral plane, your astral signature’s all fuzzy-like?”
Ma1nfram3: “Define fuzzy.”
Cromell: “You’re not Awakened, but you’re not, like, say, Miss Elsie; she’s just a piggy. Yours is all fuzzy like, I can’t get a good read on it.”
Ma1nfram3: “I think you have a theory, Cromwell.”
Cromwell: “I think you’re not what you seem. Are you an insect spirit? Or some kind of robot?”
There’s some hedging, of course, but the other option – drink a whole bottle of vodka – would literally kill her in her current state. And Cromwell seems deeply distressed by the possibility Ma1 is an insect spirit.
Finally, Ma1nfram3 reveals that she is not human – she is an elf. The party didn’t figure it out earlier because Ma1nfram3 has the Human-Looking trait. She is known as an UGE baby – an unexplained genetic expression, an Elf born to human parents. Her parents were ashamed, so they had her ears surgically altered in her youth.
This is, of course, the main reason why Ma1 hides her racial identity. It has been partially taken from her. She does not belong to humans, and she does not belong to Elves. Worse, were she to come out as an Elf many would assume that she herself had modified her ears out of shame. She is extremely sensitive about her lack of belonging. Even her hairstyle is intentionally chosen to hide her ears so that people can’t make a clear judgement one way or another.
Of course, being anything but human in Shadowrun comes with stigmas, whether you’re human-looking or not. Even Mordecai’s response when she reveals her identity to him – “That explains it” – invokes a great amount of defensiveness and hurt. It will be interesting to see how the reactions to her true identity affect Ma1nfram3 moving forward. She’s a little taken aback at how excited Elsie is.
It was also this truth that drove Ma1nfram3 to decking. As she grew older and noticed the differences between her and her peers, she began to suspect something was wrong – but she needed proof, and that proof was in the Matrix.
As a player creating Ma1nfram3, I was drawn to the cross-racial tensions in that universe, and as a storyteller I wanted to dwell a bit in the more difficult shades of gray there. Elves are both adored and reviled, despite the fact that the only really obvious visual tell is their ears. What if those weren’t a part of the equation? And worse, what if someone else modified your racial traits without your consent? How would that affect someone in this world? What if the way people perceived you was entirely outside of your control? Seems like the kind of thing that would definitely drive someone into the shadows. And yet, the sort of issue still relevant in the non-Shadowrun universe.
The toughest part was keeping it kind of secret when we started sharing stat sheets. Humans have 3 points of edge by default. Ma1nfram3 had 1 to start.
As for Cromwell, he developed his theory thanks to some very high astral perceiving rolls along the way, and checked in with Lauren – who was the only other one who knew Ma1’s secret, to clarify what he’d seen. (She didn’t share my secret, but confirmed that I was not showing the same way Elsie was.) He didn’t know whether he was right, or whether I’d share anything – and to be honest, neither did I. Had it come up in the first sleepover, Ma1 probably would have been cagier, but in such a compromised state with two stim patches stuck to her arm, it just came out.
Is this Ma1nfram3’s last secret? No. No it is not. But there will be plenty of fallout to deal with from this secret for weeks to come, I think.
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