Sunday, August 25, 2013

Random Encounter

Where are my dice? 
This is how a random encounter works. The PCs are hanging out, minding their own business and looking for treasure/kidnapped princess/unattended dragon brains when they come across something unexpected. Then the GM makes them deal with it.

This is Katie.

She is my random encounter.

At the beginning of the month I went to our local pet store to get something for Polly. They always have shelter kitties there, making every trip a risk of a random encounter. I don't stay long...and stuff the shelter's donation box at the register whenever I go in for cat food. They have the best pet food, which is why I risk it. Katie was there that day, sleeping at the bottom of the giant cage they keep the shelter kitties in. They had moved the cage so I saw her by accident. One of the staff was about to get her out...I don't know for what. Probably to go back to her foster home for the night. And I remember saying, "she's beautiful." The girl said, "she will play with you all day," and then she smiled because Katie had pulled her little blanket down from the sleeping area. And my heart sort of got smashed up right then because I didn't know what was going to happen to her, if she would end up someplace where she could "play all day."

After Obie died this spring, I wasn't going to adopt another cat... I don't think I gave him the best life, although Face argues with me about that.

So I left the pet store, but I didn't stop thinking about her all week. Came extremely close to going back the next day to see her again. Tried to tell myself to let it go, that we had two kitties and a pup already and they needed attention. Then things started going on at work, my promotion happened, and life got weird. I still thought about her every time I drove by that store and I knew we were almost out of cat food and I dreaded going back and not seeing her and not knowing what happened.

Yesterday, nineteen days later, Face and I went to lunch. I had totally chickened out and asked him to get the cat food so I didn't have to go back. (I don't know how I will feed the cats in the future.) And I sat in the car like the coward I am until he came out and said it was good I didn't go in there. They had a really cute calico they were giving away.

No way.

I asked what her name was. He said Cadee...and I knew it was her. Don't know how I knew. There could be another calico cat, and the name was different, but it was close enough. And I said "That's her, I have to go get her," or something because I was freaked out. He wasn't crazy about it, but he said "go get her."

They had a sign on the door for a "free cat, 2 year old female, Cadee." And they showed me where she was, in this little cage next to the big one, much too small for her to play in, and huddled in her litter box.

She had been adopted and the family changed her name. Then they decided that she "played all day," and that was too much. They didn't really give her the chance to settle in. They took her back to the pet store and left her there.

Cats need a LOT of time to get used to a new place. It took Polly almost TWO YEARS after going through something similar.

They took her out of the cage for me and she growled and then we put her back in while they looked for a carrier. Then I took her out and she growled a lot more and latched onto my shoulder. We tried a box and the kitty carrier she came back to the store in, but she wasn't having it. I ended up holding her all the way home. I couldn't peel her off until we got in the house. She growled for about an hour straight and hissed at her own reflection when she saw it in the mirror.

I felt bad I hadn't taken her home when I saw her the first time. Apparently, she is supposed to be here, since I managed to encounter this cat twice TOTALLY AT RANDOM. If Face had picked up the cat food when he got the dog food three days ago, we'd have missed her. And she immediately bonded with Tessa the dog. She's stopped growling and is very cute and cuddly now. Her name is Katie again. Not sure if I've brilliantly upset the pack balance of power by bringing her in, but Katie lives here now. They'll figure it out.

Random encounters in game result in additional experience and sometimes treasure. I think players tend to be wary of them. Experience is good, though, and sometimes the treasure ends up being a playful little calico who loves dogs. And that's how I made a pet story about gaming.