To be honest, I dreaded our Shadowrun game this week. Huge sums of money had gone missing from various people at the Rat's Nest and we had found out that a rat shaman had messed with the heads of a lot of people. I wasn't at all sure that we were up to the challenge of catching the shaman, that guy had some great tricks up his sleeve other than making people think what he wants (as if that wasn't bad enough). Like illusions and invisibility. There was a very real chance that Neil would die that evening.
When we started, the shaman had just set foot out of the container we were all in and thanks to an epic roll by our technomancer, we noticed him. Neil called a spirit, the most powerful one he had ever called, asked it to search for the shaman and followed him outside. He was just out of the door when a huge rat spirit appeared, but he left that one for the others.
In the end, it worked out. Barely. Neil's spirit found the shaman, grabbed him and Neil managed to shoot him, despite being attack by the rat spirit. But I was down to two health points and I burned all but one of my Edge points. Burned as in I have to buy them again with XP, about the most drastic thing you can do in Shadowrun. I was shaking with nerves by the time it was all over, absolutely high on adrenaline.
Neil has been living in my head for close to two years now and I use those words on purpose. We not only play every week, we play a ton of play by mails/chat scenes in between and talk about the setting all the time on Skype. I invested a huge amount of time into the Rat's Nest and into Neil. He's very much my alter ego. I don't want him to be invincible or something and he certainly isn't. Neither is the setting, the community of the Nest is far from indestructible. That's part of the fun. If he had died that evening, he would have died, no complaints from me. But it would have taken me quite a while to get over it, I would miss him terribly.
The Rat's Nest campaign is on Obsidian Portal.