"Intelligence? That's just a stat."
Argh. You think up a bunch of NPCs, design a good backstory, introduce a neat little hook to get the runners involved, and what do the players do? They shoot everything in sight. They blast their way through each game session, only using their Intelligence to resolve Perception tests. IQs of .45, these people. And whatís amazing is that some of these characters -- no, most of these characters have an Intelligence of 5 or 6. Probably to give them a higher Combat Pool or Reaction, most likely. But they still think with their guns.
Hereís an example: a side adventure (done by e-mail) had one character in astral space, outside of a room where some terrorists were holding about twenty people hostage -- terrorists the player and the character knew were on the edge. So we have a situation where the bad guys are just hanging around, yelling at the hostages to keep quiet. Does the PC go and try to create a diversion to draw some of the bad guys away? Does he go and get the police, security, or the Marines? Does he try to get back to his meat body and find a phone? Nope. He summons an elemental to take out the terrorist mage. Which fails, miserably.
Three rounds into the combat situation and heís lost two of his elementals (well, one is pulling itself back together) and four of the hostages are dead. One terrorist out of seven is dead, and the terrorists know that one other elemental is protecting one of the hostages, the characterís girlfriend. Now to the mind of the terrorists, either there's a mage that cares about the woman, or the woman is the mage that's doing all this. Guess who's going to get killed?
Sometimes I just want to slap some people.
Place yourself in that same situation. Youíre an astral mage and you know that terrorists are holding people captive and they arenít going anywhere. What do you do? Iíd zip over to the nearest police precinct, manifest, walk in through the doors, and demand to speak to somebody in charge. Believe you me, a translucent mage appearing in the lobby of Lone Star will get a certain amount of immediate attention.
Not to just single out this player, but other players in my group tend to break out the Big Guns when they should look for better alternatives. Talk your way out of a situation? Negotiate? Bah.
How does this happen? When youíve got six people together staring down a curiously over-armed gang, all it takes is one person to open fire to get the other five to shoot along. If one person starts to reason things out, the others donít have to stop firing. Itís easier to escalate tensions than to lower them. Whatís easier: start firing and keep firing in the midst of negotiations or start negotiating during an ongoing fire-fight?
That's a rhetorical question.
So, how do you tone done the Fire! Fire! Fire! mentality?