Shadow Lives

Time passes...
IC POST

OOC NOTE:
Since at least one of you is keeping watch over a certain mailbox, you can take this as IC information. I would like to remind you that time moves regardless of what you do and there is always someone looking to make a quick buck. Just because the PCs don’t act, doesn’t mean no one acts.

Saturday, July 9, 2072
The group confidently approached the drop point. A burly ork was on point, walking like he owned the street. Based on the gleaming combat axe strapped to his back no one was likely to question his stance. Behind him on his left was a lean looking human with a metal spider crawling along his shoulders. To the right was a trench coated individual with tinted sunglasses and wild white hair. Every step he took was accompanied by a solid tap from his staff and his hair seemed to dance to the rhythm of the taps. Watching the rear was an elf with Ingram Smartgun drawn, looking in every shadow for possible threat.His body seemed to be constantly twitching and it was a wonder he did not pull the trigger.

The street was deserted except for the party and a lone ganger waiting by the mailbox. The ganger slowly raised himself to his feet as they approached, obviously stiff from sitting there for days. The approaching group exchanged worded with him. Gesturing towards the mailbox the ganger nodded and took a step back. With a swagger the man with the spider on his shoulder withdrew a package from his coat and put it in the mail slot before he also took a hasty step back.

The cameras watching the scene crackled with static and a loud whistle filled the night. The mailbox began to glow and seemed to warp and dance in the light before exploding, metal case flying 30 feet into the air.

The ganger nodded and handed the team cred sticks before turning and walking away…

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The Board is Set
OOC POST

He moved his tools patiently over the delicate marble figure, carefully shaping every curve and carving every detail as precisely as possible. The likeness was undeniable and every dimension was properly to scale. Looking over the carved stone he gave it one final appraising look before moving on to the final steps. This piece was to be particularly special, but that is only fitting for the Queen. Carefully he wrapped a single blond strand of hair around the figure, bonding the ends, and a felt pad, to the bottom using a carefully placed drop of melted glue. Gingerly holding the piece, careful not to shift the hair, he exhaled on the glue to cool. After a month of work it was finally ready to take its place next to its ruby eyed partner on the board. With the board now set he moved the first obsidian pawn…

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Two D Girls DO Exist!

7/14/72

One night I walked in my roommate while she was “reading” a visual novel. She was really embarrassed by this for some reason. In her flustered state she spent an hour trying to explain the difference between 2D and 3D people to me. Really it all sounded like gibberish, but humans do strange things.

But NOW I understand! This last job I met a 2D girl! She looked just like one of the girls in the novel.
There also was a 2D boy somewhere, but I didn’t see him. He was too busy trying to kill us with robots.
And he broke my commlink! He was not a nice person.

Oh, and there was a SCARY sickness as well. Apparently it was transfered through astral contact. Fortunately they were on the other side of glass and couldn’t come closer.

The man who hired us was nice. He met us in a really cool fantasy setting VR club! It was loads of fun. And I found a new sister. And I worked with Grumpy (Z-San) again. And I met a human who almost made sense! (Though I was worried he would eat me at first) Just looking at him I could tell he understood the law of the wild. I think I’ll call him Hunter-san.

It was a good day.
Sorry so short, but I have to run!
Bye bye!

OOC Info

GM: Chris

Runners

  • Kit
  • Leife
  • Quiver
  • Zeta

Rewards

  • 8000 Nuyen Each
  • 6 Karma (Maynard receives this as well)
  • BONUS

Contacts

To be filled in later

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Mission Summary - Escape Velocity
OOC POST

Disclaimer: Normally I write a blurb of fluff and then the summary. Certain people have expressed eagerness for this to be posted though, and there is a game tomorrow, so here is the crunch summary only. I will still post a fluff piece later!

Mission Summary

Runners

  • Quiver
  • Zeta
  • Grrl
  • Freya
  • Khazad
  • Maynard
  • Etrine

Rewards

All runners were rewarded differently this session since rewards were essentially favors granted. The following was granted to all.

  • 6 Karma
  • Street Cred +1 The maximum social bonus granted by street cred is your charisma
  • 10K Nuyen each

Contacts

  • Cerra’s loyalty is increased to a minimum of 2. Quiver and Maynard increase it to 3.
  • Yihui Chan, Triad contact with loyalty 1 and connection 2 for Maynard, Etrine, and Zeta.

Syndicate Favors

Though his identity has been revealed, I still wish to keep a certain measure of secrecy about this character both in and out of character. That said, all players are encouraged to follow his rules both in and out of character, those rules being:

  1. Don’t talk about The Syndicate
  2. Don’t contact Cerra’s Handler directly, He’ll contact you.
  3. Don’t share Cerra’s Handlers identity.
  4. Obey his orders, you can trust him not to ask you to do something against your own agenda.

He also does not function as a traditional contact, his loyalty is in fact how big a favor he views you as being owed. Expect his loyalty to fluctuate when you seek his help. Unless you seriously screw up, it will never drop below one (and if it does you probably are dead). His connection rating is 5.

  • Quiver: Loyalty 3. Nothing else, it was on the house.
  • Etrine: Loyalty 2. Information on the RIT facility and “clean up” work.
  • Maynard: Loyalty 3. Role Play opportunity with Cerra’s Handler and “Pack”
  • Khazad: Loyalty 2. Research opportunities during downtime.
  • Freya: Loyalty 3. Chase Upgrade Instructions. One Use Decryption Tool for Father’s Journal. See players secret for more info.
  • Grrl: Loyalty 2. Rating “7” Comm. 6 Signal, 7 System, Response and Firewall.
  • Zeta: Loyalty 1. Ability to purchase the Erased quality at 10 Karma.
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Grenades

I have come to an official ruling with respect to Airburst Grenades and Scatter.

Airburst Grenades scatter 2D6 – 1 meter per success.
This is the value on the Demo Agent GM Screen.

They are not intended to be a close range weapon, they are for large distances.

Players who spec’ed out their characters around using these in close range combat will be allowed to re-spec with GM approval.

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EE Security Soundbite
OOC POST

Entering the room Evan observed his team. They had been idly talking and shuffling through their notes, but when the door opened they all jumped to attention.

Time is money, and he had their attention, so he cut right to business as he walked to his seat, “Ok, what do you have for me?”

“Despite the disruption the event was successful. We need to issue commendation to the officer in charge and the estate’s insurance covered the damages.”

“I already know all that, it was in the report. I’ll talk to Maynard later. Just show me the promotional video.”

“Yes Sir,” and with that the projector screen lowered and the video began…

The sound of gunfire filled the room as the words “EE Security” were written by an assault riffle.

A voiceover announcer spoke as the image faded, “Providing security since ’67, you can count on skilled individuals like Maynard…”

The scene cuts to a clean cut middle aged Ork holding himself with a military bearing. The name Maynard flashes along the bottom of the screen as he’s shown issuing orders before drawing his stun baton and charging a feral looking woman riding a steel lynx.

“and Frustro to take charge of any situation.” A snazzily dressed individual is briefly shown also giving orders.

“Our magicians are second to none,” The screen shows a bolt of lightning streaking across the room and obliterating a drone as well as a scholarly mage gesturing as energy glows from his hands and smashes another drone against the ceiling.

“and able to adapt to ANY situation” a demure woman is shown glowing with energy before morphing into a pterodactyle and launching herself at another drone.

“You can count on us to keep you safe at all costs. “an elf is shown running across a room and tackling a surprised looking woman as gunfire thunders overhead”

The video fades to black and is replaced with the words “Do you want to know more?” as the voiceover says “Call us today!”

It finally ends with a quiet, fast talking voice saying the disclaimer…

The room sat in silence waiting for Evan’s words…

Mission Summary

Runners

  • Etrine
  • Freya
  • Khazad
  • Leife
  • Maynard
  • Zeta

Rewards

Karma:

  • 6 Karma each

Nuyen:
Splitting expenses of 600 Nuyen for making a fake skull evenly among all players_

  • Khazad: 11.4K
  • Freya and Leife: 11.9K
  • Etrine, Maynard, Zeta: 12.9K

Contacts:
I have been a little too generous in contacts in the past, characters will now have to work harder to earn them.

  • Kira (Connection 1, Loyalty 1) for Maynard
  • Professor Creaks (Connection 5, Loyalty 1) for Maynard and Khazad
  • Evan Eye (Connection 3, Loyalty 2) increase for Maynard
  • Evan Eye (Connection 3, Loyalty 1) for Zeta
  • Sphytz Wusiwug (Connection 1, Loyalty 1) for Maynard
  • Sphytz Wusiwug (Connection 1, Loyalty 2) for Zeta (I mean “Frustro Dos”)
  • Generic Green Contact for Etrine

Reputation:

  • +1 Public Awareness for everyone. (Zeta’s is tied to his Frustro SIN)

Gear:

  • EE Security Jacket with name monogrammed on front. This is 8/6 with 3 points of non-conductivity. Received by Etrine, Maynard, and Zeta.
  • EE Security Vest with name monogrammed on front. This is 6/4 with 2 points of non-conductivity. Received by Freya, Khazad, and Leife.
  • Stun Baton received by all
  • Security Glasses. These are R4 tinted glasses with image link, smartlink, lowlight, and thermo vision.
  • If you use a “pistol” you received one clip of stick and shock ammo.
  • Zeta received a Fichetti pistol (OOC: Will update later)
  • EE Security License for Freya, Khazad, and Leife. This is tied to the SIN they used.
  • EE Elite Security License for Zeta. This is tied to Frustro Dos.
  • DocWagon Basic (12mo) Contract for everyone

Faction Rewards:

  • Green Family: (OOC: Will update later)
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The Calm After the Storm
OOC POST

As the last of the rats faded from the realm Asmondus strained against the chains one final time. The chains groaned and cried from the strain but held fast. With a heavy sigh he relaxed and resumed waiting. On day he would again be free…

Meanwhile the storm in the mundane world gradually calmed. One final bolt of lightning struck the house in a blaze of light and the clouds disipated as the mana calmed. The rift in the basement expelled those who did not belong in its realm and closed (more or less).

The shop was in shambles and flames still smouldered at points the following day. Picking through the rubble, Ouranos knew it would take months to repair and restock and insurance did not cover random acts of magic. Compiling a list of what was lost, he began planning his next assaying expedition.

Mission Summary

Runners

  • Maynard
  • Grrl
  • Murdock
  • Apollo
  • Mellawn (Irish Wolverine) – Newbie Matt
  • Freya
  • Leife
  • Khazad
  • Carrigan (PreGen for Konstantine)

Rewards

Karma:

  • 5 Karma each (transferrable from pregens)

Nuyen:

  • None (unless you can read the player secret section)

Contacts:

  • For helping a friend of the family, earn a Generic Green Contact (if you don’t have a real one yet)
  • Murdock (Coyote): loyalty 1, connection 2
  • Ouranos Fasya (Talismonger): loyalty 1, connection 3

Reputation:

  • +1 Street Cred for working the job for free.

Favors: (Tommy/Apollo)
Each of these players have recieved one favor from Apollo, you may ask him to do one thing, it must not kill him, it must not be extremely dangerous (likely to kill him).

  • Maynard
  • Grrl
  • Murdock
  • Freya
  • Leife

Other:

  • Awakened characters (magicians/adepts) receive credit for a metaplaner quest on their next attempt at initiation.
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On Failure in Gaming
GM Blog

Inspired by The Price of Failure

My friend (and GM) Matt posted an article on Failure in Gaming and it made me think despite my burning fever (I’m sick!)
The examples given were in games which I typically associate with being “forgiving” to failure. In the LARP we both play a typical hero will be raised from the dead a half a dozen times an adventure. In most DnD settings you can get raised with the proper rituals.
My point here is that you can lose, even die, and yet life goes on.

Now I am not saying that to discredit his thoughts. I agree with him wholeheartedly on how the failure has to come about. The players need to have some warning that they can fail, and it should be tied to their actions…

The real reason this made me think was on the context of failure in my own campaign. If you are reading this, you probably know I run Shadowrun. Shadowrun is a game which is NOT forgiving of failure. If you die, unless you permanently burn edge, you stay dead. Even when you do spend edge to survive you will still be scarred by it…

I tend to be a nice GM, unless players do something blatantly stupid, I will pull punches (unless they are min-maxed, but that is another topic). If I expect a mission to be high risk, I make it very clear in advance.

After reading Matt’s article I started thinking about the various failures I “led” my players to.
The first example is a party wipe. Every so often I will throw a special mission which isn’t part of the campaign plot. Its set in the same setting, but the events stand on their own. The particular mission I am thinking about was defending an underground settlement from a horde of ghouls (fast, strong, and DEADLY) in addition to other scary stuff. The mission was advertised as going against an endless horde and the whole goal was to survive as long as possible. The players fought tooth and nail to survive and barely delayed the onslaught long enough for the NPC reinforcements to save them. Most of the players were using throw away characters, and those who weren’t knew they would be well rewarded if they survived. (not succeeded, survived). Characters died (permanent death) and both players and characters moved on.

The second example which comes to mind is a prime instance of player choices. The team of runners did not have any infiltration ability so they made the logical decision to “blow a hole in the wall”. As much as I hate to say this, that was actually an acceptable plan. If the runners aren’t worried about their rep, going in loud can pay off. If it wasn’t for one slight miscalculation this might have. The team was robbing a technology corporation. They got a basic layout of the facility and decided the security office would be a good place to breach the building. A large explosion in the security office would do wonders for distracting human security. That’s all good, but they forgot this was a technology corporation. The security office had a handful of people (who were distracted), but it also housed all the security drones. So rather than face a distracted response they faced twice as much as normal security procedures said they would. They retreated after half the party was unconscious. Again, there was no grumbling here. They knew what they did wrong.

I could list a bunch of examples where they failed to meet their objectives or even failed the mission. This usually resulted in them not getting paid and getting a black mark against their rep. This is the price of business though and as such expected on occasion. The example which comes to mind instead is when the players almost ACCIDENTALLY failed.

I presented the players with a scenario that I knew would be difficult. It was a hostage situation in the basement of a building. The rigger knew they were coming and had pre-programmed his drones on how to act. In other words, even after the players took him out, they still had to deal with the drones. Normally this would be fine, and the players did come up with a solution, but there was one slightly miscalculation on my part – Chunky Salsa.

“Chunky Salsa” is the game terminology for an explosion in an enclosed space, basically the magnitude increases. Normally I try and avoid those situations because they can be excessively deadly. I carefully planned out the layout for the room the hostages were in so that it wouldn’t be a concern but I forgot one key point.

The players were smart enough not to walk into the basement which meant the enemy used his backup plan. He sent the first few of his drones out to attack them. As expected they were no match for the players but there was one slight problem. They were set to self destruct when they reached 25% health. I had forgotten to consider that the stairway to the basement was essentially a 3 sided box… Meaning chunky salsa was in effect. What was supposed to be a nasty surprise was instead a lethal one. I had expected to do a decent chunk of damage, but instead did an obscene amount – Three times the characters life to be precise.

No one was happy with this, myself included. After rerunning the numbers I told the players that it in fact blew out the door at the bottom and this prevented the damage from increasing. I am still not sure if that’s what should have happened by the book. Additionally it probably should have triggered the other drone there to explode as well (increasing the damage even more). The players were upset by this “failure” to the extent that I hand-waved it being less bad. It was an oversight on my part after all. (To my players who are reading this, don’t get any ideas! Unless it really was accidental on my part, complaining won’t get the effect mitigated! This was a special case. Next time its deliberate.)

I’ve led players to many types of failure, be it railroaded, or accidental, or player choice. I am in complete agreement that players are more accepting of it when they know its their own fault ;)

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Moments Which Make Players Squee.
GM Blog

I don’t usually blog about sessions, but I feel that Saturday’s deserves it. Shadowrun involves a large amount of legwork, research and planning. As the players were working their contacts, they started asking questions which their contacts couldn’t answer. Normally a mission with a time crunch results in the contacts just being unable to help. That was not the case this time.

Their contacts put them on hold as they asked their superior for info. The superior, who was able to quickly learn what was going on, knew that action needed to be taken even quicker than the PCs thought, so rather than going through the normal chain of command, he opened a conference call. (which they have no record of receiving)

The three PCs involved all received call from comm-code 000 and were greeted by a distorted voice. Based on who referred them, they all immediately knew what this meant. Someone important in the organization known only as The Syndicate was talking to them directly. He gave them a job and impressed upon them the urgency. He included a couple key words, like Tanamous and hostages, and then disconnected.

The call was a matter of minutes, but those few words sparked the PCs into action, driving them to stretch their abilities, and virtually exhaust their edge BEFORE enemies threw any dice. They definitely went overboard, but that meant they did the job quickly and thoroughly. They were suitably rewarded as well.

The best real world comparison I can give is this… Picture your idol or role model saying hello to you. I’d be psyched, most people would be. Now imagine they asked you for a favor. I’d be flattered and excited. Now the kicker, imagine you were already trying not only to meet them, but to ingratiate yourself with them… Its a chance which is too good to pass up!

That is how my players reacted, and knowing I brought out feelings THAT strong in a GAME leaves me feeling proud.

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Bad Business
OOC POST

Sir Bonte,
We of FA Core are writing to inform you that we are executing our rights of Conscientious Objection granted under section 12 of our contract and terminating our business agreement. We are doing this based off information we have obtained which suggests that your own backing is of an unsavory nature. The risk of associate with criminals of that magnitude is far worse than those for breach of contract. While your backing is of dubious nature, we cannot in good conscious work in your employ. Should this suspicion be proven wrong, we will gladly negotiate a new contract at a reduced rate.

As required we will be granting a full refund of the deposit and forfeiting that money which we already invested in equipment and required permits.

Our apologizes.
Commander Mech, FA Core

Mission Summary

Runners

  • Apollo
  • Freya
  • Khazad
  • Softsword

Rewards

Apollo Received:

  • 7 Karma (thought it should have been 6 since he did not sign up on warhorn)
  • 2500 nuyen
  • Street Sweeping Lifestyle for 2 months
  • 5 kgs commercial explosives
  • Photo of Shimm’s Aura
  • Receive Cairbre at loyalty 1, connection 2 from the Green objective
  • Receive Funnel at loyalty 1, connection 1 from the Syndicate objective
  • Two Uzi clips of Explosive ammo
  • One Uzi clip of Stick and Shock ammo
  • Joe Dirt at loyalty 1, connection 2
  • Mech at loyalty 1, connection 3

Freya Received

  • 7 Karma
  • 2500 nuyen
  • Street Sweeping Lifestyle for 2 months
  • 2 Steel Lynx drones with self destruct termination system, Ingram White Knight LMGs, Pilot 5, Armor 12, Sensor 3
  • GE Vindicator Minigun with belt of regular ammo
  • Receive Cairbre at loyalty 1, connection 2 from the Green objective
  • Receive Funnel at loyalty 1, connection 1 from the Syndicate objective
  • One Ares Alpha clip of APDS ammo
  • One Ares Alpha clip of Flechette ammo
  • One Ares Alpha clip of Gel Rounds
  • Generic Green contact is upgraded to Mr Green, at loyalty 1, connection 5
  • Joe Dirt at loyalty 1, connection 2
  • Mech at loyalty 1, connection 3

Khazad Received

  • 7 Karma
  • 2500 nuyen
  • Street Sweeping Lifestyle for 2 months
  • Force 3 manipulation focus
  • Receive Cairbre at loyalty 1, connection 2 from the Green objective
  • Receive Funnel at loyalty 1, connection 1 from the Syndicate objective
  • One Predator clip of APDS ammo
  • One Predator clip of Flechette ammo
  • One Predator clip of Stick and Shock ammo
  • Mr Green loyalty upgraded from 1 to 2.
  • Joe Dirt at loyalty 1, connection 2
  • Mech at loyalty 1, connection 3

Softsword Received:

  • 5 Karma
  • 1 Notoriety for publically explosing his affiliation
  • No nuyen (He refused payment)
  • No ammo (He returned it unused)
  • Joe Dirt at loyalty 2, connection 2
  • Mech at loyalty 1, connection 3
  • LOSTMr White as a contact and the Sicilian mafia will react hostile to him.
  • Gain Lucian Dirge as a loyalty 1, connection 4 contact as a result of the previous Nuyen Shuffle mission.

Loot

Each runner can take one of each of the following or they can resell it for the listed price. Those these are indeed stolen goods, the normal resale penalty does NOT apply.

  • FN HAR Assault Rifle (resale 300 nuyen) with one clip regular ammo (zero resale)
  • Ingram Smartgun (resale 195 nuyen) with one clip regular ammo (zero resale)
  • Stun Baton (resale 120 nuyen)
  • 3 doses of Cram (zero resale)
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