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> Pirate campaign ideas, Looking for feedback
nick012000
post Jan 19 2006, 11:10 AM
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I'm about to run a game where the PCs are pirates, who go and raid ships around the Caribbean.

1st adventure: The PCs hear about a large shipment of drugs being smuggled from Amazonia to the CAS. Money's running a bit thin, so they decide to go attack them.

The hacker can hack the system of the drug cartel, and find out the ship's route. Alternately, the other PCs can nose around to find out details from contacts, or the mage can use a spirit's Search power.

So, the PCs attack the ship. When they do, they're attacked by armed thugs on Jetskis (use the rules for the Harley motorcycle, but using the Pilot Watercraft skill). Use the stats for the Triad Posse, but with Watercraft 3 instead of Dodge 3. There are 4 jetskis, with 2 riders apiece: 1 driver, and 1 gunner with an FN HAR w/ Gyroharness, Shock Pad, Smartlink, and Gas Vent 3.

After they kill the outriders, it's time for the main boat. Use a MT Sea Nymph. On board are 12 mob soldiers/crewmembers, using the same stats as before. They will arm themselves like the gunners before, with 8 taking cover behind the railing of the main deck, and will fire on the PCs. The remaining 4 along with their leader will be below decks guarding the shipment of drugs.

Results: The PCs will likely acquire a new ship in addition to their original one, which they can either sell or use to start the beginnings of a pirate fleet. If they do the latter, they can hire 5 NPC crewmen for the second ship. Use the stats for the Triad Posse for them. It's a stock MT Sea Nymph, with some false walls in the hold to aid in smuggling. The drugs will be worth 10,000 :nuyen: on the black market. The crewmembers will be worth 2,000 :nuyen: apiece sold on the slave market (with the leader being worth 5,000 :nuyen: as a result of being an adept), or 1,000-3,000 :nuyen: apiece to organleggers, depending on condition of the bodies.

2nd adventure: The PCs receive word that an acclaimed corporate researcher is on vacation with his family in the Caribbean, and a rival corp will pay richly for his capture. After a bit of investigation, they will find that he is staying on a particular island. When they approach, they'll see an SC Sea Otter anchored in the harbor.
Inside it is the security hacker that has been assigned to him as a bodyguard (Red Samurai lieutenant). Accompanying the reseacher at all times will be a pair of bodygaurds (Use Red Samurai statistics, but replacing equipment with the following: Auctioneer Business Suits, Yamaha Sakura Fubuki pistols w/ concealable quickdraw holsters, external smartlinks, 2 clips of Stick 'n' Shock rounds, and 2 clips of EX-EX rounds).
The researcher is on vacation with his wife, his 16-year-old daughter, his 14-year-old son, and his 10-year-old daughter. After they kill the guards, the researcher and his family will capitulate without a fight. Well, other than the son, who is (secretly) a mage, and thanks to a free spirit who has been teaching him magic in exchange for karma, a very powerful initiate, and who has been going on metaplanar adventures during his spare time.
When he realizes that his dad is going to be sold to a rival corp, and his family either killed or sold into slavery, he will go invisible, and head back to the ship in order to retrieve his foci. He will then do his best to free his family for as long as they're stuck on the island, favoring hitand-run tactics until the PCs decide to take the family and withdraw. He will then call all of his bound spirits, cast Improve Attribute spells, Combat Sense into his Force 6 Foci, Improved Reflexes into his Force 4, summon a Force 6 Water Spirit to ride, and launch an all-out assault on the PC's ship, though he will not hurt his family.

Kurt Douglas
S1 B1 A1 R1 I 4 L6 W6 C6 M9 E3
Initiate grade: 4
Metamagics: Centering, Masking, Sheilding, Flexible Signature
Skills: Spellcasting (Combat skills) 6(8), Counterspelling 6, Summoning 6, Binding 6, Assensing 4, Astral Combat 6
Foci: Force 2 Power Focus, Force 3 Spellcasting Focus (Combat Spells), Force 3 Spellcasting Focus (Health Spells), 4xForce 6 Sustaining Focus (Health Spells), Force 4 Sustaining Focus (Health Spells), Force 6 Sustaining Focus (Detection Spells).
Spells: Flamethrower, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Ball Lightning, Manabolt, Manaball, Stunbolt, Stunball, Combat Sense, Heal, Improve Attribute (Body), Improve Attribute (Reaction), Improve Attribute (Logic), Improve Attribute (Willpower), Improve Reflexes, Improved Invisibility
Tradition: Hermetic
Mentor Spirit: Wise Warrior
Bound Spirits: 2x Fire Elementals, Air Elemental, Water Elemental, Earth Elemental, Ancestor Spirit (Spirit of Man)

Results: The PCs will likely wind up with another boat to add to either sell or add to their burgeoning pirate fleet. Again, they can hire 5 additional crewmen for their new ship. They will get 1-3,000 :nuyen: for each corpse from organleggers, plus the cost of the cyber. The youngest will fetch 1,000 :nuyen: on the slave market, the eldest child will fetch 5,000, and the mother will fetch 3,000. Kurt will fetch 10,000 if it is known that he is a mage. If he survives, the PCs will have earned a powerful enemy, though he will have to fight through the psychotropic conditioning of the rival pirate crew he will have been bought by. The researcher will fetch 20,000 :nuyen: from the rival corporation.
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Westiex
post Jan 19 2006, 12:04 PM
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Ask the PCs if they're interested in a pirate or a water based campaign. Things could go off track very quickly if they're not.
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BishopMcQ
post Jan 19 2006, 03:51 PM
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You may want to tone down the gear and ratings of the guards unless the build is going to be something other than a team of 400 BPs without any karma. The layout you have here is going to be exceptionally lethal to most teams unless they are veteran Shadowrun players or are better lucky than good.
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Lagomorph
post Jan 19 2006, 05:23 PM
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that kid has a LOT of karma, remember that initiation only allows the magic attribute to be increased, it doesn't actually increase it. So an initiation 1 would be 13 karma for initiation and then 15-18 karma for raising the magic attribute.
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FrankTrollman
post Jan 19 2006, 05:25 PM
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One thing that is key to a pirate campaign is at least the illusion of choice. The characters are the captains of their own ship, masters of their fate. Don't ever give them one ship to attack, give them a list of places to go, shipping routes they've heard of, etc.

You can "reuse" security that you never deployed because the players didn't go after a particular shipment, so it's not all that much more work than putting everyone on rails and sending them forward.

-Frank
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mfb
post Jan 19 2006, 05:32 PM
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heh, or just use the same security for whatever ship they decide to go after (with variations as appropriate for ship type).
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Critias
post Jan 19 2006, 05:34 PM
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There's nothing at all wrong with having a "generic ship security" stat list and NPC list you keep handy, with some minor (or major) variations that you throw in once they've decided what ship to hit.

Scale the security up if it's a juicy ship, scale it down if otherwise. But you can easily do it just using the same basic stuff over and over again.
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mintcar
post Jan 19 2006, 06:00 PM
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Do you have the Cyberpirates sourcebook? Great ideas in there!

(btw that obnoxious Gingerbread Man in that book, sort of reminds me of this place ;) )
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nick012000
post Jan 20 2006, 01:49 AM
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mintcar: No, I don't have Cyberpirates.

Lagomorph: Yeah, I know. The advantage of going on adventures in the metaplanes is that you can fit months of adventures in 1d6 hours. ;)

McQuillan: What makes you say that? Thing is, the PCs will very likely have at least one ship with 4-6 LMGs mounted on it, and drones besides. In the first adventure, they can likely decimate most of the guards on the deck of the ship in a couple of combat turns, assuming that they don't just get nuked with a stunball. Of course, I could be underestimating the opposition, but still.

If they load their guns with Stick 'n' Shock rounds, the spirits in the second bit will be decimated by a couple long bursts.

FrankTrollman: Good idea. So, they hear about a bunch of shipping routes... all of which have basically the same security! :D

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mfb
post Jan 20 2006, 01:58 AM
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nick, get Cyberpirates. get it now. seriously.
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Crusher Bob
post Jan 20 2006, 02:00 AM
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Also, it helps build the game world if they hear about stuff before that adventure when that stuff happens. For example, they hear that drug smugglers use this route, in advenure 1, but the drug smugglers dont't actually show up until adventure 3.
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nick012000
post Jan 20 2006, 05:49 AM
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QUOTE (mfb)
nick, get Cyberpirates. get it now. seriously.

No money. *shrugs*
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mfb
post Jan 20 2006, 06:52 AM
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other people have money. people society will never miss. you know what i'm saying.
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mintcar
post Jan 20 2006, 11:17 AM
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Cyberpirates is not only specificly intended for what youre aiming at, nick. Its also possibly the most refreshingly different sourcebook for Shadowrun, and a great read. Ive played only one or two short scenarios directly implementing the ideas. But it has been important in broadening the scope of my view of the gameworld. Given it some extra colour in the edges to complement the dull gray sprawl view in the center. As soon as you get some dough you go get it, ok?
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nick012000
post Jan 20 2006, 11:33 AM
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Well, in any case it's out of print, and therefore difficult to find, as well as not being in the PDF store.
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blakkie
post Jan 20 2006, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE (nick012000)
Well, in any case it's out of print, and therefore difficult to find, as well as not being in the PDF store.

What part of the world are you in? I know the local store here has it.

Of course they have at least 2 copies of Shadowbeat and such, so they aren't nessasarily the "norm" for stores. They have a stockpile of a lot of out of print gaming books. But there several Cyberpirates up on ebay as we speak, some even new copies.

EDIT: You could ask Adam if he knows where it is on the list for future PDF releases. That'd make it much cheaper if you don't mind it being in PDF or or printing it off yourself.
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nick012000
post Jan 20 2006, 12:29 PM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
QUOTE (nick012000)
Well, in any case it's out of print, and therefore difficult to find, as well as not being in the PDF store.

What part of the world are you in? I know the local store here has it.

Of course they have at least 2 copies of Shadowbeat and such, so they aren't nessasarily the "norm" for stores. They have a stockpile of a lot of out of print gaming books. But there several Cyberpirates up on ebay as we speak, some even new copies.

EDIT: You could ask Adam if he knows where it is on the list for future PDF releases. That'd make it much cheaper if you don't mind it being in PDF or or printing it off yourself.

I live in Brisbane, Australia.

Good for the weather, bad for the roleplaying stuff. :S
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fistandantilus4....
post Jan 20 2006, 12:34 PM
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but good for drop bears at least. Maybe you could trade with Grinder?
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nick012000
post Jan 20 2006, 12:54 PM
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*does a board search*
Isn't he in Germany?
*confused*
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fistandantilus4....
post Jan 20 2006, 12:58 PM
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hehe ... never mind
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nick012000
post Jan 22 2006, 01:26 PM
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Just ran the first pirate adventure.

The crew:
The Tooth, shark shaman and captain
Sarge, ex-CAS Coast Guard hacker/rigger adept
Razorblade, face adept
The Silver Samurai, ex-corp security street sam

The playlist:
After beginning to run low on funds, The Tooth hears about a drug shipment from Amazonia to the CAS. He promptly decides to capitalize on this knowledge by starting a pirate crew, and soon assembles the team. After Sarge talks to an old freind who's ranked high in the Coast Guard about it, he finds out the route of a shipment that the Coast Guard is being paid to look the other way of. Having learned this, and using his talents as a hacker, he locates and penetrates the host of the organization involved. He then looks around, finds the info on the shipment, edits the logs, and logs off right as he gets found by roving IC.

Pooling their skills in tactics, the Silver Sam and Sarge come up with an ideal location to stage their attack: an uninhabited island right off the course of the ship. So, they set up camp to wait for their prey to approach, waiting patiently for the ship to approach. The Tooth takes the time to summon a pair of spirits and set them on remote service: one to attack the adept they learned of, and the other to conceal their ships and drones, before summoning a third just in case.

Meanwhile, Sarge goes and hacks into the ship, and leaves and agent that is to crash the satellite dish upon his signal. Don't want them calling for backup.

So, the enemy ships roll past, and the jetskis (and their riders) are ripped to shreds in a hail of machine gun fire and grenades from the boat and drones.

Then the spirit (in the form of a shark made of ice) materialized belowdeck in the smuggler's ship, and gravely damaged the enemy leader with his frozen bite.

Then the mooks got to act, and proceed to blow the water spirit to kingdom come with a hail of automatic fire. Meanwhile, abovedecks, one mook notices the other spirit using its concealment power, and proceeds to plink it with a long burst. Then the other goons proceed to blow the now exposed drones and pirate ship into pieces.

Realizing the impending doom if he didn't do something fast, the Tooth pops up andd fries the lot of them with a Force 9 Lightning Ball, using Edge to reroll the Drain, so rather than nearly killing himself, he only takes 2 boxes of Physical damage.

He then orders the water spirit he had on reserve to hold up the boat, and proceeds to summon a Spirit of Man, which he orders to go belowdecks of the enemy boat and Stunball them into oblivion. So, a big demon appears belowdecks, and blasts the lot of them into unconsciousness. Yes, this took multiple combat turns. It's just that everyone else was hiding belowdecks (waiting to get close enough to do any good with the SMGs and Light Pistols they were packing).

So, the Tooth summons a bunch of Force 1s, puts them on remote service, and tasks them with retrieving the sunk jetskis and drones. Then they sail on into port, make 44,000 :nuyen: off of booty, slave sales, and organlegger sails, and proceed to spend the next 6 weeks repairing and expanding.
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Brahm
post Jan 22 2006, 03:52 PM
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Cool story. Sounds like fun, and very pirate. Slim happened to find himself on the water too this week too, and the similarities don't end there. Story will be up in an hour or so.


An Aside

I don't want to be a killjoy, it sounds like it was a fun session and fun means good GMing. But by RAW there is a limit of one unbound spirit at a time. Sending a spirit on a remote service or binding it frees up that 1 spirit slot, but from the way that story reads there were some times when the limit of one was exceeded. Of course if it just how the story is written up or you let it slid for the story that is cool too.
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nick012000
post Jan 23 2006, 01:57 AM
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Well, a spirit on remote service can still use its powers on you as long as it maintains LOS, right?

Spirit #1 was on remote service of "Wait for us to attack way out in the ocean, then attack our enemies. The adept is a priority target."
Spirit #2 was told to conceal them, then go and wait for the attack, with the jetskis a priority target, though if the main enemy boat was damaged, or it was badly wounded, it was to go underneath the main enemy boat and prevent it from sinking.
Spirit #3 was summoned, and held in reserve just in case.

At the end, it was one spirit after another being summoned, and sent on a remote service of "Go to the ocean floor, grab a drone/jetski, pull it up to the surface, and keep it afloat."
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nick012000
post Jan 29 2006, 03:41 PM
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Okay, we ran adventure #2. After a bit of snooping around in the boat hire company's computer, the party set up an ambush for them while under the concealment of a spirit. So, the ambush begins, and the street sam drives up to the hostile boat on a jetski, board it, and guns down the bodyguards with his duel-weilded SMGs. The hacker then proceeds to score a critical glitch on his attempt to break into the hostile's boat, but spends a point of edge to negate it. Then, the face intimidated the suits into submitting via radio, and the mage decides to astrally percieve, and catches the kid jumping off the side of the boat while invisible, so he orders the spirit to kill said mage, and it promptly dematerializes. The next initiative pass rolled around, the spirit materialized next to the mage, the street samurai runs belowdeck and guns down the security hacker, and the enemy mage blasts the spirit into little bits with a Force 9 manabolt (no drain). Next initiative pass, the hostile mage summons a water spirit, and the group shaman ducks his mage sight goggles underwater to throw a Force 9 Manabolt of his own (accomplishing diddly but taking physical drain in the process). The next combat turn rolls around, and the hostile mage orders the spirit to use the Guard power on him, and the Movement power on itself, and begins making his escape. The shaman doesn't like this, and summons another spirit to sic on his astrally. Next initiative pass, he orders it to go after the enemy spirit, it does nothing, and the opposing mage astrally percieves and blasts it into oblivion afterwards. The shaman summons another spirit, and passes out from the drain, though he's revived shortly afterwards by the street sam using a medkit.

On their way back to base with the captives, they're attacked by the mage and his horde of spirits. The mage and hacker spend edge points to go first, and 4 grenades, 8 LMG bursts, and a manabolt later, all of the enemies are dead or disrupted.

So, here's my idea for the next adventure:
They have a choice: a dragon that's set up shop on a deserted island, or a corp facility that's done the same.

The dragon: The dragon is a feathered serpent who is affiliated with Hualpa, and has made the island his lair. He's also investigating the Aztech facility (see next section) at the behest of his leader, and may offer the PCs limited assistance in their attack (though he won't risk his own life). He has 12 Force 6 bound spirits patrolling his island: 4 each of Earth, Water, and Beast. He additionally possesses the powers of Animal Control and Venom (though the latter is more powerful than normal: he can control, and see through the eyes of every animal on his island). He possesses a modicum of magical treasures: 2d6 foci of Force 1d6 (roll for each seperately), though they're not bonded. Additionally, he has cultivated positive relations with a nearby tribe of merrow, and has a number of hellhounds and thunderbirds living on his island (all of which are imported, but allowed to run wild).

The corp facility: Following their string of failures at creating a metaplanar bridge to bring across the Horrors, Aztechnology has instead begun research on more conventional summoning of Horrors. It is very difficult going, though: Horrors are naturally impossible to control magically, though deals can be struck with the more powerful ones, and cyberware can enable the control of the less powerful ones. However, the island is overrun with nomads (who have been possessing and feeding on the local animal populations) as a result of their earlier experiments. Currently, there are 6 Gnashers being the subjects of experiments with cyberaugmentation, 4 Force 9 Nomads who are the subject of binding experiments (all of which have spectacularly failed so far), and a Wormskull with whom they have entered an agreement: cooperate with Aztechnology officials, and it will be given victims, allowed to feed on pain during blood magic rituals, and allowed to remain present in the physical world.

Security: The stepped-pyramid building has two floors: The lower floor containing the labs, and the upper floor containing the housing for the personell. The upper floor's roof is home to a ritual altar and magical lodge where sacrifices are performed, and a Aztech equivalent of a Mitsubishi Yakosuko MRL loaded with Rating 6 AV Missles and programmed to fire at all non-Azzie aircraft that pass over the island (all such aircraft are warned upon approach that this will happen). On the roof of the first floor, there are 8 Ingram White Knights mounted; one on each corner, and one in the center of each wall.
The entire complex is covered by a Force 12 ward, as do each one of the labs where the Wormskull and the nomads are kept (the drain of them is reduced by making blood magic sacrifices).
The local matrix host is Rating 6, and the walls of the building are painted with Rating 6 wifi negating paint, though there is a satellite connection to an Azzie communication satellite, which routes data through to the Azzie head office. The host runs Rating 6 IC with the following programs (all at rating 6): Reality Filter, Armor, Black Hammer, Attack, Analyze, Stealth, Exploit, Sniffer, and Track. The IC is programmed to search for, then hit any unauthorized users with Black Hammer or attack agents they launch with its Attack program, then track them back to their commlinks, break in, and steal any data they have. The programs resemble massive panthers unless the hacker's running a Reality Filter of his own.
In addition to the IC, the facility employs a few hackers to monitor communications, and deal with interlopers. If an alarm is set off, then at least 1 will immediately attack the hacker involved. If the hacker's persona is crashed, or the hacker is killed or rendered unconscious by Black Hammer or Blackout programs, the other two hackers will immediately attack the interloper, using Black Hammer programs of their own. They run the same loadout as the IC, above, but run in Hot Sim, and add Edit to their loadout (to censor employee communications). They have Cracking and Electronics skill groups of 4.
The facility employs 6 shamans for their research; use the Radical Eco Shaman archetype for stats (but replacing the Raven mentor spirit with the Plumed Serpent mentor spirit (+2 Detection Spells, +2 Air Spirits, -1 dice for magic outside borders of Aztlan).
The magical research is headed by Juan Carlos, a blood mage and grade 1 initiate. Generate him as a Superior Prime Runner w/ 15 Karma (spent on initiating).
Use the stats here for the various horrors (other than the nomads, who are found in Critters).
The facility is patrolled by 12 Force 6 Spirits: 6 Air Spirits and 6 Blood Spirits (convert from MitS).
The Facility is guarded by an 8-man squad of Jaguar Guards; use stats for Street Samurai archetype. The squad is lead by a Leiutenant with 15 Karma.
Head of Security at the facility is a Prime Runner. Generate a 500bp Street Sam w/ 15 Karma.
There are 20 other personell at the facility.

Rewards: If the corp facility is raided, the research can be sold to the Draco Foundation for 50,000 :nuyen:. If the PCs manage to capture the blood mage alive, they can try to sell him to the Draco Foundation for 1 million :nuyen:, though remember that the Draco Foundation's offices are only open to the public for one day of the month. Surviving personell may be sold into slavery at 2,000 :nuyen: each, or to organleggers as before (1-3,000 depending on state of corpse). The PCs can loot assorted office equipment and electronics worth 40,000 :nuyen: in one trip. After that, the Azzie authories will be there in force.
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Brahm
post Jan 31 2006, 10:03 PM
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It sounds fine, if a bit of a dungeon crawl. It does strikes me as a fairly quick ramp up in power for the campaign and seems to be getting away from the high seas. If that is what you think your table is up for, then ahead full throtle.


About the spirits from last time.

The spirits sent to the ocean bottom seemed fine to me. But I'm not sure how much communication you have with a spirit sent on a remote service even when they are still in LOS but outside your magic range. Personally I would rule that it was fine as long as you gave them the instructions of what to do up front, and then were able to signal to them using mundane actions like yelling, waving, or flashing lights to trigger whatever action you predescribed to them. YMMV.
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