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> A story line comes to an end, How a villain in my game dies
Mardegun
post Jun 9 2006, 08:43 PM
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Hey all,

I thought I would share the ending of story line in my SR game. After a year of playing the group finally confronted their arch-villain. This villain has plagued them form day one. The villain named Rio has done all sorts of things to them; forced cyberware into them and whipped their memories just to name of few things. In any case the final battle was a long time coming.

The group had a fool proof plan that ended with the Rio trapped in a build that explodes. The explosion was caused by Chance, the love interest to a PC character named Pedro.

Quick background info on Chance and Pedro
While Chance and Pedro love each other, they remain distance. Chance told Pedro that she couldn’t love a man whom was mostly machine; Pedro is a rigger.




The rest of the story …

As Alina and Maajid silhouettes appear in the hole of the ruined wall, a figure is crawling away dragging itself across the blacken floor. Smoothly and calmly the revengeful heroes entered the building and see the charged figure. Alina and Maajid nod to each other as they confirm that this is their man. Even with 90% of Rio’s body burned, what remains of his cloths and especially those expensive white shoes are all the evidence they need.

Alina walks towards Rio with the long sleek blade in one hand trailing behind her. She looks like a cat that is done playing with her prey; it was time to finish the hunt. Rio turns onto his back knowing this could be his final moments, he locks gaze with Alina. Her face only shows a cold expression, but behind her eyes Rio sees fire; she raises the blade to deal the finishing strike.

Rio lifts his hand to cast another devastating spell. The air feels thick with power as he says, “I won’t be killed, not by the likes of you!” The air ripples like water as the spell executes, basking both Alina and Maajid in its’ destructive wake.

As the air settles the silhouette of Maajid still leaning against the broken wall begins to laugh. Alina remains still; there are no signs of humor in her demeanor. This was personal, it wasn’t time to joke or play around. Standing motionless over her prey she quickly drives the blade home. All that could be heard is the sound of metal meeting flesh, and then the impact of the sword plunging into the cement. A gasp comes from Rio, but his eyes still remained locked on Alina. He dares her to look him the eyes. Does she have the stomach to watch her victim die he thinks? Alina doesn’t look away; she wants to look him in the eyes. She has waited a long time to do this and wasn’t going to miss a moment of it.

Alina had to be sure he was finished, and reclaimed the piece of her that he took. Although only moments passed, they felt like years. Rio’s hand still raised from his last defiant attack slowly lowers, he was dead.

Only silence came next.

“Hey doods, is he dead?” Pedro asked over the comm.

“He is now”, Alina says under her breath with her hands still gripped on the handle of the sword.

“Yeah, dead as a door nailed”, chucked Maajid.

“Make sure,” insisted Cal; still manning his post with rifle in hand.

“I am telling you, he is dead. Unless he has two hearts”, retorted Maajid.

As if summoned Wyrm materialized into the physical world from astral space, with his eyes fixated on Rio’s body. “No aura, he is definitely dead”.

Maajid glad to hear someone confirms his observation, repeats it over the comm so everyone hears it.

Pedro scarcely asks, “Dood, I don’t knooow, couldn’t he be foolin you or something? This hombre is one slipperly dood. Are you sure your reading him right or what ever? I don’t want to see his crispy face again … like some kind of zombie or something”.

With some irritation in his voice Wyrm flies over to Maajid so he can be over heard. “Listen DOOD, you can’t get any easier than this, HE IS DEAD. No aura means no life force, DOOD”.

Chance still thinking of the destruction her element caused, regretfully says “he is right; there is no way to fake death; not from astral space”.


The group is silent anticipating to wake from a shared dream. This couldn’t be real they all thought.


Again straight to the point Cal reminds the group, “Time to go; Star is on its way”.

With a sense of finality Alina says, “He is right, we are done here”. She pulls the blade from the corpse and turns away. Alina limbs away only now showing the damage Rio inflicted on her. Slowly, but surely Alina becomes a silhouette and follows Maajid to the group’s vehicle.

As the group drives away with the sirens in the distance, Chance mutters to herself, “Is it really over?”

Wearily Pedro says, “Ahh don’t know I am still expecting to wake up with all the tubes and beeping and stuff. Dese Rio guy has fragged with us a long time, I don’t think it will ever change”.

Chance smiles and glances to Pedro, “I don’t know about things never changing, I think there’s hope”.



I admit this story isn’t anything special and the end is weak. You really need to know the group for it to have an impact. This little story in all honest wasn’t written for public consumption, so I take it as you will.

In any case, what do you guys think?

-Mardegun
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 12 2006, 01:04 AM
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Personally, I was never big on dramatic NPC showdowns in SR because of how easily one powerful character may be taken down by a well coordinated team. I feel it dosen't work as well as it does in, say, D&D where you have t3h hitpoints.

That being said, it was pretty cool. "He's dead, unless he has two hearts" was pretty funny. If it were me, that wouldn't be good enough. I'd Highlander the bastard.
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Glyph
post Jun 12 2006, 03:25 AM
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I agree that it's hard to make an NPC that can realistically stand up to the full force of a team of shadowrunners. But you can have him run into team members who are by themselves, or show up with his own backup, and getting that opimal combat situation to occur can be the main struggle of the PCs. Major villains aren't dumb, so it should take some work to maneuver them into that kind of situation.
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HMHVV Hunter
post Jun 12 2006, 04:20 AM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
Personally, I was never big on dramatic NPC showdowns in SR because of how easily one powerful character may be taken down by a well coordinated team.

You can always do what my Werewolf: the Forsaken storyteller does - make the villains insanely powerful (like the construct with a flaming head a la Ghost Rider that had burning acid blood and self-destructed into a fount of that acid when he lost all his health levels).

When it's one guy against five or more team members, it's not all that unreasonable to have a high power level. Plus, it poses a real threat to the characters - in EVERY Werewolf game I play, there's a danger of dying due to those powerful villains. The team inevitably takes the villain down, but that risk of someone dying in the process is still there.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 12 2006, 04:33 AM
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QUOTE (HMHVV Hunter)
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Jun 11 2006, 09:04 PM)
Personally, I was never big on dramatic NPC showdowns in SR because of how easily one powerful character may be taken down by a well coordinated team.

You can always do what my Werewolf: the Forsaken storyteller does - make the villains insanely powerful (like the construct with a flaming head a la Ghost Rider that had burning acid blood and self-destructed into a fount of that acid when he lost all his health levels).

When it's one guy against five or more team members, it's not all that unreasonable to have a high power level. Plus, it poses a real threat to the characters - in EVERY Werewolf game I play, there's a danger of dying due to those powerful villains. The team inevitably takes the villain down, but that risk of someone dying in the process is still there.

That can work if we're dealing with the supernatural, like Ghost Rider or Werewolves; perhaps the Shadowrunners find themselves investigating something Lovecraftian and then the supervillian of unknowable horror applies.

That becomes a lot less believable in a non-supernatural/horror style campaign. There's no reason that the evil, backstabbing project manager who set the team up should be a combat powerhouse. Even if he's ex military or something he's still not going to believably be able to stand here like John Wayne against five guys.
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HMHVV Hunter
post Jun 12 2006, 04:38 AM
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[QUOTE=Wounded Ronin,Jun 12 2006, 12:33 AM] [QUOTE=Wounded Ronin,Jun 11 2006, 09:04 PM]

That becomes a lot less believable in a non-supernatural/horror style campaign. There's no reason that the evil, backstabbing project manager who set the team up should be a combat powerhouse. Even if he's ex military or something he's still not going to believably be able to stand here like John Wayne against five guys.
[/QUOTE]

Easy way to get around that:

Corp suit: "So, you've finally arrived. *commanding whistle* Personal-cyberwared-bodyguard-of-death-with-damn-near-0 Essence, take 'em out!"
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 12 2006, 04:53 AM
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QUOTE (HMHVV Hunter)
[QUOTE=Wounded Ronin,Jun 12 2006, 12:33 AM] [QUOTE=Wounded Ronin,Jun 11 2006, 09:04 PM]

That becomes a lot less believable in a non-supernatural/horror style campaign. There's no reason that the evil, backstabbing project manager who set the team up should be a combat powerhouse. Even if he's ex military or something he's still not going to believably be able to stand here like John Wayne against five guys.
[/QUOTE]

Easy way to get around that:

Corp suit: "So, you've finally arrived. *commanding whistle* Personal-cyberwared-bodyguard-of-death-with-damn-near-0 Essence, take 'em out!"

But even then there are problems with that.

1.) The PCs with Wired Reflexes II are going to double tap the Johnson into overflow before he can quick draw his whistle and operate it with a simple action. In other words, any time the big NPC confronts the PC and then needs to press a button or do something before hell breaks loose he probably won't be able to because of how initiative work. Theoretically he could be waiting with a delayed action around a corner but then he couldn't really do a supervillian exposition and the PCs would probably still have time to blow him away before the bodyguard or whomever emerges and gets into position to attack.

2.) Why would the project manager stand around just to greet the PCs? That's very risky. If he values his life and can predict where the PCs are going to go he should flee and merely leave his bodyguard behind.

I mean, nothing would be cooler than an asian kung fu film type shtick where the PCs John Woo an entire building filled with yakuza before taking on the oyabun in his immaculate mirror-floored penthouse apartment with a staggering view of the city. But the oyabun has no rational reason to stay there and wait for them, really. Why risk his life to get a few shots in when he has so many people he can just order there in his place? Anyone who is a mover and shaker in the shadows has a lot to lose and so won't risk his life just to make an exposition.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 12 2006, 05:09 AM
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Video game plot rule #27: The real enemy isn't to be revealed untill the final act. The anatgonist up to this point is revealed to be a lacky, a pawn, a mind-controled slave or just an idiot with delusions of grandure. The real enemy may be someone forshadowed by past events, someone who seemed to be the antagonist's servant, or someone who seems to have been made up on the spot with only the flimsiest of ties to the plot so far.

When you reach the Oyabun's chamber you find him dead, killed by his most trusted lieutenant with a weapon identical to one that the PCs are known to use. They gave the teacherous lieutenant the chance he needed to fufill his ambition and take control of the clan. All he needs to do is avenge the death of his master. And he IS a super-adept.
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Forever Zero
post Jun 12 2006, 06:55 AM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Jun 12 2006, 12:53 AM)
But even then there are problems with that.

That's why when the Runners kick in the door to the Office/Meeting Room, there's no one there. Instead, a speaker announces that while it would be very satisfying if he could watch the Runners die himself, he has instead opted for the safety of watching them die through the hidden cameras scattered throughout the office. At that point a blast door slams down closing off exit, while a new door opens releasing the Deltaware Cyberzombie/Mega-Initiated Mage with Spirit Backup/Super Deluxe Combat Drone on the Runners to battle.

I would think the most likely end to an Arch-Enemy would not be when you outfight them (If you blast your way into a hideout, most smart foes have escape routes and contingency plans), but when you outsmart them (Manage to give some ugly data to his superiors so they eliminate him, track him down and car bomb him, trap him someplace you know he can't escape, what have you). This would obviously depend on the foe (If your foe is an insane assassin after your Runners, then a climactic final showdown is much more likely).
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Mardegun
post Jun 12 2006, 04:04 PM
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Wounded Ronin
QUOTE

Personally, I was never big on dramatic NPC showdowns in SR because of how easily one powerful character may be taken down by a well coordinated team.



Personally I think this is a good thing, but agree that it can be anti-climatic.

On the other hand the arch-villain confrontation worked for me. I think the key for me was that no plan is perfect. In other words even though in this case it was

5 PCs + powerful NPC w/8 elements & 1 F8 Greater Fire elemental
Verse
1 Villain + 4 security guard + astral mage with 3 elements … it was still a good fight.


All of my players were extremely happy about how it went down. They had 4 plans on how to kill the villain, but it still took hours to get it done. Their plans were…

A. PC sniper
B. Planned explosives on the villain’s route to work
C. RC buggy with explosives (I.E. drive up to him and blow him to bits)
D. If villain made it to his building, then lay siege to building. They were going to hook up with Damien, the Leather Devil gang and break into the build and get the guy.
They also hade LS spread thin so they couldn’t show up. Assuming if they weren’t too destructive (i.e. didn’t use large explosives)

Even with all of this planning the Villain almost got away and he wasn’t that powerful.

The villain just keep on avoiding them, but still remained a threat. Again the best part is that villain wasn’t that powerful, he was just a mage. You could make a starting PC character just as powerful as my villain.

All in all the key for me was the holes in the PC’s plans. At each stage the villain had a way of reacting. Lucky part for me was that the villain had some knowledge of what was going to happen and had counter measures in place … in the end they failed, but it was dam fun for the PCs, which is the over all goal.
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Mardegun
post Jun 12 2006, 05:21 PM
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Glyph
QUOTE
Major villains aren't dumb, so it should take some work to maneuver them into that kind of situation.


So very true

In my case what made the villain powerful was that it took a year of real time (20+ sessions) for the group to find the villain. Once they found him the villain was very ordinary. Personally I love it when a PC or NPC are extremely amazing in one way, but ordinary in other ways; it feels more real this way.

HMHVV Hunter
QUOTE

Corp suit: "So, you've finally arrived. *commanding whistle* Personal-cyberwared-bodyguard-of-death-with-damn-near-0 Essence, take 'em out!"


I agree with Wounded Ronin, that you can’t do this very well. In my game the villain invited the PCs to a neutral meeting place. It was a high class restaurant where they couldn’t bring weapons … or if they did bring weapons, they would have to deal with security and maybe even LS.

In any case having the villain confront the PCs in this way worked out.

Wounded Ronin
QUOTE
Why would the project manager stand around just to greet the PCs? That's very risky.


Agreed

Most people even powerful ones, aren’t going to risk death. On the other hand it is nice to have the villain there to give the players a sense of power and control over the situation.

hyzmarca
QUOTE

Video game plot rule #27:

Video game plot or not, if you do it right this can be fun. This is not what I did, but kept some of the elements :)
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 12 2006, 10:26 PM
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QUOTE (Forever Zero)
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Jun 12 2006, 12:53 AM)
But even then there are problems with that.

That's why when the Runners kick in the door to the Office/Meeting Room, there's no one there. Instead, a speaker announces that while it would be very satisfying if he could watch the Runners die himself, he has instead opted for the safety of watching them die through the hidden cameras scattered throughout the office. At that point a blast door slams down closing off exit, while a new door opens releasing the Deltaware Cyberzombie/Mega-Initiated Mage with Spirit Backup/Super Deluxe Combat Drone on the Runners to battle.

Not to say that that couldn't be fun, but that's a huge cliche. I remember it from the final level of Damage Incorporated; the evil mastermind would taunt your squad from loudspeakers ranting about the Vietnam War. It was also in the Bruc Lee film, "Way of the Dragon". When Bruce Lee's character is running through the Roman colisseum the Evil Gay Chinese Man Who Is A Lackey To The Foreigners ™ is taunting him in his Super Gay Man High Pitched Voice through a loudspeaker. "TANG LUNG! YOU WILL SOON BE A DEAD MAN!", and then instead of an evil boss cackle he had a simpering Evil Gay Man cackle. It was hysterically funny.

I'm afraid that if I were ever playing in a campaign where the party got the loudspeaker treatment I might suddenly shout out, "TANG LUNG! YOU WILL SOON BE A DEAD MAN! MEEE HEE HEE HEE! MEEE HEE HEE HEE!", causing everyone at the gaming table to stare at me and wonder if I'm high.
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Forever Zero
post Jun 14 2006, 03:53 PM
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It is a huge cliche (From video games, from movies, and pretty much all other modern media), but for a lot of enemies, if the runners go charging in to their main base, guns blazing, they're not going to stick around and see what happens, (Well, maybe if they're pretty cocky about their defenses they might stay and watch) and instead would just leave a trap. There are of course lots of original things you could do with this, the Lockdown Room and Speaker Taunt was just the first thing that came to mind.
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Vaevictis
post Jun 15 2006, 07:06 AM
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You don't need a super-powerful villian, you just need an competent enemy that seizes the initiative and refuses to let it go.

Yeah, a team is capable of taking out just about any enemy... *if* they can prepare for him. What happens when the enemy prepares for the team? Same thing the other way. :)
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Abbandon
post Jun 17 2006, 11:41 PM
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In the books the arch rival would have possessed that alina chick with some magical ancient relic and they wouldnt find out about it until several runs later. And then they would have to figure out a way to get the dude out of her without killing her and then finally kill his spirit or something.

Im not a fan of all out assaults. if you assaulted a building and could easily storm your way through all the crap soldiers the arch rival dude would take off in his chopper right as the pc's come through his office door to kill him.

And it would be retarded to let them mess with his ride, and if they had a rigger in the air it would have been spotted and sent the whole place on lockdown and he would have gone for his trusty tank car and escaped.

but whatever. Thanx for sharing the ending hehe. It sounded like alina had been raped by the dude or something. And i dont get why his final attack didnt do jack. Didnt he overcast and kill himself in the process?? Thats what i would have done. And only two people reached him in the final room? Thats lame. Wasnt the guy a mage and he didnt have no uber spirit protecting him ?? wtf.
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Muzzaro
post Jun 18 2006, 05:57 AM
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The runners enter the final stage. The one last meeting between super-powerful NPC that's been hounding them for years, and a bunch of cut up, beat about runners hell bent on ripping the guy's throat out with their teeth.

"Why damn you! The years of torment! Our loved ones slain before our eyes! Friends murdered in their beds! WHY!?"

The NPC grins, showing off an immaculate smile.

"Why? I don't know. I was bored. It seemed like fun at the time. I'll be honest it got boring about a year ago, but everyone thought the whole personal vendetta thing was rather cute, so i kept it up. Sorry about that though. I mean it was nothing personal."

With that he slumps to the floor, twitching. By the time the runners get to him, he's dead. A bottle of neat poison in one hand.

The end!

No matter what the runners do to his corpse, he killed himself. He also didn't give the answer they wanted, which (hopefully) makes them frustrated as hell...
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