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> Killing Me Softly With Airstrikes, A SR3 campaign
Wounded Ronin
post Jun 18 2006, 09:47 PM
Post #1


Great Dragon
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Killing Me Softly With Airstrikes

One assertion sometimes pronounced in the Shadowrun playing community which amuses me to no end is that as “professionals” the player characters are not supposed to open up with artillery and heavy machine gun support on urban residential buildings. Instead, a true professional must put on an expensive suit, have an oral lasher installed, and enter each apartment disguised as a call girl in order to kill everyone in the building.

This assertion is amusing because it’s wrong. It’s perfectly professional to kill everyone in the building by leveling the building as long as the employer doesn’t need the building preserved and as long as the player characters can get away from the scene of such carnage without getting caught. Likewise, depending on how “sure” you want to be, it can also be perfectly professional to stride in a bold lockstep through each floor of the residential building firing squad automatic weapons in unison to make sure that you’ve drilled every single person in the building.

The real professional question is one of risk management. Is the additional risk to your men worth having them actually enter the building fighting? How important is it that they visually confirm each kill? If the risk isn’t worth it the professional decision would probably be to level the building with artillery, or an airstrike.

The following campaign, “Killing Me Softly With Airstrikes,” is a celebration of the fact that with a little outside the box thinking (outside the box of faux-professionalism) you can complete your mission, rack up a lot of frags, and protect the health of your team.


Mission 1: Counter-insurgency
Mission 1 theme music: Our House (Talking Heads)

The PCs, through their contacts, are contacted by Lone Star. Lone Star, seeing an opportunity to profit from sky-high urban property values, has started a “Barrens Reclamation Project” pilot program. Lone Star has secured a tiny silver of the Redmond Barrens and established what it calls a “strategic hamlet”, a small residential area with shops and utilities which could potentially serve as a base for office building projects. Because the Barrens are highly unsafe the strategic hamlet is heavily guarded by Lone Star troopers and so far attacks on the strategic hamlet are so frequent that further expansion is impractical. Furthermore, squatters from the Barrens and surrounding areas who are seeking safety have started to move into abandoned buildings and structures surrounding the strategic hamlet giving it an unsightly back yard of SINless refugees. To complicate matters even further some representatives from the Barrens gangs have disguised themselves as peaceful squatters so that they can launch raids and attacks against the strategic hamlet with a greater element of surprise and from a closer distance.

Lone Star fears a public relations fiasco if they were to simply send in troopers to kill all these downtrodden masses. Instead, Lone Star is hiring teams of shadowrunners to go and eradicate the squatters so that the slayings can be blamed on the Mad Max style Barrens gangs and which will hopefully in turn boost public support for the Barrens Reclamation Project.


The Lone Star Johnson will tell the PCs that they are being hired to remove all the squatters, by any means necessary, from one three-story abandoned brownstone building. (They are one of many teams hired.) The Johnson doesn’t reveal that he’s from Lone Star but tells them that they will be near the strategic hamlet but that the Lone Star forces have been told not to interfere with anything they do. The catch, which the Johnson doesn’t reveal and probably doesn’t know, is that the particular building to which the PCs have been assigned is actually filled with insurgents from a Barrens gang.

If the PCs actually enter the building and do something other than massacre the squatters, such as convince them to leave peacefully, the insurgents will at first act like feeble and peaceful victims of circumstance. (Their guns are hidden in closets in the apartments.) Tell the PCs that they can practically hear “Greensleeves” playing in the background. The insurgents will press around the PCs, touching their hands and begging for mercy. If the PCs start getting nervous, the insurgents will act like they’re leaving but they want to hug the PCs for not massacring them. (“Lone Star’s goons would have just shot us outright! Thank you for coming and talking to us instead; no one from the city has ever been so kind to us! I hope you have a wonderful life...”) Finally, when they are in position to each get a -3 TN bonus from having four people clustered around each PC (one on each side) they’ll quick draw Cougar Fineblade short knives and attempt to carve the PCs like so many Thanksgiving roasts. Even if the PCs all have wired reflexes the first round should get ugly because the insurgents will probably have the advantage of surprise. Also, because the entire building is filled with insurgents getting out of the building in one piece is probably very much like surviving a zombie flick.

Should the PCs enter the building from any point and just start shooting/grenading the insurgents will grab their assault rifles and return fire. Once again, the volume of enemies behind cover should keep things challenging.

Should the PCs just detonate the building with artillery they’ll have done everything Lone Star wanted them to with minimum risk to themselves.

Notes for mission 1:
*If the PCs choose to walk to the brownstone on foot across the Barrens the GM should subject them to one combat encounter en route; perhaps more logically after they deal with the insurgents since they would have made more noise at that point. A Barrens encounter could include a pack of ghouls or else muscular Mad Max villains with firearms astride armored vehicles. I would recommend either 3 vehicles with a driver and two gunners apiece or else 20 charging ghouls. This will help reinforce how dangerous the Barrens are and how only a moron would go across on foot.
*The brownstone has three floors, stairs, windows, a fire escape, and rooms. Each floor has 20 insurgents living in it. This means that there will be 60 enemies for the PCs to deal with if they do anything besides for detonate the building. From a tactical perspective entry is likely through the front door, from the roof, through a window, or by blowing a hole in a ground floor wall and entering through said hole.
*The PCs will be paid 2,500 nuyen apiece for this simple task.
*Under no circumstances should the GM say, “You know, guys, you could just blow it up safely from a distance,” because the point of this campaign is to see if the PCs can think outside the box to do exactly that. If the PCs wade into combat and take all kinds of unnecessary damage the GM must giggle privately.

*Because the building has no power if the PCs attack at night they will definitely have to deal with Minimal Light.

NPCs for mission 1:

Insurgent
B 5
S 5
Q 5
I 3
W 3
C 3
R 4
Init 4 + 1d6
Karma Pool 1

Skills:
Edged Weapons 4
Assault Rifles 4
Etiquette (Barrens) 3 (5)
Negotiation (fast talk) 2 (4)
Athletics 3
Car 4
Car B/R 4

Gear:
Cougar Fineblade short blade knife
Unmodified basic AK 97 assault rifle (hidden in closet)
3 AK magazines filled with regular ammunition
Armor Clothing
2 MRE packages left over from the 1980s which were rejected by a homeless shelter; any PC who eats the MRE package benefits from food for an entire day (120 days worth of food from 60 insurgents could save some PCs on their lifestyle costs) but also must resist 6M stun as though it were a disease for each package eaten


Karma awards for Mission 1:
*3 karma for just blowing the building up or otherwise destroying it or the people inside
*3 karma for trying to role play and negotiate and surviving the hellacious backstabbing which followed
*3 karma for entering the building infantry-style and actually killing everyone inside in a direct way; a special +1 karma bonus applies to this approach to any PC who said, “GET SOME! GET SOME! GET SOME!” while this was in progress



Mission 2: United Auto Workers
Mission 2 theme music: We’re Not Going To Take It (Twisted Sister)

Just one week after the completion of Mission 1 the PCs are again contacted through their contacts by a Johnson for another mission. This Johnson is from United Auto Workers (UAW), which means he has a huge blond mullet, and has heard through his shadowy connections that the PCs aren’t afraid to commit to an “Anna Navarre shooting spree.” Even if this isn’t true and the PCs withdrew from Mission 1 without accomplishing the objective the UAW Johnson would have heard wrong and hired them anyway.

The UAW has decided that being stoned on the assembly line and producing more-expensive-yet-inferior products is the god-given right of auto assembly workers from North America and that if this causes consumers to buy Japanese automobiles of higher quality for lower prices this is naturally tantamount to a declaration of war by Japan. Since Japan has gone and effectively declared war on UCAS the UAW has no choice but to hire shadowrunners to go and destroy Japanese auto manufacturing plants which are on UCAS soil.

The Johnson offers the PCs 3,500 nuyen per team member to assault and destroy a Chrysler-Nissan (because according to 80s logic Nissan clearly was the one which bought out Chrysler) manufacturing plant which is located in an economically depressed industrial area of Seattle. The Johnson tells them that he doesn’t care at all about collateral damage.

For the sake of simplicity the factory in the industrial zone consists of a parking lot, a factory floor with machinery, and an upstairs manager’s booth. The factory would have a large double doors on one side for deliveries, and a couple small doors on the opposite wall for people. Treat most of the factory as concrete for the purposes of object resistance. Although the factory isn’t important enough to have a security mage it is surrounded by a rating 4 barrier and it is patrolled astrally by a rating 5 air elemental which has instructions to attack anyone breaking into the factory or assaulting the staff. At night the doors are secured by rating 4 maglocks.

Mission 2 notes:
*If the PCs want to avoid a bloodbath the Captain Obvious thing to do would be to blow it up outside of normal working hours. At night there would only be 5 night watchmen as well as the astral security.
*If the PCs want to pull a Pol Pot it would make sense to hit the factory during the day, when it is manned by 100 auto workers and guarded by 5 security guards (the day shift).
*Either way the hardest part of the mission would probably be making a clean escape after committing industrial terrorism. Even though it’s a poor area of town if the mission is done in a “loud” way the Star will appear in five minutes because of the flagrant nature of the attack, which means the PCs must be done with their job and gone within that amount of time. If the PCs aren’t completely gone from the area by that time the GM must first pelt them with drones and then advanced riflemen and SWAT squads.
*If the PCs do the job quietly by mechanically sabotaging the machines at night then the Star will arrive about 20-30 minutes after the PCs either disrupt the ward, disable the elemental, or foolishly let one of the security guards radio for help.

*Considering the presence of the ward and the fact that the elemental is not going to do anything if you don’t assault someone or technically break in the “best” approach would probably be to lay plastique charges outside the building and detonate them by radio detonator once you are far away from the factory. Even though there’s a certain chance that the guards will see the charges average security guards will probably run if they find plastique instead of standing there tinkering with it to try and disable it.

*Another “quiet” way to destroy the plant would be to get a decker up to the manager’s booth where the terminal has strictly average security, or where the manager could be interrogated for his password. (Use the auto worker stats.) Once the decker has taken control of the plant’s machinery he could, with a successful Auto Assembly Machine (B/R) (6) check, set the machines to destroy themselves. Since it’s highly unlikely the decker has this skill he may default using Electronics (B/R) or a vehicle (B/R) skill.
*In the morning when the auto workers arrive they stand out in the parking lot and do group exercises which consist of screaming and throwing karate punches. This is extremely important from an 80s point of view. Not to mention it gives the PCs one chance every morning to rip them all to shreds with a well placed mortar, if that’s what they want to do.
*At this plant parts are assembled but not entire cars so the PCs can’t expect to have an unlimited supply of vehicles if they raid the plant. Of course there are probably some Americars in the parking lot they could make off with, or use as a car bomb.
*The initial pay for the mission is 3,500 nuyen.
*If the PCs inflict wholesale slaughter on the factory workers the delighted Johnson will give each party member a 500 nuyen bonus.
*After the mission is over the Johnson is waiting to pay the PCs at a McHugh’s restaurant

Mission 2 NPCs:

Chrysler-Nissan auto worker

The Chrysler-Nissan auto worker has some melee combat ability because he does karate themed group exercises every morning to build company solidarity. Plus, he could be asian. Although they are no threat to the team on a one-on-one basis the fact that there’s a hundred of them in potentially close quarters could give them the opportunity to overwhelm the PCs if they feel that they have no other way to survive.

B 4
S 4
I 3
Q 3
W 3
C 3
R 3
Init 3 + 1d6
Karma Pool 1

Skills:
Karate 3
Car assembly 5
Ettiquete (zaibatsu) 2 (4)

Gear:
Armor clothing

Cigarettes



Night watchman/day shift guard

B 4
S 4
I 3
Q 4
W 3
C 3
R 3
Init 3 + 1d6
Karma pool 1

Skills:
Cop-fu 5
Clubs 5
Pistols 3
Etiquette (zaibatsu) 2 (4)
Police Procedures 3

Gear:
Armor Vest w. plates
Plastic restraints
Stun baton
Extra stun baton battery pack
Colt Asp pistol
12 regular cartridges for Colt Asp


Karma awards for mission 2:
*3 karma for going in guns blazing and inflicting wholesale slaughter; +1 karma for each PC who said, “GET SOME, GET SOME, GET SOME”
*4 karma for either doing the job quietly or else remotely destroying the plant once safely away


Mission 3: Ninja Burger
Mission 3 Theme Music: The Warrior (Pat Benetar)

The UAW Johnson who hired the PCs is waiting at a McHugh’s restaurant to pay them upon completion of the mission. He pays them, and then tells them, “the Japanese auto industry is backed by the yakzua...and the ninja.” When he says the word “ninja” his voice drops to a reverent whisper which is filled with dread.


“I have one more task for you,” he says, “and it’s as much a matter of self-preservation for yourselves as it is a matter of business. Your strike on the factory was a challenge to the yakuza and they’re going to answer that challenge unless you throw them off balance first and then lay low for a while. I want to hire you again now. This time, I want you to gut the local yakuza war room, where their local officers will be holding a meeting right now. The boldness of this attack is unprecedented and it is what will ensure that the yakuza are off-balanced; I use kuzushi, as would have Jigoro Kano. And it is only through off balancing that they will be finally upset.”

The Johnson will offer 10,000 nuyen per team member as payment. After price negotiations, the Johnson will give the address of the war room, which is in the basement of a Japanese style rotary sushi parlor about ten blocks from the McHugh’s. “When you’re done, meet me at the Ferelli Italian Diner at the other end of town,” he will say, and get into a black armored limo waiting outside.

If, during Mission 2, the player characters made a “loud” style attack against the factory, this means that because of the flagrance of the action that the yakuza have already taken action and ninjas have replaced the manager and food technician at the McHugh’s. If this is the case, two things will happen; firstly, the yakuza will be forewarned about the attack and the sushi parlor will be nothing but a trap, and secondly any food or drink consumed by the PCs will contain a soporific which will inflict 6L stun on the PCs every ten minutes for an hour, which is supposed to make the PCs easier to defeat when they walk into the trap.

If, on the other hand, the previous job was done “quietly” the yakuza aren’t paying any attention to this meeting. The sushi parlor won’t be a trap, and the local officers will be in the basement.

IF THE SUSHI PARLOR IS A TRAP:

The sushi parlor will be locked with a rating 4 maglock and the sign on the outside will say “closed”, but the basement stairway in the back of the parlor will have light coming from it. Nobody is in the parlor and instead the basement has been packed with 50 kilos of C4 linked with several radio detonators.

As the PCs approach the parlor they will be attacked in the street by 45 ninjas and 5 shinto magicians who have been disguised with overcoats and biding their time in surrounding establishments which are controlled by the yakuza. When the PCs walk up to the sushi shop they pull on their ninja masks and enter the street. The aim of the ninjas and magicians is to not give the party the leisure to examine the shop and realize that there’s nothing in it. On the contrary they want to drive the PCs into the shop seeking cover, as there isn’t any cover on the open street; cars were specifically moved by the yakuza earlier. However, if the PCs enter the building the yakuza will detonate the 50 kilos of C4 and the GM will have to calculate the damage to the party both of the blast (which the floor is shielding them from, thankfully) and of the building caving in on them.

If the PCs simply fire a rocket at the shop the yakuza will attack them for a few turns and then flee before the Star turns up.

If the survive and escape they probably will have accomplished the letter of the mission.


Because the yakuza needs to make an example of the people who flagrantly destroyed a Japanese auto part manufacturing factory anyone who isn’t dead and didn’t succeed in escaping will be collected by the yakuza for torture and exhibition.

IF THE SUSHI PARLOR IS NOT A TRAP:

The sushi parlor will be open for business as usual. A few customers off the street will be sitting at the rotary. There is a sushi chef preparing sushi in the middle of the rotary, and the sushi chef is actually a shinto magician. The stairway to the basement is in the back of the shop. The door of the shop is guarded by a rating 6 MAD scanner so that if anyone enters the premises with weapons or offensive cyberwear which are detected by the MAD scanner the sushi chef and the people in the basement will immediately be warned.

The basement of the sushi restaurant has been set up in a gaudy 80s pseudo-Japanesque conference room. At the far end of the basement away from the entry staircase is a raised tatami dias where three yakuza local officers will be sitting in seiza and making masculine grunting samurai noises of strategic concurrance. Behind them, mounted on the wall, is a big map of the UCAS covered by red circles where red circles represent Japanese business buyouts of UCAS corporate holdings and properties.

Kneeling on tatami mats between the staircase and the local yakuza officers will be 9 security ninjas wearing black robes as well as one additional shinto magician.

Mission 3 notes:
*Hopefully the above narrative wasn’t too confusing. Basically, if the PCs did it loud in Mission 2, Mission 3 is just a big trap set for them by the yakuza. If the PCs did it quietly in Mission 2 then Mission 3 is their chance to catch the yakuza with their pants down.
*Whether or not there is a trap the PCs could accomplish their mission by driving up to the shop, firing several rockets into the shop, and then fleeing.
*If the sushi shop is a trap you’ll notice that it’s the magicians who are holding the radio detonators. In theory the party could take cover in the sushi shop and still be safe if they somehow immediately killed all the magicians and prevented one of the ninjas from running over to the magicans’ body to grab the detonator.
*If there is a trap, the PCs face 45 ninjas and 5 magicians. If there is no trap the PCs face 9 ninjas, 2 magicians, and 2 physads (local officers).
*There is no cover on the street in front of the sushi shop in the event of the trap; the yakuza would have specifically removed it.
*The UAW Johnson is never drugged because the ninjas want him to give his meeting as normal and hear what he has to say.
*If the PCs are captured by the yakuza the yakuza will want to make an example of them. Some possibilities include: boiling them one by one a la Shogun TV miniseries to maximize the 80s kitzch, or else making them into meatpuppets and using them to produce extreme S&M videos so that Ian Buruma (author of “Behind The Mask”) can sound more justified.
*Lone Star response time to a “loud” approach is 10 minutes, as this is a medium area of town. However, their response time to the building exploding and taking out some nearby buildings as well is only 5 minutes.
*The Ferelli Italian Diner is a mafia-controlled establishment where the Johnson thinks he will be safer; the UAW has begun to collaborate with the mafia against the yakuza.

*A medkit’s Biotech 3 cannot be used to remove a barbed arrow from flesh because that is a mechanical operation rather than a medicinal treatment.
*Baseline pay for this daring feat is 10,000 nuyen.


Misson 3 NPCs:

Yakuza career ninjas

B 6
S 6
W 5
Q 6
I 4
C 2
R 5
Karma Pool 1
Init: 5 + 1d6

Skills:
Unarmed Combat 6
Edged Weapons 6
Thrown Weapons 6
Clubs 6
Flails/Whips 6
Pole Arms 6
Projectile Weapons 6
Stealth 6
Etiquette (yakuza) 4 (6)

Gear: (starred items are only present if the PCs are entering a trap)
Black shinobi shozoku (gives camo armor bonus to Stealth checks when worn at night)
*Lined coat (worn as disguise and kept on for armor during fight)
*Str. Min 5 classic bow
*20 barbed arrows (see Cannon Companion; removal requires Biotech (6) test)
*Kusari gama
10 semban shuriken
Ninjato (treat as Cougar Fineblade long knife)


Yakuza shinto magicians (treat as a shaman; see MITS)

Body 4
Strength 4
Quickness 4
Willpower 5
Intelligence 5

Charisma 5
Reaction 4
Magic 6
Karma Pool 1
Init 4 + 1d6


Skills:
Conjuring 6
Sorcery 6
Unarmed Combat 5
Pole Arms 5
Etiquette (yakuza) 4 (6)

Gear: (starred items are present only if the PCs are entering a trap)
Ceremonial shinto robes
Harmless rod with paper on it
*Bo staff
*Lined coat
Rating 6 ancestor spirit on hand
*Radio detonator for sushi shop

Spells:
Control Thoughts 5 (mwah hwah hwah hwah)
Stun bolt 5
Mana Bolt 5
Ball Lightning 5



Local Yakuza Officers

B 6
S 6
Q 6
W 5
I 5
C 5
R 5
Magic 6
Init 5 + 1d6 (9 + 3d6)

Skills:
Edged Weapons 6 (9)
Pistols 5 (8)
Intimidation 6
Negotiation 6

Etiquette (yakuza) 5 (7)
Leadership 5
Athletics 6

Gear:
Katana
Actioneer Line armored suit entirely in a conservative blue color
Browning Max Power in concealable holster
2 magazines for Browning loaded with APDS rounds
Samurai loincloth

Physad Powers
Improved Reflexes II
Improved Ability: Edged Weapons + 3
Improved Ability: Pistols +3


Karma Awards for Mission 3:
*4 karma for accomplishing the mission and killing the yakuza officers (only possible if there is no trap)
*3 karma for accomplishing the mission of gutting the shop and not killing the yakuza officers
*-1 karma if you were blown up along with the shop
*2 karma for wandering into an ambush and then booking without accomplishing the mission
*1 karma for failing to accomplish the mission and not technically dying but being captured by the yakuza and used for S&M meat puppet videos



Mission 4: Bonus Mission
Mission 4 theme music: Maria (Blondie)

There are two basic possible states in which the party must be in when they return, if at all, to the Johnson at the Ferelli Italian Diner. If the party has mostly avoided damage by completing each mission in the most efficient possible way they’ll probably still be capable of taking on one last mission. If the party has just been ambushed or has bungled an earlier mission they could be hurting pretty badly and needing some downtime. If the GM is really lucky they walk in ridiculously sprouting barbed arrows because the PCs were too foolish to actually have a Biotech skill to remove arrows, thinking that they didn’t need one just because they own a medkit.

That’s why Mission 4 is a bonus mission. If the party arrives in good condition they can take the mission and get a larger reward for the campaign. If they arrive in poor condition they can always gamble but probably they should quit while they’re ahead especially if they’re out of ammunition. In any case, the PCs have been in combat for many hours now and the GM may require them to make an Athletics (4) test or else take a box of stun to represent combat-related fatigue if it seems appropriate to do so.


In the safety of the mafia-owned Ferelli Italian Diner the UAW Johnson will tell the PCs that he was just contacted by a former ninja, an informant, who revealed to them the location of one of the yakuza’s secret S&M porn producing studios. The Johnson wants it destroyed but warns that it is likely to be well protected since high quality extreme porn is one of the yakuza’s most effective PR tools. If any party members were captured by the yakuza in the previous mission, this studio is where they are being held. There is, furthermore, reason to believe that many meatpuppets may be imprisoned in the studio.

The ninja-informant in question is McAllister from the 80s TV show “The Master”, but of course the Johnson doesn’t reveal this.

The Johnson insists that he wants the raid to be executed within three hours, and that if the party isn’t up to the task due to injuries or something similar he will hire a different team for the raid. He wants to ensure that action is taken before the yakzua realize they’ve been compromised. The Johnson is willing to pay the party 20,000 nuyen per team member to swallow their fatigue and go once more into the breach. The S&M studio itself is located in a remote woodland location which is a 2 hour drive out of Seattle, so there’s only an hour to spare, although team members who aren’t driving may catch some sleep en route.

The yakuza S&M studio is actually a concealed tunnel dug into a woodland hillside that has several theme rooms all in a line and some generators and food and water supplies stashed in the last room. It was designed for concealability, and, being nothing but a small tunnel in a hillside in the woods, would be impossible to find without precise directions. Although the GM should not specifically mention this or clue the players in they could easily accomplish the mission just by firing rockets and mortars into the tunnel until the tunnel collapses and kills everyone inside, so long as they have no qualms about killing the meat puppets and their comrades if present. After all, in such a rural location, it’s not as if Lone Star is going to show up. However, if they choose to enter the tunnel fighting, Vietnam War style, they will be able to admire the decor of each room. The exact dimensions of the rooms are up to the GM; I’d consider 15 meters by 15 meters.

The first room gets some natural light from the mouth of the tunnel. It’s a Japanese style rock garden with combed white pebbles, some moss, and a centerpiece rock. Two yakuza troopers (use the Samurai archetype from SR3) and two shinto magicians stand guard just inside. Filming here usually involves someone getting tied up and having water sprinkled on them, or else being made to balance on the rock in the middle.

The second room is behind an oaken door and is in nearly complete darkness except for candle light. The walls are lined with candles and there are a few porcelain cherubs hanging on the walls as well. On one wall, wearing nothing but lace gloves, is a chained up meat puppet. The walls themselves are of dark stones. This room is guarded by two midgets who were taking still photos of the meat puppet. If the midgets have reason to believe anyone is coming they’ll hide on both sides of the door and try to jump whomever comes in with their stun batons.


The third room is behind another oaken door but the light is supplied by braziers instead of candles. There is plenty of cover scattered all over this room, because wooden ponies, crucifixes, large buckets of water, and cages abound. Ten midgets wait in this room, dressed in Street Fighter 2 costumes and waiting to rush anyone who might come in with stun batons. They are dressed as Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, Dhalisim, Zangief, Guile, Sakura, Cammy, Makoto, and Vega/M. Bision (the last boss, depending on which version of the game you have). Fifteen meat puppets are randomly pilloried on the various pieces of equipment around the room and any stray shots have a 1 in 6 chance of hitting one of them.

The fourth room is behind an oaken door but is well lit by flourescent lights. The room has an outer space science fiction theme. All the walls and surfaces are silvery. In the middle of the room there’s a steaming vat of clear goop which is five meters by five meters by two meters and scattered around the room are pieces of a tentacle monster costume. Ten ninjas, wearing swimming goggles and breathing through plastic drinking straws, are hiding in the goop waiting to leap out at the party when they start to cross the room. In order to distract the party twenty meat puppets wearing ripped Lost In Space style silver jump suits are lying, zoned out, in a ring around the vat of goop. If the PCs walk within a few feet of the meat puppets they will begin screaming and writhing as if in fear of a tentacle monster and this will cue the ninjas to leap out of the goop and attack.

The fifth room is behind an aluminum door which slides open Star Trek style when you push a button. The fifth room again has low light and is lit by torches attached to the walls. The room is dominated by a large stone altar in the middle of the room which is decorated with a red pentagram. On top of the altar there are five chained up meat puppets who, when the door opens, begin to scream shrilly and struggle. Behind the altar are 7 midgets standing on a stone step equipped with Enfield assault shotguns who open fire on the party as they enter through the door. Any shots the party miss against the midgets has a 1 in 6 chance of hitting one of the meat puppets instead.

The sixth room is a boring utilitarian store room efficiently lit by fluorescent overhead lighting. There are generators, fuel, food, water, and filming equipment here. If any PCs were captured they’re here now, crammed in really tiny plasteel oubliette style cages that force your body into a very uncomfortable position, waiting for the cyberwear doc to arrive to install chipjacks. Anyone coming out of one of these cages who isn’t unconscious from a D wound will have at least 9 boxes of stun due to protracted discomfort torture. A single midget is here. If PCs were imprisoned here he was busy molesting them with a cucumber but has now grasped an Enfield assault shotgun and is hunkered down behind a PC-containing cage using it as cover; once again, any misses have a 1 in 6 chance of hitting the PC in question. If there are no PCs here the midget is simply using a generator for cover and waiting with his Enfield.

Mission 4 notes
*So, in summary, there are 2 SR3 samurai, 2 shinto magicians, 20 midgets, 10 ninjas, and 42 meat puppets.
*The easiest way for the party to succeed in their mission is just to collapse the tunnel and kill everyone inside, but this will lead to the death of the meat puppets and any captured comrades.
*If the party decides to go in for the sake of the meat puppets they will then have to deal with the logistics of caring for 42 liberated meat puppets in the middle of the woods two full hours from Seattle.
*The Johnson will be waiting back at the Ferelli diner waiting to hear the party report back. Considering how many hours he, and the party, will have been up, they’ll find him with a well stained coffee cup and a full ashtray. A nice close for the campaign would be to tell the players how tired their characters feel and how they go and crash somewhere for some well deserved rest. If the players enjoyed Pol Potting whenever possible the GM can make the John Mullins quip about how they sleep at night “with a pillow, just like everyone else.”


Misson 4 NPCs

Yakuza troopers
Use the SR3 samurai archetype

Yakuza career ninjas

B 6
S 6
W 5
Q 6
I 4
C 2
R 5
Karma Pool 1
Init: 5 + 1d6

Skills:
Unarmed Combat 6
Edged Weapons 6
Thrown Weapons 6
Clubs 6
Flails/Whips 6
Pole Arms 6
Projectile Weapons 6
Stealth 6
Etiquette (yakuza) 4 (6)

Gear:
Black shinobi shozoku (gives camo armor bonus to Stealth checks when worn at night)
10 semban shuriken
Ninjato (treat as Cougar Fineblade long knife)


Yakuza shinto magicians (treat as a shaman; see MITS)

B 4
S 4
Q 4
W 5
I 5
C 5
R 4
Magic 6
Karma Pool 1
Init 4 + 1d6


Skills:
Conjuring 6
Sorcery 6
Unarmed Combat 5
Pole Arms 5
Etiquette (yakuza) 4 (6)

Gear:
Ceremonial shinto robes
Harmless rod with paper on it
Rating 6 ancestor spirit on hand
Bo staff

Spells:
Control Thoughts 5
Stun bolt 5
Mana Bolt 5
Ball Lightning 5


Cruel pornographer midgets
B 6
S 6
W 5
I 5
Q 5
C 2
R 5
Init 5 + 1d6 (9 + 3d6)
Karma Pool 1
*These midgets, although human, run as if they are dwarves

Skills:
Photography 6
Motion Picture 6
Athletics 5
Shotgun 5
Clubs 5
Unarmed Combat 5
Etiquette (porn studio) 1 (3)
Intimidation 2
Pistols 5
Whips/Flails 5
Theater (acting) 1 (3)

Gear:

Stun baton OR Enfield assault shotgun
Extra battery pack OR 2 Enfield drums filled with regular ammunition

Cyberwear:
Wired Reflexes II
Cybereyes (thermo vision, level III zoom)
Street Fighter II costume OR Real leather dom suit (0/2)


Mission 4 Karma awards
*3 karma for destroying the porn studio
*-1 karma for killing your own teammates
*+1 karma for figuring out the logistics of saving all those meat puppets and implementing them
*+1 karma for going through the whole studio on foot while screaming “GET SOME, GET SOME, GET SOME”, and blowing away the meat puppets with just as much gusto as the security staff so that no one not on your team is left alive


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eidolon
post Jun 18 2006, 09:55 PM
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The only wrong thing is that everyone tries to go around defining "professional shadowrunner" for everyone else. ;)

It might amuse you, but nobody is wrong about what professional means in their game.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 18 2006, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE (eidolon)
The only wrong thing is that everyone tries to go around defining "professional shadowrunner" for everyone else. ;)

How can something which feels so good be wrong?
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Rock
post Jun 18 2006, 10:35 PM
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Part of it might be the public perception that goes along with an airstrike. A runner goes into a building and kills everyone and it makes a blurb about another mass murder in Seattle. And now over to Sparky with Sports!

But if some corp drops a bomb on a building, the public might say, "wait a minute. That's wrong and we demand something be done about it!" even if it's just a shake up in management. Which corp wants to risk their PR (and stock prices) trying to cover up or explain an airstrike? Every corp can drop an airstrike, but the political fallout is too expensive. That's why they hire runners to kill everyone in the building, then buy the building and demolish it and put up a new office building.
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Calvin Hobbes
post Jun 19 2006, 02:07 AM
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Also, an airstrike is a complicated thing. It means that a scary amount of nuyen in the form of a pilot, aircraft/artillery, etc. All of which could be traced, shot down, etc. And the corporate courts might just step in.
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Toptomcat
post Jun 19 2006, 02:33 AM
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Your NPCs are a mite much in some cases. Lifetime inhabitants of the Barrens having bodies like trained athletes?


Also...MIDGETS?

That said, I'd like to see more of this.
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nezumi
post Jun 19 2006, 04:20 AM
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He did say the people in the barrens are insurgents. 3-4 is about average, these are gangers (and better than average gangers at that). I can accept 4-5. And I see nothing wrong with approximately a third of all the NPCs encountered being midgets. That seems to approximately match up with the number of midgets I see in my daily life.

I'm still waiting for WR's full discertation on 80's style (and how best to apply it to Shadowrun). Somehow I missed that supplement when it came out. And being all of 10 when the 80's came to its early demise, I missed out on much of the deeper values of the decade.
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Drraagh
post Jun 19 2006, 05:58 AM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
Killing Me Softly With Airstrikes

One assertion sometimes pronounced in the Shadowrun playing community which amuses me to no end is that as “professionals” the player characters are not supposed to open up with artillery and heavy machine gun support on urban residential buildings. Instead, a true professional must put on an expensive suit, have an oral lasher installed, and enter each apartment disguised as a call girl in order to kill everyone in the building.

This assertion is amusing because it’s wrong. It’s perfectly professional to kill everyone in the building by leveling the building as long as the employer doesn’t need the building preserved and as long as the player characters can get away from the scene of such carnage without getting caught. Likewise, depending on how “sure” you want to be, it can also be perfectly professional to stride in a bold lockstep through each floor of the residential building firing squad automatic weapons in unison to make sure that you’ve drilled every single person in the building.

The real professional question is one of risk management. Is the additional risk to your men worth having them actually enter the building fighting? How important is it that they visually confirm each kill? If the risk isn’t worth it the professional decision would probably be to level the building with artillery, or an airstrike.

Professionalism is, for the most part, defined by the GMs take on the world. In your games, blowing stuff up is perhpas one way to be a professional. In someone else's world, as has been said, it's too much putting a corp on the line and why would they risk it. So, for them perhaps it is back to killing.

In my worl, I tend to follow Blackjack's Rules of Bitter Gamemastering found here. Two parts right off the bat come to mind here, first is Friends of the NPCs in Article #1.

It talks about as scenario where as the runners are escaping from the roof with a helecopter, 15 guards come out. The pilot decides to open fire on the guards. After all, they could have started shooting at them. However, these runners have friends, family, etc that could want some way to strike back. I've seen it in the news every now and again where this happens, sometimes involving gangs where one memeber will rat out others. I can't think of any real examples, except what keeps coming back to me is Judgement Call Episode of Numb3rs.

Secondly, the article on Cannon Fodder. Most GMs make NPCS as backdrop. They are the nameless, faceless masses of people that an action hero guns down, blows up, slices the throat, whatever. However, these are real people. People working at a corp are mostly unaware of what that corporation's shadow dealings are so putting a bullet into every worker there isn't really doing much besides creating orphans. What if, as the example it gives in the article #3, you're clearing an apartment of gangers and one of the PCs opens fire on a small preteen kid.

Anyway, I've rambled on here some. It's a matter of your world and your rules how you play the game. In mine, I am a firm believer in the fact that the police are there to serve the masses (at least the SINed ones), and also by not working to catch killers and bombers and things like that they stand to lose their jobs or at least their public image. That is not to say you, or any other GM doesn't, but with my games, I've seen players start to think things out, plan more and so forth because they don't want to be seen on camera, don't want to have any witnesses, trying not to leave any DNA behind, things like that. One team even started doing some diversonary work, like in the movies or tv shows. Example, Die Hard with a Vengance. The way everyone was so concerned about the bombs that the rest could go on underneath the surface without being noticed.

Last, but not least, however you play the game is the best way to play the game, if its a way you're having fun with. Oh, and a final thought from me, I could see running my players through a campaign like that only to have them have /been/ the distraction for some larger scheme. Runners hiring runners.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 20 2006, 05:32 AM
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QUOTE (Drraagh)
Secondly, the article on Cannon Fodder. Most GMs make NPCS as backdrop. They are the nameless, faceless masses of people that an action hero guns down, blows up, slices the throat, whatever. However, these are real people. People working at a corp are mostly unaware of what that corporation's shadow dealings are so putting a bullet into every worker there isn't really doing much besides creating orphans. What if, as the example it gives in the article #3, you're clearing an apartment of gangers and one of the PCs opens fire on a small preteen kid.

There are such things as amoral campaigns. It is perfectly acceptable for PCs to understand that they are killing real people with real lives and real families without caring one bit. It is even acceptable for PCs to go out of their way and put their lives on the line unnecessarilary just to kill innocent children for no other reason than that the PC kills all innocent children as a matter of principal. Some people enjoy playing it that way.
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Drraagh
post Jun 20 2006, 09:13 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
There are such things as amoral campaigns. It is perfectly acceptable for PCs to understand that they are killing real people with real lives and real families without caring one bit. It is even acceptable for PCs to go out of their way and put their lives on the line unnecessarilary just to kill innocent children for no other reason than that the PC kills all innocent children as a matter of principal. Some people enjoy playing it that way.

I didn't mean for it to be read so much as people shouldn't kill or that they will not be players who like to kill just for the sake of killing. Myself, I enjoy a FPS every now and again, especially after a rough day at work. ;) And, as the newspapers show us, there are some 'crazy' people out there who kill people for whatever reason they can think of, ranging the spectrum of people lashing out at the image of an abuse father to someone killing because they like the sound of it.

My big issue is mostly that there is no downfall for killing people. If I were to take out a gun at work and shoot my boss between the eyes, building security and local police at the very least would try something, maybe even someone at work willing to play hero and try and take me out. If I were to get away, people would try and track me down by any trace they could. But let's say I gave them a fake ID. They still have people who can give a description of me to be run through databases and try for a match in databases and also spred around to police to keep an eye open. Sure, perhaps they won't find me. There are cases that go unsolved for years, sometimes being able to be solved later due to fresh evidence or just dumb luck.

Why doesn't some of that happen in Shadowrun is my question. I shoot someone, maybe a lot of someones at an office building, then there's cameras, witnessess (perhaps even people in other buildings who might have seen me), DNA traces from blood, fingerprints, tattoos and distingushing marks.

I can see some things being eliminated by disguises, and perhaps you don't get shot. But then perhaps somewhere along the line something goes wrong. You say the wrong thing to the wrong person (such as at a police sting), or maybe someone recognizes your rigger's car, or the traces of your decker are familar with a case that they've been working or something.

I know each person's gameworld is different, and I am not trying to say that people should adopt my version. Just that sometimes consequences aren't a bad thing, especially ones that aren't scripted. Here's an example, in one campaign I had a fixer was getting busted for selling illegal gear and to try and lower his sentence gave up the runners. THat was part of the campaign, What wasn't, was when during the meeting with the Johnson, who was an undercover cop, one of the runners was talking about their qualifications for being paid more for the job and that included admitting to other unsolved crimes (which was verified when they tested bullets, DNA, and a few others things like that).

Fixer got a reduced sentence, the player got at least double life sentences and the rest of them did a bit of time before being recruited by the security firm that arrested them to do shadow work, but were kept on a tight leash for that parole period. After that, they were free to go to do what they wanted, records of arrest erased for the time being. If the runner hadn't blabbed, he would have got away on those charges unless he went against orders and gave them some reason to look into it because they couldn't directly tie A to B, only that they were told these were criminals. That could have been a lie from the fixer, so they needed some proof for just cause. This was before SSG came out and they gave a bit more freedom to the cops. That and I didn't have LS sourcebook, so I wasn't trying to put them into a place they had no way out of.
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toturi
post Jun 20 2006, 09:21 AM
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It is not so much a case of "no-consequence" but a case of whether someone with the power to do something about it actually caring enough to do something.

For example, if the local sheriff worked the case as a rookie, but the trail petered out or something. Some time later he comes across your trail, maybe he cares enough to put you away but again he might not. Maybe he standing for election for mayor so breaking an old case will boost his standings. Or a rookie lawyer wants to make a name for himself... There are ways to make the consequences stick, but in SR, given the setting, things more often than not fall to the wayside.
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Drraagh
post Jun 20 2006, 10:15 AM
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It's your take on how the cops and corps work that determines how things would be done. I have read a fair bit of cyberpunk fiction and seen at least some of the movies out there to not expect it to be bright rainbows and smiling puppies, but while there are people dying out there in the streets every day, how many are SINed and how many are SINless. And then for the SINed, what sort of status do they have?

Someone kills a corp exec, then unless someone is paying off the investigation (such as a rival exec), the corporaion might be looking into the situation to see what happened. After all, if one coporate shark kills another in a power struggle, what's to say it won't go after the CEO next.

Someone kills a guy working at Stuffer Shack, then sure it may get an officer checking security footage looking for an immediate lead and then dumped into the unsolved cases file.

It's a matter of the effect it gets, the more ripples that the action creates. The more evidence, the more chances to tie it to someone. Heck, if you've got rich and resourceful players maybe they put someone through mental conditioning to think they did it. That way, they get off scot free on a major crime. Or maybe they just move to another city to let the heat die down, or even move countries for a while.
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Sicarius
post Jun 20 2006, 11:04 AM
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I would also take the line that using rockets and mortars are more likely to lead to an investigation. After all the media could start hounding for a search, at least in non-barrens areas. (In the New Seattle book it says that rocket launches or other loud explosions are REQUIRED to draw the 'Stars attention.) But if i'm comfortable with my contacts who got the rocket for me in the first place (ie. that they have secured it in ways difficult to trace, and are unlikely to roll on me) than I can definetely see that being the more viable option than the physically risky option.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jun 20 2006, 11:18 AM
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Reliably killing all residents of a relatively large, 3-story, sturdy stone/concrete building with rocket launchers or light mortars will take ages. Even with heavy mortars or large ATGMs, we're probably talking about hundreds of hits before it's likely that most of the people inside are dead. Those who survive the initial impacts may choose to get the hell out of there instead of fortifying themselves inside, of course, which in this case would also count as a success.

Going more literally with the aistrike-theme, judging from the footage from Iraq, to completely destroy a 60ft x 60ft or larger 3-story concrete building would require at least a 2000lb bomb. A car-bomb would work wonders, only that has an even greater problem of collateral damage -- the sort of collateral damage where all adjacent buildings are destroyed and there's a risk of serious injury more than a hundred meters away, even through walls.
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Crusher Bob
post Jun 20 2006, 11:54 AM
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I would guess that a 2000 pound general purpose bomb would completely level the building. If you just want to kill everyone a 1000 pound bomb would probably do the job, though I guess some guys could be pulled out of the wreckage and put back together again...
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Austere Emancipa...
post Jun 20 2006, 01:16 PM
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Those 500lb LGBs they seem to be dropping left and right over there only really "crater" an area of about 30ft x 30ft, to a depth of 3 floors or so, when hitting a concrete building. So I'm thinking 1000lbs for 45' x 45', 2000lbs for 60' x 60', if you indeed want to completely level it. Zarqawi was hiding in a relatively small building (20' x 30' or something?) and apparently lived quite a while after it was hit by a 500lb LGB.

Much depends on exactly where the bomb hit, etc., obviously.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 20 2006, 04:58 PM
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QUOTE (Drraagh)
It's your take on how the cops and corps work that determines how things would be done. I have read a fair bit of cyberpunk fiction and seen at least some of the movies out there to not expect it to be bright rainbows and smiling puppies, but while there are people dying out there in the streets every day, how many are SINed and how many are SINless. And then for the SINed, what sort of status do they have?

Someone kills a corp exec, then unless someone is paying off the investigation (such as a rival exec), the corporaion might be looking into the situation to see what happened. After all, if one coporate shark kills another in a power struggle, what's to say it won't go after the CEO next.

Someone kills a guy working at Stuffer Shack, then sure it may get an officer checking security footage looking for an immediate lead and then dumped into the unsolved cases file.

It's a matter of the effect it gets, the more ripples that the action creates. The more evidence, the more chances to tie it to someone. Heck, if you've got rich and resourceful players maybe they put someone through mental conditioning to think they did it. That way, they get off scot free on a major crime. Or maybe they just move to another city to let the heat die down, or even move countries for a while.

Shadowrunners get the most protection from jurisdictional issues. Crossing boarders national boarders creates a lot of red tape that can hamper police efforts even if they know that you did it. When your local convience store franchise is a soverign state crossing boarders is very easy.

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John Campbell
post Jun 20 2006, 05:42 PM
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That first mission is the reason that the gods gave us drone riggers.
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Toptomcat
post Jun 20 2006, 05:47 PM
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They all are, really, which illustrates a problem with this series of missions: they all tend to reward the less-subtle character types over the more-subtle character types. It might be fine in a larger context, but too many runs like these will be having the faces and sneaky folks feeling really, really useless.
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nezumi
post Jun 20 2006, 06:05 PM
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In defense of WR, however, if you're a sneaky type, or running a game where massive destruction isn't an option (even when the star says it is), you probably shouldn't accept these missions. If a player accepts a mission he has no reasonable chance of succeeding in, he's a dummy.
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Toptomcat
post Jun 20 2006, 06:16 PM
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...Oooon second thought, many of these missions are anemnable to stealth solutions, they just aren't discussed. The first mission could be taken care of by someone sneaking in and planting explosives, or, even better in that it's more likely to keep the tenants away, deadly chemical bombs. The second has stealth solutions given in the text. For the trap version of the third, entering the sushi parlor by any avenue but the street defuses the ambush. For the non-trap version of the third, stealth assists in getting past the sushi-chef guard and the MAD detector.
The bonus mission does require an obvious approach, but that tends to be the way in the 'final showdowns' of published adventures as well, and rightly so. That sort of thing is good for a climax.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 22 2006, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE (Toptomcat)
...Oooon second thought, many of these missions are anemnable to stealth solutions, they just aren't discussed. The first mission could be taken care of by someone sneaking in and planting explosives, or, even better in that it's more likely to keep the tenants away, deadly chemical bombs. The second has stealth solutions given in the text. For the trap version of the third, entering the sushi parlor by any avenue but the street defuses the ambush. For the non-trap version of the third, stealth assists in getting past the sushi-chef guard and the MAD detector.
The bonus mission does require an obvious approach, but that tends to be the way in the 'final showdowns' of published adventures as well, and rightly so. That sort of thing is good for a climax.

[Shogun TV Minseries]
IT IS HONTO!!
[/Shogun TV Miniseries]

That's pretty much correct. Even though I hadn't thought of those approaches when I was writing these missions they're perfectly valid ones. The way I see it if someone wants to make a stealth orientated character the character should be able to make his specialty apply to the situation rather than only being useful in situations that are obviously going to be his forte. Making your character work in the situation is all part of the game, in my opinion.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 22 2006, 11:04 PM
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QUOTE (Austere Emancipator)
Reliably killing all residents of a relatively large, 3-story, sturdy stone/concrete building with rocket launchers or light mortars will take ages. Even with heavy mortars or large ATGMs, we're probably talking about hundreds of hits before it's likely that most of the people inside are dead. Those who survive the initial impacts may choose to get the hell out of there instead of fortifying themselves inside, of course, which in this case would also count as a success.

Going more literally with the aistrike-theme, judging from the footage from Iraq, to completely destroy a 60ft x 60ft or larger 3-story concrete building would require at least a 2000lb bomb. A car-bomb would work wonders, only that has an even greater problem of collateral damage -- the sort of collateral damage where all adjacent buildings are destroyed and there's a risk of serious injury more than a hundred meters away, even through walls.

Thanks for offering your perspective on that.

Thing is, SR dosen't have a terribly good system for whether or not a building is destroyed. As a GM I'd treat the question using the SR3 demolition rules, which are a bit patchy after all.
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Toptomcat
post Jun 23 2006, 01:57 AM
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If you're a shadowrunner, you're more likely to down a building by placing cutting charges on crucial supports than by mortaring the holy Hell out of the place.
This would likely require some synthesis of the Barrier rules, the Demolitions skill, and possibly a Knowledge skill in architecture or combat engineering.
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Wounded Ronin
post Jun 26 2006, 10:30 PM
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QUOTE (Toptomcat)
If you're a shadowrunner, you're more likely to down a building by placing cutting charges on crucial supports than by mortaring the holy Hell out of the place.
This would likely require some synthesis of the Barrier rules, the Demolitions skill, and possibly a Knowledge skill in architecture or combat engineering.

Wouldn't the Demolitions knowledge skill cover all the aspects of reverse architecture?
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