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> "Evil" Parties, How do you treat them differently?
Tyro
post Feb 14 2010, 05:32 PM
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Once my group's gotten used to the game (we're about to start Denver Missions + DotA), I'm going to start running a second campaign with different characters parallel to the Denver one. It's going to be Ghost Cartels, and I'm going to encourage nastiness. All but one of my players are new to Shadowrun, but they're all very intelligent, mature types who I believe will be able to handle the challenges of playing this sort of campaign. One of my players is probably going to be a Twisted troll ghoul; another will likely be a Twisted radical eco-shaman.

So... what unusual challenges will this present? What advice would you give for a new GM like myself who wanted to run such a campaign?
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Neraph
post Feb 14 2010, 05:36 PM
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Hunters. Ghouls offer a bount of about 5k under normal circumstances, and a Twisted one is going to bring in more. Also, that eco shaman might end up being Toxic, and there's a 1 million nuyen bounty for those... alive.

EDIT: I also made a PR 4 encounter for the Knights of St. Sylvester, a religious order of "Christian" theurgy, in case you're interested.
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Tyro
post Feb 14 2010, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Feb 14 2010, 09:36 AM) *
Hunters. Ghouls offer a bount of about 5k under normal circumstances, and a Twisted one is going to bring in more. Also, that eco shaman might end up being Toxic, and there's a 1 million nuyen bounty for those... alive.

EDIT: I also made a PR 4 encounter for the Knights of St. Sylvester, a religious order of "Christian" theurgy, in case you're interested.

The ghoul is getting biosculpting, so it's unlikely he'll have to deal with hunters unless they assense him (and he'll be getting Masking ASAP).
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Neraph
post Feb 14 2010, 05:44 PM
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Depending on how "evil" they are, the 'Star is going to be after them pretty quick, as are Mega's corpsec. I'll be back with more ideas.
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Tyro
post Feb 14 2010, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Feb 14 2010, 09:44 AM) *
Depending on how "evil" they are, the 'Star is going to be after them pretty quick, as are Mega's corpsec. I'll be back with more ideas.

I think I might allow initiation at chargen - starting with Masking would really help.
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Critias
post Feb 15 2010, 07:11 PM
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I don't really treat "evil" groups any differently. It's not D&D, it's still Shadowrun, and they're not innately going to be hunted down and killed any more than a "normal" Shadowrunner group. Lonestar hasn't got a Detect Alignment spell, and Knight Errant officers can't Detect Evil. "Evil" groups just gotta pay for their actions, the same way everyone else does. Saying "But...I'm eeeeevil!" doesn't mean you're not gonna be held responsible for the fire at the orphanage, because explanations that justify your actions OOC don't mean they're carrying no repercussions IC.

Same old, same old. Just another day at the office, for a GM. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Glyph
post Feb 15 2010, 07:31 PM
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Evil parties, from my experiences, tend to be not quite as effective - usually, they don't have the same level of trust, so they don't do as well as groups with teamwork, who present a united front against enemies. Hell, often such groups have PCs winding up turning on each other. The deadliest enemy you can have is another PC, because they don't have the GM's sense of fair play.

Critias already touched on it, but not only do evil groups not escape consequences, but they are more likely to bring those consequences down upon themselves, by crossing those invisible lines that keep shadowrunners in their precarious niche in the criminal ecosystem.

In some ways, they can be easier to deal with as a GM, because they cause their own complications in most jobs, and because all you need to do is introduce a conflicting goal or two, and they will turn on each other. They create the conflict for you!
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Neraph
post Feb 15 2010, 07:37 PM
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On the same point, depending on the flavour of "evil" they may or may not use nonlethal combat techniques, and that in and of itself will cause many more problems than accepting one type of job or another, or not having Masking.

Oh, and for Masking, you don't have to allow Initiation in chargen, you just need to point your group to Spirit Pact (Power Pact) and Aura Masking.
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Whipstitch
post Feb 15 2010, 07:47 PM
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What Critias said. To swipe D&D terms they should only really attract extra law enforcement attention if they're flashy or so Chaotic Evil that their runs and extracurricular activities actually cause more damage to life and property than that of your typical mercenary-but-not-psychotic runner team.

Besides, when it comes to dealing with other criminals, being ruthless isn't necessarily too bad of a rep to have, either, particularly if you're disciplined enough to only be a massive prick when other criminals might think it was kinda warranted. For example, one time I had a well-known and powerful Fixer screw the PCs rather publicly. I ended up giving the whole team a point of Notoriety as well as 2 points of Street Cred for managing to storm his penthouse suite, kill his guards, steal his car and toss him off the roof. Did wonders for their Intimidation tests, particularly since it was a young team and they were new in town. Granted, they made some friends and enemies too, but at least people knew that they didn't mess around.
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Androcomputus
post Feb 15 2010, 11:54 PM
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The simple way I would modify runs to fit the "Evil" mindset is the following...

Offer more wetwork to the players... Bonus points if it is suppose to be a sympathetic target... like a butler (or a young sibling) to a rich guy who ticked off the mob...

Have more moral dilemmas regarding quick cash and being honorable... give them more opportunities to lie, cheat, steal, and kill more then is necessary...

Be gruesome in your descriptions if they are doing something that is suppose to be "Evil"


Otherwise there is not that much of a difference... in D&D, you still play as a group of people that are dedicated to each other and break into someone's lair because you are paid to... also killing things because they are different and taking their stuff... heh heh never gets old to remind the players of their actions in a normal sane sense...

When all else fails, do what the "Police" told me to do... Re-humanize yourself... make your guards more than just numbers... make your targets more than just a mini on the table...
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Paul
post Feb 16 2010, 02:16 AM
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I'm not sure I've ever run the traditional "heroic" party, or in the case of Shadowrun the typical "NeoAnarchist" group. My players tend to like the professional criminal game-along the lines of Heat, or various OC movies. I've had players play Serial killers, psychopaths and more. The jobs don't change-just how people interact with them-assuming they know what the players malfunction is. In one game the PC's played pro Humanis rednecks-a lot of their games revolved around issues important to them-controlling the neighborhood, looking out for their interests, etc..This was similar in another campaign where they played street level gangsters who owed their allegiance the Yakuza. A lot of that game revolved around them trying to usurp the next stop on the rat line, and take control of the neighborhood. In one adventure they had to steal water, which they'd turn around and resell in the local neighborhood-due to shortages. In another they were framed by rival gangs, and had to escape the Star, and survive attacks from rivals.

The key is to look at the PC's and see what they'd really be dealing with. A twisted ghoul and an ecoshaman would certainly be heavily interested in their surrounding environment. Start with something small, and link it to bigger things. Maybe while dealing with an escaped creature they discover a secret corporate research facility. Now they know too much, and the Corp is coming after them. So they send the local Gang or OC after them.

There's always a way!
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kzt
post Feb 16 2010, 04:14 AM
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QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Feb 15 2010, 12:47 PM) *
I ended up giving the whole team a point of Notoriety as well as 2 points of Street Cred for managing to storm his penthouse suite, kill his guards, steal his car and toss him off the roof. Did wonders for their Intimidation tests, particularly since it was a young team and they were new in town. Granted, they made some friends and enemies too, but at least people knew that they didn't mess around.

"...Even if you do have a two-piece custom-made pool cue."
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Whipstitch
post Feb 16 2010, 04:33 AM
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Ha! Very appropriate. The runner team in that game was too dumb to know that guy was untouchable. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/cyber.gif)
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toturi
post Feb 16 2010, 04:54 AM
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QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Feb 16 2010, 12:33 PM) *
Ha! Very appropriate. The runner team in that game was too dumb to know that guy was untouchable. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/cyber.gif)

At least whichever fixer they next hook up with (if they have one) will know either to kill them or not cross them at all. Maybe the Johnsons would learn the lesson too.
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imperialus
post Feb 16 2010, 04:54 AM
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"evil" *shrugs*.

Played a campaign where the PC's ended up splitting into two factions over what to do with a shipment of biological weapons.

One faction was headed by a PC who was also a member of an apocalyptic sect of the New Islamic Jihad.

The other faction was led by my PC who was a former Seraphim.

It culminated in a terrorist attack that killed almost 6 million in Hong Kong, close to 15 million worldwide as the virus spread. No PC's survived.
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Whipstitch
post Feb 16 2010, 06:20 AM
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Yeah, sometimes it's less about morality and more about doubting whether you can get clear of the blast radius in time.
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imperialus
post Feb 16 2010, 07:01 AM
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QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Feb 15 2010, 11:20 PM) *
Yeah, sometimes it's less about morality and more about doubting whether you can get clear of the blast radius in time.


Yeah, it really was a case of "Good? Evil? I'm the guy with the WMD."
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Hagga
post Feb 16 2010, 11:14 AM
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As said, huhnters. Stuff like this is extreme, so roll a d6 for EVERY new scene where they aren't taking special care to conceal themselves. When they are, roll it with the rule of six and treat two successes as a hit. On a hit, a hunter with the team's total karma (minimum 100 with 500k in gear) turns up. Adjust nuyen accordingly. Start off with howling fanatics and top out with catholic vampire hunters from the Order of St. Leopold. Well, ghoul/toxic hunters. Oh, and roll another d6 when they kill him if they don't "clean up", and do the same d6 check if they do with the rule of 6 for two hits. If it gets the requisite hits, a higher up has noticed their underling (or friend, or hireling, or whatever) has been slaughtered and traces it back to the characters.
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 16 2010, 11:26 AM
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As many have said, you really don't need to modify things that much for "evil" characters. They should expect the exact same types of jobs to be offered to them as any other team of runners. The difference is, they may be willing to do some of the jobs that "moral" characters wouldn't accept, and use tactics that others characters might avoid. Shadowrun is a game about shades of gray - what end the PCs fall at is really up to the group as a whole.

If the group decides to go for "bad guys" I'd recommend the following:

1) Find out what makes your players uncomfortable and avoid those things completely. Good advice for any campaign really, but more important if the players are going to be the ones doing the dirty deeds.

2) Establish up front where you draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This is really true for any game, but is even more so if the players are going to be doing really nasty things. It's doubly important in an "evil" campaign - that line separates nasty characters from the truly horrific characters.

3) Make sure that every character has a few soft spots - things they simply won't tolerate. Those soft spots allow you to have moral conflicts in characters that don't otherwise have morals.

4) Never stop PC bad behavior, just describe it in graphic detail. And go overboard. For example, let's say a PC wants to shoot an innocent witness to one of their atrocities. Don't just describe how the victim dies. Describe how the fear as they beg for their life. Have him show the PC photos of his sick kid. You get the idea.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 16 2010, 11:34 AM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Feb 14 2010, 06:39 PM) *
The ghoul is getting biosculpting, so it's unlikely he'll have to deal with hunters unless they assense him (and he'll be getting Masking ASAP).


I do so dislike this. First someone wants to play the creepy weird alien whatever, and then they turn around and want to blend in and get treated like they have civil rights, too. To be an "evil" race/class/whatever because it's cool, but then not have to get treated like it.



Anyway, regarding "evil".. the way I'd do it is to just somewhat turn around the jobs you get to do; all of them are jobs that are somehow morally reprehensible. Framing the social worker that's been cleaning up the neighborhood because he's preventing people from getting hooked on BTLs, getting the innocent environmentalists hooked on crack so you can blackmail them, murdering the investigator journalist who's been trying to find out why there's slow-acting poison in StufferShack food, that sort of thing. If it doesn't leave a dirty taste in your mouth, it ain't evil enough. Avoid "victimless crime" jobs - they're not impressive enough, except when they later turn out to be far dirtier than they seemed.
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Larme
post Feb 16 2010, 04:07 PM
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"Good" vs. "Evil" in Shadowrun is simply this: is there a line you will not cross? A "good" shadowrunner would refuse to do wetwork, might refuse to hurt or risk hurting children, and would have certain orgs he'd refuse to work for like Aztech and Tanamous. He might also use non-lethal weapons against guards and cops and other innocents, even if he's not a pacifist. An "evil" shadowrunner simply lacks boundaries, will do any job no matter how morally reprehensible. He doesn't bother with whether innocents are hurt or killed, he just gets the job done.

IMO, if you go beyond doing anything for money, you're no longer a shadowrunner. Shadowrunners are professional mercenaries, they're not terrorists or serial killers. They don't run around killing for fun. An evil runner who'd butcher an unarmed family for pay would not butcher the same family for no reason. A person who goes around causing death and destruction without being hired to do it a) gets a bad rep, and J's won't hire him, and b) gets chased by the cops. Cops probably don't put everything they have into stopping shadowrunners--the corporations like shadowrunners, and there would be a reprisal against Lonestar if they suddenly started cracking down. But a murdering psycho can behunted down like a dog, because corporations don't find such people useful. They're far too unreliable.

And then, of course, you have the "true" evil in SR4, i.e. Threats. Cyberzombies, toxic shamans, insect shamans, blood magic... These are things that, per cannon, rip apart your soul and fill it with blackest evil. These things are in their own separate category of evil, evil for evil's sake. They exist to be pounded down by Shadowrunners, they don't really have another place in the game world. I don't think it's feasible to use this real evil as the basis for a plot though, because canon repeatedly states how ridiculous and impractical that would be.
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Neraph
post Feb 16 2010, 05:41 PM
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QUOTE (Larme @ Feb 16 2010, 10:07 AM) *
And then, of course, you have the "true" evil in SR4, i.e. Threats. Cyberzombies, toxic shamans, insect shamans, blood magic... These are things that, per cannon, rip apart your soul and fill it with blackest evil. These things are in their own separate category of evil, evil for evil's sake. They exist to be pounded down by Shadowrunners, they don't really have another place in the game world. I don't think it's feasible to use this real evil as the basis for a plot though, because canon repeatedly states how ridiculous and impractical that would be.

Hey, Cyberzombies, insect shaman, and toxic shaman are just misunderstood. Blood magic I would argue slightly as well - they just have a different set of moral values. It seems the whole point of Shadowrun was to remove a moral standard to which things were applied; after all, that's what a AAA mega 60 years in the future would have to have to make their bottom line grow. Morality in Shadowrun seems completely left to the players to decide. Cyberzombies, insect/toxic shaman, and blood mages simply have their own schedules to keep, and those schedules seem to not quite match up with everyone else's.

Now Shedim, on the other hand, seem to be the only "evil" creature I've come across. That's saying a lot from a game that has no morality built-in.
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Paul
post Feb 17 2010, 12:43 AM
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It's all a personal preference issue. In my game Larme would probably have less fun, in his I'd have less fun. Is either the wrong way? Of course not.
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tete
post Feb 17 2010, 12:59 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Feb 16 2010, 06:41 PM) *
Hey, Cyberzombies, insect shaman, and toxic shaman are just misunderstood.


Yeah thats what the troll said in 2050... and the ghouls in 2060... LOL
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Daylen
post Feb 17 2010, 01:46 AM
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cyberzombies, I'm guessing that is referring to the magically kept alive cyborgs. if not then ignore the rest.

consider though a true cyberzombie. just enough cyber to zombify it. a btl hookup and a chip or data jack. cyberzombie has a personafix loaded in the headware and finds a person with a chipjack and attacks slipping in a chip with a virus on it that overwrites as needed to write the zombiefix onto the persons headware. Now two zombies go looking for more... Perhaps if enough zombies find some harware and potential victums the zombiefix could include the knowhow to install headware to turn the new victum into a zombie. and the horde grows...
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