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> The Setup, (My players stay out)
kjones
post Feb 25 2010, 11:24 PM
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Over the past few sessions, I've been crafting a setup for my players. Ares has been sending them on runs against Wuxing, but Wuxing figured out who they were pretty quickly. Rather than just having them whacked, they hired a Johnson of their own, who sent the team on a few jobs in order to gain their trust.

So now everything is in place for a message to be sent. I could just have snipers take them out from afar, of course, but that would just be lame. My justification here is that Wuxing wants to capture them and use them as double agents against Ares (possibly by way of cranial bombs, if necessary). I want to give the players a fighting chance, in the spirit of fair play. (That's me, not the corp - Wuxing, of course, shows no mercy.)

Here's the idea: The Johnson (who has not been informed of the details of the plan) offers them a job, with the meeting at a classy restaurant uptown. (The restaurant is run by a subsidiary of Wuxing.) The restaurant has MAD scanners, so they'll have a hard time bringing in any heavy ordnance. Johnson has reserved the back room, so the players pile in, and the Johnson starts filling them in on the details of the (fictitious) job.

At this point, there's a few options:
  1. Wuxing blows up the restaurant, or some small subset of it. This seems lame and anticlimactic, not to mention expensive.
  2. Wuxing poisons the food. This seems somewhat classy, but not terribly reliable - and there aren't any good poisons that fit the bill, although I could invent one.
  3. Wuxing pumps in knockout gas through the vents. This seems pretty viable - quick-thinking players will have a chance to react, there are lots of non-lethal options, and this doesn't kill the Johnson (who they would rather not kill, although they consider her expendable).
  4. Wuxing has their elite Tianlong assault team (think Renraku Red Samurai) kick in the door. This could lead to an interesting firefight if the players are mostly unarmed, but it doesn't seem very realistic.


The goal here is to give the players some outs, if they're smart enough to take them. Any suggestions? If you were a player, and this happened to you, would you feel cheated?

Finally, part of this plan will involve the aforementioned assault team planting a bomb on the team van, wired to blow when someone starts the van. (I'm assuming that they can do this without having to break into the car - if nothing else, they can trigger it via an accelerometer.) How do I resolve damage dealt to people driving in the van, as opposed to damage dealt directly to the van?
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Penta
post Feb 25 2010, 11:36 PM
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Poison sounds good - There are any number that work in food - I particularly like the idea of a slow-acting poison. If need be, invent one. Players can detect the poison if they're really careful, but they risk offending their host merely by taking the actions necessary to check for poison.
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Caadium
post Feb 26 2010, 01:26 AM
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A dead runner is much less of an assett then a double-agent.

I'd use a page straight out of Usual Suspects. When the food arrives have it arrive with envelopes (hard copy just adds to things here I think) of data and evidence against them; specifically all their actions against Wuxing. Possibly even have everything printed on Wuxing letterhead to get the point across. Included in this should be anything that could be used against the runners (family, etc) as leverage. Then, deliver a message of what they can do to make ammends.

This type of approach allows the players a chance to sweat, not knowing what will happen. If they choose to react, then counter (you've got the Tianlong ready to go if needed, or the car bomb, or both). Truly squeeze the runners between to Megas and see how they try to get out of it. Often times, player paranioa can give you far better options than you'd ever think of on your own. The trick is finding a way to force the paraniod reactions.

All told, this can teach the players, and the runners, to be more careful and to remember that there are consequences to their actions. It makes them suffer and sweat, but it also gives them the opportunity to try to get out it. Think about Usual Suspects when the cast demonstrated that they could kill Kubayashi, he showed them one more reason way that he had them on the dangle; crushing their spirit but at the same time getting what he wanted.
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AndyZ
post Feb 26 2010, 03:11 AM
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I had a few ideas about what to post as suggestions, but Caadium is a genius.

There's one more thing I want to add to it. You may want to have whatever job Wuxing gives them complete hose over the players, so that they're in it even deeper after it's all done as a way of saying "Gotcha!" from Wuxing to the players.

On second thought, make it so that the way Wuxing suggests would hose them over, but if they do some research and keep their eyes open, they can wriggle out free and clean and actually prove themselves as valuable assets. I'm not sure exactly what this would be, but maybe someone else has an idea.

No matter how nasty you make things, you want to make sure that if the players don't give up, if they keep being smart and maybe a little lucky, they can still rise up from the problems wiser from the experience. You don't have to run things that way, but not only do I think you already want to, but it's much more fun for everybody.
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toturi
post Feb 26 2010, 03:27 AM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 26 2010, 07:24 AM) *
Over the past few sessions, I've been crafting a setup for my players. Ares has been sending them on runs against Wuxing, but Wuxing figured out who they were pretty quickly. Rather than just having them whacked, they hired a Johnson of their own, who sent the team on a few jobs in order to gain their trust.

So now everything is in place for a message to be sent. I could just have snipers take them out from afar, of course, but that would just be lame. My justification here is that Wuxing wants to capture them and use them as double agents against Ares (possibly by way of cranial bombs, if necessary). I want to give the players a fighting chance, in the spirit of fair play. (That's me, not the corp - Wuxing, of course, shows no mercy.)

Here's the idea: The Johnson (who has not been informed of the details of the plan) offers them a job, with the meeting at a classy restaurant uptown. (The restaurant is run by a subsidiary of Wuxing.) The restaurant has MAD scanners, so they'll have a hard time bringing in any heavy ordnance. Johnson has reserved the back room, so the players pile in, and the Johnson starts filling them in on the details of the (fictitious) job.

At this point, there's a few options:
  1. Wuxing blows up the restaurant, or some small subset of it. This seems lame and anticlimactic, not to mention expensive.
  2. Wuxing poisons the food. This seems somewhat classy, but not terribly reliable - and there aren't any good poisons that fit the bill, although I could invent one.
  3. Wuxing pumps in knockout gas through the vents. This seems pretty viable - quick-thinking players will have a chance to react, there are lots of non-lethal options, and this doesn't kill the Johnson (who they would rather not kill, although they consider her expendable).
  4. Wuxing has their elite Tianlong assault team (think Renraku Red Samurai) kick in the door. This could lead to an interesting firefight if the players are mostly unarmed, but it doesn't seem very realistic.


The goal here is to give the players some outs, if they're smart enough to take them. Any suggestions? If you were a player, and this happened to you, would you feel cheated?

Finally, part of this plan will involve the aforementioned assault team planting a bomb on the team van, wired to blow when someone starts the van. (I'm assuming that they can do this without having to break into the car - if nothing else, they can trigger it via an accelerometer.) How do I resolve damage dealt to people driving in the van, as opposed to damage dealt directly to the van?

First and foremost the basic premise is that the runners were not good enough to remain under the radar and were caught/traced/somehow linked to the jobs. Thus my first question is: Did you and your players agree to what type of game you were playing? Pink mohawks or black shades? My very first instinct would be to warn off the players from making pink mohawk mistakes in a black shades game, if they insist on not taking precautions, then they asked for it.

If they were pros and covered their tracks, I would not have Wuxing trace the jobs back to the runners, not to the extent that it can be proven that it was they who did it (any evidence would be highly circumstantial and easily dismissed), seriously if it can be proven they did it, it is only a small step to prove that Ares was behind them. Therefore the only hard evidence the Wuxing J has is that the runners carried out jobs for him, implicating himself and his own corp, so if the J wants to shoot himself in the balls, he can go right ahead.

If the whole point of the game is to set the characters up to screw them over from the get-go, I'd walk out of the game and not come back. Hell, if the GM wants to be a bastard (outs or not), I'd gun the J down, burn all my Edge to kill every single one of the response team and then walk out of the game after giving the GM the finger.
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Oehler the Black
post Feb 26 2010, 05:29 AM
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QUOTE (Penta @ Feb 25 2010, 05:36 PM) *
Poison sounds good - There are any number that work in food - I particularly like the idea of a slow-acting poison. If need be, invent one. Players can detect the poison if they're really careful, but they risk offending their host merely by taking the actions necessary to check for poison.

Perhaps Narcojet loaded Carcerands in their soup? With say a 15 minute time release?

But to be perfectly honest I can't really come up with a solution that wouldn't make me feel cheated as a player--there's just too many variables in play and game style to really predict a good fit.
I'd suggest some sort of attack with non-leathals that would be in someway detectable with a good perception related ability. For instance, is it really THAT paranoid to either not eat at a meeting or even just insist on scanning it for toxins? Or perhaps the team's rigger has his vehicle set up with some sensors that would be tripped when someone tampers with it, to plant a bomb and thus notifying the players of it being a grade-A Admiral Ackbar set up.

Note, I do like the style of Caadium's idea, far more of an RP lean on it. Although they might just bug out and go all guns blazing (the few they snuck in) out of there anyway.
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Cain
post Feb 26 2010, 05:44 AM
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Torturi does have a point in that this should be a set-up with a lot of outs. Setting the team up without good presenting evidence does seem rather harsh.

That said, the setup can be a lot of fun. Way back when, I planned a setup for a team. They were working for a Johnson who mostly paid them in sweet Ares gear. Naturally, the kept the best for themselves and sold the extra. But still, they were starting to look like a walking Ares ad, as everything from guns to armor to electronic toys and foci all proudly displayed the Ares logo. They could have caught on to this at any time, and one player even commented on it. That's when the other shoe fell.

They were hired for a destruction run: destroy a Humanis medical facility. One of the tales from this run can be found on Khadim's NOCLUE files, but that's a story for another day. They were given Knight Errant heavy armor for this run, sans helmet; they got Ares Alpha assault rifles, and were generally kitted out to the nines. When they got done, they cane to an empty warehouse to meet their Johnson. They eventually found him dead in a bathroom stall. The decker had the brains to turn on a newsfeed, and saw a few pictures of them, faces exposed (no helmets, remember?) on the evening news. Seemed an Ares assault team was wanted for questioning in the destruction of a medical clinic. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/vegm.gif)
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EuroShadow
post Feb 26 2010, 09:48 AM
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The set up by GM has to have outs.


If characters screwed up heavily, then GM can demosntrate the consequences by party wipeout.
But if GM set it up, by having trusted persons (J and fixers) to screw characters over, then they should have the way out.

Fairness.
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Blade
post Feb 26 2010, 09:56 AM
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Another plan you can use would be to poison the seat rather than the food: DSMO+something on the seats. It's something most PC won't see coming.

If the corp wants the characters captured, it will use the most efficient solution there is and the PC won't have a chance to escape. Choosing, as a GM, a sub-optimal plan just so that the PC can survive isn't "playing fair" it's tipping the odds in their favor.
But I can understand that you don't want your PC to be captured without being able to do anything about it. If I were to do such a thing, I'd find a way to explain why Wuxing didn't choose the most optimal approach or why it could fail.

For example:
* The guy in charge didn't have time/resources to get what he wanted so he has to fallback on plan B which is less optimal.
* Such a plan means planning, which means leaving traces. Paranoid runners could find them.
* Or maybe someone who's aware of that plan would try to interfere.
* If Johnson is aware of this plan, he would probably be quite anxious, which can be seen by the PC and raise their suspicions. If Johnson isn't aware, he might be the one to realize there's something off.
* If Wuxing doesn't know everything about the runners they might have missed some uncommon ware/power that one of the runner has (though they'll probably expect at least one of the PC to be protected against gas, or to be able to detect poison).
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 26 2010, 10:54 AM
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Regarding quick kills in general:

They usually aren't much fun for anyone and will lead to unhappy players. If you want to do snipers/bombers you need to guarantee that the players see it coming and can avoid it. This means low threshold perception tests (just don't tell them how low). An avoided bomb basically means no encounter. Avoided snipers basically works out the same way as the assault team.

Regarding Poison:

This can actually be a very fun one, if you pick the right toxin. The wrong toxin is one that kills you right now - that's just another quick kill and not much fun. The right toxin is one that is slow acting enough that the runners can get to an antidote before it kills them. This usually means ones that are lethal but slow acting (make one up if you have to, Wuxing has a chemical division too, after all) or even better, debilitate quickly, and kill later. Imagine the added fun when Mr Johnson laughs at the PCs saying they'll die from <name of toxin> courtesy of Wuxing. For inspiration, think of the opening scene to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where Indy gets poisoned by an employer while in a nightclub. The employer taunts him by holding the antidote just out of reach. A brief fight scene later and Indy gets the antidote and is on his merry way. Of course, you might want to make getting the antidote harder (ie not on hand), even better they might have to go on a quick run to steal the antidote. The poison trick is also a good way to lead up to the assault team - Johnson has to call for back up when <name of toxin> doesn't kill them fast enough and they want bloody revenge.

Regarding using an assault team against "unarmed" runners:

First off, your players should be smart enough by now to have a plan to escape every situation they walk into. That often means a team mate or two hanging around outside the place. Shame on them if they don't take such a basic precaution. They should also have checked the place out astrally before the meet. If they spot a heavily armed squad hiding out in the building they should just walk away. If the guards arrive by transport, the look out(s) can quickly comlink their mates and rush to help them. Provide the PCs with a couple of easy to drop goons (Johnson's bodyguards are good for this) whose guns they can grab before the real hit team shows up. Use overwhelming numbers if you want to ensure the players will hoof it, otherwise you'll have a shoot out in a very public place.

A fun "out" in any of the above cases:

This could be one of the few times where the players aren't the aggressors. Having the police show up could really ruin the Wuxing goons' day. A shootout in a public place like is a good way to police attention and a rapid response if in a good neighborhood.
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Aerospider
post Feb 26 2010, 10:55 AM
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I reckon the most important thing to bear in mind is that megacorps are, above all else, devious and efficient. These are the qualities that have got them where they are and they can't afford to be either outwitted or frivolous. Because of this they're always going to look for a way to use the targets for gain. After all, revenge doesn't help the profit margins much (though making an example of them might deter others). This is good because it makes for a more interesting game/story than having the megacorp take the easy way out with an unforseeable TPK.

Send them on a suicide mission that will not only get something very profitable done but also wipe them out in a way that's gonna get talked about. Then throw in some clues, but make them work for it: only the very best of the best shadowrunners make it to retirement and all players (IMO) should be introduced to Shadowrun as a game where their character is more likely to end up dead or imprisoned than at the top of their profession or kicking back on a private island.

On the matter of player dissatisfaction at characters being smeared across the walls with little or no chance to avoid it, bear in mind that this is still a consequence of their decisions and actions. Having a madman they've never met take them out at random is unfair and uninteresting, but if they've repeatedly pissed off the same megacorp and not been careful enough then a sniper's bullet could be the result in just the same way that being perforated in a standard firefight could be a result of leaving your armour at home.

Sending an assault team into a small meeting room is overkill and far too noisy and expensive, especially on their own property. Gas, poisoned food, snipers and the like are much more the thing. For the car bomb idea, if the thing goes off I would make it an automatic kill for anyone inside the vehicle since anyone not killed by the initial blast would cook long before the flames could be extinguished. If the players take vehicle security at all seriously they will have at least a chance of finding out first (e.g. the planting would probably have been recorded on the sensors), especially since Wuxing won't detonate it straight away outside their own restaurant.

Also worth a mention is that the megacorp is almost always going to see some advantage in capture over assassination they can make a media spectacle out of the 'trial', pump them for information on shadow denizens and corporate secrets then stash them in some hidden secure facility. Then the game becomes about busting out of prison and returning to the same shadows as wanted men or starting out in a new locale.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 26 2010, 11:24 AM
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Poison seems the most elegant option. Wuxing does have some pharmaceutical subsidiaries (they sell drugs), so they have the know-how.

But what if things go wrong just a little bit? The Johnson accidentally gets one of the players' plates, and everyone poisoned goes knockout. Then it's just one PC sitting in the restaurant wondering what's going on..
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Aerospider
post Feb 26 2010, 12:24 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Feb 26 2010, 11:24 AM) *
Poison seems the most elegant option. Wuxing does have some pharmaceutical subsidiaries (they sell drugs), so they have the know-how.

But what if things go wrong just a little bit? The Johnson accidentally gets one of the players' plates, and everyone poisoned goes knockout. Then it's just one PC sitting in the restaurant wondering what's going on..

lmao this. Do this.
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Blade
post Feb 26 2010, 01:57 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ Feb 26 2010, 11:55 AM) *
On the matter of player dissatisfaction at characters being smeared across the walls with little or no chance to avoid it, bear in mind that this is still a consequence of their decisions and actions. Having a madman they've never met take them out at random is unfair and uninteresting, but if they've repeatedly pissed off the same megacorp and not been careful enough then a sniper's bullet could be the result in just the same way that being perforated in a standard firefight could be a result of leaving your armour at home.

This.

QUOTE (Ascalaphus)
The Johnson accidentally gets one of the players' plates, and everyone poisoned goes knockout. Then it's just one PC sitting in the restaurant wondering what's going on..

Let's assume that they're eating Chinese style. In Chinese meals (even in restaurants) you usually have all the food in the middle of the table, and everybody takes whatever he wants. If they want to poison the PC, they might prefer to give each character his own plate. This could raise suspicion from the PCs (have them roll knowledge checks to see if they get it). The advantage of this is that it's the PC who get the idea that something might be wrong (though they don't know for sure) rather than have the failure rely on a NPC you don't even see. Plus it still requires a bit of thinking from your players to understand that Wuxing wants to poison them.

Or, since the Johnson isn't supposed to know about it, you could have the Johnson frown when he sees that everyone get their own plate. He might even suspect that he's the target of the assassination attempt.

Or have the food be served Chinese style, with the poisoned food in front of the PC. But the problem is that Johnson wants to get something from one of the poisoned plate. You could have a waiter trying to prevent him from doing so while not revealing the trap, which could lead to a funny situation. Or you could have Johnson discover the poison thanks to some ware/power and think it's a trap from another corp.
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Saint Sithney
post Feb 26 2010, 02:06 PM
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I'd go for an electrified table and chair set. Zap everyone, including the Johnson if he is going to stay in the mix. Then drop the dossiers like Caadium suggests along with the message, "You have fattened your coffers by stealing from ours. This is unacceptable. You owe us a great debt in return. You owe me a great debt. I will have my satisfaction if I have to take it from you."

Also, remember that "Wuxing" doesn't know about their involvement. Wuxing is HUGE. The local mid-level Wuxing security chief has evidence of their involvement. (Likely some video feeds showing distinctive similarities in style and execution between the jobs they arranged and the jobs made against them. He will dump this info to his higher-ups and initiate massive retribution if the characters don't play along.) The important thing to stress is that they will be working to restore the honor of the man they slighted with their theft. Put a face on this. Never miss an opportunity to introduce a nemesis. Every good story arc needs a bastard for the players to hate. Your characters can still get paid in mission-specific, necessary gear, and possible further rewards for good behavior. Headbomb at least one of them. Whoever was the lazy player who decided he had null for friends and family in his backstory. Basically, the most selfish guy needs to be made to feel the most direct threat. The others will be pulled by his gravity.


I'm just going to assume there's a good reason why Wux suspected this team in the first place, and went through the trouble of confirming their suspicions.. but, my policy is never play things straight up if you don't have to. If you're using a setup scenerio, keep the Puppeteer's lies layered. Never make it a direct company thing. These companies aren't gangs or organizations; they are superpowers. The threat is that the characters will get the Osama treatment if they don't play along. The important thing to impress upon the players if you're attempting to flip them to work for company X is that "X doesn't really know you crossed them. Anyone who crosses X is a dead man. You do as I say and X never finds out." That's how a blackops asset is controlled - by shadowy men doing shadowy deals.
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Warlordtheft
post Feb 26 2010, 05:20 PM
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Carcirands are great here....used them before myself. Instead of poisons, I'd go with a time delayed carcirands that release nanite shredders (picture microscopic buzz saws slicing their way through their boddies--pretty painful). A simple detox spell won't work on it. Then give them an offer they can't refuse (the antidote for a job).

Cliche, but effective.
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kjones
post Feb 26 2010, 07:53 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone - I really appreciate the help. I must admit, however, that toturi's comments resonated strongly in my mind, long after I had closed my browser and gone to bed. My group has discussed the mohawk/trenchcoats spectrum, and we've agreed that we fall somewhere in the middle.

The problem is that thus far, most of their jobs have gone something like this:
  1. Get job
  2. Decide to attempt stealthy approach
  3. Something goes wrong
  4. Troll drives up in van, team escapes in a hail of gunfire without bothering to attempt to cover tracks further


I want them to realize that their lives as 'runners don't end the moment they escape immediate pursuit. Specifically, here's the evidence that Wuxing would realistically have against them:

  • License and tags for the team van, after it went barreling through a parking garage to make a pickup (registered to a fake SIN, of course)
  • Faces for some of them, but not all - they've started wearing balaclavas masks on some of their jobs, which I think is a little silly, but whatever
  • Various miscellaneous bits of forensic evidence - shell casings, fingerprints, DNA, etc. I don't really want to use this against them, since (in game) I don't think Wuxing would go through the expense, and (out of game) I don't want them fretting over every drop of sweat they spill on the job.


So, the team has been a little careless, but nothing egregious - yet. I think I'm going to save the setup until Wuxing has a lot more on them. For now, I'll try to get them paranoid - someone tails the van, their fixer starts getting inquiries, etc. If they get the message, great. If they don't... well, then things get interesting.

If I do want to pull the setup, I really like the "Usual Suspects" solution. Having them caught in the middle of a corp war is a lot more interesting than just fragging them. For extra fun, maybe it's not Wuxing betraying them, but rather the Johnson herself...

One last thing. I'm pretty new to Shadowrun, but as I understand it, having the Johnson betray the team is a mainstay of the genre. How frequently do you pull something like this out? Too often and the players will just stop taking your jobs, but if they take every job they're offered, someone will take advantage of it.
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Caadium
post Feb 26 2010, 08:48 PM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 26 2010, 11:53 AM) *
So, the team has been a little careless, but nothing egregious - yet. I think I'm going to save the setup until Wuxing has a lot more on them. For now, I'll try to get them paranoid - someone tails the van, their fixer starts getting inquiries, etc. If they get the message, great. If they don't... well, then things get interesting.

If I do want to pull the setup, I really like the "Usual Suspects" solution. Having them caught in the middle of a corp war is a lot more interesting than just fragging them. For extra fun, maybe it's not Wuxing betraying them, but rather the Johnson herself...

One last thing. I'm pretty new to Shadowrun, but as I understand it, having the Johnson betray the team is a mainstay of the genre. How frequently do you pull something like this out? Too often and the players will just stop taking your jobs, but if they take every job they're offered, someone will take advantage of it.


There are many different ways you can approach this. A lot of how I'd do it depends on how much the players are aware of their actions. For example, if the players haven't realized that all their runs have been messy Wuxing hits, then perhaps instead of the fixer getting a call, the fixer gets packets to deliver to the runners. These packets would be my above mentioned evidence packets, with the Wuxing connection laid out pretty clearly. This is a way to give the runners the message that they need to be mindful of what they are doing, and to whom. Yet it doesn't put them in the pinch between two corps; yet. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) All of this then gives the players a chance to think about the choices they are making and lets them know that there can be consequences for them.

If the players are aware that they are hitting the same megacorp over and over, and don't seem to care, then they invite trouble. Sometimes players/characters never really figure out whose dance they are a part of though. I'm running a group right now (when we can actually get together) that has been doing getting some hi-tech data, equipment, and personell. However, these runs have been parsed out between simple street runs and background related sessions, so the players haven't connected the dots to realize its all for one employer. Of course, the employer has been using a couple of different Johnsons to help out. In my case, the players research their targets, but don't follow-up as much. So, by the time they realize what they've helped to create they will be stuck in the middle and have to decide what to do about it. I just put this example out there to show how things work with my group. It *ALL* depends on you, your players, and the game you've had so far.

If you want some good ideas about Johnsons and Loyalty, I suggest you go watch the Professional and specifically pay attention to Danny Aiello's character. This will give some good input onto the relationship a Johnson can have with Runners without falling into total cliche "Its time for the betrayal."
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cndblank
post Feb 26 2010, 09:35 PM
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Yeah, you have to be careful with this kind of setup or the players will feel like it was a Catch 22 with no way out.

The whole Pink mohawks or black trench coat issue has to have been clear from the start.

You need to make sure that you can point back to the players and show them the warning signs that they missed.

Now if they have been sloppy and should have known better.....


The other thing is that you have to have a sound basis for it too.

First off, runners are mercs not player/movers and shakers.

They are Tools and Tools are interchangeable.

A player loses a tool then he gets another.

You have to get the player using the tool.



If Wuxing waxed these runners, their other Mr Johnson would shrug and get some more runners.

Unless it is personal there is no percentage in pulling this.

Corps are usually not personal and it sounds like Wuxing has spent some time and money on this.

Now some times an Exec makes it personal. Maybe the runners killed his daughter on some run.

Or the Wuxing exec really needs some runner that will double cross Ares cause he knows there is a high stakes power play coming up soon.

Maybe it is personal between two Execs and the Wuxing exec plans to have an ace when it really counts.

In which case he would likely want a carrot and a stick. Maybe sweeten the pot by offering some nice ware to go with the shiny new cranial bomb.

It it is also much easier to grab and or find a hold on just one or two of them rather than all of them.




The other thing to consider is if Wuxing doesn't pull this off perfectly, they will either kill the runners and have to start over, make too much noise taking the runners (and the more people involved the more chances of a leak) which alerts Ares who will then drop the runners like rock, or if they miss, the runners will decide it is time for new scenery. They then all get new faces and fake Sins and move to the shadows of another city to start over.

No one can disappear in to the shadows like a runner cause every record about them was under a false ID to begin with and most of them have cut nearly all of their ties to their previous life already.
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Manunancy
post Feb 26 2010, 09:37 PM
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My two cents : if the deal happens in an upscale restaurant belonging to Wuxing, there will be no lethal weaponry involved. Upscales means customers Wuxing can't afford to act as bullet traps for the mere capture of an edgrunners team. The stakes simply aren't high enough to acept risking that sort of collateral damage.

Which means things like poison, hacking, planting tracers and the like if the objective is to frag them. The fragging part will only happen when the possible collateral damage is light enough.

Otherwise the afore-mentioned 'you've ben naughty and we have means to make you pay for it if you don't cooperate' enveloppes is fine.
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toturi
post Feb 27 2010, 12:39 AM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 27 2010, 03:53 AM) *
Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone - I really appreciate the help. I must admit, however, that toturi's comments resonated strongly in my mind, long after I had closed my browser and gone to bed. My group has discussed the mohawk/trenchcoats spectrum, and we've agreed that we fall somewhere in the middle.

The problem is that thus far, most of their jobs have gone something like this:
  1. Get job
  2. Decide to attempt stealthy approach
  3. Something goes wrong
  4. Troll drives up in van, team escapes in a hail of gunfire without bothering to attempt to cover tracks further


I want them to realize that their lives as 'runners don't end the moment they escape immediate pursuit. Specifically, here's the evidence that Wuxing would realistically have against them:

  • License and tags for the team van, after it went barreling through a parking garage to make a pickup (registered to a fake SIN, of course)
  • Faces for some of them, but not all - they've started wearing balaclavas masks on some of their jobs, which I think is a little silly, but whatever
  • Various miscellaneous bits of forensic evidence - shell casings, fingerprints, DNA, etc. I don't really want to use this against them, since (in game) I don't think Wuxing would go through the expense, and (out of game) I don't want them fretting over every drop of sweat they spill on the job.


So, the team has been a little careless, but nothing egregious - yet. I think I'm going to save the setup until Wuxing has a lot more on them. For now, I'll try to get them paranoid - someone tails the van, their fixer starts getting inquiries, etc. If they get the message, great. If they don't... well, then things get interesting.

If I do want to pull the setup, I really like the "Usual Suspects" solution. Having them caught in the middle of a corp war is a lot more interesting than just fragging them. For extra fun, maybe it's not Wuxing betraying them, but rather the Johnson herself...

One last thing. I'm pretty new to Shadowrun, but as I understand it, having the Johnson betray the team is a mainstay of the genre. How frequently do you pull something like this out? Too often and the players will just stop taking your jobs, but if they take every job they're offered, someone will take advantage of it.

Having the J betray the team is an oft talked about topic but I don't see J betrayal as a mainstay. If you do it often, it stops being interesting and becomes irritating.

If the van is a common make and the SIN was discarded after the run, I do not think Wuxing would necessarily be able to link the van to the team. Shell casings... you do know that guns in SR can use caseless ammo, no? Did they touch anything with their bare hands? No gloves?

Instead of playing "Gotcha", most of the time, I tend to assume that the characters have been doing this stuff professionally and know what they should be doing, unless the players specifically state they aren't wearing gloves or are using cased ammo.
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 27 2010, 01:10 AM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 26 2010, 11:53 AM) *
The problem is that thus far, most of their jobs have gone something like this:
  1. Get job
  2. Decide to attempt stealthy approach
  3. Something goes wrong
  4. Troll drives up in van, team escapes in a hail of gunfire without bothering to attempt to cover tracks further


I want them to realize that their lives as 'runners don't end the moment they escape immediate pursuit. Specifically, here's the evidence that Wuxing would realistically have against them:


Have you tried having NPCs talk to the PCs about the problem (all in character)? A friendly contact or two telling them they need to be more careful can be a good way to ease players away from pink mohawk syndrome. If that fails, start "awarding" notoriety for the really messy runs. Big ugly shootouts tend to fall into that category. Especially if the shoot out gets on the evening news (another good way to warn players).

It's worth taking the time to build up to this sort of thing. It's also a good time to hint at who the new nemesis will be. If they continue to behave the same after a session or two of warnings, well, they deserve what they get.

QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 26 2010, 11:53 AM) *
  • License and tags for the team van, after it went barreling through a parking garage to make a pickup (registered to a fake SIN, of course)
  • Faces for some of them, but not all - they've started wearing balaclavas masks on some of their jobs, which I think is a little silly, but whatever
  • Various miscellaneous bits of forensic evidence - shell casings, fingerprints, DNA, etc. I don't really want to use this against them, since (in game) I don't think Wuxing would go through the expense, and (out of game) I don't want them fretting over every drop of sweat they spill on the job.


So, the team has been a little careless, but nothing egregious - yet. I think I'm going to save the setup until Wuxing has a lot more on them. For now, I'll try to get them paranoid - someone tails the van, their fixer starts getting inquiries, etc. If they get the message, great. If they don't... well, then things get interesting.


That's not just being careless, that's being sloppy and just plain stupid. Even if the corp doesn't act on the evidence right away, it's still in their database, basically forever. If it was an isolated run they might not care. But, even if Wuxing couldn't ID them with the evidence from one run, they'll quickly link the same team to a string of runs, especially if all the runs are in the same city/region. If those runs are all happening in a short period of time it starts to look like the team (or whoever hired them) has a grudge against the corp. It suddenly becomes worthwhile to deal with the team - kill them, buy them off, etc.
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kjones
post Feb 27 2010, 01:29 AM
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QUOTE (toturi @ Feb 26 2010, 07:39 PM) *
Instead of playing "Gotcha", most of the time, I tend to assume that the characters have been doing this stuff professionally and know what they should be doing, unless the players specifically state they aren't wearing gloves or are using cased ammo.


This is what I'm concerned about - I don't want to have Wuxing run into the dugout and tag them out because they forgot to tag second base. When their mistakes come back to haunt them, I want it to be clear to them

So, after their current run, I'm going to have Mr. Johnson meet them in a club somewhere to debrief - if they stick around too long, Wuxing shows up, having tracked the van. If they don't stick around, then Wuxing still tracks the van, but now it leads to an individual rather than the team... maybe he'll be getting one of those envelopes.

QUOTE
That's not just being careless, that's being sloppy and just plain stupid.

Which parts of it strike you as sloppy/stupid?
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Saint Sithney
post Feb 27 2010, 04:01 AM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 26 2010, 05:29 PM) *
Which parts of it strike you as sloppy/stupid?


A getaway van without spoofed ID or a morphing/covered license plate.
Why would your backup plan ever involve broadcasting even a fake ID which you routinely use? Even fake IDs have your prints, picture and vitals attached to them.

Also, the fact that they either knowingly botched several runs on a AAA megacorp and kept going on more, or that they never did their homework in the first place to find out who they are stealing from.

That is just some basic failure of common sense...
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 27 2010, 11:22 AM
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First off, these aren't necessarily bad players. They're just players who have decided to go with the flow and not worry about consequences. It sounds like they've been doing it for a while. Depending on your play style that can be a problem. It sounds like you think it is. It's definately time for a wake up call, and it sounds like you have been planning one (quite well I might add), and that you're doing the right thing by letting the players learn from their mistakes and leaving their PCs (mostly) alive. That often works out better in the long run. Consequences they have to live with are more of a deterent than a one session TPK that results in new, trouble free, PCs.

QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 26 2010, 05:29 PM) *
Which parts of it strike you as sloppy/stupid?


I'll admit my group often runs into pink mohawk territory, but even I draw the line at repeatedly leaving behind forensic evidence at the scene of multiple crimes against the same corp with no attempt at a cover up. I'm not going to advocate every blood drop resulting in ritual sorcery. Images of your faces are a big no no, but one isolated incident I might be willing to let slide. But images of their faces, finger prints, and DNA? That's more than enough for corp sec to move on them, especially after multiple jobs. I'll excuse the DNA, especially if it was due to wounds. But is a simple disguise, helmet, or physical mask too much to ask for? Are gloves suddenly too restrictive? If they have to go shoot out they should at least be wearing full helmets as part of their armor.

If they won't follow these restrictions they had better have a good hacker to monkey with the security files after the fact and doctor or erase the images - our group's hacker prefers Elvis impersonators to replace his team mates' images. It may not be realistic to assume they could hack all the files, but at least they'd be trying. It's the lack of an attempt to cover their tracks, especially when they're establishing a pattern, that worries me more than anything else. Personally I'm more willing to go with the flow when PCs hit a corp only once, or the runs are separated by many weeks or months - I assume it probably isn't worth the corp's while to retaliate after a single job. But players had better cover their tracks when they hit the same corp over and over again.

QUOTE (Saint Sithney @ Feb 26 2010, 08:01 PM) *
A getaway van without spoofed ID or a morphing/covered license plate.
Why would your backup plan ever involve broadcasting even a fake ID which you routinely use? Even fake IDs have your prints, picture and vitals attached to them.

Also, the fact that they either knowingly botched several runs on a AAA megacorp and kept going on more, or that they never did their homework in the first place to find out who they are stealing from.

That is just some basic failure of common sense...


That's pretty much what I'm getting at.
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