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> Bar Writeup, Looking for critique
bluedao
post Feb 11 2011, 06:28 AM
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Bellow is the write up for a bar I plan on making a semi regular meeting spot in an upcoming campaign. The idea was for it to be a cheap discreet place for runners, smugglers, and others to do their business under the cover of being a gang hangout. I have histories for Softcore, Rachel, Rabbit, and the Devil Rats but haven't put them to paper yet. I'm looking for feedback on if it makes since in the SR universe, if it is cheesy/cliche, and general comments.

On the edge of town, beyond the reach of Knight Errant sits a decrepit bar housed inside the remains of a former Shiawase office building. The building was built in 2038 but decommissioned only two years latter after the Night of Rage left it burned and gutted. Despite this the building infrastructure has survived mostly intact. The company title has fallen apart and an "ft" has been spray painted next to it. All together they warn would be patrons that they are entering the “Sh a ft”. A view from AR is even less welcoming, the place is covered in virtual Devil Rats who will attack anyone who attempts to approach the building, their are no access codes outside of the admin account and the network its self is disconnected from the buildings security. From the astral the bar is also a mess. A haze of violence and twisted need covers the building with an intense angry glow forming a shaft down the middle. A careful study though will reveal that the glow seems to wrap its self around the third floor instead of penetrating.

The bar is run by a burned out runner who goes by the handle of Softcore and an aged cat girl who claims the name of Rachel. Softcore is a wiry older human with a penchant to refer to any violence that doesn't end in death as "Softcore". Rachel's left cyber cat ear twitches constantly, making a slight screeching noise and the stub of her once tail is a noted mass of flesh. However Rachel's body belies a much more hardy spirit. Finally being her own person has strengthened her resolve and the new "family" she has made from her boys and girls has given her a purpose. Anyone caught abusing them, without consent, will meet a swift end. Softcore's chief bouncer and resident hacker is Rabbit. A troll best known for his love of violence and perma grin. The bar's security and atmosphere is augmented by the local Go-Gang and part time smugglers, the Devil Rats. A gang who earned their name from their love of using Devil Rats as torture and execution devices.

On the first floor can be found the entrance in what use to be the lobby. A patron is first confronted by the security booth where Rabbit, and two mounted light machine guns sit. No obvious weapons are allowed beyond this point. The security desk is connected to a metal cage on the side, shaping the lobby into an L shaped corridor. Across from the cage is the elevator shaft from which the bar gets its name.

Once past Rabbit a patron can partake of any of the services the cage offers, observe the bars name sake, take the stairs, or continue on into the bar. At the cage a patron can pay for the services of any of Rachel’s girls or boys, place a bet on one of the Shafts pit fights, or sign up to be a fighter in the pit. The shaft it’s self is the remains of of the buildings main elevator shaft and is the source of the bars name. The bar has few rules but those who break them will find them selves beaten and hanging within it. If Softcore is in a practically nasty mood a car battery and set of jumper cabals can be had for 1 nuyen a use, this is a popular past time among the Devil Rats. Beyond the shaft is the bar its self.

The bar is housed within the remains of the offices cafeteria. The kitchen and counter still function serving beer and bar food. The beer isn’t complete piss, the furniture can survive a troll, and if the patron knows the right phrases high quality booze can be purchased.

If you head down the stairs you will find the hollowed out remains of the gym. A metal cage occupies most of the room and the floor is covered in a dull red haze of debris. The caged fights are rarely to the death but accidents do happen.

On the second floor is a set of offices that have been upgraded with used mattresses. At the back of the floor four of the rooms have been marked with special placards. The first bears the image of a pair of blood shot orc eyes and is characterized by a large glass window with several chairs in front. The room next to it bears the image of a bullwhip, the door locks from the outside. The next room shows the image of a razor blade covered in dried blood. The final rooms picture is simply black. A careful examination of the last two rooms reveals that they are seldom used and posses locks well beyond what should be in a brothel.

The third floor is completely clean, the windows have been covered to block any light, strange plants grow along the edge, and an ambient buzzing/hissing noise can be faintly heard. AR reveals a strange library of solid locked metal books. If the client has the right key the book can be opened revealing information on a service or commodity that that can acquired through Softcore. Additionally the third floor network has access to the buildings external security cameras and with some probing and hacking external security measures. From the astral the environment appears sterilized of emotion with walls generated by the plants blocking access to the individual rooms. It is within these offices that the buildings primary business is conducted and an actual profit is turned.

Edited based on comments
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Udoshi
post Feb 11 2011, 06:55 AM
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May want to include some detail on the matrix/wifi/cameras.

At least in my game, people frequent runner bars because you pay for privacy, and unlogged matrix access.

You just know your players are going to try to do something like hacking a security camera on the outside door, to see if the place is clear before they leave - so you might want to have a small writeup for stuff like that.


Also, since this is the 2070s, describe the AR of the place. Its everywhere, and just as important a detail to convey to your players.
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Stingray
post Feb 11 2011, 08:46 AM
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Devil Rats..
What type of gang? (go-gang..thrill gang..neighbourhood watch..)
Multiracial/certain race only? (troll gangers are REALLY CREEPY....)
How many members,leader's name? etc..
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CanRay
post Feb 11 2011, 03:55 PM
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QUOTE (Stingray @ Feb 11 2011, 04:46 AM) *
Devil Rats..
What type of gang? (go-gang..thrill gang..neighbourhood watch..)
Multiracial/certain race only? (troll gangers are REALLY CREEPY....)
How many members,leader's name? etc..

It's a Biker Gang, so a Go-Gang.
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BookWyrm
post Feb 11 2011, 05:17 PM
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Nice work on the write-up.
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ProfGast
post Feb 11 2011, 05:47 PM
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Minor nitpick here, I have a bit of difficulty reconciling the "former shiawase office building" with its location "at the edge of town outside of KE's reach"
Most office buildings would tend to be more in populated centers, which is helpful given that public security forces can augment any hired sec that the building itself has.
Unless they were attempting to have a completely reinforced extraterritorial compound it makes little sense. Not saying you can't have an office building in the middle of nowhere, but you may want to be sure you think of explanations of why Shiawase would have an abandoned building outside of KE jurisdiction. Can be as simple as saying it was in one of the blast zones or something but make sure you have some sort of explanation
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Manunancy
post Feb 11 2011, 06:08 PM
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The simplest explanation would be that it was built 30 or 40 years before, in a then slightly marginal (but cheap) area that took an economic nosedive 20 to 10 years ago. By the time the bar moved in, some Shiawase accountant had already determined that without any sort of credible prospect for gentrification or finding a sucker to buy it, abandoning the building and writing it off as capital loss to reduce taxable benefits was the sensible thing to do. Especially considering that as office buildings go, he's in the pocket change category.
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Doc Chase
post Feb 11 2011, 06:39 PM
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QUOTE (ProfGast @ Feb 11 2011, 06:47 PM) *
Minor nitpick here, I have a bit of difficulty reconciling the "former shiawase office building" with its location "at the edge of town outside of KE's reach"
Most office buildings would tend to be more in populated centers, which is helpful given that public security forces can augment any hired sec that the building itself has.
Unless they were attempting to have a completely reinforced extraterritorial compound it makes little sense. Not saying you can't have an office building in the middle of nowhere, but you may want to be sure you think of explanations of why Shiawase would have an abandoned building outside of KE jurisdiction. Can be as simple as saying it was in one of the blast zones or something but make sure you have some sort of explanation


I'd like to expand on this.

The building as written has some...problems. Shiawase, a AAA-rated corporation, has little to no reason for leaving a perfectly usable property that would have cost them millions of nuyen to construct - at pocket change prices. The only real reason that Renranku lost the Arcology was because the UCAS showed them the bill for about a year's worth of containment and reclamation operations, the high cost of metahuman life, and the punitive damages that the company would face in court. Renraku settled and gave the Arcology to the government.

Land represents an investment, and investments represent power. I don't think Shiawase would willingly give up that kind of power.

That being said, let's assume there was such a situation. This multi-million dollar building is now vacated and ready for the runners to move in. Such a building would have an open, expansive lobby you now have to plunk nuyen down onto in order to make it confined and secure. The reception desk is a good start, but it makes the L-shape chokepoint difficult. You're better off caging off the reception desk and ripping out two subway turnstile gates for entry and exit, and extending the security booth to be large enough to hold the weapon check - and/or have a maintenance room converted into an armory. However, bulletproof plexi can be expensive, and so can the work to install it where you want. Panes of that size can be hard to find - not that it can't be done, just it can get costly.

As an aside, one of the best chicken places in STL is from a pair of Middle Eastern guys (I think they're from Gaza) who surrounded the kitchen/register with three-inch thick plexi. It used to be the most robbed store in town, now nobody can get through. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

Moving on. Having the bar/restaraunt in what remains of the cafeteria is a good way of doing things, though there may be an issue of scale. The cafeteria for a three-story building isn't going to be that large. If the building was much larger than the three stories that remain, we still have an issue of scale as the grander the building, the grander the lobby - and the more expensive things get. Space makes security difficult, and it costs ducats to make it as secure as you want it. You'd need a MAD scanner at the gate to make sure weapons don't get through. Cyberware inhibitors for the people who have internal weaponry. Consider changing the rule to be 'no obvious weaponry' to keep it down to small arms fire at worst, with your bruiser available to shaft anyone who breaks those rules.

Scale seems to be my watchword for this writeup. You have an overly large building filled with creature comforts that primarily caters to a go-gang that is probably not going to take kindly to being disarmed at the door. It's in a relatively lawless area and the 'owners' will have to shell out a lot in order to make this place as secure as you want it. It would require a staff far beyond the three listed in order to keep working, and regular food/booze delivery is going to be a problem because drivers aren't going to want to go there. This adds to costs, and things won't be as cheap as you want them. Booze will be watered down. Food isn't going to be fantastic, what of it there is. If the building is damaged to the point only three floors are left, then it's a distinct possiblity this entire operation is going to crumble into nothingness at any time and renovation will cost money.
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Manunancy
post Feb 11 2011, 09:10 PM
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Re-reading there's one thing I noticed : considering the building's size (three stories only and not much surface area from what's inside - 1000 squares meters at most), I don't think it would have two elevator shafts - so you'll have an emptied shat and a flight of stairs next to it.

A comment to Doc : even if the property has cost Shiawase a few millions, once it's amorticized/the loans are paid, they'll keep it only as long as it makes money. If repairing and securing the building costs noticeably more than it brings in, they'll drop it without a second thought.

Say the area starts sliding down to a decrepit, gang-hravy area. Let's put about 10 security peoples to keep three on watch against that. Thas 50K a month, 600K a year. Add maintenance of the building, repairing petty vandalisms and the like, possibly maintaing utilities no longer provided though municipal services if things go downhill enough. Maybe you'll keep is struggling for a few years with a token maintenance only and packing it to the brim with basement-level ofice drones for some next to irrelevant service, but even in those condition it's likely the costs will exceed the benefits. It's infrastructure (computer system and the like) will now be quite dated, if not antique, which won't help.

Toss in a broken water main, a small fire or just plain wear and tear and the building's value will plumet down to zero - and any money you might pour in to fix it won't be recovered unless the whole neighborhood improves. Which would cost so much you'll never be able to get your money back with that lone, small and by now sorely obsolete building. So you do the sensible thing and erase whatever meager residual value it might have from the books, brick the door to comply with city codes and left it and the whole neighborhood to rot.

Just have a look at Detroit : there's plenty of big hotels, offices and factories that have cost their owners an hefty bundle and are now pretty much abandonned.
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Doc Chase
post Feb 11 2011, 09:21 PM
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That goes both ways. The cost for the bar staff to repair and renovate the building to their specifications is going to be more than they're going to bring in and resupply will continue to be an issue. Buildings that size draw a lot of resources for utilities and should Shiawase abandon it they'd likely rip out anything they can take with them. Plus, if this building itself can be of some use under a different budget, then why not use it for that? 600K a year isn't even an eyeblink for Shiawase - we return to an issue of scale. They could start rebuilding the area themselves, buying up all the land for a steal and turning it into another corporate enclave. Their workers live there, work there, and it expands to touch the KE patrol routes so Shiawase vendors will come and resupply. Send in the construction drones, they wreck the place, and any undesirables living there - well hell, they don't have SINs, so who cares?

However, that's neither here nor there. My personal suspension of disbelief didn't like the idea, but your mileage may vary.

Regarding the elevator issue, a three story building can have...well, pretty much however many it wants. I work in a four story building and it's got four standard shafts and a freight elevator. I've stayed in a high-rise hotel that had two elevators. You could conceivably build a skyscraper that's nothing but elevators (just like that Nintendo game). They're installed based on purpose/intended usage, not necessarily square footage.
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EKBT81
post Feb 12 2011, 05:59 AM
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QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Feb 11 2011, 07:39 PM) *
The building as written has some...problems. Shiawase, a AAA-rated corporation, has little to no reason for leaving a perfectly usable property that would have cost them millions of nuyen to construct - at pocket change prices. The only real reason that Renranku lost the Arcology was because the UCAS showed them the bill for about a year's worth of containment and reclamation operations, the high cost of metahuman life, and the punitive damages that the company would face in court. Renraku settled and gave the Arcology to the government.

Land represents an investment, and investments represent power. I don't think Shiawase would willingly give up that kind of power.


Shiawase might not necessarily have owned the building themselves. They could have rented it from whomsoever, for instance to overcome a temporary office shortage. And when the contract expires, Shiawase moves on to a better location. Meanwhile the area has gone downhill, and for one reason or another the building society does, too.
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Manunancy
post Feb 12 2011, 09:19 AM
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QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Feb 11 2011, 10:21 PM) *
That goes both ways. The cost for the bar staff to repair and renovate the building to their specifications is going to be more than they're going to bring in and resupply will continue to be an issue. Buildings that size draw a lot of resources for utilities and should Shiawase abandon it they'd likely rip out anything they can take with them. Plus, if this building itself can be of some use under a different budget, then why not use it for that? 600K a year isn't even an eyeblink for Shiawase - we return to an issue of scale. They could start rebuilding the area themselves, buying up all the land for a steal and turning it into another corporate enclave. Their workers live there, work there, and it expands to touch the KE patrol routes so Shiawase vendors will come and resupply. Send in the construction drones, they wreck the place, and any undesirables living there - well hell, they don't have SINs, so who cares?

However, that's neither here nor there. My personal suspension of disbelief didn't like the idea, but your mileage may vary.

Regarding the elevator issue, a three story building can have...well, pretty much however many it wants. I work in a four story building and it's got four standard shafts and a freight elevator. I've stayed in a high-rise hotel that had two elevators. You could conceivably build a skyscraper that's nothing but elevators (just like that Nintendo game). They're installed based on purpose/intended usage, not necessarily square footage.


If there's no market for the refurbished area and Shiawase already has enough floor space where they are, doing that would be just burning money for nothing. Looking at real world behavior, there's absolutely no attachment from a corp to it's material assests : as soon as they turn into money losers and the return on refreshing them isn't enough, they'll be tossed out like trash. IRL today factories get dumped when they're not profitable enough, even before they lose money...

Consider the building and it's neighborhood as already marginal, have the crash 2.0 wipe out most business and the new development happening on the other side of the town - bingo, the place turns in a money sink. Shiawase might show up but only if it gets cheaper to redevelop he area rather than expanding their other corporate enclaves, who have the benefit of better infrastructure and location.

A bar operate under different considerations : the thing is hardly upscale, the staff and residents are probably willing to accept standards of confort and security that would send a corporate drone running for his life. Depending on what the local gang's profile is, they might even turn from a problem into an asset as far as security is concerned. They might provide goods 'fallen from a truck' at low prices to keep the place going, to save themselves the hassle of maintainign their own gang house.
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bluedao
post Feb 12 2011, 11:02 AM
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Thanks for all the comments, I've tried to incorporate them into the original post along with some expanded material. Edits can be found in blue.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 12 2011, 12:30 PM
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It could be that they depend on that go-gang for security. If some customer is troublesome, the gang throws them out for a round of free drinks afterwards.

Also, maybe Shiawase still owns the building, but (by GM fiat) operating it isn't profitable under the current economic situation. But in the future (plot hook!) Shiawase might want to start using it again, sparking an adventure to "save the bar!"
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