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> From SINners to Shadows, Game notes on everyday people becoming Criminals
thorya
post Jan 27 2012, 09:36 PM
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We're having our second session tomorrow. The idea of this game that the players are starting as nobodies and working their way to shadowrunner status. By the end of the game, we hope to be where most games start. Players started from NPC stat blocks related to their careers. They changed out some of the knowledge skills and active skills to better fit them and then rounded them out to 300 BP.

The Team- (when possible I used their descriptions, hence the very different backgrounds)

Ed Lane- 26, M. Short brown hair, on the short side. (5'7'' or so)
Background: Normal Family, Lower Middle Class. (Some abuse)
Hobbies: Likes action movies, plays poker with his friends once a week.
As a junior in high school, Ed was arrested for breaking and entering. A local surge in petty theft at the time of his arrest caused the judge to hang a heavier sentence on him, resulting in him spending time in juvie and never officially graduating high school. (He does have a GED) Due to his criminal record, his career options were limited and he now works a dead-end job for Coca Cola restocking the coke machines at inner-city high schools. As his job offers him no authority on the premises, his job is a little like being stuck in high school forever. Having to handle constant run-ins with students trying to beg, bribe, or threaten him for free coke, he's gotten exceedingly good at the role. Ed gets by as something of a jack of all trades.

Mark Markson- an accountant - as mundane as possible. Think of the Narrator from Fight Club. But without the schizophrenia, split personality or any of his interesting traits. Works at Atlanta Computer Company (ACC) an A corp in Atlanta.

Kaymen Rider- For Kaymen Riyder (real name Conover Senduc) “The Good Old Days” were the years he spent working in the chop shop. His small time street gang worked an auto garage for a syndicate (or mafia). This garage was a front used for laundering autoparts. In the down time, the gang mainly roved about the town by motorcycle mixing with the local high-speed underground scene. They were small, but the fact that they were well taken care of (compared to other gangs) and they didn’t have any reason to get into the local turf squabbles made them more of a spectacle to the other gangs than a rival.
Everything fell through when the syndicate abruptly shut down the garage and pulled out of town. Some of the crew got relocated out of the area on a new project by the sponsors. Most of the rest moved out on their own or just found somewhere else to blend in. Virtually everything of value Kaymen owns is a remnant of his former occupation including his motorcycle (bought and built during his time with the garage), the old company van (where he now lives), and his fake SIN (provided to the crew by their sponsors).
Without any more support from the syndicate his only source of income is occasionally chopping parts from abandoned machines and fencing them, while his major pass time is trying to keep up a reputation a reputation in the racing crowd. The racing crowd know that he’s a wash up whose gang has dried up and who has lost his edge.

Maggie Donovan- Her parents are blue collar plane mechanics working for Southern Delta (an AA corp I made up for the game, it controls air travel and utilities and other things throughout most of the former United States). Corporate aptitude test to placed her for medical training (Emory). Paternal grandfather is a hedge wizard. He is somewhat paranoid and belongs to a pro CAS anti-Corporation political group with some extremist tendencies and connections with Tir na nOg.
Awakened in medical school outside of corporate territory. Got in touch with grandfather to help her through it. He got a friend of his in the history department to train her while she is in medical school. Still attending, in third year of medical school.
Some of grandfather's paranoia has been passed down and wants a way out of southern delta.
Has an old Chrysler-Nissan Jackrabbit 55'. Still runs, most days. Change of clothes in the trunk and a med kit rating 4.

Jerry
Jerry grew up in the outskirts of Atlanta (though his childhood home is now more part of the interior of the metro-sprawl), and was raised with a very open and friendly perception of other metahumans. He occasionally got into scuffles sticking up for his metahuman friends, and they quickly became a bit of an outcast clique growing up. As such, they took to VR/AR activities, such as video games. Any activities with more RL components were typically noncompetitive, such as building and flying Remote Control planes and helicopters.
Jerry attended CAS Polytechnic Institute, a mid-level college that specializes in training computer technician professionals. Jerry was a fairly adept student, made good grades, and had the spare time to start innocently hacking. His efforts primarily focused on fighting against extremist anti-metahuman campaigns on campus, but he "stopped" when the administration caught wind of his efforts, though he was never prosecuted for hacking (probably because the administration was against the hate speech of the campaigns). He has since picked up a low-level burn alias "Tom" that he occasionally uses on the matrix.
Jerry came out with a BS in System Management, and immediately went to work for ACC thanks to his work during school as an Intern with them. He has spent (4-12) years slowly climbing the ranks, though he is inexplicably bypassed for promotion fairly regularly, having only gotten (0-2) promotions in his time with ACC. As such, he has become slightly dissatisfied with ACC. Finds himself spending more and more time using "Tom" on the Matrix to explore things he shouldn't.


They all know each other because they are regulars at a Bar called the Tap Out, which is run by an elderly retired boxer named Steve "Wash" Washington. They all interact socially through the bar and some of them know each other through other connections.
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Paul
post Jan 28 2012, 12:45 AM
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Interesting. I look forward to following this as it unfolds!
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3278
post Jan 28 2012, 03:54 AM
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Yeah, this is excellent. I really enjoy reading play reports, particularly with GM notes: learning what other GMs are thinking about and planning for helps me suck less at it.
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Dez384
post Jan 28 2012, 04:10 AM
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The idea of running a low power level game was always interesting to me. Good luck!
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Midas
post Jan 28 2012, 05:29 AM
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Very believable characters for your DITG campaign. Congratulate your players for their backstories, and I look forward to hearing how the campaign progresses!
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3278
post Jan 28 2012, 12:19 PM
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QUOTE (Dez384 @ Jan 28 2012, 05:10 AM) *
The idea of running a low power level game was always interesting to me. Good luck!

We're doing a 350 point game of SR4 right now, and I was incredibly surprised at how competent and able a character I was able to make with those points. [We've played a lot of lower-power games, but nothing that low with SR4.] Now, I chose a simple melee brawler and offhand negotiator, so surely the results would have been different had I tried to make a magician of some sort, but the other characters all seem realistic and well-rounded. 300 is, proportionately speaking, a much bigger leap, but I find it a compelling play level, nevertheless. The system scales awkwardly around this point - largely because of glitches, which become much more common - but as long as you calibrate to it, it's just an interesting challenge, not debilitating.
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thorya
post Jan 29 2012, 04:20 PM
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Session 1

[ Spoiler ]


Maggie's player realized that she was always going to have to be on rotations at a hospital or in class as a med student when most of the things were happening, and that no one in the group was built for combat so everyone was avoiding it at all costs, so having a lot of medical training meant she was useless. She reworked Maggie as a nurse for the next game (the numbers stayed mostly the same, but she had a closer to regular schedule so that she would actually be around for things). Everyone else was pretty happy and made some minor changes. Overall I was pretty happy. They played smart and didn't try getting into gun fights, attacking the corporation, or anything a group of five regular people couldn't really do.
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3278
post Jan 30 2012, 01:47 AM
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How much of the background did you have planned in advance, and how much did you have to come up with on the spot?
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thorya
post Jan 30 2012, 03:04 AM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Jan 29 2012, 08:47 PM) *
How much of the background did you have planned in advance, and how much did you have to come up with on the spot?



Here are my notes for myself before the game:

[ Spoiler ]


So I had some of the scenario planned out and I knew that the local thugs were going to hit the bar to intimidate Wash. I wasn't sure what route the group would take to deal with the problem, but I did ask them to have some attachment to the bar as a way of unifying the group before hand, so I knew they would try to keep it from being taken by Southern Delta. I worked through most of the details during the game. I have run games before and learned a long time ago that I can never plan for what my players do (and I'm usually delighted by the ways they think up to solve problems I throw at them). I honestly expected them to be a little more combat focused (really glad they weren't) so I expected they would grab one of the local muscle and shake 'em down for information. I really enjoyed them working around direct confrontation instead and all the information gathering. I'll probably post session 2 in the next few days (played yesterday), they did several things I did not consider at all which made several problems just go away entirely.

Spoiler, Ed talked down three gangers looking to beat the crap out of him.
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thorya
post Jan 31 2012, 05:11 AM
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GM's notes from before Session #2 (some of these were changed mid-game based on how things played out):

[ Spoiler ]
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thorya
post Jan 31 2012, 05:13 AM
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Session #2-

[ Spoiler ]
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thorya
post Feb 2 2012, 04:07 PM
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Funny side story. Mark's player was on speaker phone for the first hour of the game because he was out of town. Then he went out of touch as he passed through airport security. Once he got to his terminal, he Skyped into the game. He happened to be on Skype, at a Delta terminal when Jackie Carnes showed up for her meeting with the team at the Tap Out. After she had left the team was discussing the feasibility of smashing up planes. And Mark's player said, "So how much explosives would it-" He was stopped by everyone at the table shouting, "Shut up! Don't say that! You're in an airport!"

Talked with the player yesterday, apparently the rest of that sentence would have been- "So how much explosives would it take to blow up a few acres of an airport?"

Really glad he didn't say that.
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3278
post Feb 2 2012, 10:08 PM
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(IMG:style_emoticons/default/notworthy.gif)

Wait, now who are the CP gang, again?
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thorya
post Feb 2 2012, 10:15 PM
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A gang I made up for the game they control most of Southern Atlanta (the game takes place in Atlanta, if you had not gathered and I could not find any official source material on it so I made up a lot of stuff). Ed has some knowledge of gangs in the area, since he has to deliver to the shittiest high schools and neighborhoods. Below is the information Ed knows about them:

[ Spoiler ]

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thorya
post Feb 8 2012, 04:49 PM
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So between the first and second session we did a little talk through adventure no dice rolling to establish that the group had some background and to get a better feel for how everyone wanted to play. This takes place a couple years before the game, when the gang didn't know each other very well. Some of them had just started coming to the Tap Out. It includes a little more character development, but isn't directly related to the game we have ongoing.

[ Spoiler ]
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thorya
post Feb 12 2012, 10:08 PM
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Session #3- GM's notes

[ Spoiler ]


We played yesterday, I'll put up the play report some point later this week.
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thorya
post Feb 13 2012, 04:02 PM
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Session #3-

[ Spoiler ]


I'll post the beer run separately.
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thorya
post Feb 13 2012, 05:59 PM
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Session #3- Part 2. Beer Run

[ Spoiler ]
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Warlordtheft
post Feb 13 2012, 07:05 PM
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Like the post and game style. The group has been lucky their original Johson was nice enough to warn them. Also, Maggie losing her job is not that big of an issue-if the end result is to see the group become shadow runners. The big loose end is the car, but it being a burnt hulk should only lead back to the owner of the car.
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CanadianWolverin...
post Feb 13 2012, 11:18 PM
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I love these, it lets me vicariously experience the game, thank you for sharing (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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thorya
post Feb 14 2012, 02:33 PM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Jan 28 2012, 07:19 AM) *
We're doing a 350 point game of SR4 right now, and I was incredibly surprised at how competent and able a character I was able to make with those points. [We've played a lot of lower-power games, but nothing that low with SR4.] Now, I chose a simple melee brawler and offhand negotiator, so surely the results would have been different had I tried to make a magician of some sort, but the other characters all seem realistic and well-rounded. 300 is, proportionately speaking, a much bigger leap, but I find it a compelling play level, nevertheless. The system scales awkwardly around this point - largely because of glitches, which become much more common - but as long as you calibrate to it, it's just an interesting challenge, not debilitating.


It has actually worked surprisingly well. Everyone spent between 150-170 on attributes (including points spent on edge) and about 70-100 on skills, which left them with pretty competent characters. We don't have the giant dice pools one sees in a normal game, but for things that people are especially competent in they're rolling 8-12 with a lot of 4-6 range rolls (here glitches can get to be a problem, but often I can't think of anything that makes sense as a glitch beyond failure anyway so it's not a huge deal). I think the place where everyone trimmed was combat, no one started with more than 1 rank in any combat focused skill, no one spent more than 10-15 BP on equipment, so no loading up on cyber/bio to improve agility. Everyone took at least some social skills. The only person that had trouble getting their character to do what they really wanted was Maggie's player, because it was hard to fit in the additional points to raise magic, buy the extra skills, and get spells while also having enough skills to be reasonably competent at her day job. She ended up simply starting with 2 magic and 2 spells. Also, Jerry and Mark played the first two games at 270-280 BP, because of a misunderstanding on free knowledge skill points.
It has been a very interesting level of play. Bonuses and penalties matter way more. Random NPC's are appropriately powerful and threatening.
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thorya
post Feb 14 2012, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE (Warlordtheft @ Feb 13 2012, 02:05 PM) *
Like the post and game style. The group has been lucky their original Johson was nice enough to warn them. Also, Maggie losing her job is not that big of an issue-if the end result is to see the group become shadow runners. The big loose end is the car, but it being a burnt hulk should only lead back to the owner of the car.


Thanks, glad you're enjoying it.

The Johnson was nice because I have two newbies and I wanted to make sure that they understood that they had to be careful around Souther Delta territory since they're officially criminals, if they were identified. The more experienced players assumed that they should give a wide berth to Southern Delta, even if they were invited to sabotage them and even if they weren't all identified during the raid.

Maggie's player was not worried about it and was actually happy since she knew eventually she'd have to get out of her job at Southern Delta, but Maggie the character was worried and was frantically looking for work.

They took that car because of its previous ties to vandalism and were planning on it getting traced back to the original owners. Kamen intentionally dropped an airplane wing on it and lit it on fire. But we'll see if it comes up again.
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thorya
post Mar 5 2012, 09:20 PM
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Session #4-

This consisted of favors or requests from various contacts of each of the players. It didn't go great, since I felt like I railroaded them a little and Maggie and Jerry didn't follow up the intended jobs I thought would come from their favors. Also the gang decided to go into Rough Riders territory and end up rolling really crappy and almost getting killed in some random street fight. (also, Mark's player has had to drop due to work reasons, so we're down to 4).

GM's notes-
Maggie's Favor-
[ Spoiler ]


Jerry's Favor
[ Spoiler ]


Ed's Favor
[ Spoiler ]


Kamen's Favor
[ Spoiler ]
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thorya
post Mar 5 2012, 10:40 PM
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Maggie's favor came up first. (I rolled to see what order they came in)

[ Spoiler ]


Jerry's was next.
[ Spoiler ]


Then in-between Jobs, the word on the street is that the Rough Rider's garage that they operate out of got fire bombed and that their leader was killed. There's now an internal struggle and they're losing the gang war badly. Kamen decides to raid their old garage to see if there are any parts he can pawn there. He goes on a Saturday and gets the gang to go along. It ends poorly.
[ Spoiler ]



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Kolinho
post Mar 6 2012, 12:58 AM
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This is a fantastic thread. Loving it.

You seem to have a great knack for running things on the fly, and also keeping a couple of simultaneous plot lines from becoming too fragmented. Kudos to you thorya (IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif)
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