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> Fast and Loose in L.A., Campaign Report!
Seriously Mike
post Mar 7 2012, 10:18 AM
Post #1


Moving Target
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So, my players finally got their shit together and managed to start the play-by-forum campaign. So, a word of introduction: Los Angeles, 2070. Three quarters of the LA sprawl are a sunken dump, Aztlan's still angry, and then there's Persona 2.0. And somewhere in there, four people have no idea they will have to cooperate.
Starring:
Havoc - as the racist jerkass hacker Paul "Heartlock" Enton. Looks like J.C. Denton as played by Christian Bale, his alcoholic dad was a racist and abusive Fun City cop, now all that's left of him is his (and Paul's) powerful friend, police captain Jervis Tetch. Paulie is a pretty damn good hacker who can also shoot people.
Marx - as Eric "Shade" Shaw, burglar who looks like a hippie bum. He got Hung Out To Dry after stealing some prototype chips for Aztech (without even knowing). Now his old friends are pissed off because of this, some even decided to break out baseball bats.
Katel - as Zara Ometewa Painter, elven Hopi shaman. Squishy wizard and staff chick. Can fling a lot of F10 stunbolts and shrug it off, patch people up and summon spirits. Also knows some conventional first aid. There's a property developer who really got her mad by pulling some shady deals back in her home Cibola County (evicted a lot of SINless people from her village and killed her brother), so when he bailed out to LA, she followed.
Blue Oni - as Liza "Sunshine" Underhill, grouchy dwarven mechanic and rigger. Lives in an old gym under the highway in East LA, which actually is the coolest pad the team has at their disposal. Aside from rigging and fixing stuff, she's also the team's sniper

Mission 1: Making Friends 101
To avoid the usual "You all meet in an inn", I decided to give the hacker a lesson in racial diversity (hence the mission title). The Johnson contacts Paulie the hacker through the captain and meets both in an upper-class restaurant. The deal is simple: "you get three certain people to work with you and get 5k and some gear in return. The offer extends to them as well. Then I'll contact you with further instructions." Because who wouldn't like 5k, a new commlink and identity for a milk run. The hacker agrees and we go to scene two, briefing.
During a 40 min. drive from Fun City to San Fernando, Paulie gets handed a stack of papers (old-fashioned, but nobody can take a peek at it covertly). Some photos, some reports, all about the remaining PCs. Of course, even being a racist, Paulie has an insane dice pool for holding back colorful comments and manages to keep cool throughout the ride. Then, he gets his new commlink with some more data (surveillance feeds), credstick and keys to the safehouse and sets out on a recruitment drive. As to safehouse, it's a Low-standard loft above a warehouse in San Fernando. There's one problem with it: it lacks a toilet, so either someone will have to use Industrial Mechanics skill to set one up or call a plumber. The plumber will be a troll.
He decides to get the burglar first. His most up-to-date clue is a week-old surveillance feed from South Central, so he decides to hit the barrens and snoop around. Yeah, I said barrens. First, he declines a race against an Ancient (he'd lose, the Ancient's bike was a souped-up Contrail that would leave him confused in the dust) and ends up confused in the dust. Then, there's a catch: first, the feed is week-old and the camera, along with the construction site it's watching over, belongs to Morningstar Property Development, the same company whose manager pissed off our shaman. So I decided to rush things a bit, just so the other players don't get bored. In a cutscene, the shaman trashes the whole site, her Beast spirit rams the gate open and she walks out, straight at the hacker. She's all "WTF?", he's all "WTF?", there's a lot of vehicles coming from the south (hacker arrived from the north), so both decide to quickly bail out to the nearest open bar. So much for "you all meet in an inn".
"A lot of vehicles" turns out to be a pack of Ancients in a rush somewhere farther north. What my players don't know is that the security guards at the construction site managed to call for backup before they got stunbolted to hell, and the Ancients got a little worked up about corp goons invading their turf. So the hacker and the elf come to the Black Flag Bar, where the burglar is having a beer and a prime runner team (Seriously Mike and Kestrel from the "Character clinic" thread here) is recruiting their third member. So the hacker, subtle as always, decides to get the burglar into an employment discussion, just to save some time. And it works.
Of course, it's 10:30 PM or so, and three quarters through the conversation, two Ancients burst in, dragging a nearly-dead comrade with them. The shaman, feeling racially motivated, patches the almost dead Ancient up and almost knocks herself out from the drain before the local ripperdoc from the back room manages to get his tools ready. This nets her some reputation with Ancients, giving me a potential plot hook. And when they're done, they decide to go to East LA and talk to the rigger as well, because why the hell not. Cue scene three.
There was a problem with Blue Oni here - she was late with her character sheet, and decided to use the corebook "drone rigger" build (which, as we all know, is as wrong as a soup sandwich if not more). She finally gave me that info when the other PCs reached the bar, so I also had "fun" building a more optimized variant of the rigger that had better dice pools on everything, especially rigging. So imagine how awkward it was to first give only vague hints during the ride with Johnson and then suddenly have more data magically pulled out of the ass, er, the commlink Paulie got as a gift.
So, 11 PM, the crew arrives at the gym and wonders how to get inside. Spot check reveals no hidden danger, frequency sweep conducted by the hacker proves just the opposite (he found eight encrypted nodes: four drones, van, rigger's commlink, nearby streetlight control and gym's smart meter). Of course, somehow the hacker managed to forget a very important piece of software, namely Decrypt, so it's all they have. And the rigger gets notified they're loitering outside as her Kanmushi, hidden on a street lamp, spots them (my idea, but as it's sane and they're first-time players, I decided to hint they can do such a thing by showing them how). Just after they get the bright idea of ordering a pizza, the rigger mercifully opens the front gate. Only by four feet, so they have to literally crawl through. Then, pizza arrives, the thief gets hosed down for having the bright idea of lighting a cigarette in a garage, and they all finally drive to San Fernando, to get their 5k and other toys. Of course the rigger pulls the Kanmushi trick again, this time on her own, and then they decide to take a nap - after everyone apart from the burglar turns their new commlinks on and check their new identities. The burglar, thinking he's genre savvy, wants his commlink checked by a hacker first. The only hacker he knows stands RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. My facepalm serves as the clapperboard for scene four, morning.
The Kanmushi alarm comes up at 7 AM thanks to the landlord and neighbors downstairs. I have no idea what they need a stable power supply for and I don't want to make it up yet. So the crew gets woken up and raids the cupboards, finding some soypacks and instant coffee. After the breakfast, Johnson calls Paulie, talking like the burglar is not even there (and the shaman wonders how he knows they're all there, when Johnson states clearly they have to FIND the burglar). Of course the burglar starts yapping and behaving like an asshole, so Johnson calmly explains why nobody wants to talk to him anymore ("Because you stole a prototype chip, handed it to Aztech like a moron and then the Pueblo equivalent of the FBI paid your usual fixer a visit, so he got pissed off.") and acknowledges he's there. He gives them an outline of the next job: steal a crate of explosives from a self-storage warehouse, no rush, call when you're ready. At the same time, Blue Oni gets a call from her fixer that there's a courier job and if she has some time in the afternoon to discuss it. She also gets an idea to have the PCs crash at her gym, which is a little better than the loft - so she asks the Johnson if that's not a problem. Of course it's not, I'm not going to railroad my players into living in a dump if they had better pads (whole two of'em).

I gave the players some hints as to what expect in a self-storage: public access, a Matrix node with some useful info, monitoring, rent-a-cops, the risk of a 911 call if things go south. I'll see what they come up with and plan accordingly - they'll be able to pull it off in broad daylight with no alarms and minimal cost if they're smart.
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Seriously Mike
post Apr 13 2012, 06:43 PM
Post #2


Moving Target
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I'm back with another exciting episode of "THE CREW: Fast and Loose In L.A."!

Mission 2: Casting Call
As I said, Blue Oni got a call from her fixer, asking to drop by in the afternoon if she wants a job. At the same time, the burglar decides to check all the self-storages in East L.A., which will take him a good couple of hours. I decided to be extra nasty and supplied him with descriptions of ALL OF THEM, so they still can't break the sequence, railroading be damned. Now they have seven warehouses to choose from instead of ten and until they decide to take that job, they won't get any more info. They don't know who they're looking for, where to look for and the right place will be chosen only when they meet up with their contact.
So, the hacker decides to check his new commlink (finally), and then call his fixer to ask if he couldn't get him a Decrypt 5 program. Another problem solved, which brings us to the most important thing, namely Blue Oni and Katel getting their first serious job. They arrive at the club, and Katel's character gets a new nickname: "Moonlight". She gets introduced as Blue Oni's "assistant" and compared to an elven mechanic named Lin (based on the character from the "Linburger" webcomic - it's NSFW, so google at your own risk and yes, this Lin is as much of a slut as the original), allowing me to exposit about Lin (who is Blue Oni's other contact) for a while.

The job is simple: at 6PM, the nightshift foreman at the docks gets to work, and he's the only one who can point the players to the right shipment. The shipment itself is big and heavy, so a van is required to transport it and it just so happens Blue Oni has one. The shipment itself has to be delivered to a backyard in San Fernando Valley at 11PM, where the Johnson and his people will take it over and pay up, three thousand nuyen.
The Johnson is an elf in a mismatched expensive suit (proving he's a rich idiot with the emphasis on "rich") who acts like some secret agent or the like (proving he's a rich idiot with the emphasis on "idiot"). He doesn't want to tell the players what's in the box, just that it's some kind of a special secret thing a schmuck off the street will have no idea what to do with. The players don't get the idea of negotiating for better payout, which is a damn shame because with Katel's eight dice it would work. I'll point it out to them later. They also get the Johnson's real name, along with his contact number.
Of course, after the whole deal both girls drive back to the hideout and ask if the guys want to join. The hacker is too busy hackering, but the burglar is in, which, considering he's got a contact at the docks and Strength at 4, means he'll be useful in a couple of ways. Also, thanks to Blue Oni's character being a bitchy and snarky movie buff, the players are now believing that the shipment is an unicorn frozen in carbonite and they aren't too far off. It's a girl in a box, more exactly, the Johnson's new star. She's thirteen and has an implanted commlink with hot SIM ready to take a personafix, data filter, linguasoft and other things, and he's a porn director (which my players haven't figured out yet. They have a couple of hours to do it.), so you probably see where this is going. Also, she doesn't speak a word of English, barely knows Chinese and the team doesn't speak Khmer. And the box will open on its own halfway through the return trip.
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Seriously Mike
post Jun 5 2012, 01:15 PM
Post #3


Moving Target
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From: Middle-Eastern Europe
Member No.: 36,268



So, let's start with the hacker. Paulie gets the bright idea to peek around his new commlink and discovers that all traffic outside of his PAN is being routed through one randomly chosen server from a list of ten. Servers are all encrypted, and the key he managed to extract from the commlink grants him user access only - so looking around the server (which looks like an office from 1950s), he finds a switchboard and operator (a call routing program) and decides to come back with decryption software. This is going to hurt him, but hey, fun is fun. Without much fuss, I roll for his fixer, who will supply him with a Decrypt 3 program in the next four days.

Back to the rest of the team, driving out of the docks they attract the attention of a pack of gangers. Eight of them actually - two racing bikes with two guys each (driver and rear-facing shooter) and four choppers. The gang leader, driving a chopper, is a mage. The burglar serves as an outrider, driving a couple of metres in front of the van, leaving the rigger and the shaman for themselves. And nobody had the common sense to take weapons, aside from the rigger's guns being stashed in the back of the truck and burglar having a telescoping baton on him.
In three tense rounds of fighting the seriously overpowered gangers (unmodified dice pools of 7, putting them around professional rating of 4), the shaman gets shot in the shoulder, the rigger ends up with bruised ribs thanks to thick kevlar jumpsuit, the van is shot up (harmlessly, it's a GMC Bulldog), and the burglar finally decides to play a Big Damn Hero, which results in one guy stunbolted to oblivion, one clubbed over the head, causing his racing bike to crash and burn, along with the gunner (who spent his shotgun ammo "suggesting" the rigger stops her truck) and one guy getting rammed into a divider, thrown off the chopper and in front of oncoming traffic. Whoops. The remaining gangers (including the leader) leg it with the help of an Air Spirit - Mobility Power, WHOOSH and they're gone. Then, the box opens.
Once the panicked screams in Thai substituting for Khmer stop, the girl manages to get out... and gets stunbolted by a visibly nervous shaman who just finished patching herself up. Okaaay, I haven't expected that. All the players know now is that the girl asked about Hollywood, and from the quick Assensing check shaman also knows she has some 'ware in her head. That's actually obvious, considering the fact she also had a headjammer put on her just in case. Then, the team arrives at the rigger's hideout for a late lunch break and carefully repacks the girl, while rigger (after being unsubtly pointed to do that) feebly struggles with Browse program to find out anything about the employer.
In ten minutes of frantic and definitely butterfingered googling, the rigger finally figures out that the guy is a porn director, with a history of legal troubles and some unclear deals with the Triads. Only a flunked roll stops our intrepid dwarf from reaching threshold of 12 and finding out even more. Also, everyone gets so paranoid that the rigger decides to scout the vicinity out using her Nissan Roto - apparently expecting the gang to come back with reinforcements and storm the place.
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Seriously Mike
post Sep 7 2012, 07:33 PM
Post #4


Moving Target
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Group: Members
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Joined: 19-August 11
From: Middle-Eastern Europe
Member No.: 36,268



So, just before things went to shit, the players managed to deliver the little girl to Mr Porn Director. So, in short: the director was there with his assistant, two hired goons and a car definitely not large enough to fit a whole crate. So the assistant got the girl out of the box, checked if she's in working order, and then Mr Porn Director just ripped the disposable scrubs off her, handed the players their hard earned money, plus something extra to patch up the van and basically told them to fuck off and get rid of the crate AND the scrubs.

Then, the guy who played the B&E guy threw a temper tantrum and bailed out. Luckily, I managed to find a new player, asked him for the character idea (a pretty monstrous gunslinger - okay, only 12 dice on his basic attack rolls AND the Hawkeye advantage, but he's pretty good at intimidating and sneaking too) and put some numbers to it. Then he accepted it and off we went.

Now, it just so happened that the hacker's annoying Mob fixer knows the new gunslinger and asked both if they, by any chance, aren't in need of a new talent. It just so happens that they are, and gunslinger's another contact knows Team Rocket, so they're in for a joint mission as soon as they get together (Team Rocket is still in the process of being put together, and consists of Mike, Kestrel and Lex only).
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