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> Arcology inspiration..., help me hurt my PC's souls.
Req
post Jan 27 2005, 07:14 PM
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Chums -

After a whole damn lot of buildup, it's finally about to happen - in our next session (next week) my PCs will be inside the Arc when the shutdown happens. There are a number of plot hooks leading up to this, and though it's not yet apparent, Deus has arranged for them to be inside, and intends to manipulate them mercilessly - and it will soon become clear that they've already done a fair bit of work for the angry AI.

The overall plotline is the usual: get in, experience awe and horror, suffer casualties, help the resistance (or ignore them in favor of chasing self-interest), eventually get out with enough motivation and hatred to come back in and try to pull the plug - same plotline as the Brainscan adventure, but I won't be following it exactly. I know there are a lot of very talented GMs out there who have run this campaign, and so if there were any specific events, mini-adventures, scenes, subplots, characters, or whatever that worked out well in your game, I'd love to hear about them. K10, I'm already hoping to use some excerpts from your Arc-themed story (in A Wee Bit O' The Fiction) if that's all right by you...

Anything you can provide might work its way in here. There will be crazy battles but that's not the theme of this campaign; mostly we'll be working the survival and psychological horror angle of the place. They're not combat monsters, and a group of medusae or whatever will probably wipe the floor with them.

If it matters, the team is a B&E adept, an athletic/gun-bunny adept, a troll demo and heavy weapons guy, an Adversary shaman (whom Deus is going to love...heh heh heh...), a hermetic adept, a melee speed-samuai, and an otaku. And a decker-in-a-box. :)

Thanks everyone. I'm really looking forward to this campain angle and could use your help to make it the best it can be.
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fistandantilus4....
post Jan 27 2005, 07:21 PM
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As far as messing with their heads, if they know much about the situation, then at some point, they'll be expecting someone to try to trick them . You know, woman in distress "please save me", or cute little kids with cybereyes "can you help me find my parents", really obvious stuff. Make 'em good and suspicious and everything. But make it all genuine, so they have all these suspicions, and are just waiting for the other shoe to drop.Then get them from a totally different angle. Deus' whole plan is to mess with people's heads to see how they react. So see if you can get them to cack 'em, then reveal that they were exactly what they appeared.
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DocMortand
post Jan 27 2005, 07:36 PM
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Heh - I'm several months behind you, and gathering material myself. Lina, you shouldn't be seeing this. :P

One thing to really think about - make sure to use the zombie rooms and the mazes. I ran a one shot in which the runners were mind-wiped normal people of the arcology...they started in a zombie room, got escorted to the Labyrinth and had to escape through the maze with no weapons. The Labyrinth was originally middle-class housing, so I had stripped down middle class housing everywhere, with spider drones in abundance wandering around. There were weapons in various places, and dead bodies clutching them - but one guy armed himself with a towel rack, just to give you an idea.

Have lots of traps, lots of guards, lots of drones. But spread them out. Kage's story is really a fantastic way of describing things, I plan to use some of it as well *keeps bowing to Kage's storytelling*.

Use the level descriptions in RA:S. They are your best friend - if the party enters an elevator, have it go to a random level.

I'm planning on having different drones in the Arc as well - The medusa are all well and good - but have you thought of the drone/powered armor thread that went by a couple weeks ago? You can have Spartan suits running around...they were originally drones, after all. Or have them operated by Blue-eyes. Hell, you can have a dreadnought in the Mall. Talk about making them hyperventilate. The whole idea is to survive, and to possibly rescue people (who could be subverted already!). If the group loses people - have a new char start out IN the zombie rooms and get rescued by the group. (Amnesia would be a good flaw here)

Overall, unless you just want to kill them, always leave them a way out, or a slim chance of winning over odds. Let the rigger find a deactivated drone that he can reactivate in his R/C network. Do EW battles. Hell, use Dunkelzahn's request that a particular room be examined for a reward (according to various people, the reward was doubled after the Shutdown.)

Have lights be out in certain sections - make them use that Low Light vision until it gets pitch black. Have them hear random things - think Resident Evil.

I'll be paying attention to this thread myself - more ideas for me.

Doc
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Kagetenshi
post Jan 27 2005, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (Req)
K10, I'm already hoping to use some excerpts from your Arc-themed story (in A Wee Bit O' The Fiction) if that's all right by you...

Perfectly acceptable, the only price I charge is that you have to let me know how it goes :) One little detail, though: I'm not Kanada Ten ;)

~J
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Fix-it
post Jan 27 2005, 10:40 PM
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UV HOSTS ARE THE SHIZNIT WHEN IT COMES TO SCREWING WITH PC's MINDS.

You can do ANYTHING, and get away with it. torture them, then have them wake up, and they are back outside the arc, but thier contacts have no heads, and they are constantly being thrown into vats of sour cream.

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Arz
post Jan 27 2005, 10:49 PM
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I have to agree with Fix-It on the hosts. They can escape many times only to find they are still in the Arc. Watch some eps of 'The Prisoner' and commence with your psychological warfare.

The most important thing to remember is to tie them in with the other victims of the Arc. There are lots of people trapped in there from all different walks of life. Janitor -> Aneki-sama. Also remember to keep track of what they are carrying as the will eventually be unable to resupply.
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BitBasher
post Jan 27 2005, 11:08 PM
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I have to disagree with UV hosts, the PC's never knowing what is real or not seriously dilutes the suspense or threat of a campaign. In my experience every time I've seen that used the GM regretted it later because it made the players detach from their characters, becuase they never knew if what they were doing ever actually mattered or not.
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The White Dwarf
post Jan 27 2005, 11:20 PM
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Work on the Paranoia level. Remember Deus can see and hear (virtually) everwhere in the arc. He just may or may not be paying attention right then. Doing things like making notes what the PCs are doing everytime they verbally say "Deus" and using that can be entertaining. Hey, the players dont know he suddenly looks over when they say his name.

Also, those kids with dolls and undercover banded are fun. Resistance or not, you decide!

Anything that keeps them offbalance and guessing, while also making them more likely to trust no one and go insane is a good thing in here. Heck, just having them get lost cause the drones rebuilt the hall they came from so they literally cant find their way back is priceless.

Also remember that due to Deus's jamming devices, no radio/remote type stuff will function with any practicality if Deus doesnt want it to. Not being able to tell whats happening to teammates out of LoS only adds to the paranoia )
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Req
post Jan 28 2005, 12:00 AM
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@ Fist3.0:
That idea is awesome. I tend to do a lot of that sort of thing but you're right, it can get taken to the next level here. They don't actually know anything beyond "there is a book called RA:S" and I' hoping it'll be a good long time before they're even clear on what Deus actually is...

@ DocM:
The neat thing about the irresistable odds in the Arc is it's not just the GM trying to keep the PCs alive, it's Deus as well. Deus has plans in store for the PCs which would be ruined if he killed them. The first time the drones or Banded decide against pursuing the obviously-defeated team, and I get to hear the paranoid "wait, why aren't they following us?" converstation, I'll be so psyched. :)

Good thought re: bigger drones. There's an amusement park on the mall level, right? The idea of a very large, grotesquely-heavily armed drone (with an autocannon or Firelance or something) slowly pursuing the PCs through a silent and empty amusement park seems quite interesting to me.

The Labyrinth will be a good penultimate challange - once they figure out an escape plan that just might work, then they learn it's on the other side of the Labyrinth...

@Kage:
Wow, you're right! You're not Kaneda Ten at all! Does dad know? Heh, my bookmarks got a little bit confused, sorry for mis-remembering your name. I promise not to do it again. :)


@White Dwarf:
The comm blackouts are something I didn't think of at all. That's got some possibilities, thanks. And I am in awe of the "every time they say Deus" thing; I'd always just planned to have Deus know everything but that particular restriction adds such a neat flavor to it all. And once they wise up to it, there's always another way to go...


I don't think the UV hosts will get used all that often, though at some point the PCs will be captured, have jacks implanted (sorry, two mages and three adepts), and get put in a zombie room. I want the majority of the thing to be in the real world, though. I tend to agree; this is almost the equivalent of the "and then you all wake up" style of GMing and I do find that trivializes the struggles of the PCs.

These are some great ideas! Please keep 'em coming if you've got others, I can already feel the wheels of Evil GM-hood turning faster. :)
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BitBasher
post Jan 28 2005, 12:08 AM
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Just for the record, I have no problem at all trivializing the PC's as long as there's a good reason for it! :vegm:
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DocMortand
post Jan 28 2005, 07:17 AM
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If you do decide to do the "knock 'em out and implant stuff into 'em" Then please refer to the following (from RA:S (Pg. 82)):
QUOTE
If a player character is captured and chosen to become Banded, the first step will be the implantation of the cyberware package for whichever Banded type the luckless character is destined to be.  If the character is low in Essence, Deus can use alpha/beta-grade cyberware or else remove cyberware that the character already has. ......  The conditioning process takes two(2) full days and is very difficult to resist.  Have the character make a Body (10) and Willpower (10) test.  If he succeeds at both, he survives unconditioned, but takes Serious Stun damage.  Otherwise, the character has been thoroughly conditioned and addicted to Deus.


Also, don't just install a datajack - install the full package if you can - refer to the cyberware the blue banded mages have on pg. 84, and modify from there - should have at least BTL Stimulator, Carcerand Release Receiver, Commlink 8 and Snake-Eyes Link. Also, If you do that to them, make SURE you tell them they now have the lowest point Amnesia flaw (2 missing days of time) and the Mysterious Cyberware flaw (the added cyberware) and don't tell 'em didly squat other ways. This will truly be evil, and if you just do that for your cyber, if it is betaware, the mage will still lose less than 1 point of Essence (and 1 point of Magic) total - not terribly bad. This also allows you to mess with their minds both figuratively and literally.

Yeah, I'm interested how your run is doing as well...I've already created the beginning of the Network by creating a new otaku group called the Pantheon that works for Deus outside the Arc. And my group has gotten on their bad side, completely by accident...

Doc M
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