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emo samurai
I just watched "Last Team Standing," and the object was The Briefcase™. It is never explained what The Briefcase™ is. I was immediately reminded of Ronin, where there was also The Briefcase™. Have you ever done this to your players, where they have to transport The Briefcase™?
Rajaat99
Yeah, all the time. Sometimes the "briefcase" is another package of some sort also. They're always given the instruction not to open it.
emo samurai
Do they ever open The Briefcase™?
eidolon
Ha. I just ran a "briefcase" run just before my last game ended. It was a distraction, the briefcase was empty. The standard "don't open the briefcase" instructions were given, and ... they didn't.

I was amazed.
Arethusa
If you run with genuinely competent professionals, it takes a hell of a lot to make them open the case.
James McMurray
I don't think anyone in my gaming group has ever opened the case, despite offers of payment and threats of reprisal.
TimeKeeper
I only GMed one "case" run. From the Shadows of the Underworld adventures.


You know which "case" I'm reffering to, right? wink.gif

Needly to say, they did open it but at least they made sure the contents got delieved to the rightful owner.
Grinder
QUOTE (eidolon)
Ha. I just ran a "briefcase" run just before my last game ended. It was a distraction, the briefcase was empty. The standard "don't open the briefcase" instructions were given, and ... they didn't.

I was amazed.

Made the some experience a while back. Sometimes characters do what they've been told.

Frightening.
Slump
I made a run that was the Johnson testing the runners professionalism before trusting them with some really heavy work.

So, it's a Briefcase run -- you know, get it from this guy, deliver it to this guy in 3 days. Keep it secret, keep it safe, don't open it.

What was in the briefcase? 20 kilos of high explosive, wired to explode if: 1) the case is opened, 2) light hits the inner liner (in case of drilling and a tiny camera), or 3) it gets hit with a high enough dose of X-Rays.

They opened it. The case exploded, and the heavily cyber'd troll was the only one there who survived. Barely.

Mr. J only had to watch the news to discover that the team wasn't reliable.

-------

From that point on, my players always made sure they opened everything they got from a Johnson with a remote drone. And they don't open the Package (unless so instructed)
Butterblume
I had the Briefcase™ done to me a lot of times. Most of the times I am really tempted to open it... even tried it a few times.
I wonder: We can infiltrate heavy secured facilities undetected, but we can't open a Briefcase™ undetected?
Or why is there another, Smaller Briefcase™ in it, which is even harder to open?

The one time we actually managed to get to the contents, it turned out to be a a very poisonous chemical agent (which would have leaked out anyways, as the GM later admitted).

So, if you have a Briefcase™ at your hands, which you should not open, do the natural thing and give it a try, sometime.

Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Butterblume)
I wonder: We can infiltrate heavy secured facilities undetected, but we can't open a Briefcase™ undetected?

You'd be amazed at how much easier it is to detect intrusions when you only have a few square feet to search and don't have to worry about people legitimately entering and exiting with relative ease.

~J
hyzmarca
Genuinely competent professionals would never take a briefcase run, period. It is a damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario. If you don't open it the contents may kill you; if you do open it the contents may kill you; there is no way to know.
It is best to have one simple rule. Never transport a package unless you are told up front what is in the package.
Kagetenshi
Wha? What's the point of that? All it does is force the J to come up with a good lie.

~J
Lindt
Best story reguarding the briefcase? I had crashed a team into the middle of no where. The second thing one of the charcters did (after he stopped burning), was open the case.
Point blank ICE consussive, with an incendary chaser.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Wha? What's the point of that? All it does is force the J to come up with a good lie.

~J

Or be honest and if they are real professionals it is perfectly safe to be honest with them. Honesty also means that they are that much less likely to mishandle the cargo.
Kagetenshi
IPE, you mean? Or has the border between the Wired and the world broken?

QUOTE
Or be honest and if they are real professionals it is perfectly safe to be honest with them.

No offense, but that's bullshit. If they're real professionals, they'll take the path of greatest benefit, which may well be to steal the cargo, sell it out, or whatever. Even if we assume that "real professional" means "always keeps their word", they may be on prior employment to keep an eye out for certain kinds of items.

And that's ignoring the problem of determining whether they're "real professionals" in the first place.

QUOTE
Honesty also means that they are that much less likely to mishandle the cargo.

Only if it requires very special handling instructions. Things like "don't bring to high altitudes, expose to high temperatures, or subject to falls of more than two meters" can provide necessary protection without revealing the nature of the item.

~J
Sicarius
If a Johnson can afford to have people know what's in the case, he would use Fedex.

Edit: Plus the very good chance that Johnson doesn't know what's in the case either. If knowledge of what's in the case is a lethal secret, than why would he want to know either.
Rajaat99
QUOTE (emo samurai)
Do they ever open The Briefcase™?

My team has never opened the "briefcase".
Once it was a bomb that the Johnson was trying to use to take the team out. it almost worked.
Even since then, they still don't open the case.
Jrayjoker
I did the briefcase to my new SR4 crew. They were sufficiently paranoid but didn't open the case. They had less than a day to deliver, and it was a test by the fixer. Now they are screwing uo runs with a new GM.
nezumi
I got a briefcase run once. I made it ALMOST to the end without opening it, but I finally failed my will save. There was a crazy robotic skull inside which I used to do a puppet show with.

I have given briefcase runs. Generally the J doesn't ask the runners to open the briefcase (in my runs) because the contents are worth more than the runners are getting paid. As an experienced runner (as in, someone with friends but also enemies), however, I would be unlikely to accept a briefcase job unless I knew the Johnson or knew what was in the briefcase. Otherwise you just let your worst enemy kill you for $5k down.
eidolon
QUOTE (Arethusa)
If you run with genuinely competent professionals, it takes a hell of a lot to make them open the case.

We don't stick to any one cliche when it comes to characters, and especially not the silly (IMO, of course) notion that all Shadowrunners are automatically "genuine competent professionals."

I know a lot of people labor under the idea that to be in the National Organization of Professional Shadowrunners you have to be a Supreme Professional that Always Follows the Johnson's Orders and Never Messes Up. I just never saw the fun in it.

<obligatory disclaimer> I'm not saying anyone's "teh duma$$" for playing that way. I'm saying I don't like playing that way, and I seldom have players that do either. Remember, a differing opinion does not constitute an attack. This is not an attempt at starting a flame war. If it sparks actual conversation, so be it. </disclaimer>
emo samurai
I'll always have the Johnson be smart enough to make sure the players are good. If they aren't, either I screw up, or it's a plot point.
Daddy's Little Ninja
Does not the 'breifcase' run usually get preceeded by a long conversation about french fast food?
Kagetenshi
Not since Seattle went metric.

~J
eidolon
I don't know. I didn't go into Burger King.
Shadow
It is an excellent plot device that can create a lot of tension if it is used correctly and not over used. The two big instances where I feel it was used right was Ronin, and Mission Impossible III.

However, GM's have a tendancy to overuse it and abuse it. The instance of the case exploding was stupid. The GM new the players were going to open, and he chose to execute them.

The best use of McGuffins is when people simply do not have time to open them. Once you open them, they are no longer McGuffins. From the instant you get the case you should be on the clock with just enough time to deliver it.

Kagetenshi
That was one thing that I had to give MI:III credit for (well, that and taking some steps back towards the relatively cerebral original from the pure action flick second movie)óthey let the MacGuffin be a MacGuffin. No explanation, no plot to set it off, no nothing within the scope of the movie.

~J
Arethusa
Much agreed. Though I must admit, where MI:III was an action movie, it was pretty damn good at it. The opening raid was fucking excellent.
Grinder
Where does the term "MacGuffin" come from?
Arethusa
Hitchcock. It's something everyone wants that functions purely as an abstract plot device.
Kanada Ten
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin
Shadow
Rubbs his hands together.

Itís a term that Alfred Hitchcock coined to explain a plot device that moves a story forward but is not actually explained.
Shrike30
The number of amusing things you can do with a briefcase are staggering.

Probably the best briefcase I've heard of, though, is the one where the SRs ask what's in it, and the Johnson says "Documents. Ones that are too sensitive to transmit normally."

If the SRs investigate to the point of opening it and checking out the contents, they're documents, all right... in the Usual Suspects tradition. Their character's personal history, regular hangouts, contacts, family, friends... and a little note saying "I asked you not to open the case. Call me at this number, I've got some work for you to make it up to me."

You might as well have him transporting some actual documents in the case. Otherwise your runners get pissed nyahnyah.gif

How does the J know they opened the case? Having it be airtight (and filled with nitrogen) is a pretty good way. If he cracks it once it's delivered and something besides pure nitrogen comes out, it's been opened. If he cracks it and gets pure N2, he knows he can hire these guys to do stuff more advanced than shootups and distractions.
eidolon
How would you measure that only N2 was coming out? Open it in a vacuum chamber?

Kagetenshi
Pretty cheap to do, compared to hiring Shadowrunners.

~J
Kanada Ten
Of course, "pop-top" briefcases work pretty well, too. They're manufactured by Snapple.
Kiedo
Every Briefcase run I've tried with my group they don't even get back to the safehouse before they try to open it. That's why the last time I GMed one it was a bomb set to explode upon opening since the group had gotten a rep for looking in things the shouldn't.

Now they have a fixer with an X-ray, ultrasound, and MAD scanner. So when thier expirencing pandora syndrone they just take it to him. He charges them out the yinyang for the scans but they're stupid enough to pay to see that the briefcase has a thin lead lining that prohibits X-ray and ultrasound and the MAD scan came back negative, but it's thier dime.

I've had alot of fun with that too, once the briefcase contained a replica of the Hellraiser cube, complete with bound spirit, that manifested chains and things like that. And the sad part was one of the PC's had a skill in 20th century movies, and opened the cube. You should have seen the look on the player's face when I told him a force 9 spirit of man was not very happy with him.
emo samurai
Dude, how does Mr. Johnson open the briefcase, if professional criminals can't?
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Kiedo)
I've had alot of fun with that too, once the briefcase contained a replica of the Hellraiser cube, complete with bound spirit, that manifested chains and things like that. And the sad part was one of the PC's had a skill in 20th century movies, and opened the cube. You should have seen the look on the player's face when I told him a force 9 spirit of man was not very happy with him.

Well, depending on what continuity you go with and the character's inclinations opening the cube can be a very good thing. If you ignore the sequals and just go with the lame sequals and just use the concepts from the first two movies and The Hellbound Heart then opening the puzzle box can be a very good thing. The Cenobites grant the gift of immortality and the opportunity to experience near infinite pleasure along with near infinite suffering. For someone who is into suffering it is a darn good deal. For someone who likes pleasure and immortality two out of three ain't bad.
James McMurray
QUOTE (emo samurai)
Dude, how does Mr. Johnson open the briefcase, if professional criminals can't?

He probably uses the key, combination, voice analyzer, DNA sequencer, and service from the bound spirit holding the lock closed. It isn't a matter of opening the briefcase. Every box can be opened eventually. The problem is doing it undetected.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (emo samurai)
Dude, how does Mr. Johnson open the briefcase, if professional criminals can't?

Dude, how does the manager open the safe, if professional criminals can't?

~J
emo samurai
Shouldn't runners have ways of spoofing whatever high-tech countermeasures Mr. Johnson might have?
Kanada Ten
Sure, which is why you give them a time limit to deliver. If they can open the case undetected and still make it on time, then that demonstrates their abilities as much (if not more) than those professionals that don't open it.

Also, the cost of opening and resealing the case can approch the cost of the job very easiliy.
James McMurray
Yep, they can opent he case. Like I said though, it's doing it without getting caught that can be the hard part. To use an example given above, how would the runners ever think to refill the briefcase with pure nitrogen after they opened it?
Butterblume
The Briefcase™ isn't just a shadowrun thing ... I did in in fantasy (Scroll, Letter, Crate), the presence (Letter, packet, storage medium, Briefcase™), and the future (Crate, chip, Briefcase™) and the far future (Crate, data crystal, etc).

Always the same, alltough the fantasy ones are normally easier to get into nyahnyah.gif.
James McMurray
They can also have the hardest to find traps. Magc=ic is hard to see with the naked eye, and detection doesn't necessarily mean there's a trap, there could be a cool item ni there.
SuperFly
NEVER OPEN THE CASE!!
Lindt
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
IPE, you mean? Or has the border between the Wired and the world broken?

SHuush... I was tired and under caffinated.

I think next time I do a briefcase run its going to be sourkraut and a heaft dose of 7-7
hobgoblin
QUOTE (Arethusa)
Hitchcock. It's something everyone wants that functions purely as an abstract plot device.

one day i need to read up on how he created his stories, i belive he was a master of distraction and putting down hints about things that never happend. there is even a story about him being angry at himself for one time letting a bomb go of after hinting about there being one...
Butterblume
Just like a good Gamemaster love.gif .
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