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knasser

EDIT: If you are a player and your GM is going to, or might, run this adventure, please do NOT click on the link below.

On the Tacoma air - so often laced with heavy metals, the acid tang of refineries, assembly lines and the vapours of the sluggish Puget Sound - another scent had overlain itself. Cotton candy, crepes and toffees mingled with the industrial air, making it sweet and cancerous all at once. A wide lot, vacant yesterday and long ago bulldozed empty of anything but tarmac and the memory of jobs, was now filled with tents, trucks and temptations for children of all ages. The Carnival had come to Seattle, nestling itself in the city's empty spaces as it had once settled itself in farmers' fields, unheeding of Time. A few beefy trolls manhandled the poles of the last tent with ease and a dwarf, with grease paint forcing a permanent smile on his face, jammed fliers under the wipers of the cars crawling past in the slow rush hour traffic.

“Come to the carnival,” they said. “An experience you'll never forget.”



Direct link is here:
http://knasser.me.uk/content/shadowrun/carnival.pdf

Thanks,

-K.
Meriss
I'll say knasser (eek.gif yikes!). I like the dark tone you built in the adventure, although I was thinking less Rocky Horror Show, more Moulan Rouge. But when in Seattle....
jklst14
Even though I'm not a big fan of immortal elves, I like it!
BookWyrm
Chilling. Even if you don't include Harlequin, it's a fascinating read.
knasser
Thank you. I tried very hard to make it creepy. I didn't mean for it to look like the Rocky Horror Show. I suppose that's because Rebus is androgynous, or maybe it's just the sheer mass of degraded characters.

As to Harlequin... you can remove him from the adventure without any visible effect if need be. I just have always had a more sinister take on the character than most, I think, and something like this was just too good an opportunity to miss. It would be one way to introduce the dark clown to the players without having to do the whole Harlequin-Horror metaplot. Just make sure he's not in the players faces until near the end.

Thunderball and Hotfoot were inspired by a thread here a while ago about the Elemental Effect adept power and I realised just how cool it actually was.

I was also trying for a real blend of cyberpunk and horror, making sure that plenty of 2070 tech was integrated into everything.

Anyway, it took me quite a long time to do, and I'd really appreciate comments and feedback from anyone who's read it. Criticisms and corrections are also useful (please be kind).

Thanks,

-K.

p.s. If anyone prints this out, I'd recommend skipping the first page!
G.NOME
It reads really well. I like that you mapped everything out but didn't make it a linear, cookie-cutter adventure like some of the adventure books are. It gives the GM a lot more opportunities to work this into their adventures.
Kalvan
If Hotfoot is Brazillian, replace Spanish as his native language with Portuguese.
Meriss
Correction: I was expecting less horror knasser, more funny elf in a panda costume.
Kyoto Kid
...from the responses it sounds pretty good. I'll have to open the link when I get home since my work PC is like molassess when you try to open a PDF.

Harlequin? That has me muy interested. The only IE I ever liked because he is so bloody freakin twisted.

[Note to my player group] If you haven't already, please do not open the above link.
treehugger
May i point out that if Layla is from Teheran, she really should be Persian, not arabic.
Culturaly, religiously and ethnicaly they are really different. (as much as a russian and a spanish i'd say)
knasser
QUOTE (treehugger @ Apr 23 2007, 04:10 PM)
May i point out that if Layla is from Teheran, she really should be Persian, not arabic.
Culturaly, religiously and ethnicaly they are really different. (as much as a russian and a spanish i'd say)


Whoops! Now that's ironic. biggrin.gif I originally had the character as Egyptian and then realised last minute that I was missing a perfect opportunity to highlight one of the most overlooked tragedies in the Shadowrun timeline so I swapped things around a bit. Although Iran does have plenty to arabs living there.

@Kalvan: Thanks for the correction. I probably should have checked that instead of guessing.

I've fixed that and the howler and re-uploaded.

Thank you for all comments. Meriss - I can see now why it wasn't what you expected. As much as I adore the image of an elf in a panda suit (and I really do)... as you noticed, it isn't quite what I was going for. biggrin.gif

Can I ask that if anyone runs this, they post back here to say how it went? It took me a long time to write it all up and it would be really interesting to compare notes.

-K.
bibliophile20
knasser, don't worry, you'll be hearing from me this summer when my campaign gets into swing.
Unarmed
I like it a lot. At first I was thinking that it would be like the Carivale HBO tv show, but overall I get much more of a deadlands crossed with shadowrun kinda vibe. I may have to run it with my group when it's my turn to GM again.
Tashio
Looks great, nice to have ideas and plot hooks without the railroading aspect alot of modules have. Also a change from the general run of the mill options you usualy see.

Typo:

Trid Illusions:

stick a PCs face on a corpse on a gibbet

Should be corpse of a gibbet


I'm only really familar with Harlequin from the original Harly module where his main weapon of choice was a rapier, though I guess his habits may have changed over the years + other modules. A long sword just seems very cluncky on him. The rapier being a weapon of finess and technique suits his image better in my opinion.
knasser
QUOTE (Tashio)
Looks great, nice to have ideas and plot hooks without the railroading aspect alot of modules have. Also a change from the general run of the mill options you usualy see.

Typo:

Trid Illusions:

stick a PCs face on a corpse on a gibbet

Should be corpse of a gibbet


I'm only really familar with Harlequin from the original Harly module where his main weapon of choice was a rapier, though I guess his habits may have changed over the years + other modules. A long sword just seems very cluncky on him. The rapier being a weapon of finess and technique suits his image better in my opinion.


Good points. The thing is twenty-five pages long, though. I'll therefore wait until more people have pointed out errors and try and make all the corrections in one pass. That way, I wont be uploading it endlessly and those that want all the corrections can just wait for me to post that I've updated it. So, by all means, people, add in any other mistakes here. Non-mistake related comments are welcome too, of course. wink.gif

-K.
Meriss
knasser one thing you may wish to add/edit in when you are editing is the fact that most fairs and carnivals have this weird frantic energy. Try going to one and you'll realize what I mean, it's like the whole place never sleeps. Now in your adventure it might be twisted or warped, or Rebus might be encouraging it to tire out potential victims, for himself or the others. Just a thought.
knasser
QUOTE (Meriss)
knasser one thing you may wish to add/edit in when you are editing is the fact that most fairs and carnivals have this weird frantic energy. Try going to one and you'll realize what I mean, it's like the whole place never sleeps. Now in your adventure it might be twisted or warped, or Rebus might be encouraging it to tire out potential victims, for himself or the others. Just a thought.


True. There should be something in the atmosphere section on the feel of the crowds. A bit more to add to that, then.

But I'll wait a bit longer before doing edits though. I was seriously hoping for some more feedback. I've had 112 downloads, 10 comments. Thoughe very much thank you to those who've posted comments and criticisms.

-K.
ornot
Just downloaded it and scanning through it.

Looks like a very nice setting although I've not really digested it

There are some inconsistincies in the text describing Rebus. A fair few "he" instead of "s/he" and "his" instead of "hir", which may or may not be intentional.
Fezig
On a semi-related note my group runs in a rotating GM fashion with all of us potentially GMs (though really only 3 of the 5 are likely to run a game), and one of the other GMs ran your other adventure (the name escapes me at the moment, the one about the ghouls.).

Anyhow, I just wanted to compliment you on the atmosphere embedded in the run as well as all the description and atmosphere you've invested in this one. I'm very interested in seeing if it also ends up being run at the group. All in all I'd say you make some very fun and well put together runs. Keep up the really good work.
knasser
QUOTE (Fezig @ Apr 26 2007, 04:23 AM)
On a semi-related note my group runs in a rotating GM fashion with all of us potentially GMs (though really only 3 of the 5 are likely to run a game), and one of the other GMs ran your other adventure (the name escapes me at the moment, the one about the ghouls.).

Anyhow, I just wanted to compliment you on the atmosphere embedded in the run as well as all the description and atmosphere you've invested in this one.  I'm very interested in seeing if it also ends up being run at the group.  All in all I'd say you make some very fun and well put together runs.  Keep up the really good work.


Thank you. That's the first time I've heard of anyone else actually running one of my games (It was called "Cold Blood"). I'd be interested in hearing how it went. It must make things a bit tricky if some of the players have read the adventure, but I hope it goes well if Carnival does get run at your group.

Anyway, thank you for the compliment.

@Ornot: I'll have a look back at the Rebus description. You wouldn't believe how fiddly it is catching all the hims and hers. I think I'll be avoiding any more hermaphrodite characters in future. wink.gif
Dogsoup
I like that you put out ambitious pdfs with artwork and layout, gives off a much more polished feel than just text on an empty html page. It also shows that one doesn't have to turn to D20 to find decent third-part productions. Thanks! nuyen.gif nuyen.gif nuyen.gif
knasser
QUOTE (Dogsoup)
I like that you put out ambitious pdfs with artwork and layout, gives off a much more polished feel than just text on an empty html page. It also shows that one doesn't have to turn to D20 to find decent third-part productions. Thanks! nuyen.gif nuyen.gif nuyen.gif


Thank you. That's very kind.

This is just to tell everyone who wants to know, that I've made all the corrections pointed out to me and have re-uploaded. Changes are: rogue him's in reference to Rebus, the addition of a "People" section to the Carnival Atmosphere section and turning Harlequin's longsword back to a rapier.

It remains "corpse on a gibbet" rather than "corpse of a gibbet," however, despite requests otherwise. wink.gif

And just to repeat, if anyone runs this, please post here and let me know how it went. It's the only thing that will ever encourage me to undertake such a mammoth writing up and laying out project for free again.

Thanks for all comments,

-K.
fistandantilus4.0
Thread Ressurect

I loved the mixing tech holograms with illusion, and the mionr spirits flitting about all over the place.

I thought it was funny that I was thinking the only thing it was missing was a minor , wicked free spirit, then read over Layla's stats. Very cool. I'm honestly wishing the group that I ran through the Harlequin adventures wasn't so damn strong now, so that I could run them through this.

As to thoughts on the games contents:

I definitely think that the group needs to have a compelling reason to stay in that f-ed up place. I think searching for the kidnap victim, or smuggled goods is great. Partly because they can't just get weirded out and leave, but especially because it requires them to look around everywhere.

Including Harlequin is a nice touch too.There's really no one else that could fulfilll that role I think. Especially becuase he won't necessarily do anything.

The only thing I would like to see is a more detailed adventure for one of the two recommended paths. It seems like it would be an awesome game with a more thorough plot line. Working out the possible encounters in detail along a more typical adventure adventure format, sort of a Point A Point B, Point C, with a bunch of Point b1, B2,etcs for investigating different areas.

Basically I think it's a great idea and deserves to be developed more. I'd love to play it if you ran it, just to see it all rolled out.
knasser
Thanks for the feedback. Always appreciated. I haven't actually run this for a group yet, so if you fancy dropping by the UK, you'd be welcome to sit in when I do. wink.gif

I agree with the under-developed adventure side of things. The truth is that having written 20+ pages I starting to flag. And something like this is best tailored to a specific group. It would be very easy to have a loved one go missing and the clues lead to the carnival, for example. Of course, it wouldn't be certain. Just a clue that someone in there might have had something to do with it. For horror, I'm a big believer in concealing the scale of the threat. That allows for a nice shock when you pull back and show the players what is all around them.

Regarding your group's strength, they must be fairly strong. One of the things that I realised when I put this together is how underated the geomancy power is. The Carnival as written has a background count of 4 and that's going to make a hefty difference to magicians and adepts. As the whole thing takes place in a big crowded area with tonnes of people, the samurai types aren't going to be able to take in anything less concealable than a pistol (cyberweapons not withstanding) and the magical nature of the opposition is going to put them at a disadvantage. But if the group really are too strong, it could probably be a one-shot adventure for a Halloween game.

I really enjoyed writing the adventure. What I'd really like to do would be to write some adventure modules for FanPro / IMR, but the impression I got was that they're not interested in adventures. It's a shame because if it was paid work, I'd be able to take the time to do something a lot more comprehensive and filled out. Not little old things like this. wink.gif
Ravor
knasser, all-in-all I like it and plan on using it in some form minus Harlequin once I get back to DMing after my wife's campaign is over.

However, once thing that I've wondered, the two Adepts don't seem to be aspected towards Black Magic, and although I haven't ran the numbers on their powers yet, wouldn't they also lose 4 points of Magic as well?
fistandantilus4.0
QUOTE
Regarding your group's strength, they must be fairly strong

They've retired the characters after running them for a few years. Karma was getting well along in the triple digits.

As for the adventure, I agree that tailoring is nice. I just think that writing out a bit more of a detailed guide , and then letting GMs tailor specifically , would be a good way to go. I can understand being finished with a project though.
knasser
QUOTE (Ravor)
knasser, all-in-all I like it and plan on using it in some form minus Harlequin once I get back to DMing after my wife's campaign is over.

However, once thing that I've wondered, the two Adepts don't seem to be aspected towards Black Magic, and although I haven't ran the numbers on their powers yet, wouldn't they also lose 4 points of Magic as well?


Yes they would. I was regarding them as aspected because they were part of Rebus's cabal and because I gave Rebus some leeway in how he wants to set up the background count with the geomancy metamagic. I couldn't see them sticking around if they weren't aspected. How an adept becomes aspected to Black Magic I'm not 100% sure, but I figured participating in Rebus's rituals on a regular basis would probably get them through, somehow.

Glad you like it though. Do me a favour and if you do run it, post back here to say how it went. The feedback is very valuable to me.

Thanks,

-K.
snowRaven
I will DEFINATELY run this for my group - only problem (?) is that two of the members actually are Black Magicians - an Adversary full mage and a Siren Mystic Adept, so I may have to fiddle a bit with that aspected rating first.

Stats for Harlequin are too low IMO, but that's been discussed elsewhere and I'll use my own anyway =) Very good use of him, though!

I will return with feedback in a few weeks or so when I can fit this into the campaign, and I'm also looking to run your other module and will give feedback on that too.
knasser
QUOTE (snowRaven @ May 6 2007, 10:33 PM)
I will DEFINATELY run this for my group - only problem (?) is that two of the members actually are Black Magicians - an Adversary full mage and a Siren Mystic Adept, so I may have to fiddle a bit with that aspected rating first.

Stats for Harlequin are too low IMO, but that's been discussed elsewhere and I'll use my own anyway =) Very good use of him, though!

I will return with feedback in a few weeks or so when I can fit this into the campaign, and I'm also looking to run your other module and will give feedback on that too.


rotfl.gif rotfl.gif rotfl.gif

I don't know why, but it honestly never occured to me that the players would be Black Magicians. Pretty short-sighted. I suppose you could roll with it and do the whole corruption of power thing, luring the players in. Not sure how well that would work, though. You'd have to know your players very well.

You could aspect the carnival to the Worm totem. As I just made it up, players are unlikely to have picked it at chargen. Not quite RAW, but it would just about work. Would need to play up the cult aspects. I would suggest Hedge Magic as an alternative tradition but it's female only and though that would work for Rebus, it would be problematic for Piotr. Still, you could swap his gender too and then you'e actually done. In fact, as the players slowly uncover an all female, pagan cult, it could be just as creepy. I'm picturing something like the cult in Wicker Man (the original) with blood sacrifice and corn gods, etc. The adepts could get by just by participating in the rituals, perhaps. The odd daub of blood on the forehead goes a long way, imo. wink.gif

I don't know, really. These are all that spring immediately to mind. But I'll appreciate the feedback. Out of a couple of hundred downloads, you'll be the first person to ever give me a run story!

In fact, it inspires me to go and upload something new to my website... *goes to find FTP client* biggrin.gif
fistandantilus4.0
hehe... I hadn't thought of that either. We actually have three characters in our game that follow that Black Magic tradtition. They'd just love to do this run, I'm sure. Of course, they'd likely team up with the "bad guy' though. biggrin.gif
knasser
QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
hehe... I hadn't thought of that either. We actually have three characters in our game that follow that Black Magic tradtition. They'd just love to do this run, I'm sure. Of course, they'd likely team up with the "bad guy' though. biggrin.gif


That's fine. Black Magicians are not legendary for peacefully dividing up the power amongst themselves. If they really want to team up with Rebus, then perhaps they could do him a small favour as a token of good will. You see there's an elf he wants them to kill...
snowRaven
QUOTE (knasser @ May 7 2007, 02:25 AM)
QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0 @ May 7 2007, 12:19 AM)
hehe... I hadn't thought of that either. We actually have three characters in our game that follow that Black Magic tradtition. They'd just love to do this run, I'm sure. Of course, they'd likely team up with the "bad guy' though. biggrin.gif


That's fine. Black Magicians are not legendary for peacefully dividing up the power amongst themselves. If they really want to team up with Rebus, then perhaps they could do him a small favour as a token of good will. You see there's an elf he wants them to kill...

ROFL - Now THAT kind of thinking I like! vegm.gif

My group is not likely to team up with Rebus - they are more likely to try and steal, copy, or study anything he has that can be useful to them. My main concern would be increasing the power of my players with the aspected background count - then again, if they can be convinced to go after the annoying elf, they'd need all the dice they can get! grinbig.gif


I might run it as it is, but I was thinking of Hedge Witchcraft myself actually. Rather than change the genders of the main players though, I see no reason why Hedge Withcraft can't be practiced by men too - subordinate to the women, of course, so Rebus would have to change sex.
knasser
QUOTE (snowRaven @ May 7 2007, 11:18 PM)
so Rebus would have to change sex.


Again? rotfl.gif Poor transgender Rebus... of course, as Hedge Magic is traditionally passed down a matriarchal line, then it would explain why he chose to become a little more feminine. But you know, hedge magic could actually end up creepier than Black Magic. Latin and circles and all that never quite have the same impact as a little straw doll with human hair pinned to its head.
snowRaven
Yeah, I agree - all the naturalistic stuff and being a possession tradition gives it a lot of potential for a twisted, horror-like setting and story.
snowRaven
Alright, I've modified the setting and made some alterations/upgrades and I'll most likely be running 'The Rescue' at the end of this week - after that, I'll return and let you know how it all played out.

Here are the alterations I made:
[ Spoiler ]


My group is very magic oriented and will be severely crippled by the domain, so this will be quite a challenge for them.

Here's an overview of their abilities:
[ Spoiler ]


Looking this over, I'm starting to think I should reduce the Aspect to 3, but we'll see. It could be interesting to watch them solve problems without magic, and when faced with alot of magic opposition.
knasser
This sounds good! I don't know whether the aspect should be 3 or 4. But either way, the players are going to have to rely on their smarts to get out with their target. At least it's more obvious with 4. I love what you've done with Hotfoot / Bramble. Really fits the atmosphere and the Hedge Witchcraft. I'm starting to think that Hedge Witchcraft is better anyway. I have a new group starting next month so I might copy that.

Couple of notes: Balamohan is a man's name. Bandhula or Bandhura would be female equivalents.

Secondly, make sure you have some good reasons for the player's sticking around. When they realise how much of a disadvantage the home terrain is, they may well be tempted to get out of there fast and try something else. My approach is to put strong deadlines on the rescue, but another idea I had was about hooking the players in to the Carnival by having Rebus either put some sort of brand on them or get hold of some ritual links to them. They seriously do not want to leave with that in his possession and if they do, then it lets Rebus hook them back in. Especially if they hadn't realised sHe had taken them. Rebus also has the supporting mages and an aspected base to do it from, too!

Sounds like they have a good team, though. My predicitions - Siren will run aground when she finds that most of the opposition are female / transgender and will get herself into deep trouble with one of them, Sin will initially worry when the raven grows weak and also end up having to mind control either Kodiak or Calibur to protect him from Rebus's illusions and manipulations. And the hacker will grin very very widely.

Anyway, I hope it's creepy, that's the main thing. Look forward to hearing about it!

-K.
toturi
What is the level of opposition that the adventure is writen for? At 0 Karma, the runners are at Magic 2 at the very most or Magic 1(almost certainly). My players will simply run away. And when the antagonist comes after them, he'd be fighting them on their home turf.

The primary antagonist can die to the usual tactic of a sniper bullet. A bomb run (for more morally ambiguous PCs - kill them all, let the Dweller sort them out) will ruin the entire scenario once they assense Harlequin (the joke's on the antagonist because Harle probably will survive - Boom, hahaha!). The initial recon has already been done. The runners might not even go into the carnival at all and employ the standard sniper bullet tactic. The death of the ring leader should satisfy the triad leader. If they really have to go in as in the "find the telesma" scenario, they'd send in the hacker and sniper cover him.
knasser
QUOTE (toturi @ May 28 2007, 01:15 PM)
What is the level of opposition that the adventure is writen for? At 0 Karma, the runners are at Magic 2 at the very most or Magic 1(almost certainly). My players will simply run away. And when the antagonist comes after them, he'd be fighting them on their home turf.

The primary antagonist can die to the usual tactic of a sniper bullet. A bomb run (for more morally ambiguous PCs - kill them all, let the Dweller sort them out) will ruin the entire scenario once they assense Harlequin (the joke's on the antagonist because Harle probably will survive - Boom, hahaha!). The initial recon has already been done. The runners might not even go into the carnival at all and employ the standard sniper bullet tactic. The death of the ring leader should satisfy the triad leader.


You make a lot of assumptions. The biggest of which is that the players will know what's going on. The idea that they will learn someone may or may not have disappeared inside a visiting carnival and follow that up by shooting the leader of the carnival (who they will distinguish somehow) with a sniper rifle from a nearby rooftop is... not one that I consider likely. And quite possibly, that would just get the kidnapee killed, anyway.

As to your players simply running away... well that's true of a lot of adventures. If they don't want the challenge then there's not a lot that can be done. If you're running the Rescue scenario then there's no reason why anyone from the Carnival needs to pursue the PCs. If nothing is done, then the Carnival "wins" and the players had best go find a different job.

There are a range of adventure options in there and the idea is that the GM can work this into his or her campaign in a variety of ways. The PCs could need information from Rebus or better, Delphine.

Ultimately it's intended to be horror and that requires a dangerous foe that is more than initially meets the eye. The people of the Carnival are intelligent and well connected. It's not meant to be a straight fight and there are a number of suggestions for how to prevent it becoming so.

And nobody is going to assense Harlequin unless Harlequin wishes it. Re-read the stats!

If they want to simply throw bombs into the carnival then they're likely to kill a lot of people. Not all adventures are suitable for all people. I suspect your game is more dungeony. This is more in the way of mystery-horror.
toturi
No. The sniper scenario occurs for the Rescue scenario, if a posse of Triad hitters cannot get the leader's son back... Remember if 8-9(2 to 3 is unlikely given it is the Triad's leader's son, 4-5 is unlucky and the size was described as several) Triad Adepts cannot persuade the guy to release the hostage, what good is 3-4 shadowrunners? I certainly don't hope the runners don't ask the Triad boss for more information or I won't put it past my PCs not to be able to obtain that information.

The run away scenario occurs when the runners have done something for Rebus(as suggested by you - Laying Low or Carnival as Johnson). If the Carnival moves away, they'd hit them on the move since the ambient mana doesn't move around and then there are less innocents as the carnival is moving.

Why won't Harlequin want allow the runners to assense him? Why not? He doesn't give a flying F anymore, remember? I am not questioning his ability, I am questioning his intentions. If you don't allow the players to know that he is the Deus Ex, why would the PCs ask him for help(remember your Cha+Leadership remark, why suggest that unless you want the PCs to ask him to help and why would the PCs ask him if he was just another clown)?

My players tend to think outside the box. They'd find a way to short circuit it - dumping bombs into the carnival once people leave the place counts - "mysterious explosion hits carnival, circus performers killed in predawn blaze".
knasser
QUOTE (toturi)

Why won't Harlequin want allow the runners to assense him? Why not? He doesn't give a flying F anymore, remember?


Well I believe that I described him in the adventure as being sick and tired of the world knocking on his door demanding he save it. There's a quote in there about "if people don't like wars, they should stop having them" or something like that. His motivation for concealing his real identity is ample. But that doesn't stop the GM dropping hints that he is more than an elf in a deck chair. Remember that the players don't need to know that he is Harlequinn. The GM can quite happily role-play conversations about responsibility or whatever with him as an ordinary bloke. If the players don't bother interacting with "ordinary" people then more fool them. Anyway, this is how I intend to play him when the game reaches this adventure (ironic that someone else is going to run my own adventure before me).

QUOTE (toturi)

Remember if 8-9(2 to 3 is unlikely given it is the Triad's leader's son, 4-5 is unlucky and the size was described as several) Triad Adepts cannot persuade the guy to release the hostage, what good is 3-4 shadowrunners?


Well I'm inclined to say that this is why the players are the heroes. They can deal with things that nobody else can. That and they're expendable. Let's look at what I actually wrote:

QUOTE (Carnival)

His father sent several of the gang in there last night to "apply a little pressure and 
find his son." Things went badly wrong however. The enforcers returned confused, scared and in some 
cases mentally debilitated. The triad wujen assensed the carnival and reported something very wrong there. This has unnerved the triad boss more than he will admit as there is clearly something very dangerous hiding within the carnival. Rather than call in reinforcements from the triad to deal with something unknown and which could potentially cost valuable lives, he is calling in Shadowrunners to do his dirty work.
Their task is to go in, find what happened to his son, rescue him if he needs it and is alive, or kill those responsible if he isn't or if, as his father fears, he is no longer the son he knew.


So you're a local triad boss. All you know is that your son went to a carnival and didn't come back. Maybe something happened there, or on the way or on the way back. Maybe something happened there but it's nothing to do with the carnival itself. So you send a few guys there to ask a few questions (and not as you said, 9 adepts for goodness sake! ). They all come back heavily disturbed. The triad mage says there's something very bad in the carnival. That's all you know. I'm sorry, Toturi, I just don't see your next response being to position snipers on roof-tops and put bullets into people. I think hiring some competent professionals who can root around, investigate and not cause you any more problems if they die is a very sensible solution. If you really don't think it's plausible then the kid's father becomes a local corp executive. You're the GM, I'm sure you can think of a dozen ways to get the PCs in there. But this way works for me.

QUOTE (toturi)

The run away scenario occurs when the runners have done something for Rebus(as suggested by you - Laying Low or Carnival as Johnson). If the Carnival moves away, they'd hit them on the move since the ambient mana doesn't move around and then there are less innocents as the carnival is moving.


Well again, these are things in the GM's control. If the carnival moves away. Maybe it's here for the whole month. That wont help the PCs if they need to resolve things now. And the "Laying Low" and "Carnival as Johnson" plot hooks aren't about combat anyway. The first is about mixing the players up in an allegiance that is a lot more sinister than they realise and the second is about getting the players working for the carnival. They're both suggestions for strong, role-playing scenarios, morality games, etc. There's not even a reason included in there for the players to have a violent confrontation with the carnival.

Basically, players will have to think outside the box to beat this adventure. The villains are just too villainous. But for all the things you are raising as game-breakers, I can think of easy solutions, as shown. It's not a dungeon adventure. It's a horror-mystery. And everything you have raised implies a complete lack of mystery and a psychic awareness on the part of your players. Either that or they are psychopaths who murder people with long-range sniper rifles for no apparent reason.
toturi
QUOTE (knasser @ May 28 2007, 11:14 PM)
Well I believe that I described him in the adventure as being sick and tired of the world knocking on his door demanding he save it. There's a quote in there about "if people don't like wars, they should stop having them" or something like that. His motivation for concealing his real identity is ample. But that doesn't stop the GM dropping hints that he is more than an elf in a deck chair. Remember that the players don't need to know that he is Harlequinn. The GM can quite happily role-play conversations about responsibility or whatever with him as an ordinary bloke. If the players don't bother interacting with "ordinary" people then more fool them. Anyway, this is how I intend to play him when the game reaches this adventure (ironic that someone else is going to run my own adventure before me).

Well I'm inclined to say that this is why the players are the heroes. They can deal with things that nobody else can. That and they're expendable. Let's look at what I actually wrote:

QUOTE (Carnival)

His father sent several of the gang in there last night to "apply a little pressure and 
find his son." Things went badly wrong however. The enforcers returned confused, scared and in some 
cases mentally debilitated. The triad wujen assensed the carnival and reported things very wrong 
there. This has unnerved the triad boss more than he will admit as there is clearly something very 
dangerous hiding within the carnival. Rather than call in reinforcements from the triad to deal with 
something unknown and which could potentially cost valuable lives, he is calling in Shadowrunners to 
do his dirty work. Their task is to go in, find what happened to his son, rescue him if he needs it and is 
alive, or kill those responsible if he isn't or if, as his father fears, he is no longer the son he knew.


So you're a local triad boss. All you know is that your son went to a carnival and didn't come back. Maybe something happened there, or on the way or on the way back. Maybe something happened there but it's nothing to do with the carnival itself. So you send a few guys there to ask a few questions. They all come back heavily disturbed. The triad mage says there's something very bad in the carnival. That's all you know. I'm sorry, Toturi, I just don't see your next response being to position snipers on roof-tops and put bullets into people. I think hiring some competent professionals who can root around, investigate and not cause you any more problems if they die is a very sensible solution. If you really don't think it's plausible then the kid's father becomes a local corp executive. You're the GM, I'm sure you can think of a dozen ways to get the PCs in there. But this way works for me.

QUOTE (toturi)

The run away scenario occurs when the runners have done something for Rebus(as suggested by you - Laying Low or Carnival as Johnson). If the Carnival moves away, they'd hit them on the move since the ambient mana doesn't move around and then there are less innocents as the carnival is moving.


Well again, these are things in the GM's control. If the carnival moves away. Maybe it's here for the whole month. That wont help the PCs if they need to resolve things now. And the "Laying Low" and "Carnival as Johnson" plot hooks aren't about combat anyway. The first is about mixing the players up in an allegiance that is a lot more sinister than they realise and the second is about getting the players working for the carnival. They're both suggestions for strong, role-playing scenarios, morality games, etc. There's not even a reason included in there for the players to have a violent confrontation with the carnival.

Basically, players will have to think outside the box to beat this adventure. The villains are just too villainous. But for all the things you are raising as game-breakers, I can think of easy solutions, as shown. It's not a dungeon adventure. It's a horror-mystery. And everything you have raised implies a complete lack of mystery and a psychic awareness on the part of your players. Either that or they are psychopaths who murder people with long-range sniper rifles for no apparent reason.

Yes, but I run games with RAW, remember? If the game says Triad boss, I say Triad boss. You say if son no good anymore, kill person responsible, I say, if son no good anymore, kill person responsible. If the carnival stays, they don't go there. Until they move.

Take the rescue scenario for example. Social Adept - etiquette the J for more info, hit appropriate contacts for more info. Hacker - Data Search for more info, drone surveillance for more info. Mage - Assensing. Adept - Perception.

The game is meant as a horror mystery. The game breaks if the players insist on not playing your game and doing it by the numbers. Funny you asked mentioned psychic awareness, my current group of PCs is about all information. Everyone has a method of breaking the bank concerning information. Divining, Perception, Assensing, Data Search, Contacts, etc. I have to go on the assumption that they find out everything, including the fact that Harlequin is there. I won't put it pass them not to be able to do it. If they find out that the Carnival is detrimental to their continued survival, a violent confrontation may not be out of the question. It is easy if you ignore the potential that the PCs will turn it into a dungeon crawl, I am looking precisely at it being a dungeon crawl and whether the threads will unravel if the PCs rollplay with more dice than Harlequin.
knasser
EDIT: Toturi - I don't know why, but I have this image of your stuck in the shower for days because the bottle says "Rinse and Repeat" and doesn't specify an escape condition for the loop.

QUOTE (toturi)
Yes, but I run games with RAW, remember?


I have three house rules. One sprint action per turn, my own way of working out a character's maximum weight lifted and that cyberware grade affects cyberlimb capacity. I'm about as RAW as they come. I don't think there's anything that breaks RAW in the module except that Harlequin has more than one Exceptional Quality (which I mentioned). Given that most GMs don't even stat the guy, I think that's forgivable.

I'm really, genuinely not seeing your problem here. You've given me nothing that I as a GM can't easily deal with if I wish. And I don't mean that I will bend reality to preserve a plot. I mean things that naturally follow. And while I'm happy to try and help any GM who's players are getting away from them, I think you're not actually motivated by that. If you're still concerned that they players are going to run all over you, then I'll go through your points below. But no adventure can cover everything and nor should it. A GM is required to think on his or her feet always. I'm personally quite pleased that everything you've raised actually has been covered by the adventure already.

You sound like you want the players to lose, in that you're determined to close off any "outside the box" thinking that they might come up with. And at the same time, you have a problem with the opposition being too powerful to defeat in a direct confrontation.

If I sound as though I'm taking this personally - I am. For two reasons - firstly because I put a very great amount of effort into producing this adventure and I am very proud of it. If people want something bigger (than 25 pages) and more thoroughly filled out, then IMR can go ahead and pay me to write an adventure. Secondly, which is more to the point however, the issues that you are raising are unfair. There are easy and internally consistent counters to your problems.

QUOTE (toturi)

If the game says Triad boss, I say Triad boss. You say if son no good anymore, kill person responsible, I say, if son no good anymore, kill person responsible. If the carnival stays, they don't go there. Until they move.


One of the sample plotlines (the default) is to investigate what happened to a missing teenager and rescue him if need be and avenge his death if it's too late.

You're saying that the players will actually avoid going to the carnival and then launch an attack when the carnival moves on in a month? What good does any of that do? If you read the scenario, you'll see that the boy is still alive. But I doubt he would be by the time the carnival finally moved. Sorry, but if the PCs don't produce results, then their employer is just going to find someone else who'll actually do the job.

QUOTE (toturi)

Take the rescue scenario for example. Social Adept - etiquette the J for more info, hit appropriate contacts for more info. Hacker - Data Search for more info, drone surveillance for more info. Mage - Assensing. Adept - Perception.


Taking them in order, the Johnson doesn't have more info; appropriate contacts may turn up the Vory connections which is a good thing (gives the players another angle of approach), Hacker & Data Search - the module lists degrees of information available according to the number of hits the hacker gets; drone surveillance may reveal the boss's son hanging around the carnival - great! It may also tip off Lonestar or the Vory, however - this is taking place in the middle of the city, remember.

To be honest, player success is a good thing. The opposition is very dangerous and they should be doing this sort of stuff. For goodness sake, I wrote out the degree of information that players get according to the hits on their matrix search! The adventure encourages this sort of behaviour! Why do you see it as a problem? Because you think players will immediately go from finding out their target is in there to targeting NPCs they don't know are involved with long distance weaponry? I just don't see that jump and if they did they'd likely just get their target dead in response and fail the mission.

Shadowrun adventures are supposed to reward leg work. But it hasn't broken the game. They know the son is alive. They might be able to lure him out which is even better. Players should be rewarded for smarts. But what happens then? The son is heavily under the control of the carnival (Laylah in particular). So do they have to go back and try to banish Laylah to break her hold? Negotiate with Rebus to release him? Or maybe Rebus has realised who the boy is and will prevent him leaving the Carnival even if the players trick the boy himself. What do the players do then? Go in and get him? These are the things that actually make it an adventure. You want your players to be doing this sort of thing. It's not a problem.

QUOTE (toturi)

The game is meant as a horror mystery. The game breaks if the players insist on not playing your game and doing it by the numbers.


Well the game wont be much fun if they just straffe the place with long range weaponry, that is true. But as I'm pointing out, they don't know what's going on, the techniques you are listing will yield clues but not the degree of information you seem to think it will, and a violent assault will probably not achieve their goal of rescuing the NPC they're supposed to rescue.

QUOTE (toturi)

It is easy if you ignore the potential that the PCs will turn it into a dungeon crawl, I am looking precisely at it being a dungeon crawl and whether the threads will unravel if the PCs rollplay with more dice than Harlequin.


If they're rolling more dice than Harlequin ( eek.gif , btw) then you need to adjust the power level of the adventure. As author of the module, I hereby grant you permision to do so. Does this solve the problem?

Really, I am trying to help you here. I am offering lots of suggestions about how you can keep the game on track which entirely fit with the plot as written. In fact for the most part, I'm just pointing out what was already written there. But I don't believe that you're really putting much effort into dealing with your own players which is a problem for yourself, not me. I can think of lots of ways to deal with the issues you pose and most of its already implicit in the adventure already.
toturi
OK. I was exagerating the dice part but not much else. The crux of the problem still lies in the need to keep the identity of the main villian hidden. The stumbling block in my game is that the players/PCs will not stop digging until they are sure that there is nothing left to know and they'd use their dice rolls to ensure that they do. For example, "We have max hits on the Astral Perception, we have max hits on the Matrix Data Search, and we have max hits on the other information sources as well, we know X, Y and Z from these. So with what we know, what does my PC thinks is likely to be happening here with his many many dice? IE: Just tell us the plot and the villain of the piece. Just be glad we aren't asking you to provide us with the easiest solution to the scenario, yet. But we could." So putting aside the player problem(which I am perfectly happy with and do not see a problem with their gaming style anyway), does your scenario have anything to deal with a group that can strip the mystery away and go straight for the source? As I am pointing out, despite your scenario trying to hide the villian before the PCs get in, they will know and what is recommended that the GM does when they do? Not allowing them to know despite their PCs being built to know is a little too railroady, but I can certainly run it that way if your scenario requires it.
MaxHunter
...just to chip in: If I had this kind of players and, as it is obvious that most of the fun from this adventure would come from the mystery in it, I would have the Carnival members react to the players' intruding behaviour. Because they would do something, wouldn't they?

If I have read their descriptions correctly, they are more than able to (try) and mess with the heads of anyone trying to dig too deep, and I am not only talking about Rebus...

So, would group of Sherlock runners X be able to strip the mystery away at ONCE and do it INVISIBLY? I don't know, I tend to think that solving mysteries involves far more development than just having a couple of skills and rolling a few dice. Of course they can get lots of information with magic, etiquette and hacking, but it is quite simple (from my point of view, at least) to make the process of learning such information interesting and the stripping of the mystery climatic and shocking.

On the other hand, presently I am running a couple of campaigns that are too different in tone and mood for the Carnival to be appropriate just now, so I kind of understand what's happening to you. I do not think that is a problem of the adventure itself, though.

Cheers,

Max








knasser
QUOTE (toturi)
OK. I was exagerating the dice part but not much else. The crux of the problem still lies in the need to keep the identity of the main villian hidden. The stumbling block in my game is that the players/PCs will not stop digging until they are sure that there is nothing left to know and they'd use their dice rolls to ensure that they do. For example, "We have max hits on the Astral Perception, we have max hits on the Matrix Data Search, and we have max hits on the other information sources as well, we know X, Y and Z from these. So with what we know, what does my PC thinks is likely to be happening here with his many many dice? IE: Just tell us the plot and the villain of the piece. Just be glad we aren't asking you to provide us with the easiest solution to the scenario, yet. But we could." So putting aside the player problem(which I am perfectly happy with and do not see a problem with their gaming style anyway), does your scenario have anything to deal with a group that can strip the mystery away and go straight for the source? As I am pointing out, despite your scenario trying to hide the villian before the PCs get in, they will know and what is recommended that the GM does when they do? Not allowing them to know despite their PCs being built to know is a little too railroady, but I can certainly run it that way if your scenario requires it.


Toturi. This has been established in other threads - you run your game in way that is different to anyone else I have ever come across. There is no way that I would allow my players to roll some dice and then ask me how to solve the adventure.

That said, the adventure already gives the information received according to the maximum hits on Matrix, Astral Perception and Psychometry on pages 17 and 15 respectively. The matrix section also details what information is available on the Carnival node and the Vory node that it links to. Note that Astral Perception wont tell players anything other than the fact the Carnival is heavily aspected. To get more specific information they need the Psychometry metamagic. The information gained according to various hits is listed on the same page. Maximum hits on the Matrix or Psychometry rolls will give the players vital clues which may help them survive / succeed, but there's nothing that will give them the full details of what is going on. As regards other contacts, I don't think there are many that would be able to give significant information on the newly arrived Carnival. Maybe Vory contacts, but that would tip off the Carnival that they're being investigated and it would only reveal some of the criminal side to the Carnival, not the magical side.

If you, as GM, lay out all the information to the players at the start, before they even approach the Carnival, then you have created a problem. The adventure as written is very specific on what information is available. When it says "4+ hits" it means "4+ hits." If you want to run the adventure differently, then my only suggestion is that a direct violent approach will result in the death of the person they are supposed to be rescuing. It would be easy enough to say that the Carnival knows why it's being targetted and responds to an attack by slitting the throat of the Triad boss's son. At that point, the players have failed and quite rightly so for such a lack of strategy.

Basically, I see you creating your own problems here, Toturi, but I hope the final bit above is useful in making the adventure function in a game where players have access to GM only information.
toturi
QUOTE (knasser)
Toturi. This has been established in other threads - you run your game in way that is different to anyone else I have ever come across. There is no way that I would allow my players to roll some dice and then ask me how to solve the adventure.

That said, the adventure already gives the information received according to the maximum hits on Matrix, Astral Perception and Psychometry on pages 17 and 15 respectively. The matrix section also details what information is available on the Carnival node and the Vory node that it links to. Note that Astral Perception wont tell players anything other than the fact the Carnival is heavily aspected. To get more specific information they need the Psychometry metamagic. The information gained according to various hits is listed on the same page. Maximum hits on the Matrix or Psychometry rolls will give the players vital clues which may help them survive / succeed, but there's nothing that will give them the full details of what is going on. As regards other contacts, I don't think there are many that would be able to give significant information on the newly arrived Carnival. Maybe Vory contacts, but that would tip off the Carnival that they're being investigated and it would only reveal some of the criminal side to the Carnival, not the magical side.

If you, as GM, lay out all the information to the players at the start, before they even approach the Carnival, then you have created a problem. The adventure as written is very specific on what information is available. When it says "4+ hits" it means "4+ hits." If you want to run the adventure differently, then my only suggestion is that a direct violent approach will result in the death of the person they are supposed to be rescuing. It would be easy enough to say that the Carnival knows why it's being targetted and responds to an attack by slitting the throat of the Triad boss's son. At that point, the players have failed and quite rightly so for such a lack of strategy.

Basically, I see you creating your own problems here, Toturi, but I hope the final bit above is useful in making the adventure function in a game where players have access to GM only information.

I will give out only the information that is available as per the hits because that is specified in your adventure. But what I am asking is what happens after the PCs get those pieces of information.

Say they take those pieces of information and one of them has Divining. He asks,"Who is the primary villian or villians behind the missing Triad boss's son?" and makes 4+ net hits. After getting that answer, he Divines again, "What is the best way to effect a rescue of the Triad boss's son?" Alternatively or in addition he takes those info from the 4+ hits and feeds it to the team tactician who asks,"OK, we know all these. Can I roll my Profession Military/Tactics/SWAT/Magic to determine the best way to effect a rescue?"

It is not inconceivable that you'd have players that are not good at real life tactics to ask you the GM for advice for something their PCs would/should know. If you want to railroad it such they get the runaround and played by Rebus and that Harle will eventually jump in to save them due to their own heroics, their Cha + Leadership, etc, then I'd follow the book.

The PCs need not have access to GM only info, but they can use their abilities to make the requirement of those information irrelevant and jump straight to the end result. Also are you suggesting that the death of the son will result in mission failure? I read the Rescue as killing the people responsible for the kid's kidnapping/murder as equally acceptable and furthermore, by taking down the Carnival and putting a dent in the Vory business, the father would be appeased and would more likely blame the Vory for his child's death, especially if the runners can spin it so(again the 4+ hits on the skill roll means you can piss on his mom kind of thing).

By the way, my players are business process reengineering consultants IRL, so short circuiting the fundamentals how an adventure works comes naturally for them.
Jaid
the players can't ask "who is behind the kidnapping". that would not be a question about an event in the future. i would also require that they be more specific than "what is the best way to attack". i would allow them to ask what would happen if they walk in and start asking questions, for example.

thirdly, they need to be able to assense whatever they are divining.

furthermore, divining is by no means guaranteed accurate... the players shouldn't know if they're getting reliable info or not, in my opinion, so just acting on a divination can be dangerous.

finally, i would probably apply a penalty to divining something within an area aspected against your tradition... but that would be a houserule, i think.
knasser
Okay. I've offered what I think are a lot of suggestions for how to deal with the issues that you (Toturi) raised. And I'm glad that MaxHunter and Jaid have both supported me with similar points.

I don't want this thread to turn into another one about Toturi's gaming style. They go on forever and never get resolved. I really think that the issues that are being raised here are specific to your unusual approach to running a game. Also, as Jaid has just pointed out with great clarity, divining as written in the book does not work in the way that you described.

Honestly, Toturi, I feel that I am not helping a GM who is trying to integrate the adventure into his game, but that I am being drawn into some argument for its own sake. And I feel this because nothing in what you've written suggests you are trying to do this. You are the GM. You have a responsibility to try and keep the game fun and prevent it being broken. Especially when it's broken due to such an odd style of playing that you yourself are responsible for.

If there's going to be another ongoing debate on issues that are perculiar to your gaming style, I have to ask for it to be split off into another thread because it's not going to be relevant to most people who read this thread or want to comment on / criticsize the adventure.

-K.

EDIT: I don't mean to sound as though I bear you (Toturi) any ill-will. If it is of any help in dealing with Divining issues, remember that the Carnival has a very talented diviner themselves. Anything the PCs do in that regard, Delphine would be more than capable of doing as well. In which case the PCs can't expect things they do due to Divining not to be countered. This is probably only relevant to the way you seem to play Divining. Not generally, of course.
toturi
My apologies, I'll PM you if I got more questions then. I have a responsibility to try and keep the game fun for my players but I do not have a responsibility to prevent it from being broken, if canon/the adventure as written is broken, then so be it.

Jaid, thanks for the reminder that Divining is for future events.

Knasser - you PM box is full:
[ Spoiler ]
snowRaven
Toturi. From what I can tell, even a group with massive social skills, hacking skills and divining/detection magical skills just won't get all that much information.

Also, I wouldn't let PCs Divine about 'What is the best tactic?' - That's not a future event. Have them lay out a plan, and then divine about what would happen if they choose that plan.

After that Delphine can get a vision hinting at that plan, which alters what the PCs already divined when something stops them from actually seeing that plan through.

Also, note that every example question on the diving table in Street Magic can be answered by a simple 'yes' or 'no'. It also suggests that the GM should make the roll in some cases, and that the GM should make leeway for providing the players with hints and proabilities rather than hard facts.

Not that it also works as follows - Threshold is 1 to 4 depending on detail of question, and THEN count the net hits (which needs 7 hits for a detailed answer to a detailed question. 1 net hit is cryptic info, Two net hits: mildly helpful. Three net hits: desired level of detail. You don't get more detail after 3 hits.

The Triad boss also won't reveal that he already sent a team and lost it - that would be plain stupid and a sign of weakness that he wouldn't let the PCs see unless they mind control him. Remember that they are on his turf and he has the upper hand with social modifiers.

Harlequin will be masking, and if the runners penetrate that with the back ground count - good for them. Otherwise, the run states that he performs magic that is eyebrow raising to a scholar. The fact that he can do this with the aspected background count should be a hint that there's more to him than meets the eye, and you can easily have carnival workers glaring angrily at him or have the PCs witness an event where the workers ask him to leave and he refuses. Make the PCs realize he isn't part of the carnival.

Also remember - no manner of information gathering is perfect and all-encompassing. If you get ALL the information, you will also get alot of FALSE information. Then you have to sort through that (which takes time). Gathering info takes time, and the Triad boss wants them to visit the carnival the next day. Make it a challenge.
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