Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Livin' La Vita SOTA campaign diary
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Alright, as I've mentioned around here before, I'm running my first full fledged campaign at the moment. So, as a newbie GM, I figured that I'd A) ask for some help and feedback from my elders and B) see if I can entertain those same elders.

So, I have two players, with a third joining us for an introductory session on Sunday to integrate her character. The characters are:

Reaper: An Ork with the human-looking and blandness qualities, he's an ex-Novatech black ops company man who did some rather nasty things. He lost his SIN in the Crash, but his old boss still has it on file and is using that as a leash, figuring that, considering the sorts of things that he's specialized to do, it's best to have one more layer of deniability. The character, on a subconscious level, is starting to resent the leash; at present, though, he's a dangerous man looking for a cause or his next drink.

Kid Fox: An ex-AA corp citizen, he also lost his SIN in the Crash and, in the ensuing chaos at his corp compound, fell through the cracks. Took to the shadows, his eyes filled with the tri-d created glitter of the shadowrunning life... which lasted until about the time he got his arm cut off by some gangers that he'd pissed off. Having missed the SIN amnesty programs, he's currently stuck in the shadows, and has the goal of being a big name runner.

Elswyth: (joining us Sunday): An elven eco-radical from Portland (both the character and the player), Elswyph is a member of the Astral Space Preservation Society; she's new in town and is going to be looking for a Wiccan coven to join and a runner group to join to start hitting the corps with.

So, those are the characters; my campaign is set in 2068 Seattle, and we just finished our fourth session; things are going relatively smoothly and I have good, reasonable players (no munchkins). As the two guys were pretty much optimized for data steals and extractions, that's what they were going on at first. My plan was to let us all get used to the universe, let me set things up a bit, let them get into a routine, and than start shaking things up.

Up until this point, they've had two data steals, a switch/demo job and an extraction; the first data steal was something that I had to come up with on the fly; they had to break into an old gel round factory owned by Ares. The facility used to be owned by Cross, but not anymore, so Ares is at this point just squeezing it dry before they demolish it and build something else there. They had to sneak into the accountant's office and swap out a datastick for another one and also modify the data on the factory node. They pulled it off without a hitch (although, considering the security that Ares had on the place, they would have had to critically glitch to mess up).

My plan with that is simple--when Cross fell, there were still a bunch of Seraphim in deep cover in a variety of corps, so what they're doing is covering for each other, using shadowrunners when needed; in this case, it was very last minute, as the runner team that they normally would have used had been blown away earlier that week. I figure in another month of game time the undercover Seraphim will need their services again for another data swap--this time at a place with a bit more security.

The second run was a run on a place called BFT III Financial for the hacker's data broker contact; while it may look like a normal accounting firm, it's actually part of Shiawase's MIFD, doing data analysis. Reaper looked over the security setup and vetoed a physical insertion. Instead, they hacked their way into the personnel files and started narrowing down possibilities for people that would have access to the secure data-store node. They ended up finding a fellow named James Farrell and his girlfriend Keiko. After defeating their security setup on the apartment (by means of going around it; heading to the empty neighboring apartment and cutting his way in with a chainsaw) he took them to his safehouse, interrogated them, found out that they were decent hackers by the paired names of Boris and Natasha (cool.gif), got the passcodes into the secure node, and got the data. After that, they took them back to their apartment, tossed them back on the bed and took their commlinks for Kid Fox (who is now quite happy with all of the high level programs on them, even with the Gremlins that some of them have).

The next run was knasser's Cold Blood module which you can find on his site; the Kid went in and essentially owned the security system with his new toys (after they got in signal range); they swapped out the blood sample and then blew up the power transformers with several kilos of rating 10 plastic explosive. They then took the blood sample to their street doc contact and had it analyzed, so they now have some dirt on their Johnson if they need it.

As they finished that run a little faster than I thought they would, I capitalized on a plot hook that I had mentioned earlier and sent them on a wendigo hunt; essentially, Tyrus, the local gang leader, had mentioned to Reaper that something was amiss in part of his territory. Once they investigated after finishing up with the module, they found that the newbie wendigo, having gone a bit nuts after his transformation, had emptied most of a seven-story apartment building of squatters. After finding the survivors holed up in the top floor with shotguns, they started going hunting, finding it in a nearby warehouse basement. They called in some help from their contacts (my personal PCs, Galen and Sneak) to help them clean up. The wendigo, more than a bit crazy, charged them while under an Invisibility spell and ripped the throat out of one of Tyrus' gangers; Reaper made it mad with a called shot to the head and then the Kid finished it with a beautiful shot (made with edge) to the heart. After that, it was cleanup of the cultists (who I used the Halloweener stats for).

So last week, they get a call from Reaper's NeoNET Johnson with a run that he's not allowed to turn down or negotiate--an extraction of a Shiawase scientist from Vector Matrix Services; he'd been doing some nice work on agents recently and NeoNET wants him. He's living in a little research park with his wife and kid. They manage to extract them without too much in the way of problems and are on their way to the drop off point when they get caught in a car trap set by some 405 Hellhounds. Unfortunately for the Hellhounds, they had bitten off more than they could chew already; they had trapped another team of runners, the Houdins, and were in the midst of a firefight with them when the PCs show up; both groups assume that the PCs are the other group's backup and open fire; the PCs, being unwounded, return fire; as most of the gangers and other runners are already gone and the remainder are wounded, it doesn't last long. Right before the end, though, Reaper spots a figure running away from the other runners' van; it doesn't get far, though, before a stray shot clips it in the side of the head and it goes down. After the battle, Reaper goes over and checks the figure; it's a young woman in her early twenties.

After that, they called up a Vory contact and begged a ride, dropped off their extracted cargo, collected their pittance and took the van to a mechanic to get the tires replaced (he overcharges them, naturally); after that, they hid out in Reaper's safehouse, having treated her wounds and waited for her to wake up, which took to about mid-afternoon. Once she woke up, they were planning on finding out who she was and why she would be extracted by the Houdins, who, as they found out, were a high-level team that specialized in covert extractions of high profile targets.

Unfortunately, when she wakes up... she doesn't remember anything, and starts to understandably panic, at which point most of the electronics in the place (not many, fortunately) started going haywire.

Now, I had to inform the players that, as it was 2068, technomancers were still under the radar, so while they might know what was going on, their characters didn't. So they trace her biometrics after she calms down a bit and find that she is one Aelita Stones, 23, Lone Star citizen employee... recently deceased. Franklin Associates had ruled that the apartment fire was an accident. They find out some more information about her, but not much, so they start hunting down the Houdins' commlinks to find out who hired them. Unfortunately, the bodies, especially the rigger/hacker's, with his implanted link, had already been sold to Tamanous by the medical student at the morgue, and the Yakuza had already bribed the other commlinks out of police lockup, so they're left with nothing in terms of trails that they're willing to risk following at the moment. Aelita, or Maya as she now calls herself, has decided to join them in the shadows, quite aware that someone or something is after her and that she has no other choice conducive to long-term survival.

However, she still wants her memories back, and she found that she has another possible route to take--before, she was in the habit of backing up her memories online, and her registered data sprite, Aponi, came looking for his mistress after a day or so, and manged to bring her a few pieces of her memories: some pieces of freshman year college, some teen years, some childhood memories. However, he doesn't know where the rest is, so she'll be spending her time divided between searching, shadowrunning, and compiling/registering sprites.

Now, as for her backstory, essentially, MCT hired the Houdins to extract her; between the excessive Fading from trying to get away from them, the drugs they gave her and the clip to the side of the head, she now has amnesia. MCT, upon finding out that the op got FUBARed, went into damage control mode, using the Yakuza to get the commlinks from lockup and bought the rigger/hacker's corpse from Tamanous, so they're all covered in that direction. Also, they have a few choice pieces of Aelita's memory that they found (which was the clue that she's a TM), so now they're going to use them as bait and wait.

At this point, Kid Fox is rather antagonistic towards her, as she messed with his equipment when she was panicking, and she's latching onto Reaper as an anchor to safety and sanity, while he is trying to remain professional and detached.

I figure that I'll give them a few more sessions to get attached to her and get into a routine before she accidentally finds the wrong piece of memory and brings MCT down on them. vegm.gif I hope to, one day, have them wish for the days when they were doing extractions and datasteals.

So, that's where things stand as of now. Whaddaya think? (aside from tl;dr)
Sounds liek a great game so far. To me, sounds liek the team is doing well, and thinking out side the box, which keeps things interesting on both sides of the screen. I like that you're bringing in a lot of other elements, such as other runner teams (and the confusion that caused, which was great), and random gang violence. Makes the game world a lot more alive. My only suggestion is to have the Seraphim angle recur at some point, and let the team eventually find out about it. I've had a number of behind the scenes movers runs take place, and the team was completely unaware after the fact, so they just chalked itu p as another straightforward run. They'll get more out of it if they see some of the other cogs later down the road.
That's what I'm planning on doing--like I said, I figure another month of game time before the undercover Seraphim need them again (altering records is something that you won't need to have done very often).
Sounds like their lives just got a whole lot more complicated. Just one problem.

What happens when they:

A) Figure out MCT wants her.
B) Contact MCT and offer to sell her/hand her over to get MCT off their backs?
A) I hope they'll be attached enough to her by that point that that won't happen.
B) If it does, then they have one P.O.ed and betrayed TM who might just get away depending on how they do it.
C) Reaper is looking for a cause--I figure that this'll work well, and if he does hand her over--well, he's feeling enough guilt for the things he's done; maybe that'll be the last straw for his conscience.

Besides, NeoNET is also looking for TMs to take apart and put back together, so... rock and a hard place, anyone? vegm.gif

QUOTE (bibliophile20)
C) Reaper is looking for a cause

I think that right there is a great reason to get them in to the technomancer plot. Building on a character, in a direction the PC/player wants to go.
*bows* Thanks. And while he's done some very bad things... he's never vivisected someone. (although he did scare the piss out of the morgue night attendant and the med student--literally; a glitch and a critical glitch on the composure tests).

he's never vivisected someone.

Well he's got one up on Ehran then.
Ehran the Scribe? Who did he vivisect?
Some young eastern dragon in the original Harlequin adventure. I guess he was bored or something.

Well, we'll see where my players end up; next week they're going to be going on the run that I was asking for some help with a few months back (which will probably be available on knasser's site relatively soon), so, at the very least, they're going to have some extremely P.O.ed Yakuza from the Shotozumi-gumi gunning for them as well.

(which will also help the whole "selling her to MCT" issue; the Yakuza will be more than happy to finish them off regardless of any deals that they cut)
What if the deal they cut is "We'll hand her over, all we want in return is you get the yaks off our backs".

Unlikely, I know, but... smile.gif
Considering that, for one of the Yaks, it'll be personal (starting after Thursday's run) I doubt that would work so well... vegm.gif
Alright, we just finished a three-hour intro session for the Elswyth character; essentially, they call up their fixer and find out if there are any magicians out there that might be interested in joining up; he says yes and gets them in contact. They negotiate (reasonably IC) about the terms and such and go their separate ways.

So after this, Elswyth is new in town and is the process of setting up her magical lodge and warding her home (which has the Astral Magnet flaw), Reaper is training to increase his Agility from 5 to 6 and Kid Fox...

Kid Fox was hanging out on ShadowSea when he spotted a memo in the incoming data, detailing a time and location for a node filled with some juicy paydata. He went at the appointed time and found the node--bare and empty, except for the paydata, which he sent his agent to retrieve. Once he did that, the bare node turned into a forest and he could hear fox hounds as they chased him down, along with another persona that appeared as a great white hunter that spoke in an English accent, saying that he's paid alot of money for this and is going to savor his braindeath. He gets tagged by a Black Hammer program that one of the agents (the dogs) were running and is kept from jacking out. In the end, he tries to attack, misses, and tries to jack out again, succeeding in the opposed test against the agent's Black Hammer and wakes up with one hell of a bad case of dumpshock (8P damage total between the dumpshock and the Black Hammer hits).

So, fast forward a week while everyone is working/recuperating; Kid Fox sells off his paydata to his info broker (who cheated him badly; nuyen.gif 750 for some Azzie memos worth at least twice that) and is going to start hunting down the great white hunter. Reaper is finished doing his training (I let the increase go quickly as the character does the Daily Dozen every morning anyway) and Elswyth is done setting up her new home to her satisfaction (the character is moderately claustrophobic (15 pt flaw) and has medium space for her home with High furnishings).

They then get a call from an independent Johnson; he needs them to deliver a box to a home in Bellvue and they are not to look in the box. Unfortunately, Reaper, being a professional and having a player that GM's Call of Cthulhu, didn't open the box. He delivers it, rings the doorbell and runs for it; he reaches the property line and turns around to see the box being opened by the resident and sees...

...a six-foot tall Jack-In-The-Box. rotfl.gif The looks on their faces were priceless. I'm just going to keep that bit of randomness as a plot hook in case I ever need one.

Shortly thereafter, they get a call from their fixer; stealing from this thread, they are now getting paid nuyen.gif 1000 a week for making the life of Gerrit Husayn a living hell. They had some fun with this already; Elswyth summoned a spirit and had it cast Accident on his car and then Confusion on him when Lone Star showed up to investigate. After that, she used the Dream spell to give him some very bad nightmares involving him being at a dinner--as the main course.

Shortly afterward, they got another call for another minor run, nuyen.gif 1000 for beating up a pawn shop owner and cutting off some minor extremity. Reaper, being the paranoid and thorough bastard that he is, kept the situation completely under control, not giving the guy an opening to attack him; he cut off the pinkie, left him tied up and gagged on his own bathroom floor and then called Lone Star from a public terminal after they had left. In this case, the local mafia decided to contract out a collection reminder.

After that, they all went home to their respective abodes; Reaper comes home to find Maya, the amnesiac technomancer, sitting in a chair, either asleep or in full VR; I didn't use her much this session, but, behind the scenes, she's found several chunks of her memory--some childhood memories, some high school, some pieces of college--but she's getting frustrated. All told, she's found less than two months worth; she knows that there has to be more, but she can't find it anywhere.
And I have gotten permission from the player to post her campaign diary; she just joined the game today, and this is what she has so far:

QUOTE (Elswyth's Diary)

"You can run, El. They won't kill you. Me, on the other hand...

"I can make roots twist in dirt, wring shoots and vines out of the earth - but to them, that's hardly more than a hobby of retirees at their suburban bionic gardens. I am useless to a world that spends its time in the matrix, in the virtual breath of man-made space, that dines on nutrisoy sludge. Gone is the rose, the pomengranate, the synthesis of sunlight. I am obsolete, I am dirty... And they will kill me if I refuse them. I cannot unlearn the secrets of the Seven; I cannot unknow, and to them I am a liability.

"But you... You spin phantasms out of the ether. You are an artist in the ecstacy of terror, illusion, hallucination; and this is what they are interested in. They want you back too much to kill you... And Ilma is arrogant - she thinks she can still persuade you, with her lightning bolts and electric boxes... She wants you back.

"So run. Run, Elswyth, to somewhere more ugly than this. Then at least the shadows will be on the surface, not swept under the rug of some glittering elven ideal. The princes will not dirty their white gloves parrying with the scribeners of Metacorps, nor blemish their aura in toxic waste. Run, my dear...

"But me, I am nothing. I am already as one dead, waiting for the poison to saturate my blood."

QUOTE (Elswyth's Diary)
~ The Arrival

The day welcomed me with mixed blessings. My belongings have arrived at the house more or less in tact, and imagine my delight when I discovered there is a garden here! It's small, yes, but I am relieved to have a piece of green amidst the sea of cement. The house is an interesting hybrid of brick and stained stucco, and on the south wall there is a small growth of moonflower near the foundation.

It was when I noticed this that my suspicions became aroused... I need to spend some time on the astral plane once my lodge is set up and cleansed; I fear I may have some unfriendly housemates of the spirit variety... Unsettling as it is, it might help to confuse my beacon if the Seven ever come looking for me.

I've met up with an elf mage of decent repute; according to her there may actually be work for me in this town, thank God. I've basically been running on fumes since... The falling out. Enough, Portland is gone, along with the rest of the Tairngire. I doubt I shall ever see her again.

QUOTE (Elswyth's Diary)
~ A Motley Crew

So I've signed on with a "Mr. Elwin" in an information gathering, reconnaissance capacity - sort of a trial period to determine if my services are amenable to their various operations. I made it clear that I have no wish to participate in any violent behavior, though I'm not sure how well that will go over. To be honest, the man smells like death - figuratively speaking... I tried not to assense, but curiosity (and suspicion) got the better of me for about three seconds - and I got the impression of screams.

I am amused and slightly annoyed by the youthful Kid Fox, somewhat of a technobrat, who seems remarkably carefree for his associations. He obviously has no respect for the natural world, but then again, none of these matrix junkies do - I suppose you can't blame them, given the environment in which they were raised... Nonetheless, I feel somewhat nervous projecting and leaving my body in a VAN... Chssh, classy, I know. But until I can come up with some less risky form of intimate survelliance, this is the way it has to be.

For now I've been occupying myself being the bane of someone's existence, a guy who our client has it out for... Some schmuck in advertising, nearly a mind rapist in his own right - therefore so far I own no guilt for my offenses. So far one hefty nightmare and a bout of confusion, though my attempt to orchestrate a car accident failed to come to fruition. I've bound an air spirit to assist me in these delightful mind games, and with seven more services owed I plan to use them judiciously.

The art of crafting a truly horrifying nightmare is a subtle one... I would like to know more of this man's history. Something of his fears, his humiliations. Then I can better do my job.

More recently I accompanied my new colleagues on some sleazy maiming job, though I didn't feel incredibly useful. I mostly found myself trying not to scowl disapprovingly, though staying on the astral plane remedies that somewhat.

In the meantime, my bills are paid.

I gave her two Karma for this; one for the Prologue and Arrival pieces, and one for the session piece, A Motley Crew.
We now finally have a wiki:

And, thanks to the pdf fill program that someone (I forget who) linked to, and Aaron's excellent NPC form, I've been slowly uploading my NPCs to a GM only section; feel free to download them for your own purposes. That page is here.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012