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OK, so I'm starting a new campaign with three other guys. We're all veteran roleplayers, but none of them besides me have experience with SR4. Two of them have played older versions, the other is a converted D&D geek.

Anyways, here's the breakdown; They're all elves, all 400 pt builds, but I removed the 50% cap for mental / physical attributes. None of the players took abusive advantage of this liberty, so the characters are pretty non-optimized, given their lack of experience with SR4.

One is a ripperdoc / face type. He's a low class guy, looking to get into a second hand cyberwear and cheap medical attention gig. He's feeble in combat, no cyber, no magic, just a smile and a very marketable skill. He's running the shadows to keep an undetermined gang / organized crime group off his butt after one of their members died on his operating table.

Another is a pretty unique character; A magically active, Mystic Adept who's hiding his gift from the world (and the other players). He aspires to get into the "world non-augmented stock-car racing championships", which is just as it sounds; a race for non-augmented drivers with the same cars. Running the shadows to get the dough to leave the streets and get into the racing biz.

The last is the least developed character (the former D&D guy, go figure). It's a female assassin type with fair augmentation, maxed pistol skill (and specialization), and a sniper rifle. Wired Ref II, SG link, Fairly stock stuff.


The Ripper doc is contacted by the people he's ingratiated to, and they want him to conduct some simple surgery: remove a dude's datajack and replace it with a new one - buddy must remain alive.

Only problem; they can't find him. He's reputed to be in a certain neighbourhood, and the criminals are looking for a snatch off the street; find the guy, grab 'em, sedate him, remove the datajack (acutally a datalock containing something important), replace it with a new one (another dataalock containing something else, possibly incriminating or whatnot) and release the guy.

They'll be lent a vehicle, so that they can do a getaway (none of the characters bought a car). This is how I plan to get Mr. Street-Racer in to the picture - perhaps he'll be subconracted or referred to the group to act as a wheelman.


Who hired 'em? Mafia? Yaks? Corp? Any advice?
What's on the datalock?
How can I keep the group together after this first run? A double-cross is just too cheesy for a first run (I want this one to go off reasonably well). How do I encourage these three disparate individuals to form a group?
Can I work in the all elf-angle somehow? Should the dude they have to grab be an elf?

Thanks for any advice guys. It's been about a year since I've played last, and I haven't acted as the gamemaster for SR4 before...
Very interesting group set up there.

If I may?

1) Unknown. They were approached by a reputable Fixer that they have never been in contact with. It could be the Mafia, Yaks, Corps, even another Runner team. Don't have to hammer things down right now.

2) Something important enough that it must be preserved, dangerous enough to hire your guys, and expensive enough to have competition.

3) Suppose there is more than one group seeking the datalock. Being on the run keeps a group together, though I wouldn't set Lone Star on them.

4) Make them watch their backs and realise they are the only ones they can trust. For the moment.

5) It could relate to Tir and so on, rival elf factions, a powerplay high up in the corp world.
Another way to keep the group together after this job would be to have the fixer kidnapped. When they meet with him, make it clear that it's two guys that work together. While the team is handling the search for their target and the surgery, one of the fixer-duo gets kidnapped, the other is beat-up. The one that got kidnapped is the one that handles the money (think strong, silent type) and the one left is the face man.

So the fixer that's left wants the team to get his/her partner back. If they don't, let the fixer pay them, but the loyalty of the fixer to the team should be appropriately low, but if they try to get the other guy back, loyalty should go up appropriately.

Plus, this offers the opportunity to figure out why the guy was kidnapped. Did it have something to do with the information on the datalock? Was it a grudge from a previous job that might now be transferred to the team when they get involved? Maybe it's an engineered kidnapping by the fixer him/herself to try because he wants to quit working with the other one. Regardless, it's at least one more run for the team to do together.

By that point, hopefully they'll have settled into a rhythm and they'll be willing to keep working together.

Thanks for the advice.

I'll incorporate Marwynn's idea to have more than one group; The other team will be some Humanis Policlub creeps looking for the same guy. He apparently has some important visual recorded data of an elf-conspiracy sort of thing in his datalock - there'll be a connection to Tir somewhere down the road.

I'll also use Dashifen's "rescue the fixer to get paid" idea. Nice! Very clever and manipulative, without being "railroading".
Mafia? No. Yaks? No. Corps? Hell no!

All of these organizations will have their own doctors with better skills, better equipment, and better reputations than your ripperdoc. If they're hiring a freelance street doc who sells second-hand 'ware, then they lack resources.

This leaves us with two options. Low-level gangers, and individuals who had rescources but have been hung-out-to-dry.

Gangers will not have much cash on hand, so they won't pay well unless the team is willing to accept barter. However, doing work for gangers is a great way to build up street-level contacts and there are some baddass street gangs around.
If you go this route, under no circumstances should be hiring gang be The Spikes or The Nighthunters due to their policies of killing all elves (all metahumans in the case of The Nighthunters) on sight.

Unless your Mystic Adept follows an insect totem, The Spiders are are a good choice for a gang. The datalock can contain information smuggled out of an Ares investing facility, explaining why the the information can't be accessed in the usual way. It would be necessary for the Spider follower to hide the information in a way that Ares' best info-security agents couldn't detect.

This is probably the best explanation, since it doesn't produce any logical contradictions or inconsistencies. Also, Spider is one of the few entities with both the ability to successfully and secretly recruit highly-trusted megacorp employees and almost complete reliance on a street gang to do Her work.

On the Hung Out to Dry front, we have many cliché possibilities.
For example, the dude being operated on is Jason Borne, or any other disenfranchised and disavowed superspy. He could have worked for any nation or megacorp, but lacking their resources has no choice but to buy the services of street thugs. The datalock, in this case, contains top-secret crap that would start WWIII if it ever got out, his big insurance policy.

You've also got cliché organized heirs with the proof that their fathers were murdered by the current family heads to consider. To complete this cliché, the organized crime heir is a young male with a girlfriend if Italian, flamboyant gay if Jewish, a baddass ninja girl if Japanese, and a male-to-female transexual if Thai.

Or, you can just go completely off the wall and make the patient a completely normal guy with a worn-out datajack that needs to be replaced. The only data it contains is an absurdly large sim-porn collection, containing more porn than a single individual can experience in a lifetime.
I wouldn't be concerned about organized crime having their own doctors. Maybe they're concerned about the doctors being double-agents or maybe they need the deniability that going to the Family doctor wouldn't provide. If nothing else, savvy players might pick up on the fact that it would be more common for such an organization to use a Family doctor and begin to wonder, and try to find out, why they're not in this situation. This would probably lead to only more plot fodder for future runs.
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