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Alright, so my players just recently finished their first run, and since they are newbs (I am too actually), I informed them that it could be a while before their next job, so they had some downtime. Of course they didn't want to wait for their fixer to call, they wanted nuyen now. So they started asking about places where they could go to fight for money. What I'm wondering is this: Are there any underground fighting circuits in Seattle where one could basically be paid to fight (possibly to the death) against other combatants in a gladiator type setup? If so, who runs these places and how do they work usually?
That is a great question. if you are the GM then ask yourself and answer smile.gif

but in the long run why wouldnt there be, with gangers and the underground and all that i can easily see there being unsanctioned fights happening in the city. Heck i dont live in a "major" city irl and can find a unsanctioned fight on most weekend nights around here. So i would say why the heck not. Though being the mean GM that i am i would make sure one of them got banged up real good and had to deal with a broken arm or sore ribs for thier next run.
Hmm, good point. That seems obvious enough. I was thinking of something along the lines of a very organized fighting circuit run by the Vory or something, where people go and place bets on the fight, and the winning (or surviving) combatant would receive a percentage of the house's take.

I just wanted to hear some other opinions on the matter and perhaps receive some inspiration, because it seems this could become a very large part of my campaign, what with the playing style of my players.
There are references to crime outfits organizing something similar in the Gladio group write up in Loose Alliances - though non-Seattle specific. Since, according to Street Magic, Gladio is still around that might be a good place to start looking for inspiration.
Wounded Ronin
There was an episode of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues that dealt with a super underground deathmatch circuit. Hmm, also, Lionheart.

Yep, it's 80s. Therefore it is suitable for Shadowrun. However, the combatants must wear Van Damme spandex or it doesn't count.

Make your players watch this clip so that they decide that the ONLY way to play SR is with Van Damme:

EDIT: 2:35 for the spandex
A lot of people here have been breaking the first 2 rules.

My characters inevitably become amateur gladiators. Maybe they should be nicer.
Hmmm, that gives me an idea for what could happen to a team of runners caught behind the lines of the wrong corp. Fight for their freedom! Running Man, anyone?
Does the team troll get to yell "I'll live to see you eat that contract! but save room for my fist, because I'm going to shove it into your stomach and break your goddamn spiiiiiine!" in an Austrian accent to an AR project of a corp exec?
QUOTE (Kingmaker @ Feb 29 2008, 08:56 PM) *
Does the team troll get to yell "I'll live to see you eat that contract! but save room for my fist, because I'm going to shove it into your stomach and break your goddamn spiiiiiine!" in an Austrian accent to an AR project of a corp exec?

Oh my god. I've never seen "Running Man," but now I need to. rotfl.gif
I think the short answer is "Yes, of course." Shadowrun's a violent place full of bored people with money, drugs, guns, and all sorts of other fun stuff to wager on watching other people fight and die for their amusement. Knock yourself out.

The long answer is "but Adepts will completely dominate it." Because, point for point, you really can't make a better melee machine.
That's why they'd have divisions. The wholly mundane division (with a high level initiate mage perceiving to verify no adepts slip in), the adept division, cybered division, and maybe even the cyber-adept division. Once in awhile, some fool will try to cross the line from one to the other, but he'll usually take a serious beating just to prove he isn't drek, and then it'll be awhile before we see another cross-division fight.
Or you could just keep your illegal basement pit-fighting a sloppy, thrown-together, gritty amateur thing instead of messing with "divisions," and just understand in advance that the odds are very very good Adepts will dominate the high-purse fights.
Don't they have karma to spend on skill training? Don't they trust that you have a story written for them, one even more fun than playing out some pit-fighting, and do they understand that they can fast-forward to that story?

Are they built completely as combat specialists? What did they do *before* they were shadowrunners?

Sure, you could have a session which starts with "Okay, you're in the ring. Roll initiative." You could also play out some of the conversations in which they find the pit-fight scene, and negotiate themselves onto the schedule of pit-fights. This may involve talking to pit-fight organizers who are crude and insulting; can they swallow their pride? Maybe someone offers them money to throw the fight, for betting purposes, or to present themselves as getting beaten in the first half, so that people will more readily take bets against them, then "rally" and win. If they take money either way, others may notice and object. Maybe the opponent cheats; for example, after a few fights they have groupies, and a cutie wants to kiss the PC "for luck" just before the fight, and maybe she's actually been paid to use lipstick laced with sedatives. Or the opponent's technomancer buddy tries to hack the PC sammie's cyberware. Maybe they win a fight, and the defeated opponent is a gang member, a dozen of his buddies came to watch the fight and bet on him, and on the way out of the arena, those buddies track the PCs, possibly all the way to wherever the PC lives. If they ain't watching their backs and actively making Shadowing checks, they get jumped in a confined area with tactical surprise, by gangers who lost bets and figure the PCs owe them the purse money. If this goes really badly for the PCs, maybe a rival gang shows up and the PCs get involved in a full-scale gang war... although say the rival gang in question is the Ancients and the PCs aren't elves. From the frying pan to the fire! One of them just said something in Sperethiel; were they proposing to give you full shares of loot or to backstab you after the rumble? Time to make a Judge Intentions check, and Etiquette might save your hoop.

Maybe if they win big, they come to the attention of someone who wants to hire them... or offers to augment them with cyberware/bioware/foci at amazing bargain prices (there's a catch involving experimental methods and/or the previous owner using magic and/or Activate On Demand RFID tags to track the stolen property)... or both, the mysterious stranger hires them (eg to rub out a competing street doc) and offers payment in 'ware.

Maybe another one of the aforementioned groupies is actually the slumming daughter of a Renraku executive. If he goes to her home, awkward consequences ensue (bonus points if you can maneuver a PC into jumping naked out of a bathroom window to escape meeting her parents and/or her steady boyfriend). If PC takes her to his home, then after she's been away from the Renraku compound for four hours, the Parent Alert radio beacon on her bracelet automatically activates, resulting in a Red Samurai anti-kidnap rescue team knocking down the PC's door just as he's getting to third base. If the PC turns down the groupie, well, hell hath no fury like a spoiled girl who's always had her way and then got rejected by someone that she considers, although tough and sexy, a social inferior. She turns to some other big tough guy (maybe the bouncer), charms him, tells him all about the horrible things that the PC said and did to her little sister, and he decides to earn her gratitude by bushwhacking the PC. (She does this within earshot of another PC... or if it's plausible, the tough guy she tries to seduce/recruit *is* another PC. Bonus points if he strings her along and triggers either of the previous two outcomes.)

See the Gibson story "Dogfight". Make the opponent more than a set of stats. If the PCs want money just cause it's fun to be rich, and they happen to learn that the opponent hopes to use the purse money to buy little Timmie some VITAS medication, then they've got a choice to make. Either way... when next Mr. Johnson hires them, their job is to provide muscle and support for another shadowrun team which has some mission-critical noncombat skills which they lack... and guess who's on that other team? Hint: An NPC previously established as a) desperate for cash and b) having fighting skills. S/he'll be grateful or resentful depending on choices made at the pitfight.
Aren't the Desert Wars pretty much large-scale gladiatorial combat?
QUOTE (Aaron @ Mar 1 2008, 11:08 AM) *
Aren't the Desert Wars pretty much large-scale gladiatorial combat?

That is the way it should be. Settle the international and intercorporate disputes in controlled arena environments. Leave your weapons of mass destruction away from our tattered sprawl homes!
the main problem i see is where to get believeable gladiators able to take out a player character without killing him? if the fight is to the death what happens if the player character loses?
what kind of Gladiator has an actual chance in a fight against a troll cyber/bio combat monster?
Maybe one should start with the critters . . but then, one of my trolls lasted 3 whole rounds against a small feathered serpent in unarmed hand to hand fighting . . a piasma would not have won i believe . . or maybe put such characters up against more than one gladiator? maybe if he is in a hurry and just wants to win the tournament allready . .
If you want your campaign to be about underground fighting, then sure, have at it. If you want to run the shadows, make sure they don't have time for such frivolous activities. It has been said before, if your characters don't want to Shadowrun, you aren't paying them enough. Players are usually simple creatures who will do whatever they have to do to make money and karma. If you want to give them money and karma outside of runs that is easier/better than what they make on a run, they have very little incentive to risk their character's lives on a run.

If it fits with a character's background/contacts and makes things more fun, go for it. Don't just give out money, make sure they roleplay it. If one of the characters has spent a lot on martial arts and maneuvers though, I think it is only fair to give them a time now and then to use it.
Thanks for all of the replies, guys. This really put it into perspective for me. I realize now that I shouldn't even bother with this drek, because my campaign is supposed to be about the shadows. Though it won't really be orthodox, as the party has no hacker, but I've been finding ways around that. wink.gif
If it's interesting to your players and you, you could certainly find ways to work the underground fight scene into a game of professional criminals doing illegal crap for scumbags with money.

Read Shadowbeat. The Runners don't have to worry about finding illegal underground amateur gladiator fights to the death in dark smelly basements. There are perfectly legal mainstream televised amateur gladiator fights to the death filmed in well-lit and well-ventilated trideo studios.
You could always add in the teen factor into it too. Like this film that's coming out soon...
Man, I'm seeing the ads for this all the time on tv. ugh.
All I would add, is like LionHeart, have them work up from the bottem and get a rep so they can get better paying fights. The death matchs don't have to come till later. That way you intergrate the fight scene as part of the personal plot of the involved characters, interspersing the real runs with all the attendant problems of being beaten up and in a cut throat criminal violent world with competing agendas.
By rewarding their pro-activity you will get more personal interest stories developing that you can layer and intergrate into the game.
Go back to the thread that was done on the statistics of magic users in Shadowrun. Considering that (less then?) one percent of the planet is awakened, you're not likely to have many mages or adepts, even in a huge underground fight league. Also, groups of regular fighters are probably going to try and run adepts out of town, in the style of Wolverine from the first movie.
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