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HMHVV Hunter
On the off-chance that any of the players in my Shadowrun game at Get Your Game On in Ann Arbor, Michigan are reading this - if you are one of those players, do not read any further please.


Alright, I've got an idea for what could be a cool adventure, but I could use some advice in how to be fair to the players while making the situation tough at the same time.

Basically, the idea comes from a Shadowland entry in the "Shadows of North America" sourcebook. There's an entry about a Tir Tairngire corporation that Lofwyr moved to buy out shortly after he resigned from the Council of Princes, but somebody sold off everything before Loffy could get his hands on it.

The plot idea is that Lofwyr has finally ID'd the corp that did it - and now he wants his revenge. He hires the runners to utterly destroy the company (a small multinational with a presence in only Seattle and Wales), physically and Matrix-wise.

Behind the scenes, however, the plot is much greater than that. This small A-rated corporation is controlled, through some intermediaries, by the great dragon Rhonabwy, and this is a cover for a shadow conflict between the two dragons.

I can't see how the players would discover this before taking the job however, putting the runners in a tough position of having to piss off a great dragon no matter what they do. It would be more dangerous to piss off Lofwyr, as he suffers neither failure nor traitors and will wait years to get his revenge if he has to, but I can't imagine Rhonabwy being too merciful either.

My question: how do I offer the players an out in this situation without making them feel that the whole thing has been a waste of time with no in-game monetary pay-off?
It would appear that the runners won't know the true nature of the job at the time they accept it. So they will do their job, and probably piss off Rhonabwy.

If you want to give them an out:

A) They could at some point learn who they pissed off, and then they would have a choice... go on, business as usual and hope she(?) doesn't take it out on them, or find a way to contact her and offer to do a run to make amends. Oooohhh... back and forth ping pong between dragons. "How long can you tread water?"

B) They are confronted by agents of Rhonabwy, and given an 'offer they can't refuse', which may or may not be directed at Lofwyr but will be perniciously difficult.

C) They find out, find a suitably valuable gift, and try to present it to Rhonabwy as a peace offering.
You're always going to piss someone off, that's life in the shadows. Great Dragons or the poor dead corp sec guard's little sister, there's always someone who suffers as a result of your crime.

Spoiler tags are awesome. Open the one below to learn how to use them.

[ Spoiler ]
Heath Robinson
[ Spoiler ]
HMHVV Hunter
I think Lofwyr tends to strike at failed runners more often than not. Remember the "Threats" section about him - taking steps to ensure the deaths of runners that had run against him before?
Kanada Ten
Well, if you make it part of a dragon Chal'han, where the runners are acting as Lofwry's pawns, then Rhonabwy can't act directly to end their lives - thou he can make it challenging and take precautions (even capturing the runners). And fatalities can occur via the normal means: sec guards, etc. Once the event is over, Rhonabwy still can't kill them outright (without losing major face), but - again - he can continue to make their lives interesting. Having the runners working to utterly destroy the corp fits in well with the Chal'han ideals, too.
HMHVV Hunter
Never played Earthdawn; have no idea what "Chal'han" means.
Kanada Ten
It's not from Earthdawn, it's from Harlequin, and later Survival of the Fittest (different ritual there, but same idea), but it's just a ritualistic type duel, where one dragon tries to prove he's better than the other, without it coming to fisticuffs (though it can end in such, depending). Sure sure, it's elven, but they stole everything from dragons so it's kosher.
Speed Wraith
Option 1 - They hide behind Lofwyr's skirt when the shit hits the fan. This can take a variety of forms, but is likely to be the deus ex machina approach, so not recommended.

Option 2 - The rival dragon Rhonabwy decides the exact metahumans that perpetrated the destruction of the corp isn't a high value target since they are runners. When the characters learn the truth about what has happened and who exactly they ticked off, put the fear of God into them but don't actually have their fears manifest.

Option 3 - Change the world: Lofwyr contacts the runners as they're trying to evade Rhonabwy's minions to offer another contract, this time to eliminate his rival flat-out with lots of dragon-provided firepower and support. If they fail, then they're toast anyway, if they succeed then they're in the clear and probably make a tidy sum. This is the perfect climax for a continuing story-arc, I would view it in my group as the "season-ender".
HMHVV Hunter
I'm also kinda looking for a reason for Rhonabwy to get involved against Lofwyr, since sources say he doesn't generally cross paths with Lofwyr. Perhaps he's getting involved because of his alliance with Hestaby (whom I don't think likes Golden Snout much)?
Runners have no ties to the job, which is why they get hired. Slapping the runners around will generally get you nothing if they don't know what they have done and are kept in the dark.... however if the runners find out about what they are doing before they complete a job then they are screwed. One way or another they now are given a choice, and both of them suck. If runners back down from the job most likely the Johnson will get killed/interrogated and the runner team will be burned (figuratively or literally,) most likely they will find it much much harder to get work and I'm sure Lofwyr will see to that. They might have to even make a deal with him if they ever want to have their reputation restored, and I'm sure the job will suck 10 times harder. If the runners continue with the run then Rhonabwy has every reason to go after the team.

If team does not find out then why go after them? They are kind of like a person who serves divorce papers and eviction notices. Why kill him? He is just being paid to do a job that he doesn't even know or care about.

If the team finds out after the fact of the matter then at least they are somewhat in the clean.
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