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Molly Hayes
So long time lurker, first time poster.

Fun to say that..

I have a small group of players that I occasionally GM for. So far all my runs have been street level. Recover stolen item from person, protect person from people, raid a warehouse, random gang attacks can you survive, etc.

I am looking to move them up off the street and have them do more Shadowrun...Shadowruns. However I am having trouble coming up with runs as my experience in playing Shadowrun has pretty much been limited to street level stuff or wilderness treks.

Here's what I have as far as players.

Troll Sprawl Ganger: Two SMGs, tough as nails, minimal cyber, no-stealth or social skills.
Human Merc: A budding sniper, likes to stay back and shoot at targets using his sporting rifle (untill he can get his hands on a sniper rifle), with stealth skills.
Cyber Adept: Carries a longsword, a shotgun and likes to get up close and personal, good on stealth.
Human Sniper: This guy has high stealth, great shot and he has a sniper rifle.
Elf Gunfighter: Two pistols, wired 2 can dish out death but if he takes a hit he's going to die..

Here's my problem.

If I have the run indoors, the two snipers are going to be out of their element. The sprawl ganger can't do a stealth operation. The cyber adept and the sprawl ganger can't do a 'dress up like janitorial staff and sneak in' opperation. In a mid-range fight the Sprawl Ganger and Gunfighter are going to cut down opposition before the cyber adept can get into range.

Top it off, I have no idea how to run an indoors mission. They have all the modules, so I can't dig back to 2nd edition stuff and re-package it, I can't zip forward and use 4th edition stuff repackaged.

I want to have the team go into a media studio and set up a relay so a trid-pirate can hijack the signal. However, I have no idea what a media studio would have as far as defenses, no idea what the floor plan would be.

Anyone have a NewsNet building with security? Anyone have any suggestion how to balance runs for this mixed bag?
As for the players, The rigger who chooses the team to supply to the Johnson will usually try to use a team that fits the job, that being said however, it is unlikely that this is always possible, and you should not be afraid to throw them out of their element now and then.

As far as security goes, you need to consider what kind of news studio we are talking about, is it a small local one, or is it national wide? international? security would depend on this, so look at what you recon your team might be able to pull off. You said they where street level, I take it that means they where created according to rules for such? in that case you might want to stick with a local station, that might include a few guards + more guards that can be called in. And possibly some medium sized drones to assist them (drones are so much cheaper than full time guards!!)
There would definatly be various sensers (mostly visual probably) at entry points and in corridors.
It is also not unlikely that the building is somewhat sealable in case of breakin, but this should probably be based on how much you think your team might be able to handle.

As for the layout of the building, it depends on the size you want the building to be. remember that most buildingt housing any type of corporation needs a lot of offices (secretaries, people who handle marketing, people who handle finances etc. etc. etc. ) Dont forget that there would be more than one room for broadcasting news/talkshows, not to mention some studios for other things. if you want to soothe your snipers a bit, a good long central hallway is great.

I hope that is of some help, please note that I don't have too much experience as a GM yet tho. Also, its a great idea for a run, i might steal it some time in the future.

Speaking about maps, surely there someone have made a good site with a bunch of Shadowrun maps out there? i can't find one, but it seems so unlikely that there should not be one, with so many GM's around the world drawing maps every week.
Molly Hayes
TV Studio

Well I have this, but it's not exactly a secure type of place. The objective being, I think 80m into the building from one exit.

I was thinking they have to go up a few floors, they plant the widget, likely security gets alerted somehow they have to escape the building. However....the only map I can find is a single floor with way too many exits to be made secure.

As for their builds, I occasionally GM on a Shadowrun text game (3rd edition rules) so they have karma they've built up over time. You have three that are combat monsters, two that are not.
I would suggest using the Merc as a tie in to some more military style runs that may have multiple objectives.

Perhaps the sneaky guys have to go in somehwere, but to do so they need a distraction that they can use the troll for. And while the guards are going for the troll they can be taken down by the snipers, while the sneaky guys deal with any security left, get the widget and make their way out with the troll leading the way and busting a big hole in the rest of the opposition.

After writing that maybe it's not the runs themselves, but the tactics that your PC's are using. Try to give a runs where they will have to each play to their strenghts in different ways.
The bad news is that, from what you've said, if the team you're running wants to move up from the streets they're going to have to change. That said, let me see if I can come up with some suggestions on slightly-less-street ways in which they could earn the karma and nuyen that'll be required to rise up.

The fact that you've got a team that's just under half snipers makes things tricky, especially since it doesn't sound like you've got a particularly subtle group, so it's difficult for them to go take positions on the roof of nearby buildings or something. Nevertheless, remember that the snipers can potentially cover anywhere near an external window if they can get position.

Don't be afraid to force characters out of their element, you just don't want to do it all the time; one of the snipers could take one for the team and go in with the janitorial mission. This could even give them a chance to bring in their rifle and take position somewhere secluded in the target building itself, possibly giving them a shot on a courtyard or windows facing the courtyard.

Another important thing to remember is that coordinated response takes time, especially if you don't use the canon rules for response time (you shouldn't, as if you do it implies Lone Star can teleport). If the job doesn't require subtlety overall, you can have the socially-acceptable characters go in and get in position, then have the ganger walk into the lobby and hose the place down to draw off security.

Actually, here's a sample skeletal run with plan to complete it:

Target is guarded and stationary but not in an unusually secure area, somewhere towards the back of the building. Building broadly square with a central courtyard, maybe five stories tall. Target could be anything; a prototype, an executive (stationary because that's their office), something like that. A handful of guards are stationed in the immediate area of the target, with other guards scattered around the building but mostly concentrated in a guard room near the lobby. Across a wide street there's a run-down apartment building maybe about six stories tall; the roof gives a shot on the very front of the lobby and the back half or so of the courtyard, while taking over one of the rooms (possibly unoccupied) lower down might allow for better coverage of the lobby at the cost of sacrificing courtyard coverage.

If the pure-sniper's rifle is the Ranger Arms or otherwise breaks down concealably, he and the gunfighter go in disguised as janitorial staff; if not, the merc-sniper might be a better pick. Either way, they explore the building a little and find an empty room on the upper floors with a shot on the courtyard and a good route back to the lobby. Whichever sniper came in sets up there, while the gunfighter goes and loiters near the target.

While this is happening, the other sniper finds a room in the apartment building to cover the lobby (the tradeoff between lobby coverage and the ability to shoot into the courtyard is left as a player decision), probably with the assistance of the cyber adept to kill off any inhabitants who object. The cyber adept and sprawl ganger then loiter near the entrance out of sight.

When the gunfighter is in position, he gives a signal. At this, the adept and ganger walk into the lobby, draw their guns, and blow away anything they see. Finding a good defensive position in the lobby is a priority, preferably with good separation. Presumably this sets off all kinds of alarms.

The alarms draw off most of the guards from the target. The gunfighter waits for them to move away, then pops into the target's location and blows away the remaining guards, then destroys/takes photographs of/seizes the objective.

The gunfighter retreats back towards the front of the building through the courtyard. Depending on how long the gunfighter waited he's probably being pursued by guards now (if he isn't, the people up front are probably not going to be happy with him). By retreating through the courtyard, he gives one or both snipers a shot on his pursuers. The sniper in the target building will cover the gunfighter's escape until it either looks like the gunfighter has gotten away or the guards have started to react and might be sending people to deal with him; at this point he packs up, if possible resumes looking like a janitor, and moves towards the lobby (if he's really ballsy and believes the guards haven't caught on, he could even start cleaning offices and plan on escaping later. This'd be pretty foolhardy unless the gunfighter changed out of his janitorial uniform, though).

At this point the ganger and cyber adept have been, possibly with sniper support, fending off security pretty much the whole time. The gunfighter and inside-sniper join back up and they leave the building; the gunfighter, inside-sniper, ganger, and cyber adept escape however they've planned to (getaway car, splitting up and beating feet, whatever), while the sniper in the apartment building packs up and leaves.

Keep in mind that there's a decent number of difficulties covered up by this scenario; the most obvious is that I was able to think of it because I designed the layout to allow it. It can be derailed by simple errors—for example, if the players don't think of starting a commotion to draw attention, the ganger's role pretty much disappears, while if they miss the fact that they can leave the commotion until when it's absolutely needed to clear the area around the objective and try shooting their way in as a team from the start they end up in much nastier situations, having to repeatedly fight against entrenched enemies instead of being able to set up their own entrenched positions and mostly just wait.

It also allows a number of opportunities for things to go wrong. I must admit, I'm not entirely happy about the fact that it leaves the gunslinger going in alone for the last phase; solo snipers, although exposed, aren't generally at as much risk. Note that the big risk is a character getting caught alone and then killed; run failure is just a standard risk of the job.

That said, I think it exemplifies some of the aspects you're going to need to include for a while—the team you describe simply isn't built to go up against your classic high-powered Shadowrun all-the-odds-are-stacked-against-you situation, so you need to do things like build in flaws to the defensive system and response. In this case, flaws include things like not having machine-gun-turrets in the lobby, ability to infiltrate as a janitor, and ability to cover significant parts of the building inside from a different building (other issues like lack of magical or drone defenses come with the territory for a group that lacks both itself).

Anyway, those are my thoughts for right now. I'll try to give some suggestions for a media studio later, not that I'm terribly up on broadcast buildings.

Can any of them at least double as a face? Gah, this is why I always build my "combat" characters as shadow runners first and fighters second.

They need a face by the time they go big-time, and it'd be useful if they had one, but at the level being described you only really need just enough Etiquette or Negotiation (Fast Talk) to convince someone that you're here to clean the windows.

Yeah. Bribes and high enough tech can also grease the wheels pretty nicely at the low end. Whenever I have a bit of an unbalanced team I just hook them up with a more "hands-on" Fixer than usual and let him arrange for a distraction or a high end gear loan that can make up a bit for a lack of savvy. I also tend to pair this with the Fixer bitching at the team about how goon squads don't bring in the big money and they need to get some skills if they want bigger jobs. I'm just not really sure what to say in this case though since I've never actually had to GM for a 5 man mundo combatant squad before.
I find it difficult to deal with a run of that nature unless you have someone to deal with the tech. You need someone to manipulate the cameras, bypass the maglocks, that sort of thing. My suggestion would be to find a player interested in doing that kind of work and talk to them about becoming a bit of a hacker, as that would make shadowrun type runs a good bit easier. The run you are going for can work just fine, you just need to give opportunities.

If I were GMing that group I'd have them inflitrate a 3-4 story building with fire escapes. Make the room they need to get to be in the middle of the top floor. This gives the opportunity for your stealth people to break in, or for a budding face type to try the janitor ruse. In the mean time, there is opportunity for the snipers to cover the exit at the fire escape, and the Troll and someone else can serve as a security distraction by creating a scene in the lobby "I DEMAND TO SEE HEATHER TREBBLE! Her forcasts brighten my day *sob* and I can't believe you FIRED HER! YOU ANIMALS!" whatever works.

The important thing is to start moving the group away from a violence only outlook, which appears to be their emphasis 1,2,and 3. Shotgun hackers work wonderfully, so talk to one of your longarms people about spending a little karma and nuyen. The elf also could pull it off, but they also need the karma to get some stealth skills. It only takes about 1-2 runs to make a serviceable hacker depending on what you pay out for each run. Also, everyone needs some level of stealth...period. They are trying to be SHADOWrunners. Also, a face will be needed. Again however, this is something that can grow over time and only takes around 2 runs to get the skills, etc needed to pull it off serviceably. Lastly, one of them could easily morph into the overall infiltration expert with a mix of social, tech, stealth, and combat skills to be universally useful to getting into wherever they aren't allowed to be.
A sniper without crazy stealth and infiltration skills isn't a sniper. Tell your players OOC, or find some IC way (media craze about a prime runner sniper nobody can catch).
Here's my idea, if you want to have a balanced scenario for your team:

The job is to place a dongle on a camera on studio trid camera. A public official/corp guy/whatever is going to be giving an interview that's damaging to the Johnson or the J's client. The dongle, which looks like an ordinary attachment for the kind of cameras the outfit is using is actually an activate-on-demand transmitter that will allow for a missile to home in on it, destorying the room and (hopefully) killing everyone inside. Say the studio is one of the lower-end ones in Seattle, or whereever it is being run. If you want it less messy or at a higher-profile location, you can change the dongle into a transceiver that will override the camera's output with your pirate signal on demand (though it will be low-resolution - calling Max Headroom?). You might even add the objective of attaching multiple devices to multiple cameras to make sure the studio can't cut the signal easily.

Anyway, looking @ your team, I would say that the Troll could work as the insider as a Janitor pretty easy. As long as he has common (preferably non-obvious) cyber he could get away with such a position, and social skills would not be required since noone has high hopes for Trolls doing Shakesphere anyway. Late at night, he could let your Adept and Gunfighter after casing the joint for a few days (if its not a "this has to be done tonight" run"). If it is a rush job then the bribe route mentioned by others is also a possiblity, as is intimidation and/or hacking off body parts for biometric scanners (ie: the good old fashioned way). I think the Troll would be great for the thuggish possibilities as well. Bribing, well, use your team's Face character for that.

The Sniper could be placed in an adjacent structure as overwatch and escape support for the operation the day of. The Merc is closer to the perimeter with a low-profile rifle/carbine to run more direct interference, probably in disguise (keeping the rifle in easy access but not on him or in an obvious location; a hidden pistol or melee weapon may be preferable).

So the team breaks in, starts placing equipment. While doing that the security for the suit shows up to give the place a onceover, which your Sniper and Merc will observe. They will help the guys on the inside get out - idealy without making any noise so that the target will show up for his/her fluff piece. They can do this by creating distractions, etc., while the interior guys have to find a way out that works for them in quiet fashion (lots of sneaking, some disguise work may be nessessary). And if the op goes to hell then they can blaze through while the Sniper provides coverfire, and the Merc acts as an ace up the team's sleeve behind enemy lines.

Can't give you any maps of a news outfit but some ideas can be gathered from watching cable news chanels (CNN, MSNBC, FNC); outside of the op-ed shows with sets their news programs tend to show the inside of their news rooms (generally a cubicle maze). A stealth run would be VERY HARD in such an environment as organizations that large usually have a fair number of people working the graveyard shift incase something major happens. If you hit a smaller local outfit then sneaking becomes much more possible.
QUOTE (Fezig @ Nov 3 2009, 03:57 PM) *
I find it difficult to deal with a run of that nature unless you have someone to deal with the tech. You need someone to manipulate the cameras, bypass the maglocks, that sort of thing.

That's not critical at the kind of level described; it'll become important as things go by, but cameras can be ignored (the runners are wearing masks, right?) and doors can be smashed down, especially if they have a Troll. As valuable as a good decker is, I think the Face issue is more pressing.

The important thing is to start moving the group away from a violence only outlook, which appears to be their emphasis 1,2,and 3. Shotgun hackers work wonderfully, so talk to one of your longarms people about spending a little karma and nuyen. The elf also could pull it off, but they also need the karma to get some stealth skills. It only takes about 1-2 runs to make a serviceable hacker depending on what you pay out for each run.

Yeah, sure, if you pay over ¥62,500 per character per run and award 15 karma each time.

It doesn't make much sense to go below a Hyperdeck-6, which means they're going to be shelling out serious resources for a decker.

Also, everyone needs some level of stealth...period.

Again, really not true at the moment; you only need everyone to have stealth if they run around as a pack all the time. If the unstealthy character walks in the front and starts blowing things up, that can work as well.

It's another thing they need to fix before they hit the big time, but it's hardly irreplaceable. In theory a good Face could forgo stealth as well.

Also, a face will be needed. Again however, this is something that can grow over time and only takes around 2 runs to get the skills, etc needed to pull it off serviceably.

A proper Face needs Charisma of at least 6 and at least Etiquette and Negotiation at around that level; from zero, the latter two are 60 karma by themselves.

Ascalaphus makes a good point that the two "snipers" are probably actually sharpshooters; one of them has good stealth, but I'd venture to guess that neither of them were built for camping in a strange spot for days at a time waiting for the target to come along, and even if they are it doesn't make for very fun play IMO. Might want to remind them that sharpshooters are more appropriate to the shadows than snipers, at least as PCs.

Molly Hayes
Thank you all these are fantastic ideas smile.gif
IIRC, in SR3 shooting a sniper rifle and an assault rifle are the same skill. Sometimes you can't sit back and wait in safety for someone to wander in front of your rifle, you just have to go do something.
We made that the case in SR3R, but no, by canon Rifles and Assault Rifles are two different (but linked) skills.

Wow, completely missed this was 3rd edition. Sorry about that. That would make it so my understanding of how long / number of runs it takes to alter a character would be inaccurate.
Firstly, make sure this change is what your group wants.

With that established, you need to figure out what sort of a group you have - the sort of group that approaches each mission as a problem, considers the best method of addressing it, thinks it out, and learns from their mistakes, or just action hero Neos who run and gun and complain if they don't leave a smoldering crater in their wake.

If the former, feel free to take them out of their element. Make sure it's not too hard, but giving them challenges they are not fully prepared to deal with (no high-magic, no matrix obviously) will get them thinking about diversifying their skills. Give them some more street runs so they get the karma and cash to invest in that, then toss them an easier 'indoors' run to let them see how much they've improved. Transition them gradually after that.

If the latter, well... Realize you will always need a certain amount of street-level stuff to keep them happy. Tell them OOC that they're missing some critical skills, list those skills, and suggest they begin patching those holes before they bite. Continue running street-level, with increasing frequency of tests requiring those skills, so they remember (and are rewarded for their investment). Make sure the missions continue to be loud and brutal, but just change the build-up and setting bit by bit.

The two snipers is a problem. One sniper is a headache enough. 90% of missions don't require a sniper, and it's hard to place them. If your snipers are willing to play other roles as well, you're in the clear. Otherwise you're going to have to get creative to keep them involved. Finding other roles for them isn't too hard though. Stealth, recon, drone rigger, etc. are all great.

You can still run pre-made missions, just change all of the details around. The target isn't kidnapped, he's believed to be killed and his body must be recovered. The contact isn't a bartender named Jimmy, he's a corner drug dealer named Jimathon (or whatever "Jim" is short for). Swap 'em up, especially the end, and you'll keep your players hooked.
Make the run you want to make, let them figure out how to play their strengths to it. If they be it. they'll think harder about the character they make next time.
That's probably a bad idea. Someone who would be able to effectively "think harder about the character they make next time" would either have to have had a very weak conception of the rules the first time, or they simply wouldn't have made this kind of character to begin with.

Molly Hayes

Well I tried to start the run, I decided to have it be a relay station for NewsNet.

The group came up with a lot of good ideas, and the troll promptly shot holes in all of them without contributing any ideas. Apparently the NewsNet name made the run too hot to touch.

I ended up that the group needs to break into the NewsNet branch office/relay station and install a widget in their system room so that a trid pirate can hijack the signal.

First session was pretty much just planning, not sure if the troll is going to stay or not. We'll see next session.
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