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I was running a basic, get in and grab a brief case full of incriminating documents. The place is a plastic surgeon clinic in Bellevue (front area has no cameras to ensure privacy of the the client). The importance of the documents only known by the Johnson and the accountant laundering money.

One player had no plan, walked off while the other players went inside the building disguised as a girl-scout... she's 16.... after sneaking into the back and distributing free cookies, she managed cause a slight amount of chaos with the guards and cameras.

Another player broke in disguised as a janitor... (this company hires meta for demeaning jobs like security detail and service, he also took blandness) he headed straight to the room, while fulfilling his role by cleaning up messes left by careless employs.

A team of two players went in through the back door, one manning a Lonestar car (One of the Runners is an ex-lonestar) keeping the ex-cop updated while directing the NPC tecnomancer at her house (He is 15 and homeless).

Finally, the Ex commando broke in through the ventilation shaft (the motion sensor was in disrepair).

As a fairly new Gm, I did not know how to react... this was 4 groups within the table of 5, acting independent of each-other... causing enough chaos for each other to create a whacky day at the office but nothing overt as cameras shutting down.

I did what any self respecting Gm does in that situation... find a reason for them to get caught... turns out when you ask the prodigy hacker to make you a pass that opens any door, this kinda grabs the attention of the security spider...(Because no one has access to everywhere). Needless to say the security spider locked down the back entrances and turned off the doors leading out of the back level. (they do not want to create a situation for their clients)

Things went well, everyone got out... but this begs the question of what does a Gm do when the party decides to split off into several groups, do their own thing and basically operate without each other's knowledge. Basically giving them 4 shots to do the job.
QUOTE (Androcomputus @ Mar 9 2010, 09:21 AM) *
Things went well, everyone got out... but this begs the question of what does a Gm do when the party decides to split off into several groups, do their own thing and basically operate without each other's knowledge. Basically giving them 4 shots to do the job.

Were your runners hired as a team? If so, they are supposed to work together... if they don't do that it's not your fault as a GM. If their different operations start to disrupt each other you (as GM) have to react accordingly. If that means one team member gets screwed by another members actions than again its not your fault.

There is also the matter of payment. Are they getting paid for the job as a group? If so, maybe the runner who had no plan and walked off was the smart one... rotate.gif
From a story point of view the team should be crippling itself. The reason runners tend to operate in teams is to benefit from specialised characters covering all the job specifications. If the job could have been done by one man with one focus the Johnson would have hired just one (possibly two to be safe). On top of that, if the target comes into contact with four different groups of new faces on the same afternoon questions are going to be asked a lot faster. If the team doesn't see a problem with this then let everything that can go wrong go wrong and they'll soon learn - it only takes one of them getting IDed to put them all in jeopardy.

From a game management point of view you've got a bit of a nightmare - trying to keep the game flowing and keeping track of who's where and knows what. my advice would be to not focus on any one player for too long, jump from character to character covering maybe only a couple of minutes each time as that will keep everyone focused and keep the tension up.

Shadowrun benefits immensely from the use of friendly NPCs and contacts, but if it goes unchecked a large team with a lot of diverse contacts can get a lot of the work done for them and it makes it easier for them to operate independently. Aspects that should rein in this issue include information leaks, easier runner-tracing, contact unavailability, high prices for services and contact storylines causing unforeseen complications. A technomancer who knows a whole team are relying heavily on him, creates a single passkey for all their needs and runs overwatch in real time should be charging an absolute fortune and bragging about his exploits to his TM mates afterwards. Alternatively, seeing as he's 15 and homeless (and probably with a respectable loyalty rating, am I right?) he should be naive, lacking vision and downright annoying to all the grizzled professionals. NPC hacking is suitable for many groups, but don't give them a perfect running mate.
This often happens in my games, though it's less of "everyone do their own thing" and more of a "coordinated attack." People go in through different entrances and by different methods, but instead of trying to do the job for themselves they do some task that helps to get a certain obstacle out of the way. A way to avoid this might be to give the players ways for the face or the ninja to get everyone in with them. Instead of the face talking his way in and the ninja sneaking in, the face could get everyone in so that the ninja can then disappear and go for the goods.
Make your players watch a movie like Ocean's Eleven, to give them an idea of the possibilities of teamwork (and planning). Also, sit down with them and have them design a hardware/software setup so they can have secure communications during an operation, preferably with image links and all that.

When you do so, instead if having 4 separate parties, you can have one party with members in different spots. They know IC what the rest are doing, and can work on different parts of a distributed plan. This also smooths things at the table, with less "you're not there, so you can't talk to PC X" annoyances.
I gave them the trade off of having the young technomancer of being naive, lacking vision, and very inexperienced outside the matrix.

When given instructions he takes them literally, as he was groomed to be a security spider from birth but "something" happened and now he was thrust into the shadows for survival.

So while he easily succeeds at the average task and can defeat difficult obstacles, he does not clean up after himself... he does not really know what to clean up... he never had to clean up after himself. So this gives me an excuse to throw more badguys in the way of rival runners the next session. Currently their is a 400,000 nuyen.gif price on him being taken alive and unharmed.
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