Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Critique my fluff
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
I'm putting together some general narrative for our next session, and I'ld like to put up what I have so far to see what I can do to enhance it or cut down on its lengthy nature (preferably both)

The setting is CalFree, the characters are less shadowrunners and more combat mercenaries taking advantage of wide open desert and valleys for vehicle and larger scale encounters. They operate from a garage outside city limits where they keep their gear and heavy metal (very Black Lagoon in premise), and through repeated offers of help to the Cali Rangers have been allowed to exist.

One of the power players in the are is the Bower Farmer Alliance, and as of last week the group accepted a meet with Mr. Arthur Bower in a high class hidey-hole. What's going on behind the scenes is that the BFA is building a military team to take control of some serious land and drive out the paracritters and raiders that keep the seperated farmers from cooperating more effectively. The job is a breakout in an underground corporate prison holding one man: a mage Mr. Bower knows personally and intends to put to use as general of his force. The runners know they're extracting a metahuman, and they know he's important and that the building is well guarded, but that last bit will be saved as a bit of a twist (and no! he doesn't betray them!)

I haven't decided how this arc will play out. But it probably won't be well, at least for the farmers (Runners profit on all sides of conflicts!)

Here's some of my narrative for the setup, I will start putting the rest up as I type it, but general tips are always accepted if you don't feel like combing through it.

The hideaway of Calico. You've heard of it, seen pictures, seen ads. But no one ever sets a foot inside. Ever. If you do you must be dreaming or worse, been invited. Entering is a strange ritual, requiring the goodwill of someone already integrated in the community. Mr. Bower has thankfully sent word ahead. Smoke and a godawful stench plunge into your nostrils minutes before you can spot the source: scorched remains of a handful of jeeps with too few layers of armor to deflect a well placed missile from a front-facing bunker. You would have a hard time determining even the metatype of its occupants' remains but your escort, the ever-present assistant to Arthur named Mr. Bach, hazards a guess that they are Anasazi who strayed off their turf and picked the wrong place to play.

From a few kilos away the truck's camera magnification allows you to spot the front guard, heavily armed and obviously modified. They are in the process of returning to formation and reloading some truly heavy weapons. Mr. Bach zooms in on the gates, "They mean business every day of the week gentlemen, I suggest you leave anything that could make them nervous with me…if you have to ask, just don't bring it"

The escort isn't checked at the gate, but you certainly are. A variety of drones armed to the teeth with scanners go to work around your midsection, arms, legs, and unmentionables. (Guards are not hostile towards carrying weapons, but do demand they be temporarily turned over)
You enter, and the contrast is jarring. Calico is a rich man's getaway cleverly located in the middle of fuck-off nowhere, and as such the entire area is catered to the wealthy who don't wish to be bothered by the violent outside world. Lush grass grows where it has no business growing, a screen over the town blocks out a comfortable amount of the sun's rays, that hostile smell is mysteriously gone, and residents walk up and down the streets in safety after selling their firstborns for so much as a nights stay, their arms and legs presumably bought off by the clubs, steakhouses, and antique stores.

Mr. Goodman's is a steakhouse, and a damn fine one. If you were the type to care, you would notice you definitely do not fit in here. The host recognizes you quickly and you are seated and served in a private room with no sight of Bower. The STEAK, though. The idea that it is of a real bovine, maybe in some private Calico farm, could be entertained. Arthur's a generous man, but maybe not that generous. It has the texture and taste down pat, whatever it is. Minutes later, Arthur and Mr. Bach arrive looking a little worse for wear. His tie and collar is undone and he has been obviously sweating. "Sorry folks. Excuse my tardiness would ya? It's been a hell of a day at the hall. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm afraid I haven't been introduced to your newest employee (Allow Zack to introduce his character) To be put shortly, the Alliance's loose nature has lead to major setbacks. We needed a way to secure a true border, and we have a solution. In fact, we have most of it. The keystone of it all, however, is a dangerous undertaking. But since we've had good relations and you do good work, I don't feel I'm in any danger entrusting it's acquisitions to your company, no matter what my advisors my say."
This works for me.

If your looking for cuts, I'd recommend deleting the end of the first paragraph (from "with too few layers of armor..."). Sometimes what is not said is more powerful than what is. The guards destroyed some jeeps. The players don't need to be told why. Let their imaginations do the dirty work. You can save the details for if they want to make an Observe in Detail / Perception test, or if they explicitly want to ask their guide what's going on.

The profanity in the second paragraph isn't needed (I have nothing against you using swear words in general, it's just not a effective use here). The last sentence in that second paragraph is also too long. You are trying to tell to much with one line. Describe the scene, the stuff about how much is must have cost the residents to live there doesn't need to be explicit, it can be implied by simply describing the scene. End that line at "in safety." and add: "Too your left you see a large steak house, next to it an antique store. On your right, a glass fronted club, staff visible inside preparing for tonight's shift." or similar.

Last paragraph "steakhouse" is repetition, replace that with "restaurant".

Other than those (and even as is unedited) it's good stuff. smile.gif
Doc Chase
You shouldn't cut fluff. You need twice as much to be just as filling as RAW gameplay. >.>
Kren Cooper
First of all - good read, and well put together in general. It's certainly the sort of thing I'd like to hear at a table, and it was evocative.

My suggestions.
I don't feel that it's too long, depending on how you structure it. If you give the players a chance to make perception tests after each paragraph, or change their demeanour or activities, then I think it's of a good length and describes the changing environment nicely.

QUOTE (codemonkey_uk @ Sep 21 2010, 11:51 AM) *
I'd recommend deleting the end of the first paragraph (from "with too few layers of armor..."). Sometimes what is not said is more powerful than what is.

It's a different style - but I'd leave that in. To my mind, it comes across as making/reinforcing a point. "well placed missile" is a clue to me as a player that not only might they have good mil-spec gear, but that they have the skills to back it up, aiming at weak points in armour and potentially speaking of excellent training of the troops, raising the threat level significantly. It may be that I'm reading something into it that isn't there, but that's how I'd interpret it anyway.

However I'd change the kilos in "From a few kilos away the truck's camera" to "clicks" or even "miles". Kilos says to me shorthand for kilograms - not kilometres, and it made my brain backtrack and re-read to get the right sense from the text.

I agree with all of Codemonkey_UK's 3rd paragraph though - makes things flow better. You've covered sight, smell, hinted at touch (lush grass) and taste (the steak) - maybe worth just adding something about sound - whether it be the quiet orderliness of the town street, maybe the lowered noise of the wind compared to just outside. Not only would this hint at extensive sound dampeners or other luxury items, but it rounds out the sensory experience for the players, and may act as a trigger for their imagination.

Love the dialogue in the last paragraph as well. Indicates danger, risk, a certain amount of trust, long term planning, opportunity and a somewhat divisive employer structure that could bite the team in the ass later.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012