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Sengir
So, I'm busy procrastinating my thesis by thinking about an adventure I'd like to run...but now I'm stuck there, too biggrin.gif

The setup is as follows:
- Players are hired for a standard B&E job
- The objective is to break into a server room, find server XY, and hot-swap a random harddisk of that server for one provided by Mr. Johnson.
- The original disk is completely irrelevant as far as Johnson is concerned, he just hires the players to slip his disk into the system

But as fate would have it, seconds before the players do the swap, a corp exec suffers from a nasty case of exitus letalis. And by sheer dumb luck, the disk the players pulled out contains the security footage. Of course the players don't know about the assassination until later, and even less do they know that the random HDD which had to make room for their cuckoo's egg is actually important.
And that is where my problem lies: How do I make sure they take that damn disk with them, without spoilers or blatant railroading? Best thing I came up with so far is dragging along an NPC who does the swap. But we've rarely used NPCs so far, so I'm still looking for a more elegant solution...any suggestions?
Rotbart van Dainig
Simple: You have the Johnson ask for the swapped disk, no reason given. Just smoke&mirrors to him, perhaps even proof the runners actually did the job.

Generic Evil Twist:
[ Spoiler ]
Blade
Have one of your PC join the Exchange (IIRC it's described in Unwired or Runner's Companion) and have the Exchange ask him to take the original disk.
KamikazePilot
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 08:30 PM) *
So, I'm busy procrastinating my thesis by thinking about an adventure I'd like to run...but now I'm stuck there, too biggrin.gif

The setup is as follows:
- Players are hired for a standard B&E job
- The objective is to break into a server room, find server XY, and hot-swap a random harddisk of that server for one provided by Mr. Johnson.
- The original disk is completely irrelevant as far as Johnson is concerned, he just hires the players to slip his disk into the system

But as fate would have it, seconds before the players do the swap, a corp exec suffers from a nasty case of exitus letalis. And by sheer dumb luck, the disk the players pulled out contains the security footage. Of course the players don't know about the assassination until later, and even less do they know that the random HDD which had to make room for their cuckoo's egg is actually important.
And that is where my problem lies: How do I make sure they take that damn disk with them, without spoilers or blatant railroading? Best thing I came up with so far is dragging along an NPC who does the swap. But we've rarely used NPCs so far, so I'm still looking for a more elegant solution...any suggestions?


Put yourself into Mr. Johnson's shoes. You pay big money to have somone bumped but instead of paying big money for a hacker to edit the video footage or never record it in the first place you pay cheap for some wannabe hotshot runners to do a blind hard drive swap. And on top of that you actually WANT the disk they are swapping but you dont tell them. Well, you deserve to go in prison if the assasination ever got back to you.

You need to give them options. Tell them what is going on at least on the importance of the disk they are taking. If the team hacker is taking control of the cameras while they are doing the B&E he will see the assasination unfold and he can then use it to blackmail YOU for more money.
If you tell them they are TEAM B in charge of cleanup and stress how important that cleanup is they will take their job that much more serious. on top of that if you pay top nuyuen you guarantee they wont tell anyone and you wont be blackmailed in return.

Maybe turn the whole TEAM B cleanup into alot more.
Leave them incarge of body removal, actual blood and mess cleanup, desinfectant stuff. video editing. basically stick them with the dirty side of the assassination?

Or is this assasinaion suposed to be public as a message or something?
Dahrken
What follow assume the assassination is completely unconnected to the Johnson - otherwise he would definitevely be interested in what happens to the removed disk.

It may seem obvious, but the Johnson should at least tell the PCs to remove the original disk from the targetted site, because an extra disk left in a server room is going to trigger some unwanted investigations ! Make the disk some high-end, high performance unit worth a significative amount of nuyen.gif - since the J says he want it removed from the site to prevent investigation, but don't care what appens to it after, chances are your players will happily grab the damn thing and keep it while trying to fence it.

Also your players are likely to ask questions about how the disk swap will be hidden from the system logs and monitoring software. A disk going offline in a server usually trigger alert messages to the technical staff so that they can replace it to maintain data securit, so the Johnson need to be able to give a credible answer.
Sengir
QUOTE (Dahrken @ Dec 7 2010, 01:18 PM) *
What follow assume the assassination is completely unconnected to the Johnson - otherwise he would definitevely be interested in what happens to the removed disk.

Apologies if this was unclear: Johnson tells the truth when he says the original does not matter, and the assassination happening at the same time has nothing to do with him. Of course the PCs don't know that, and neither does Johnson initially know the players didn't get trigger-happy wink.gif

The behind-the-scenes motive is that the cuckoo disk has been crafted to appear as a normal failed disk (thereby also masking the exchange process). The failure of one disk triggers a rebuild from backups, and due to a manipulation of the backup routine [stuff happens]. Probably a datasteal.


From the suggestions so far, I really like Rotbart's idea of adding another layer of intrigue: The Johnson claims to be interested in a certain disk and that the disk he gives them is just a dummy replacement to hide the theft. After the run, the team gets a call telling them "Iditiots, I hired you to steal a disk, not to splatter somebody's head. Good thing I don't acutally care for the disk you brought out...".
capt.pantsless
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 03:30 AM) *
And that is where my problem lies: How do I make sure they take that damn disk with them, without spoilers or blatant railroading? Best thing I came up with so far is dragging along an NPC who does the swap. But we've rarely used NPCs so far, so I'm still looking for a more elegant solution...any suggestions?


Have the Mr. J tell the runners during the original shadowrun offer:
"I don't care what happens to the original disk, it might have something worthwhile on it. Consider it a bonus for this job. Just make sure it gets off the premises so that no-one suspects a disk swap"

If it's worth money, the crew will usually take it with them, AND analyze it thoroughly after the fact. (I'm assuming you want the PC's to see the assassination job and follow that plot thread?)




P.S. Depending on how future-savy your players are, they might balk at the exchange of a 'Hard Disk Drive'. I'm pretty sure those have been replaced in SR with something super-futurey.
jaellot
IF you want them to hold on to the disk I'd go with a much more simple idea that the palce they hit has alot of sweet R&D stuff going on, there might be some nuggets in that HD worth looking into. Runners usually think along those lines anyway, and a hacker could definitely have fun with it. Sort of like their own special puzzle box to figure out.
Aerospider
This kind of problem is a common result of adventure plots built on coincidences. Players can work their own way from one event to another if they are directly and non-cryptically linked, but if there's nothing between the two and their mission profile only cites one of them then you have to spend hours more devising at least one fool-proof way for them to get from A to B. Then, what you have at the end is a GM story that leaves the players feeling inconsequential over not being in control and unimpressed at what will seem quite a lazy plot (even if it actually took you longer to write than normal).

Coincidences have to be handled so carefully in order to maintain credibility. I once played a RPG where we had to break into a grand tomb for an artefact. We found a ring of 20+ runes and an inscription that said we had to stand on three of the runes without any clues as to which ones were right and if we made a mistake we'd all destroy the tomb, ourselves and the hope of the land. A malevolent spirit was chasing us around the room so time was of the essence and after a few minutes of completely fruitless discussion about how directionless we were we just guessed and oh wow, look at that, we got lucky. The game had been put on by three very experienced guys with very impressive scenery props and it promised to be a lavish and dramatic game, but instead was just the worst and most uninteresting game I ever played.

The way to do it is to make it completely credible. If the players aren't going to find out at some point what caused the coinciding event then it needs to be really easy to work it out or else it has to be a not-stupidly-unlikely coincidence. Taking out a random server and getting the one that had completely unrelated execution footage stored in a way that meant you couldn't miss it (Are there not terabytes of other footage in the same node location? Will the players have any reason to tell their browse program to look for the victim's face?) is off the map in my book. Expect your players to look blankly at each other until you hand it to them on a plate.

To sum up, if you're setting out to "make players follow your plan" then IMHO you're not only making more work for yourself but also committing to a much less enjoyable game for both you and your players. The best adventures leave room for the players to write as much as half of it themselves as they go.

Just my two cents. Hope you find it constructive.
Brazilian_Shinobi
I like Blade's idea about the Exchange.
Before the meeting, one of the hacker's contact might talk to him about this awesome "karmical" software and blablabla, if the hacker does not accept, well, make him an offer he can't refuse.
Aerospider
QUOTE (jaellot @ Dec 7 2010, 01:22 PM) *
IF you want them to hold on to the disk I'd go with a much more simple idea that the palce they hit has alot of sweet R&D stuff going on, there might be some nuggets in that HD worth looking into. Runners usually think along those lines anyway, and a hacker could definitely have fun with it. Sort of like their own special puzzle box to figure out.

This is pretty much your best option to get them to nosey around in the server. As an extra prod make the pay-off simply be whatever they find on it, plus a little prep money up front perhaps.
Rotbart van Dainig
That's not how the Exchange works. Any Exchange influence needs to be longterm and voluntary that's the whole point.

If there already is a character in the Exchange, getting the drive and depositing it somewhere for someone to pick up is fair game as well, adding an additional layer.
Brazilian_Shinobi
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Dec 7 2010, 10:33 AM) *
That's not how the Exchange works. Any Exchange influence needs to be longterm and voluntary that's the whole point.

If there already is a character in the Exchange, getting the drive and depositing it somewhere for someone to pick up is fair game as well, adding an additional layer.


I know how the exchange works. The character joins voluntarily, it doesn't mean the player who owns the character agrees devil.gif
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 04:30 AM) *
So, I'm busy procrastinating my thesis by thinking about an adventure I'd like to run...but now I'm stuck there, too biggrin.gif

The setup is as follows:
- Players are hired for a standard B&E job
- The objective is to break into a server room, find server XY, and hot-swap a random harddisk of that server for one provided by Mr. Johnson.
- The original disk is completely irrelevant as far as Johnson is concerned, he just hires the players to slip his disk into the system

But as fate would have it, seconds before the players do the swap, a corp exec suffers from a nasty case of exitus letalis. And by sheer dumb luck, the disk the players pulled out contains the security footage. Of course the players don't know about the assassination until later, and even less do they know that the random HDD which had to make room for their cuckoo's egg is actually important.
And that is where my problem lies: How do I make sure they take that damn disk with them, without spoilers or blatant railroading? Best thing I came up with so far is dragging along an NPC who does the swap. But we've rarely used NPCs so far, so I'm still looking for a more elegant solution...any suggestions?


So. I'll suspend disbelief here for a second that the disk being swapped conveniently has the footage on it.

My big question is, aside from removing the disk from the site, what else do you want the players to do? Look at it? Find the footage and use it for blackmail?

Common sense dictates that they need to remove the drive in order to hide the evidence that it was removed in the first place. However, relying on common sense isn't always a good thing. Having the Johnson suggest "Make sure you dispose of the disk off site so they can't find it later" has the stated goal as a result. The disk is removed from the site in question and taken with the PCs (assuming the follow orders and don't blow it up on site). However there's no guarantee they will look at the contents. They are just as like to physically destroy the disk or pawn it off to a fence.

You have no ability to control this choice while being subtle and keeping the players oblivious. I suggest a shill. Before the session, and away from all the players. Grab one of the players and flat out tell him that you want the players to hold on to the disk rather than just dispose of it like the Johnson suggests. Don't make it a hacker, since that character should have a natural curiosity to see what's on the disk. Make it a player that you trust to subtly guide the rest toward your goal. One who plays a PC that would likely be curious as well but possibly lack the expertise to perform the task, but also a player that would think of these sort of things.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Brazilian_Shinobi @ Dec 7 2010, 03:10 PM) *
I know how the exchange works.
QUOTE (Brazilian_Shinobi @ Dec 7 2010, 02:29 PM) *
Before the meeting, one of the hacker's contact might talk to him about this awesome "karmical" software and blablabla, if the hacker does not accept, well, make him an offer he can't refuse.

QUOTE (Brazilian_Shinobi @ Dec 7 2010, 03:10 PM) *
The character joins voluntarily, it doesn't mean the player who owns the character agrees
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 10:30 AM) *
How do I make sure they take that damn disk with them, without spoilers or blatant railroading?
Aku
One "problem" i have with this plan, is it's going to require the hacker to access the server, to determine which HD is actually the one they want, cuz they're not gonna be labeled "Security camera here"
Dahrken
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 02:00 PM) *
The behind-the-scenes motive is that the cuckoo disk has been crafted to appear as a normal failed disk (thereby also masking the exchange process). The failure of one disk triggers a rebuild from backups, and due to a manipulation of the backup routine [stuff happens]. Probably a datasteal.

If the Johnson has enough access to the site to manipulate backup/restoration routines why does he need a disk swap ???

Also usually servers are set up so that a failed disk is rebuilt from the remaining live disks rather than from a backup, ensuring whatever runs on the server is not interrupted.
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Aerospider @ Dec 7 2010, 08:29 AM) *
This kind of problem is a common result of adventure plots built on coincidences. Players can work their own way from one event to another if they are directly and non-cryptically linked, but if there's nothing between the two and their mission profile only cites one of them then you have to spend hours more devising at least one fool-proof way for them to get from A to B. Then, what you have at the end is a GM story that leaves the players feeling inconsequential over not being in control and unimpressed at what will seem quite a lazy plot (even if it actually took you longer to write than normal).


This is why when I conceptualize a campaign, the goal is to present the campaign as a series of independent runs that are intended to appear to be entirely unrelated.

Machiavellian is my modus operandi.

The part that I struggle with, and why I've never fully realized or ran any of my campaign ideas, is that I have a bit of difficulty in figuring out how to present the run in such a fashion where the small, seemingly insignificant tasks are starting to change the landscape without the players realizing that they have been the prime movers.

One idea I had was to overload the players with so many runs that they couldn't complete them all. There are other runners out there. However, the one thing I have completely avoided in any of my ideas is reliance on coincidence or a reliance on the players taking independent action.
Brazilian_Shinobi
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Dec 7 2010, 11:42 AM) *
The part that I struggle with, and why I've never fully realized or ran any of my campaign ideas, is that I have a bit of difficulty in figuring out how to present the run in such a fashion where the small, seemingly insignificant tasks are starting to change the landscape without the players realizing that they have been the prime movers.


Give them at the end of each run something like the "newspaper" presented at the end of some of the Denver's Missions. Put some big new on the cover and small news with details about other things on the cover. It might get the attention of some of them.
I know some of them got my attention.
Sengir
QUOTE (Dahrken @ Dec 7 2010, 03:35 PM) *
Also usually servers are set up so that a failed disk is rebuilt from the remaining live disks rather than from a backup, ensuring whatever runs on the server is not interrupted.

This is Shadowrun, where nobody has figured out RAIDs wink.gif
And it was actually inspired by a RL event - RAID got corrupted, the mirror happily mirrored the corrupted data, so we had to do a full restore from a remote location which thankfully only gets updated once a week.


As to what the PCs should do with the disk...I'm assuming they want prove they did not shoot some guy during when Johnson asked for in "invisible" job and their fixer recommended them for it. But if they want to go another way, I won't stop them. I just don't want them to simply toss a potential plot device into the pudget and then complain that I drove the team into a corner wink.gif

And I have to admit, randomly crossing paths with another team, and then randomly picking just the disk with the security footage is a bit...random. Maybe I should improve that part, and see if that solves the disk question better. (Yes, I find "I hate it because" to be extremely constructive wink.gif)
J. Packer
There could be some fun in the J telling them that part of their pay is fencing the "disk" - maybe a large-scale chip array? - once they get away from the site.

Then the shit hits the fan, everyone thinks they did the wetwork since they "stole the video evidence to cover their tracks" and now they have to get the disk back from their fence who, oh so sorry, has already sold it on to someone else...
Ascalaphus
What do you want the PCs to do with the footage? I was assuming that whoever killed the corp exit wants that disk to erase his tracks. Cue the PCs being hunted down by someone they never met before, for reasons they don't know.

Anyway, how to get them to do it? Let them switch a small server instead. It should fit in a briefcase. It just happens that that server also holds backups of the security footage. Oh, and Johnson said he didn't want the old server, he just doesn't want anybody finding out it got switched. Gee, it happens to look pretty advanced. "Unadversised additional adventure reward" thinks the team's hacker. (For this to work, the server needs to be small enough to be easily portable and better than the hacker's current commlink. Same or better Response, much higher Subscription/Persona limit perhaps.)
nezumi
You could also just be quiet on the details. They say they remove the disk and do the swap. Make sure you don't mention any wastebaskets around and they're not likely to think about tossing it, and this certainly isn't the place to destroy it, so they'll probably forget about it. Wait 'til they're out. As you're tidying up after the run, ask if they do anything with the original disk. Wow, now they have a disk, no strings, in their safe lair. Why not dig about, see if there's something valuable on it?
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 10:19 AM) *
This is Shadowrun, where nobody has figured out RAIDs wink.gif
And it was actually inspired by a RL event - RAID got corrupted, the mirror happily mirrored the corrupted data, so we had to do a full restore from a remote location which thankfully only gets updated once a week.


Working as intended.

That doesn't follow my understanding of RAID mirroring. The RAID controller acts as an intermediary between the hard drives and the CPU. It performs all the read/write calls. When you mirror, the RAID controller doesn't update one disk from another during normal operation. It simply writes the data to both disks.

To achieve the results you described it sounds as though the RAID controller itself suffered a failure and was sending the same garbage to be written to both disks. I'd be surprised if the system continued to run in this state.
Another option is that whatever program that was creating this data was sending bad instructions to the CPU which came up with the garbage.

I don't like either of those options because they reflect a continued system instability and a non-permanent resolution when you restore a backup. What I suspect occurred, though only you could verify, is that one hard drive had a mechanical issue that was causing corrupted data to be written to disk. Then someone or something issued a rebuild of a hard drive using the bad drive as the source for the data. Perhaps the second drive failed and a replacement was inserted. That would trigger the RAID controller to rebuild the new disks data from the remaining (corrupted) disk.

QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 10:19 AM) *
As to what the PCs should do with the disk...I'm assuming they want prove they did not shoot some guy during when Johnson asked for in "invisible" job and their fixer recommended them for it. But if they want to go another way, I won't stop them. I just don't want them to simply toss a potential plot device into the pudget and then complain that I drove the team into a corner wink.gif


The problem I see with that is that you require the players and their characters to have knowledge beforehand which you have expressly said they won't know. They don't know they need the disk to prove their innocence when they pull the disk and take it off site. Likewise, their keeping of the disk for this purpose assumes that they have done an analysis of the data on the disk (and discovered the footage) as well as knew that the assassination occurred at the same time they were there.
jaellot
Another idea, that isn't at all subtle in my opinion, is that the wetworkers are trying to cover their tracks. They simply take the server themselves, but possibly have a run-in with your PC's. Hilarity ensues as servers are swapped, and now your team not only can't plant the one they need to, but they have this evidence that another team hit the place, and did the kill.

If you are looking for TGI Friday hijinx you could have your team getting the blame for the kill, so now they really need to deal with the other server, in addition to getting their original one back and in.

Again, subtlety is not on the menu here. For something a bit more subtle dealing with the original server, the wetwork team could consider your group a loose end to be dealt with. Of course, when your guys are asking themselves "Why, for the love of Dunklezahn, are they trying to kill us!?" cue the server with the evidence.

Some one else asked what is the original intent concerning the team's keeping the original. Did I miss the answer?
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Brazilian_Shinobi @ Dec 7 2010, 09:52 AM) *
Give them at the end of each run something like the "newspaper" presented at the end of some of the Denver's Missions. Put some big new on the cover and small news with details about other things on the cover. It might get the attention of some of them.
I know some of them got my attention.


The only thing I don't like about that is my campaigns are Machiavellian. Mr. Machiavelli prefers that most of the activities go off unnoticed until all his plans come to fruition. There may be some news stories about some oddities that have happened. Unfortunately I'm not a fiction writer, so coming up with all the noise I would have to put into such news papers in details enough to hide the important "articles" is a bit out of my league. That's really the problem. My ideas from a Machiavellian perspective require me to develop a lot of fluff that is purely pointless and maintain this throughout the campaign up until Mr. Machiavelli's plot has been realized and possibly past that.

QUOTE (nezumi @ Dec 7 2010, 10:54 AM) *
You could also just be quiet on the details. They say they remove the disk and do the swap. Make sure you don't mention any wastebaskets around and they're not likely to think about tossing it, and this certainly isn't the place to destroy it, so they'll probably forget about it. Wait 'til they're out. As you're tidying up after the run, ask if they do anything with the original disk. Wow, now they have a disk, no strings, in their safe lair. Why not dig about, see if there's something valuable on it?


See above. "Do you do anything with the disk?" is a pseudo spoiler unless as a GM you routinely ask about every little mundane object the players pick up and don't drop. The players are going to think. Hey there's something special about this disk when Sengir is trying to avoid that. The issue is consistency with the little things. Yes, you can easily get the PCs to take it off site. No, you cannot easily get them to analyze the disk, copy the contents, or hold onto it without selling or trashing it. If he wants/needs the PCs to retain the data without making an obvious allusion that he wants them to keep the disk then he's literally relying on a roll of the dice.

The major issue Sengir facing is how to motivate independent minds to come to the conclusion he wants without making the independent minds suspicious of the object in question.
Inncubi
This is based on an adventure I ran. When it is well done, its.... hilarious. After 5 years my players still talk about it:

Let's start with the premises:

Mr.Johnson wants a disk swap. He wants to switch the security hard disk in X corporate enclave.

He doesn't need the information that is on the disk they are taking, he only needs them to put the new one in its place. Why/how, this is your creative fill up to make it believable.

He tells the PC's he wants the job silent. Very. So much he doesn't even want them talking about it later.

He, however, has this security flaw they can exploit: a guard shift, a ventilation duct, the keycodes to the maglocks inside the facility, etc. This is a help in their planning, not an autowin button. They still have a planning to do and are responsible for doing it right: you are simply giving them a little help, because you want them inside.

Let's go now to the complications:

(You can go with assassination attempt, I went with suicide and crazy scientist/whatever, I'll give you what i did, you work it out to suit your purposes):

There is an Elite Top Notch, BEST OF THE FRIGGIN' BEST, team inside the facility. Their propblem is they f*cked up with an influential executive and received as a punishment the regular uniforms and weapons of standard security guards. They have high stats, work well as a team, but are armed with clubs and pistols... maybe tazers. Just make fun of corporate heavies in misery.

Doctor "X" -as in put preferred name here- is loosing his mind. He has spent the last three months smuggling an AK-97 into the place where the disk is located. He snapped and today he smuggled ammunition -go for APDS for extra fun, if you feel specially bloody he has one or two frag grenades too!- , one or two clips of it, and coincidentially, as the players are in the computer room doing the disk swap the door opens. They can hide and the Doctor "X" enters oblivious to what is happening. He mumbles and starts to piece together the AK-97, pieces are all over the room in nooks and niches. He pops a clip inside and goes to the lab area, opening full autofire suddenly against the employees there. Go nuts with your blood bath: brains all over the place, gore screams and... ALARMS!

... then when all the HTR's are deployed, and a couple of their men dead in the labs next door of where the PC's are... Doctor "X" blows his own brains away. That's it. He kills himself. Dead. Suicide after having 34 dead emplyees and 40 more wounded (any numbers will do).

The real run is the players going out. They will also have to think of a way to clean their reps, since the corporate PR will want to keep this quiet. The Top Notch team is simply a complication -Through legwork you can even give them this information-, just enjoy the show and keep the players biting their nails, but never being able to comfront the opposition directly (if they leave no clues, it means more deniability to the Johnson and Fixer that it wasn't them the one who started such a bloodbath). They can use the disk you want them to keep as a way to prove their innocence in the shadows PR department -Street Cred, reputation, etc-.

Just enjoy, a lot, their faces when you start killing your own NPC's with hatred and mad joy. If you can show them a schizoid face while you describe things, laughter is assured. Just run everything full of mistery and the crawl into the enclave as a succesful perfect run. They manage to avoid patrols, etc, again as long as they do it smartly.

The expected results:

Laughter and hilarity. Its odd, its new, its unexpected. See how fast your players can think on their two feet. Theyir cover is not compromised, yet, but the alarm is full on and the encalve is on full alert. The thing is, they are not the targets.

They will take the disk with them, or anotehr disk: where the documentation of the whole situation happened. Its contents can include other things too. They will have a real, actual and relevant incentive to take the disk with them.

Fun. As a GM. Seeing surprised looks on players when you run a small combat between security guards and those tehy are supposed to protect... is just... awesome (Have Doctor "X" use edge: he has lucky and 8 points. This way he rolls horrible successes as he dies in a blaze of gory glory).

Do your worst... to yourself. Again: the players looks are awesome.

Then look at them and have them think fast: This is the real actual challenge... and let them see what they do.

If they clean their names Mr.Johnson pays tehm the full deal. Its difficult, so reward them.
e
Brazilian_Shinobi
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Dec 7 2010, 01:47 PM) *
The only thing I don't like about that is my campaigns are Machiavellian. Mr. Machiavelli prefers that most of the activities go off unnoticed until all his plans come to fruition. There may be some news stories about some oddities that have happened. Unfortunately I'm not a fiction writer, so coming up with all the noise I would have to put into such news papers in details enough to hide the important "articles" is a bit out of my league. That's really the problem. My ideas from a Machiavellian perspective require me to develop a lot of fluff that is purely pointless and maintain this throughout the campaign up until Mr. Machiavelli's plot has been realized and possibly past that.


Just pick a real newspaper cover and change the names, companies etc. Pick one of the news to be the one with the hint.
I remember that one of Denver's Missions, where you have to do a wetwork has the assassination filling half the page and a small sidenote saying that a local casino has been increasing security, 3 runs later you have to breach the casino.
deek
I'm thinking that with the swap, you add a software trigger as well. And, to make this more 4e, both the Johnson's drive and the swapped drive have wi-fi enabled.

So, basically, the drive the J gives them is turned off. They take it to the server and turn it on. For detail sake, turning it on, has some sort of auto-script that runs and starts rebuilding the data or whatever description you want to give and it runs for x minutes. Once its complete, it identifies the drive you have to swap with it, so there may be a quick search to find the right drive. Swap the drives (solving any of the RAID issues above or any triggered alerts to whomever, just cause I like to tie those loose ends if they have been brought up).

The J give the runners a special wi-fi inhibiting bag that they can dispose the swapped drive in. He goes on to day he doesn't care what they do with it, but it will trigger an alarm if turned off, so the wi-fi has to stay on, just jammed (by the bag). Now, it may be common sense not to leave it in the building, but the J may as well suggest they dump it a safe distance from the building, more of a precaution to their silent escape than anything else.

Now, the runners likely won't destroy the drive. Maybe try to sell it, maybe even just dump it. Either way is okay, I think, because when you bring your assassination plot back up, you can just that to detail that it looked like the security data was removed from the system. Give enough details to make sure the runners figure the drive they took was the missing data. They now either have it or have to find it (either attempt to track it where they dumped it, or get it back from the fence).

Or, I suppose, they may not be interested and wait for another mission...point is, in the above, adding the wi-fi bit and having to get it out of the building undetected probably will do the trick.
Manunancy
The players have been hired to swap the disk with the substitution unnoticed. Prying loose whatever data's stored on it and selling it is defintively a breach of that clause. There's no subtle way around that, which leaves only the thin thread of curiosity 'let's have a look at what's on the disk but we won't make anything with it' for whatever you have planned to go unnoticed.

If I've been asked 'no trace', I'd rather use a bit of thermite to fuse the disk into an unidentifable clump to be dumped in a river than spilling it's content on the market. Or at least thoroughly wipe the content and the serial numbers before selling it to a fence or giving it to the hacker.

The likelyest possiblity would be to hold and check the disk for a possible insurance against the Johnson, something of the 'screw us and you scheme'll go public.' sort. Give some reason of the players to be wary of the Johnson and odds are they'll double-check the disk for hints of what he really was up to rather than just tossing it in the nearest trash truck.
Sengir
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Dec 7 2010, 05:32 PM) *
Working as intended.

That doesn't follow my understanding of RAID mirroring. The RAID controller acts as an intermediary between the hard drives and the CPU. It performs all the read/write calls. When you mirror, the RAID controller doesn't update one disk from another during normal operation. It simply writes the data to both disks.

To achieve the results you described it sounds as though the RAID controller itself suffered a failure and was sending the same garbage to be written to both disks. I'd be surprised if the system continued to run in this state.
Another option is that whatever program that was creating this data was sending bad instructions to the CPU which came up with the garbage.

I don't like either of those options because they reflect a continued system instability and a non-permanent resolution when you restore a backup. What I suspect occurred, though only you could verify, is that one hard drive had a mechanical issue that was causing corrupted data to be written to disk. Then someone or something issued a rebuild of a hard drive using the bad drive as the source for the data. Perhaps the second drive failed and a replacement was inserted. That would trigger the RAID controller to rebuild the new disks data from the remaining (corrupted) disk.

OK, the whole story: Two file servers, E and F. Each of those contains two RAIDs, one for its own data and one for mirroring the other.

First the RAID mirroring E (inside server F) failed and had to be replaced. The replacement RAID of course was empty and needed to get a full copy from E, not just the changes since the last sync, and that obviously took some time.
Act two, E fails COMPLETELY, with file system corruption. Hey, no problem, F has a mirror of...oops, that mirror was still busy copying over stuff from E.

Great, hm?

QUOTE
The problem I see with that is that you require the players and their characters to have knowledge beforehand which you have expressly said they won't know. They don't know they need the disk to prove their innocence when they pull the disk and take it off site.

Well, that's the whole point: The previously useless disk suddenly becomes important...which the runners might not even know.
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Sengir @ Dec 7 2010, 02:18 PM) *
Well, that's the whole point: The previously useless disk suddenly becomes important...which the runners might not even know.


Right. So without telling them "Hey there's something important on this disk" you're tossing dice on whether they hold onto it. Unless you regularly tell them useless details about things saying anything regarding the disk will tip them off that there's something useful on it. Like I said, go with a shill in the group. nyahnyah.gif
tagz
I'd say make sure that there is another way to get the info or prove non-involvement.

If they destroy the disk that's fine. When things hit the fan they'll look to self preservation. They can sneak back on site and gather evidence (that may have been swept under the rug due to inside job?), they can track down the killer, run, etc. Lots of options for them. And at the end... ah the end... you get to tell them they had it in their hands and threw it out cause they didn't check it. There should be face-palming on their side and laughing on yours. biggrin.gif

Really, this seems like a minor detail that can be easily worked around.
Sengir
QUOTE (tagz @ Dec 7 2010, 11:04 PM) *
I'd say make sure that there is another way to get the info or prove non-involvement.

If they destroy the disk that's fine. When things hit the fan they'll look to self preservation. They can sneak back on site and gather evidence (that may have been swept under the rug due to inside job?), they can track down the killer, run, etc. Lots of options for them. And at the end... ah the end... you get to tell them they had it in their hands and threw it out cause they didn't check it. There should be face-palming on their side and laughing on yours. biggrin.gif

Sure, the surveillance tape will not be the only option. I'm just afraid an open-ended task like "find the murderer, without any initial clues. Oh, and your Johnson hates you ass, too" might lead to a weird game, so I'd like them to have the disk as an initial clue.


Anyway, thanks for the input to all who posted (also those whom I did not directly reply to). I'll certainly incorporate a lot of the feedback smile.gif
StealthSigma
The rule of three is your friend. Make sure you have at least three avenues for players to discover this information.
Inncubi
QUOTE (StealthSigma @ Dec 9 2010, 08:59 AM) *
The rule of three is your friend. Make sure you have at least three avenues for players to discover this information.


I correct. The rule of three is your best friend.

Carry on.
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