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Ok, we had our first session with Ghost Cartels with a small filler run before that.

Of the 5 players, 2 couldn't make it. The Street Sam and Hacker/Infiltraitor weren't with us. It was just the Face, Mage, and Gun Adept.

The Filler run was "Cold Blood" by Khadim Nasser. The players need to break into a small MCT manufacturing plant to steal a blood sample. You also need to understand that we're new to the Shadowrun system and trying to figure it out as we go.

The majority of time was spent upon the PC's roleplaying how they met/know each other.

The Face's player is a hardcore roleplayer. He came to the session with a WELL thought out concept of his character, why he runs the shadows, his history, and why he is the way he is. The face is a master manipulator and a ladies man. He loves to push people's buttons to see how they react and whether he should run with them. His belief is, "The best run is one that no one knows you did."

The Mage's player is a min/max'er who also likes to do some roleplaying. The Player playes him as the powerful mage that he is, but makes him sound and seem like a back-country hick (he's originally from the CAS). He has me cracking up a lot of the time.

The Gun Adept's player is a HARDCORE min/maxer. He has an interesting concept for his character: He's a full on adept, but he doesn't know his skill with guns comes from magic and he's magic phobic. The Gun Adept (GA) is also a fairly decent infiltraitor. His player is trying to do some roleplaying, but I think he's a bit intimidated by it.

I'm going to briefly describe the "Cold Blood" run and what we got through in "Ghost Cartels".

The Mage (the only one with a fixer contact) gets a phone call from his fixer to meet Mr. Johnson in a park in Tacoma. Mage calls The Face because they had met (in the throw-away run I had created the month before [that became a serious run]). Face has a car and can get them to the meet. They also call GA because they think they might need some "lead backup" on the run. GA gets to the meet an hour early, climbs a tree to get surveylance, but doesn't have an unobtrusive way of communicating with Mage and Face. (BTW, in 2072, do commlinks ring when a call is coming through?). They do their legwork (I"ll have another topic for my questions with legwork) and get ready for the run.

I must mention that the booze flows freely at our gaming days. I don't drink a lot as my hangovers are brutal. Everyone else drinks quite a bit.

They pile into Face's car to get to the MCT plant. The plan is that GA will break into the plant, get into the facility, find the blood sample and replace it, then plant the thermite grenades to make it look like eco sabotage, then get out. Face and Mage will supply backup if needed.

As they are trying to tell me what is going to happen using the map, it de-evolves into 3 people (2 of them fairly inebriated) telling me three different things. As they are doing this, one of the players notices a symbol that I must have told them at least three times was security cameras on 5 meter poles. As GA is over-riding the mag lock, the mage's player looks at his sheet and remembers that he has "Improved Invisibility" and "Levitate". He calls GA back and tells him about the spells. As noted above. GA is afraid of magic. In the middle of their run, about 7 meters from the gate, Mage (drunk) and GA (drunker) are having a philosophical debate about magic. I should have pulled out all the security and drones and set them upon the PC's, but I was a bit frustrated and flustered. My bad.

Eventually,Mage persuades GA to have the spells cast upon him. GA gets roughly 8 successes on his infiltration roll vs. the guards 3 successes to move around undetected. I decide to make it quick and painless.They succeed without alerting the guards, get the hell outta Dodge, and get paid.

This is where a lot of roleplaying happened and I'm not certain what to do about it. As noted above, Face loves to push buttons to see what the real person is like. Face starts pushing GA's buttons and GA repeats multiple times "I will fucking end you if you do/say that again". He also says it to Mage as Mage is trying to convince him to use the "improved invisibility" and "Levitate" to makeruns easier. At this point I am getting uncomfortable because I know if GA keeps spouting that off to people in 6th World Seattle, there will be at least one person who will take it personally and end GA.

Another side note: This group never does anything the way I think they will. I know that and try to plan accordingly, or at least have some backup's in place for when they go WAAAAYYYYY off the reservation.

They get the call from Mage's fixer again to meet a Ms. Johnson at "Ticklers" strip club (the beginning of Ghost Cartel). They show up, get the job, and Ms. Johnson tells them (if I remember correctly) twice that they MUST NOT MAKE CONTACT with the two people they are tailing for a week. They decide to break into two groups: Mage and Face will tail one person and GA will tail the other. Mage and Face go right up to the person they are tailing and attempt to buy some tempo off of him. Face rolls, roughly, 18 dice (attribute + skill + first impressions + tailored pheremones + 3 or 4 edge dice with a couple of 6's on the roll) and get around 10 successes to Littletree's 4. I decide that they so impress the dealer that he will sell to them for 25:nuyen: a dose and they decide to get 40 doses to resell at regular street price. Now they have made contact with the person they are supposed to be tailing.

Meanwhile, GA is tailing the other person and decides that he will go up and kill the person because he is a "lowlife, scumsucking dealer". At this point it is about 10:30 at night, so I call it for the day and tell them I am confused and need some time to think about where to go from here. And this is the "Reader's Digest" Abridged version.

Any suggestions? comments? Hints? Anything will be appreciated
Hrm... Ok, bigtime spoilery bits to follow:

First off... I think you might be underestimating Littletrees negotiation ability. He has a modified charisma of 8 (cha 4+Kinesics 4) plus a total negotiation of 5 (natural 3 +2 for his improved ability adept power). Plus I'd personally rule a drug deal as falling within the realm of "fast-talking" which nets him another 2 dice for his specialization. This gives him 15 dice to throw which should be able to compete with the group face. He also has an edge of 4 which could either get his dice pool up to 19 exploding dice or lets him reroll all the dice that came up failures.

Making contact with Littletree will probably tick Dae off a bit, but ultimately since Dae and Kaz end up approving of his actions it shouldn't have any longterm consequences. Hell when I ran Ghost Cartel's Littletree ended up becoming one of the PC's closest associates. He pulled their ass out of the fire when they ended up having to deal with the Yakuza and the FBI during the Dirty Pretty Money mission.

As for dealing with the murder of Xa-Firebird... that's a little tougher but not unmanagable. The first thing to do is to make the GA think twice about just flat out executing him. This is the easy part. Xa is supposed to be dealing on the university campus. If the gun adept has trailed him there then you might want to remind him that publicly murdering someone at Washington State University would bring a hammer of God, rape you up the ass with a Jupiter Stun Baton style police response down on his head. Now as for keeping him alive I'd make sure he stays in public locations for a while and have him meet with his police contacts sooner rather than later. The challenge here is to get the player to realize that Xa is an undercover cop without flatout telling him. The GA apparently has some limited infiltration skills so I'd let him make use of them to eavedrop on Xa's conversation with his handler. Fudge things if you have to. Once the GA realizes that Xa is undercover it should make him a little gunshy. Play up the "Do you really want to get branded as a cop killer" angle if you have to. Go so far as to scare them into refusing Dae's request to kill Xa for her. The Kumon-Go have resources that can deal with him.

Ultimately the best way to remind your players to "pay freaking attention to a Johnson's instructions!" is to hit them in the pocketbook. When they are supposed to meet with Dae to collect payment have their fixer at the meet location instead. I suggest their fixer because he's a valuable contact and they're less likely to kill him out of hand. Have him chew them out and say that it was all he could do to convince their Johnson to pay out half (or 30% or whatever) of what they're owed and they're lucky they don't have a price on their heads.

If you want to try and get things back on track sooner... I'd suggest having Dae call them for an update on the stakeout. When she discovers that they have made contact with one of the targets have her go very cold and cut the conversation short. Then have their fixer call them up and do the aforementioned reaming out.

*edit* On a larger scale, one thing I've noticed with Shadowrun is that players can oftentimes feel overwhelmed by the choices available to them and they quite often fall back on "shoot em in the face" options simply because they're straight forward. One thing I do (particularly in a new campaign) is try to take an active role in the players planning, suggesting things that make use of skills or contacts that they might otherwise be overlooking. It's not a perfect solution but saying something like "don't you know a gang member who might know something?" or "You figure that with your shadowing ability you'd have a pretty good chance of sneaking up behind them so you can hear what they're saying" can make things run a lot more smoothly, especially when a campaign is first starting and the players don't know their characters abilities inside out yet.
For new groups and new players entering into old groups, I recommend B/X BLACKROZOR's 100 Reasons.
It was meant for OSR, but with a few mods for setting and sexual preference* it works great. Roll two d10s. That's how you know the guy to your left. It not only helps the game move smoother, but it really helps role playing, as now the players aren't just acting out their characters, but their character's relationships, all of which have a spider's web of interaction.

*One of the girls in our group rolled that she liked boys. She wasn't happy.
Was thinking about this a bit more and had another idea, though this would involve a lot more work on your part, mainly because it takes a sharp left turn away from the assumed path of the adventure. If things go totally sideways with the Kumon-Go, I'd say run with it but I'd have them switch sides and cozy up with the Yakuza. This means you can still use most of the runs, just in reverse. Have the runners take the place of Inoue's squad and fill out the role that the runners would normally take with either First Nations gangers or Kumon-Go Stand Over Men.

Ok, first be a rat bastard. Blacklist them. Give them all the "hung out to dry" negative quality. No one returns their calls, no one speaks with them. Put bounties on their heads, kill their contacts, set fire to their squats, blow up their cars. Do everything you can think of short of kill them.

Next, after a couple weeks of terror, have them approached by Inoue. He is their out. Make two things abundantly clear, first that he is Yakuza, second that he is only approaching them because he knows they have had dealings with Tempo, but he also knows damn well that their rep is so far down the toilet that it might as well be devil rat food. What he does do however is offer them his protection. If, and only if they can successfully raid a Doc-Wagon morgue to recover the body of Jana Shields. He wants the Yak street docs to examine her and figure out if it was Tempo that killed her.

After that I'd draw a line between her and Goldman instead of sending them towards that street dealer. Inoue wants the runners to follow this link, figure out where the money is coming from. This gives them the chance to try and kidnap him and get intercepted by the people Kaz has hired to watch him.

After that they could pull bodyguard duty on Cane, try to keep him alive and then after that take part in the attempted kidnapping of Kaz. I can only imagine that getting into a scrap with Kaz when he's all roided up and possessed by a crazy plant spirit would be one hell of an epic fight.

As for involving the Olaya Cartel its important to remember that they ultimately don't care who's selling tempo. If the runners manage to kill Kaz or otherwise fuck up the Kumon-Go make sure that they somehow figure out the cartel's involvement and have the Yakuza make contact with them to try and take over distribution in Seattle instead.

You could still run "Flipside" pretty much as written. If the team has been working well with the Yakuza you could ease back on the 'hung out to dry' quality and maybe their rep has started to recover enough that their fixer is willing to give them a second chance.

Of course for the Yakuza to convince the cartel to give distribution over to them they need to eliminate the competition. This means Grey Wolf will have to go and this gives you an opportunity to modify Tokyo Fireworks so that they're blowing him up instead. From there they should still be able to join the Olaya delegation and go on the pacific rim tour without any major modifications.
QUOTE (imperialus @ Apr 27 2011, 01:53 AM) *
As for dealing with the murder of Xa-Firebird... that's a little tougher but not unmanagable.

Xa wasn't murdered (yet). The GA wanted to go up and kill him in his sleep. I think the stunned expression I gave the player made him rethink his decision. eek.gif
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