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Hey Dumpshock

So after my first session got cancelled due to player unavailability two weeks ago it is finally time for me to run it (this evening) I have player preludes planned and I know the run I'm going to send them on. The Trouble I'm having is the legwork section of the run.

Basic Breakdown of the Run is this

Mr. Johnson needs the runners to extract a gang member from the clutches of a gang leader, the sooner the better, also the extraction should look like it is against the targets will (not especially hard since he won't know it is coming) but the gang leader who is holding him has been punishing him for a indiscretion and will ultimately kill him after much suffering has been inflicted. After the member has been rescued the group is to escort him to a garage on the other side of touristville, without being followed.

The gang member is being held in a warehouse in the north east barrens, manpower includes 15 gang members (4 patrolling, 4 rooftop, two exterior door guards, 1 interior door guard, 4 playing poker) and the gang leader who is in a hollowed out makeshift basement enjoying the company of the target. There is a single camera mounted outside the door and it is being actively monitored by the interior door guard but any gang member can tune in if they are suspicious. None of the players are magically capable and this is a street level run so there is no magical security, the runners only have the most basic matrix capabilities so there isn't much in the way of matrix challenged, (one or two smartlinked weapons, the camera, and the commlinks on the gangers, as well as the truck doors and crane in the warehouse)

The trouble I'm having is the period of time between the runners leaving the meet and getting to the warehouse, they can ask any gang related contacts about where the gang might hangout, or if they have heard about where the target is being held, but other than that I'm pulling a blank. Like I said the session is later today (in around 4 hours) so any ideas you can give would be appreciated.

Help Me Dumpshock, You're my only hope!

Another piece of legwork I thought of is allowing basic matrix searches to turn up information regarding the death of a young women (the gang leaders sister) if they search up the surname, this is why the target is in trouble and needs to be extracted, should also add a bit of a moral dilema about the run not being as Samaritan as the runners may have originally thought.

Also I forgot to mention to killing or permanent damage is to be done to the gang members, since Mr Johnson is one of the gang but doesn't want his friend (the target) killed.
Are you asking how you should handle legwork? Ideas for how the players get information? Making the time more meaty?
QUOTE (Backgammon @ Apr 8 2012, 03:12 PM) *
Are you asking how you should handle legwork? Ideas for how the players get information? Making the time more meaty?

Yes, Yes, and Yes. Sorry if my initial question was somewhat vague. I want to know what types of legwork to use on a group with no astral and almost no virtual presence. Both, the types of information they can gain, and how they can go about gaining it in interesting ways. I want to be able to beef up the time they spend doing legwork but keep it engaging and not just a waste of time.
Instead of saying "your ganger contact fills you in", make the encounter memorable and introduce NPCs. The player asks his ganger contacts, who tell him a friend of his was just talking about that this morning, he should have more info. The players now go meet the friend, who is an eccentric hobo. Have fun with his personality, make him weird and annoying in the way he teases the layers with information. In the end, he says he knows everything they need to know, but will only share if they do something for him. His favorite Devil Rat, Dr. Nibbles, has gone missing. Dr. nibbles is known to scamper off in the sewers, but it's not safe for him there, so the runners have to go fetch him. They will recongnize him by the gold loop in his left ear, and because he loves cheese. Now the runners gotta go in the sewers and fight whatever you feel like throwing at them (maybe some ghouls?). Once that's done, off they go to the Gangers. Even better is if you can think of making this first step a multi- tier objective, where the players can succeed at some but not all tasks, depending on how much effort they want to put into it. That way, the players will feel their destiny is more in their hands rather than being railroaded.

Anyway, that's just an example. The point is the formula should be to turn legwork into an opportunity for fun NPC interaction and even some little unexpected side missions.
So, if the Johnson is part of the gang, is he gonna tell the runners that? If so, has he been a member long enough to know what their SOP for security is like? Their numbers, weapons, specialities? How the leader os gonna react if the attack is too slow (kill the hostage or keep him as bargaining chip)?
Because if he knows these things and isn't a total moron who can't open his mouth, there's a lot less need for legwork than on a normal run...

Assuming they don't get all the info from him that they need, kinds of people they migh want to talk to:
- former gang members if any, (one ganger has an unfortunate accident in the attack)
- rival gangs, (d'uh)
- cops/security, (cop gets to improve his quota real easy like)
- reporters (breaking news, anyone?).

Depends of course on the backgrounds and contacts of the PCs.

Personally, if there weren't that no killing no maiming clause, I'd want to contact a rival gang to help in the assault. Maybe your players will decide to do that anyway and say "Oops".

While the example you provided is a little too... eccentric for my taste (at least for the first session) I get what you're saying, turning legwork into little adventure in themselves sounds like a good idea. Once I've created a general list of information which is available I'll look at which ones would work best as mini adventures and try to plan around it. Part of the problem is despite my having asked multiple times still only 1 out of 3 players have provided me with any information about their contacts aside from professions (not even names!) I'm tempted to just have any contacts which have not been fleshed out just not be available,


I figure that the Johnson won't tell the runners since runners are meant to be deniable assets, and this is like playing with fire since he's planning a run against his own gang. A bit of legwork on the runners part prior to or after the meet could reveal this information though. As far a SOP is concered, nothing is standard about this operation. The leader lost it when his sister ended up dead/injured (haven't decided yet) at the hands of the target, and he was already known for being a bit crazy (he is know as Loco-muerta, a play on locomotive because he's a big troll who doesn't stop as well as literally meaning crazy death).

In addition thanks for the types of people the group might talk to, I'll look through their contacts and see if any stand out as immediately relevant, if not maybe a friend of a friend or I'll have to think of some way to shoehorn them in.


Oh, and once they've found the place they might have the idea to try and get the layout of the warehouse. Dunno if their not so great matrix skills are up to getting that info, so maybe they'll try to find someone who could tell them about any backdoors or tunnels.
After all, a beginner group might have (and realise this) trouble disabling the ten gangers outside without the insane leader noticing it and doing insane stuff to his hostage.
Maybe some squatters nearby used to use it as a doss, got booted out and one of them can serve as guide.

No magic and only little matrix, was that intentional? Anyway, please tell us how it went down.
A mere 30 minutes prior to the session starting and I find out I'm down one player, I now have only two, but I'm soldiering on anyways it's been almost a month since character creation and I want to run a session.


the magic part was partly intentional, I told the group that if they didn't take any astraly capable abilities I wouldn't punish them too harshly for it (the fixer knows their abilities, etc.)

the matrix part was not intentional but if the runners can manage I'm not all that broken up about it since it is hard to manage the split between physical and matrix.

Also this is a street level game so lower matrix and astral presences aren't that out of place.

And thanks for the advice about other ways they might try to get building layouts, other than matrix, useful too think about this.

Ran the first session, it turned out pretty well, although I was kind of nervous. I didn't even end up getting to the run the preludes ran longer than I anticipated so the two players each got to shine for approxiamatley half the session.

The first player planned and executed a relatively. simple heist, in the place of the object she went to find was a card left by a fixer who wanted to recruit the player for a team he was putting together if she was skilled enough to pull off the heist. It was a second story job which allowed her to scale a building, sneak past motion sensors, and crack a safe.

The Second player acted as a bodyguard for a land developer whose work was being protested, he got a chance to protect the target when an extremist broke in and used some akido styles to knock the target to the floor before hurrying the client out of harms way. He mentioned his character was a consummate professional so I played up the morally ambiguous nature of his work by having the land developer be fairly evil (knocking down low income housing to build factories and faking health code violations to get around eviction laws). The same fixer, impressed with his work, palmed a card into the second players pocket on his way out of the meeting.

They both met up at the fixer's bar (The Tipsy Flamingo), player one was given the object she intended to steal and they were both offered an opportunity for future, lucrative work, which they accepted.

All in all it was a fun session, a little stressful at times trying to wing it, and we cut it a bit short since we didn't want to start a run with only an hour to go.
Well that sounds like it went splendidly! In regards to contacts, if the characters did not flesh them out, then that means YOU get to do it, which isn't so bad. They pick the "class" of contact, and functionality wise, you respect that, but you make up the personality as you wish. Fun for you. If you want to teach them a lesson, thought, you can throw in some unexpected hooks in there. Maybe turns out the weapons dealer contact is a Ghoul that wants payment in flesh.
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