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Hello together!

I'm currently brewing up a nice campaign to scare my players a bit and the starting mission involves a large freighter. Not a container ship but a normal freighter for all sorts smaller cargo. Yes, I know that there aren't many around any more and that the trend is leaning towards container shipping but still. The freighter will one day steer in the direction of the harbor of Seattle without responding to any calls. The thing has quite some speed and mass so no one would be able to stop it in time even if they did manage to shut off the engines. Well, long story short, the ship crashes into the seattle harbor, sinking a handfull of ships in the process and generally creating a great deal of havoc as it smashes into the docks. When the harbor security (who would that be, anyways? LoneStar? Military? Someone else?) enters the ship to investigate the strange behaviour and to shut off the engines that keep pushing the ship into the container terminal they find the ship empty. Well, not empty, but... dead. There's no living being aboard. Corpses is all that they find, other than the usual contents of a freighter (what is usually on a freighter anyways, aside from freight?). Anyways, the security people seal the freighter off, not letting anyone get near it until things are cleared. The fun part is that there is... something on the ship. I'm not clear as to what it is. Some creature, probably nothing canon. It will be a pretty creepy athmosphere. The shaman will have funny feelings, there will be random... odd things. half empty coffee cups, half eaten meals, weird noises, etc. Maybe they will even find some recordings or log books if they search. None of the security guards will dare to enter the ship. Maybe they've even lost some guards inside under mysterious circumstances and are not scared shitless.
This is where the players come in: their fixer was expecting an urgent delivery with that ship. I haven't decided what it is yet. Any ideas? Shouldn't be too large so that it can be taken off the ship with at least a small chance of not getting caught. So, nothing bigger or heavier than a filled coffin (which would be kinda neat wink.gif )
It's a team of four players, by the way. Three of them newbies. A shaman (seductress), a decker, a sam and a sniper/face.
So, well, yea... um... what would this freighter look like? Are there floorplans somewhere? (I didn't find any). What would security be like in such a case? Any ideas how a team like described above could handle the task of getting an item off the ship without getting the fixer in trouble?
Any other input concerning the scenario? I apreciate any input.

Thanks a lot in advance.
While he's asking you guys to find plans of a nautical nature...

If you could point me in the direction of any floorplans or blueprints for a Cold War (circa 1960) Nuclear Submarine, that would be awesome.

Luke Hardison
From my collection of links frequently posted on DS:
Click on vehicles, ships, and choose from there.
Mr. Man
QUOTE (MrSandman666)
This is where the players come in: their fixer was expecting an urgent delivery with that ship. I haven't decided what it is yet. Any ideas? Shouldn't be too large so that it can be taken off the ship with at least a small chance of not getting caught. So, nothing bigger or heavier than a filled coffin

Possibilities: Suitcase nuke, crate of orichalcum, heavy firearms, rating 10 medkits (or some other gear that gets expensive at high ratings). Where did the ship come from? For flaver you could make the item something that the freighter's last port is known for. Whatever the item is it should be very expensive (otherwise why go to the expense of hiring runners?) and highly illegal (so the runners can't mail it to themselves or walk through the police line with it).

What would security be like in such a case? Any ideas how a team like described above could handle the task of getting an item off the ship without getting the fixer in trouble?

Well I'd say the security would depend on where the ship crashed. If it's some posh AA zone there will be instant high security from hell to breakfast. If it's a C, D or lower zone the first response might consist of security hired by the company that owns the freighter and whatever companies had property destroyed when the freighter grounded. The level of this security could vary a lot depending on the worth of the property involved (the freighter, its cargo and whatever it hit).

As for ways of handling such a situation, I would be inclined to approach the ship underwater (as this is the hardest route to secure) and scale the side. Depending on how serious the security is and the water depth I might choose to sink the item and retrieve it later when the heat is off. I don't know if this is something your team would be able (or inclined) to do, but it's the first thing that came to mind.

Seen the movie The Relic? There's a scene reminiscent to what you're describing. However, it is unlikely that an uncrewed freighter could crash into the Seattle corporate docks. The approach to the Seattle harbor requires a vessel to navigate the Straits of Juan De Fuca, a relatively narrow waterway leading from the Pacific Ocean into Puget Sound. Once through there, vessels enter the traffic separation scheme which partitions the sound between incoming and outgoing vessels. Once clear of that is when ships finally enter the breakwater and tie up to the docks. Don't forget that navigation through such waters generally requires a vessel to take a local pilot onboard, as well as utilize harbor tugs for maneuverability.

There are two ways you can get around this. The first is that whoever owns the ship could bring it in via remote control. Since most vessels feature a high degree of computer automation, it's not unlikely that a large cargo ship could be setup for remote piloting by a rigger onshore. When the cargo ship stopped responding to communications, the owners could simply takeover control and bring the ship into port remotely. This could also help explain why a specific force is guarding the ship and/or why there has been no public exposure about the dead crewman. The corporation would clamp a tight lid on the mysterious deaths until everything could be cleaned up.

Or, you could have the Coast Guard locate the vessel adrift on the high seas and have it be towed into port. Then it would be impounded by the Coast Guard and NTSB until an investigation took place. This, too, could be a good hook with the adventure, since now the corporation needs to recover whatever is onboard before the authorities locate it.
Or the shadowrunners are part of the salvage crew sent to retrieve objects.

The salvage captain works for the fixer or he is unaware of the runners' ulterior motives.

I don't have anything in terms of floorplans but in terms of suggestions (without repeating the good ones already made):

- Harbor security could be Lone Star but also any "softer" firm you want to use, since the ship could just as easily crash into a secondary terminal or even a marina (a freighter lodged in the crushed hulls of a dozen expensive yachts, I like that image).

- Freighters today can also carry a few private vehicles being shipped overseas and sometimes a couple of paying passengers who want maritime transport without paying QE2 rates. Part of the cargo will be supplies and personal effects for the crew, and a general-purpose freighter might even be carrying some livestock: imagine the runners jumping at a sudden noise and unleashing a storm of bullets on a poor metapig recently escaped from its pen...

- The fixer could be expecting a wide range of stuff supposed to be on the ship (although your coffin idea sounds just right !). Maybe the "item" is actually a crew member (or a SINless contact posing as such) who might still be alive, and connected or not to the entity on the ship. Other possibilities include data or small valuables (gemstones, antique coins, magical gear) to be retrieved from the ship's safe way down in the hold, or a specific small crate from the trunk of a transported car.

- There's no reason the freighter would look significantly different from those today. Heck, it could be an old timer built before the year 2000, with only a few upgrade to its navigation gear and engines. The "Small Container Ship" deck plans from Luke Hardison's link would do nicely, after you remove the container and replace the open spaces with cargo compartments.

- Another insertion / extraction method could be bluffing, with the runners pretending to be agents for the owning corporation or even a government sanitary inspection / quarantine team (the latter might work even better if the runners can claim authority to keep everyone far away from the ship).

Other input for your scenario:

- It could add to the suspense if you put a time limit in addition to the scare factor: the ship suddenly develops a major hull breach and is slowly sinking back into the sea, so the runners have to wade into deeper and deeper water as the run progresses (a la Titanic). This would also gradually short out the power and lights on the ship, increasing drakness and tension along with the water level.

- Program in a number of red herrings before confronting the runners with whatever is on the ship: rats (always plenty on an old all-purpose vessel), escaped livestock, music from audio systems left on Repeat, steam from the power plant, etc.. When they do meet the "entity" for the first time, make it look at first like one of the red herrings, then clue them in that there's something horribly wrong.

- Follow the "progressive revelation" like in the first Jaws movie: allow the runners quick, partial sightings of... something, but don't reveal the entity all at once the first time - milk as much tension as possible from the fact the runners have no idea what is out there.

- If possible, leave some living (meta)humans on the ship for the runners to find. These don't have to be useful to the team, on the contrary: see how the runners cope with a frantic, half-crazed, paranoid survivor who keeps babbling in a foreign language, but with enough English to allude at some dark legend...

- Try to have the entity survive its encounter with the runners. It can then become a great hook for a follow-up run, if the entity moves inland to ravage some part of town. Or maybe it can breed after having fed off the ship crew ?

Let us know the final result !
QUOTE (MrSandman666)
Hello together! [SNIP]

Paragraphs are your friend. smile.gif
The Grifter
Cold War (circa 1960) Nuclear Submarine

The Cold War happened in the 60's, with nuclear powered Submarines? That's news to me. wobble.gif
Full of shame I have to admit that my google-fu needs a lot of improving... frown.gif

Well, thanks everyone! Some great input and those maps on are just what I was looking for (and I'll keep that spycraft link bookmarked for later abuse wink.gif )

The problem that it is in fact pretty much impossible to crash a ship in the Seattle harbor was something I had feared. If I can't think of any good solution to this problem I'll probably just let it happen anyways and hope that none of my players know seattle seafare well enough to notice the flaw about this. The problem with computer guidance and external riggers is that it won't crash. It will just dock and the only weird thing will be that there will be no response from the ship and no attempts for towing, etc.

I like the hull breach idea! I mean, the chances that a ship that has just crashed into a massive concrete dock will develop a breach are pretty high smile.gif Only problem with that (yes, I know, I'm good at finding problems - not so much at solving them, I'm afraid frown.gif ) is that whoever is guarding/owning the ship probably won't let that happen. I believe they will have floaters around the ship as soon as there's any risk for the thing to sink. then again, they might notice too late and the ship might sink a bit deeper until they get the floaters installed. Another good thing about the sinking is indeed the random short-outs, shutting of light in strategic areas wink.gif making for a nice and moody athmosphere...

As for "The Entity" (kinda like the idea of calling it that) isn't even supposed to have any direct contact with the runners yet. Just a little bit maybe. They need something to recognize it by since I'm planning to have them encounter it again later in the campaign. Things are a bit floaty right now since I only have a few basic ideas of what the campaign is going to be like. I got the idea from the movie Nosferatu, for those of you who have seen it. The scene where Lord Dracula comes to this city of which I always forget the name... The ship crashes into the shore (well, more like bumps into it as it's slow) and the whole crew is dead. Died from the black dead that Dracula brought with him. At night he then proceeds to carry the coffins to random places in the city as a refuge for him and as a breeding place for his people, the rats, who spread the black death around the city.
My plan was to get the runners there only incidentaly. The fixer should have no clue about what else was aboard, nor should he have anything to do with it. He just needs his ware. For me it's just a reason to introduce the runners to the campaign.
The above idea is only a rough draft and still subject to change.
Another idea I had was that not the fixer but a local cult hires them to get something off the ship.

The whole campaign will be sort of a cthuluesque story. Lots of cultists, outworldly powers, dark gods, unimaginable horrors. I'm planning to make this pretty dark and twisted. However, they will start off slowly, just gradually being introduced to the happenings. They will have a weird feeling at first, then a vague idea which becomes more concrete, than they will develop concepts which will need to be reviewed a couple of times before coming even close to the "truth".
I haven't really thought up a complete story yet, only ideas that I want to incorporate. As I said, I want cultists. Madmen doing horrible things in their struggle for power and always trying to satisfy their god. I want human sacrifice. I want creatures that are not from this world, spreading death and terror - but in the style of Lovecraft and not Resident Evil wink.gif
And another nice touch would be a conspiracy. Influencial people working for these secrets cults.
I have some ideas, some visions. Cultists practising their blasphemic rituals on forsaken volcanic islands somewhere in the caribean. Artifacts older than time that are being fought for by different parties. Displays of enormous power that the runners never really get to experience first hand.
The whole thing can become pretty epic in the end but will start out rather basic with that certain underground feeling. Sleazy bars, old men telling ancient myths, weird and totally unexplainable things happening... At first it will look like a giant hoax. Something that only looks so bad on the surface, more fantasy than fact. Then the runners find out that something is indeed wrong - very wrong. They will (hopefully) start to investigate, reading old foliants in well guarded libraries. They will experience the sick craft that is practiced by the cultists. They will start to uncover the structures and organizations behind all this. Bit by bit they will uncover a dark dark secret. A conspiracy to drag the world into chaos as the Great Old Ones will rise from their cold graves.
Well, so far for my nebulous ideas... smile.gif

Any further input is apreciated!
Fygg Nuuton
ever see phantoms? try something like that, but not exactly like that, but similar. if you havent seen it, affleck was the bomb
Word, b1tch. Phantoms like a motherfscker.
Um... I've never seen phantoms and wouldn't know how I could do that so... could someone fill me in on the great secret?
The book was better.
well, the crew might have been alive up until the crash, imagine how scary it might be to cut your way in and walk into a room painted in still dripping eviscera
And the Street Doc character saying, "<squish> Damn, I think that was someone's spleen. Nice, healthy color until it landed in the hallway."

Pointless cross-thread tie-in.

QUOTE (Fygg Nuuton)
ever see phantoms? try something like that, but not exactly like that, but similar. if you havent seen it, affleck was the bomb

Da bomb y0! biggrin.gif
QUOTE (The Grifter)
Cold War (circa 1960) Nuclear Submarine

The Cold War happened in the 60's, with nuclear powered Submarines? That's news to me. wobble.gif it is news to you then.... wink.gif

here is the link

And I'd love to run on my players on authentically as possible.
I put a team down on a container ship inbound for Seattle once for a recon and possible scuttling. They found the ship empty and on autonav. They then found a hermetically-sealed (in the Awakened sense) packing crate which had been broken open.
It turned out that there was a cybernetic experiment (loosely based on a predator- it's amazing what you can do with betaware and an ork) loose on the ship, but that was the least of their worries as the bodies of the crew were in the bilge (where they had to go to scuttle the ship), and possessed by shedim.
Another (cliche'd) idea is to have a vampire on board. Call the ship the MV Demeter and see how many of your players pick up on it.

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