Welcome to the Data Haven

•December 2, 2008 • 13 Comments

Hello chummers.  😉

My name is J, but I also answer to Insomniac.  This blog will soon be the home of all my Shadowrun stuff that I have scattered around the Net.  Primarily a place to grab run notes, I plan on reviewing sourcebooks, posting fan fiction and perhaps even commenting on the game itself.

If you’re not familiar with Shadowrun (in the P&P RPG style, rather than the video games), it is a near-future, dystopian, cybernetic future game where fantasy elements have been re-introduced to the world causing an interesting blend of magic and machine.  The storyline is in-depth and there are so many things going on at once that Game Masters should have no shortage of material.  However, if you find yourself short on material, hopefully some of the future posts on this blog will help with that.  🙂

While I will occasionally pipe up like this, the bulk of my posts will likely be “in-character” as my grumpy, sleep-deprived sysop alter-ego, Insomniac.  He runs a board in the Seattle Matrix where shadowrunners can look for work.  He’s a no nonsense kind of guy, but he does welcome some discussion.  So if you’d like to comment on run notes, feel free to do so in character and become part of the dialogue.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Hopefully, you’ll check back from time to time.

J.

>>Oi!  Who’s grumpy?  Anyways, I figured I’d step up and introduce myself.  The handle’s Insomniac and I run my own little corner of ShadowSea.  If you need work, I’m your guy…assuming legality ain’t a scruple you tend to have.  If you think the shadows might be the place for you, then loiter for a bit and see what’s around.  Who knows…maybe you’ll be the next best thing round here.  Or maybe you’ll end up as the next red stain on the asphalt.  Either way, these should be interestin’ times, omae.  Perhaps I’ll see ya round.
>> Insomniac
“The shadows never sleep, so why should I?”

RPGaDay 2020 Day 4 – “Vision” #RPGADAY2020

•August 5, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Day 4’s prompt is “Vision”.

Does it take vision to be a Gamemaster?  I would say no… Lord knows I’ve played in my share of games that had no sense of purpose or direction.  For one-off sessions, there doesn’t need to be a vision… an idea, sure, but not necessarily a vision.  For a long campaign, vision is required, but not just for the GM.  While the GM has to keep the scope of the story he wishes to tell in sight when designing a campaign, the players should also have a vision for their character within the world the GM has built.  Characters with dreams, aspirations and personal quests are far more interesting stories to hear about and when every character has depth and motivation.

It’s why I have always asked my players for some kind of backstory… I don’t want the only child, orphan, with no friends at my table.  Those one-dimensional characters might be mechanically sound, but you’ll find yourself bored with the character in now time, when others are seeing their characters evolve and change and the plot evolves with them, while your dice machine merely comes along for the ride.  Have a vision for everything you do and your games will always be fun, even if your character takes a back seat to another in your party, as the story you’ve all crafted is interesting enough without being in the limelight.

 

J.

RPGaDay 2020 Day 3 – “Thread” #RPGADAY2020

•August 5, 2020 • Leave a Comment

So the third day’s prompt is “Thread”, huh?

I’ve struggled with this one.  I suppose for me, I take thread to mean keeping track of the common thread in every game I run: the players.  No matter how intricate the plot, how dastardly the villain… the one thing that seldom changes are your players.  As a GM, my players have helped me to refine my craft and challenged me in all sorts of ways, while I try to challenge them.  Recent events in my life have shown that this thread can be easily broken out of the blue, but all you can do is tie the thread back together and carry on.  I am in a great position where I don’t want for players.

So, I will take the thread I’ve had and continue putting together a tapestry.  It may be mismatched and threadbare in places, but it’s all mine.

J.

RPGaDay 2020 Day 2 – “Change” #RPGADAY2020

•August 4, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Carrying on with the RPG a Day Challenge, the second prompt is “Change”.

Since I just discussed how RPGs changed me as a person in the first Day post, I won’t retread that ground on this post, as that feels like a cop-out.  Instead, I thought I would talk about another facet of change I touched on… my evolution as a GM.  Back when I first started, I didn’t (naturally) have the encyclopedic knowledge of Shadowrun lore in my head that I do today.  To compensate for this lack of knowledge, I thought it prudent to map out the entire plot of each session.  Many GMs out there will know the perils of this approach… I should have just written a story, as my players did precisely none of the things I had laid out in meticulous detail.

So, in light of this, I had to very quickly learn the art of improvisation.  It is an indispensable skill for intrepid GMs whose players are so outside of the box, they don’t exactly recall where they left it.  My notes per session went from 20 pages down to 10 and eventually to the point I have them now… roughly 3-5 on average.  As my skill with “making it up as I go” grew, my style of GMing evolved.  I went from sticking strictly to the rule to loosening up and finally just making a judgement call in moments of dramatic tension.  My games went from “We do A, then B and finally C” to a cinematic off-the-cuff style of play that I absolutely love.

I got into RPGs because I loved the idea of telling a cooperative story with my friends.  In the middle of my transition to my current game style, I lost the drive to tell a story and was merely running one-off games to entertain my friends, but I wasn’t deriving much joy from it.  In recent years, story has returned to the front and center of why I run my games and even though my games have evolved so much.  So, despite how much I have changed and the way I play my games have changed, for a time I was lost.  My games of today barely resemble my games of 20+ years ago, but when it comes to telling a good story, I’m glad to have come home.

J.

RPGaDay 2020 Day 1 – “Beginning” #RPGADAY2020

•August 4, 2020 • Leave a Comment

So, I’ve seen this challenge for a few years now and I always mean to dive in, but time gets away from me.  So, even though I’m a bit late starting, I’m going to take a crack at this challenge this year.

So, the first prompt is “Beginning”…

My first thought was talking about my introduction to RPGs, but my first two times being introduced to the hobby were disasters that I struggled with… one because of an abysmal GM and the second because I loathed the system (looking at you Palladium…).  I think my first real beginning was when I was introduced to Shadowrun.  I was in university… second or third year when a friend of mine convinced me to try Shadowrun.  Conceptually, it seemed insane, so I didn’t really take it seriously.  It was back in the days of Second Edition, so some pretty big in-game events were going on.  Bug City, Universal Brotherhood… my character started off as a joke, but it quickly became serious.  I wanted to dive further into this crazy world and learn everything about it.

I didn’t get to game much in my latter years, but after I graduated my ex-wife bought me the core book for Third Edition and I dove in headlong.  There were no local groups, so I created one and did a crash course in GMing.  It was a brutal road, but my players were forgiving and helped me to refine my gaming style.  All of the people I used to game with are no longer gaming with me (that whole real life thing), but my group and my style has evolved.  I went from note-heavy to almost entirely improv.  I went from being an introverted wallflower who only gamed with trusted friends, to a happy extrovert who has run games at Gen Con and most local conventions here in Ontario.  My hobby has changed who I am… for the better, I believe.  And it all began in a university common room back in the nineties.

J.

So… anyone left?

•June 18, 2020 • 1 Comment

The Haven has been pretty quiet over the past few months.  There are reasons for that, of course… I separated from my wife and, of course, COVID-19 causing everyone to be isolated certainly didn’t help my home game much.  However, the pandemic has been a boon to Heroes for Hire, as I have begun various online platforms to keep the games moving.  The truth is that for the past two months, I’ve been writing every day for a weekly SR5 campaign that I’ve been running for some players in the Mountain/Pacific time zones set in Las Vegas, which has been a ton of fun.  As I get more material written up, I hope to get caught up in my posting backlog for both Game of Inches and the Shadows Over Las Vegas campaigns.

So, with any luck, I will get more Fifth Ed and Sixth Ed material posted on a semi-regular schedule for GMs looking for game hooks and such.  The Haven isn’t dead… just incredibly busy.

J.

A Game of Inches – Shell Game (#Shadowrun)

•June 18, 2020 • Leave a Comment

This is the sixth event in the Bogota Feral City Campaign, using the Sixth Edition Rules.

After a couple of weeks of downtime, Shepherd receives a call from Mrs. Right.  She had a client of hers approach her and asked her to set up a job.  The Fernandez is unknown as an employer, but has always treated her girls well and always has the money they say they do.  If they’re willing to give the guy a try, she would like to meet with them around 9PM at La Mansion.

Scene 1 – A Bordello of Business

La Mansion was once a ritzy hotel in Bogota’s north end.  The brown brick facade is stained black with the fires that tore through the city and the wrought iron in the windows, once decorative, was now rusting away.  The stone slabs that lead the way to the front doors are cracked and crumbling after years of punishment.  Structurally, the building is sound and Mrs. Right does everything she can to maintain the interior, which is nicely furnished still, if somewhat dated.

As before, the practically naked and gorgeous young human girl, Harmony is at the desk.  Upon them entering she smiles.  “Ah, welcome.  Mrs. Right is expecting you.  Please, follow me.”  The journey toward the rear of the building shows that there aren’t as many patrons as last time they were here, but still a decent group of regulars partaking in any vice they can get their hands on.

Mrs. Right is in her office.  Dressed in a pinstripe suit vest with a partially unbuttoned blouse that shows off her trademark assets, she smiles broadly as the runners enter.  “Welcome back!  I’m glad to see you brighten my doorway once more.  It definitely sounds like you’re making a name for yourselves.  Please, grab a seat.”

The house’s Madam stood up from behind her desk and walked to a bar cart in the back of her office, where she made herself a drink.  It would be easy to forget that she was a satyr until you saw her walk.  Taking a sip of the alcohol in her glass, she smiled as she tasted the aged drink and returned to her seat.

“To the matter at hand… a new employer has approached me and asked if I knew of any teams that could get a job done for him.  I immediately thought of you.  This Senor Fernandez is a regular client of mine, so I trust him enough to bring you in to consult on this one.  If you’re willing to hear him out, I’ll pipe him in.”

If the team assents, Mrs. Right presses a button on her desk.  “All right, Senor Fernandez.  Go ahead.”

A generic humanoid icon appeared over the Madam’s desk.  A heavy voice filter distorted the real voice of the speaker.  “Greetings.  Thank you for hearing me out.  Mrs. Right assures me that your team can do the work I need done.  I hope your experiences have paralleled my own, in finding Aztec strike teams throughout the city, disguised as other local organizations.  They’re operating in secrecy to weed out dissidents or gather intel, but the end game still eludes me.  So, I aim to counter their actions with an intel job of my own.  I have located a remote command post in the Central District that should contain some of their planned troop deployments.  They are likely to move out before long, but if you can seize the command post before they pack up and move on, I’d like to see what they have planned.  Any data they have on those servers is likely to be protected, but bring me the data intact and I can offer your team 7,000¥ apiece for the advanced intel.”

Senor Fernandez is actually working for Aztlan and the troop deployments are those of Amazonian dissidents.  He’s hoping the runners will not be able to piece that information together before delivery.

Fernandez is willing to negotiate on the price a little, but he already feels they’re getting a solid price for the work he’s asking for.  Once the team has signed on, he provides the team with the GPS coordinates for the command center and a commcode they can reach him at when they’re ready to deliver the data.

Senor Fernandez aka Ruben Ortiz
10,000 Daggers Mercenary

If the runners can find an undoctored image of Ruben, he’s a grizzled, muscular man with numerous scars and tattoos, including a prominent Huitzilopochtli glyph on the side of his face.  Always seen in fatigues and images of him fighting in wars around the world are available.

Possible Sources – Az-Am War Veterans, Mercenary Companies

1 – The man is Ruben Ortiz.  A soldier of some repute, currently working with the 10,000 Daggers Mercenary Corps..

4 – Former Aztlan citizen who defected to Novatech.  Went independent after the company crashed.

6 – Has been with the mercenary company for several years, signed on when the company was going to return to Aztlan to resist the attack on Bogota.  Missed the Battle of Bogota by mere days.

10 – Never defected.  He has been a long dormant sleeper agent for years and has been feeding information back to Aztlan to keep the company in the loop about moves against the nation.

Matrix:  The North District has only scattered Matrix nodes that are up and running.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 2.  Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone.  While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 2 – Desolation Sets In

The Central District is an overgrown wasteland from the early days of Bogota’s conflict with Aztlan.  The roads here are difficult to navigate, as they have over 20 years of disuse in the face of aggressive growth from the Amazon.  The people that live here have taken a back-to-nature approach to their lives and at the sight of the runners will often scuttle back into whatever ruin they call home.

Information on this part of the city is little of late.  For plot reasons, Cinco is unavailable for the duration of this job.

Looking at the coordinates provided by Senor Fernandez on the surface shows nothing but wrecked homes from an age long gone.  The locals in the area tell the runners that anything noteworthy in this part of the city often happens in the old service tunnels underground.  The group will need to check the neighbourhood for an available access point into the underground.

Once they locate one, they find the old tunnels under the city (pre-Awakening size… sorry Slaughterborn).  With a successful Navigation roll, the team can find the most effective route to the maintenance tunnel they’re after.

The downside is that they need to cross into an overflow tunnel, which a homeless group calls home.  The Awakened flora in the area has corrupted them similar to how Tempo used to open people up for possession.  A group of people and a couple feral dogs all have glowing green eyes and the spirit can use any of them as a host at any time.

Force 5 Free Amazonian Plant Spirit

B 7  A 4  R 5  S 6  W 5  L 4  I 5  C 5  M 5  Ess 5

1 Major, 3 Minor Actions, 11CM, Move 5/10/+2

Init = 10 + 2D6

DR = 5

Skills = Astral, Close Combat, Exotic Ranged Weapon, Perception

Powers = Astral Form, Concealment, Engulf (Plants), Fear, Guard, Magical Guard (can counterspell itself and others nearby), Possession, Sapience, Search

Optional Power = Accident

Attacks:  Engulf 7P, crushed by vines and raked by thorns.  Gain Fatigued I Status, AR 11
Lash 3P, AR 10

Once the spirit is defeated, any surviving homeless people come to their senses and surrender.  The path to the command post is unobstructed at this point.

Scene 3 – The Den of the Enemy

At the end of a service corridor is the old maintenance control center.  This room has been converted into a makeshift command center for troop deployments in the area.  The room is warded and once the runners are on the inside, they find the interior filled with Aztec soldiers, who are prepping the room for destruction with explosive charges.  There are twice as many Aztec soldiers as there are runners and despite the ward on the room, there are no mages in this group.

The room is large with a wall of old-school monitors on one side, a heavy conference table dominating the center and a smaller table along the other long wall, with assorted maps of the city splayed across the surface.

The Aztec soldiers here were not privy to the Fernandez’s plan and tracked down the command post of the dissidents on their own.  They’re ready to blow the room to hell, but they are actually after the same info as the runners and will be hesitant to destroy the room before they’ve lifted the data from the server.

The runners, once successful in dealing with the Aztec soldiers, will need to crack into the server and steal all relevant data.  Whether they use the Aztec explosives to destroy the evidence after is up to them.  Fernandez will pay the runners if they deliver the data and move on.  If Senor Fernandez feels that the secret is out and the runners have pieced together that they’re betraying the dissidents, he will ghost them and the team earns nothing.

Matrix:  The Matrix here is spotty at best.  Unless plugging directly into a device or having it in visual range, there is a Noise of -3 to the general Matrix here.  Accessing the bunker computer or any guards’ commlink has no penalty to Noise.

The imagery here is generic.  In fact, it’s nearly defacto off-the-rack iconography (which might make a hacker question the owner of the system).  The entry level Host is a general atrium host that is designed to scan the icon of every user to check for legitimacy.  The second host actually contains the information, but it is encrypted and data bombed, in order to slow down illegitimate users.  If the Data Bomb detonates, all data in the host is destroyed.

Host Rating: 5
ASDF Ratings:  Attack 6, Sleaze 5, Data Processing 7, Firewall 8

Security Processing:  Patrol IC is running all the time.  Once the alarm is raised, IC activates in the following order:  Tar Baby, Black IC, Sparky, Killer, Track.  If an IC gets bricked, a new version of the IC is rebooted rather than moving to the next.

>> Why set up shop in the Central District of the city?  There’s nothing left out there…
>> Leopard

>> For precisely that reason.  No one would think to look there, but the area under the earth is pocked with old basements, tunnels and sewers that serve as a good way to avoid detection.
>> Perdidos

>> Not too mention that the Amazon has begun reclaiming that part of the city… nothing like an angry force of nature to deter exploration.
>> Jungle Warrior

A Game of Inches – A Common Enemy (#Shadowrun)

•April 20, 2020 • Leave a Comment

This is the fifth run in the home Shadowrun Campaign, using the Sixth Edition Ruleset.

With time off since their last job, the team has been having some time off between jobs.  With the team setting up the villa to their own needs, there is a time midday where a man slowly approaches the villa with arms raised in surrender.  “I need to speak with Slaughterborn.”

Scene 1 – Past Enemies

The man walking up to the court of the villa is an augmented human who has definitely seen battle.  His face is heavily scarred, a long-healed gash crosses his cheekbone and mars his left eye. While dressed as a local, he is of Japanese descent.  He doesn’t cross too far onto the property, while he waits to meet the large minotaur.

When Slaughterborn shows up, he is barely able to hide his disdain for the metahuman, in traditional Japanese upbringing.  Faced with the imposing troll, he keeps his arms open and to the side.

“Look, I don’t want to be here any more than you likely want me here.  I heard you were still alive and if we both want to stay that way, I have a proposition for you.  My contacts have told me that some of your old squadmates are being detained in the Western District… to what end I don’t know.  I thought you might still have some loyalties to your battle brothers… if you do, I’d be willing to pay your team 10,000¥ (to be divided), to be let in on what you find.  If someone is hunting down veterans of the war, it could happen to me too.”

The soldier is Jun Iwasaki, a former soldier of Tsunami.  He resents having to go to Slaughterborn for this task, but his squadmates are all gone.  He has gone out of his way to destroy all signs that he was with Tsunami, but since Slaughterborn is the one who destroyed his eye, he is hopeful that the minotaur doesn’t remember.

If Slaughterborn agrees, Mr. Johnson tells him that the detainees get moved around a lot, but they’re rarely far from the ABC, which means they’re either piggybacking off of the Matrix access or they’re associated with the Azzies.  Once any last minute questions are asked, Mr. Johnson will leave a burner number for Slaughterborn to call once the work is done and back away slowly.

Mr. Johnson aka Jun Iwasaki
Former Tsunami Mercenary

Possible Sources – Az-Am War Veterans, Japanacorp Black Ops

1 – The man is Jun Iwasaki.  Long time member of the Tsunami Mercenary Corps.  Last reported MIA after the Az-Am War.

4 – Rumour in the shadows of Bogota says that he has been laying low within the city after being exposed to Blue-227.  His memory of the events that followed his exposure is practically non-existent and he’s been working to rebuild the missing time.

6 – Slaughterborn is the one responsible for the marred eye, but it prevented Iwasaki from killing any more of his countrymen, so he harbours little resentment for the attack.

9 – Iwasaki is disgraced in his home country and he refuses to commit seppuku until he understands what happen to him.  He does not feel he can greet death peacefully until he knows his own sins. 

Matrix:  The North District has few Matrix nodes that are remotely reliable.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 1. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 2 – Getting the Band Back Together

The Western District is the ongoing battlefield of gangs and even getting to the edge of the ABC is a perilous trek.  As they move through the West, they will be pursued by a motorcycle gang, who are looking to pick over the corpse of anyone they can get a hold of.

If the runners have any contacts in the west city, they may want to call them up to check the rumour mill.  Otherwise, they’re going to require a display of force and some bribes to get the locals to talk. 

Prison Camp
Makeshift Interrogation Area

Possible Sources – Western City Gangs, Aztec Black Ops Operatives

2 – Damned Blues have been seen around the area of late.  They never come around the West.

4 – The UN came around, offering food, water and medical supplies in exchange for local turf information.  Said they had some work to do in the area and didn’t want to offend anyone.

6 – When a gang gets wiped out, the Blues move in and check out the area for a few days.  They show up well armed and defend the area with deadly force until a new area opens up.

7 – The locals doubt these are true UN Peacekeepers, as they never help the Western District and they are a little too trigger happy to be upholders of human rights.

Checking out the places the UN has been, they often find the gangs have swept in in the power vacuum, but in the newest location, they find the disposed corpse of a MET soldiers, who appears to have been torn apart and left for the ghouls to consume.

If the characters have any contacts with the UN, the UN contacts know of no operations in the West.  After following leads, they come to an old residential district where the UN has set up shop. The area has been fortified and guards stand at their post, watching for external threats.

Scene 3 – Fake Peace

While the area is decked out as if a UN Task Force had swept in, the demeanour of the soldiers here is that of a local warlord.  Guards stood with weapons ready, leaving the patrols to the drones circling the skies above. The center of the encampment seemed to be around an old convenience store that used to service the local residences.

Getting to the convenience store will be tricky, with the local patrol so diligent.  Spirits are on call, if a threat is detected and combat drones can be deployed.

Packmule has had its “saddlebags” replaced with an articulated arm and an HMG for laying down cover fire during an assault.

Both Spirits are Force 4.  The Beast spirit takes the form of a Jaguar and the Spirit of Earth takes the form of a golem of asphalt and concrete.

Inside the convenience store, the area is draped in plastic to make an impromptu clean room.  Scientists have vivisected a couple of war veterans and are trying to study their bodies for the effects that Blue-227 had on them long term.  They then try to erase all evidence of the weapon from their body using dialysis and if they can’t filter the molecules out, the subject is terminated.

When they arrive, one soldier is currently having their blood filtered while the second has been exsanguinated as “uncorrectable”.

The back room of the store serves as a lab and records storage and the information Mr. Johnson wants is stored in the archive here.  It lists the ongoing effects of Blue-227 exposure and a list of those that have been eliminated as part of this process. There are 26 survivors of the war, spanning all major mercenary deployments, that have been executed as part of this detail.

Sending a copy of the scientific findings and the list of casualties will see the runners get paid by Iwasaki.  Below is the content of the last message sent from the camp.

From:  Augusto Bolanos

To:  Perpetua Blanco

Subject:  Project Dragonsbane

Buenos noches, Ms. Blanco.  You will be pleased to know that Project Dragonsbane is on schedule and making considerable progress.  Given how scattered the population of the city is, we anticipate diminishing returns as we progress into the more damaged areas of the city, but we are working on a solution for that.

Attached to this message are the scientific findings from the test subjects we have analyzed thus far.  As you can see from the disparate results, the effect that Blue-227 had on those exposed is extremely varied, but as we analyze more subjects, we are learning more about how this weapon acted upon the metahuman populace.

Despite all of these differences, there are some side effects that seem more common than others:

  • Shortened temper or lack of patience
  • Astral Bonding
  • Heightened stimulation of the adrenal gland
  • Partial to Total Memory Loss

Most previously exposed to the magitech weapon have a magnified fight-or-flight response, typically tending toward fight.  It seems that those that retained many of their memories from the blood burn tend to having mental health issues, ranging from moderate to severe.  Of the issues created in the test subject, the most interesting is the Astral Bonding.

The aura of Blue-227 has seemingly found a way to bond itself to the exposed victim and travels through the body, as if through the bloodstream.  If the aura is altered in a way that is sympathetic to the Dragonsbane, it can recreate the blood burn anew. What the trigger is, varies from person to person.  One subject might only require to be made angry or fearful, while others might require a narcotic, a poison or a specific food. One test subject seemed to only trigger the effect when they slept.  While it is not as potent as the initial exposure, the drug has lingered in the system for four years and it is unclear how rapidly the aura is degrading.>>

Because there is an astral component to the infection, our technicians are now beginning to see if the bonding can be isolated, similar to a radioactive isotope.  If we can isolate the astral component for the weapon in all those exposed, it will greatly expedite to project, as we will be able to pinpoint the exposed throughout the city in an instant.  If we make progress in this research, we will notify you right away.

I hope this information meets your expectations and that we will have the city cleared of the dissidents from the war at long last.  When we better understand the lingering effects of the weapon, we can determine if it has a place in Aztlan’s arsenal in future conflicts.

Dr. A. Bolanos

>> Wait, didn’t the mercs all team up, then turn on each other…. now they’re teaming up again… I think I need a score card…
>> Havik

>> They turned on each other due to some kind of chemical attack on the city, according to my sources.  Granted, some of these groups didn’t play nicely together to start with… but the original job was to fight against Aztlan.  Perhaps they’re honouring their original contract?
>> Jungle Cat

>> There aren’t enough mercenary soldiers left to fight that battle anymore.  If the word on the street that I’ve heard is accurate, their working together is motivated by the same thing as anyone else in that city:  survival.
>> Serval

A Game of Inches – Relic of the Past (#Shadowrun)

•February 20, 2020 • Leave a Comment

This was the fourth installment of the ongoing Bogota campaign.

It’s been a bit more than a week since the runners ran into a pocket of Blue-227 in the old Capitol District.  The streets seemed quiet in the days that followed, as the United Nations swept into the old Capitol, looking for further evidence, but things are slowly going back to normal.

In the silence that followed, Switch gets a call from her associate, el Pasador.  “Como Estas, Escobar?  Listen, I have something I need taken care of in your part of the world… any chance you know a reputable team that can get some results?”

Scene 1 – Remotely Interested

Where the team takes el Pasador’s call is up to the team.  There is only a one hour time difference between Bogota and Havana, so unless the runners wait until very late to return the call, el Pasador will answer promptly.

Hola.  Is this your group, Escobar?  All right, this is a summary of what’s going on… I have benefactors all around the Carribean and the Yucatan.  They help keep me in business. One of my main suppliers lives in your fine city and is now behind in their shipments.  We’ve all got bills to pay… I need some locals to track down my provider, find out what happened and see if there’s any way to restart the pipeline.  I can offer you 2000¥ apiece for the investigation and if you can restart the shipments, or even get me another one, there’s another 6000¥ in it for the team.  I can’t tell you anymore unless you sign on, since I’d rather not sell out my providers… you understand, of course…”

El Pasador has seen his primary Novacoke provider go missing and it could lose him a significant share of his market.  He needs this shipment more than he is willing to let on.

If the team agrees to the terms, the troll on the line grins and nods.  “Much appreciated. In the old Usaquen neighbourhood, the Northern tip is on the banks of the Rio Bogota.  Along the river’s edge, you’ll find a makeshift port where the packages ship from. You can probably get some answers there.”

Scene 2 – Home of the Cartels

The old Usaquen district, once upon a time, was one of the nicest parts of Bogota.  Being remote, the district survived better than many parts of the city. There are several blocks of intact structures where many of the better-off denizens call home.  There is power, Matrix service and running water here. Much of it is run by the Alegrea Oculta, a local wizgang and the largest gang in Bogota.

The area used to be the home turf of the Olaya Cartel before the Tempo crisis and Aztlan sent in a hit squad to wipe the Cartel off the map.  The scars of those raids still dot the landscape, but the majority of the Battle of Bogota happened far from here, so the degradation here is a role of time, rather than conflict.

Beyond the blackened buildings and cluttered streets lies the Rio Bogota.  This brown flow of water carries the main source of fresh water into the city.  The river is heavily polluted, but is actually on the mend with the city in ruins, as the old heavy industry is no longer actively pumping toxic chemicals into the river.

Scanning the coastline, they will see numerous spots where locals have erected platforms for fishing in the river (for better or worse), but in time they will see something that could be considered a dock.  The area is embroiled in a gun fight when they arrive on scene and the attackers are obviously better equipped.

In the aftermath of the gunfight, one of the dockworkers lays bleeding out on the dock.  He can try to provide information (more easily with a First Aid roll applied)… tells them that they’ve been under siege for a few days, but today their competition showed up in greater numbers and a number of them went into the tunnels to flush them out.  If the runners tell them that they’re after a missing shipment, he tells them that they need their leader in the tunnels, if they want to see another package go out.  

Matrix:  The North District has only scattered Matrix nodes that are up and running.  The Usaquen network is close enough that there is no Noise. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 3 – The Underbelly of the North

The tunnels here are narrow… even the average human would have to bend over at the waist to walk down these tunnels.  Tags dot the water-stained concrete down here, as do sporadic skeletal remains of young orphans that hid away the war underground, only to drown in a flood of water, or waste away from starvation.

The tunnels wind through the streets of the Northern District and it will require a good tracking roll to avoid getting lost.  When they find their way, the group steps out into a main tunnel and can finally stand upright (even Slaughterborn). Pursuing the rival team is going to have to wait, as when they step out into the tunnel, they hear movement down the main tunnel and in a few moments they see a humanoid shape step out from the shadows, revealing the milky eyes and bloody teeth of a feral ghoul.  The Ghoul pack attacks, as do a swarm of rats that hang around nearby, feeding on the scraps the ghouls leave behind.

Rats

B1  A3 R2  S1 W1 L1  I1 C1 Ess 6

Initiative = 3+2D6, 1 Major, 3 Minor

Condition Monitor 6

Qualities:  Fragile 3 (-3 Condition boxes), Enhanced Smell, Gestalt Consciousness (work as a swarm and can do teamwork attacks), Bite (1P, 3AR)

Skills:  Athletics 3, Perception 3, Stealth 3, Close Combat 2

Defense Rating = 1

With the hungry under-city life dealt with and their Stealth likely blown, the runners will need to resume the trail and hurry to catch up.

Matrix:  The North District has only scattered Matrix nodes that are up and running.  The Usaquen network is close enough, but due to being underground, there is a -1 penalty to Noise.  Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed. The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone.  While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle. Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 4 – A Ghost from the Past

The larger stretch of tunnels mercifully carries on for a while and it appears that areas where the tunnels used to be smaller have been widened to turn this part of the sewers into a rancid set of catacombs.  No natural light makes it this far under the city and without a light source, the runners will be stumbling around blindly.

With a successful Tracking check, the runners can navigate the catacombs.  Stealth is harder here, as the waste water here is thigh-deep in places. However, they can find an area that has been shored up and drained.  Shortly after they locate the area, they see chemical protection gear and gang colours discarded.

The air is a mixed noxious stench of sewage and ammonia.  Without a gas mask or filtration system, the characters will suffer the Nauseated status in the area.  As they near their quarry, they find not a group of gangers, but an Aztec strike team. A series of Kanmushi microdrones have been cast in a net in the area, so there is a very high likelihood the runners approach has been noticed by the Aztecs and they are lying in wait.  Some of the team will engage the runners, while a couple are going to carry out their original mission.

If the runners are successful in engaging the Azzies and prevent the Aztecs from completing their objective, they can find an excavated room where the ammonia stench is extremely powerful.  A group of people work diligently to extract Novacoke from Awakened coca plants, while a man in a hazmat suit orders them all back to work.

Escobar can make a Memory check to remember who the man barking orders really is:  Olaya kingpin and long presumed dead drug maker, Jose Salazar.

Mr. Salazar will (cautiously) thank them for dealing with the Azzies and cuss out the would-be assassins for the massive setback to his operation.

“I went to great lengths to die and apparently they’ve figured out that their bombings in Usaquen weren’t fully successful.  Now I need to uproot my whole operation and rebuild…”

He has enough manufactured final product to complete el Pasador’s shipment and will press the runners to see it delivered, since his network is in ruins.  If the runners let Salazar live and potentially help him to disappear again (via doctored footage, networking, etc) they can gain Jose Salazar as a contact.  (Conn 5, Loy 1)

>> Searching the sewers of a war-torn city for a stash of coke?  Not enough nuyen in Zurich for that one… you know those sewers are haunted, right?
>> Kali

>> You actually believe that?  The ghosts of dead orphans?  C’mon man, Bogota has enough real problems without your fear-mongering.  The sewers are one of the few places in that city where one can live without worry of gang violence or Azzie patrols.
>> Tunnel Rat

>> Not these days… been seeing more patrols under the streets of late.  I’m guessing they’re looking for something.  Must want it pretty bad to send their soldiers in…
>> Vagrant

A Game of Inches – Ongoing Casualties (#Shadowrun)

•January 9, 2020 • Leave a Comment

This was the third installment of our Bogota campaign and the last piece run using the 5th Edition rule set.  My players were kind enough to convert the campaign over, so I could familiarize myself with the new rules (as a Catalyst Demo Agent, I need to learn the latest version).  I had to develop stats for canon events that never had full stat lines developed, but please don’t take my rulings as official.

After some down time, the runners are huddled in their hideaways and when Slaughterborn is out running errands, a young child comes barreling out of a side street, bumps into the massive minotaur and looking up at the towering runner, the kid quickly turns and darts down the road.

The next time Slaughterborn checks his pockets, he finds a slip of paper in his pocket, directing him to an abandoned school in the Northern District.  Whether Slaughterborn calls in support or not is up to him.

Scene 1 – Back to School

The school that Slaughterborn was directed to was once a prestigious establishment for high school kids.  Today the once open air, red brick school is a shattered ruin. Liceo Hermano Miguel La Salle (Hermano Miguel La Salle Lyceum) appears to have taken a shell years ago and since then the school has fallen into disrepair, with overgrowth slowly creeping in through the old brick work.

In one of the large lecture halls, Slaughterborn sees a scarred teenager leaning against the old teacher’s desk at the front of the classroom.  The kid has obviously seen a few things in his few years and doesn’t seem phased by the enormous minotaur entering the room. “Hola. I see you got my message…”

The teenager seems a little more nervous if the entire party comes along, but will press ahead, despite being outnumbered by trained killers.

“So, I’m speaking on behalf of Los Enaños… as Aesop can tell you, we have eyes over a lot of this city.  However, there is an area of this city, not far from here, that has become a no-go area. Someone in this city is regularly murdering children and it needs to stop.  We don’t have much, but we’re willing to offer you 5000¥ (total) for you to investigate and put an end to the violence in the area.

Senor Fernandez represents a band of child pickpockets… they don’t have much to offer.  They can add favors owed, but in terms of cash, they really don’t have much they can pay.  The run should award extra karma in lieu of financial reward.

If the team takes the job, the teenager seems to visibly relax.  “On behalf of my group, thank you. Our people keep going missing in the old Capitol District.  One of the gangs there has a vendetta against us and we need to know why and have it stopped.”

Senor Fernandez doesn’t have a lot of additional information, since going to the area is very dangerous.  Trying to look up anything on their Fernandez yields nothing: he is a war orphan and any records of him either don’t exist or were wiped out in the war.  All members of the Runts are ghosts in the population.

Matrix:  The North District has only scattered Matrix nodes that are up and running.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 2. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 2 – Fallen District

Directed to the Capital region, the runners are faced with a bleak reminder of what happened to this city over the past 25 years.  What was once considered the international hub of the city is now a crater-filled landscape, where even the most minor of structures in the area shows the scars of battle.  The old parliament building is visible, still blackened by old fires caused by an “accidental” Aztlan bombing.

In the loss of a civilian government, the void here was filled with gangs, eager to claim a piece of the region when lawlessness set in.  Wars once waged with modern weapons, but so many of those weapons have fallen into disrepair now, that classical weapons are favoured here now.

There are four gangs that dominate the region:

  • The Jade Rat Tribe
  • The Conquistadors
  • The Night Watch
  • The Blue Demons

The Jade Rats are the smallest of the four and are a scrapper gang, scouring the ruins for anything of use.  Like the animal they’re named after, they will often back down in a fight, but if forced into a fight, they fight like madmen to protect their turf.  The gang’s color is green and led by a dwarf woman named Maria Lopez.

The Conquistadors are a mostly ork gang with a love of fighting.  Picking a classical name was their leader’s choice to describe their use of scrap metal to augment their armour.  Always looking to expand their turf, they brag about how much ground they control, but much of what they claim is theirs is open wasteland of the Central District.  Their color is yellow led by a burly ork named Ramiro Guzman.

The Night Watch are a band surrounded in a mythology they have created.  Locals speak of vampires and ghouls that steal away residents that don’t pay the protection racket in the night.  The membership does have two ghouls in it, but there are no vampires. The hearsay about the gang keeps the protection money flowing in and stops other gangs from testing their borders too often.  Their color is a deep purple, led by a pale, lanky human named Isidoro Chavez.

The Blue Demons never seem to die.  They have survived four attempts to wipe them out and each time, they come back stronger than before.  Despite the name, they see themselves as a neighbourhood watch of sorts, looking out for the residents.  They bankroll themselves by doing business with the Cartels… depending who you ask, they work with either the Olaya or Masaya Cartel.  Their color is blue and their leader is a human named Joel Medina.

Each gang will interact with the runners differently.  When asked about the Runts, the story is often the same:  they have no issue with the kids. Sure, they’re annoying, but hey… kid has to eat and if they get good enough, the gang could recruit them in time.  If asked, they will often direct the runners to one of the other gangs (usually the Conquistadors) as the potential murderers.

As they poll the gangs, it becomes apparent that the gangs did not (knowingly) start killing the child gang and there are reports of people in their ranks going missing as well.  It is often passed off as a victim of a border skirmish. Each gang has similar reports and it points the runners to an area near where the four gangs’ borders meet. Nobody wants to claim the area (so naturally, the Conquistadors have) around the old train station, Bogota La Sabana Railway Station.

Bogota La Sabana Railway Station (Bogota Savannah Railway Station)

Former Main Railway Hub

Possible Sources – Long Time Bogota Residents, Cartel Contacts

1/2 – Built originally in the early 20th century, the Savannah Railway was centered out of this central neo-classical style building.  It serviced most of the main burroughs of the city for much of the 20th and 21st century.

2/4 – After countless delays, in the 21st century the city began excavating the area under the city to run subway tunnels throughout Bogota.  The Awakening, the Crash of 29 and several severe governmental shifts added further delays to this project. The subway project was abandoned in the mid-30’s.

4/7 – The building is currently a blasted ruin, almost leveled by the Aztec bombings in the 40’s.  Several skirmishes happened in the area over the Battle of Bogota.

6/10 – In the years since the war, the building is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of fallen soldiers.  Stories of men being driven mad or outright disappearing are common in the surrounding area.  

Matrix:  The Central District has no Matrix nodes that are remotely reliable.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 2. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 3 – Hub of the Old World

The Bogota La Sabana Station once upon a time ago must have been an impressive building to look at.  English-style architecture at the heart of a Spanish colony, full of columns, stone slab floors and an airy feeling.  Now, only small pieces of the once-grand building remains; the upper floor is entirely gone, leaving only stairwells to indicate that the building used to be taller.  The tracks long ago had the rails themselves looted for the metal, leaving only rotting railway ties behind to indicate the former presence of a rail system.

The area around the old railway station is a ghost town.  The usual squatters one associates with the old central area are nowhere to be found and the area is strangely quiet.  Evidence of gun battles from years before dot every wall and car left to rot in the streets.

As the runners near the building, the residents attack.  Consisting of gangers and feral dogs, the runners may notice something off with the group attacking them:  the gangers all wear conflicting colours, they all have a wide-eyed, bloodshot glare on their faces and there are children in their ranks.

Berserk Gangers (human baseline)

B5 A5 R3 S5 W4 L1 I2 C2  Init 5+2D6

Physical Limit 6, Mental Limit 3, Social Limit 5

Armor 9

Skills: Automatics 4, Blades 4, Intimidation 5, Perception 3, Pilot Groundcraft 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Gang Turf 4, Local Area Knowledge (Zona Centrico) 4

Qualities: Toughness

Uzi IV (SMG, Acc 4(5), 7P, BF, RC (1), AP 0, 24(c), Folding Stock, Top-mounted Laser Sight)

Armor Vest
Meta Link
Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)
Knife (Reach 0, 5P, AP -1, Acc 5)

The gangers are mindless attackers and even though they carry guns, they are unlikely to use them, opting to try to tear opponents apart with their bare hands.

Dogs have stats in the SR5 Core Rule Book.  The dogs that have been exposed to Blue-227 can add one to all physical attributes, except Reaction and all mental attributes drop by one, except Will which improves by 1.

The NPCs are completely immune to all Social tests and will fight to the death.

Once removed from combat, they are free to explore the building.  The surface level of the building shows nothing except for the wanton destruction of the berserk people that had been lingering here.  If they opt to explore into the lower levels where the original subway tunnel was dug, they will find the old tunnels flooded with old rain water.  While the water is stagnant in places, the locals had, at some point in the past added an agitator to the pool to circulate the water. This seems to have served as a reservoir for the local population.

A Perception Test (3) reveals the source of the problem:  an undetonated shell sits lodged in the ceiling over the track.  Over the years, rainwater has eroded the shell casing and now the payload is leaking into the reservoir.  Originally supposed to detonate mid-air, the canister contains Blue-227. Any who have been exposed to the drug will need to pass a Composure roll, to not react to the substance (depending on how that character might respond).  There are also some local plant life growing, using the tainted water as a water source. If anyone opts to claim these plants, they can be refined for Alchemy, if they know what they’re doing (see Dragonblood Vines).

The runners have their answer as to why the kids kept going missing… either killed by the madmen who drank the water, or going mad themselves.  They now have to decide what to do with the tainted water supply. Many of the locals depend on it as a water source, but allowing it to remain could result in local violence continuing.  Do they risk exposure, to remove the shell or bury it all in rubble?

Blue-227

Vector:  Contact, Inhalation

Speed:  1 Combat Turn

Penetration:  -2

Power:  14

Effect: Disorientation, Berserk, Pain Resistance.

This is the prototype anti-dragon weapon Aztechnology designed to take down Sirrurg.  While it was only supposed to affect a dragon’s metabolism, when it was used in Bogota it caused the people exposed to it to fly into a blind rage that was dubbed “Blood Fever”.  The user loses all sense of friend or foe and will blindly attack anyone nearby. They feel no pain and will fight to the death until the drug wears off. The drug lasts (Power-Body) days before it runs its course, at which point the user takes 9S Damage.  They are overcome by lethargy and remorse, though memories of their actions are spotty at best.

Dragonblood Vines

These are indigenous jungle vines that have absorbed water tainted with Blue-227.  The vine’s growth is slightly accelerated and while they were already a clinging plant, they have become more aggressive in engulfing whatever surface they cling to.  They are not hazardous to contact, but is toxic if eaten. The metabolized water amplifies the magical compounds in the weaponized compound and causes arrhythmia, palpitations or a heart attack if eaten in great enough quantity.  However, if refined through alchemy, it can make an Advanced Alchemical Compound called Dragon’s Fire.

Dragon’s Fire:

Trigger:  Contact

Effect:  The user benefits from the equivalent of the Berserk Adept Power (pg 169, SG)

Aftereffect:  The user suffers (Potency * 0.5)S DV, Fatigued and Stunned side effects. (pg 220, SG)

Required Reagent:  Refined Dragonblood vines from Bogota

In any case, the runners can get paid.  The Karma reward should reflect the tough choice the team made to protect the locals.

>> Missing people?  In a war zone?  Say it isn’t so… c’mon, this just screams of a setup…
>> Skeptik

>> The war ended four years ago.  People continuing to disappear after the bombs stopped falling would be bad for Aztlan.  The UN would be back in a big way, so I bet the Azzies are just trying to cover their own asses.
>> Revenge

>> I mean, couldn’t it be possible that those that survived the war are just trying to get by and are looking out for their own?  Why does there always have to be some other motive?
>> Vista

>> You live in the Sixth World, right?  There is always someone else behind it all.
>> Conspir-I-See

Media Circus (#Shadowrun)

•December 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was one of the introductory runs I ran at Phantasm 2019 to introduce Shadowrun Sixth World.  All characters were provided by me.

It’s a stereotypical day in Seattle… an acidic drizzle falling on the city.  Adonis is enjoying some downtime when he gets a call from his fixer, Patience.  She tells him that she has a lead on some work that requires a variety of talent for some big players.  Lacking other choices, she wants to have Adonis gather his crew and meet with her at Club Infinity at 9PM.

Scene 1 – A Den of Decadence

Club Infinity is one of the premiere nightclubs in the Downtown Core.  Priding themselves on inclusivity and the latest in AR technology, the bar features clientele that are changelings, transhumanists and those that stand out in a crowd.  The place is often packed by a mix of the extreme in fashion and those wanting to observe.

In the back corner of the club, a large booth with considerable soundproofing sits reserved and Patience is awaiting the team’s arrival.  She is an older human woman dressed in black, with reading glasses perched on the bridge of her nose and a simple crucifix on a chain around her neck.  She has a chastising gaze that seems capable of making most people be silent. 

As the team gathers, Patience’s eyes look on at the crowd it a mix of disbelief and disgust.  Once everyone is seated, Patience seems to tune out the rest of the room and faces the team. “I’m glad you were able to meet with me on such short notice.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend as little time in this bordello as possible, so let’s get into it, shall we?”

“Since the Megacorporate Audit, we’ve been pretty busy here.  The new big boy in the neighbourhood, Spinrad Global has gobbled up a lot of what used to be NeoNET and in doing so rattled a few cages.  One of their rivals has decided they need to take action against Spinrad’s expansion, which is where you come in. Spinrad Systems is going to be kicking off a new product on Friday morning, five days from now.  Mr. Johnson wants to see the product to get through QA and fail spectacularly at the investors meeting on Friday. However, he has asked that the investors be skittish by the time they enter the board room. So, in the time between then and now, he wants you to conduct a series of PR attacks on Spinrad’s holdings in hopes of making those investors question whether Spinrad was truly ready for the big leagues.  So, for this defamation campaign, he’s offering 12,000¥ apiece. Think you can pull it off?”

The Mr. Johnson Patience represents Horizon, who saw them immediately surpassed by the new giant in town.  As Sol Media was one of the acquisitions that pushed Spinrad over the top, Horizon wants to halt the megacorp’s expansion into the media industry… show that they are the uncontested leader in media.

Patience is willing to negotiate on the terms and if the runners agree, she can provide them with more details.  “All right! Mr. Johnson has provided us with some of the local Spinrad projects he is aware of. You don’t need to complete all of these tasks… these are just some suggestions of things you can do to humiliate the company in preparation for the main job.  I leave it to your discretion, assuming you know the meaning of the word, as to which of these you take on.”

  • Expose a dirty employee in the Seattle Spinrad branch (any day) [Scene 4]
  • Steal/delete an EU recording artist’s new album and lyrics to motivate the artist to jump labels (Tuesday) [Scene 5]
  • Sabotage Seattle Matrix nodes owned by Spinrad (any day) [Scene 3]
  • Expose more bad press about CEO Johnny Spinrad (any day) [Scene 2]
  • Discredit the Spinrad celebrity publically at a ribbon cutting ceremony (Wednesday) [Scene 6]

“All right, I’ve told you what I know.  You have a lot of work to do. I suggest you get to it.”

Mr. Johnson aka “Patience”
Catholic Fixer

B2  A3 R3  S2 W5 L3  I4 C5 Ess 6

Skills:  Con 4, Electronic 4, Firearms 3, Influence 6, Perception 4, Piloting 3

Knowledge Skills:  Corporate Finances, Industry Rumours, Theology, English (Native)

Gear:  Erika Elite Commlink (Rating 4), Actioneer Business Clothes, Contacts 3 (Image Link, Smartlink)

Weapons: Colt Manhunter (Hvy Pistol, 3P, SA, 10/8/6/-/-, Smartgun)

Possible Contacts:  Runner Contacts, Corporate Contacts

3 – Patience is a former nun in the Catholic Church.  She has a no-nonsense attitude and hopes to bring good into the shadows in her own way.

4 – Relatively new to the shadowrunning industry, she is very tight-lipped about why she left the Church and why she chose to throw in with criminals.  Her shrewd business sense has earned her a lot of positive reputation.

6 – Her departure from the Church came from when her son (a small time business owner) was killed by a run done wrong and the Church’s slacktivism in addressing the violence.  She uses her teams and reputation to track down her son’s killer.

Spinrad Global
AAA Megacorp

Possible Contacts: Corporate Contacts

1 – Spinrad Global rose into AA status in 2079.  They specialize in augmentations, luxury goods and tourism.

3 – Spinrad acquired a lot of what used to be NeoNET in the transition from AA to AAA, so they acquired quite a large piece of Matrix infrastructure.

5 – The speed with which Spinrad grew hasn’t been without its share of issues.  Many new employees haven’t drank the kool-aid for Johnny’s new empire and have conflicting loyalties.

7 – Companies like Horizon, Renraku and Saeder Krupp are none too impressed with their latest competition.  Horizon was passed by Spinrad on their way in and are solid in European media circles. Renraku had hoped to dominate the Matrix market, only for Spinrad to get the majority of NeoNET’s holdings.  Saeder Krupp is none too happy to have European competition, plus Spinrad’s acquisition of Global Sandstorm puts them as the most influential mover and shaker in Arabia over the dragon.

Scene 2 – Making Johnny Look Bad

One of the offered jobs the runners can choose from is performing a character assassination on Johnny Spinrad; the CEO of Spinrad Global.  On paper it sounds easy. There is no shortage of material for the runners to pick through. Much of it has already been aired out and/or debunked by the media powerhouses that Spinrad controls.  To really make shareholders take notice, they need to find something new… real or not.

No headline is unbelievable when it comes to the state-of-the-art CEO, so if the runners want to fabricate something outlandish, let them try to figure out the story they want to spin and if they incorporate any depth into the story they tell.

There are a few headlines that are at least partially based on fact.  Bringing one of these into the light might cause shareholders to pause.

  • Johnny has avoided several assassination attempts over the years.  Rumours have speculated that the Nizari have captured past assassins and they have been used as test subjects for invasive implants.
  • The substantial Arabian presence in the company hierarchy has provided in-roads for Middle Eastern operatives to access the entire globe.  Not all of them work with Johnny’s blessing…
  • Spinrad borrowed a lot of cred to make the extensive merger happen that thrust his company into the Corporate Court.  The full extent of these loans isn’t known to all parties. Revealing who Spinrad answers to financially could show some dissent in the ranks.

These aren’t black and white issues, of course.  The first one is true, though survivors are recruited and rewarded.  The second one implies allowing terrorists in, though they are more freelancers working for Global Sandstorm.  The third one is also true… it was a matter of Peter borrowing from Paul to pay Pierre and the scope is dazzling.

All of this information will be stored on a Spinrad host, so the decker will need to be on their game to get anything legitimate.

Matrix:  The jetsetting CEO of Spinrad Global has been the inspiration for the system iconography.  Navigating the system isn’t for the faint of heart, as it simulates the feeling of freefall, like they were skydiving.  The user never hits the ground (unless the system recognizes them as hostile), and the icons are rendered as the cityscape below them as they fall, or birds in the sky.  IC shows up as drones, paranormal animals or paratroop soldiers for logged in troubleshooters.

Social Media Host
Host Rating 6

Configuration:  Attack 7, Sleaze 6, Data Processing 8, Firewall 9

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  One Security spider patrolling at all times. 

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Probe, Black IC, Sparky, Killer, Track. If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  If the intruder is making a mockery of security a Troubleshooter will log in after 2D6 Turns once the alarm has sounded.

Host Architecture – Right off of the Spinrad grid is their social media management system.  Johnny Spinrad generates a lot of news and it takes a full host to prevent some of the worst headlines from reaching air.

Scene 3 – Breaking Johnny’s Toys

The runners can check with their contacts, or use some other means to learn which of the many relay stations around Seattle are owned by Spinrad.  Then they just need to gain access and break them. Piece of cake, right?

Three are three major relay stations spaced around the city.  As one is disrupted security will get tighter around the others.  One of the relay stations is a hilltop tower in Snohomish, set into a small rural outpost.  Another is in the downtown core, on the roof of a Spinrad luxury condominium complex and the third is on a multicorporate tower that actually resides on a piece of Renraku property in Auburn.

The Downtown tower is the most powerful of the transmitters and the hardest one to reach.  The transmitters can be overloaded and exploded by a decker, though they risk dumpshock doing it.  If the team has a sniper, they can locate the SpinRad unit on the towers and pick off the box, but the sabotage will be very obvious, with a bullet through the casing.  The ideal approach is a stealthy infiltration and some Hardware sabotage.

Matrix:  Sabotaging these towers, while completes one of the possible tasks laid out for them, it will make accessing the Spinrad network much more difficulty.  All actions on the Spinrad grid will be at -3 Noise as a result of the sabotage.

Scene 4 – Weeding out the Old Guard

With Spinrad having minimal North American presence before the mergers, much of Spinrad Global’s holdings in Seattle are carry-overs from NeoNET.  With the acquisition of NeoNET’s subsidiaries, comes the acquisitions of NeoNET’s problems.

Many of these companies come with the baggage that saw NeoNET torn apart by the Corporate Court.  Worries of latent CFD infections still percolate around these businesses, but those sorts of issues are the things of tabloids these days, since the media as a whole has said that the CFD crisis has ended.  There are plenty of other issues that have allowed to fester in these holdings while the world focused on the dangers of nanites.

Corruption runs deep in many of the larger subsidiaries of NeoNET’s… as AIs tore through Boston, powerful men in charge of these companies began siphoning credit into their personal accounts and many had questionable personal agendas.  When Spinrad saw the writing on the walls for NeoNET and approached Richard Villiers about a buyout, Villiers was a shrewd businessman. He sold the companies that would ensure Spinrad a seat at the adult table, but also used to opportunity to be rid of a few businesses that were getting away with murder during the Monad crisis.

The runners should be able to find something on the powerful members of Spinrad’s organization, who haven’t tipped their hands to their new Corporate masters quite yet.  Theft, fraud, racist, misappropriation of company funds… any of these things can be found, if the runners can figure out where to look. It is a minor hit to the company, but still a PR problem.

Scene 5 – The Day the Music Died

One area that Spin has had to invest billions, is in the area of public media.  Johnny generates a lot of headlines and by controlling a good number of media outlets, they can control some of the image of the playboy CEO that the public consumes.

Of course, if that were all the companies did, they would be a money pit to the corp’s bottom line.  While Horizon is still the undisputed media monster, SpinGlobal is no slouch in the media market either.  Regency Megamedia is one such holding that while they can spin a positive yarn about their CEO, they are also one of the leading studios for film and music.  A recent victory for the media giant was the signing of rising European music star Marquilla Vargas.

Vargas is supposed to be the next big name in the Latin music scene and she recently recorded her debut album with Regency.  The recordings have been transferred to a local recording studio (only loosely affiliated with Regency) for final mixing before going for a global release.  The runners can opt to break into the recording studio, destroy the recordings and lyrics to violate the contract (seeing as her promised release date will have no hope of being hit) and inspire her to seek a new label.

The loss of a rising star like Marquilla will be a large blow to Spinrad’s Europe-first stylings.  The recording studio is only lightly guarded, though if the runners have already struck a few other targets, this could be heightened.

Matrix:  Regency Megamedia has undergone several reincarnations since the late 20th Century in order to keep itself relevant.  With a long history of filmmaking and several Academy Awards under its belt, their system is rendered as an old school cinema with a two-dimensional screen.  The area smells of movie theatre popcorn and a montage of the greatest films parades across the movie screen, filling the theater’s space as the films jump into the third dimension.  A history of the studio is available through the screen, coming films from the projector and the latest news from the local concession stand. Sitting in one of the seats activates a navigation menu for ordering movies and locating cinemas nearby showing their films.  Patrol IC appears here as ushers with flashlights, while more reactive IC show up as movie heroes come to life.

Public Regency Host
Host Rating 5

Configuration:  Attack 6, Sleaze 5, Data Processing 7, Firewall 8

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  One Security spider patrolling at all times. 

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Probe, Black IC, Sparky, Killer, Track. If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  If the intruder is making a mockery of security a Troubleshooter will log in after 2D6 Turns once the alarm has sounded.

Private Regency Host
Host Rating 9

Configuration:  Attack 11, Sleaze 10, Data Processing 9, Firewall 12

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  Two Security spiders patrolling at all times. 

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Black IC, Probe, Sparky, Marker, Blaster, Killer, Acid, Track, Binder, Crash.  If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  If the intruder is making a mockery of security two Troubleshooters will log in after (1D6/2, rounded up) Turns once the alarm has sounded.  If it appears they are outclassed, the Troubleshooters will shut down the host to prevent losses.

Host Architecture – Regency’s public system is easy enough to locate off of any major grid, but breaking into the private system has to be done through the public node.  The files they’re after are sealed away and encrypted in the private host.

Scene 6 – Public Spectacle

On the Wednesday of the week the runners have been given, a Spin subsidiary called BodyLine is opening a new clinic in the city.  Offering subsidized implants for injured emergency service workers and UCAS soldiers, the staple Spinrad cybertech manufacturer is having a ribbon cutting ceremony that will open the clinic to the public.

The ribbon cutting is being handled by Spin celebrity and action movie star Astrid Larsson.  She is a supporting actress trained in several martial arts who was involved in a bad car crash years ago and Spinrad Industries gave her body part replacements in exchange for changing studios.  The cyberarm and cyberleg she has features some flashy improvements that have helped her to restart her movie career.

The trick to this job is to embarrass Ms. Larsson and not discredit the clinic (which is ultimately doing good for the community as free PR).  The exposure of buried secrets will sow doubt into Spinrad’s ability to protect their clients.

Astrid’s personal history is a checkered one.  There is evidence of her using drugs recreationally (especially after her accident), a sex tape (of course) and if the runners can dig deep enough, evidence that was withheld that revealed that Astrid’s accident was likely her fault, due to her being high at the time.

Her contract is with Sol Media, which has no North American presence, so there will be Noise to add due to distance of the nearest Sol node.

Once the runners have collected something, they can either leak the info onto the Matrix, and/or broadcast the data on the screens at the ribbon cutting.  Depending on what piece of personal history is released, Astrid could leave the stage in embarrassment or even fear, if the evidence of her role in the accident is what gets sent out to the world.

Matrix:  Sol Media is a trideo/movie company out of Spain and operates solely out of Europe.  The system for Sol exemplifies that, with a rolling Spanish countryside and quaint little picturesque homes set into a hillside with terracotta roofs and a perpetual sunset on the horizon. The scent of orange blossoms fill the air and the sky is lit up with images from some of Sol Media’s best shows and films.  Icons here are shown as tourists, with IC serving as Spanish policemen. Due to the distance to Sol Media, the Noise here is 8 without a satellite dish or some other means of reducing the distance.

Sol Media Public Host
Host Rating 5

Configuration:  Attack 6, Sleaze 5, Data Processing 7, Firewall 8

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  One Security spider patrolling at all times. 

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Probe, Black IC, Sparky, Killer, Track. If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  If the intruder is making a mockery of security a Troubleshooter will log in after 2D6 Turns once the alarm has sounded.

Sol Media Secured Host
Host Rating 9

Configuration:  Attack 11, Sleaze 10, Data Processing 9, Firewall 12

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  Two Security spiders patrolling at all times. 

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Black IC, Probe, Sparky, Marker, Blaster, Killer, Acid, Track, Binder, Crash.  If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  If the intruder is making a mockery of security two Troubleshooters will log in after (1D6/2, rounded up) Turns once the alarm has sounded.  If it appears they are outclassed, the Troubleshooters will shut down the host to prevent losses.

Host Architecture – Sol’s public system is easy enough to locate off of any major grid, but breaking into the private system has to be done through the public node.  The files they’re after are sealed away and encrypted in the private host.

Scene 7 – The Reason We’re All Here

By the time Thursday comes around, Spinrad has likely endured several security breaches and bad publicity.  Security will be heightened at the Spinrad Systems branch that has set up in Tacoma. The final QA pass on their new Matrix signal repeater, built from NeoNET technology (that the runners may have already sabotaged).

The runners will need to gain access to the R&D vault within Spinrad Systems to sabotage the device.  Physically damaging it will have its own repercussions (security on their facilities), but having the device fail spectacularly in the shareholders meeting is the main goal.

The runners will need to figure out a way inside the Spinrad complex and gain access to the vault to be able to modify the device.  If they’re smart, the runners will keep a low profile, as if they’re detected in the vault, SpinSec will be able to piece together what the runners were up to and get the hardware fixed before the meeting.  While the entire 35 storey building is owned by Spinrad, only the 11th floor is owned by Spinrad Systems.

There is no on site mage, but if an alarm is raised, a spirit will be dispatched to support and delay the intruders while reinforcements are dispatched.

If the runners can pull off the sabotage, then by midday Friday, they will get a call from Patience, telling them that Mr. Johnson is very pleased and the transfer of funds has been authorized.

Matrix:  With the parade of problems plaguing Spinrad, security has been stepped up and their host is no different.  The iconography here are a dizzying myriad of spinning servos and interconnecting panels. Fiber optics run through the space, pulses of light running through them.  Icons are blended into the busy symbolism. IC here appears as free-floating pulses of data and other active icons are free-floating humanoid forms.

Spinrad Systems Secured Host
Host Rating 9

Configuration:  Attack 11, Sleaze 10, Data Processing 9, Firewall 12

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  Two Security spiders patrolling at all times. 

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Black IC, Probe, Sparky, Marker, Blaster, Killer, Acid, Track, Binder, Crash.  If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  If the intruder is making a mockery of security two Troubleshooters will log in after (1D6/2, rounded up) Turns once the alarm has sounded.  If it appears they are outclassed, the Troubleshooters will shut down the host to prevent losses.

Host Architecture – Spinrad’s system is not accessible to the outside world.  The host needs to hacked directly on site.

>> So, a free-for-all against the new big guy, huh?  Do people just think Spinrad just popped out of nowhere?  This guy has resources for dealing with this kind of thing.
>> Breaker

>> It’s not trying to take them down.  Spinrad is way too big for that.  If dragons and CEOs couldn’t take him out, we certainly pose little threat.  This is more just chipping away at a monolith to steal away a small shard of it.
>> Privateer

>> Biz as usual, you mean?
>> Burn