Welcome to the Data Haven

•December 2, 2008 • 13 Comments

Hello chummers.¬† ūüėČ

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.¬† ūüôā

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?”

The Shadow of Elterwig Manor (7th Sea 2nd Ed)

•July 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This is the first game of 7th Sea’s newest incarnation that I ran at a convention. ¬†Overall, the game went pretty well, given that I had only GMed the system twice before then…

Scene 1 – A Town in Need

The Heroes have been on the road for several days when they arrive in the town of Pratchig in Northern Eisen.  The Posen region of Eisen saw the least amount of conflict in the Thirty Years War, so travelling across the Northern portions of the country allowed them to see the best Eisen had to offer.  After visiting Posen, the road turned south and took them into the forest town they now look upon.

Pratchig is a small town, that still shows signs of the past war, but is getting back onto its feet.  The surrounding forest has been pushed back, cleared for supplies in the repairs and to cultivate additional farmland to help meet national demand.  Despite the harsh landscape and the post-war conditions, the Heroes are greeted warmly by those in town.

The Heroes are free to walk around town, get some warm food (albeit simple) and a dry place to rest their heads.  Unless they actively alienate the townsfolk by antagonising them or preaching the Vatacine faith, the people here are kind but tired.  As they talk to the townspeople, they hear tales of the city’s young adults disappearing in the night.  If they inquire, they are told to talk to the mayor about the situation, if they are interested in helping.

The Mayor is no nobleman, but rather a retired soldier who saw fit to try and make an attempt to undo the damage he had had a part in during the war.  When asked about the missing people, he is saddened that many of their young people have disappeared over the past several weeks.  They have searched the woods for them, but there is never a trace left behind.  Repair efforts on the city have stalled without the strongest, most able-bodied people to help out.  He offers the Heroes a reward if they could lend a hand and try to locate their people.

The villagers talk about a village to the south, where the woods have grown dark and its people reclusive.  While they have few dealings with the people of Elterwig, it is the first place the villagers recommend they check.

Scene 2 – Town of Shadows

The road south from Pratchig is clear and well worn, showing signs that armies used this road to try to cover their movements under the forest canopy.  As they continue down the road, the trees get thicker and loom over the road.  Evidence of graves of fallen soldiers are present along the road and the air noticeably chills as a fog creeps in.

Depending on what time of day the Heroes arrive, the town is quite different.  During the day, the townsfolk are out and attempting to reinforce their homes, rather than trying to rebuild the village.  They are extremely suspicious of outsiders and their reactions range from dismissive to outright hostile.  Public spaces, such as inns and taverns have all but fallen into disrepair and the innkeeper of the village will need to be persuaded to even rent them a room for the night.  The town has a general tone of fear and people will be extremely reluctant to tell them anything for fear of what might happen to their loved ones.

At night, the town is practically boarded up in the face of some undescribed horror.  If the Heroes arrive in the middle of the night, they can find the plague that hunts the villagers in the streets, but if they showed up in the day and either camped outside the village or stayed in the inn, they will quickly discover what the village of Elterwig fears; the bodies of the fallen soldiers from the war sweep into the village and attempt to drag away any who had not defended themselves adequately.

There is one Strength six Brute Squad per player of undead men and women who move more agilely than one might expect.  They have the traits of Nocturnal and Unliving.

Once the Heroes have defeated the undead hordes, the villagers, who watched from their windows, praying for the Heroes to win, will emerge and thank them for saving them from the scourge, but warn that there are always more to come.  They will be far more supportive to the Heroes, once they’ve proved their mettle.

Scene 3 – The Darkness on the Hill

The village of Elterwig don’t know exactly what is going on and what has brought the dead back to haunt their village, but they suspect that it has something to do with the reclusive mayor of the town, Dirk Volker von Maier.

Mayor von Maier saw much of his family killed in the war and after the war ended, the stark conditions left behind saw his wife fall ill and eventually succumb to her poor health.  After his wife died, he was almost never seen in town again.  But sightings of the dead started to occur and increase in frequency.  The mayoral residence is a manor on top of the hill on the village’s east side.  No one has successfully visited the house since the dead started stealing away the villagers.

A cold rain begins to fall as the Heroes near the manor.  The house is dark without signs of movement on the property.  Nearing the house reveals the truth… the dead guard the grounds as newer victims of the mayor burst out of the flower beds around the property.  These are similar to the ones the Heroes faced in the village.

Inside the house, they find the place to be devoid of presence.  Dust has not settled in, however, and they are confronted by abominations created as part of a twisted experiment, where human and animal have been blended (humans with wolf’s head, bipedal insect people and other chimeras).  All chimeras are Villains with Strength 5 and the quality Fearsome.  The insectoid men also possess the quality Chitinous.

The exception to this is the body of von Maier’s wife, who looks as she once did, but with pale skin and sunken eyes.  She is guarded by one of the chimeras, but she acts cheerful and asks them if they will be staying for dinner.

With the chimeras under control, the Heroes will need to head to the basement to meet the mayor.

Scene 4 – The Man Behind the Madness

The basement of the mayor’s manor is a stark contrast to the main level.  Where the main part of the house is upkept to maintain a normal appearance, the basement does little to mask the downward spiral the man has taken.  Part of the basement has been converted to a prison where the captured villagers are held until they are needed or die from starvation, at which point they are used for parts for experiments or drafted into his collection staff.

Books outlining insane magics litter the room, demonstrating that the man is experimenting in the darkest side of Hexenwerk.  The central part of the basement is the mayor’s lab, where he is found grinding up body parts for his next round of experiments.

‚ÄúYou! ¬†You are not supposed to be here. ¬†Bewachen! ¬†Deal with them!‚ÄĚ

A mountain of flesh and bone staggers out of a hidden room to the side of the lab.  An amalgam of several human bodies, the creature turns what might be a merge of face and torso to the Heroes and lets out a guttural roar before lurching towards the Heroes.

Dirk von Maier – Strength 3, Influence 5
The mayor is not a fighter.  He has a slight build and appears malnourished.  Wearing a bloody smock, he has no armor to speak of.  If any of the Heroes avoid Bewachen and come for him, he has several prepared Unguents on his work space.  He coats poison on his blade that causes severe hallucinations to any he strikes.  He will also snatch up a dose of Black Broth and gulp it down, retching slightly before his body ripples in rapid muscle expansion.  Confident in his new power, he will forgo the sword and attack hand to hand, if he is allowed to consume the potion.

Bewachen – Strength 10
Forged from several victims being spliced together, Bewachen (German for Guard) is a lumbering beast of pure damage.  Unintelligent, it unleashes its anger on whatever it is instructed to or anything that causes it pain.  Has the Monstrous Qualities of Fearsome and Powerful.

With both Bewachen and von Maier defeated, the Heroes can free the prisoners and receive their reward for rescuing people (Wealth 2 per Hero).

The Silence of the Haven

•June 19, 2017 • 1 Comment

So, I haven’t posted anything for a couple of months… truth being told, not a lot has been written in that time. ¬†Life has been busy in all the wrong ways lately when it comes to gaming.

So, I got laid off back in February and while one might think that all the free time that provides would prove ideal for writing, the crappy job market where I am has forced me to spend as many hours as possible on the job search.

Not helping matters was the complete and utter derailment of my most recent campaign. ¬†I mentioned my most recent project on my New Years post, where I built a 10+ part campaign that was going to travel the globe with a collective team of runners… well, I got 1.75 runs into the material before the players left the core plot behind and got further and further away from where they needed to be to progress the plot. ¬†So after months of trying to think of a way to get the campaign back on the rails, but general consensus, the campaign is being shelved. ¬†The characters are currently in the back of SWAT vehicles and on the road to be disappeared and so it goes, I guess.

I will probably re-tool the campaign in the future and try again with another group… fix the limitations I wrote into the story arc and see if the next group of players will jump through more than one of my hoops.

What that means for the Data Haven is that there really isn’t anything for me to add to the site, as I plan on reworking what has been written, and will eventually write the other 80% of the plot… so rather than players reading what is to come, I will keep the campaign close to the vest.

I do have one run I will post soon that I recently wrote up for a one-off, plus I have a blueprint for a shorter, less ambitious plot arc that will hopefully not trigger my players’ acute sense of paranoia.

With luck, I will start having new material to post in the near future.

A Character Comparison (SR5 vs SR Anarchy)

•April 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After my most recent convention at the end of March, I spoke to several people who had either recently tried Anarchy, or their only exposure to Shadowrun was through Anarchy. ¬†For those who may not have heard of Shadowrun Anarchy, it is a recent sourcebook published by Catalyst, that allows people to play Shadowrun in a much more narrative style of play. ¬†Some have nicknamed it “Shadowrun Lite” and having read the core book, it certainly qualifies for the title.

While I will likely post a review of Shadowrun Anarchy at some point, I’ve only recently read the rules and have yet to try it in practice. ¬†Once I’ve had the opportunity to see how the system works first hand, I might be able to weigh in on the system as whole. ¬†I can tell that my regular group as a whole, may not appreciate the system as many of the mechanics from the full game have been abstracted.

With the vast removal of the mechanics of the full game, my first experiment with Anarchy was with the character creation system. ¬†With the reduction from 8 Attributes to 5, the limit of skills to six, the abstraction of qualities, magic and augmentation… I questioned just how an SRA character would compare to an SR5 one.

Using the SR5 to Anarchy Conversion rules, I took one of my pre-made Convention characters and attempted to convert it to Anarchy.  I went for a character that pretty much sees play at every convention I go to, but also features an extreme case that I felt Anarchy would be hard-pressed to replicate.

So, here is my cybered-up Merc Viper in his current Fifth Edition incarnation (Standard Build + 25 Karma post-build):

Jorge Domenico aka “Viper”

Bio РJorge is a Latino ork and a veteran of the Aztlan-Amazonian conflict, who has seen far too much.  He feels his only viable trade is in dealing death, but he battles with PTSD on a regular basis.  Rather than seek therapy, he has taken to medicating himself using Bliss, which is an imperfect solution that is starting to take its toll.

Attributes

Body 6(8), Agility 5, Reaction 4(6), Strength 5, Willpower 3, Logic 3, Intuition 4, Charisma 3
Edge 2, Essence 0.02

Qualities

Natural Athlete, Resistance to Pathogens, Moderate Addiction (Bliss), SINner (Aztlan)

Active Skills

Automatics 5, Heavy Weapons 5, Blades 4, Running 3, Gymnastics 3, Perception 3, Sneaking 3, Survival 2, Unarmed Combat 2

Knowledge Skills

Tactics 4, Yucatan War 4, Spirits 3, English 3, Aztlan Spanish N

Contacts

Judge – Fixer – C4 L1
Dr. Hook – Drug Dealer – C2 L2

Weapons

Machete

Ares Crusader II – Machine Pistol – Concealed Holster, Smartlink, Gas Vent II
HK 227 – Submachinegun – Retractible Stock, Smartlink, Sound Suppressor
AK 97 – Assault Rifle – Imaging Scope w/ Flare Compensation, Low-Light and Vision Magnification, Gas Vent III, Smartlink
Ingram Valiant – LMG – Shock Pad, Smartlink, Gas Vent II

Armor

Armor Jacket w/ Chemical Protection 4, Thermal Damping, Nonconductivity 4

Augmentations

Datajack (Alpha Grade), Ultrasound Sensor 3 (Alpha Grade), Cybereye 3 w/ Smartlink, Vision Enhancement 3, Thermographic, Low Light and Vision Magnification (Alpha Grade), Cyberears 2 w/ Audio Enhancement 3, Damper, Spatial Recognizer and Select Sound Filter 2 (Alpha Grade), Full Obvious Cyberarm w/ Str5, Agi5, Cyberarm Gyromount, Implanted Machine Pistol w/ Extended Clip (Standard Grade), Aluminum Bone Lacing (Alpha Grade), Reaction Enhancers 1 (Alpha Grade), Wired Reflexes 1 (Standard Grade), Damage Compensators 4, Toxin Extractors 3

Gear

Hermes Ikon Commlink, AR Gloves, Biometric Reader, Subvocal Mic, Gas Mask, Magnesium Torches, piles of ammo for all guns, Basic DocWagon Contract, several doses of Bliss, Fake SIN 4 plus many fake licenses, several thousand nuyen.

Viper version 2

So… that in a nutshell is the current build for Viper. ¬†What follows is what I got using the SR5 to SRA conversion rules. ¬†The Name and Bio don’t change, but you will likely note several differences on the following version:

Attributes

Strength 5, Agility 5, Willpower 3, Logic 3, Charisma 3
Edge 2, Essence 0.5

Qualities

Natural Athlete = +2 to Athletics
Resistance to Pathogens = +2 Strength to Resist Damage from Pathogens
Moderate Addiction (Bliss) = must use a Plot Point to not get a fix when in a stressful situation, -2 to all tests if drug not available

Skills

Firearms 5, Heavy Weapons 5, Close Combat 4, Athletics 4, Stealth 3, Survival 2

Weapons

Machete – Dam 6P, Close

Ares Crusader II – Dam 6P, Close/Near (-2)
HK 227 – Dam 6P, Close/Near
AK 97 – Dam 8P, Close/Near/Far (-2)
Ingram Valiant – Dam 8P, Close/Near/Far

Armor

Armor Jacket – 12, -1 Skill Point

Shadow Amps

Full Cyberarm = (Amp 3) Re-roll 2 dice on Agility Skills, -1 Essence
Aluminum Bone Lacing = (Amp 3) -2 Damage on all received attacks, -1 Essence
Wired Reflexes = (Amp 2) +1 attack, -1 Essence
Cybereyes = (Amp 3) Ignore all negative Vision mods, re-roll 2 dice on ranged attacks, -1 Essence
Cyberears = (Amp 3) Ignore all negative Audio mods, re-roll 2 dice on Perception rolls for detecting ambush, -1 Essence
Damage Compensators = (Amp 5) Ignore 3 wounds of damage (Stun and Physical) before determining negative wounds modifiers, -0.5 Essence

Gear

Gas Mask, doses of Bliss, DocWagon Contract, Fake SIN, Judge – Fixer, Dr. Hook – Drug Dealer

Dispositions

Battlefields change, but the rules remain the same
Adapt to the environment

Cues

“I’m a product of war and war is my product.”
“You guys handle the talking… when you want someone dead, come fetch me.”
“When you’ve seen the things I’ve seen, you need a way to switch it off. ¬†This is my way. ¬†Gimme my stash before I break your legs…”

 

For those not familiar with both systems, a lot of the above might as well be Greek. ¬†The biggest changes that I’ve noted with this character in particular:

  • The abolition of tracking nuyen and ammo makes upgrading cybered individuals easier
  • The limit of 6 Shadow Amps caps the number of augmentations at 6, regardless of whether the character has Essence left or not (this limitation will also apply to adepts and mages as well)
  • Customization of cybernetics with capacity is outright gone, as are the grades of cybernetics
  • The limit of only 6 skills makes having a skill-focused character much less viable, especially if you wish to use one of those for a Knowledge skill
  • Lumping contacts in with gear and then limiting the amount of gear that can be carried limits the character’s ability to gather a network of useful people
  • The limit of two positive and one negative Quality (which you then have to define) also limits the customizations on characters

I’m sure other issues will appear as I explore the mechanics of Anarchy. ¬†My initial thoughts…

In some ways, the new version is better… by gaining the group as opposed to individual skills, he can use a wider range of weapons, or his skills with some weapons have improved. ¬†Perception is no longer a skill, but an attribute-based item, which made Viper’s overall dice pool drop slightly.

However, a lot of the customizations, particularly in his cybernetics, was lost. ¬†With every cybernetic implant costing 1 Essence and every Bio Implant costing 0.5 Essence, it really limits what you can load into a character. ¬†For old-school Shadowrun players, the idea that a Datajack and Wired 3 cost the same amount of Essence probably comes off as just plain wrong…

It probably shows through in my bias, that I prefer the flexibility of the full-blown system when it comes to characters. ¬†However, if you have a group of players that are brand new to the world and they aren’t keen on spending hours tweaking a character with a giant pile of books, then Anarchy could prove a quick entry point for new players. ¬†However, I don’t know that anyone comfortable in the full SR5 world will enjoy the vastly simplified characters used in Anarchy.

Forceful Ballot (Shadowrun)

•March 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This is the new material that I ran at Phantasm this past weekend. ¬†I know I haven’t been posting much new material of late, but I hope to get into some kind of regular rhythm¬†once my life gets under control.

The runners are contacted by their fixer in regards to a high profile run that, while risky has the potential to make strides for change in the city. If they’re willing to hear out Mr. Johnson, he will meet them in the Ork Underground at the Big Rhino for 9PM.

Scene 1 – A Dangerous Proposal

The Big Rhino is the best known ork hotspot in the entire city. As one of the main entrances to the Ork Underground, it has become somewhat of a tourist trap. The slummy feel of the place has been preserved as they actively refuse to fix up the place. The air is rich with spices and the smell of cooking meat. The runners won’t draw too much attention until they try to go past the public face of the Rhino, especially if they are not ork or troll.

Once they get into the back room, the smells of the restaurant fade away and gives way to the dank smell of wet concrete. They are led into a maintenance room just off the main tunnel, where two ork gangers stand vigil.

Inside, the room has been converted into a reinforced conference room, which has seen its share of wear and tear. A heavy wooden table has been set in the center of the room, though no chairs are present. A burly, augmented ork chomps on a smoldering cigar as the runners walk in.

‚ÄúC‚Äômon in. I‚Äôd offer you a chair, but we‚Äôre fresh out‚ÄĚ he says with a chuckle. ‚ÄúI‚Äôll be frank with you all‚Ķ I‚Äôm not looking for subtlety, only results. But there is a good likelihood that your handiwork will be publicly known. I know runners like to be invisible, but I want to send a very distinct message. Anyone want out at this stage?‚ÄĚ

Assuming no runners opt out, he continues. ‚ÄúAll right then. Our current Governor of Seattle, one Kenneth Brackhaven, is well known for his ties to Humanis, thinly veiled racist policies and no shortage of political scandal. His most recent bill is another step down that exact same road. He and his cronies in the positions of power wish to pass a bill in response to the movement to have the Ork Underground recognized as an official district of the metroplex, where all residents of the new district would be registered and tracked by the police. It definitely takes away the freedom we‚Äôve come to appreciate during our time down here. While going after Brackhaven himself would be a tall order, instead we want you to go after his associate Finlay Clarke. Clarke is his liaison with Brackhaven Investments, Humanis member and general asshole. With a break in his administrative chain, it should disrupt the bill, his connections to Humanis and his family‚Äôs business. If it isn‚Äôt enough of a message, then perhaps there will have to be other actions down the road. For the extermination of Clarke, we‚Äôre willing to pay you 8000¬• apiece.‚ÄĚ

Mr. Johnson is Hansen de Lange or ‚ÄúKnuckles‚ÄĚ to those unwilling to remember his given name. He is a prominent member of the Sons of Sauron and outspoken opposer to the Brackhaven administration. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, this time he had to be certain that the Sons were nowhere close to ground zero. The bankroll for this job has come from several sources, including the Seattle Government itself.

Once the runners are on board, he doesn’t give them guidelines on how to do their job, only a commcode to contact him on once the deed is done.

Matrix: The Ork Underground’s Matrix connection is dodgy at best. With the legitimacy of the Underground being in the spotlight, those that administer the area have erected a makeshift infrastructure, but it is far from standard. Mercifully, the team shouldn’t have to delve too deep and only suffer a Noise rating of 2 while underground.

Scene 2 – In Pursuit

After the meeting with Mr. Johnson, the runners will likely follow the typical avenues of investigation to track down Clarke. His workplace is in City Hall and anything overt there will draw law enforcement very quickly, where his home is in a AAA neighborhood, so both methods will require stealth and a quiet approach to avoid heavy response from Knight Errant.

His office provides information on some of Finlay’s misdeeds, including allocating money to anti-metahuman projects and bribing city officials to side with Brackhaven, but offers no insight into where he is.

His home is empty, regardless of the time of day the runners show up. His house is set up with a state-of-the-art security system that features live monitoring, so the runners will need to get in and out quickly if they want to avoid detection. His personal effects are still in his house, including his personal commlink. The runners find a few incriminating items in his possession, such as recreational drugs and encrypted files that shows he enjoys the services of elven prostitutes, but on his commlink the runners can also find out that he received an email warning him of their impending arrival:

‚ÄúHey Finn. A couple of the guys are going to swing by to pick you up. Word has it that the tuskers in the SoS have put out a hit on you. While those shit-for-brains demon-spawn probably can‚Äôt figure out your security system, we don‚Äôt want to risk anything. Grab your bug-out bag and we‚Äôll scoop you in a few minutes. Bring nothing traceable.‚ÄĚ

Based on the jargon the sender uses, a trace on the phone call, or going through Finlay’s personal memberships, all of them point to the Downtown Branch of the Humanis Policlub. Hopefully, the runners will see the intentional giant glowing arrow and approach the policlub with caution.

Scene 3 – Supremely Misguided

The Humanis Policlub is housed in a modern, almost church-like building that is clean and sleek. It blends in with the Seattle skyline of corporate efficiency, rather than a building one would associate with spreading hate. The professional facade of the building does little to mask the rot at the charitable organization’s core, however. If the runners enter the building during the day, any humans will be cheerfully greeted and handed propaganda, all while talking about the charity work the policlub does in the city. Metahumans are greeted and through not-so-subtle suggestion, are told that perhaps they’ve come to the wrong place. If they still do not leave they are escorted out by on-site security. If they resist, Knight Errant is called. The runners may use these as distractions to get access to the location and try to locate Finlay.

At night, the building runs under minimal lighting, but is still a hub of activity. The front doors and the outward facing windows are dark and locked, but employee entrances in the back are accessible by passkey… or intrepid hacker.

Once the door is opened, the system recognizes an intruder (unless a decker has intervened) and the runners will have only a handful of minutes before police arrive. Inside, the Policlub enforcers will try to slow them down, focusing on metahumans first, naturally. Once the welcoming committee has been dealt with, the runners will be able to hear voices coming the levels below. The Humanis squad inside will show little restraint, drawing sidearms and firing at the runners. The leader of the goon squad hunkers down behind an overturned table snapping of shots while trying to conceal the person he’s with.

In reality, he isn‚Äôt trying to keep anyone safe. The man he‚Äôs with is a bound ork man, who they were planning on ‚Äúmaking an example of‚ÄĚ. With the runners bursting in looking for Finlay, they set the ork up as Finlay‚Äôs proxy, hoping the runners will take the rap for the murder by shooting the innocent man, mistaking him for their target. He films the shootout on his commlink, trying to capture as much as possible before broadcasting it out onto the Matrix.

After the shootout, the man that used the ork as a decoy is the one who warned Finlay about the hit squad. He’s rather smug about the whole situation, especially if his video went out or the runners killed the ork (if desperate, he will use the ork as a hostage to try and bargain for his escape). Under duress and pain, he tells them that the ork they had is/was an accountant for the Sons of Sauron and saw the fund allocation for the hit. As for Finlay Clarke’s current location, he tells them that upon the realization that they might hire actual professionals to kill the man, Brackhaven Investments sent over some of their security detail to collect Clarke almost immediately after his extraction and moved him to a more secure location. The Humanis leader has no idea what that location would be.

Matrix: The Humanis host is rendered to be as clean as the building exterior. The public face of Humanis is a polished veneer of political correctness and carefully crafted images that while all icons are human, they run the gamut of body types so they could be elves or orks, aside from lacking the troublesome features that would mark them for hate.

Host Rating 5 – Attack 6, Sleaze 5, Data Processing 7, Firewall 8

The system aims to delay any would-be hackers until police can arrive. Most measures are relatively passive, but when sensitive areas are probed, the system fights back before ultimately taking itself offline before anything incriminating can be obtained.

Scene 4 – Business as Usual

Depending on how the runners have handled the job to this point, they might be back to nearly square one, or they might additionally have the police actively hunting them down after their break-ins on two locations close to Finlay Clarke. If the runners have been noisy and/or sloppy, the police might be in the area surrounding Brackhaven Investments, compounding the difficulty in gaining access.

Brackhaven Investments, unsurprisingly, is one of the largest real estate resellers in the Metroplex thanks to the favoritism from the Governor. Luckily for the team, their listings of properties is a matter of public record. The runners simply have to deduce what kind of building would be ideal for protecting someone from assassination. Ultimately, the runners can track it down to a section of three floors of an office tower in the middle of the building. The section is supposed to be empty, but the runners can find it furnished and manned by armed men who suspiciously do not wear BI logos. Finlay is in the break room, grabbing a bite to eat and chatting with his protectors, but the moment any alarm is tripped he sprints for the server room, which can be sealed and has been warded as a panic room.

The runners will need to deal with the protection detail and breach the server room to finally reach their quarry. The last hurdle is what is in the server room with him. The chief of the guard detail will do his best to protect Finlay, but Clarke has also been given a suit of enclosed armor and been injected with a dose of kamikaze. The man, not used to combat or stimulants, throws himself at the runners in a blind rage. Once the captain and Clarke are defeated, the runners can take footage of Clarke’s end to Mr. Johnson for payment.

Matrix: The Brackhaven Investments host is rendered in blues and whites, advertising the perks of the office space. The public face of the host is strictly for real estate purposes, but behind the crafted lobby is the hostile engine for those who aim to sabotage BI property. The system has been retooled for defending the people in the safehouse, relying on motion sensors rather than cameras to track movement in the office.

Host Rating 7 – Attack 9, Sleaze 7, Data Processing 8, Firewall 10

>> Taking down one of those racist pigs?  Sign me up.
>> Burn

>> You think it’s going to be easy? ¬†Brackhaven knows that the public isn’t fooled any more… he’s taking extra precautions to protect those he can trust or easily control these days.
>> Wraith

>> Of course it won’t be easy. ¬†I never made claims that it would be. ¬†I’d be doing the city a favor and get paid for doing it. ¬†Who woulda thought that I’d be one of the good guys, huh?
>> Burn

>>I know I didn’t.
>> Wraith

>> C’mon Wraith… you know you want a piece of this job.
>> Burn

>> Kinda yeah…
>> Wraith

>> You know how to reach me.
>> Burn

Happy New Year!

•January 5, 2017 • 1 Comment

Greetings to my scattered readers!  The blog has been pretty quiet of late and I have no one to blame but myself.  I kind of took the entire month of December off from RPGs, despite having several ideas burning away in my brain.  I will get some stuff posted soon, once I get some traction on the creative side of things.

I have been painfully and slowly working on this ongoing campaign called “Demons of a Fallen God” which I had huge ambitions for and instead it has been moving at a snail’s pace. ¬†Plus going in the totally wrong direction from what I had planned. ¬†If I can get this thing back on the rails, I’ll start posting the runs that comprise the campaign to date.

The concept of the campaign was that the setting was 2075 Eastern Europe (curtain goes up in Kiev, Ukraine). ¬†I asked players to make a slightly-better-than-standard runner (normal build with 30 after-gen Karma and 50,000¬• in additional funds) that would form a mercenary company called “The Fractured”; a mercenary company that operates in 8-man cells globally. ¬†As part of the Eastern EU company the players could choose from this 8-runner pool and maybe choose different characters each time, as the job required. ¬†If a character died, they now had to try and compensate for the gap in the company. ¬†This allowed me to allow the players some flexibility. ¬†Even if the players that attended each session differed, the runners involved could be the same.

I planned 10 “core plot” runs with an undetermined number of additional runs for bankrolling the team, tying off loose ends, etc.

So far, we’ve done 2 of the plot runs (since they happened within 24 hours of each other), at which the players did a hard right and left part of the second run incomplete and have been off on a tangent for one run, going on a second shortly… still leaving business unconcluded and derailing my intended plot arc indefinitely. ¬†They’ve left contacts high and dry, who will eventually leave them hung out to dry if they don’t conclude the business at hand. ¬†Tempted to put the concept to bed and chalk it up to a failed experiment, given that I hinged my plot too greatly on a handful of actions being done. ¬†I really should know better by now…

Convention season is ramping up, so I should have some new material coming soon. ¬†Whether it is the first few runs of “Demons” or the forthcoming convention runs, time will tell.

A Ray of Hope – 7th Sea 2nd Edition

•November 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Since I acquired my copy of 7th Sea 2nd Edition back in the summer, I’ve been getting myself acquainted with the new narrative styling of the game. ¬†After cranking out several characters and working on a few backstories in order to orient myself in the system, I tried to get a game going.

Not an easy feat.

I tried running the game the first time with family for the most part. ¬†The first time out, I was unable to distance myself from my roots in Shadowrun enough and called on the players too often for tests when there were key pieces of the system’s intent that I was still missing (tests are only needed if there is risk involved, otherwise, only RP is involved). ¬†Player interest in the game has been exceptionally hard to come by. ¬†I find it odd, seeing as I’ve run the game for years and the game is loved at conventions when I run it, yet when I put out a call for players to test the latest incarnation, you can just about hear a pin drop.

This weekend, I finally got my opportunity to give it another try.  With a modest three player group, I re-ran the original adventure and employed a more story-driven style.  I think each player rolled the dice three times for the entire thing, allowing the players to embellish and steer the game until they met opposition, where they finally had to spend their rolled successes.  The game went much smoother this time and the players seemed interested in seeing where the story would ultimately end.  The narrative feel of the game definitely felt more natural this time and I think that the system has some definite promise with the right group of players.

Looking forward to getting some mileage out of the game.

Bad Medicine (Shadowrun)

•November 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

This run concept was put together for the 2016 Phantasm convention.

The runners are contacted by their fixer in regards to a job, where Mr. Johnson would like to meet with them in person to discuss the details of the job. ¬†If they’re willing to hear them out, Mr. Johnson would like to speak with them at 8:15PM at 1512 Broadway.

Scene 1 ‚Äď Meet Dr. Johnson

1512 Broadway is the location of Capitol Hill Urgent Care clinic. ¬†The location is old and while it has undergone several upgrades over the decades, the building still shows its age. ¬†The hours on the door say 8AM to 8PM. ¬†Entering the building before then sees the clinic in full operation and will likely see them turned away, as the waiting room is still rather busy. ¬†The patients are ushered out as close to 8 as possible. ¬†Once the building is set to closed, the automatic locks on the clinic don’t engage and the runners can enter the clinic.

Mr. Johnson is awaiting them in one of the family counseling rooms off of the waiting room.  Still in his white smock, Mr. Johnson is a Latino doctor with a winning smile and more charm than a doctor might typically exude.

‚ÄúWelcome and thank you for coming. ¬†I am hopeful you can assist me in a matter of some concern. ¬†This clinic has been participating in the clinical trials for a pain relief medication that we hope will see launching on the market soon. ¬†All of our patients have reported back on how the drug worked for them, save for three. ¬†Since we don’t want our competition learning about their most recent competition just yet, we would like you to locate the missing patients and collect the data we’re missing. ¬†If our rivals are attempting to gain information about our latest drug, destroy any evidence they’ve collected.

‚ÄúI am willing to pay each of you 5,000¬• for the job, negotiable on delivery if ¬†you’ve encountered significant resistance. ¬†Is this something you feel you can accomplish?‚ÄĚ

Mr. Johnson is really Julio Espinoza, a medical technician and developer for Aztechnology.  While the clinic has been partaking in testing of a new drug, it is far from legal and the patients here are guinea pigs for a newly developed BAD (Biological Awakened Drug) pulled from the Yucatan jungles.

If the runners sign on, Mr. Johnson nods. ¬†‚ÄúYou have my thanks. ¬†I was told that the side effects of the drug were to be minimal, so I would hate to think that my patients fell prey to undisclosed side effects. ¬†Here are the dossiers for the three missing patients. ¬†I hope you can find them safe and sound.‚ÄĚ

The dossiers contain the names, addresses and commcodes for the patients that haven’t reported in. ¬†The runners are required to bring the patients back to the clinic, or barring that, come back with a blood sample. ¬†He tells them to call the clinic and ask for ‚ÄúDr. J‚ÄĚ

The three people they need to track down are:

‚ÄúBraaker‚ÄĚ (Or’zet for Bruiser) ‚Äď Ork Male, Age estimated to be around 20. ¬†No specific address ‚Äď Commcode provided

Braaker has been a regular at the clinic for broken bones, gun shots and stab wounds.  Despite numerous attempts to kill the man, none have succeeded.  Known member of the Skraacha (Scorchers).

Rick Tol ‚Äď Human Male, Age: 37, Address included, Commcode Included

Rick is a known hypochondriac and agoraphobe, who is on a cocktail of anti-anxiety meds.  Lives on disability and welfare after an accident on the job forced him into early retirement.  Has mobility issues from moderate spinal damage.

Jenni Kallio ‚Äď Elven Female, Age 32, Address included, Commcode Included

Jenni is a relatively new patient to the clinic, claiming to suffer from neuropathic pain as a side effect of juvenile cancer therapy.  Unable to locate previous physicians to find out of pain is physical or psychological.  Admitted into the program with the caveat that the exact nature of her pain be established first.

Matrix: ¬†The Seattle Grid is easily accessible from here with no Noise modifiers. ¬†The clinic itself shows it’s age and it doesn’t appear that the facility has been fully integrated into the wireless Matrix. ¬†Breaking into the system can be done, but there are definite holes in the security grid. ¬†There is a public ¬†ARO for the clinic, but aside from scheduling appointments, it offers little information.

Scene 2 ‚Äď The Coward

Upon hearing the descriptions of the patients, the runners will likely want to deal with Rick Tol first.  His commlink puts him in his apartment.  The building he calls home is nothing spectacular.  The lobby has a couple homeless people squatting in it and the elevators feel slightly less than secure as they lurch upward to the fifth floor, where Rick calls home.

Knocking on the door yields nothing. ¬†Astral projection on the room is another matter. ¬†The room has a vibrant aura and the room seems almost alive, with the energy coursing literally through the man’s veins. ¬†The aura almost masks the presence of the shedim inhabiting the body of Rick.

Rick reacted poorly to the BAD in his body and made him into an astral beacon. ¬†The spontaneous appearance of spirits scared him badly and between his excitement and the drug, he suffered cardiac arrest. ¬†The shedim the aura attracted decided to take up root in the now deceased human, but due to the strength of the aura, it can’t leave the host.

Stepping into the room, the spirits will take offense to their trespass and attack. ¬†The shedim cannot be banished from the host… the only way to kill it is to destroy the host body (which might complicate getting a blood sample). ¬†Hopefully, once they destroy the shedim, they will have enough of the body left to get an uncontaminated blood sample.

Rick (Shedim Possessed)

B4, A4, R6, S5, C4, I4, L4, W4, Edge 2, Magic 4

Init = 10+1D6, Astral Init = 8+3D6

Skills:  Unarmed Combat 4, Perception 4, Astral Combat 4, Assensing 4

Powers:  Deadly Aura, Karma Drain, Fear, Immunity (Age, Toxins, Pathogens), Paralyzing Touch, Sapience

Weaknesses:  Sunlight (Mild), Evanesence

Matrix:  The Seattle grid is accessible from here, though Rick has personal access only to the public grid, rather than anything nicer.  His commlink is almost at it’s factory defaults, with no names in the contact list and only a handful of games on the device.  The onboard biomonitor shows his overall health levels and tells the team that he died from cardiac arrest two days ago.

Scene 3 – The Warrior

Tracking down Braaker is easier than the runners might think.  The Scorchers are a gang from the Ork Underground, but tracking the ork down by his commlink shows that he’s above ground.  If the runners go into the Ork Underground and ask around, they learn that Braaker has been missing for a couple of days and is suspected in killing one of his own.

When they catch up with Braaker, he is in the middle of a rival gang’s turf and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.  His eyes glow with a vibrant green light and if assensed, shows the same energy coursing through his aura as Rick Tol, despite the cybernetics in his system.  He shows signs of having been attacked and there are even knives still lodged in his body.  He is on a mindless rampage, tearing apart his enemies with inhuman strength and feeling no pain.

Braaker

B7, A4, R6, S7, C3, I4, L2, W6, Edge 3

Init = 10+2D6

Skills:  Unarmed Combat 6, Perception 3, Clubs 7, Intimidation 7

Qualities: Toughness

Implants:  Wired Reflexes 1, Aluminum Bone Lacing

Powers:  Immunity (Pain) Рfunctions like a Pain Editor, Magic Resistance 3

Armor 9

Gangers

B4, A4, R3, S4, C3, I3, L2, W3, Edge 2

Init = 6+1D6

Skills:  Unarmed Combat 3, Blades 4, Clubs 3, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Perception 4, Pistols 4, Intimidation 4

Armor Vest (9)

Browning Ultra Power 8P

Knife 5P, -1AP, Acc 5

Matrix:  The area Braaker is in has some basic Matrix access, but it’s spotty, conferring a -2 Noise modifier due to the shoddy infrastructure.  The gangers have poor commlinks and little information of value on the devices.  Remotely disabling Braaker’s cybernetics don’t appear to slow him down.  His biomonitor shows levels of adrenaline and a heart rate that would kill most people.

Scene 4 – The Mole

Jenni Kallio turns out to be a false name.  Tracking the commcode leads to the address she provided, but the apartment it leads to looks vastly empty, with only a cot, some fast food containers and cables from a commlink connection.  The bathroom shows trace evidence of theatrical make-up that she used to change her appearance.  A Logic+Disguise (3) test against the still of her face in the dossier will give the runners a better look at her real face.

Her real name is Jennifer Gibbons, a professional actress at Shiawase.  Doing research on Ms. Gibbons shows that she resided in the apartment since the start of the clinical trial and she hasn’t returned for the past several days.  Searching for her likeness on the Matrix, shows that three days before, she was wandering the streets aimlessly, speaking gibberish.  A van pulls up alongside her and three men get out.  After a brief conversation, she unleashes a blast of green light into one of the men, while the other two tackle her and sedate her before dragging her into the van.  The third man’s limp body is pulled into the van and they drive off, heading into a Shiawase compound, where the camera is unable to see.

The Shiawase compound is primarily residential, but there is a mall, private police force and, of greater interest to the runners, a private clinic on the grounds.  Jennifer is being restrained in the clinic by magecuffs as the doctors in the clinic are running a full analysis of her blood.  The runners will need to either rescue Jennifer or get some of her blood, before destroying any data Shiawase has already collected.

Shiawase Corporate Clinic

Shiawase Security

B4, A5, R4, S4, C3, I3, L3, W4, Edge 3

Init = 7+1D6

Skills:  Unarmed Combat 4, Clubs 4, Running 4, Perception 4, Pistols 4, Leadership 4

Armor Jacket (12)

Ares Predator IV (9P)

Defiance EX-Shocker (11s(e))

Stun Baton (9S(e), Reach 1, AP-5

2 doses of Jazz

If the alarm is raised the general police force will retreat and elite security will be called in (pg 384, SR5)

Matrix:  The Matrix signal here is solid, but you must be a Shiawase citizen to access the local grid.  Breaking into the grid will put them on borrowed time, but the runners will have to deem the importance of the Matrix access.  While the enclave itself doesn’t have an ARO, the clinic where Ms. Gibbons is being held does, helpfully providing directions around the clinic (with your Shiawase ID, of course).

Shiawase Corporate Enclave

As part of Shiawase Central, the node seems that little bit too bright, as they show off what they are famous for: providing the world with power.  A warm beach with rolling waves chruns nearby while the waters edge is dotted with submersible turbines and windmills spin over the bluffs.  All of the wonderful electricity being created from Shiawase’s branding funnels into a picturesque white picket fence style neighbourhood.

Most of the houses are subsystems for each of the residents but there are other icons that can tap into other aspects in the node.  There are community buildings in the node that reflect non-residential buildings.  Commlinks of the residents show as generalized Japanese people in icon form.  Security personnel appear as people in Shiawase uniforms.  IC appear as patrolling drones.

Host Rating 7

Standard Configuration ‚Äď Attack 8, Data Processing 9, Sleaze 7, Firewall 10

Security Protocol ‚Äď Patrol IC running at all times, Junior security officer on regular patrols

Once an alarm has been triggered, IC activates in this order: Probe, Scramble, Track, Jammer, Marker, Crash.  If an IC is crashed, the host will reboot the IC before moving on to the next stage.  A security spider will log on after 3+1d6 combat rounds after the alarm is triggered.

The runners will likely want to re-negotiate the terms of their arrangement, but Mr. Johnson will remain tight lipped about the nature of the drug these people were injected with, even with everything the runners have discovered.  As long as the runners are professional in their conduct, they will get paid as promised.

>> Rounding up guinea pigs, huh?  Sounds like easy money to haul away a few body bags.
>> Burn

>> If the whole tempo thing taught me anything, never trust that any brain bender¬†that comes out is fully tested. ¬†Who knows what you might find…
>> Revenge

>> I’m not finding any public record of legal drug testing on the Matrix. ¬†Somehow, I think this new wonder drug is being rushed to production, consequences be damned.
>> 404

>> That would explain the remote nature of the testing. ¬†If it was above board, they’d want all the rich kids blabbing about the latest pharma-wizardry…
>> Sapphire