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.


>>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?”


Between the Darkness and the Light (#Shadowrun)

•February 11, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was going to be the third run of the Fallen Angel campaign before it was cancelled.  Instead I ran this one as a standalone run over two sessions.

The runners are contacted by Judge regarding a new job and asked to meet up with him at the Penumbra at his usual table for 7PM.

Scene 1 – Babysitting 101

The runners show up at the Penumbra not long after they open the doors for the night and the crowd size is still not at its maximum for the night when the runners are set to meet up with Judge.  After their sloppy work at Shiawase, he has been trying to find them new work, where their standing rep would be of less consequence.

When the team convenes, Judge looks them over, nods and says, “All right, it looks like we’re all here.  I’ve got a line on some work… it’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills. After the passing of Prop 23 and the Ork Underground becoming a recognized district of the city, whether Brackhaven likes it or not, he has to look after his people.  The old tunnels and buried shops that make up the Underground aren’t exactly the healthiest place in the city. So, as a token of faith, several old air purification units are getting brought up to code to help combat the risk of airborne infection in more remote areas of the Underground.  However, the residents don’t trust anyone to help them, so several groups are blocking the update, even though it’s to their benefit.

“Therefore, you’re being offered a job to protect the city employee doing the work from any threats that arise.  Hopefully, you spend the evening babysitting this person and nothing happens, but they don’t want to risk it. You’re being offered 5,000¥ apiece for an evening’s work.  Interested?”

Despite the job being easy on paper, there is a lot that can go wrong on this job.  Judge hasn’t done a deep dive on the person the runners are escorting and it’s a mistake that could come back to bite them in the end.

Judge can negotiate a little, though their history of not planning ahead will hold them back some.  Once they’ve agreed to take the job, Judge tells them that they are to escort a Rachel Foster to various areas around the downtown area.  She will meet them at the Big Rhino for 10PM tonight and she will tell them where they need to go in order to complete her task. Upon the third and final installation, she’ll call her superiors that the work is done and then Judge will receive the payment from the client.

Rachel Foster

Rachel is a human woman at 5’8” and carrying a few extra pounds on her frame.  Her hair is cut short, just above the shoulder and is dull brown in colour with grey roots starting to show.  When the runners encounter her, she’s wearing a public utility emblazoned set of coveralls and has two containers with her; her toolkit and the satchel carrying the replacement filters.  She is unarmed and is genuinely intimidated by the runners escorting her. She will gravitate toward any human runners over metahumans.

City Employee / Public Works
Possible Sources – City Contacts

1/2 – Rachel is a virtual nobody in the grand scheme of things.  A woman in her early forties, married with two children. She has worked for the city for six years.

2/4 – Her husband, William, works in city hall as a computer technician.  Their kids are in public school, ages 13 and 11. Both boys, Eric and Jonathan, are average students.

5/8 – Despite both adults working full time, the Fosters are struggling to pay the bills due to the rapidly rising cost of living in Seattle.  The fact that Rachel is putting in an extra shift at 10PM shows that she needs the money

9/12 – Analyzing her charitable donations and voting records, shows that Rachel and her family are Brackhaven supporters and donors to Humanis.

Scene 2 – Meeting at the Rhino

The Big Rhino is a boisterous place.  Recognized as one of the main entrances to the Ork Underground, it sees a lot of foot traffic from visitors and residents alike.  The Rhino specializes in foods catering to the ork and troll palette; large portions and heavily spiced. Brave runners can try to tackle one of the meals here, but ultimately they are here to meet up with Rachel Foster.

They find the human woman at a table on the outside of the restaurant interior.  She is cowering against the wall, looking annoyed at the loud, jovial laughter of a table of trolls nearby.  She visibly starts when the runners greet her loudly to get her attention over the noise. She speaks nervously, almost avoiding eye contact entirely.

“You’re here to escort me, right?  I really don’t know that this is necessary, but thank you.  Here’s a chip with the places I need to get to. I recommend we travel above ground and go down when needed.  I hear they don’t take kindly to my kind down there…”

The chip has three locations on it.  There is one not far from the Rhino, one to the North, toward Snohomish and another eastward toward Bellevue.

Rachel is eager to get to work and finish her extra shift as quickly as possible (as well as get away from all the orks and trolls here), but she’ll answer any preliminary questions the runners have.  There shouldn’t be any reason for combat here, unless the runners have a history with the citizens of the Underground.

Scene 3 – The Suspicious

The location closest to the Big Rhino is accessible through a service entrance off an office tower.  Rachel’s city clearance gives her access to the service accessway, but not the office tower as a whole.  The service corridors run along the outside of the building’s infrastructure. An old water-stained concrete stairwell leads down under the building into recently-repurposed tunnels that branch out away from the building.  After following old signage for a distance, the runners come out into a clearing filled with pipes, conduits and wires, serving as a hub for power and water to run through the city and into the Underground. Standing between the runners and the filtration system are a large group of ork gangers, wearing the colours of the Skraacha.  The local “neighbourhood watch” of the Ork Underground spread out and show off their assorted weapons, ranging from clubs to shotguns and bar the runner’s path.

“Ain’t nobody comin’ through here.  Rumour has it that someone’s been poisoning the orks under the city and we can’t afford for that to go on.  So, you can just turn around and take your business elsewhere. You’re not welcome here.”

In order to get paid, the runners will need to get that filter installed.  The runners might wonder if there is any validity to the Skraacha statements about someone poisoning the Underground and naturally Rachel denies everything.  A chemsniffer of Rachel’s gear reveals nothing.

The poison isn’t on the filter itself, but rather contained in the sealant used to secure the filter to the filtration system.  In the aerosolized container, the strain of VITAS being used is fully sealed against detection.

If the runners fight the orks, they will need to scare them off enough to allow Rachel access to the filtration panels.  The process involves opening up the housing, pulling the old filter out, popping in the new filter and then applying a sealant to the upper and lower junctions.  The strain of VITAS being used is stored toward the top of the can, so Rachel makes a point of sealing the lower junction first (past the filter). Any runner can attempt an Industrial Mechanic+Logic (3) to realize that the filters being replaced, while dirty are nowhere near ready for replacement.  If asked about it, Rachel rolls her eyes and says that after all of the public hoopla over the situation, the replacements are occurring on an accelerated cycle, despite the cost, to save face. The story is legitimate, so Assensing will not reveal any ill intent with the cover story.

Ork Ganger

B7(8)  A4 R3 S6  W3 L2 I3 C3  Edge 2 Init = 6+1D6

PL8  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Meta Link, Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

Matrix:  The Seattle Grid is harder to access under the streets of the city.  Due to the old infrastructure and abandoned nature of the area there is a Noise penalty of 4 for any Matrix actions in this part of the undercity.

Scene 4 – The Desperate

The northern location sees an old retail store left to decay in the presence of the surrounding corporate subsidiaries.  With a chain and padlock barring the door, Rachel has a key to unlock the padlock and allow them access into the derelict structure.  The building is in a state of advanced decay and collapse as they descend to the basement. A ladder has been placed in a section of collapsed floor, leading down into a series of abandoned tunnels under the building.

The urban decay doesn’t fade away once in the undercity.  The tunnels are in an advanced state of collapse and the runners will be forced to scurry through narrow spaces in order to reach the end point.

In a similar clearing to the one near the Rhino, the filtration system is sitting exposed to the air, with several pieces of the assembly missing.  Rachel is immediately panicked by the sabotaged filter and asks the runners to try and locate the pieces of the assembly.

As they explore the area, they find an area that has been better maintained and decorated by more “ornate” debris from around the tunnels.  In an old maintenance room, they find an old ork with cataracts in his eyes muttering to himself. Inside the room, ornate designs have been laid out on the walls, the floor and the meager furnishings.  The patterns are elaborate, especially for a man who’s mostly blind. The pieces of the filtration assembly have been included in the designs that adorn the room.

The old man is happy to have visitors, but suffers from dementia.  Sometimes, he refers to people by seemingly random names. He appears to talk to himself often and anyone who can see the astral plane can see a free spirit hovering over the old man’s shoulder, whispering in his ears.

The spirit is a relatively low force free air elemental, who feels protective of the sickly old ork.  The spirit has directed the man to decorating the space in a way that is pleasing for the both of them.  The spirit is willing to let the runners take the pieces they need, so long as they remain respectful and don’t threaten the old man.

Crazy Old Ork

B6  A4 R3  S5 W3 L2  I3 C3 Edge 2  Init = 6+1D6

PL7  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

Free Spirit of Man (Force 6)

Has all Powers plus the following:

Banishing Resistance, Personal Domain, Psychokinesis, Influence, Shielding (as per Grade 3), Fear

Once they have retrieved the pieces, Rachel can start reassembling the unit and installing the new filter.

Matrix:  Similar to Scene 3, the Noise for this buried portion of the city is 4.

Scene 5 – The Hungry

The Eastern location lies beneath the sewers.  The sewers are a disgusting mess of water-logged refuse and God knows what else and Rachel seems to step gingerly around all perceived messes toward a service tunnel that connects two major series of tunnels.  A rusted out ladder descending below the main level takes them down into a darkened series of corridors. Without flashlights, visibility is almost non-existent, even for those with low-light vision.

Exploring deeper into the darkened tunnels, the bodies of desiccated animals dot the area until they arrive in a large, disused holding tank.  The filtration assembly is set into one of the walls. However, the room is the den for several feral ghouls and a wendigo. They will attack en masse against the runners in a flash of flashlights and teeth.

Ghouls are Orks, so add 2 to Body and Strength

Wendigo Adept Powers:  Improved Reflexes 1 (1.5), Strength Boost 4 (1.0), Mystic Armor 4 (2.0), Cloak 2 (0.5), Pain Resistance 2 (1.0)

Wendigo Spells:  Improved Invisibility, Vampiric Stealth, Manabolt, Detect Ork, Mob Mood, Spirit Zapper

Assuming Rachel survives the attack, she will complete the repairs and the job will be complete.  Otherwise, one of the runners will need to make an Industrial Mechanic+Logic(3) test to install the hardware themselves.  Using Rachel’s commlink in some way, they can contact city hall and let them know the job is done.

Matrix:  Similar to Scene 3, the Noise for this buried portion of the city is 4.

Scene 6A – The Aftermath (Assuming the runners finish the job)

Once the filters are put in place and Rachel calls her boss, the runners get a call from Mr. Johnson.  He asks them to head for a local bus station in order to receive their payment and to bring Rachel with them.  The bus station is a busy hub of activity even at the wee hours of the morning and there are extensive cameras in the area.

As they arrive, Mr. Johnson will call them again and tell them to go to locker 34 and enter the combination 4912.  Inside the locker they find a backpack with credsticks amounting to the agreed upon sum. Mr. Johnson confirms that the amount is correct before requesting that the runners release Rachel and wait until she’s away before they take their leave.

Once Rachel has gotten into a prepaid cab, Mr. Johnson thanks them for their efforts and hangs up.

With the job complete, assuming the runners haven’t done anything to change the circumstances, the runners have not only given Mr. Johnson camera footage of what looks like a ransom drop, but when the VITAS outbreak kills several orks in the Underground, it gets traced back to the filters they helped Rachel plant.  Rumours direct the blame from Brackhaven over to Humanis members, but the shadow rumour mill points back to the team and Judge. The runners gain a point of Notoriety and Judge’s reputation takes a hit.

Scene 6B – The Confrontation (Assuming the runners learn of the plot and aim to stop it)

At some point along the way, the runners catch wind of the plan to infect the residents of the Underground and move to put a stop to it.

If confronted about it, Rachel feigns ignorance at first.  She folds right away under pressure and tells them that she wasn’t told the nature of the attack; only that she would be helping to “reassert human dominance in Seattle”.  If pressured to give a name, she gives them the name David Mussina.

Mussina’s ties to Humanis are well documented, though the policlub has done their best to publicly distance themselves from him, due to his “extreme views and methods”.  Unofficially, they support him as his methods get results that supports their agenda. If the runners follow up and storm Humanis, they find out from anyone they interrogate that Mussina has gone to ground.  When word of the attack’s failure reaches him, he destroys his commlink and disappears into the city.

If the runners care to pursue him, he can resurface later for them to track down and bring to justice.

David Mussina

David is a human man at 5’11” and an athletic build. A man in his prime (mid-thirties), he is an entitled man from a privileged upbringing.  He’s a financial planner by training and the money he has earned goes toward furthering his racist agenda. The polo shirts and slacks are the uniform for his form of hatred, being a bully in almost every aspect of his life.  He shows outright contempt and revulsion toward orks and trolls, while elves and dwarves elicit subtle barbs. While he does typically carry a sidearm, he’s only barely trained at the range and is not much threat.

Financial Planner / Humanis Extremist
Possible Sources – Bankers, Brokers, Hate Groups, Humanis

1/2 – David is an independent financial planner and bachelor.  He is very good at his job, but his clientele is evidently all human.

2/4 – An active member of Humanis, he donates generously to the idea of human supremacy, as he was forced out of his last corporate job by elves.  Striking out independently has worked very well for him in the end, but he only sees the arrogance.

5/8 – Living in the heart of Renton, he recruits from the white collar portion of the population, though he finds that Humanis’ views are harder to digest in the corporate sector.  Not gaining much traction, he has turned from passive protest to extreme action

9/12 – Keeping track of his clients’ portfolios, he knows about vacant homes and properties in the area, where he typically disappears to when the heat is on.

>> I hate escorting some civvy through the bowels of the city… they’re always ill-prepared and an unwanted liability.
>> Havik

>> Anyone feel there’s something off about this job?
>> Conspir-I-See

>> Want to know what feels off?  Trace the funding for your employer on this one and you’ll find where the stink comes from…
>> Uruk Hai

Demons of a Fallen God Part 3 – Dredging the Bottom (#Shadowrun)

•January 9, 2019 • 1 Comment

With the runners having fled Ukraine, the media is making a spectacle of the events in Kiev.  The runners are being blamed for the explosions and framed for the death of their fixer. Interpol has been called in on the hunt for these “terrorists”.  The shadows are much less one-sided on the issue, but there is enough debate about what’s going on that an air of mistrust is brewing. After a week of laying low, so far, there hasn’t been any signs of fallout.  Emmerich reaches out after a long silence and says he has a line on some work. The meet is tonight at 10:15 at Das Rattenloch, if they’re interested in what Mr. Johnson has to say. The options have been slim, due to the media slander against them, so he apologizes for the type of work.  He recommends “gutter chic” attire (essentially club wear for a dive)

Scene 1 – The Rat Hole

When the runners look up Das Rattenloch, the address they are given doesn’t conform to any actual building, but rather an area on the waterfront.  The water surrounding Hamburg is still heavily polluted in this area and the air is filled with a sickly tang of industrial chemical and human sewage.  The lights from the street, and the wharf lighting don’t reach down here as the stairs descend downward, closer and closer to the water’s edge, below the tide line.  Only an hour before, the entire area was under the thick, black sludge.

Upon getting to the edge of the access way, a water drainage pipe is visible with AR signage only, proclaiming that the Rathole is just ahead.  With only AR or low-light vision to guide them, they find a sealed metal door, black with sludge with rust around the edges. Banging on the door will hear the latch be released and the door open.  An ork with several obvious transhumanist cybernetic mods and an LED tattoo over his mouth nods in welcome as the tattoo forms a marquee welcoming them to the club.

The club is a series of connected tunnels, sealed off from the drainage system, with only the minimally required structural supports remaining.  The makeshift sound system, is wired haphazardly, dangling from the roof in various places, blasting whatever the most recent hacker has decided to pipe through the system (currently, that would be Fresnel Fuzz, a form of manipulation of white noise to create rhythm).  The room is crammed with bodies, gyrating to the music/noise in whatever way they feel is appropriate. The bar is an armored booth with bulletproof glass, where you interact with the menu and barkeep via AR. All the drinks are in unmarked clear bottles. Some look dangerous…

Asking at the bar for Mr. Johnson gets them thumbed to a corner of the bar.  In the corner furthest from where the entered is a human man picking his fingernails with a combat knife.  He is heavily tattooed, wearing combat boots (which are propped up on the table as they approach) and riding leathers.  When the runners walk up, he pulls his boots down and motions for them to sit (the chairs look less than comfortable). He speaks with a German accent, but his tattoos definitely reveal him to be Vory.

“Welcome.  Your fixer assures me you can get the task I require complete and yes, I’ve heard all the dirty rumours about you.  I don’t particularly care. I am smuggler by trade and normally, I don’t require outside intervention for getting my goods into Germany, but recently the corporations have been trying to assert their control of the city again, which is complicating a time-sensitive delivery.  Therefore, I need to secure alternate avenues.”

Mr. Johnson places a dossier on the table, topped with a picture of a grinning man in a suit.

“I have chosen this man:  Albrecht Wrangel. He runs a BMW facility in Emden, which could easily mask my merchandise among the amount of product he moves.  However, he is closely watched by his keepers and my associates can’t get close to him. So, your job is to find significant leverage against him that I can use to persuade him to agree to my plan.  Personal or professional, or any combination of the two… I don’t care. Give me the power to manipulate him and I will pay you 3000¥ apiece for your troubles.”

Naturally, he is low-balling the team, using their reputation against him.  A shrewd negotiator can bump up the price a little, but on paper, the job is pretty basic.

Once the runners agree, he nods and shakes the hand of whatever negotiator was working for the team.  “Great, here’s my commcode and call me when you’ve got something I can use.”

Mr. Johnson

Vory Smuggler – Connection 3, Loyalty 1

Possible Sources – Shadowrunners, Underworld, Smugglers

1/2 – Mr. Johnson is Erik Moser aka “Iron Ghost”.  He is a smuggler that runs the Baltic Sea, moving weapons and drugs throughout the Scandinavian Union, Germany and Northern France.  He has known ties to the Vory, but has burned bridges with the Russian Vor.

2/4 – Not a typical hiring party, but when the corporations are involved, he has numerous companies looking for him in regards to stolen property and can’t afford to be seen in the area.

4/10 – The Red Vory are none too happy with the Iron Ghost having stolen their Baltic weapons trade and are offering a small bounty on the smuggler.  So far the amount is small enough that no one takes the contract seriously, but if he continues to undermine the business out of St. Petersburg, he could find himself in dangerous waters.

Albrecht Wrangel

Factory Foreman – Connection 4, Loyalty 1

Possible Sources – Corporate (Heavy Industry), Charity Organizations (North German League)

1/2 – Albrecht is a man who rose from humble beginnings in Bremen in the ranks of BMW, starting off as an apprentice mechanic, but showing a head for business savvy.

2/4 – He has been heading the manufacturing division in Emden for the past 6 years and is a resident of Wilhemshaven.  He is a known philanthropist, giving to several German charities for rebuilding Northern German infrastructure and housing the homeless.

4/7 – Albrecht has been the proverbial playboy for many years, never settling down, but lately he has a girlfriend that has been lasting far longer than any previous relationships.  There is talk that he may finally have found the one person he can spend his life with.

7/11 – The numbers put out by Albrecht’s BMW plant are extremely impressive, cranking out more units than any other German facility, while producing a reduced environmental footprint.  Saeder-Krupp parades the numbers proudly, but many think the facility is doctoring their numbers.

Matrix:  The German grid is very comprehensive so Noise is almost not a factor save for areas with a lot of wireless traffic.  Luckily, the runners are likely avoiding major population centers to avoid being detected.

The grid for Das Rattenloch is as chaotic as the club itself.  Hackers pretty much have the ability to render the space as they wish, so it’s a dizzying array of hacker tags, overlapping themes but a distinct lack of Matrix security, leaving the system wide open for people to do as they wish.

Scene 2 – The Law Catches Up

As the runners are getting ready to head out to start digging up dirt on Albrecht Wrangel, any runners that have not wiped out their old commlinks find themselves being trailed by the local authorities.  Within Hamburg, the police will resort to simple tailing, but once outside the city, the runners will find themselves running into roadblocks and security checkpoints. If they continue to resist throwing away their commlinks and any other traceable hardware, the police will continue to track them down and depending on how the runners behave, the police will bring in bigger and bigger weapons to take down the runners.

Interpol Police

B4 A4 R4 S3 W3 L3 I4 C3  Init 8+1D6

Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 5, Social Limit 5

Armor 12

Skills: Pistols 4, Clubs 4, Intimidation 6, Perception 3, Running 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Local Crime 3, Law Enforcement 4

Qualities: Toughness

Ares Predator V (Pistol, Acc 5(7), 8P, SA, AP -1, 15(c), Smartgun)

Armor Jacket

Defiance Shocker (Taser, Acc 4, 11S(e), AP -5, SS, 4(m), Melee Attack)

Erika Elite

Stun Baton (Club, Acc 4, Reach 1, 9S(e), AP -5, 10 charges)

Jazz * 2

Optics – Contact Lens 2 (Image Link, Smartlink)

Vehicles are BMW I8 Interceptors for chases and Dodge Goliaths for Roadblocks (see Rigger 5)

Scene 3 – Submerged Industry

Both of the towns of Emden and Wilhelmshaven are afloat by corporate will alone.  When the Black Tide hit Northern Germany, many of the northernmost towns were wiped off the map.  However, the manufacturing facilities in Emden and the port in Wilhelmshaven justified their salvation.  Saeder-Krupp in partnership with Proteus shored up the city limits, cleaned up after the disaster and returned the cities to their original glory, save for the North Sea now completely surrounding both cities.

The feel of the two cities are very different.  Emden definitely gives off a working-person’s vibe, with factories and manual labour being the primary focus for the city.  The housing is basic, but comfortable enough and the roads are extra wide to allow for the large number of trucks that roll through the city.  Wilhelmshaven, despite having a deep water port, is more of an executive’s town. The waterfront sees more cruise ships than freighters any more and as a result, the city is very clean looking, with more land per home and greater police presence.

Albrecht Wrangel lives in Wilhelmshaven and works in Emden, so his commute accounts for a chunk of every day.  On the surface, Albrecht looks like a boy scout. No back taxes, gambling debts or ties to organized crime. He’s a poster boy for Saeder-Krupp’s automotive division, as BMW has been turning out some very impressive numbers since he took the foreman role.  His girlfriend is from a well respected family in the AGS and he seems to dote on her hand and foot.

He spends a considerable chunk of his personal wealth on charities and digging into his life reveals little of note.  The runners will need to dig into his place of work to find the dirt they need for leverage against him.

The factory in Emden is large and impressive.  The robotics that fill the factory floor run day and night with minimal supervision, but security is always around to ensure the grounds remain secure.  The site maintains high safety standards and hasn’t had any incidents of note. The information the runners are looking for is locked away in a hidden node on their server.

In one of those “it’s always been done this way” processes, the waste from the manufacturing process that has been recycled so many times, the material is useless, many of the more hazardous materials are collected by the machines in an automated process and siphoned off into a bin that is loaded onto a truck and discarded.  These volumes are never recorded on the system, making the plant look more efficient and “green”.

The hidden subsystem contains the subroutine that powers the process as well as coordinates that are to be loaded into the truck that deposits the waste.

Even though there is no evidence that code was written by Albrecht, Mr. Johnson says he can use the data and wants photographic evidence of the dump site.

Matrix:  The area the runners are in is vastly Saeder-Krupp controlled and the local grid is very similar is structure and function to the S-K Corporate grid.  Once they need to gain access to the BMW Factory host, they step into something a little more unique.

BMW Factory Grid

The logo for the BMW grid is a BMW logo that immediately shifts and contorts robotically to allow the hacker to step into a BMW showroom.  The air smells of new car smell and the space is climate controlled to perfection, like a suitably air conditioned building in the middle of a warm summer day.  The sales staff are attractive men and women, standing off to the side, smiling without approaching to give a pressure-free environment to peruse the cars. The cars are all interactive, allowing the user to add or remove features from the displayed model, to show them what the color looks like, or whether they like the feel of the cabin.  Accessing the sales staff starts the ball rolling on making a purchase. Accessing the service department take them into an impossibly tidy garage, with a rugged looking mechanic greeting them, asking what the problem with the vehicle seems to be.

If the hacker finds his way into the manufacturing floor (easiest point of entry is through the vehicle customization interface), they are instead greeted with a much less sculpted interface that directs the build order of vehicles and the individual protocols of the robotics.

Icons for files in the main dealership are rendered as carbon contracts, while in the manufacturing system they are rendered as the ordered parts the robotics draw from.  Employees, while rarely logged in, use personnel ID pics over humanoid icons. IC appear as S-K officers, as there is no sense beating around the bush any more once a threat has been identified.

Host Rating 7

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

Security Protocol – Patrol IC running at all times, no onsite decker but one quickly logs in remotely at the first sign of trouble.

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.

Scene 4 – Historic Blasphemy

The coordinates in the software points to a small cape of land left over from the Black Tide between Emden and Wilhelmshaven.  The Earth is still poisoned from the Black Tide and the roads don’t provide any official exits from the highway, however there are gaps in the guardrails that a trained eye can pick out and leads down old ill-maintained roads from the small farming towns that used to dot the area.

The location is tied to the outskirts of Aurich, where most of the town was erased by the surging tide and the rest was left a toxic mess.  The dump site itself is the former site of Neuengamme, a sub-location of a Nazi concentration camp. The astral space here is tainted by both the site’s history and the poisons leeched into the Earth.  The only living things here are creatures scavenging for food and warped by the environment. The toxins have erased their fear of humans (or anything, really) and will attack anything they perceive as a threat.

Use the Flatworm Viper and Radhound from Howling Shadows.

The old buildings where many old barrels have been dumped serves as the Flatworm Viper nest, while the Radhounds walk the grounds, looking for food.

Once the runners get proof that BMW has been dumping their waste in the old concentration camp, Mr. Johnson will be satisfied and pay the runners what they were promised.

>> That’s a pittance to get paid for getting tangled up in the wyrm’s company.  Count me out of this one…
>> Wraith

>> It’s Hamburg… someone wanting to make a name for themselves will take it.  My question is why BMW?  There are other companies that ship out of Wilhelmshaven…
>> Czerna Woda

>> Maybe Mr. Johnson is being honest that BMW’s shipment is the only one big enough to conceal their shipment.  They’re definitely the largest name on the wharf.
>> Fulcrum

>> Mr. Johnson, honest?  If you believe that, I’ve got some voting stock in Saeder-Krupp I’m selling cheap…
>> Wraith

In the Name of the All-Mighty – Perilous Teachings (#Shadowrun)

•December 20, 2018 • 1 Comment

As a product of my first clients from Heroes for Hire, I have been running a campaign where the runners are all operatives for the Catholic Church, running out of Rome and Vatican City.  Thus far it has been a very interesting experiment and three sessions in, we’re all having a good time with it.  If the campaign interests you, feel free to follow along with the campaign (or any of my campaigns) on Obsidian Portal.

The team is contacted by Maria De Santis and asked to come to Babington’s Tea Room at Piazza di Spagna for 4PM to discuss a matter of immediate import.

Scene 1 – Tea in the Plaza

The sun is still high in the sky and warm in the tourist-cluttered square when the runners arrive.  Babington’s Tea Room has been established in the same location for over a century and the facade of the place has been faithfully maintained and preserved in that time.  The English-style tea room overlooks Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Plaza) and the base of the Spanish Steps. The throng of metahumanity that moves through the area is impressive, as they move between Trevi Fountain and other classic features of the city.

Maria De Santis is sitting at an outlying table, sipping a tea while people-watching the plaza.  As the runners approach, she motions for them to pull up a chair and asks if they would like some tea.  Once the entire team has arrived, Maria sets down her tea cup and leans in close.

“The Church has needs of your specific set of talents.  A danger lurks in the city that cannot go unchecked any longer.  While the sin and vice peddled in this city after dark is a travesty, we have gotten word that a coven of vampires has been discovered somewhere in our own backyard.  These demons have started a secret church to lure in the easily swayed and who knows what they might do if left to their own devices. Therefore, we require your team to track down this coven and eliminate them.  The team will be rewarded with 6000¥ apiece for their efforts.”

The Church is no stranger to runner ethics, so should the team renegotiate the terms, they will negotiate in good faith, but may try to sway the additional amount to be supplemented with goods instead of cash.

Once the team has settled on an amount, Maria nods in agreement.  She tells them to lean on their contacts to learn the location of this secret church and to contact her when they have exterminated the vampire threat.

Matrix:  The VaticaNet is a grid that permeates the Papal States and some of the other countries that make up the Italian Confederation.  The grid has been molded in the style of Ancient Roman architecture, though looming over top of the Roman roads that connect everything is a glowing crucifix atop St. Peter’s Basilica that reflects the Vatican itself.  The grid is potent within Rome, but some of the more touristy areas are slight spam zones, inflicting Noise 1 or 2 on any hackers in that area.

Scene 2 – The Dark Side of Rome

As the sun sets on Rome, a new side of the city emerges.  Though the light of Vatican City casts a glow over the night sky, the old cobbled streets of Rome house a night market of sin and vice.  The Mafia runs most of the illicit markets that creep out of the shadows and the streets are just as alive at night as they are during the day.

If the runners have contacts in the underbelly of the city, they are likely to bump into them in these illicit markets.  Otherwise, the runners will need to ask around for a secret Church. The unfortunate thing for the runners is that there are several within the city.  There are those that worship the old Roman Gods, underground Muslim Churches left over from the EuroWars and Satanic Churches operating right under the Vatican’s noses.

The first lead the runners get directs them to the large Trastevere neighbourhood on the west side of the Tiber River.  Their contact or bribed individual tells them of an underground cult, that says they worship Satan. Most Satanic Churches “aren’t that bad”, but these guys are “pretty scary”.

The old streets of this district wind through darkened roads and finding people who know about this underground church here shouldn’t be too difficult for those who know where to look.  If they can find someone who is willing to tell/show them where the church is, they find it under a local shop, with the basement converted into a makeshift chapel. This group has read every bit of “Satanic Lore” they can find, showcasing inverted crosses, pentagrams and any other sign of the occult, one can dream up.  The members wear black robes and the floor around the altar is stained in blood (chicken blood, mostly). All the members are disenfranchised with the Catholic Church, but that’s all they have in common. The Church is a non-threat, but the Vatican won’t worry about perceived Satanists being disbanded. This is not the Church they’ve been sent for.

In order to get the right lead, the runners can mention that it’s only open at night with vampires rumoured to be among the congregation.  With a good Charisma+Etiquette roll, they learn about a church in the area east of Esquilino, called Collatino. The area is low income housing primarily and just off the A24.

Matrix:  While most of the areas the runners will be going to may be off the tourist track, with the exception of Collatino, the Matrix is solid in the area.  Collatino, being removed from the center of Rome, suffers from a Noise of 1 due to the weaker Matrix infrastructure.

Scene 3 – Under Collatino

The district of Collatino is made up of several smaller neighbourhoods and the area has fallen into some disrepair in the decades since the fragmentation of the country.  Several refugees of the EuroWars fled here, seeing Rome as a safe haven from attack. As the poor, displaced masses arrived, Collatino was one of the few districts with affordable housing, due to the distance from the Vatican.  As the displaced masses gathered, cheaper housing was erected to take them in and Collatino’s population swelled from 50,000 to over 150,000. Now the district is overpopulated for the infrastructure, yet housing in Collatino is in high demand, due to the lower pricing.  With the Vatican imposing a restriction on building heights and historical preservation, Collatino is at a boiling over point.

In a busy district like Collatino, finding a Church is easy.  Many here are devout Catholics and everyone has “their church” they are happy to direct people to.  Those who keep regular hours don’t seem to know anything about the specific service they’re looking for.  It is the group of graveyard shift workers and those with bizarre schedules that start pointing the runners toward a Catholic Mass for the forgotten masses.

As they investigate, they learn that the ancient Roman sewer system is used as tunnels and shelter for many of the city’s homeless and that recently, many of the homeless have found an Underground Mass they can freely attend.  The homeless demographic is a perfect place for vampires to feed on and the runners will likely delve into the old stone tunnels to seek out the Church.

Being home to the less fortunate, they will defend their homes, such as they are from perceived threats.  The runners could also discover a pack of devil rats to contend with in a darkened section of tunnel.

They eventually find the church in a sandbagged and flushed out section of the old tunnels.  The area surrounding the “Church” is quiet and devoid of all but the basic of life.

Scene 4 – Church of the Damned?

The old tunnels have been blocked off from the usual flow to create a dry patch.  A series of side tunnels have been cleared for storage purposes, holding the mismatched chairs that serve as pews and the pulpit, but the striking part of the Church is that the services here appear to be for a Catholic mass.  Scripture adorns the walls in the form of Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

The services start at midnight and people trickle in from the area.  Many are day labourers, who can’t catch a regular service. A very small number of the parishioners are those infected with HMHVV.  A couple ghouls, a vampire and a gnawer. The priest himself shrouds himself in robes, but when the light in the room catches his features it reveals him to be a Nosferatu.  However, if the runners take time to interview those attending the service, they seem unbothered by the vampiric creatures they share the church with. The uninfected say that “they are just people who have been dealt a bad hand and deserve to worship as much as any of us”.  There are no reported disappearances among the congregation.

The vampiric members of the congregation will be very wary of any line of questioning and they band together for strength in numbers.  The priest will be very talkative and seems genuine in his belief in the Church. He explains that they were devout Roman Catholics before they were exposed to the Virus and they didn’t see a need to stop praying because of their affliction.  They swear that they feed on rats and other vermin from the sewers as much as they can, and use blood banks frequently. For those times where blood banks can’t suffice, they feed on the critically ill and dying and ensure that they mercifully end their prey’s life, rather than turning them into another of them.

The runners have a choice:  these creatures are very aware of their condition and are taking every precaution to minimize their impact on the local population.  Whether the runners believe them or not is another matter (they are being honest). Their other choice is to obey the Church and slay these creatures, despite them spreading the word of God and ending the suffering of the dying.

Vampire, Nosferatu, Gnawer and Ghoul Stats found in the SR5 Core book and Howling Shadows.

The runners will need to provide proof of kill, or something akin to it, especially if they choose to let the vampires escape.

>> This is tantamount to mass murder!  How can the Church condone executing a group because they’re sick?
>> Darwin

>> The immortal soul belongs to God, but these creatures can consume what rightfully belongs to Him.  They must be destroyed.
>> Remiel

>> So, you’re able to murder an entire group of people, go to confession and be absolved.  These people eat so they can survive and pray to the same forgiving God, but are irredeemable.  Interesting viewpoint there, Ms. Double Standard.
>> Red

>> Should you and I cross paths, demon, I’ll send you to Lucifer, so you can discuss the matter more fully.
>> Remiel

Clearing the Cobwebs

•December 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So, after the shutdown of my home group in August, I’ve been continuing to work on correcting the issues at hand.  On top of developing a Code of Conduct for the table to follow, I’ve continued to work on new material for Shadowrun and 7th Sea.  Some is for my business, some for future conventions and some for eventual home play.

Last week, I finally blew the dust off my dice and we played our first game of 7th Sea in a long while, as well as it being the first session of RPGs I’d run since the shutdown.  The game went really well and everyone had a good time, without fighting or anyone coming away upset.  Even my wife, who doesn’t game with me that often anymore, joined in and had a good time using her old Fate Witch for the first time in years.

A strong, positive return to the table has given me some hope that an eventual home campaign of Shadowrun will actually work.  That with some diligence and some guidelines, my players can work together and create an enjoyable experience for everyone at the table, myself included.  While I don’t claim that my group’s code of conduct will work for every group, I do think that having some restrictions in place ultimately will help shape a group into a working unit.  I was of the mindset that I shouldn’t limit my players’ creativity by imposing restrictions on concepts and such… but with such disparate and conflicting characters, there was no team coherency.  Being too laissez faire can be almost as destructive as restricting character options.

I hope that other groups that struggle with team in-fighting and player conflict can take something from my experiences to help their own table.

  • Granting your players the freedom to create interesting characters is key to getting them invested in the game… but boundaries are still required
  • Find players with compatible play styles.  I realize not everyone is as fortunate as I am for the number of eager players… but if a player is disrupting the game by derailing the style of game the majority (including the GM) want to play, it may be time to trim the group
  • The enjoyment of the GM is equal to the enjoyment of the players.  I ran games for years out of the “obligation” to entertain my friends, rather than the creative exercise I initially got into RPGs for.  GMs should enjoy the game as well!

I’m enjoying the creative process for the first time in what feels like a very long time and it boiled down to relieving some of the pressure I was putting on myself to produce, as well as lifting the dread of what social mess would arise at the table that night.  So, to my fellow GMs, whatever system you enjoy:  run your group with a firm hand (without being a tyrant), give your players freedom to explore your universe and together we will create new worlds to explore!

Game On!

Fallen Angel Part 2 – Power Outage (Shadowrun)

•November 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is the second run of the Fallen Angel campaign.  Unfortunately, this was the last part of the campaign that got run, due to player infighting and an ultimate shutdown of the group.  There is a Part #3 I developed, in anticipation of continuing, but I may post that as a standalone mission at some point.

A week after the runners encountered ghouls in the Barrens, their fixer is back on the line.  They tell them that they’re tenacious pursuit of resolution in the last job has garnered some attention and they’re being requested for some anti-corp work.  If they’re interested in the details, they can meet with the fixer at Penumbra at 9PM.

Scene 1 – Old Stomping Grounds

The shine may have come off Seattle’s longest running nightclub, but the Penumbra still ends up pulling a decent crowd of loyal attendees.  The outer space motif is still going strong and the crowd seems somewhat older than it used to be, but it is still one of the premiere runner hotspots in the city.

Sitting in a private booth is their fixer, awaiting their arrival.  Once the team has gathered, he plugs his commlink into the table and activates the white noise generator.  “All right, thanks for coming everyone. I have a client who’s looking for some sabotage to be done to their rival.  The rival in this case is Shiawase Amaterasu Solar. They’ve been working on a new product that I’ve been told is called ‘Project Zircon’.  The client is asking for the entire project to be wiped out: research data and its backups, physical prototypes… the works. On top of that, you’ve only got about a week before the project sees implementation in Wales, so the longer you wait, the more of the physical prototypes you will need to destroy.  Due to the time restrictions and the need for eradication of the project, Mr. Johnson is willing to offer up 7,500¥ apiece to see this taken care of. What do you guys think?”

Give the runners time to discuss what they’ve been told and negotiate on the price.  There is some room to maneuver, up to a max of 9,000¥. If the team gets greedy, the fixer can dismiss them for thinking they’re better than their rep shows.

Once the runners are on board, the fixer nods.  “Excellent. The Shiawase facility that’s doing the development is in rural Salish.  I’ll send you the details. Once the work is done, let me know and I’ll arrange the transfer.”

Shiawase Amaterasu Solar
Megacorporate Power Subsidiary

Possible Sources – Corporate Contacts, Environmentalists

1/2 – One of Shiawase’s ventures into renewable energy.  Not as popular as some of their other ventures, but still profitable.

2/4 – Unlike their other energy ventures, this one facilitated being out of the urban sprawl so the panels could actually see the sun.  Shiawase had to jump through a lot of hoops to get that one pushed through NAN policies.

5/8 – Amaterasu has been getting some competition for some major AA power companies for some lucrative space contracts, where satellites are looking for more efficient solar collection.  Project Zircon was developed to meet demands of the program.

7/10 – The project has many anonymous, wealthy contributors who are likely to get upset, if their investments don’t pan out.

The Shiawase facility is in an old hamlet once called Maple Falls, on the banks of the Nooksack River.  It’s roughly an hour and half north of Everett by car, northeast of the nation’s capital.

Scene 2 – Into the Woods

The drive toward the Amaterasu facility is almost picturesque compared to what the runners are used to.  The interstate that connects Seattle to Bellingham is not jammed solid with cars and once they leave the interstate for local highways that wind through the Salish-Shidhe Council, they find themselves driving through green fields and full trees, split up only by tribal lands and the occasional rest stop.  Many of the tribes in this area belong to the Cascade Crow tribe and they are decidedly anti-Anglo, so non-Native runners will need to be cautious.

The once sleepy town of Maple Falls has been taken over by Shiawase.  A hamlet of under 400 people, the old town has been re-purposed by the company for the employees and to the north of the wooded village is the actual complex.  At a glance, the town is still the wooded vacation spot it once was. However, under more scrutiny, visitors will see the signs of progress here, with Japanese signs, AR signage and the local chapel having been changed from Christian to Shinto.  Visitors are still welcome to stop in at the hotels and go hiking, but the area is monitored by Shiawase security, rather than Salish police.

Because the town is 100% Shiawase citizens, the runners can’t simply ask around town for intel on the complex without drawing unwanted attention.  Whether through contacts, interrogation or other means, the runners will need to try to gain intelligence on the complex and Project Zircon.

Project Zircon
Shiawase Energy Project

Possible Sources:  Shiawase Contacts, Energy Sector Contacts, Space Program Contacts

3/8 – Project Zircon is Shiawase’s entry into a solar power collection project, aimed at improving the efficiency of space station solar collectors.

6/12 – The name of the project comes from the use of one of the primary materials in the construction of the panels:  zirconium dibromide.

8/14 – ZrBr2 has been used in solar panels before, but the engineers at Amaterasu believe they’ve found a new bonding agent that will allow the panels to absorb more heat and make each panel more efficient.

Zirconium Dibromide
Refractive Compound

Possible Sources:  Chemists, Solar Panel Engineers

2/4 – Zirconium dibromide is a refractive powder compound, created artificially by exposing zirconium dioxide to positively charged bromide ions in a hot, pressurized environment.

4/7 – The powder is quite stable, has a very high melting point (over 3000 degrees Celsius) and is resistant to most alkalines, though ti will dissolve in hydrochloric or sulfuric acids after several days.

6/10 – A popular material for solar panels, the material refracts the sun’s light inside the panels, while the bonding agents that hold the powder in place, transfer the heat into usable power.  The strength of the bonding agent determine how much energy is lost from sunlight.

Matrix:  For being in rural Salish, the Matrix connection here is pretty solid thanks to Shiawase’s presence.  Any users here will gain access to the Salish grid, rather than the Shiawase grid. Jumping into the Corporate Grid is easy enough to here… if you’ve got the right credentials.

Nestled into the Shiawase Grid, Amaterasu Solar is very proud of two things:  being Japanese and being green. The Amaterasu host shows a Shinto temple nestled into a hill on the horizon, where the sun shining brightly in the sky highlights the temple’s decorative features.  The green fields surrounding the temple are covered in solar panels angled toward the sunlit temple. The area is warm and the scent of cherry blossoms is carried on the breeze. Each of the solar panels represents a site where they’ve got their technology installed.  The temple is the main system. The iconography are featureless humanoids in Shiawase uniforms. The IC appears as hollow suits of blue samurai armour.

Host Rating: 7
ASDF Ratings:  Attack 7, Sleaze 8, Data Processing 9, Firewall 10

Security Processing:  Patrol IC is running all the time.  One Security Spider online at all times.

Once the alarm is raised, IC activates in the following order:  Probe, Killer, Track, Black IC, Crash, Marker and Sparky. If an IC gets bricked, a new version of the IC is rebooted rather than moving to the next.  After 1D6 Combat Turns, a new Troubleshooter logs on.

Scene 3 – Under the Open Sky

The Amaterasu complex is an expansive, sprawling affair with two central buildings, a smaller out building and a large solar farm that powers the entire facility, the Shiawase-run town and some of the neighbouring tribal lands.  The complex gives off a faint hum of electricity and creates a Noise Rating of 1 over the entire property.

The two buildings handle both the creation of the polymers and ZrBr2, with the other building for administration and the pressing of the solar panels.  The solar farm area is very warm from the solar collection. The outer building houses extra facilities, like a cafeteria, main security office and a garage.

Chemical Manufacturing:

Panel Assembly:

Security here is in the form of Shiawase security personnel, drones as well as a spider team.  If the runners are detected by security and communications have not been disrupted, spiritual assistance can be requested, though there is no mage on site.  With the town being run by the corporation, reinforcements are not far away. Being removed from any major city, the company is free to pursue them a good ways after completing the job.

Scene 4 – Getting Paid…?

After eluding Shiawase’s forces and getting back to Seattle the runners can reach out to their fixer for the job’s completion.  The fixer will go offline for a while and when they come back, they are apologetic… they’ve been unable to raise Mr. Johnson. After a couple of hours of failed attempts, in order to mollify the runners, the fixer offers up Mr. Johnson’s last known location, so they can get their pay.

The location is a four-star hotel that Knight Errant has cordoned off.  If they are able to get answers from the police, they talk about an attack on the penthouse, but aren’t willing to cough up too much information.  For the runners to investigate, they’ll have to slip through the police network and make their way up to the upper floor of the hotel. Hacking into the police network, or eavesdropping while inside the hotel tells them that there are rogue hostile spirits on the upper level and the Knights are awaiting magical backup.

If the runners break in, they will find three powerful spirits stalking around the penthouse (fire, earth and water).  The security personnel are all dead and the body of Mr. Johnson (presumably) has been incinerated and infused to the living room table, leaving only a skeletal remain.  The runners will need to deal with the spirits before they can progress very far. All spirits are Force 6.

There is a slightly battered safe in the master bedroom that contains certified credsticks with the runners pay on it.  Once they’ve claimed their paycheque, word reaches Knight Errant that the spiritual problem has been dealt with, but now there are shadowrunners in the building.  The police are going to move in and the runners will need to slip away.

If the runners let the police deal with the spirit problem, the safe is confiscated by Knight Errant and their pay is lost.

>> That’s a lot of damage to inflict on one complex with extra security so close.  The risk isn’t worth the pay.
>> Wraith

>> You don’t know the half of it.
>> Orange Queen

>> Care to fill us in on that vague comment, Queenie?
>> Burn

>> I guess not…
>> Burn

My Poor Track Record

•November 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been a GameMaster for Shadowrun since 1999.  In the nearly 30 years I’ve been enjoying this system, there’s been one area where my track record has been less than exemplary:  campaigns.

I don’t know where things have gone wrong historically, but anything more than a handful of connected runs seems to go off the rails in short order.  The latest example of this is my recent Fallen Angel campaign from this summer.  Four sessions and two runs in, the campaign was dead in the water.  This newest campaign was called off by me, due to my players devolving into petty, squabbling children.  The players were dividing into factions, rage quitting and the characters didn’t work together… plus there were too many players on average.

For the first time in 15 years, all gaming ceased.  I simply needed to take a pause in games and take stock of repeated failures.  It took those closest to me to give me shake and make me realize that for years, I’d been a doormat to my players.  I let them run roughshod over me, exploiting my good nature and willingness to allow my players to explore creativity to build god-like characters, or lone wolves who didn’t play well with others.

I spoke with my players and aired my grievances once I took stock of where my issues were and responses were overall predictable.  Many thought there wasn’t a problem at all and others expressed sadness at the loss of their regular game night.  A very select few made efforts to fix the situation and even fewer realized at how angry the situation had made me.  I am incurably Canadian in my willingness to forgive and be non-confrontational… for me to be this angry, my long time player base should have recognized that I wasn’t taking well to having been taken advantage of for years.

The end result of the shutdown was the development of a game table code of conduct that I expect from all of my players going forward and a serious downsizing of my RPG table, based on my sporadic gaming interactions with them since the shutdown in August.  I’ve been creating material during the downtime for some of my other campaigns, like Demons of a Fallen God and my work with Heroes for Hire, but I do aim to get a new campaign started with selected players, stricter guidelines and an emphasis on stories.  And contrary to my old methods, I will stick up for what I want from an ongoing arc…  we’ll see if I can break the streak.

For those who would ask, this is what was developed for the Code of Conduct:

  • Wheaton’s Law:  Don’t Be a Dick.  Do I really need to elaborate here?
  • Respect All Players and Everyone’s Right to Have Fun.  Sometimes, your character will have their moment in the spotlight.  Sometimes they won’t. But hey, this is supposed to be a collaborative experience, right?  Minimize the use of phones, computers and other gadgets, so I don’t have to keep repeating things, all right?
  • Story Before Rules.  The style of game I wish to tell is focused on a story and rules will be bent periodically, in the interests of telling an exciting story.  Let’s not second guess my choices mid-game…
  • Respect for the GM.  I’ve put in a lot of effort into writing and running material for you.  Minimize metagaming and don’t deliberately derail the story that is being told… I’m trying to have a fun time as well.
  • Player Creative License.  Each player has put time and effort into their character and knows better than anyone else how their character will behave in a given circumstance.  Please be quiet on other players’ turns to give them a chance to decide what they choose to do with their character. Shouting down a choice or barking orders is not cool.
  • Working Team Dynamic.  There should be effort made to ensure characters will actually play nice with others in the party.  While some in-party disagreement can make for good storytelling, major ideology differences and other disruptive behaviour should be avoided, so the team works as a unit.
  • Timing is Important.  Whether playing an RPG or board game, think ahead to your coming turn, especially for games involving long turn actions.  In order to keep the story moving at a good pace, try not to dwell on your action for too long. Your character has mere seconds… taking forever could see your turn forfeit.  In order to eliminate in-game distractions, there will be intermissions given after 2 hours in RPGs and long-play board games to allow for bathroom trips and grabbing snacks, etc.  Try to minimize leaving the table outside of these intermissions.
  • Kicking Off.  Everyone has a busy life and looks forward to gaming.  To be respectful to everyone, try your best to be on time for a game.  Delaying the start of a game means less time to play, or the game running later into the evening.
  • Tell me the cool things your character is doing not about the cool things they’ve done.  Unless a character’s background is relevant to the plot of the current game, focus on the task at hand, rather than regaling us of old tales
  • Be inclusive.  Look for ways to enable other players to participate instead of looking for ways to block them out or control them.

Demons of a Fallen God Part 2 – Unraveled (Shadowrun)

•November 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is the second part of the Demons campaign and happens mere hours after the first part…

Scene 1 – Fractured becomes Shattered

The runners are awoken by their commlinks in the middle of the night.  The ringtone tells them it’s Jaeger calling. If they opt to ignore the call it’s at their own peril…

When they answer the call, they get a digital representation of their fixer.

“To all members of the Fractured:  we have been compromised. If you have received this message it means I have likely been killed or detained.  In either case, someone now knows of our safehouses and the members of our unit. Get your gear and get out quickly.”

After the message, there is a text addendum:  “Grab the hard drives you obtained and keep them safe.”

Jaeger wasn’t kidding about being compromised.  The local police are converging on the runners and if the runners take too long getting their gear, they will be stuck in a gun battle with local law enforcement

Ukraine Police

B4 A4 R4 S3 W3 L3 I4 C3  Init 8+1D6

Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 5, Social Limit 5

Armor 12

Skills: Pistols 4, Clubs 4, Intimidation 6, Perception 3, Running 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Local Crime 3, Law Enforcement 4

Qualities: Toughness

Ares Predator V (Pistol, Acc 5(7), 8P, SA, AP -1, 15(c), Smartgun)

Armor Jacket

Defiance Shocker (Taser, Acc 4, 11S(e), AP -5, SS, 4(m), Melee Attack)

Erika Elite

Stun Baton (Club, Acc 4, Reach 1, 9S(e), AP -5, 10 charges)

Jazz * 2

Optics – Contact Lens 2 (Image Link, Smartlink)

If the runners investigate Jaeger’s residence, they find it in flames and the victim of a bombing.  There are several bodies in the wreckage, if they manage to get any information from the emergency crews on site, but none have been identified as of yet.  Before any conclusive evidence surfaces, one of the people on site will recognize the runners from their dossiers and call for backup.

Matrix:  In the city of Kiev, there is a Noise modifier of 1 for any local nodes they might try to tap into in order to facilitate their escape.  The local law enforcement will attempt to block any ability they have to allow for their escape.

Scene 2 – A New Ally

Once the runners have secured the hard drives and eluded police, they get a call from an unknown number.  If a runner answers (or checks their messages after they leave one), they see a thin man of definite civilian upbringing on the other side.

“Hello.  You don’t know me, but Jaeger was a close friend of mine and I got his bulletin about the mercenary company being compromised.  I’ve been checking all the known places Jaeger has used in the past when the heat was on, but I haven’t been able to locate him.  I was really hoping it was a false alarm… that being said, you need safe place to lay low. My name is Emmerich and I’m a fixer in Hamburg.  While I know I’m not of Jaeger’s caliber, I would like to offer you safe haven here in Germany. Maybe between all of us, we can figure out what’s happened and maybe hit back at those that attacked your company.”

The runners will likely be very cautious and suspect of Emmerich, given the timing of his call and how much he knows about the current situation.  To his credit, he is being truthful… he was contacted by Jaeger’s broadcast and he is on the level about helping the runners by giving them safe haven.

If the runners take the time to do a quick Matrix check on Emmerich, he will be patient while they perform their due diligence.

If the runners agree to take him up on his offer, he nods.  “Excellent. I’m sending you the address of the safehouse you can use once you arrive in Hamburg.  Now, I understand that Jaeger had some really old computer hardware he was looking to tap into. He had asked me to try and locate hardware that was capable of reading it and I think I might have found it.  Since Jaeger isn’t able to hire you for this, perhaps you can acquire it on the way?”

If the runners agree, Emmerich continues, “All right, I found a former Renraku facility from within what was Anarchist Berlin that has the hardware you’ll need.  The corp pulled out when the wall went up, so you won’t need to deal with the corporation, but the anarchist factions used the site in their absence. Since the liberation of East Berlin, it’s unclear about the state of the site, so be cautious.  If you come across the E373 and M7 you can cross through Poland into the AGS. The A2 takes you through Berlin to Hamburg.”


German Fixer – Connection 4, Loyalty 1

Possible Sources – Shadowrunners, Underworld, Corporate Contacts

1/2 – Emmerich is a mid-range fixer stationed in Hamburg.  Only has a few teams under his belt, but has built a decent reputation.

2/4 – He has worked extensively with mercenary companies in the past, working as a middleman between many mercenary companies.

3/6 – Due to the competitive market in Hamburg, he has avoided scrutiny from authorities, or serious competition from other fixers.

Scene 3 – Leaving Home

If the runners decide to take Emmerich up on his offer of safe haven, they will need to get out of Ukraine and across Poland.  The GM can have them have to evade police searches as they cross the Ukraine, but once they get away from Kiev, the efforts of the local law enforcement drops of significantly.  The journey across Poland could also be complicated by the ongoing Liberation War, but the E373 is typically left alone by the army, unless they believe that the rebels are on the road (and even then, they will opt to avoid damaging national infrastructure.  If the runners play by regional laws and obey law enforcement, they shouldn’t have issues in Poland.

Continuing down the autobahn, the runners will eventually arrive in Berlin, where Emmerich has told them the hardware needed to access those hard drives.  The former Anarchist Berlin shows the disrepair of years of neglect by the inhabitants and signs of corporate presence have been defaced. When they find the abandoned Renraku facility, they find a building that has been so tagged by gang graffiti that the original color of the outer walls can’t be determined.  The windows have been smashed out and turned into makeshift gun ports. The gangs into the area have established a form of cease fire to deal with the bigger threat: corporate takeover. With the gangs unified in purpose, the corporate teams have yet to push into the area.

The gangs are very territorial and if the runners topple the gang currently holed up in the building, another gang will quickly sweep in to claim the territory.

The ground floor has been all but gutted by the gang turf wars and cannibalizing parts.  The upper reaches of the buildings still servers that are worse for wear, but have the working drives and power sources they need in different rooms.  They will need to harvest the drive and power supply while dealing with the local kingpins.

The building is without power, so once they find the hardware they need, they will need to remove the hardware from the facility without it getting damaged.  Once they’re away from Berlin they can head to Hamburg to the safehouse provided by Emmerich (or they can find their own, if they don’t trust him).

The hard drives, once connected to the old machines, can be accessed by the team’s decker and the disk appears to be full of random data.  A decker, after some time will recognize that the random data is a decryption cypher… but no idea as to what it decrypts. The only words recognizable on the disk are “Project Longevity” and “Fuchi”.

If the runners share this information with Emmerich, he plans on going through his contacts and seeing what he can dredge up.

Matrix:  This district of Berlin hasn’t been fully rebuilt by the corporations since the anarchist factions were driven out.  As a result, there isn’t any kind of Matrix infrastructure locally. Tapping into Berlin’s Matrix has a Noise of 2 (one for static, one for distance) and don’t provide much for the local area.  They might be able to locate local devices using an electronic warfare scan.

>> Anyone hear about this fire in Kiev?  Old school, supposedly full of guns and such, burned to the ground in what looks like a clandestine op?  Anyone know anything?
>> Salvo

>> Nothing in Jackpoint as of yet… Vory base of operations, maybe?  Sounds like their kind of deal.
>> Spin

>> Not a familiar location to me.  You should keep us out of your speculations, comrade.
>> Crazy Ivan

>> There have been a few recent seemingly unconnected hits in Eastern Europe recently.  A Proteus employee in the Czech Republic in a suspicious construction accident, a few Vory thugs got outed to the police in Hungary during a routine delivery and this explosion in Kiev… it may be coincidence, or it could be someone cleaning house.
>> Conspir-I-See