Instant Fame (Shadowrun)

The runners are contacted by their fixer and told of a job that could create some valuable allies, if they’re willing to work for the Johnson.  Mr. J wants to meet with them personally at the Snohomish Sheraton at 9PM.

Scene 1 – Not Trying to Hide

The Sheraton in Snohomish has seen better days.  The building shows its age with old style lit up sign (that barely lights up anymore), weathered brick facade and derelict pool.  The inside isn’t much better than the outside, with faded, stained wood and peeling paint in places.  The teenager behind the counter looks incredibly bored, typing with her friends on her commlink.  If the runners ask to see Mr. Johnson, she rolls her eyes, thumbs over her shoulder toward the dining hall and says “He’s in the dining room…”

The dining room is dimly lit and smells heavily of carpet cleaner and disinfectant.  Mixed with the pungent stink of overzealous cleaning is the smell of cheap cigar smoke.  Several bodyguards sit around the room with submachine guns at their sides, making no effort to conceal their arsenal.  Sitting at a large table is a slim dwarven man with the cheap cigar clamped in his teeth.  “Welcome!  Please, help yourself to the bar.  I gave the staff the night off.”

Mr. Johnson is a man who likes to parade his station by dressing well and showing his manicured nails and neatly trimmed goatee, but the hotel and his cigars showcase that he’s a cheapskate.  The bodyguards are definitely wary of the runners and their hands never stray far from their weapons.

Once the runners are seated, the dwarven Johnson looks around the table as he takes a long drag from his cigar.  “All right, I’m not going to beat around the bush.  My daughter, Michaela, is huge fan of that trid show… you know the one with all the people who scheme against each other… *snaps his fingers* GOD is Watching!  That’s the one.  Yeah, she’s a big fan.  She wants to be on it and after three seasons, her applications still keep getting refused.  I want you to make sure she’s on it this year.  I don’t care how you do it, just make it happen.  My princess deserves a turn in the spotlight.”

Mr. Johnson is Colm McCarthy, a Capo in the Finnegan family.  A small time slumlord and drug peddler, he likes to think of himself as a big shot in Snohomish.  He makes a profit off the backs of independent farmers and local shopkeepers and then hoards his wealth, trying to raise his visible station.

When asked about the amount of payment, he shrugs.  “I dunno, I’m just asking you to make a few threats to a few key people.  I figure 4,000¥ each oughta cover it.”

He will be a frugal negotiator, but will offer up (100¥ * number of runners) per net success.  Each dollar he coughs up is almost physically painful, but the one thing he loves more than his wealth is his daughter.

Once the runners sign on, he claps his hands and rubs them together.  “Perfect!  They’re supposed to be filming this season in Toronto.  So, go and find the people who call the shots and make it happen.  When Michaela gets that phone call, you get paid.”

If the runners balk at the idea of ponying up for their plane tickets, Mr. Johnson will mumble about them “bleeding him dry” and offer them an advance on the job of 1,000¥ apiece to buy the tickets.

Mr. Johnson (Colm McCarthy)
Finnegan Family Capo
Possible Sources – Mafia Contacts, Snohomish Underworld Figures
1/2 – Mr. Johnson is Colm McCarthy.  He’s a two-bit slum lord and drug dealer, turned Finnegan Capo due to his ability to bleed people dry.
2/4 – Capo McCarthy is one of the few Mafiosos in Snohomish and as a result, he likes to play up his position.  When compared to the major city centers, McCarthy’s name is rarely mentioned.
4/7 – His bodyguards are very loyal, as he pays them far better than other Soldatis in his employ.  Only employees that go above and beyond get promoted to McCarthy’s entourage.  Many Soldatis see assignments to McCarthy’s detail as a punishment, as shaking down farmers is hardly glamorous work.
7/11 – McCarthy has a few weaknesses that can be exploited in a pinch: his daughter Michaela is the center of his world and she could be used as leverage.  He has also been holding out on La Familia, as he has undisclosed greenhouses of drugs being grown, of which he keeps the profits for himself.


Michaela McCarthy
Capo’s Daughter
Possible Sources – Mafia Contacts, Snohomish Underworld Figures, Party Scene
1/2 – Michaela is a curvy, blonde (not naturally) dwarf woman with a sense of entitlement and little common sense.
2/4 – She is known to have her old man wrapped around her finger.  She has spent thousands of his money on cosmetic surgery, lavish parties and jetsetting vacations.  The Capo plays that he has a lot of money, but she spends it nearly as fast as he can bring it in.
4/7 – Rumour has it that she has slept with many of her Dad’s loyal soldiers and those the Capo catches get promoted so he can watch them more closely.
7/11 – Word on the street in Snohomish is that Michaela’s spending has been getting worse all the time and McCarthy is starting to struggle to make his regular payments.  Getting Michaela onto her favourite show will get her out of Seattle for at least a month and with her gone, he will have a chance to try and balance the books.

GOD Is Watching
Reality Trid Show
Possible Sources – Pop Culture (almost any contact or Matrix Search will yield results)
1 – “GOD Is Watching” is a reality show in a vein of the old TV show “Big Brother” from Amalgamated Studios, like most overly-trodden ideas.  People from across the globe are tossed together into a house/hotel and are asked to perform often-silly activities to compete with their fellow residents.
2 – The hosting city is chosen by lottery and the location dictates things like Native tongue and the theme of the challenges the players have to accomplish.  The three dimensional layout of the building is available at all times and viewers can view the action in VR as if they were in the middle of the show.
4 – The ratings for the last couple of episodes were the highest yet, but the cities chosen where Delhi and Shanghai, so the populations of those regions caused the ratings to spike.  The producers of the show are worried about how a season based in Toronto will fare in comparison.
6 – In an effort to boost the ratings, the show is to take place at Casa Loma, a Gothic style castle in the heart of the city.  The games will take on a similar medieval theme on the show.  However, the producers are having issues with getting the permits from the city, as the site will not be available for the public to view for over a month, costing the city much needed revenue.

Scene 2 – Hollywood North

With the flight being domestic between Seattle and Toronto, unless the runners do something truly outlandish at the airport, the trip should be of little consequence.  Pearson Airport is the third busiest airport in the UCAS, only slower than SeaTac and JFK.  With the rapid escalation the city saw when California went independant, Pearson is not a well designed airport.  After a couple of hours, the runners finally have their belongings and step out into the busy city.

This scene will be vastly freeform, as the runners could pursue multiple avenues of investigation while in Toronto.  The producers of “GOD Is Watching” are put up in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the heart of the city, so to access their personal data or strong-arm the people making the casting choices, the runners may choose to infiltrate the hotel.  They may pay a visit to Casa Loma to scope out the pending set and corner some of the staff.  They may try to bribe city officials to reject the permits to draw targets out into the open.

Amalgamated Studios has a small studio in Toronto under the Global Studios umbrella.  Serving primarily as an ad company, the company serves as the main bank roller for local filming.  The runners may choose to go after the studio itself to gain information about the casting process.

The studio receives thousands of applications from around the world, of which they choose 12 people to be on the show.  They weigh things like language barriers, personality profiles (overall amicable, but with room enough for conflict), appearance and retaining the appearance of a world demographic.

Matrix: The Toronto grid has been beautifully sculpted to look like the city during the summer; bright blue skies and warm sun during the day, or the Toronto skyline lit up with the CN Tower prominently visible and spotlights rising up into a starry sky.  Numerous tourist attractions can be viewed by accessing the CN Tower.  Filming schedules and night spots can be found by accessing the spotlights while towers in the skyline allow users to access everything from hotels, banking, jobs and boat tours on Lake Ontario.

Intrepid visitors could go to the less glitzy side of the node to find access to the Toronto’s largest illegal export: BTLs.  Runners might be able to hang around to gain access to the GreatLakesNet, the shadow network that runs in secret throughout the city.

Amalgamated Studios
“A” Rated Media Corporation
Possible Sources – Corporate Contacts, Trid Pirates
1/2 – Amalgamated Studios was once the largest media conglomerate in the world.  Owned most of Hollywood until Crash 2.0 wiped out every bit of film they had shot in the past year.  They lost millions and had to reshoot everything.  As their subsidiaries went broke, Horizon bought them up.
2/4 – After falling from a AA megacorp to barely clinging to A status, they repurposed what few studios they had left to keep themselves afloat.  They film advertisements, reality shows, nature documentaries and even porn now.
4/7 – With the past few seasons of “GOD Is Watching” breaking ratings records, they’ve had several instances of rival studios trying to steal top talent from both cast and crew.  Since it’s one of the few money makers they have going on at the moment, they’ve taken to hiring Lone Star to protect their assets during filming sessions.
7/10 – Horizon has been causing enough interference for Amalgamated in recent productions, that there are rumours that branches of AS are starting to get into more risque practices and airing more controversial material, to save themselves from being completely barred by their long-time rival.

Scene 3 – Path of Resistance

Depending on the path the runners have taken, they are likely to encounter resistance.  The type of resistance they are likely to encounter may vary.  The most likely obstacle they will run into will be in the form of Lone Star, who has been brought in as personal security to protect the production crew and writers for the next season from Horizon-sponsored attacks.

Lone Star has to use non-lethal force in areas like Casa Loma or the Ritz-Carlton, as they are public venues with a risk for civilian casualties, but if the runners are caught on Amalgamated Studios property, Lone Star is free to use whatever force they deem appropriate.

Other forms of resistance could be:

  • Toronto Police getting involved during altercations around Casa Loma, having a pissing match over jurisdictions with Lone Star
  • If the runners snoop around Global Studios enough, they could uncover the BTL operation in the back lot of the studio.  While it arms the runners with solid blackmail material they can use on the producers, it can draw the ire of the local Triad operation funding the operation
  • A double-edged sword could be that the casting director’s hotel has been leaked to the press and as a result a mob of wannabe stars are swarming the hotel, trying to get past security to offer “private auditions”.  While it is keeping Lone Star very busy, it has also heightened their security and their sensitivity to every passerby.
  • City officials responsible for providing the permits to use Casa Loma are currently involved in a bidding war between Amalgamated Studios, local interests whose business is tied to the successful operation of Casa Loma and those who wish to see the show fail.  If the runners try to bribe the officials, but underbid considerably, the officials may notify interested parties about runners getting involved.

These are not the limit to the resistance that can be thrown at the runners, but could be used in a pinch.  Once the runners have overcome the obstacles presented and convince the casting director to use Michaela for his show, they had better oversee the phone call to Mr. Johnson, because if the candidacy is not validated in the runner’s presence, the job is ultimately failed.

>> This is some bottom-rung shit here, my friends.  Rigging a reality show for some two-bit Mafioso?  Really?
>> Skeptik

>> You might want to watch what you say.  There are certain people here who might take offence to your tone…
>> Pentito

>> Can we not have this conversation devolve into petty threats?  Anyone have anything useful to contribute?
>> EyeSpy

>> Just be careful… you have a stingy employer first of all.  You have a company desperate to cling to their fleeting status, who have hired Lone Star as security, who are equally desperate to not lose any more ground to Knight Errant.  Then there’s the viper’s nest that Toronto’s media climate has become.  Expect to be backstabbed and short-changed… welcome to Hollywood…
>> Fade

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~ by 1nsomniac on September 5, 2017.

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