Media Circus (#Shadowrun)

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

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

Scene 1 – A Den of Decadence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Johnson aka “Patience”
Catholic Fixer

B2  A3 R3  S2 W5 L3  I4 C5 Ess 6

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

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

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

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

Possible Contacts:  Runner Contacts, Corporate Contacts

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

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

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

Spinrad Global
AAA Megacorp

Possible Contacts: Corporate Contacts

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

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

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

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

Scene 2 – Making Johnny Look Bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Host
Host Rating 6

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

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

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

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

Scene 3 – Breaking Johnny’s Toys

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

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

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

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

Scene 4 – Weeding out the Old Guard

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

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

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

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

Scene 5 – The Day the Music Died

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

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

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

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

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

Public Regency Host
Host Rating 5

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

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

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

Private Regency Host
Host Rating 9

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

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

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

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

Scene 6 – Public Spectacle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sol Media Public Host
Host Rating 5

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

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

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

Sol Media Secured Host
Host Rating 9

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

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

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

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

Scene 7 – The Reason We’re All Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spinrad Systems Secured Host
Host Rating 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ by 1nsomniac on December 23, 2019.

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