Shadows Over Las Vegas – The House Always Wins (#Shadowrun)

This is the first run for my primary Heroes for Hire campaign, set in Las Vegas.  It centers on a complex mash-up of characters that don’t always see eye-to-eye, which includes:

  • T-Bone, a cyclops adept who is (at least initially) unaware that their feats of strength are magically fueled
  • Grifter, an adept and a former lone wolf assassin whose past is something he has buried deep
  • Helping Hand, a con man who has left a trail of broken deals behind him
  • Parallel, a haunted former Christian who is now a Chaos Mage, coming to grips with a magical gift he didn’t want
  • Blue Screen, a technomancer with no memory of his past after having his brain hacked by… someone.

The story so far has been quite interesting with the player interactions.  The plot has been shaped by their actions, so hopefully the ideas from this campaign can see use in some context.

The team is contacted by their fixer, Brick-Base, and told that they’ve got a line on some work.  A Mr. Johnson has a need for a team to handle a “delicate matter with an indelicate touch”.  If they’re interested in hearing more details, Brick-Base will meet with them at The Classic for 8PM.

Scene 1 – Blast from the Past 

The Classic is a brick and mortar restaurant in the Downtown core styled in mid-20th century Vegas.  The place looks like an old diner with the wait staff carrying on that aesthetic.  The media system pipes classic Rat Pack music and the place completely and shamelessly cashes in on old Vegas nostalgia.

In the back corner of the restaurant sits Brick-Base.  The diner table in front of the massive troll seems almost comically small, even though the booth is one of the few that was “built for trolls”.  The massive bouncer sits with a large diner burger the size of a dinner plate (troll-size me!) which he is heartily digging into when the runners arrive.

Once the entire group has gathered, or 8PM arrives (whichever occurs first), Brick-Base will get down to business.  “Glad you guys could make it.  I’ve got a client who needs some work done…stuff that he doesn’t want becoming public, if it can be helped.  Mr. Johnson has recently been swindled out of thousands of nuyen thanks to the introduction of counterfeit chips to several casinos on the Strip.  It’s a pretty ballsy move, given the players that own those establishments… The quality of the counterfeits is solid.  Unfortunately for the distributor, one of the fakes was dismantled and a stray hair was found in the label.  While not enough for a magical trace, it gave them a name:  Alejandra Garza.  Find Ms. Garza, find her operation and shut it down.  Mr. Johnson wants the equipment destroyed and all physical counterfeits destroyed before they reach circulation.  Provide video evidence of the destruction and he’s willing to pay each of you 7,000¥ for the effort.

Brick-Base is willing to negotiate up to a maximum of 9,000 each runner.

Once the runners have agreed to the terms, their contact nods.  “Excellent.  I’ll let him know he has a team.  Good hunting, guys… and try not to wreck too much of the city.”

Alejandra Garza
Professional Counterfeiter/Pro Poker Player
Possible Sources – Underworld Connections, Gamblers
2/3 – Alejandra is a known gambler at the Flamingo and Bellagio.  Decent card player and uses her good looks to distract marks.  A good hustler, but no criminal record.
4/6 – Given the people she has been seen to fraternize with, it is believed that she is part of the Verontesse family.
6/8 – Has been spotted spending a lot of her time away from the Strip at Bruno’s Laundry.
8/10 – Don’t let her lack of criminal record fool you, she runs the counterfeiting ring…

Matrix:  The primary network they access is PuebNet, represented by a dreamcatcher rimmed by idols from each of the tribes that make up the nation.  The iconography here is simple, a vast prairie with rolling hills and deserts, each landscape varying slightly depending on the city you log in from.  For Vegas, the prairie is split by bright lights, a long road and large stacks of poker chips.  The old “Welcome to Paradise” sign standing prominently over everything.

Scene 2 – Reaching Out

Working solely from a name, the runners will need to figure out who Alejandra Garza is.  A Matrix search can yield some results, as can hitting up contacts.  Some information is publicly available, such as her likeness and her personal life info, as per social media (learning she’s a professional poker player is pretty easy, looking at her online profiles).

This legwork can be a double-edged sword, though.  Should their inquiries reach the wrong people, such as a Mafia contact or a forum post in a Matrix host, Alejandra can be tipped off that a group of runners are on the lookout for her and make herself scarce, cashing in a few favors to make their lives more difficult, if they get mixed in with her business.

Track the actions the runners take to see if it warrants siccing PuebSec or random thugs on the runners as the conduct their investigations.

This scene is abstract, allowing the runners to hit up contacts, dredge the Matrix and generally get a feel for doing research to complete their job.

If the runners decide to hit up the Strip, Paradise is her usual busy self.  Knowing her hot spots, the runners can learn that while Garza is a known player, she missed the last tournament at the Bellagio.  These two establishments have had no incidences of counterfeit chips entering circulation, but almost every other casino on the Strip has.

With enough sources, they will get a clue pointing them to Bruno’s Laundry in Spring Valley.  It’s a neighbourhood laundromat where there is video footage of Alejandra visiting very frequently with the same basket of clothes every time.

Scene 3 – Going to the Cleaner’s

Bruno’s Laundry is a nondescript laundromat set into a strip mall in a subdivision of Spring Valley.  The area is busy through the day with people traveling to and from stores on the daily errands of the day.  The laundromat also has several customers inside, carrying on with their casual labors.

The only employees on staff upstairs are Bruno (in the office), two civilians (Annabelle in the office and Jimmy on the floor, helping customers with the machines when needed) and two guards protecting the stairwell to the basement in the service hall in the south west of the building.  The laundromat is a legitimate business, save for what goes on in the basement.

In the basement, the storage and maintenance space has been converted into a side hustle under the eyes of the locals.  A group of Mafia thugs are working to stamp out fake chips for the Luxor.  When the runners enter the space, the Mafiosi go for their guns.

Odds are, the runners will make quick work of the opposition and be able to smash the equipment, but there is the chance that someone in the laundromat upstairs will hear the gunshots and have alerted PuebSec.  

One indication that they’re not done is the lack of their target.  If the runners take any of the Mafiosi alive, they can learn that Garza is accompanying a shipment of chips bound for Circus Circus.  Plundering the man’s commlink reveals their planned route and that they can catch up if they speed a little.

Depending on the time they take, they may have to shake off PuebSec on site or on route.

Scene 4 – Chasing the Chips

Armed with the information that the chips are on their way to another casino, they will need to drive aggressively to catch up, or get there before the chips enter circulation at Circus Circus.  

The vehicle is parked in a side street, not far from the Strip in Paradise, where select people are able to receive a number of “complimentary chips” that they can spend to get them into circulation and cost the casino money.

If the runners catch up to them on route, they will have an armed caravan of vehicles to deal with, while they attempt to stop the Aztechnology Governor (Bulldog) from escaping.  If they catch up to Garza after they’ve stopped, they find a series of vehicles parked around the street and the Governor parked, with the back door open, distributing chips.

Alejandra Garza

Alejandra is a striking brunette Latino woman with hair just past her shoulders and a permanent smirk on her face.  Dressed in modest attire compared to the plunging necklines of her poker tournament days, she has done her best to ensure her life as a mob counterfeiter and her life as a professional poker player don’t collide.

B3  A5  R4  S3  W5  L4  I4  C5  Edge 3  Init = 8+1D6
PL5  ML6  SL7

Armor 9

Skills – Clubs 5, Etiquette (Street) 4(6), Con 5, Pistols 4, Unarmed 5
Qualities – First Impression
Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Stun baton (Reach 1, Acc 4, AP -5, 9S(e)) 

So long as the team recorded the destruction of the machines, the chips and the death/punishment of Garza, they will get paid.

Karma reward max for the job is 6.  They can earn Notoriety by killing Garza in a way that can be traced back to them.  If they end up in a firefight and/or kill officers in PuebSec, they gain Public Awareness.

>> The Strip, cheating casinos, the Mob… all these years and some things really never change, huh?
>> Joseph Brightfeather

>> Coming from those who cook the books?  That’s rich… we have Rispetto, unlike you thugs.
>> Johnny O’Crap

>> Yes, because cheating the system is respectful.
>> Joseph Brightfeather

>> If you bring this old fight onto my server, I will brick the both of you.  Take it offline, before I break out the Black IC.
>> Insomniac
“The shadows never sleep, so why should I?”

~ by 1nsomniac on September 11, 2020.

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