Monday, 7 April 2014

Runner's Journals, Player Write-ups from my WA 2070 Shadowrun Campaign (Session 1)


I ran the inaugural session of Shadowrun in Western Australia 2070's campaign (setting introduction is here) over the weekend. I offered a point of Karma for any one who wanted to do a write up of the session from their character's perspective. My Karma greedy players did not disappoint! After the jump is a bunch of stories written by the player's from the perspective of their outlaw, motley crew of Runners. I thought they were worth sharing. 

Here's a rundown of events and concepts from the session to put the stories into perspective;
  • The events took place in the lawless Ruins outside of the Saeder Krupp domes.
  • The Serpent's Cup is a biker gang that holds the most power in the ruins. 
  • Merlin seems to be a head figure in The Serpent's Cup gang. 
  • The Serpent's Cup seem to have a fetish for freedom and anarchy. 
  • The player's converged at the biker bar "The Mount" to set up connections with The Serpent's Cup.
  • Merlin was riding to check out a SK transport helicopter and the players agreed to accompany him.
  • Merlin wasn't offering anything other than a healthy dose of joviality for the company. 
  • The events that took place weren't so much a Shadowrun as a out of control skirmish. 
  • The runners and the Biker's attacked a contingent of SK armed guards and scientists. 
  • An over-use of grenade's resulted in the destruction of whatever SK was researching.

Click ahead to read the journals/write-ups/stories:   



Laz: A cashed up individual with a seemingly rough, salt of the earth appearance. He's also a newbie to the region, and no one can seem to dig anything up on him.  Laz was at The Mount to hand over  a modded truck to an already established runner "Nitro".

//COMMENCING CONNECTION//

Argh what a painstaking way to start this off. I knew I shouldn't of listened to you Gendo.

/why what happened?

Well I met Nitron as planned and firstly he didn't seem as calm and collected as over the comm. He was very appreciative of the vehicle but he didn't even check it over. It's almost like he would of been happy with it as stock standard... After all the fragging negotiations... Then after finally discovering his team, we jumped straight into action before anyone could warn me. I must admit I was too scared to proceed so I hid in the Valkyrie unit.

/you'll be okay Laz, just take it easy, don't get yourself killed, you have to keep your wits about you. Do any of them know who you really are?

No I don't believe anyone realizes... yet. But I'm wary of their decker. He seemed to jump into my commlink a little too easily. He may of accessed my voice-over recordings.

/oh yes the new one. I don't think there is too much to link you though, how is that one going? I can't say I'm planning to check it out. Sounds a little elvish. Are you seriously doing this whilst shadow running?

Haha yeah, it's pretty easy though. Plus I'm getting good money without being home. Got to keep up appearances.

/just so you know you are safer learning this shadows business there and as far away from me as possible. Maybe one day when your ready I can have you tag along with one of our jobs. So tell me are there any decent runners amongst them.

Most of them can carry their own. You would be happy to know there's another mystic adept like you here and this one also had the gift of the kinesic. Not to our level, but enough.

/I've got to run, you better check in again tomorrow. Remember our deal. You provide me intel into Krupp and I promise to bail you out if things get too heavy. Stay in the shadows little brother.
Before you go when am I getting my nuyen ba// END TRANSMISSION//




Snipes: Disgraced ex-megacorp employee.

Chummers, those Serpent's Cup goons may have me pegged as a square, as a former (as in leaving 4 years ago) Saeder Krupp operative they might be right. Some habits die hard.

First of all, we cannot keep that helicopter. Saeder Krupp is a global organisation, headed by a powerful dragon named Lofwyr who has his own private army. Should we seek to piss SK off even more, we could be brought to Lofwyr's attention and from there we would be subject to a massive global manhunt. 

That is counter intuitive to my goal of staying alive and out of a corporate gulag. 

As the bodies in the pit demonstrate, and my own past experiences will corroborate, those guys can be ruthless. The way I see it, Saeder Krupp is the most dangerous enemy we could make in Perf, because if and when we do leave Perf they would still be after us and have the means to reach us almost anywhere. To stay alive and one step ahead of them, we not only have to be just as ruthless but just as careful.

That doesn't mean that the activities on Rottnest Mountain AREN'T an abomination and that we should let it continue (also Garden Mountain looks like it would be rich target to rob), it is just that we have to limit our exposure to retaliation launched by Saeder Krupp, which is where the Serpent's Cup comes in. Merlin and his crew seem eager to wage an indiscriminate campaign of violence against SK, even against those who are unarmed.

We should try to engineer situations where our actions could be plausibly attributed to Merlin and the rest of those Serpent's Cunt assholes.

No matter what task Zola's Mr Johnson should have for us, we need to very security conscious. We would do well to have our (especially my) hand in any violence against SK to be as obfuscated as possible. We also need to be careful with the Serpent's Cup they are as quick to violence as they are to perpetrating it in ignorance, remember the scientists. They started firing into that room before West and I threw grenades in there. That level of ignorance is something we should CANNOT afford to emulate. It will get us killed.



 Zola: Shotgun wielding adept with a hatred for the corps.
 



It’s strange how these dried-out, dusty plains remind you of Africa. They’re nothing alike – the village was surrounded on all sides by rolling green veldt, the air cool even with the heat, but there’s something. A smell, the choking scent of smoke that lines your mouth like the last time.


So the fixer thinks these guys are legit? They certainly don’t look it, with their crumbling clubhouse. The bikes outside are impressive but you can tell from the road that the men inside are half-cut or worse, unreliable, unpredictable.



There’s a ragged group in the parking lot, all human, all clearly not part of the gang. The only one who looks like he might be a biker is deep in hushed conversation with another man slightly to the side, a third standing to attention nearby. He stinks of military, eyes just too observant behind his shades. There’s a guy who might be with them, maybe not, but he’s way too soft to be this far from the domes. There’s something to his gaze as it sweeps over you, more calculating than you expected from a pretty face. Maybe he’s worth watching.



You make your introductions in that tired, mistrustful way that’s become second-nature now. They’re all strangers, wary, no idea how to work as a group yet. This is looking like a waste of time but fuck, you came all this way. Might as well see what’s inside.



The face gets you in, and it’s comforting to know the Serpent’s Cup loathe the corps as much as you. They don’t seem to have two brain cells to rub together between them, but a little brute force might be useful later. Snipes pulls out his ID like it’s his first run, thinking he can impress these people by talking business. They’re scum really, the lowest dregs of the free SINless folk, and they don’t give a shit what cred you’ve got in the city. Out here it’s their law (or loose code of conduct at least).



The smell is worse inside and it’s all you can do to force back the bitter metallic taste that coats your tongue. This isn’t home. You can’t afford to be distracted.

There’s a big guy near the bar spinning some bullshit heroic tale that has everyone drooling and chipping their teeth laughing. Sycophants. The face casts some illusion and you flinch. Definitely one to watch.

It works though, getting the illustrious Merlin on side in thirty seconds flat. He seems to like more than just the magic, eyes dragging over Silk like he can’t wait to dirty the boy up. A man like that, who kills for fun and calls it anarchy…might as well be a corp suit.

There’s a newcomer, a woman claiming she’s here on business too. Don’t these chummers ever learn? Merlin gets into a clash over the concept of buying things and sharing amongst friends. He’s no warm-hearted Samaritan though – he knows the value of things out here in the flatlands.

He also knows about a corp chopper not too far from The Mount. He wants to go out there looking for more carnage, and you secretly hope his foolhardy enthusiasm gets his wings clipped sooner rather than later. But the others seem willing to go for whatever reason, and you never turn down a chance to steal from the corps. The reward doesn’t matter, Merlin doesn’t matter – hell, these other runners could drop dead and you wouldn’t care. It’s all about SK and stopping them from getting anything they want.

You hitch a ride with the big guy Laz and Nitro in their truck. It’s amazingly well-equipped, and your respect for them grows a little. These guys might just know what they’re doing.

Your bizarre convoy makes its way North, driving for about half an hour. You sit in the back listening to Laz talk at Nitro and the other man not offer much back, and you’re equally content to let him run his mouth. No sense getting close to people who might die in the coming firefight – and if Merlin gets his way, there’s definitely going to be shots fired.

The chopper’s outside a big derelict apartment block, a couple of foot soldiers outside. As you get closer, someone curses. Drones. Great. The hacker tries to scope it out and only succeeds in drawing even more attention when his shot almost hits a guard. The bikers pull over, Nitro bringing his truck to a halt behind them while the group has a quick debate about the next move. You feel eyes on you. It’s not a good feeling.
You look over at the house. It seems abandoned, rundown, but there’s a face in the window. Snipes follows your gaze and scowls.

“Magic.”

The headdress reminds you of the shamans near the old village, enough to make you curious. As you take a step closer the figure scuttles away. There’s something else there in the shadows you can just make out…plants? It’s been so long since you’ve seen anything green it’s almost impossible to tell.

Merlin takes off, apparently sick of waiting. That’s not so surprising, but Silk’s still with him and Snipes is forced back into the vanguard. Géva takes off after them and with a nod from Nitro, West follows. You wonder why a mechanic needs a bodyguard. You aren’t exactly sure you want to find out.

Nitro’s gone, hotsimmed into his drone, and Laz doesn’t seem too keen to storm the building. You can’t sit still, don’t want to wait in the truck with nothing to do but listen. You head inside instead, grimacing at the slightly musty smell of dirt and rooms that haven’t been lived in for years, maybe decades. There’s something else though, something wet, and you raise a brow at the small puddle in the middle of the hall floor that shouldn’t exist.

You look into the next room and spot the plants – no more than seedlings at this point, but healthy and looking well-nourished even though there’s no water that you can see. You search around a bit and find one small stone cup, but it radiates a very strong vibe that it shouldn’t be touched. You’ve learned to appreciate your instincts by now.

The cloaked figure has disappeared up the hall and you follow, treading carefully on the stairs. They creak and complain beneath your feet and you hope they’re not rotten, because landing on your ass is not going to be fun. The top floor is as dilapidated as the bottom, the mysterious person still edging away, and you’ve had enough of this cat-and-mouse bullshit.

“Don’t be afraid of me.”

Your voice resonates with command but also reassurance, a promise aided by a touch of power. The 
stranger’s body relaxes before you’ve even finished speaking, enough that you can make out a woman’s face. She looks sort of confused by her own sudden calm, but you smile amiably enough. Now you can finally talk.

She won’t say much – she might not be afraid of you anymore but she’s afraid of something. When she starts to tell you about the corp moving in, you can see why. Your fists clench at your sides as her voice trembles, talking about how the soldiers killed the apartment block’s old inhabitants. That’s nothing new for them and it’s a story you know so well you have to dig your nails into your palms to keep from barrelling out into the skirmish immediately.

There are more answers here, you can tell. Where did the plants come from? Where was the water? But she clams right up, refusing to talk about it, only saying that they’re sacred. You could have told her that, the only living growth for probably an hour in any direction. It doesn’t explain how they got there.

Her tolerance for your questioning is disappointingly low, but again you can’t blame her after hearing what the last bunch of strangers did in these parts. She escapes out through the window and you bite your lip, looking around. If the building where the chopper is has the same sacred value to these desert people, you’re suddenly a lot more interested in finding out what SK wanted with it.

You’re vaguely aware of the comm link, the shouts of people being hit and whispered positions, but there’s nothing you can do from here. You need to get closer.

You head back downstairs, blinking as you step into the harsh light outside. Nitro looks ready to move and you jump in. You’ve only been on the road for a minute or two before the hum gets louder, and two of the drones seem to be heading towards the truck. Nitro suddenly decides to live up to his name, flooring it as he zigzags through the ruins. The man can drive, you have to admit it, grateful as he manages to maintain a gap between you and the ever-closer drones.

You screech to a stop outside the apartment block, Snickers trying to take them out before they start firing. He claws his way into one but then Nitro’s taking hits and you hunker down in the back of the truck, gun in your hands, just waiting for a shot. You can hear Nitro groaning as he drags himself towards the back, barely clinging onto consciousness. Laz is nowhere to be seen but you don’t worry about it, aiming through the window and letting off a shot that goes wide, the drone easily dodging it.

Snickers breaks into its systems before you have to try again, and you concentrate on Nitro. He needs help or he’s never going to make it to the med set-up in the truck, and there’s still one rogue drone out there that could swoop in at any minute. You try to heal him but only manage to keep him awake, the damage too much to reverse. The spell’s draining, enough to give you a headache, and you sit with your head in your hands until the others come out.

Merlin seems fucking pleased with himself and with the other runners, but you can tell a couple of them are pissed about how it went down. Géva looks a bit tousled but satisfied, Jack West covered in a fine sheen of dust you assume came from the explosions that have ripped a hole through the side of the building. Silk emerges from a neighbouring house looking rattled, but Merlin doesn’t seem put off by his abandonment. You want to check out the basement but Snipes is shaking his head, talking about the utter destruction down there, and you decide not to waste your time on something that’s only going to make the nightmares worse.

Snickers does a very tidy clean-up, erasing every sign of your involvement, though you know one of the drones got away. It’s irritating, a loose end that tickles at the back of your mind, but there’s not much to be done about it right now. Nitro hops in the chopper, flying it out to be hidden for a rainy day. That thing’s going to be more of a pain than anything, too noticeable, too hard to pass off as anything but stolen corp property, but it’s a good route out if things get really bad.

You hitch a ride back to The Mount, wishing you could find that little shaman, especially after seeing what became of her people in the horrible rancid pit. She’s now the only person who can tell you what was in that basement but she’s made herself invisible amongst the ruins and Merlin’s in a party mood, so no one wants to hang around. It makes sense to get away before the corp comes looking for culprits. You’re not looking to celebrate. You just want to get out of here.

As you pull into the carpark, your comm link flashes. It’s the fixer again – and won’t you have a few choice words for him about the quality of his contacts? He’s got another job though: Johnson, Lovers, K Dome. The place sounds like a nightmare, crawling with corp and whores. Of course you say yes.
 






Snickers: Over-confident, pubescent hacker prodigy.

<<<<MESSAGE>>>>
Rec: Scot Nofrens <Encrypt key A78#K3FF&963.>
<cKIC close loop_1>

 
Hey Scottie. It finally happened. And about time too. If I had to help one more mouthbreathing meatbag recover a lost password for pocket nuyen I was going to frag myself. But this was it. This was the real deal. Out in the field with real runners Scottie. I'm a shadow runner for real now. I'm not just writing the backdoors, i'm opening 'em.

But i'm getting ahead of myself man. I'm so excited. This was so much more wizard than any game of Legend Heroes.

Anyway remember that whack rigger I was telling you about. I've been writing some software patches for his drones. This chummer is something else when it comes to machines man. Talk about custom jobs. Anyway he goes on to tell me that he's needing some help for this job he's got lined up and i'm just thinking "FRAKKING WHIZ MAN". I just got the Horseman back from the shop after they finished installing the new cargo module. Now my sweet chariot has room for all my gear and a cup holder. It's so damn wizard. Haven't got the gun rig worked out yet, but i'm almost there.

So anyway there we are, at this meet and greet and there is my first surprise. Bikies Scottie. We were there to meet bikies for drek's sake. I was so shocked. What the hell did this Nitron guy need me here for? These hillbillies barely knew how to operate a commlink.

Anyway, i wasn't even going to bother. I didn't need to listen in on these guys comparing who's sister was better in bed. I got pinged with an invite for a game of LH by MistyX so i did that. He never had a chance. I had reapers in his base before he'd even secured a second refinery. Anyway it was probably good that it was a quick game because next thing I know, these guys are all roaring off on their bikes and the rest of the team that showed up while I was playing my game are following along with them so i had to roll out.

That's when the drek flew into the turbine. Suddenly there was drones flying overhead and SK security teams all over the place. I hijacked a repeater drone to help me boost my signal to the attack drones flying up above. They were running baseline Saeder Sec firewalls with no gaurds on the encryption or even a threshold for logic paradox attacks. I busted in with a back door tunneler that i modified from something I wrote for Ymez a while back. That thing was like an open book to me, I had an admin account over riding the signal in less than a second.

That's when things started going wrong. I told the drone to target the other, but obviously the neanderthal in charge of the SK's armoury calibrates his drones' weapons systems with a sledge hammer. The damn thing missed by a mile and alerted the Saedar teams.

That's when all hell broke loose. And i couldn't even do anything to fix the problem because (and you are not going to believe this) but right then is when my mum chooses to call and make sure that I'm coming home for dinner. I almost forgot to close my commlink connection to the rest of the team before i took the call. Dragons weep!

Can you imagine how embarrasing that would have been. Anyway, by the time I was back to the situation at hand, those idiots looked like they were storming the building. One of them was climbing the building. I gotta say man, this chick looked pretty fucking ninja. And seriously, would bang. And she was all alone up there. I don't know if the rest of the team knew she was gone. I only spotted her because i tracked her commlink, and while i was doing that i pinged the one from the merc coming up to meet her.

Now this bit was magic. I bombarded his earpiece with that logic loop i showed you last week, the one with the back door on the repeating interval. I had his User ID code and i bounced in a command from the head office telling him to fall back and he totally bought it. As soon as that noob turned his back this chick was all over him like lice on your mum's pink bits. she turned that fucker into mincemeat. I didn't know how to feel about the woody i got from that.

I was about to check on the guys in the building but then we had more drones rock up. I have to say, that if this shadowrunning thing doesn't end up being all that it's cracked up to be, i should get a job writing the data security protocols for SK, because they need some work. I tore open the firewalls on those suckers like they were made of butter. I have copies of their hard drives. I've left them in the usual datadrop. Pick them up and keep them safe for me. There's a couple of edits i've cut out that you're welcome to have a look at but as always, don't show them to anyone.

You might be really intereseted in a cut of a vid i took from one of the drones watching the rooftop before i fritzed them. Little bit graphic bud, but keep that one locked tight for me. Anyway, still working on getting those access codes for you chum. If I stick with these clowns, they might take me right to them. Then we should be money.
5NIcK3RS out


<<<<<<<END MESSAGE. run loop_1 run enc010.btf)




Silk: Escaped magical pleasure slave.

Today's experience wasn't at all what Silk expected. He went out thinking he'd earn some money the only way he knows how...

 Instead he ended up in the first gunfight he'd ever seen - in way over his head. He may have had to run away with his tail between his legs, but for his first big day out in the real world, literally one of his first days free from the bondage of slavery, he is celebrating that he has been accepted by these strangers; has met people who may even become his friends.

But mostly Silk is excited to have met this wild Merlin, this man who revels in his freedom, and exudes an enticing magical aura. This might be one of the first men Silk has ever dared to respect. And it tickles him right in crotch.






Geva: Confused chemist. 
 

 Friday 04/04/70 3:24
Need more materials - Running out of ionic and reactive compounds.

Friday 04/04/70 8:56
Duke has told me that a source of chemicals may be nearby,
Serpents Cup 12:30Pm Saturday 05/04/70.
A contact can be found inside.
Have to wait, growing impatient.
Losing time, losing focus.

Saturday 05/04/70 13:30
I have entered the bar; it’s later in the day than I expected to get here.
Overslept, losing sleep, losing focus.
I have approached the loudest man at the bar, presumably the leader. He is quick to judge, seemingly, not quick in any other manner. He is agitated when I ask about chemicals. A professional looking man has confirmed that there are some on the premises. He is dodging me. My anger is rising. It seems I can get him on side if I kill some people at some place for some reason. I need to hurry, losing temper, losing focus.
Focus on the Equation, not the Emotion.

Saturday 05/04/70 14:00
We have reached an old house, hold no interest unless it holds chemicals.  Outcome seems unlikely. The loud irritating Biker Gallium has taken a liking to Silicon. Amplification is inevitable, defect reactions are imminent.
     Silicon is an amphoteric impurity of gallium arsenide that is present in different defect configurations. 
700°C and 1000°C for 20 h, zonedistributed segregation was observed at the area with a silicon concentration of about 1×1019 cm-3 by etching and xray topography.
FOCUS………….FOCUS…………FOCUS!

We are being shot at. They better have a game plan, because I am ready to play. From behind my bike I can hit one with my sniper, he is badly wounded, I can see him bleeding. It’s ok, I am focused now. The remaining are taken out, the group are entering through the front. I can’t be alone.


 Saturday 05/04/70 15:47
The building is only four storeys; I can make that in no time.
The ceiling is unguarded, I try to move slowly but dust is shifted by my feet. I hear a man cock his gun. It seems we have a Mexican standoff….hahahahahahaha…… You have my full attention.
He shoots, I dodge. I shoot, I hit, he is stunned.
Sodium has convinced him to regroup under false orders. I like it when they run. I gain on him, I shoot again, I miss. He ducks behind a door. I wait in the corridor; it seems I have a mouse in a mouse trap. Let’s play.

I can smell his fear, my rage is rising, nothing to focus it on, and it has to run its course. I charge and pin him, I hack at him with my tomahawk, he is mine. The blood is pouring from him, I can feel its warmth on my skin. It smells sweet and drenched in fear, just how I like it. He shoots me, I barely notice, I am enraged. I bite at him, he fends me off. NO MORE TOYING AROUND! I lift my tomahawk and decapitate him.
 I am alive, I feel joy and satisfaction. I am going to tear him to pieces and dance on his bones.

Saturday 05/04/70 16:38
I have reached the ground floor; Lithium, Zinc and Nitrogen have arrived. It appears they had an altercation with some drones.
Selenium and the Lutetium have emerged from the large hole in the building…. I have missed something, I don’t mind… I am focused.
We have gained a helicopter. It is marked however. I can get rid of the external markings. If I combine Nitric acid and Hydrochloric acid, I can make Aqua Regia.
it can dissolve the so-called royal metals, or noble metals, gold and platinum. 
I can neutralize it with sodium Bicarbonate and water.
Basic chemistry, if Nitrogen is as good as he says he is, he should be able to fix any aesthetic damage.
Sodium seems to be able to penetrate most signals, dropping any of its tracking software should be up its alley.

Saturday 05/04/70 17:49
I can work, for now, I can focus.
Till we regroup, I will work, yes…yes work. The nights can be long and I need to work……..olh