Saturday, 30 March 2013

Shadowrun: Violent Origins - XX/XX/2012

Okay the mission has begun. Unfortunately we will have that on pause for the moment. I just learned from the last session  this is going to be tied much closer to the previous campaign than I thought. It involved a lot of things which won’t have quite so much relevance unless you understand the previous story. I had planned to save this until after we’d finished the campaign but with the actual mission segment now beginning, this seems the best time to explain things.

The previous campaign was our first actual attempt of playing Shadowrun as a group. The other two were more familiar with it than I but I’d only briefly looked at some of the rules and details prior to this, so the events which followed were really my introduction to the game. Which might explain my screwed up mentality when it comes to espionage and seriousness.

As with all good RPGs, this particular tale begins late at night in a bar. Leona wasn’t with us at this time, instead with the GM using the troll known as Venne who would later prove to be a swiss-army-knife of destructive capability. Hefting both a large anti-material rifle and various guns, knowing explosive magic and having the overall size and body-strength of a full grown grizzly bear. Arriving one at a time we each sat down in the bar and prepared what would be our usual pastime in this RPG – wasting time by making fun of one another’s characters. At least until Mr. Johnson turned up.

Like all good Johnsons this one was particularly straight to the point, detailed with information, mildly stingy with money and careful not to directly admit to anything incriminating. He also entered and exited to Jazz music for some reason, frequently accompanied by beautiful women. Signalling the barman for drinks, and for us to pay for them, he quickly began to outline what he needed us to do: A genetics company called Zianou was going defunct within the next week, having elements be absorbed into a rival corp, Renraku I believe, and having anything left be fought over by others. Before his unnamed company could potentially lose out on any potential gains in technology or genetic breakthroughs, we were to be sent in to steal them. Specifically from their headquarters in Europe, located atop the side of a cliff in Norway. We had five days to do this in and hinted at bonuses if we grabbed certain other items.

Finishing outlining what we needed to do and answering a few basic questions, Johnson upped and left followed by everyone else in the bar. Yes, apparently to be sure we’d be no threat everyone in there was actually an agent or hired gun working for him who would kill us the moment we turned on him. In fact the bar itself was a building he had only just started the night before and was closing down again the moment we left. It was reserved purely for when he needed to meet people like us.

Getting to know one another, the shadowrunners headed out and promptly ran into criminals. Fighting ensued, as did looting. Kind of prophetic as things went. This did little besides serve as quick test run of the combat mechanics. The next few hours from there on consisted of preparations and going over how Johnson had left for us to get to Norway. As we’d be out of the country a lot of our black market suppliers wouldn’t be of much help and this would be our only chance to use them. Mass buying of various essentials commenced.

The following morning each of us set off towards our transportation: A cargo plane taking off from Seattle’s main airport. With Killbo having disguised his gun turret as a roof extension and Amoral stowing his mecha (yes he had a personally scrap-built mecha) away in the back of his van we managed to get through the traffic without trouble. Even more amazingly despite being armed to the teeth we got through the airport to our cargo plane without further problems. It was while we were waiting to get on-board issues started to happen.

Shadowrun - Seattle 2072 - Seatac airport

Without warning explosions took place some distance behind us and more worryingly we weren’t the cause of them. The sounds of weapons on full-auto soon accompanied this and a bellowing voice began fanatically yelling about equality for all metahumans over the loudspeaker. Yeah, looks like we’d just turned up in the middle of a full scale military grade assault by equal rights terrorists consisting of centaurs and a lot of other species not deemed equal to humans, trolls, elves and dwarves.
Thankfully they’d not reckoned upon us being there.
As armed terrorists spilled out of the building and towards our waiting aircraft (desperately being refueled and prepared for liftoff by the crew) the three shadowrunners proceeded to shoot every person armed with a gun who wasn’t going to Norway. The first nine or ten died in our opening ambush before they started getting canny and providing covering fire. At which point Amoral got inventive and hijacked a refueling drone, crashing it into a horde of the terrors and blowing it up. Killbo broke out the plastic explosives (planting it on empty oil drums and kicking them towards swarms of the goons) and Venne got explody. Leaving a lot of smoking corpses in our wake we managed to hold off long enough for the police to apparently respond and begin counter attacking the terrorists and the plane to be refueled  Amoral delivering a message of “lol noobs” to whoever had taken over the loudspeaker and was fanatically yelling about their rights.

Loading our cars on-board we stormed up the access ramp as the cargo plane was taking off and prepared to head off for Norway. One of the terrorists’ helicopter gunships had other ideas. Yes they had those. Before the ramp could close one closed in and prepared to turn us to chunky salsa before Amoral saved our proverbial bacon once more. Hacking into the chopper’s controls he proceeded to have it go out of control via masses upon masses of spam pop-ups both on the pilot’s comlink and screens. The sheer degree of product placement, porn and free penis enhancements then caused the chopper to veer off course and later crash.

The rest of the flight was more or less uneventful, save for Amoral and Venne being stuck in a cargo crate with a drunken Killbo. Venne having introduced him to a troll beverage of the strong quality on the way over. After they exited in Norway and deposited their vehicles the flight quickly took off, the pilots hoping to never, ever see them again. This would become a reoccurring reaction among our NPCs.

Setting off down the road we began to head off for our base of operations a small Norwegian town, whose name I cannot remember, which was only a few miles from the Zianou building. It was on the way to this town and on a highway that we encountered our next big battle. Yes, we seem to run into a lot of these. The smoking wrecks of cars littered the highway as we approached a series of vehicles encircling an armoured campervan, all shooting at it with everything from RPGs to light arms. Unable to pass up a fight Killbo drove ahead and, abandoning the wheel, took over the autocannon turret and started shooting at the encircled vehicles. Amoral followed him in seconds later in his one real use of his mecha and began to rip several cars a new one. Venne then did what she did best, blew stuff up. The first suffice to say didn’t last long.

Once the vehicles were gone the few remaining mercenaries, yes they were later identified as mercenaries, abandoned their wheeled automobiles and tried to escape on foot. They didn’t get far. Two were taken alive and then used for interrogation to get answers for what the hell was going on. The first was taken by Amoral and Venne, who promptly used a mixture of magic an knives to torture any information we needed from him and bypass the fact he only spoke Spanish. Killbo meanwhile took the other one and proceeded to use a surprisingly tactful approach:

Mercenary: Usted conseguirá nada de mí!
Killbo (yelling to the others): Does anyone speak Italian?
Mercenary: Spanish.
Killbo: Ah-ha! You do speak English!
GM: Wait-! I-! Wha-! AAAAARGH!

Admittedly Venne’s methods got a lot more useful information out of them. From the fact they were using Spanish as a language and had South American accents we can safely guess they were in the employ of Aztechnology. More useful was the occupants of the campervan, one of who was scientist fleeing from Zainou. Despite Killbo displaying probably the worst negotiating skills on the planet (threatening her with an orbital artillery piece) the group managed to broker a deal. After being given her card and all the details she had on the security of the building we allowed her to go on her way unimpeded. After doing the deal we were on our way, with some intel and a useful I.D. security card to boot.

And yes this is the scientist we’d end up rescuing at the beginning of the next campaign.

Containing on we reached the town at late evening and managed to secure a room in the local inn. While both Killbo and Amoral had not thought that the place might not take digital currency, Venne had thankfully had the foresight to exchange currency in the small airport we’d arrived in. As such we had a room for the night. Dropping off some of his stuff in their room, Killbo headed out to find a bar because, well, he’s a dwarf. Hanging out and drinking he was joined sometime later by Venne who began to overwatch the place. Eventually we realised that one elf nearby seemed to be keeping a rather close eye on both the window leading to the Zainou offices in the town and his watch, leaving at a very specific hour.

As he exited the two shadowrunners followed and proceeded to confront him in a alleyway at which point he seemed rather alarmed. He also dropped mention of something rather suspicious involving knowledge of shadowrunners. Taking him hostage after knocking him out we managed to get him back to our room unnoticed and tie him to a chair. Interrogations followed and we eventually learned that he was a Zainou employee working with another shadowrunning team working in the same place.

Overall our deal effectively involved it being advantageous to each of us, trying to stay out of one another’s ways once we were inside Zainou’s EuroHQ and generally not getting in one another’s ways. Part of it also involved letting the elf go and both Killbo and Venne going back to the bar. Then proceeding to get drunk after Killbo failed a roll and had everyone inside singing Jpop. If I sound like I’ve forgotten a lot of details it’s only because I have.

The next day, after dealing with killer headaches and the horror Venne had somehow left on the second story of the hotel in front of Amoral’s window, we began planning how to scout out the Zainou building. Killbo went off to get details on nearby hiking while Amoral began suffering from withdrawal due to not having a constant internet connection in the town’s isolated location. What we learned was that a lot of the hikers and people in the surrounding woods had been repeatedly attacked by wolves and bears with multiple deaths, thoroughly unusual activity, until there was only one guide left. Killbo spoke with him and while he managed to coerce him into guiding them to a sewage plant close by to the building we needed to infiltrate and hopefully a few potential ways inside. He also learned that the guide was suspicious with a capital SUSPICIOUS!!! and behaving in an extremely strange manner which was not the least bit trustworthy.

Venne meanwhile had been helping to plot out our attack upon the Zainou offices. Well not attack. What we were planning to do was infiltrate the place, put ourselves on the guest list as security consultants and cards to get inside. This was supposed to be our backup plan and quickly became our actual plan once the other one ballsed up later on. With our supplies secured, positions planned and ways inside the offices considered, we began to infiltrate the place.

Somehow twenty minutes later it ended up on fire and covered in paint as a carjacking took place. But more on that next time.

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Shadowrun and all related characters and media are owned by FASA Corporation, Fantasy Productions and Catalyst Games Labs.

The source for the airport image can be found here.

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