Friday, May 26, 2017

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Six: Ludovic’s Hell, Part 4

[This job happened March 21st, May 2nd, May 9th, May 23rd, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 18th, July 25th, August 8th, and August 22nd.  This part covers events related to this run during (in-game) April 7th, 2076.]

[I cheated during this part.  See the after notes.]

PCs Involved
The Fin – female human con artist and gambler from India, by way of Russia, posh and elegant
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Seul-ki – androgynous human from Korea, a laconic expert with swords
Bookie – male elf alcoholic hacker, favors whiskey with a whiskey chaser

Ash – male human car shaman/rigger, speaks in the third person and follows The Spirit of The Road

Tuesday, April 7, 2076
Killroy spent some time tracking down Vic’s current hiding place, finally locating him on an estate in Bellevue.  Killroy spent another hour scouting the area, trying to avoid drawing the attention of Knight Errant or any of the private security working the area.  Killroy determined that this would be a standard sniper shot but for two things: an armored atmospheric dome covering the entire estate, protecting the grounds from acid rain, and a landscaped 12-m tall berm across the back of the 2-acre lot, blocking all line of sight to the back of the estate.

Stumped, Killroy went back to Downtown and conference-called Ash and Seul-ki to discuss options.  Eventually Bookie was added to the conversation and asked to provide a floorplan of the estate from the Metroplex Records Department.  Bookie traded paydata with his data contact Rick to get the plans and the trio poured over them.

The mansion had a plush saferoom on the second floor in the east wing of the building surrounded by bedrooms with armored walls.  The good news was that most of the back walls were bullet-resistant glass and it was possible to line up a shot through a doorway to target the saferoom walls directly – assuming one could hover seven meters off the ground in the backyard while ground security shot at you.

After some brainstorming, the most viable plan was to high-jack a Knight Errant VTOL gunship, fly it over to the estate, and use its firepower to blow through the dome and then the interior walls of the mansion.  [Yes, THAT was the most plausible and viable plan.]

1:25 PM
Bookie hacked into the flight computers of the three VTOLs Knight Errant had prepped for flight at the Kelsey Creek Rapid Response Station.  In two of them, he placed data bombs set to go off when the pilots attempted to access the flight systems.  In the third one, he copied the remote access codes and passwords and sent them to Ash and Killroy.  Ash entered the access code and password into his RCC and activated a connection with the VTOL.  The signal noise wasn’t too bad and Ash jumped into the VTOL.  He then started running an abbreviated activation and lift-off procedure.

Knight Errant Flight Control immediately noticed the unscheduled activity and dispatched a spider to regain control of the VTOL.  This is what Bookie had been waiting for and Bookie ambushed the spider, bricking the spiders deck and forcing  dump-shock on the spider.  This gave Ash the time he needed to rev the VTOL’s engines and take off, heading towards the estate Vic was hiding in.  The on-duty pilots for the other two VTOLs scrambled into their units, jacked in, and activated the flight systems, triggering the large data bombs Bookie had planted.  Unprepared for this, the pilots were knocked out by the Matrix blasts and dumped back into reality.

Unknown to Ash, a second spider was sent to reclaim the pirated VTOL.  Bookie and this spider got into a tagging contest in the Matrix.  Fairly evenly matched, they fought to land a tag on each other and to remove any tags the other landed before it could be exploited.  This took longer than either expected.  Finally, the spider bet heavy on landing a single tag on Bookie and stuck it.  Bookie tried to land enough tags to gain control over the spider’s deck and just barely failed [he was totally out of Edge by this point].  The spider hit Bookie with a Data Spike that bricked Bookie’s Excalibur and abruptly dumped Bookie from the Matrix.  The dump-shock left Bookie unconscious with some blood leaking from his nose, completely unable to warn Ash and Killroy.

Meanwhile, Ash brought the VTOL screaming into proximity with Killroy and hovering behind the target estate.  With the proper access code and password, Killroy used his smart-link to remotely access the VTOL’s weaponry.  [Due to range limitations, Killroy was parked nearby.  With the greater range available to a RCC, Ash was parked half a kilometer away, midway between the estate and the Kelsey Creek Rapid Response Station.]  Killroy switched the machine gun from the gel rounds hopper to the APDS rounds hopper and started blasting a hole in the atmospheric dome covering the estate.  Six seconds later and they were in.  [The dome had a high armor value but low body to represent they needed to be relatively light while providing protection from the weather and random bird strikes.]

Ash swung the VTOL around so Killroy could rake the windows that made up the back wall of the mansion with the machine gun.  The windows were tougher than the dome [easier to support the weight], so Ash placed the VTOL into the optimal place to shoot at the safe room and Killroy started drilling into the mansion with the machine gun.

After another nine seconds, Killroy could see into the safe room through the breach the APDS ammunition had blasted, neatly dividing the safe room area in half with the hail of bullets.  Not wanting to accidentally kill Vic, Killroy took the time to switch back to the gel round hopper for the machine gun.  During this brief pause in fire, a bodyguard hauled Vic from the closed side of the safe room to the side with the door, clearly looking to escape.

Killroy directed Ash to drift left so he could get another shot at Vic through the hallway the safe room door eventually led to.  Ash started to comply when he noticed the internal communications equipment in the VTOL suddenly activate on its own.  A Knight Errant spider had tracked down the stolen VTOL and was checking to see if anyone was in it.  Ash immediately flipped the VTOL on its back, killed the engine, and jumped out of it [to avoid dumpshock].  The VTOL, barely eight meters off the ground, crashed hard into an outdoor grill, releasing gas from the grill and fuel from the VTOL.  A random spark a few seconds later [due to the spider attempting to reactivate the unit to locate it] ignited the mixture with a theatrical fireball and explosion.  The resulting fire started rapidly filling the atmospheric shell with black, acrid smoke.

Killroy quickly drove away from the immediate vicinity, taking time to avoid being tailed.  Ash, much further away from the now smoke-filled dome, was able to be more casual about leaving, taking the time to stop for some fast food to share with Killroy back at the office.


[And this is the first point where I cheated - I hand-waved my characters pass at Vic.  See below for why.]

End of Part 4

[My character, Ash, was supposed to do the next pass on Vic, but in the Real World it was August and my severance package from getting laid off at the end of February was finished paying out and I hadn’t landed a new job yet, despite seriously looking since May.  Unemployment was paying half of what I’d been making and we were looking at needing to sell the house in a couple of months while we still had control and could get a good price for it.  So, yeah, I was feeling depression and I hand-waved Ash’s pass because I really couldn’t think creatively at this point.]

[Luckily for me, in mid-August I received an awesome job offer, working for a company I wanted to work for and for a salary I wanted.  I ended up only being on Unemployment for one month and with some reorganizing of the bills by the very capable Mrs. Bugbears for Breakfast, we made it through August alive.  Barely, but alive.]

The other jobs in this run are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit
Yak Money
MoM Defense
Ludovic’s Hell - Part 1
Ludovic’s Hell - Part 2
Ludovic’s Hell - Part 3

Ludovic’s Hell - Part 5


  1. I'm definitely a fan of those play reports !

    Amusingly, you play the opposing security as somewhat lacking in high-tech means, and there also seems to be a lack of general surveillance (in spite of the ease of such in the future of Shadowrun).

    This give a real "lively" feel to your game reports that I like very, very much. Most of the "boring tech and security stuff" has probably been dealt with during prep sessions, so I only read a partial account, but the vibe is great !

    Maybe I'll tone down on the complexities next time around ... ^^

    1. (Sorry - got distracted and Blogger wouldn't let me edit my comment.)
      Thank you for the complement!

      I try to keep the session reports to "the good parts", only explaining the "back office parts" (game mechanics) when they are significant to what's going on.

      It's not that the opposing security is lacking in high-tech resources, but they are not omniscient either. AAA security HRT have a minimum response time of 1 minute and a lot can happen in 60 seconds in Shadowrun.

      For example, in this post, the entire time from Ash starting pre-flight on the VTOL to Ash flipping and killing the VTOL was, at most, 90 seconds. So right after the event, Knight Errant was swarming the area and maybe moving to set up road blocks, but road blocks take 10-15 minutes to set up and by that time Ash and Killroy were long gone. Drones in the area might have noticed Killroy starting up the car that he was in shortly after the killing of the VTOL, but what do they make of a passenger sedan driving in a residential area, moving the speed limit and with a valid AR tag? They log it and come back to it later. By then, Killroy's ditched the car and moved on, taking care to clean it of evidence. The spider might be able to ID Bookie, but he used his only clean tag to brick Bookie's deck and not track his location. Ash used legit access codes to fly the VTOL and as a Rigger does not leave much of a Matrix presence, especially if he jumps out before the spider can tag him.

      Now Knight Errant knows they've been played, but they are going to try and keep it quiet while they fix what went wrong. They are also going to start going over the records of what's going on with Vic and collating records and images with previous crime in the Metroplex. That is a lot of data to sift through and they don't want to draw too much attention, even inside KE (possibly especially inside KE). They will also assign some undercover officers and discrete drone monitoring to Vic as they expect another attack and a potential crack at nabbing the perps.

      This will not help them.

      But that is for Part 5.