Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Session Report – Under the Mountain – Session 4

[This session happened January 9th, 2017.  This is the last of the planning sessions and the one where we wrote out our plan, working backwards from our escape.  The Other GM was running.]

[This is the game session Ezekiel Tee’s player joined the group.  Adding new players during the planning stages of a shadowrun can be difficult as the GM may not have planned something for their character to do in the run.  Additionally, if the planning is too far along it becomes difficult story-wise to insert a new character for no apparent reason.  As it was, we realized needed an Awakened character to run a distraction for us, so fitting Ezekiel Tee into the plan was easy.  Not so much for the other new player who ended up with no “screen time” at all and dropped from the group before the end of the run.  I understand his frustration and am sorry the timing did not work out.]

[In hindsight, we should only ever add new players between runs.  This allows a smoother transition, allows the GM to include them in the run planning, and involve them from the get-go.]

Void – female night elf physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Moondance – male street samurai with an Ares fetish and a sniper specialization [new character]
Sin – male human rigger, knows exactly the wrong thing to say and says it
Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm
Wasabi – young male human mage with more than a touch of ADHD [new character]
Ezekial Tee – male human mage of the Zoroastrian tradition

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

Thursday, May 28, 2076, Evening
The team planned out the escape, working backwards to bagging the target.  This is what the final form of the list looked like, from back-to-front:

  • Sin drives the infiltration team away in a warded vehicle to the safe house.
  • Ares Roadmaster, driven remotely by Sin, drives up street location nearest hidden air vent.
  • Infiltration team climbs up exit air vent to hidden surface air vent.
  • Infiltration team transfers from the lab’s outflow air vent to the surface air vent in underground HVAC facility via maintenance access hatches.
  • Bookie loops security cameras in underground HVAC facility.
  • Infiltration team crawls through the lab’s outflow air vent.
  • Infiltration team access Lab outflow air vent using “portable door” explosives.
  • Bookie shuts off security monitors on Lab outflow air vent.
  • Wasabi casts Sound Barrier on “portable door” explosives.
  • Prometheus sets “portable door” explosives to cut through the floor to the lab’s outflow air vent.
  • Wasabi casts Looking Glass on the floor to locate the lab’s outflow air vent.
  • Infiltration team makes its way down the back stairs from the Residences floor (2nd, middle floor) to the Experimentation floor (3rd and lowest floor).
  • Infiltration team crosses hallway to back stairs.
  • Bookie loops cameras monitoring the back hallway of the Residences floor (2nd, middle floor).
  • Infiltration team cuts through interior walls from the target’s bedroom to the living space closest to the back stairwell, using NeruoStun as needed on occupants.
  • Infiltration team bags the target.

[Planning from the end forward helps notice any gaps in the plan and reminds us about gear and preparations we need to have with us at the beginning for later in the run.]

The team decided it needed a little more information to plan the break-in and arranged to meet with Hercules Mulligan, the inside man.  The team placed an order for three oil-dispersion grenades (“lube grenades” as we took to calling them) as a method to make the stairs behind them impassible by security, in case an alert went out before they exited.  [We discovered these in the equipment list of one of the later books and immediately saw their defensive potential.]  The grenades were available and would be delivered late Friday.  [I didn’t note whose contact we used, but I suspect it was Killroy’s.]

Wasabi started summoning three spirits (an Earth spirit, a Water spirit, and a Plant spirit) for assistance during the run.  To avoid being exhausted during the run, he will spread the summonings out and finish the string of summonings Saturday afternoon.

Friday, May 29, 2076
Prometheus met with Hercules Mulligan to get details and answers to hanging questions about the security setup for the lab.  One of the things Prometheus learned was that there is a watcher spirit on the roof of the building, which will need to be distracted.  Hercules Mulligan confirmed he will be on duty Sunday/Monday night and will be the only one who can see the monitors for the elevator down to the lab.  He and Prometheus worked out communication protocols for use during the run to avoid blowing Hercules Mulligan’s cover.

At the same time, Void scouted out the entry area for the lab.  As this area was inside a retail space (fully owned and operated by Aztechnology through several shell corporations), doing so was much easier than would otherwise have been the case.  She located a pressure plate alarm outside the front door, several security cameras, and the make and model of the locks she will have to bypass [she rolled amazingly well with her security systems knowledge skill + Edge].

The team regrouped and shared the information they had gathered.  To distract the watcher spirit, Ezekiel Tee will cast invisibility on himself and spray-paint graffiti on a nearby residential building in full view of the watcher spirit.  This will draw the spirit and its attention to the back of the target building, allowing the infiltration team to enter through the front while invisible without raising any magical alarms.  Ezekiel was scheduled to start spray painting at 2:40 AM, Monday, and then leave at 2:50 AM, providing the infiltration team a 10-minute window to approach and enter the building.

Void reported on the ground-floor security.  She was confident she could bypass the locks and get the infiltration team inside during the 10-minute window with time to spare.  Bookie felt he could loop the cameras during the same window.  The entry plan was finalized and times set.

The "lube grenades" arrived via courier.  Prometheus dutifully read the user’s manual that came with them.

End of Session

[So clearly this was the most planning we’d done for a single run since the start of the campaign.  Four sessions of prep-work, gathering data and equipment from multiple sources to make it difficult to track afterwards.  We were a bit paranoid about Aztechnology’s reputation and really did not want to get on their hit list as a result of the run.  Looking ahead in my notes, we don’t actually start the run in the next session, but finish the prep work and perform a ret-con, which I’ll explain in the next entry.  This is what the later stages of a Shadowrun campaign can be like.  We’ve always done a lot of planning to do our best to make sure the actual run goes off as smoothly as possible.  Never “without a hitch”, because Shadowrun, but as smoothly as we can get away with.  There is another group we know of that uses the “barrel in, guns ablazing” approach and pays and pays for it in Notoriety and being treated as disposable by their clients.  That’s not how the Pleiades Group does things and as a result, we get fat paydays and respect.  We’re also starting to get nigh impossible jobs against hard, vengeful targets, but that’s success in the Sixth World, neh?]

Session 1
Sessions 2 and 3

Session 5
Session 6
Session 7 [Not Yet Written]

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