Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Session Report – Sam’s Run – Session 2

[This session happened December 14th and was the final session of this run.  My notes are a bit sketchy and it took longer than anticipated to sit down and write this, so it may be a bit thin on detail compared to other write-ups.]

Baelthor – male human mage with a loud mouth, preaching the anti-corporate word
Seul-ki – androgynous human from Korea, a laconic expert with swords
Ash – male human car shaman/rigger, speaks in the third person and follows The Spirit of The Road
Roadrunner – female elf, a twitchy rigger with a need for speed who self-identifies as an orc
Limbsaw – female human street samurai with a monofilament chainsaw, works body disposal on the side

Alfonz – male elf decker, works as a lawyer as his day job
Krombopulos Michael – male orc physical adept, is a major fanboy of “The Elf in a Gecko Suit”

Bee – Hired by The Fin to stand in for a gate guard
Lord Bowler – part of the driving crew hired by The Fin

Wednesday, March 4, 2076, 5:30 PM – Ash Wednesday
Having learned that the guard shift changed at 10:00 PM, meaning new guards would be showing up for duty before the run was complete, the team discussed options.  The team decided the easiest would be to have Alfonz hack the security company’s system and re-assign the scheduled guards to other posts at a slightly later time.  Alfonz hacked the system and sent them all to posts in Everett at 11:00 PM.  This would buy us some safety time in case it was needed.  [Spoilers: It was.]

The crew of impromptu car thieves rode up to the location of the target car collection in Bellevue, riding in an old model minivan with Lord Bowler at the wheel.  Lord Bowler stopped the minivan a block short of the target and let Krombopulos Michael out.

Krom went ahead on foot, keeping out of the sight of the gate guard at the target home.  Krom then jumped the fence and sidled up to the back of the guard shack.  He silently bypassed the card-reader lock on the door to the guard shack and rolled a NeuroStun X grenade into the guard shack, closing the door behind the grenade.  Seconds later the guard fell to the floor.  Krom contacted the team via micro-transceiver, signaling it was safe to approach.

Lord Bowler drove the minivan up to the front gate and let the rest of the team out.  By this point the NeuroStun X had dissipated inside the guard shack and Krom had the door open again.  Bee, wearing a close facsimile of the guard uniform took the unconscious guard’s equipment belt and badge and put them on.  She then stepped into the guard shack to stand watch while the heist was in action.  Lord Bowler left to wait at the first drop-off point.  There were five drop-off points set up in discrete locations various distances from the target, each with a car carrier ready to receive merchandise.  Lord Bowler’s job was to shuttle drivers back to the target after they deposited a car at the various carriers.

Meanwhile, Baelthor took two more grenades of NeuroStun X to the walking guard patrol, guided by Alfonz, who had control of the house security cameras.  Baelthor popped the “spoons” of the grenades and walked directly up to the guards, ignoring their orders to halt.  By the time the guards realized what Baelthor was up to, the gas was knocking them out.  [Edge was spent here to get this to go smoothly.]  Baelthor’s freakish immunity to the stuff protected him from the effects of the gas.  Once the gas dispersed, he called over the stronger members of the team to help drag the unconscious guards into the garage.

Inside the garage were a personnel elevator and a cargo elevator large enough to move three full-sized cars at a time.  Off to one side is an equipment area and the unconscious guards are all stashed there, bound by zip-ties and duct tape.  Limbsaw would spend most of the heist there watching the guards, he two monofilament chainsaws prominently displayed to keep them from getting ideas.  Seul-ki stayed with her in case something unexpected happened and fools needed to be cut down.

Two levels down was the storage lot for the 50+ vehicles to be stolen.  There was a round of appreciative whistles for the collection when the team stepped out of the elevator.  Ash and Roadrunner started moving out the cars – first two sets of modern cars able to use GridGuide to drive themselves to the first car carrier, then a classic car each to directly drive.  An hour later, they had performed this trick twice, filling up the first carrier with twelve cars.  This maintained the pace necessary to get all of the cars out by 10:00 PM, when traffic would die down and the exotic cars would stand out more.

Deciding to chance a large wave of cars to speed things up, over the next hour, Ash and Roadrunner sent out every remaining rigged vehicle with the exception of the damaged moving trucks and the two Nissan Hound helicopters.  Those would all go out in the final round as the chance of those being noticed by Knight Errant (or the neighbors) was highest.  This cleared 15 cars in just under an hour, leaving just over half the collection still in the garage.

As the next wave was being brought up, an angry man in pajamas and a robe walked up and started arguing with Bee about the cars leaving illegally.  Bee couldn’t talk the guy down and asked for help.  Looking through the security cameras, Alfonz recognized the man as one of the Assistant District Attorneys for Seattle.  Alfonz contact the man via commlink and the two talked.  The ADA was angry as one of the cars he tried to buy off of “Sam” [the deceased owner] had just driven out of the neighborhood and he knew the cars were supposed to still be in escrow.  After further negotiations, it turned out his anger could be quenched for 10,000¥.  Alfonz contacted The Fin to get approval for the expense and she gave it.  Alfonz transferred funds to an account the ADA supplied and the matter was resolved.

Due to the lack of rigged cars, the team was only able to get 3 cars out this round.  Ash did the numbers and realized that, at their current rate, they would miss the 10:00 PM deadline to get all the cars.  Gambling on security in order to make the run, Seul-ki was left guarding the guards alone and Baelthor and Krom was brought off of the response team to increase the number of drivers to five.  This increased the number of cars in motion enough that the last pass would just empty the garage just before the security company realized something was up, even allowing the helicopters 30 minutes to warm up.

To hide the helicopters while they prepped, the damaged moving trucks were brought up and positioned in a perimeter to obscure the driveway.  Then the helicopters were brought up and their rotor blades unfolded.  Ash and Baelthor each cast and maintained Silence and sat in one helicopter each as the helicopters were warmed up by Roadrunner.  This hid the whine of the engines and the thwop-thwop-thwop sound of the rotor blades.  The last sports cars were brought up and readied for a quick escape while the team waited on the helicopters.

Once the helicopters were ready to fly, the trucks were sent away using GridGuide.  Roadrunner remotely piloted the first helicopter away with Baelthor in it, maintaining his Silent spell.  Once it was far enough away it would not be noticeable, she set it to auto-pilot and jumped back to her body.  Ash had to leave the second helicopter to drive the last sports car away, so the sound of the helicopter spinning at full thrust suddenly broke across the neighborhood, setting off car- and house-alarms as the noise rattled windows.  Roadrunner piloted the helicopter away as quickly as she could, putting as much distance as she could between herself and the first 9-1-1 calls.  Ash took a moment to spray paint “Fuck the Po-Po” in black on the driveway before speeding away in the last sports car, heading out through the rear entrance of the of the neighborhood, just as the distant sounds of sirens could be heard approaching the front entrance.

Thursday, March 5, 2076
With the stolen vehicles stored away in safe garages until they were sold off or in the process of being sold, the team was paid by The Fin, along with a 1000¥ bonus for doing the job with style and no blood-shed.

End of Session

[So the session ran a bit long as we were trying to complete the run in a single game session.  If we’d been willing to split it to a second session, the GM could have thrown in some complicating incidents like car chases while we were stealing the cars.  Having a go-ganger pull up to one of the drivers in a hot rod and rev the engine for a race would have suckered in Roadrunner.  Another way to go would have had a street gang try to carjack one of the classic sports cars and the driver trying to get away.]

[This entire run was driven (pardon the pun) by The Fin wanting more cash than the regular runs were providing, plus her desire to own some of the cars from Sam’s collection.  She had to put together a small stake to pay the runners from, which is why it took nearly two months before she put the run into motion.  She also had to lean on her contacts to get a pool of lower end shadowrunners to pull from and access to car carriers to move the stolen vehicles en mass.  The pay-off for the run was an unqualified success as The Fin personally pulled in a six-figured profit after the run was over.  I’m hoping this will inspire the other players to start working on side-runs for their own characters.]

[Plus, it was fun playing a different type of character for a change, which everyone seemed to enjoy.  We made characters that were very different from our primary characters to try out different things.]

Session 1

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Parks and Wrecks - Chapter 3: Three Titans

[This session happened Saturday, November 14, and is a different gaming group than the Shadowrun group.  This group runs using the HERO System (Champions) and only plays once a month.]

Chapter 0 – Dramatis Personae

May 26, 1934, 21:01, Chicago, The Ambassador East Hotel
I’ve eaten dinner and had several stiff drinks.  By the clock on the wall I’ve been awake 15 hours, but I know it’s been longer.  We were in the Schattenkreis base for more than half a day, meaning I’m approaching 24 hours of consciousness, most of it requiring strenuous activity.  As long as the day had been before we returned in the stolen submarine, the 30 minutes that followed felt longer.

The submarine had been barely within the control of the engineer “driving” it.  Shortly after we arrived in Lake Michigan, an enormous explosion happened behind the submarine.  It was fortunate that we were pointed at the shore when we exited the portal – the explosion pushed the submarine to shore instead of rolling it.  Our immediate suspicion was that the explosion was an attack of some sort, but in hindsight it was clearly the gate to the Schattenkreis base collapsing or exploding, possibly both.

With the submarine more or less grounded on the rocky shore adjacent to the World’s Fair, evacuation of the boat was our priority.  We worked as a team to get all the innocent bystanders and rescued scientists safely to shore and then we dispersed to deal with the treat of the Copper Robot as each of us felt we could.  Helen and Simone headed to the Sky Bridge to deal with the Arcturus Star atop the central tower, Bak Mu started treating the injured by the passing of the enormous Copper Robot on the Midway, Kurt headed off to the nearby animal exhibit, possibly to find a mount, and I lost track of Jack.

Riley had not yet marshaled the US Army Robot to fight the Copper Robot.  The Copper Robot was about to step out of the Southern Lagoon on the far side.  I arrived at the near shore of the Lagoon, thinking furiously.  I came up with several options to go after the Copper Robot and quickly discarded most of them as too dangerous, too uncertain, or both.  I settled on attempting to use the Key of Solomon to freeze the Lagoon and hopefully trap the Copper Robot in the Lagoon long enough for Riley to arrive.

I stretched my hands out to the Lagoon and called upon the waters to freeze, trapping the “metal man”.  Not certain what to expect, I was pleased when the water nearest me immediately froze and the effect quickly spread.  I continued chanting my command to the water, focusing my concentration to will the waters to obey me.  To be honest, I’m not entirely certain it was necessary to continue chanting, but I did so.

As rime ice covered the surface of the Lagoon and started to thicken, the temperature of the air started dropping noticeably.  Unfortunately, this took longer than I had and the Copper Robot stepped out of the Lagoon before the entire thing froze solid.  A pillar of ice started rising from the center of the freezing Lagoon.  Intrigued by this, I continued to chant, hoping I was maintaining some semblance of control.  The pillar manifested arms and legs, cold radiating from it in waves.

At some point around here, Riley arrived, piloting the US Army Robot (which he later named “The ‘Merican” – who can fathom engineers and their naming schema).  He started trading blows with the Copper Robot, the Army Robot using a giant spinning blade, the Copper Robot shooting bolts of lightning from the enormous lightning rod attached to its back.  Then the ice being animated and stepped ashore to join the fray.  (I later learned Bak Mu was also involved, but, due to the distance, I could not see him.)

I was slightly distracted at this point as Kurt rode by on the back of an adult grizzly bear.  (I challenge anyone to say they would not have been distracted by such a thing.  I will call them a liar if they are able to do so with a straight face.)  The bear was apparently Jack in a new form and Kurt wanted to know where to go.  I pointed him at the Hall of Religion while attempting to maintain my chant.

I think this is where things started to go awry in relation to my control of the ice being as it started attacking the US Army Robot instead of the Copper Robot.  Its punches did little, but then it started summoning a blizzard around it.  I later learned that this bypassed what defenses the US Army Robot provided Riley.  An alternate theory is that Mr. Parks was in the area and usurped some measure of control from what may have been a djin from me.  We later found some evidence he had been in the area, but his control over djin is very speculative at this point.

Seeing the ice being was not doing what I wanted, I used the Key of Solomon to dispel it and then made my way to the Hall of Religion.  The ice being started slowly dispersing.

I later learned that Simone and Helen had made their way up to the giant, star-shaped light on top of the center tower of the Sky Bridge.  There they found two members of the Schattenkreis protecting the light.  Coincidentally, both Simone and Helen were still wearing the Schattenkreis uniforms stolen from the submarine base (the uniforms were much warmer than the summer dresses they arrived wearing at the Antarctic base).  This allowed Simone and Helen to bluff their way into control of the situation.  When Simone used the controls to shut off the Arcturus Star, the goons attacked anyways (the Star refused to deactivate).  Helen shot out the kneecap of one and shot the other in the shoulder, breaking his collar bone.  She ordered them to sit and they did.  Simone and Helen then took turns shooting at the heavy glass of the Arcturus Star itself until they shattered it.

This, of course, caused it to explode.

Simone and Helen were injured in the blast, but not killed – the two Schattenkreis goons were not so lucky.  The explosion had another effect on the goons – the World’s Fair maintenance uniforms they had been wearing turned into leather armor.  Whatever glamour had changed its appearance had failed.  The ladies decided to leave before actual maintenance workers and/or security guards arrived.

Just as the ladies were destroying the Arcturus Star, Riley was able to sever one of the arms off the Copper Robot.  The robot exploded into a shower of components seconds later.  I’m fairly certain that it was the ladies destroying the Arcturus Star that caused the Copper Robot to fall to pieces, Riley claims it was his actions that did the trick.  I’ve chosen to not press the matter as the ice being I summoned nearly killed both he and Bak Mu from the cold during the three-way fight.

Shortly after this point (I’m uncertain of the timing as I was busy running and not looking at my watch), Kurt, Jack, and I discovered that the sarcophagus lid was missing.  The Hall of religion was empty of spectators due to swarms of bees that had suddenly arrived.  The cold air side-effect of the ice being’s blizzard had driven the bees dormant, so the three of us were able to enter the Hall safely.  There were a lot of bees.

Following traces of the sarcophagus lid being dragged, we discovered a hidden maintenance door in the display room.  We pressed on and ended at the receiving dock for the Hall of Religion, where the tracks disappeared.  We followed the pavement from the receiving dock to the main road of the Fair.  There we looked around for a truck that might carry the stone sarcophagus lid.  We spotted one just down past the Hall of Science.  Grasping at straws, we ran to that truck.  It was damaged by electrical attacks from the Copper Robot that had missed Riley in the Army Robot.

Riley arrived at the truck at the same time as we did, wanting to use it to haul away the remains of the Copper Robot before the authorities arrived to take control of the situation.  The four of us opened the back of the truck, guns drawn.  Inside were just some barrels of heavy water, not the sarcophagus we were looking for.  I was dejected – Parks had gotten away with the sarcophagus and we never got our shot at him.

Riley and I got into the front of the truck to go get the remains of the Copper Robot.  In the front we found two bitter trophies: the coat and cane of G. P. Solomon, a.k.a. Mr. George Parks.  We had been that close.

Someone suggested that the Schattenkreis base had docking facilities for TWO submarines and we had stolen and crashed only ONE of them.  Riley drove the truck to the Fair’s docks as quickly as he could.  Once there we scanned the waters and Kurt was able to spot a periscope just as it submerged below the waters.  Kurt and Riley started arguing about whether to steal a boat or a sea plane to track the submarine.  I ended the argument by stating, “They’ve escaped.  We’ll try again next time.”

Then our entire team focused on assisting with the cleanup of the attack.  Riley was able to stash the Copper Robot’s arm he had cut off at the AEC Pyramid before the actual Army arrived and confiscated everything else.  It turned out that Riley had decked the Army Specialist exhibiting the Army Robot and then woke him up after the fighting was over, congratulating the Specialist on a job well done.  Bak Mu and Kurt started providing medical assistance, setting up the lobby of the AEC Pyramid as a medical triage area.  This tied the company’s name to the relief efforts, which no doubt scored us points with our employers.

After the sun set and the relief efforts were over, the team and Miss Decker secured a private room at The Pump Room for dinner and to compare notes.  Doing so brought the following to light:

  • The armor the Schattenkreis goons had been wearing was elven armor from the court of the Dark Elf King.
  • There were “fleshy bits” in the Copper Robot wreckage – suggestive of brain in a jar control system?
  • Telling the complete story of the robots and the elves to the newer members of the team, I realized that the makers of the giant robots are the Schattenkreis, not the dark Elves.  However, Dark Elf technology/magic involved somehow.  There is now the suggestion that Mr. Parks is working with the Schattenkreis/Dark Elf alliance.
  • Bak Mu pointed out that the submarine base was likely not the only base the Schattenkreis have and many people are missing from the Fair.  Perhaps the Schattenkreis are now kidnapping people for control components for more giant robots.

Miss Decker had several observations and recommendations.

  • Djin legends do not suggest they can control minds, so Helen’s family are more likely being blackmailed/threatened.
  • She suggested we needed to research Mr. Parks before going after him again.
  • She acknowledged that the Company may have some responsibility for the situation and offered to count the team’s activities involving tracking down Mr. Parks to be business related, meaning we were on the payroll and not doing this on our own.  We took her up on it

Tomorrow most of us are heading to New York City to start researching Mr. Parks.  Kurt made noises indicating he will be heading directly to New Mexico to scout out the doings of Solomon Industries and their tower site at Chaco Canyon.

Now to sleep.  It has been a tiring day and there is more work to do tomorrow.

End of Session

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Aftermath and Research [Not Written Yet]

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Posting Delay due to End of Year Busy-ness

A combination of work getting really busy for me and several major social events recently means it won't be until Thursday morning before I get a posting up for this week.

On top of that, the Shadowrun Co-GM is a retail store manager in the computer games industry, so he's been swamped at HIS work the last two weeks and missed the last two game sessions.  As a result, Session 2 of Sam's Run hasn't actually happened yet.

So, that means this week's post will be Chapter 3 of the Pulp HERO Parks and Wrecks adventure, titled: Three Titans.  I'm not certain what next week's will be.  We did a research session this past weekend (one of my social events) and gathered a lot of information, which allowed us to determine which way we are going next, but the GM won't be ready to run again until June or July.  This is a combo of needing to do the setting research for the high level of verisimilitude she provides plus being a high school teacher.  Either way, I'm not certain that I can spin an entertaining story covering everything we did when a research montage would cover it better.  We'll see.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Session Report – Sam’s Run – Session 1

[This session happened November 24th and is the first actual session of this run.  About a third was The Fin and the GM off to the side setting things in motion and the rest was character interviews.]

Baelthor – male human mage with a loud mouth, preaching the anti-corporate word
Seul-ki – androgynous human from Korea, a laconic expert with swords
Ash – male human car shaman/rigger, speaks in the third person and follows The Spirit of The Road
Roadrunner – female elf, a twitchy rigger with a need for speed who self-identifies as an orc
Krombopulos Michael – male orc physical adept, is a major fanboy of “The Elf in a Gecko Suit”, AKA, Void
Limbsaw – female human street samurai with a monofilament chainsaw, works body disposal on the side

Alfonz – male elf decker, works as a lawyer as his day job

Sunday, March 1, 2076
The Fin, still wanting personal possession of several cars in the estate of “Sam”, the Mr. Johnson (and ultimate target) of A Dwarf in Need.  She had a plan to steal all of the vehicles and sell off the ones she didn’t want to recoup her costs and show a hefty profit.  She finally felt she had enough spare nuyen to finance the run on her own, so she started asking around for the expertise she needed.  She went to her Vory contact, Svetlana, asking for a bent lawyer.  Svetlana put her into contact with Alfonz.

The Fin hired Alfonz to look into the estate of Robert Khordaldrum (AKA, Sam) to determine its status and the current location of the vehicle collection attached to the estate.  Alfonz reported back that the estate had another week to two weeks before everything goes to auction as Robert Khordaldrum had no will nor heirs to place claims on any of his property.  On paper, the vehicles show as still in the underground garage on his home property.

Realizing her time was short to grab the vehicles, she went to her mechanic contacts, Wheels (hired based on a recommendation from Prometheus) and Kaylee (met through Sin).  The Fin explained she had a job and needed help putting it together.  The Fin offered a finder’s fee for help locating:

  • High end car carriers
  • Chop shops able to handle plates and VINs
  • Smuggler contacts to move high end vehicles overseas
  • A container vessel captained by a person with negotiable morals
  • A team of shadowrunners: 2 muscle, 1 B&E specialist, a mage or shaman, and some riggers, all of whom have first-rate driving skills

While Wheels and Kaylee started looking for what The Fin requested, The Fin contacted Bookie and asked him to place some discrete ads on the Dark Net, advertising a single run of black market, high-end vehicles for immediate sale, serious buyers only.  She also had Bookie set up a separate contact point and bounce it to her commlink so buyers would not have her actual commlink number.

Wheels reported back that he had the car carriers lined up and word was out that Mr. Johnson was hiring shadowrunners.  Kaylee reported she had secure loading locations for the car carriers to be loaded and locations for short-term discrete storage of vehicles, near the docks (necessary as the job would take place over three to four days).

Fin rented a back room at Ebey’s Bar in Exile in Everett and started holding interviews, posing as Mr. Johnson’s fixer.  Out of a total of 36 interviews, The Fin hired eight runners: Ash, Krombopulos “Krom” Michael, Limbsaw, Alfonz (as a decker), Baelthor, Seul-ki, Lord Bowler (NPC rigger contact of Ash’s), and Roadrunner (PC rigger contact of Ash’s).  All of the runners had quality driving skills and/or other skills necessary for the job.  The Fin set a date for the runners to meet and get the low down on the job.

End of Session

[Krombopulos Michael’s fanboy crush on Void wasn’t planned, but it made sense once his character was finished and explained to the group.  Void’s nickname of “The Elf in a Gecko Suit” was how the media reported her during the Monkey Business run.  She has Blandness and regularly wears a chameleon suit, so this was how witness’s vague memories were reported in an easy to remember sound bite.  Krombopulos Michael has the Elf Poser negative quality, even though that is normally restricted to Humans Only.  It was too strong a story element to let the rules get in the way.]

[Note that the above does mean that the group has an elf orc-poser and an orc elf-poser.  Along with an androgynous Korean sword saint, a cyber-ed shaman who speaks in the third person, a street samurai with a chainsaw, and a lawyer who does rigging on the side, The Fin has a typical odd-ball group of runners that represents the cream of what first time fixers have access to.  Think about the 26 other runners she turned away as not good enough or too strange and what that implies about them.]

[The real run will kick off on Wednesday, March 4, 2076.  It will be Ash Wednesday.  My character is excited about that, for obvious reasons.  Oh, and yes, I did speak in third person while role-playing Ash.  It took a couple of tries for The Fin's player to keep a straight face while talking to Ash.  Much fun.]

Session 2

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Game Report: Axis and Allies Global 1940 Game

I played a day-long game of the Axis and Allies Global 1940 game by Avalon Hill (sold through Wizards of the Coast) with three other players today.  We started with a rules review at 1:00 PM, started the actual game somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 (probably closer to 2:00), and played until Midnight.  We had four players (of the up to six the game is designed for).  We got 5 turns done and called it.  We then did a post-game dissection of the experience.

Post Game Discussion
The first thing we all agreed on was that we had fun and were willing to play again.  We are already talking about when we might be able to get together again.

The second thing was that the poor sap stuck playing all three Axis Powers is over-loaded.  We need either a 5th player or to divide the sides differently.  We feel that ideally the Global version of the game should be played with five players.  Failing that, we think dividing it so Player 1 has Germany and Italy; Player 2 has Japan; Player 3 has Soviet Union, United States, and China; and Player 4 has United Kingdom, ANZAC, and France, is probably a better distribution of the load than the distribution the game lists.

We also were hampered by learning the new twists of the rules over the original Milton Bradley version we had all played previously.  Attack and defense strengths were tweaked in some places and the addition of new unit types and the Air and Naval Bases changed several strategies and ways to think about things in the game.

I feel this version of Axis and Allies did a good job of emulating the real war without straight-jacketing the players.  Adding Italy to the game had meaning and caused the Mediterranean and North African Campaigns to happen for good reasons.  In the original version of Axis and Allies, Germany tended to ignore Africa once the initial units there were destroyed and focused all of its concentration and units and IPCs (money) on the meat grinder that was the invasion of the Soviet Union.  By splitting off Italy and giving them goals (through the bonus IPCs they could get in the National Objectives and Bonus Income section of rules), that part of the emulation of the actual history actually happened.

On the flip side, ANZAC seemed of limited value and a waste of time.  They spent most of the game doing nothing with barely any income.  After later review, we decided that the UK/ANZAC player’s misunderstanding of some key rules and not having played the UK before (and by extension ANZAC) caused this issue.  We think that in the next game, ANZAC will be a more significant force and will do something to help the Allies cause early in the game as opposed to being a back water.

Turn 5 was when the really interesting things started to happen.  The United States was getting involved in North Africa, the real heavy fighting between Germany and the Soviet Union was happening, and the Axis Powers were closing in on victory on the Pacific board (Japan had 4 of the 6 Victory Cities on the Pacific board the Axis needed to win and were closing in on the 5th).

Finally, we all agreed that the next game will go faster.  Once you’ve played through the game once, you have a better understanding of what is a good plan for the Power you are playing, your decision-making process becomes faster (as you know what options are actually useful), and you have a plan to follow (as opposed to making it up as you go along).  This was an expected learning.

In summary, this was a fun (if long) game for us and we will play it again.  There is very good game design in this version of Axis and Allies and we heartily recommend it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Parks and Wrecks - Chapter 2: Antarctic Sidestep

Chapter 0 – Dramatis Personae

May 26, 1934 (Probably), Unknown Location
Darkness and pain took us just as we dispersed to deal with the crisis.  When the darkness ended, we found ourselves, along with a number of innocent bystanders, in a 20 ft x 20 ft cell made of iron bars running from floor to ceiling.  It was dark, but not the absolute lack of sensation that had previously gripped us.

After activating a couple of lucky lighters (mine and Kurt’s), we notice that Riley was missing, we are still armed (those of us accustomed to carrying pistols…plus Kurt and his coach gun of all things), and it is cold.  Cold enough that motion is necessary to stay warm.

We checked the two solid doors to the cell (each opposite the other) and looked around beyond the bars.  The room we were in was twice the size of the cell, with the cell in the exact center of the chamber.  The bars were set close enough even Bak Mu could not squeeze through and the locks were placed on the doors such that Simone could not get to adequately position her hands to pick them.  This did not stop her from trying.

After a short time, the electric lights in the room activated and three men entered the room, wearing the black uniforms with silver piping of the Schattenkreis!  They were talking amongst themselves and appeared to be surprised by our presence as they were not expecting anyone this soon.  One of them got close enough to the cell that Jack could grab him and he did so, pulling the guard against the bars of the cell.  They only spoke German, so I did most of the talking on our part.  They decided to abandon their fellow guard and run to raise the alarm.  Kurt and I stopped them by shooting them before they could clear the door.  Meanwhile, Bak Mu reached around and relieved the guard Jack had pinned of his keys.  Bak Mu then unlocked the adjacent cell door (just as Simone finally finished picking the lock on the other door).

Jack and Kurt relieved all three guards of their pistols and spare clips of ammunition while Bak Mu performed first aid on the bystanders to wake them up before hypothermia set in.  (This place is cold and we “just left” early summer temperatures.)

We started exploring at this point.  While most of the hallways are standard size, there is a set that are twice this size, which we avoid as they are trafficked by Schattenkreis troops.  We found a submarine pen large enough for two submarines.  We clocked some guards and rescued a scientist-type, who explained that the scientists in the base were kidnapped and brought here.  They have lost track of time as the base is underground and always cold.  We decided that simply escaping was not going to be possible, so we started methodically working our way through the base, taking out cultists/guards as we came to them.

We found the barracks for the troops and the personal rooms of The Key, the resident mad scientist, and Frau Nyx, the woman who escaped us in Australia.  In The Key’s room was a desk crammed full of papers – handwritten notes of projects he was working on.  All of them, pressed in like geologic layers.  We pulled them out and dumped them into bags for Riley to look over later as we were in a hurry at the time.  In Frau Nyx’s room we learned she was the head of the base and that she had an amber skull hidden away.  I took the skull, not because I think it is valuable, but because she does.  At some point here Helen and Simone changed clothes from summer dresses to Schattenkreis officer uniforms, probably from Frau Nyx’s armoire, I no longer remember the exact timing.

After further exploration of the base, we discovered a surface access point – a square room with several cold weather suits hanging on the walls and a ladder up to a hatch in the ceiling.  Jack put on the cold weather gear and climbed up.  He reported an observation post of some sort, exposed to the elements.  There was a blizzard going on, preventing Jack from seeing very far around, let alone the stars to try and determine where we were.

Searching further, we then found a screening room with a wet bar (I'll let you guess which cowboy located the alcohol), but otherwise empty.  Next to it was a lab with several scientists working on various projects.  We announced we were liberating them, but one of the scientists objected and pulled a gun.  He went down quickly.  Another of the scientists introduced himself as Robert Thompson.  He was kidnapped by the Schattenkreis in October of 1932.  He was tired of being locked up and was ready to actively help us.

After that we found the room where the Schattenkreis tested The Machine we faced in Australia.  It was adjacent to the power plant for the entire base.  The power plant not only looked dangerous, it was dangerous.  The two operators explained to us that without constant attention and adjustments the power plant would shut down, probably catastrophically.  We left them to their work.

Kurt and Bak Mu split off to reconnoiter ahead (and take down some guards).  They found the garage of the base, some sort of large cavern with a surface exit.  There were a small number of snowmobiles and a single, tracked motor.  There were not enough vehicles (or protective clothing) for the large group of people we needed to rescue, so we continued searching the base.

We backtracked to the (now) empty testing room, which had a set of stairs up to the control room for the submarine pen.  From there we could see the rest of the goons in the base.  They were pulling up barrels from an underwater location.  (We later discovered the barrels are full of heavy water stolen from the Hall of Science at the World’s Fair.)  We worked out a plan to rush the goons and take the base.  After a brief skirmish (really, it was that quick) all the Schattenkreis goons were dead and the base was ours!

We’ve gathered up all the bystanders and scientists in the screening room and are discussing how to escape as a group.

We talked a lot and this is the best plan we have: we are going to use the remaining submarine in the base to escape through the underwater portal.  We think we have a five minute window for to sail out from the last adjustment to the power plant to when it catastrophically fails and the portal collapses.  One of the bystanders has some (very limited, it turns out) ability to drive a submarine – he was an engineer who once worked on a British submarine and watched it being piloted.  (I very much miss Riley right now.)  We also plan on detonating some dynamite in the control room using an improvised timing device using the heat from the film projector bulb and some copper wire.  No, I do not feel that is safe in any way, but it is the best we can do with what we have.

I’ll be honest, this is not the best plan we’ve ever come up with and I’m somewhat dubious we’ll make it out alive.  We don’t know if the gate will remain stable long enough for us to travel through it (assuming our “submarine commander” can get the sub into it without sinking in the first place).  We’re lining up the submarine now, under a bridge that spans the pen so the power plant operators have the shortest route to get to the sub.  Also so we don’t have to steer the sub while escaping.  We also don't know what will happen when the power plant fails or if/when the dynamite will detonate.  I’m not optimistic.

[In Chinese] Tsai Su, If we don’t make it and you somehow get this, know I love you and always will.
Andrew Ezekial Crawley

(Even Later)
[Handwriting is rough at first but improves quickly.]

  1. My pessimism was unfounded – we made it through the portal.  Somehow.
  2. Passing through a dimensional gate is not instantaneous.
  3. Looking through the periscope of a submarine while traversing inter-dimensional space is not recommended.  The human mind cannot hold it all and overloads in a most unpleasant manner.  Also, Human languages are inadequate to describe what is seen - I know 16 languages and do not have the words.

I recovered my senses to find us in Lake Michigan, just offshore from the World’s Fair.  Looking through the periscope we can see the giant copper robot just starting its attack on the Fair.

Yes, I wrote that correctly - "just starting".

We were at the Schattenkreis base for at least six hours, possibly longer, but have returned at best minutes after we were abducted.

I am going to need a stiff drink once this day is over.

End of Session

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Monday, November 23, 2015

Corporate Security Handbook - Excerpt: Astral Projection

[The other GM was not able to attend the session last week due to "work related issues", so we continued with character creation and entering the characters into Hero Lab, which is awesome for checking characters are valid and nothing was missed.]

[As a result of nothing session report-wise to post this week, I'm posting an excerpt form a book I'm writing: The Corporate Security Handbook.  This is a look at actual corporate security as it exists now in the real world and then extrapolations as to how Shadowrun changes this.  I'm still in the brain-dump stage of writing at this point, approaching 80-90% complete.  This is what I have so far for Astral Projection and how it interacts with security in Shadowrun 5th Edition.]

Astral Projection

Astral projection can could be a game-breaker for security, but 5th Edition has neatly addressed the issue.  In past editions, those astrally projecting could move about freely and look around, stopped only by living things or being underground.  As a result, there was an escalating arms race between those using astral projection and those defending against it that led to downtown buildings covered in ivy or windows with thin layers of living bacteria.  This clashed with the color text of immense, sleek skyscrapers and arcologies towering over the urban landscape.  For research and exploratory projects to be secure from roving astral eyes, the buildings either have to be short (no more than 10 stories) so they can be covered with living plans or have glass outer structures and hope the bacteria don’t die off from UV exposure (from sunlight).

5th Edition elegantly side-steps this and provides more role-playing opportunities.

Mages in 5th Edition can astrally project, but cannot fully physically manifest back into the world away from their bodies.  This means they can only see things from the astral side, where things like posters of information or monitor screens are just shadows with no differentiation for ink – they are essentially blank slates astrally.  On top of that, with the heavy use of AR, the data and images don’t even physically manifest anymore, rendering them invisible to the astral traveler.

What mages can do is manifest psychically to one or more individuals of their choice and communicate with them.  They can see each other (or at least each other’s astral manifestation) and talk, but the mage is still astral and cannot read anything lying around.  This can make for some interesting role-playing opportunities as the mage provides critical information to someone in a crowd, a crowd that cannot intercept or eavesdrop on the information exchange in any physical way.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Session Report – Sam’s Run – Session 0

[This session happened November 9th.]

The next run is going to be different from previous runs in that one of the main player characters will be the Mr. Johnson for a secondary team of runners.  Therefore, we spent the session building discussing what the run would require and building new characters to cover that.  We also decided each player would build a character different from their primary to keep people out of a gaming rut.  This also provides a chance for players to learn new sections of the rules.

The source of the run is back in run number 5: A Dwarf in Need.  The client (and eventual target), Sam, owned a collection of 65 vehicles, many of which were antiques or merely high-end prestige cars.  Once The Fin saw them, her heart was set on owning several of them.  Not making enough money as a shadowrunner to simply buy them, she decided to take a page from the Mr. Johnson Playbook and hire shadowrunners to steal them for her.  To make the job pay for itself plus show a nice profit, she plans on having runners steal the entire collection, which she will sell off to buyers on the dark net or chop shops in Seattle able to handle the action.

This is not a run she wants the Pleiades Group associated with as it clashes with the group's growing reputation as quality shadowrunners for hire.  If clients even thought that the Pleiades Group might use jobs to scout for potential valuables to steal like common criminals, they would think twice about hiring the Group.  So plausible deniability requires a whole separate crew…

We are still sticking with the Shadowrun 5th Edition Core Rules and none of the additional books for character builds.  We didn’t finish all the characters at the session, particularly names, but this is what we have on tap:

Ash – human male mage/rigger
Ash is a “car shaman” who follows the “spirit of the road”.  He sacrificed two points of Essence/Magic for some alpha-grade augmentations: a Rating 1 Control Rig, a Rating 1 Synaptic Booster, and a Rating 2 Muscle Toner along with a standard Cat’s Eyes bioware upgrade.  He bought back his lost two points of Magic and starts with 5 spells: Silence, Physical Mask, Improved Invisibility, Detect Law Enforcement Badge, and Detect Security System.

Ash is smuggler, running cargoes across the North Plains and the Rocky Mountains in a Rover Model 2072, crossing the borders of the UCAS, the Sioux Nation, the Salish-Shidhe Council, and the Seattle Metroplex.  Ash was raised on the border between the UCAS and the Sioux Nation and speaks both English and Lakota as a native-speaker.  Rumor has it that Ash once served in the military (stories vary on whether it was the UCAS or Sioux military) and received his augmentations before his magic manifested.  His augmentations somewhat interfere with his magic and as a result his astral signature is weaker than normal and fades quickly (Astral Chameleon).  One or the other also seems to have affected his mind and Ash only speaks of himself in the third person.  He also has a Moderate addiction to Long Haul, a side effect of both his profession and his magical calling.  [As the amount of backstory suggests, this is my character.]

Roadrunner – elf female rigger raised by orcs
Roadrunner (known as Tweety to her family only) is a straight up rigger with a serious need for speed, both on the road and in person.

Roadrunner’s parents were killed when she was very young in a spasm of anti-metahuman violence that claimed the lives of a number of metahuman types.  As a result, she was raised by orcs and self-identifies as an orc (Orc Poser negative quality), to the extent she’s had tusks implanted.  She is a rough and tumble person due to her upbringing and her need for speed is rooted here – punch the other person first and they have a painful bloody nose to deal with before they can hit back.  Played by The Fin's player.

Krombopulos "Krom" Michael – orc male physical adept B&E specialist with a thing for elves
Krom (as nearly everyone calls him) specializes in bypassing security systems and will be necessary for reconnaissance and access to the site of the job.  He’s an Elf Poser - don’t know why yet, but he and Roadrunner should get along like cats and dogs.

[His player is still developing Krombopulos's personality and back ground.  Played by Sin’s player]

Limbsaw – human female street samurai
Limbsaw has Japanese/American ancestry.  Her preferred weapons are a monofilament chainsaw and an Ares Alpha.  Street gangs in her neighborhood have a "Limbsaw Identification" knowledge skill so they don't hassle the wrong woman and end up nick-named "Lefty".  She works as a body disposal expert on the side and requires clients supply the plastic drop-cloths.  Played by Void's player.

Seuo-ki – androgynous human swordperson
Seuo-ki is Korean and carries a sword that Seuo-ki is an expert with.  Seuo-ki wanders the mean streets searching for Seuo-ki's next paycheck.

[Seuo-ki is played by Murdoc's player and will develop personality during play.]

Alfonz – human male Decker/Lawyer
Alfonz is either a lawyer who fell into decking or a decker who learned enough about the system to practice law.  Either way, he’s for hire and will help with title transfers and stalling the probate court.

[Full details to be updated once I have them – played by Killroy’s player and GM for the run, which allows us to NPC decking and speed that way up]

The last two PCs are entirely unknown right now as the players couldn’t make the game session and are building their characters between sessions.  I'll post them here once I have information on them.

Session 1 [Not Yet Written]

UPDATE: Added Seuo-ki and updated Limbsaw and Krombopulos Michael.  11/17.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Session Report – Valkyrie Ride – Session 4

[This session happened November 3rd.  Things got complicated and panicky for a while.]


The Fin – female human con artist and gambler from India, by way of Russia, posh and elegant
Sin – male human rigger, knows exactly the wrong thing to say and says it
Void – female human physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Bookie – male elf alcoholic hacker, favors whiskey with a whiskey chaser
Murdoc – male elf kilt-wearing street mage, at home with the hobos


Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm

Thursday, February 27, 2076 [The Action Continues]
Having just slain Jasper Spears, the dwarf target on the team’s hit list, Killroy beheaded the dwarf and took stills using the Image Link in his cyber eyes.  Void retrieved her throwing knives while Murdoc continued to suppress the astral signature of the spell he had just cast.  [As the only one who could clearly hear outside the silence bubble, Murdoc was the only one allowed to make a hearing Perception check to notice the group had been noticed.  He failed to roll enough hits AND glitched, so what happened next was a bit of a surprise.  It wasn’t the last for the night.]

Killroy rapidly left the room to get into position to attack the next office down the hall while Void started bagging the body for later transport.  Killroy’s movement led to him stepping outside the silence bubble, just as the third target, Dexter Baldwin, stepped out of his office to check on Jasper.  Dexter, upon seeing an blood-spattered obvious shadowrunner with a katana in the hallway, dropped his Defiance EX Shocker taser pistol and drew his Colt America L36 pistol, loaded with APDS rounds.  Killroy did his best to cut off the hand holding the pistol to avoid triggering the building lockdown, but Dexter was equally determined to not lose that hand and kept it just out of Killroy’s reach [Dexter used Edge and rolled very well].  Dexter then tried to kill Killroy with the pistol, but Killroy stepped aside just enough to avoid being hit, but he could do nothing about the sound of the gunshot [Killroy used Edge to not get shot].  The gunshot alerted Murdoc to happenings in the hallway and he stepped out into the hallway and forward enough to bring Dexter and Killroy into the two-meter radius of the silence bubble, but the damage had been done.  Security alarms went off, lights started flashing, and everyone heard the sound of the armored security gates rolling down into place on the exterior of the building.  Leaving the building had just become much, much harder.

Killroy was able to hit and kill Dexter on his next attempt.  With the alarm tripped, the need for silence was gone and Killroy sheathed his sword and pulled out his Ares Crusader machine pistol [named “Steve”].  Time was now critical and he still had two more targets to kill.  Looking ahead with Astral Sight, Murdoc noticed an air elemental hovering over the door, but only said, “Heads up,” out loud.

Killroy charged forward to the edge of the alcove that held the doors to the last two outer offices.  Listening, he heard individuals moving around in each office, preparing weapons.  Knowing the occupant of the corner office was Awakened with Astral Sight [from Murdoc’s previous astral scouting trip], Killroy lobbed one of the last two NeuroStun IX gas grenades he had into the office.  Immediately after, a young Chinese woman, Marie Chang, stepped into the doorway in front of Killroy [not the corner office, the one next to it], and fired a short burst from her Colt America L36, tagging Killroy.  Killroy’s armor and augmentations absorbed most of the damage, but not all of it.  [He took 2 Stun here, which was critical later.]  Then the air elemental manifested out of the corner office door and attempted to engulf Killroy.  Being warned by Murdoc kept Killroy from being surprised and engulfed [plus he spent Edge to improve his defense roll as being engulfed by an air elemental is no bueno].

Meanwhile, Void finished bagging the dwarf’s body and moved to the hallway to see what was going on.  Prometheus switched from his Defiance EX Shocker to his SCK Model 100 submachine gun and continued to cover the door the HRT would have to come out of, knowing they would show up soon.  Murdoc moved down to the corner where Killroy was so he could see into the offices to cast spells as needed.

At this point, several things happened almost at once.  A grenade popped out of the corner office and landed at Killroy’s feet.  Killroy identified it as a smoke grenade and kicked it into Marie Chang’s office while near simultaneously shooting a single shot from his machine pistol at the air elemental, disrupting it completely [another Edge point spent to good effect].  Murdoc cast a lightning bolt over Killroy’s shoulder to hit Marie, injuring her.  Then Althea Leafhawk, the last of the five targets, bolted out of the corner office through the space the air elemental had previously occupied, ran past Killroy at the door and Murdoc at the corner, continuing down the connecting hallway.  [To clarify, she ran down the other end of the “L” of corridors, not towards Prometheus and Void.]

Void immediately gave pursuit, her Physical Adept powers allowing her to reach the corner and move well past it in less than a second.  Killroy stayed with his current target and attacked Marie, but missed.  Murdoc recklessly cast lightning bolt twice at the same time [which seemed to improve his casting], seriously injuring Marie.  Marie took this as a good time to flee, staggering past Killroy and Murdoc, back down the way they had come – right towards Prometheus.  Prometheus fired his SCK Model 100 and, surprisingly, missed.

Marie fell down anyway.

While Prometheus was looking down the hallway at Killroy and Murdoc, confused as to what had just happened, Murdoc’s eyes rolled back into his head and he suddenly slumped to the floor, followed quickly by Killroy.  The NeuroStun IX gas from Killroy’s gas grenade was filling that entire corner of the floor!  [Killroy would have avoided falling unconscious from the gas for the first round, except Marie’s hit had done juuuust enough damage that he was KO’d by the gas.  Tense faces all around the table at this point.]

Void chased Althea down, just as Althea slammed [and locked] the door to an executive office at the end of the hallway.  Void paused to take in the situation and review an AR map of the floor.  According to the map, Althea was trapped in that office with no way out, but Void was not one of the heavy-hitters of the group and was leery about pressing on by herself.  Void could just hear the elf woman yelling at building security, apparently through a commlink.  She clearly heard the words “shoot through the walls” being used and informed Prometheus over her commlink.  Prometheus thanked her for the warning, taking the time to put a bullet into Marie as a coup de’grace before picking a more defensible spot to cover the door to the HRT ready room.

The HRT team made their presence known by shooting through the wall – the wall between their ready room and the executive office Althea was in.  Void heard the overfire make spak-spak-spak noises as the bullets passed through the office walls just to her left.  Deciding the hallway was way too exposed when facing assault rifles but unable to retreat due to the NeuroStun IX gas, she instead leapt up into the crawl space above the dropped ceiling tiles, neatly replacing the tile she pushed out of the way behind her so there was no sign of which way she went.  Up in the crawl space, Void discovered that most of the walls on the floor did not extend all of the way up to the next floor.  Taking advantage of this, she moved forward, her Light Body power allowing her to walk on the dropped ceiling without breaking through.

Once over the executive office, she heard Althea and the head of the HRT squad discussing tactics.  Althea wanted the attackers dead, but thought that the team attacking might be the Pleiades Group, which suggested caution.  [Hearing this, the players became excited that their characters were starting to get known.]  The HRT sergeant decided they were safe enough for now and called for backup.  Shortly after, Void heard him report to Althea that additional HRT squads would arrive in 2-3 minutes.  He then ordered two of his troopers to hold the ready room door while the rest would hold the executive office.  Void relayed all of this to Prometheus.

Prometheus, no longer forced to wait to shoot the HRT squad when they moved out, started shooting any cameras and security sensors he could see, partially to blind security and partially to convince the HRT squad that the attack was still active so they would stay put.  Then he remembered he had his grapple gun and used it to fish Murdoc and Killroy from the gassed corner.  Once out of the area of the gas, they both started to recover.  They were awake but disoriented within 30 seconds [which is also when the gas dissipated].

After briefing Murdoc and Killroy as to the current situation, Prometheus took the last NeuroStun grenade down the hall and closer to Void so she could drop it into the executive office.  She silently moved over to Prometheus and retrieved the grenade from him.  She then quietly returned and dropped the grenade into the executive suite.  It quickly knocked out Althea and the three HRT troops in the office.  It took some time to reach the other two in the ready room and those troopers made panicked calls to building security before passing out.  Void re-boosted her strength, lifted a drop-ceiling panel, and threw two knives into Althea, killing her.  Void then took a picture of the dead elf with her commlink and replaced the panel.  [NeuroStun is heavier than air, so once it stopped actively expanding she was relatively safe.]

Once again awake, if not fully recovered, Killroy took immediately to opening an escape route through an outer-wall conference room.  The original plan had been to use his katana to break open one of the exterior windows so the team could rappel down to the ground and have Sin drive them away in a waiting car.  With the security shutters down, that plan was no longer certain.  He was able to break the glass with ease, but the metal shutters were another matter.  His first two attempts were very promising, but then he ran out of gas and could not completely open an escape route.  [He burned his last Edge on his first two attempts, removing the limits and make his 6’s explode, but was 2 points shy of breaking through.  After that, none of his weapons could do enough damage to get past the armor of the armored shutters.]

The group discussed their options quickly, as they knew more HRT squads were on the way and they were starting to feel very trapped.  The only option was to wait for the NeuroStun IX in with the HRT squad on this floor to dissipate, go in, take some of their assault rifles, and use those to blast the rest of the way through the armored shutters.  This left a much narrowed window of escape before the rest of the HRT squads arrived, but it was better than doing nothing.

While waiting for the gas to dissipate, Void put Dexter and Marie into body bags while Killroy and Prometheus prepared.  Allowing a few extra seconds for the gas to disperse, Killroy kicked open the door to the executive office.  He and Prometheus entered the office and each grabbed an assault rifle from one of the slumbering troopers.  Killroy immediately ran back to the conference room and used the underslung grenade launcher to blast through the remaining metal shutters.  Prometheus took the time to drag the dead elf back with him to Void, who retrieved her knives from the body before bagging it.

With the metal shutters now breached, Killroy and Prometheus looked outside to see how bad the situation was.  There were several news drones hovering in the area and an increasing number of Knight Errant patrol cars were accumulating at the base of the building.  Rappelling down and simply driving away was no longer an option.  Prometheus used his internal commlink to call Sin [His cyber-commlink has a high enough rating that the jammers on the building exterior did not completely block it] and tell him to come back with the Ares Venture – it was the only way they could escape now.  Sin agreed and turned the smuggling craft around before going to maximum thrust.  No longer needing to “fly casual”, he was able to reduce the estimated time back to the building to 3 minutes.  The HRT teams would arrive on the 12th floor in 1 minute or less.

To buy the needed time for Sin to arrive, Killroy and Prometheus took the assault rifles, opened up the elevator doors for each of the three elevators [two regular and one freight],  and launched grenades at the approaching elevators.  They did not destroy the cars or kill the approaching HRT squads, but they did damage the cables and guides, triggering the automatic safety breaks and stopping the cars completely.  Void used her locksmithing skills to break the locks on both stairwells in the locked position.  The team then fell back to the conference room where the breach was and waited.  [Much in-game sweating happened here.]

Sin arrived in the Ares Venture just before the HRT teams could make it to the floor the shadowrunners were on.  The team loaded the 5 bodies and then themselves into the modified aircraft while the HRT squads were attempting to break down the stairwell doors.  Knight Errant was able to get spotlights on the aircraft from the ground, brilliantly lighting up the sides so the message “Fuck the Po-Po,” painted tall on both sides, was readable for at least a mile around.

Once the team was on board, Sin immediately flew the craft away.  To discourage media and police drones from following, Killroy and Prometheus used the stolen assault rifles to shoot several of the tailing drones out of the sky.  The rest decided to veer off after four drones were destroyed this way.  After another 5 minutes of nap-of-the-earth flying [to avoid being tracked by radar], the overburdened aircraft returned to the warehouse hangar and landed.  The team disembarked with the bodies and quickly left the area in a “borrowed” van.

The kill shot photos of the targets were sent to The Fin so she could forward them to Numbers as proof the job was done.  The Fin was at Pier 62, creating plausible deniability for herself and attempting to ignore the media stunt showing on the AR TV displays.  Surprisingly (to The Fin anyway), Numbers was expecting her call and already knew the job was done.  After arranging payment, submitting the [padded] expense report, and dispersal of funds to the group, The Fin paid more attention to what was on all the AR television displays.  Apparently, an attack had happened at a Federated-Boeing office building and the attackers had escaped in an Ares Venture with the words “Fuck the Po-Po” clearly painted on the sides.  Video of the aircraft was on every local station and starting to appear on some of the national stations.

The Fin ordered a bottle of a particularly strong alcohol and started drinking it.

End of session

[This session ran long, which made work the next morning somewhat painful, but we wrapped the run.  I think we were starting to get a little punch-drunk at the end because having our stealth-based team escaping in a VTOL with “Fuck the Po-Po” painted on the sides where the police and the media could clearly see it was uproariously funny to the entire group.]

[This was a close thing for the PCs.  The addition of the air elemental threw a wrench into the players’ plans, but not as expected.  Instead of mixing it up with Killroy, it kept him from closing the door to the corner office before the gas grenade went off, with near disastrous effect on the attack team.]

[The aftermath of this attack will start a second corporate conflict in Seattle, this one between Federated-Boeing and Sikorsky.  Sikorsky wanted some quiet payback for the killing of their Johnson at the Tacoma Ferry Terminal, what they got was a media spectacle.  Sikorsky but won't back down from what happened as it just made the reputation of an exec or two inside the company and Federated-Boeing cannot shrug off the attack without a loss of reputation.  Federated-Boeing HAS to strike back at Sikorsky, but it will take time as their entire local cadre of Johnsons just got very dead.  They will have to bring in new people to re-establish their street connections and get that ball rolling again.  Plus, they need to plug the holes in their security and check to see if there are any others beyond the ones used on this run.  There will be some new job openings in Facilities Security very, very soon.]

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3