Thursday, July 30, 2015

Capitol City Neighborhood Descriptions

[This is a set of short descriptions of the districts in Capitol City, Maryland, fictional site of my superhero campaign.]

Bayside is on the eastern side of Port Tobacco River, from where it widens into a bay south to Chapel Point State Park.  Bayside is the fancy retail district of the city, home of the Capitol City Yacht Club, and site to some of the most expensive high-rise apartments and condominiums in the city.  The district shares police with Riviera and these police consider themselves elite and privileged, which occasionally causes friction with police from other districts.

Bordered by Willis, Brickberg, Vale, and Monastery Hill, this neighborhood is the long-time home to the city's working poor and those working in the Medical Center.  Brandywine technically includes the Chinatown district, but the reality is that Chinatown operates independent of Brandywine.

A line of high-rise residential blocks along the border with Brickberg are informally known as Mudtown.  Unofficial city history claims these were built to block all sight of La Plata from the homes of the wealthy and powerful in Riviera.  Some rivalries die hard.

Home to the middle and upper management of the docks plus employees of the Burgess Creek Power Plant.

This district is full of brick-covered brownstones, giving it its name.  Originally home to the working classes, this part of the city fell on hard times in the '60s.  The district is now slowly undergoing a revival, with urban renewal starting along the border with Bayside and moving east across the neighborhood.

Retail and property flipping dominates this district, with small technology-oriented start-ups seeded into the mix.  Restaurants and bars of varying quality are found throughout the district, from old school dives to high-end micro-brew establishments.

Originally on the far eastern fringe of town, Chinatown was home to the area's early Chinese population.  The area's population grew in the '40s and spread to the neighborhood's current borders before running into Brandywine.  Brandywine claims Chinatown is part of it, but the reality has always been very different.

Docks, East
The East Docks are home to the city's heavier shipping concerns and the approaches are dredged regularly.  This district has close ties to the manufacturing concerns in Willis and several links to the main rail line through the city.

Companies that ship goods up and down the Eastern Seaboard are headquartered here or have major offices here.  There are also some light manufacturing concerns in the district.

Docks, West
The West Docks contains the city's two shipyards, light freight docks and warehouses, and recreational launches.  Those not wealthy or well-connected enough to be part of the Capitol City Yacht Club belong to the Goose Creek Water Sports Club, which is based in the West Docks.

Coastal shipping, ship-making, warehousing, and the Goose Creek Water Sports Club keep the West Docks alive and humming during the day.  There is also a nautical-themed nightclub scene along the border with Brentland.

Downtown has a hub of high-rise buildings centered on Rose Hill, where SABRE Tower is located,  and all of the city governmental offices nestled on the banks of Hoghole Run.

Banking, corporate headquarters, and insurance companies fill up the high-rise buildings.  There are many expensive apartment buildings and condominiums along with the retail infrastructure to support them.  There are also several 4-5 star hotels in this district.

Mcconchie is home to the working lower class on the west side of the city.  Many residents work in West Docks or the infrastructure support jobs (read: janitorial services) in Downtown.

Monastery Hill
Monastery Hill is the district in Capitol City where all the really weird stuff seems to happen. The people who live there are insular, mostly of Eastern European stock, and keep many of their old beliefs and superstitions.

As the district is adjacent to University, students at the University of Southern Maryland seeking very cheap lodgings rent rooms along the western edge of this district.  Periodically, teenagers from Turkey Hill make their way into the northern fringe of this district, mostly looking for a place to eat and to annoy their parents (and, incidentally, the locals).

Morgan's Corner
Morgan's Corner is home to the upper middle class, with the majority of residents working as mid- to upper-management in Downtown, Museum Square (in Vale), or University.

Pomfret is mostly residential and home to a mix of lower middle class and upper lower class working at the airport or in the city.

Riley is a mix of residential and commercial use and home to many middle-class subdivisions.  The people who live here work in a variety of jobs across the city, making use of the subway system to get to and from work.  The William G Harding International Airport is adjacent to this district, but separate from it.

Riviera is comprised of large estates and is home to the wealthiest and most influential people in the city.  Think of it as a very large gated community with its own bylaws and private security.

The only subway station in the neighborhood is also the headquarters of Riviera Security, the neighborhood security service.  Riviera Security mans the gated entrances to the neighborhood (including the subway station) and patrols the neighborhood in late-model electric automobiles that are quick and quiet (so they don't disturb the residents).

Turkey Hill
Turkey Hill is home to the middle class, including commuters to Downtown and University employees.  Teenagers here go into Monastery Hill to eat at the various ethnic restaurants, but usually just to annoy their parents.

The eastern edge of Turkey Hills is zoned as light industrial and contains several computer and electronics manufacturing plants, including those belonging to Futuretech Systems (sponsors of SABRE).  The western side is mostly residential with some commercial parks on the border with Pomfret.

The University District is where the University of Southern Maryland Main Campus is located, along with housing for the students and faculty, businesses supporting the campus and campus activities, and student-founded start-up businesses.

The area between Downtown, Morgan's Corner, Brandywine, and Brickberg, this mostly low-lying neighborhood is the long-time home to those working in downtown but not wealthy enough to live there.

A variety of businesses are found in Vale, including legal firms, detective agencies, the city power company, and most of the city's museums, found in the Museum Square hilly area adjacent to Morgan’s Corner.

Willis is home to the city's medium to heavy industry and a lot of the working poor on the east side of the city.  A strong anti-metahuman sentiment exists in this district.

Willis is the industrial manufacturing portion of Capitol City.  There are several railway spurs here, including a major one going into the East Docks district.  There are also processing and bottling facilities for a variety of products in the district.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Shadowrun Report – Everybody Needs Somebody – Session 5

[Apologies for the delay – work and life got busy at the same time.  This session happened on July 20th and is the fifth (and final) session in the increasingly inaccurately expected trilogy.]

Player Characters

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
Bookie – male elf alcoholic hacker, favors whiskey with a whiskey chaser
Void – female human physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Murdoc – male elf kilt-wearing street mage, at home with the hobos

NPC’d Characters

Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm

Monday, January 6, 2076
[As Murdoc’s player missed last session, we had to do a quick jump back in time to catch him up with everyone else.]

11:35 AM
Murdoc was sitting in a chair playing solitaire with a deck of 51 cards when Ariston Mirabeau finally regained conscious.  Mirabeau was still spread eagle on the bed in his now ransacked apartment and Murdoc had a gallon-sized Ziploc bag full of Deep Weed sitting next to him.  Noticing Mirabeau was now awake, Murdoc went stand next to Mirabeau to talk with him.  Mirabeau was only semi-coherent and preoccupied with the smell and his apartment being obviously ransacked, so Murdoc hiked up his kilt and pissed on Mirabeau’s head to get his attention.  This worked.

Murdoc delivered the message from Gino (“pay up or else”) and explained that he, Murdoc was taking all the remaining Deep Weed, but Mirabeau still owed Gino for it.  Mirabeau tried to buy some of the Deep Weed off Murdoc on credit and Murdoc responded by casting lightning bolt at the bed, adjacent to where Mirabeau was still sitting.  “I’ll take that as a no,” Mirabeau said as Murdoc stalked out of the apartment, recasting a physical mask on himself to appear as an elderly Chinese woman.

2:10 PM
[This Matrix run was done between sessions on July 24th with Bookie’s player and I so it would not take up time in the actual game session.  Doing so saved us an hour and a half of game time.  We did several things wrong due to a miss-reading of the rules, but I decided to let the results stand.  Bookie was having a bad day as it was…]

Bookie, somewhat recovered from his last run on the print shop and having spent time clearing out any marks on his system, jumped back into the Matrix to insert the false data into the print shop’s systems.

Bookie found the system spider still active and a Knight Errant Matrix Investigator with the spider.  Bookie ran silent and sleazed up to the system, silently placing a mark on the system and once again accessing the necessary database.  This time he was looking for the data bomb when it went off, alerting the spider and the Knight Errant investigator.  What followed was the Matrix equivalent of a pie fight – sloppy all over with both sides looking bad at the end.

Eventually Bookie succeeded in getting the false data planted (it transferred to the Gala’s system via a virtual link) and got out before more Knight Errant Matrix cops arrived or a DemiGOD noticed what Bookie was doing.  [Bookie now pays almost religious attention to his Baby Monitor program.]

2:33 PM
Sin woke up in a dingy room with a skeevy rat shaman standing over him.  Sin’s street doc contact (Dr. Frank N. Stein) had called in a favor with the street shaman to get Sin some magical healing for his near-fatal gunshot wound.  It wasn’t much [only two boxes healed on the damage track], but it allowed Sin to get mobile again.

Sin noticed in his AR display that Kaylee had repeatedly called him in the last hour, so he called her back.  She was very angry at him and wanted to know what he’d done to get the Russians and a major corporation asking around about her and her connection to Sin.  She told Sin to fix it or find someone else to fix his vehicles and drones.  Sin promised everything would be alright once he delivered the package.

As his GMC Bulldog panel van was now drawing attention, Sin jacked into his control rig and jumped into his Hyundai Shin-Hyung, piloting it south from his home to Dr. Stein’s shop.  Once it arrived, he and Prometheus would deliver the satchel with the Rosa Digital logo to the new address in far eastern Auburn.

3:15 PM
The induced coil programming device Bookie, Void, and Killroy needed to complete the job was relatively rare as few people used printed invitations anymore.  Bookie trolled through the local data nets and found three semi-public machines: one was in the University Printing Office, one was in a print shop in the Elven District, and one was the print shop they originally stole the invitation from.  Based on that information, they decided to raid the print shop in the Elven District.

Killroy was called away to repay a favor [his player missed this session due to real life emergencies], so Bookie and Void called The Fin for assistance.  The Fin asked where they could meet and Bookie suggested That One Bar, a decker-friendly bar in the Elven District only a few blocks from the target.  The Fin agreed and called in Murdoc, as she believed his skills would help greatly.

Once the four of them were at That One Bar, they put together a quick little plan to get the job done: The Fin, Void, and Murdoc would distract the print shop staff while Bookie slipped in invisible and made use of the needed machine.  The Fin’s distraction would be a complex job she would keep changing the parameters on, Void would ask for work in Gaelic and play up the vagueness of the language, and Murdoc would come in masked as an elderly Chinese woman who might or might not be sane, demanding copies.

3:20 PM
Sin’s Hyundai Shin-Hyung arrived at Dr. Stein’s place and Sin, Prometheus, and two fencer drones climbed in.  Before leaving, Sin set his panel van on automatic, using CityGrid’s traffic control to send it home.  To reduce the oddness of the panel van having no driver, Sin stationed one of his fencer drones in the driver’s spot.  What’s the worst that could happen?

3:28 PM
Sin started receiving distress signals from his panel van.

Jumping into the panel van (via his rigger controller), Sin discovered that two Rovers, all in black, were taking turns trying to run the panel van into the I-5 median.  Sin did a quick fade and swerve, tricking the lead Rover into running itself into the median while Sin clipped it’s rear panel, forcing it to come to a stop facing against traffic.  The opposing vehicle was able to reverse itself and start catching up to Sin, blowing past a Knight Errant police cruiser that just came up an on ramp to respond to the traffic disturbance [critical glitch on the roll to catch up to Sin].  Red and blue lights immediately came on and that Rover was out of the chase with other things to worry about.

In the meantime, Sin floored the accelerator in the panel van.  He and the other driver slalomed through the traffic, with Sin’s better driving skills paying off.  After a couple of quick dips off and back onto the freeway, Sin shook off  his pursuer and avoided any further Knight Errant attention to boot.

3:32 PM
The Fin walked into the target print shop and started placing a complex print order.  As the employee taking the order was an elf, The Fin was “helpful” and repeated all numbers in Sperethiel…incorrectly.  Even so, the employee was starting to get a grasp on the order when Void walked in and started asking questions in Gaelic.  Not a speaker of Gaelic himself, the employee called in the team member who did, this not being an unusual event with Elf visitors from Tir na Nog.  When he turned back to The Fin to resume discussing her order, she took the opportunity to change all the quantities and paper weights she was asking for, one set in English and a different set in Sperethiel.  The employee pulled out an actual piece of paper to start writing the numbers down on…

Meanwhile, the print shop’s Gaelic speaker only had a basic understanding of the language and Void was something of an expert.  Void used the normally vague-ish language to become extremely obtuse as to what she was asking for, randomly agreeing and disagreeing with anything the employee was able to say.

Then Murdoc entered the shop.

The lead employee, wanting to provide good customer service (even to Humans), paused his conversation with The Fin (who of course picked up the note paper and started erasing and changing numbers on it) to ask the elderly Chinese woman (Murdoc in physical mask) how he could help her.  Murdoc started to demand copies loudly in barely coherent broken English.  The lead employee, seeing what a train wreck that conversation was going to be, called the third and final employee in the shop to the front and dropped him in front of the elderly Chinese woman and said, “Help her.”  Murdoc immediately started yelling and berating the third employee for “Copies!”, slamming his cane on the counter occasionally, completely cowing the Elf who had never talked with clients before, let alone crazy elderly Chinese ones.

During this linguistic pandemonium, an invisible Bookie slipped into back office and located the machine he needed to change the data embedded in the hard copy invitation.  The noise from the front slowly rose in volume as all three conversations tried to talk over each other.  Bookie quickly powered up the machine, made the changes in the circuity programming in the invitation, shut the machine back down, and then walked back out the front door.

Murdoc, who could see Bookie leave through his own invisibility spell, continued berating at top volume for a few more seconds before ending his tirade and hobbling out the door.  The Fin FINALLY agreed on a single set of numbers for her job, took the price quote given to her, and left.  Shortly after that, Void ended her own conversation by saying, “Yes, that is what I want.  Thank you for agreeing.”  She then turned and left.

The three print shop employees, somewhat shell-shocked, looked at each other as if to say “did that actually happen?”  The lead employee quickly stepped to the front door before any other customers slipped in, locked the door, and flipped the sign to “Closed”.  The three shop employees silently walked back to the breakroom and smoked weed until they felt calm again.  This took some time.

4:30 PM
Sin and Prometheus arrived at the new rendezvous.  This time Sin had one of the drones deliver the satchel.  The drop-off went off without a hitch.

7:30 PM
Wearing a UPX delivery uniform, Void entered the Hellhound Club and delivered the Full Moon Gala invite (in a shipping envelope) to Mr. Johnson.

End of Session

[The last two parts were brief, but it was late and I wanted to wrap up the run.  After the hilarity of the print shop, everyone was well entertained fine with that.  Karma was awarded and payouts were tabulated.  Payout for these runs was uneven, ranging from 9000¥ to 28,000¥, but that’s life.]

[During post-game discussion, everyone agreed they had a good time playing, especially when I shopped out NPC dice rolls to players not directly involved in whatever was happening at that moment.  Everyone enjoyed having a solo opportunity for their character to shine and show their character in the character’s best light, even when things went awry.]

[This kind of run takes a great deal of prep work up front as the GM needs to have everything worked out ahead of time and plotted on a timeline.  On other runs I was able to flesh out the details for “the next bit” between sessions, but on this run I had to have all of the starting points, goals, and NPC stats ready up front so I could jump into the next thing when each part happened.  I only dropped one event: the call from Mr. Johnson to steal the invitation was supposed to happen when The Fin was inside the “No Outside Wireless Connections” zone on her run.  As that call was not at a fixed point on the timeline (and I worked out an actual timeline in Visio), I missed dumping it on her at an awkward point in her run.  Ah, well.]

Session 1

Session 4

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shadowrun Report – Everybody Needs Somebody – Session 4

[This session happened on July 13th.  I thought this would be the last session of the run, but not quite.]

Player Characters

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
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Void – female human physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily

NPC’d Characters

Sin – male human rigger, knows exactly the wrong thing to say and says it
Murdoc – male elf kilt-wearing street mage, at home with the hobos
Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm

Monday, January 6, 2076
[Due to the retcon (see the  Session end notes for Session 3), rather than Void go try to break Sin out of the hospital before Knight Errant showed up, The Fin went to Sin’s street doctor to spell Prometheus.  Prometheus then took the four dead BR&T security goons in Sin’s panel van to Vlad’s chopshop (“You stab ‘em, we slab ‘em!”) for resale of anything useful.  Profit would be low again, but it would offset Sin’s medical bill.  Prometheus returned to Sin’s street doc so The Fin could meet Mr. Johnson at the Pleiades Group’s office at 11:30 AM.]

11:25 – 11:30 AM
Void arrived at the office first.  She quickly changed out of the mostly disposable clothes the Doc Wagon technicians had given her after peeling off her melted chameleon suit.  Luckily, her goggles were still working, even if the thermographic lenses were now slightly glitchy.

The Fin arrived second, while Void was still changing clothes.  The Fin turned on the lights (Void hadn’t bothered) and started the coffee maker – meetings went smoother with the smell of coffee in the air.  Not needing to change clothes, she simply removed the Drishti Korapatti disguise she was still wearing.

Killroy arrived last, entering in through the back door as the client’s vehicle was parking out front.  As it was not currently raining outside, his completely soaked appearance drew a raised eyebrow from The Fin.  “Bookie set off the sprinklers,” was his quick response as he stepped into the changing room to switch into his Meeting-the-Client clothes he (and in fact the rest of the group) had stashed away at the offices.

11:32 AM
Mr. Johnson entered the offices and was greeted by The Fin.  She escorted him into the meeting room just off the main hall and was joined by Void, Killroy, and Bookie (who was attending the meeting virtually).  Mr. Johnson wanted the Pleiades Group to steal an invitation to the Full Moon Gala, particularly the one for Norris Micrologistics, and deliver it to him after modifying the data on it and in the invitation database.

The Fin recognized the Full Moon Gala as a minor prestige networking event held each year on the first full moon of the year.  The Gala is invitation only and the invitees are selected by a low-functioning AI from a database set to select only the sharpest corporate managers in Seattle and only one per corporation.  The invitations have circuitry embedded in them, identifying the recipient and precluding anyone else making use of the invitation.  And of course, the physical invitation must be presented at the Gala to gain entrance.

Mr. Johnson provided the address of the printing shop (identified only by a symbol) and a data chip with a script on it to change the invitation data to what Mr. Johnson wanted it to be.  He also informed The Fin that the invitations were to be delivered starting at 6:00 PM this day, meaning  couriers would start arriving and filling up the print shop at 5:00 PM, so the sooner the job was done the better.

Mr. Johnson and The Fin then negotiated for a bit and eventually settled on a 36,000¥ fee for the job.  Delivery was to be made to Mr. Johnson at The Hellhound Club, preferably disguised as a legitimate delivery of the invitation.  Mr. Johnson then left, having to make a different meeting elsewhere.  [Void was just able to suppress a physical reaction to the word "hellhound".]

After some discussion after Mr. Johnson left, The Fin set off to get a delivery uniform sized for Void to wear.  Void and Killroy took Killroy’s car over to the East Renton Highlands to scope out the print shop.  In the meantime, Bookie took the data from the data chip and headed over look for the print shop in the Matrix.

11:45 AM
Bookie found the print shop’s Matrix presence and proceeded to break into their server.  It was easy (especially compared to the last two runs he’d made against hosts) and he easily sleazed his way in and found the database he was looking for.  He immediately started looking for the data record to be modified…without checking for a data bomb first.  The bomb detonated and set off an alarm, which brought a spider to see what set off the alarm.  Bookie was running silently and ran circles around the spider, but couldn’t quite shut down the spider’s cyberdeck before a DemiGOD noticed what was going on.  The convergence damage knocked Bookie for a loop, but it was the dumpshock on top of that that caused his ears and nose to bleed and left him unconscious for the better part of an hour.  [He took two boxes of Physical damage on top of completely filling his Stun track.]

The only thing that kept Bookie from waking up under arrest was the Stealth program he habitually ran on his deck.  It bounced and spoofed his signal enough that the only address the DemiGOD could get for him was for Pike’s Place Farmers Market.

12:25 PM
Void and Killroy arrived at the physical location of the print shop and started scoping out the one-story building.  After about five minutes, Killroy tried to call Bookie to see if Bookie could access any interior cameras.  Bookie never answered and the call rolled over to voicemail.  Void then got out of the car and went around to the back of an adjacent building.  She leapt up onto the roof and used the extra height to scope out the roof of the print shop. 

Void found there were two sun roofs (neither usefully placed for her), a HVAC unit, and a metal access hatch for accessing the roof from inside the building.  Looking more closely at the access hatch, she could make out the telltale signs of security devices on the hatch, but it looked like something she could handle.  She returned to the car to consult with Killroy.  They decide to go get some lunch nearby and wait for Bookie to call back.

12:45 PM
Bookie woke up with a splitting headache and crusted blood on his face and ears.  After a stiff drink (or two) and wiping his face with a wet rag, Bookie saw in his AR that Killroy had called and so he called Killroy back.  Bookie provided a brief overview of what he saw in the print shop’s system to Killroy (completely skipping over the databomb, the fight with the spider, and getting booted out by a DemiGOD).  Bookie said he’d be ready to support Killroy and Void entering the print shop in about an hour – he had something he needed to do first.  Killroy agreed to wait until near 2:00 before entering the building.

Bookie promptly turned his commlink off and took another nap, with the alarm set for 1:45 PM.

1:00 PM
The Fin, having secured a delivery uniform for Void, called Bookie to get an update.  It went straight to voicemail, which peeved her.

1:45 PM
Bookie’s alarm went off, waking him up from his nap.  He was still groggy, but he could not put off the run any longer.  [Due to his low Body, Bookie doesn’t roll many dice for recovery of Stun and he only made one success when what he really wanted was two successes.  Two successes would have been enough to reduce his damage penalty to his rolls from -2 to -1.  Such is life.]  Bookie noticed in his AR that The Fin had called 45 minutes earlier, so he immediately called her back.  She asked for a status update (sounding a bit peeved at the delay, which she was).  Bookie told her that Void and Killroy were set to go into the print shop shortly and he’d be backing them up.  He’d swap the data in the database then.

1:55 PM
Void and Killroy returned from lunch and made their way up onto the building adjacent to the print shop.  At 1:57 PM they texted Bookie, stating they were in place.  Bookie hacked back into the system and provided access to the shop’s security cameras to Void and Killroy (he also planted a data bomb of his own to warn him when the spider reclaimed control of the system).  Void started disabling the lock and alarm on the roof access hatch while Killroy prepped one of his few remaining Neuro-Stun IX grenades.

2:00 PM
Just as Void and Killroy were ready to open the access hatch and toss in the Neuro-Stun grenade, a different runner entered the front door of the print shop and threw two Neuro-Stun grenades of his own into the shop.  Employees immediately started falling unconscious.

Watching through the security cameras, Killroy could tell this was Neuro-Stun VIII, which doesn’t become inert until 10 minutes has passed.  He asked Void to go back to the car and get his gas mask as she would be the fastest.  While Void was quickly doing this (it took her less than 15 seconds, round-trip), Killroy watched the other runner make for the boxes of Full Moon Gala invites and start going through them!  Killroy was having none of that and tossed in a flash-bang grenade.  The other runner was not expecting this and dropped unconscious as a result of the concussive force of the flash-bang.

Killroy put on his gas mask and entered the shop, quickly stepping over to the boxes of invites.  He found the one for Norris Micrologistics and left with it.  While she was waiting for Killroy, Void studied the various machines below her.  One of them seemed significant, but she couldn’t place why.

2:04 PM
Void and Killroy, returned to the car, calmly drove away from the print shop area.

2:06 PM
A Knight Errant High Threat Response Team arrived in response to an alarm triggered by a chem-sensor inside the shop, finding all the employees (and the solo runner) still unconscious.  They contacted the spider registered as the Matrix security consultant for the shop and asked him to supply the recorded video feeds from the security cameras.  The spider didn’t think to check for a data bomb either.  Boom.

2:30 PM
Void and Killroy met up with Bookie to see if Bookie could update the data on the invite.  Bookie determined that they needed a data terminal with an inductive connection to access the circuitry in the invitation.  This triggered a memory in Void – the machine that looked significant back at the print ship had been just such a machine.

End of Session

[So, running deckers takes up way more time than I thought, so instead of wrapping up this run this session, we have another half session to go.  Sigh.]

[Things would have gone quicker and simpler if Bookie’s player had stopped to check for the data bomb on the database.  It wasn’t a big one, but it caught him flat-footed and triggered an alarm to the spider.  The spider was mostly out-classed by Bookie, but rolled just well enough to drag out the combat until Bookie hit convergence on his Overwatch Score.]

[I’ve set up a side session with Bookie’s player to handle the run he still needs to do to get the modified data into the database.  This will be harder to do now that Knight Errant security is on the scene and probably has their own forensic people looking for matrix signatures.  Bookie has been very busy on this day and not had time to clean up after himself, so things may get very dicey for him.]

[Yes, that was a Shadowrun pun.]

Session 1
Session 3

Session 5 [Not Written Yet]

Monday, July 13, 2015

Shadowrun Report – Everybody Needs Somebody – Session 3

[This session happened on July 6th.  After the chaos of last session, things started winding down but didn’t quite wrap up.]

Player Characters

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
Bookie – male elf alcoholic hacker, favors whiskey with a whiskey chaser
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Void – female human physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Murdoc – male elf kilt-wearing street mage, at home with the hobos

NPC’d Characters

Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm

Monday, January 6, 2076
10:30 AM
[I rolled back time slightly from the end of last session as Sin also acted at 10:30 AM on the timeline and his player was actually at the game this week.]

Sin and Prometheus arrived at the Tacoma Ferry Terminal and found a parking spot relatively near the ferry entrance.  After a quick game of rock-paper-scissors, Sin carried the satchel with the Rosa Electronics logo over to a bench where a dwarf in a green suit was sitting.  [This was not stated ahead of time, but seemed reasonable after the fact.]  Sin and the dwarf looked at each other and the dwarf asked if Sin had a package for him.  Sin asked the dwarf if he had a package for him.  The dwarf pulled a gold credstick out of his jacket, so Sin sat down on the bench next to the dwarf.

As Sin was sliding the satchel over and the dwarf was handing Sin the credstick, the back of the dwarf’s head exploded out, spattering blood and brains on the people standing in line for a soydog behind him.  There was an indeterminate pause as what just happened registered on all present and then the screaming started.

Thinking quickly [or merely reacting automatically, depending upon on your point of view], Sin grabbed the credstick AND the satchel and started running for cover, using the satchel and its contents to shield his head.  Sin had seen the entry wound of the sniper shot form squarely between the dwarf’s eyes, right at the top of the nose ridge – there was a sniper somewhere behind him and he needed to get something large between him and the sniper.  Sin ran behind the first car he could get to while the sniper started shooting at him [with only a single bullet hole in his pantleg as a result].  Sin called Prometheus on his commlink for some counter-sniper attacks.  Prometheus was aware of the situation, but still trying to locate the sniper.

The sniper fired on Sin’s position, perforating the car twice before catching Sin right through the chest.  [Sin took 8 out of his 10 Physical boxes from a single shot.]  It was this third shot that allowed Prometheus to finally locate the sniper – over 150 m away, on top of the Point Defiance Boathouse.

Sin, bleeding badly, staggered across to the next row of cars, getting closer to his panel van while staying under cover.  Prometheus missed the sniper widely on his first shot, leading the sniper to ignore Prometheus and keep shooting at Sin.  This turned out to be a poor choice as the sniper missed Sin again, but Prometheus took off the top of the sniper’s head with his second shot.

Sin crawled into the back of his panel van and started digging out his high-grade medkit [Rating 6].  Prometheus watched to make sure the medkit got attached and then drove the panel van away.  The medkit was able to stop Sin from bleeding out, but that was it.  Prometheus asked where Sin wanted to go and Sin gave the address of a street doc he knew.  Prometheus started driving and called The Fin to explain he was taking Sin to a street doc due to a gunshot wound.  This led to a somewhat exasperating conversation for The Fin as she learned about the duo’s morning activities.  [This conversation was fun, especially due to Prometheus’ deadpan replies to The Fin’s somewhat horrified questions.  "What do you mean 'the van is OK but there are four bodies in it'?"]

10:33 AM
Murdoc, still needing to deliver the message Gino gave him to the deadbeat mage, was tired of waiting for the mage to wake up.  Murdoc decided that electricity to the balls would do the job and cast lightning bolt at the unconscious man’s groin.  This failed to wake up the mage and merely filled the room with the smell of burnt flesh.  Exasperated, Murdoc cast a healing spell on the mage to repair the injury and then started wandering the apartment, looking in everything to see if he could find anything useful (or valuable).  He wasn’t very optimistic – the apartment was a mess and smelled bad.

10:35 AM
The Fin, still trying to decide what to do about Sin and Prometheus, received a call from a man identifying himself as Mr. Johnson.  Mr. Johnson had a job for the Pleiades Group and wanted to meet to discuss the job.  The Fin set the meeting at 11:30 AM at the offices of the Pleiades Group.  She then started driving in that direction to make the meeting.

10:40 AM
Void, after driving her motorcycle out of Everett through Snohomish, the Redmond barrens, and most of Renton, finally arrived at Scottie Jim’s place in western Renton.  Before she would deliver the cyberdeck, she argued with Scottie Jim about the difference between “dogs” and “fire-breathing hellhounds”.  Scottie Jim eventually agreed that there was a difference and he would make it up to Void at a later time.  Somewhat mollified, Void turned over the cyberdeck and collected the 9000¥ for the job.

10:53 AM
After having a Club Club at the Club’s club with Doug, Killroy called Bookie to assist in his job.  Ears still ringing from the dumpshock from his last gig, Bookie agreed.  Killroy went to the offices of Chapman and Robins, which was in the old Alaska Building on 2nd Street.  According to the business card Doug had given him, the law offices were in Suite 700, somewhere on the 7th floor of the 15-floor building.  Killroy called the number on the Chapman and Robins card.  The receptionist answered and Killroy, using his Benito Gallagher fake SIN, talked his way around the receptionist to secure a meeting at 11:15 AM.  Killroy then called Bookie and told him to hack the law firms system and find a client list so Killroy would have a patsy to blame the hit on.

Bookie tracked down the host for the Alaska Building.  As he went to mark the host, he attempted to access the system as “Admin” with a password of “Password123”.  It never worked, but it was a little something he did as a matter of habit.  This worked!  The host system recognized Bookie as the Admin of the system and gave him full control.  Bookie was surprised, to say the least.  [The host had critically glitched its defense roll against Bookie and this is what I came up with.  It made the rest of this run very interesting, if slower.]  Bookie next looked inside the host for the Chapman and Robins subsystem.  This was more difficult than expected, especially with control of the host, but eventually he located the computer systems for the legal firm…and a spider watching over it.

The spider wasn’t paying much attention and appeared to be watching the early parts of some sort of lesbian porn trid or possibly a telenovela.  [There’s actually backstory here, but it never came up in play.]  Making use of the spider’s distraction, Bookie quietly rifled through the files and located the legal firm’s client list.  Due to bitter personal experience, Bookie took the time to check for a data bomb and found one on the file.  He attempted to disarm it, but failed to do so and it exploded in his digital face.  This alerted the spider to Bookie’s presence and the two immediately squared off.

During the resulting matrix fight, both sides summoned IC to go after the other decker – Bookie summoned a Scramble IC from the building host’s defenses while the spider activated a Probe IC from the law firm’s subsystem.  The two deckers were evenly matched, with Bookie have more talent while the spider had a better cyberdeck.  In the end the spider had better luck, just fending off Bookie’s attacks while consistently just beating Bookie when attacking.  Bookie quickly had three marks on him and a successful trace run by the spider.  The spider then forced Bookie’s cyberdeck to jack out, inflicting dumpshock on Bookie.  Realizing his location was compromised, Bookie staggered out of Club Telepathy before any Knight Errant police could show up looking for him.

Once safe, Bookie called Killroy and confessed that he’d been unable to get the client list, but had a complete rundown on the buildings security cameras, which he sent to Killroy.

11:12 AM
Killroy entered the Alaska Building, leaving his taxi at the curb with a large tip and orders to wait for him.  The only weapon on Killroy was “Steve”, his Ares Crusader II machine pistol, carefully hidden on his person.  Killroy made strategic use of his hat and appearing to be indecisive to carefully follow a safe path through the building’s security cameras, leaving few recorded images and none with his face.

On the 7th floor he was greeted by the receptionist, an attractive young man named Carl.  Carl led Killroy down the hall past offices and a large conference room to a small conference room adjacent to the copier room.  Carl fetched some bottled water for “Mr. Gallagher” and then left Killroy alone in the conference room.  Killroy contacted Bookie and asked Bookie to be ready to set off the fire alarm in the building when Killroy told him to.  Mostly recovered from the dumpshock, Bookie agreed to do so.

Shortly after 11:15, Laurie Chapman entered the small conference room to discuss the case “Mr. Gallagher” needed her help with.  Killroy started spinning a tale about a very large trust fund he wanted to access freely, but was restricted from due to his father’s will.  While Laurie was asking questions about the size of the trust fund, Killroy surreptitiously texted Bookie, “Now”.  When nothing happened, Killroy texted, “Now!”, but still nothing happened.  The third time seemed to finally capture Bookie’s attention and the fire alarm went off.  [Bookie’s player was talking with other players and didn’t hear Killroy’s player give the signal the first two times.]

Laurie asked “Mr. Gallagher” to wait here in the room while she went to see if this was a valid fire alarm.  Once she was up from the table and turned towards the door, Killroy quick drew his machine pistol and fired a long burst from the silenced weapon directly into her back.  Laurie’s armored clothing wasn’t up to the assault and she went down in bloody mess.  Killroy walked up, fired one more shot into her head, and then holstered his weapon.  He then stepped out of the conference room (carefully closing the door behind him) and followed the people leaving the office due to the fire alarm.

While Killroy was on the way down the emergency stairs, Bookie decided to set off all the sprinklers in the building.  This accomplished two things: it damaged whatever evidence Killroy left in the law offices and drenched everyone in the building, including Killroy.  Killroy could have done without the latter.

Once he was back in the waiting taxi, Killroy called The Fin to check in.  She told Killroy that she had a meeting with a client at the offices at 11:30 and asked if he could make the meeting.  Killroy leaned forward and told the cabbie that if he’d pay the cabbie 1000¥ if he could get Killroy to an address in Lower Queen Anne in 10 minutes.  In response, the cabbie floored it, driving on a section of sidewalk to get around a slower vehicle.  Killroy (now engaging his seat belt) told The Fin he’d be there, but would need to change clothes before meeting the client.  After that he called Doug and told him the job was done.  Doug thanked him and transferred the payment for the job to Killroy’s account.

End of Session

[This took longer to run than expected.  Part of that was we don’t know the matrix rules very well, so Bookie’s player and I had to keep looking things up in the rules during the matrix fight, which slowed things down a great deal.  This is also why we are only using the rules in the main book and none of the splat books – we just aren’t familiar enough with the base rules to go adding new complications.]

[There is also a retcon in here.  Sin originally told Prometheus to take him to a hospital, not a street doc.  This was based on bad information that I, the GM, gave him and started causing all sorts of problems for the team.  After the game, I thought it over and realized I had given Sin’s player bad advice, so I called him and we discussed it.  [The bad advice was that going to a street doc with only 2 health boxes and lots of valuable cyberware in you was a good way to end up as spare parts, especially with a loyalty of only 2.  This is still true, but I forgot to factor in that Sin would be going with a heavily armed friend, which would tend to dissuade the street doc from doing anything but patching up the patient.  The end result was the retcon.]

Session 1
Session 2

Session 4 [Not Written Yet]

Monday, July 6, 2015

Shadowrun Report – Everybody Needs Somebody – Session 2

[This session happened on June 29th.  Things get complicated and dangerous…and sexy.]

Player Characters

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
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Void – female human physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Murdoc – male elf kilt-wearing street mage, at home with the hobos

NPC’d Characters

Sin – male human rigger, knows exactly the wrong thing to say and says it
Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm

Monday, January 6, 2076
9:30 AM
Murdoc called for a cab to get over to Ariston Mirabeau’s place for the shakedown.  He then took some Psych to help sustain the spells he was about to cast.  He cast physical mask [Force 2] upon himself and changed his appearance from his natural hobo elf mage appearance to an elderly Chinese woman.  He then cast Increased Reflexes [Force 5 with 5 successes] and sustained it with his Focused Concentration.  Finally, he cast Armor [Force 5, but only 2 successes] on himself for protection, sustaining it through Quickening.

By the time he was finished casting the taxi had arrived.  The Psyche finally kicked in during the 15-minute taxi ride, easing the mental burden of sustaining the physical mask.

9:44 AM
Driving through northern Downtown and about to enter Snohomish on her way to assist Void, The Fin received a call from Aung San.  Aung San had an emergency insertion job needing The Fin’s talents and looks.  Another team ran into problems during a run and now needed someone to walk into a corporate office in Downtown to connect a remote access matrix device into an isolated system.  The job would pay 12,000¥ - was The Fin interested?

After a quick consult with Killroy (sitting in the passenger seat of her car), The Fin agreed to take the job.  While The Fin  turned her car around to head back into Downtown, Aung San supplied the details of the rest of the job.  The other team had a fake ID that looked superficially like The Fin that was good only until Noon.  It would provide access to the building and the necessary server room (Room 1023), but The Fin would have to social engineer her way past any suspicious people.  Federated-Boeing (the target corporation) was having an All-Hands staff meeting at 10:30 that The Fin might use to her advantage.  Aung San and The Fin arranged a place for a courier to meet The Fin to deliver the ID and the remote access device.

After hanging up with Aung San, The Fin called Void and explained she was no longer coming.  Void, sounding much better after the Healing spell from Doc Wagon, accepted this and said she should be able to handle getting out of Everett on her own now.

9:50 AM
Murdoc arrived at Ariston Mirabeau’s apartment building and checked the astral to see what he could see.  Murdoc could see the edges of some sort of disturbance on the 7th floor, but nothing definite.  Murdoc took the elevator up to the 7th floor, but rather than approach Mirabeau’s apartment directly, he walked around the halls the long way so he could get a look astrally from a distance.  From the corner things looked normal, but there was a just-perceptible darkening of astral space around the apartment.  [He rolled very poorly.]

Shuffling over like the Chinese grandmother he appeared to be, Murdoc approached the apartment door.  There wasn’t much noise from inside, so Murdoc attempted to quietly check the doorknob to see if it was locked.  It was, but someone inside heard him try the door and was now walking over to the door.  Murdoc prepared to cast a Stunbolt on whoever opened the door, just in case.

The whoever was a stunningly attractive woman just barely wearing a slip dress.  In a voice of honey she asked, “How can I help you, grandmother?”  Murdoc responded with the Stunbolt, to little effect.

“Oh, grannie, I think we can do something more fun than that,” the woman said while opening the door further so Murdoc could see how luscious and barely dressed she was.  Murdoc felt his own lust try to take over his thought processes, but was able to keep control – sexy party time was NOT why he was here.  [This was the woman using Compulsion:Lust on Murdoc.]  Murdoc dropped the physical mask and cast stunbolt again.  The spell fizzled when it reached the woman.

Raising a single eyebrow at the now revealed hobo elf, the woman called over her shoulder, “Girls!  We have a long ears needing some emergency loving!”  She then looked directly into Murdoc’s eyes and told him, “Sugar, you want to come party with us.”  And suddenly, that’s exactly what Murdoc believed he was there for [per Influence].  He eagerly stepped into the apartment and accepted a deep kiss from the woman.  She closed the door behind Murdoc and led him into the living room where three blue-skinned women waited…

10:00 AM
Riding with The Fin, Killroy received a call from (according to his caller ID) “Williamson, Fred G.”.  Killroy tried to remember who this might be and remembered seeing the name around The Gun Club as a fellow club member, so he answered the call.  Fred wanted to meet with “Derrick” [the name Killroy used at The Gun Club] to discuss some personal business.  Killroy asked if they could meet this afternoon, but Fred asked to meet at 10:30 at the diner inside The Gun Club.

Killroy muted the line and looked over to The Fin.  She recognized a business call when she saw one and told Killroy she could do her job without him if he wanted to take the job on the phone.  Killroy thanked her, unmuted the call, and told Fred he’d be there at 10:30.  Killroy then bailed out of The Fin’s car the next time she stopped at a light and called a taxi to pick him up.

10:10 AM
The Fin arrived at one of Federated-Boeing’s many buildings in the Seattle Metroplex.  She parked in the “Employees Only” parking lot and then clipped on the ID badge which identified her as Drishti Korapatti, Database Researcher for Federated-Boeing.

The Fin entered the building and passed through the security turnstile without anyone giving her a second glance.  She took the elevator to the 10th floor and activated the image link in her contact lenses so she could see the VR signs inside the building.

At the 10th floor, the elevator opened on a huge cubical farm that filled half the floor.  In the center of the cube farm was a room with transparent walls and racks of computing equipment.  Following the VR signs to Room 1023, The Fin ended at the door to the fishbowl room at the center of the (heavily populated) cube farm.  A sign beside the door stated that use of commlinks or any other transmitting devices within Room 1023 was strictly prohibited under penalty of being fired and fined for espionage.

With a simple, “Hmph,” The Fin used her ID badge to enter the room with the remote access device.  As she entered the room, she noticed the security sensors blink off then back on.  This was the arranged signal that the sensors were now deactivated by the other team’s decker.  The Fin quickly found the rack-mounted machine she was looking for.  Glancing about to verify no one was paying any attention to her [and a group Perception roll indicated they were not], The Fin plugged in the remote access device, which powered up and started transmitting data.  The alarms noticeably stayed silent.

10:15 AM
Elsewhere, at exactly that moment, Bookie received a call from one of his contacts, Zola, a bartender at Club Telepathy [a decker bar].  Some corporate goons grabbed a fellow decker off the street and that decker’s friends gave chase but lost the van in Snohomish.  They needed someone to hack the traffic camera system to find the van.  The gig paid 9000¥ for 5-10 minutes of work – was Bookie in?

Bookie agreed to do the run to help out a fellow decker (plus 9000¥).  After getting a description of the target vehicle (black Rover Model 2075 with black lettering on the side and an orange paint splotch from a paintball on the right rear quarter-panel), he spun up his Sony CIY-720 cyberdeck and headed over to the Mitsuhama-run Seattle Traffic Control Host.  He put a quick mark on the system and then sidled on into the host.  Inside he did his best to avoid the Patrol IC and located the Traffic Camera subsystem.  He wrote a quick algorithm to search the video feeds for a black Rover Model 2075 with a bit of orange splash on the rear right quarter-panel.  After he activated the algorithm, the Patrol IC came over for another look and recognized him as an intruder, setting off alarms.  A Probe IC immediately materialized and Bookie was in a fight.  During the fight, the host rezzed up a Jammer IC and a Scramble IC.  Bookie tried repeatedly to place additional marks on the system so he could take control, but the best he could do was place a second mark before the Scramble forced Bookie’s deck to reboot (and Bookie to suffer brain-jarring dumpshock).

10:16 AM
The Fin noticed an office manager starting to herd employees to the 10:30 AM All-Hands meeting.  The office manager was being thorough and slowly working her way through the cube farm, towards Room 1023.  Then, with a quiet beep, the remote access device told The Fin that it was done.  The Fin unplugged it, slid it into a pocket, and left Room 1023.  She then blended in with the crowd heading towards the meeting, diverging at the elevators.  She was gone before the office manager could get to her and direct her to the meeting room.

10:21 AM
Murdoc was realizing there was something wrong with the sexy party he was at.  There were not enough people, no drugs or lubricants had been served, there was no music, and the really attractive woman was just watching him and the three blue women enjoy each other on the couch.  “Blue women?” Murdoc thought.  “Why are they blue?  Why does it feel like I’m drowning when they kiss me?”  He suddenly realized that is was because they were actually water spirits and they were drowning him when they kissed him!

With a major effort Murdoc shook off the magical influence he was under and quickly banished one of the three water spirits.  “Back off or you’re next,” he said to the other two water spirits who quickly complied.  Murdoc and what he now recognized as a succubus started “fighting” – Murdoc threw stunbolts and she tried to regain control of his mind.  When it became clear that Murdoc would win, the succubus fled the apartment.  Murdoc glared at the two water spirits who took the hint and fled as well.

Rearranging his kilt and jacket, Murdoc looked around the room for any kind of paraphernalia.  The only things he saw suggested drug use and not magic.  He then went over to the only other door and kicked it open.  Beyond was the bedroom, with Ariston Mirabeau spread eagle on it, withered and unconscious.  Murdoc looked around in the astral and saw an astral gate anchored to Mirabeau from the other side.  He dispelled one of the astral anchor runes and the gate started evaporating.

Murdoc then decided to wait for Mirabeau to wake up so he could deliver Gino’s message and leave.  While waiting he found two one-gallon bags of deepweed, which he confiscated as partial payment for the job.

10:22 AM
At nearly the same time, Bookie was ready for another try.  Just as he was being dumped from the Seattle Traffic Control Host the first time, he saw his algorithm complete its search, so he knew the data was ready – all he had to do was get back in and get it.  He rebooted his cyberdeck and dove back in.

This time he configured his deck for maximum Sleaze and ran silently.  As he approached the Traffic Camera subsystem, he spotted a spider going over the camera logs, apparently looking for whatever mischief Bookie had done.  Bookie could see the data output from his algorithm hovering there at the end of the camera chain and started gearing up for a fight.  Then he had a different thought and instead quietly slipped up behind the spider, reached around the spider to grab the output file, and said “Better luck next time!” as he jacked out of the matrix.

Luckily, the resultant dumpshock did not knock Bookie out.  As the job had been much harder than expected, Bookie demanded more pay for the job from Zola before turning over the location of the truck.  Zola agreed and upped the pay to 12,000¥.  Bookie sent the location of the BR&T van to Zola so the other team could free their friend.  Once the payment was received, Bookie decided to take some aspirin and a short nap.

10:30 AM
Killroy arrived at The Gun Club and found Fred in the diner inside the club.  Once he saw Fred’s face he recognized Fred as a longtime member of the club.  Fred was friendly in manner, but Killroy stiffened a bit when Fred explained how surprised he had been when he saw Vera (Killroy’s personalized assault rifle, sitting in a gun bag on the floor next to him) on TV back in December.  “But what the government don’t know won’t hurt us, hey?”  This last bit let Killroy relax slightly.

Fred explained he needed some street justice.  When he and his husband were going through their divorce, his husband’s lawyer squashed every attempt he and Damon made to try and patch things up, the lawyer would either twist words or lie about messages, just to squeeze fees from the divorce and the settlement.  Fred and Damon didn’t figure this out until much later.  Now Fred wants things put right – he’s being transferred to another city and doesn’t want any loose ends left behind.

Killroy asked if Fred was looking for the lawyer to regret what she’d done or a more permanent solution.  Fred’s reply was, “I brought up Vera for a reason.”  Killroy understood.  They haggled a bit over price, eventually settling at 26,400¥ for the job.  Fred then offered to buy lunch and Killroy accepted.  They talked guns while they ate.

End of Session

[I tightened up the timeline for this session and got the overlapping runs I was looking for.  This lets everyone shine doing their thing.  I kept the others involved by having them roll dice for the opposition, which helped greatly during Bookie’s cyber fight with up to 5 pieces of IC.  The only mistake I made was I forgot The Fin was supposed to get a call for her next run while she was in the “No Wireless Communications” room, which would have drawn attention to what she was doing.  My fault entirely.]

[Next week starts with the other two runners with things happening at 10:30 AM – Sin arrives for his delivery and The Fin gets one last job for the day.]

Session 1

Session 3

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Champions Pre-Campaign Notes: Scale Matters!

Something has been nagging me about the campaign map for my Champions campaign – the scale.

I’m from Texas and cities in Texas (except those on the borders of the state) generally have little in the way of geographic limits, particularly Houston, where I’ve spent the majority of my life.  I’m used to relatively low density urban sprawl as the norm.  Comparing Houston’s population density to the two largest cities in Maryland (where the campaign will take place) plus Boston and Philadelphia, you get:

Population Area Density
(ca 2010) (sq mi) (/sq. mi.)
Baltimore 620,961 80.9 7675.7
D.C. 658,893 61.4 10,731.2
Philly 1,560,297 134.1 11,635.3
Boston 655,884 48.42 13,545.7
Houston 2,239,559 599.59 3735.2
(Population and Area numbers from Wikipedia)

Going by those numbers, the city I am creating in southern Maryland should have a population density somewhere between 7500 and 11,000/sq mi. BUT no more than 620,000 people total as it should not be larger than Baltimore or Washington D.C.

With that in mind, I worked out a rough estimate of the area my map covered and did the math.  I had approximately 123.55 sq mi mapped.  With 610,000 people, that gave a density of…4937.3/sq mi – about half the density I was looking for.


Time to start jettisoning districts from the city.

Playing around with my estimate, I worked out that by jettisoning 7 districts I had an area of approximately 58 sq mi, which provided a density of 10,519/sq mi with a population of 610,000 people.  Dropping the population down to 500,000 people gave me 8622.4/sq mi as the population density.  This gives me a good population range to work with while maintaining a proper East Coast metropolitan population density.

The downside is I now need to make some major adjustments to my city map.  Some districts are going to disappear entirely, some are going to revert to the small towns I named them after.  I need to move two of the mob families and several other villain organizations and cults so they are back within the city limits. I’ll probably also downgrade the remaining districts back to neighborhoods and subdivide them into smaller chunks.

So remember: when designing cities –Scale Matters!