Tuesday, November 22, 2016

No Post This Week

Due to Thanksgiving this week (in the US) and the additional prep activities therein, there will be no session report this week.  Part 2 of Ludovic's Hell will appear next week.

Thank you for your understanding!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Six: Ludovic’s Hell, Part 1

[This job happened March 21st, May 2nd, May 9th, May 23rd, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 18th, July 25th, August 8th, and August 22nd.  Things started small at first and fit in among the other jobs, but as things got more…elaborate, “scenes started taking up whole adventure sessions.  Keep reading – you’ll see.]

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

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

Monday, March 30, 2076
3:38 PM
Taking a page from the playbook of her Russian fixer contact, The Fin started frequenting Ferapont Tea, a tea shop in the Alki neighborhood of the Downtown District as a semi-public contact point.  On this day, a dwarf in denim clothes that showed signs of long-term use approached her table.  The Fin had noticed him in the tea shop earlier, clearly working up the nerve to approach her table.

“Um,” he started.  “I’ve heard that I can hire discrete people through you.  You know, for discrete actions.”  He was quoting part of the low-key adds The Fin had posted on the Deep Matrix.  The ads were paying off – the Pleiades Group was now extremely busy and the ads had only been running for the last 24 hours.

The Fin looked the dwarf over before replying.  The dwarf looked to be in his 50s after a hard life.  His clothing was in good shape but worn.  Now that he was talking with her, he kept his eyes on hers and any faltering in his speech seemed to be from an unfamiliarity with the situation.  “I am a point of contact for discrete people able to provide discrete services or perform discrete actions.  Please, have a seat Mr. ….?”

The dwarf pulled over a chair sized for him while answering, “My name is…”.  He stopped before answering.  The Fin could easily read his face – he wanted to give a name, just not his real one in case this came back to bite him.  Then he had an inspiration and finished with, “…my name is Johnson.  Mr. Johnson.”

The Fin kept a pleasant expression on her face, but only her iron will kept her eyes from rolling.  This dwarf had watched too many crime trids.  “Tell me what you need, Mr. Johnson.”  The dwarf preened, clearly pleased with his choice.

“There’s this mage named Ludovic Arceneaux.  Vic’s a hermetic prick that thinks he’s above consequences and it’s time he learned differently.  He works for Chaney Paragon Technology, a company specializing in magical enhancements, no questions asked.  I represent some…concerned citizens…who want Vic to learn that his corp. can’t protect him.”

“We, er, they want a solid week of assassination attempts, two a day, that fail where the sunovabitch can see them fail and know that he didn’t die because it wasn’t time yet.  From April 1st to April 8th, we want him to spend his time wondering when the next attempt will happen and will it be the final time.  Blow up his car before he gets in it, put a bullet hole in a chair he’s about to sit in, whatever.  Just he needs to know it was an honest attempt on his life that he couldn’t stop and failed on purpose.”

The Fin blinked once the dwarf got all of that out.  This was a payback job from people who clearly had been ripped off by a corporate mage.  The Fin could feel a fierce grin trying to slip out and only her Kinesics power kept it in check.  This job sounded like it could be fun, but she didn’t want to scare away the amateur Johnson.  “To clarify, you don’t care what form the attempts take, just that Mr. Arceneaux know that a serious attempt was made on his life and failed due to choice, not inability.”

“Exactly.  Oh, and a picture of his face after each attempt, so we know he knew.”

The Fin paused to sip her tea before replying.  “Yes, we can arrange for that to happen, including the photographic evidence.  Let’s discuss price.”


After negotiating a 40,000¥ fee and waiting for the dwarf to leave the tea shop, The Fin leaned back in her chair and let her fierce grin out to play.  The dwarf had nearly walked away when The Fin tried to boost the fee above 40,000¥.  The Fin almost realized too late that 40,000¥ was literally all the dwarf’s neighbors had but talked the dwarf back to the table.  Street vengeance for the victims of a charlatan corporate mage was too good to pass up, even if her professionalism wouldn’t allow her to leave a single nuyen on the negotiating table.

The Fin called Murdoc for a quick rundown on what kind of mage Ludovic Arceneaux was known to be.  Murdoc had heard of him, but mostly self-aggrandizing things.  The Fin thanked Murdoc for the information and hung up.

Thinking over who was currently available and subtle enough to perform this kind of job, The Fin texted Killroy, Seul-ki, and…Ash, telling them she had a job for them.

6:30 PM
The Fin met with Killroy, Seul-ki, Ash, and Bookie (whom she had called in at the last minute) at the Pleiades Office in the Lower Queen Anne’s neighborhood.  She explained the job and that Killroy, Seul-ki, and Ash were on for this job at 10,000¥ each.  All three were aboard for some honest street justice [even shadowrunners want to be the good guy sometimes].  The Fin paid Bookie 5000¥ to “mess with Vic’s finances sometime during the job” but not until Killroy gave the OK.  Bookie agreed and took the easy money.

Tuesday, March 31, 2076
Killroy, Seul-ki, and Ash meet to brainstorm ideas and set a rotating schedule for turns each day.  The settled turn order is: Ash, then Seul-ki, then Killroy.  They agreed to swap turns if anyone gets injured or needs time due to another job.

The three agree that they should delay attacks at Vic’s home as long as possible as doing so will help them keep track of where Vic is.  Killroy offers to get a subdermal tracker for later in the job and Ash and Seul-ki agree it is a good idea.

They also had Bookie hack Vic’s commlink to gain access to Vic’s finances and look for useful information.  Vic’s bank account showed that Vic tended to eat out for lunch, something the team could easily make use of.  Bookie left a hidden backdoor into Vic’s commlink for later use.

Wednesday, April 1, 2076
11:53 AM
Making use of the Grid Guide system’s anti-collision protocols, Ash used his magic to turn his Rover Model 2072 sedan invisible and parked it on the street in front of the Chaney Paragon Technology (CPT) offices shortly before the time Vic tended to go to lunch.  After a short wait, Ash spotted Vic and two of his co-workers exit the building and start walking along the sidewalk to a nearby eatery.  Ash was lucky and in place along the group’s path.

When the group was beside Ash’s invisible car, Ash rolled down the window, stuck his rifle, Boomstick, out the window, and called out, “Hey, Vic!” as loud as he could.  Vic turned to see who was calling his name and saw the shotgun pointing directly at him.  Before Vic could react, Ash triggered the gun camera, then tipped the barrel down and shot into the sidewalk, right between Vic’s feet.  Ash used his RCC to direct his car to immediately pull away while he stashed the shotgun in its holder above the sun visor.

Vic and his co-workers were shaken and immediately ran back into the corporate office, calling for security.

5:00 PM
Killroy and his heavily modified FM HAR, Vera, were atop a three-story building across the street in a camouflaged sniper’s nest, waiting for Vic to “drive” out of the CPT parking garage.  Vic had a driver to look important and would be sitting in the back, making it easy for Killroy to see him.  Bookie had supplied the make and model of Vic’s car and the plate number.  Killroy had thought a BMW 400GT would have been unique enough, but nearly half of CPT seemed to drive the things, so Killroy spent time reading license plates through Vera’s scope.

At 5:13 Vic’s car finally emerged from the parking garage.  Killroy’s first shot went through the back window and into the seat beside Vic, shattering a datapad resting there.  This caused Vic to look around and notice the bullet hole in the back window.  Vic immediately dove to the floor board and stated shouting at the driver.  That location placed Vic perfectly for Killroy’s second shot, which was an APDS round right into the car’s driveshaft, centimeters from Vic’s stomach.  This crippled the vehicle’s ability to move forward and the driver was just able to get the car around the corner and out of sight before it died.

Killroy checked his image link to verify he had a clear pic of Vic’s panicked face while he packed away Vera, removing the oversized suppressor.  He had several shots, one of which was perfect.  The picture showed that moment of sheer panic when the second shot pierced the back window, but before Vic realized he had not been hit.

Thursday, April 2, 2076
7:06 AM
Killroy, Seul-ki, and Ash met at a local Banana Cabana to discuss the next attacks on Vic [seeing as all the Monkey Burger locations were destroyed – see St. Valentine’s Day Monkey Burger Massacre and BBQ].  Seul-ki’s plan was to burst through a window above Vic on his way to lunch.  Killroy realized the falling glass would provide cover for tagging Vic with a subdermal tracker, which would help them track Vic’s whereabouts once Vic decided to rabbit.  Ash stated that he had a plan for ambushing Vic on his way home, but needed to track down the right vehicle for it.  Ash also stated he was placing an order for a spider drone for an idea he had in Vic’s apartment in a couple of days.  The trio then discussed when they might want to start going after Vic at his home and decided Saturday would be a good day to start as Vic would likely be home on his days off.

12:52 PM
Seul-ki found a second-story massage parlor with floor to ceiling glass windows [a converted dance studio] along Vic’s route back from lunch to the office.  Seul-ki paid for the largest room facing the street and extra to have no masseuse at all.  This not being the oddest request the receptionist had received, he handed Seul-ki the key without comment [and without calling Knight Errant, something he regretted later].

Once in the room, Seul-ki peered through the sheer curtains at the street.  She had a clear view of the sidewalk and street directly below her.  She contacted Killroy, concealed in an alley across the street, on her transceiver, telling him she was in place.  The plan was for Killroy to act as a spotter, telling Seul-ki when Vic was directly under her.  Seul-ki took a ready stance, envisioning slicing and kicking the windows, dropping all the safety glass on Vic and his bodyguards, and waited.

1:17 PM
Vic and his four bodyguards made their way down the street from the restaurant.  Vic looked more confident than on his walk to the restaurant.  The four bodyguards looked professional, keeping people on the sidewalk away from Vic.  This was clearly good for Vic’s ego.

Killroy reported to Seul-ki when Vic was steps away.  Seul-ki quick-drew her swords and cut twin gashes in the floor to ceiling windows overlooking Vic and his bodyguards.  She then kicked the window glass out over the sidewalk, causing the glass to fragment into thousands of “safe” shards and rain down on the group below.  She followed the glass down.

The bodyguards heard the noise of the glass fragmenting and raised their arms to cover their faces.  As the rain of safety glass fell on them, Killroy made his shot across the busy [and noisy] street, tagging Vic with a pistol-deployed sub-dermal tracker.  With all the glass raining down on and around him, Vic never noticed the tracker being inserted.

Seul-ki could feel her cat totem’s approval for dropping on the prey from above and the desire to play with her “food” that went with it.  Seul-ki kicked one of the four bodyguards on the way down, knocking him down before she landed herself.  Not bothering to get up, the bodyguard drew his Ares Predator V heavy pistol and hit Seul-ki with a grazing shot.  In return, Seul-ki sliced him with a fury of blows from her two swords, cutting deep gashes into him from head to toe.  The other bodyguards noticed Seul-ki killing one of their companions and one called out, “Target!”  All three remaining body guards each drew an Ares Predator V heavy pistol and started bringing them around to shoot Seul-ki.

This is what Killroy had been waiting for.  With a grin on his face and his synaptic booster at maximum, Killroy shot the pistols out of the hands of the bodyguards with his modified Ares Crusader, getting off three shots before they could fire their first.

Realizing they were exposed, unarmed, and facing nearly equal odds, the remaining three bodyguards hoisted Vic and retreated into a nearby shop to at least get cover from the sniper.  Seul-ki allowed them to escape, fighting back the urge to chase fleeing prey.  Instead she sliced the head off the dead bodyguard and brandished it to the crowd holding up their commlinks to record the scene.  “Ludovic Arceneaux!” she yelled out, “You’re next!”

Seul-ki then threw down the head and rapidly walked away, the crowd parting to let her.  She ducked down a nearby alley and started running, tacking a convoluted path back to where she had stashed her motorcycle.  By the time Seul-ki made it to her motorcycle, Doc Wagon caught up to her (tracking her biomonitor) and provided healing for her gunshot wound.

In the meantime, Killroy had left the area on foot via a different route.  Due to the suppressor on his heavy pistol and the large amount of noise, no one on the street had noticed his participation in the fight.  Still, no reason to wait around for Knight Errant to show up.

5:42 PM
After an exhaustive afternoon giving his statement to Knight Errant and arguing with his boss about whether the death benefits for the bodyguard would come out of his budget, Vic finally slumped into the back seat of the car the company had placed at his disposal while his car was replaced.

Halfway home on the I-5, Vic noticed the two bodyguards in the car with him tense up.  “What’s wrong,” he asked, using his Mage Voice, a cultivated speech pattern that people tended to obey.

“The garbage truck behind us just deployed its lifter arms and sped up,” Bodyguard 1 replied (Vic hadn’t seen in a point in learning their names).  “I think it’s going to…” He was interrupted by a loud scraping sound and the car being shaken.  Then there was a crumpling sound to both sides of the car.  Bodyguard 2 tried to open the car door, even though they were moving at freeway speeds.  The door unlocked, but he could not budge it.  “…grab us,” Bodyguard 1 finished rather lamely.

Bodyguard 1 turned around in his seat and ordered Bodyguard 2 to shoot out the garbage truck's driver as the garbage truck’s lifter arms lifted the car up off the road surface.  “Sir,” he said to Vic, “Please climb into the front passenger seat and put you belt on.  That should be the safest place for you.”

Vic normally wouldn’t have followed a subordinate’s order, but in this case the meathead was right, so Vic started scrambling.  Just as Vic was into the front seat, both bodyguards started firing through the back window, aiming into the driver’s cab of the garbage truck.  Initially the highbeams on the truck made it difficult to see into the cab, but once the car had been lifted high enough, Bodyguard 1 called a cease fire – the cab was empty.

The truck was also steering itself to the closest off-ramp, so either Grid Guide was in control or the truck was being remotely controlled.  The arms were also still lifting the car up and over the truck.  The bodyguards had to scramble to brace themselves to keep from falling out the now shot out back window.  Vic was strapped in and safe from falling out, so he was slightly calm…

…until the top of the garbage truck opened so the car could be dumped in!

“Get me out of here!” Vic shrieked.  The bodyguards were looking for a way to escape when the lifter arms suddenly released their grip on the car and the car slid right into the back of the garbage truck, tail first.  Where the compactor was.

The bodyguards tried to open the doors, but the crushed metal wouldn’t budge.  One of them slid out the back window and across the truck of the car.  “Sir!  Come back this way!  We can climb out over the roof before …”  A loud noise came from the hydraulic press that made up the back of the Garbage truck as it started up.  “…the rigger starts the compressor!”

Vic frantically pounded at the belt release mechanism, trying to get it to release while Bodyguard 1 or 2 tried to pull him out of the front seat regardless of the seat belt.  With a “Ping!” the clasp released and Vic was man-handled out the back of the car to the floor of the compactor.  Looking up, Vic could see the approaching compactor wall.  Written on it in faintly glowing paint were the words “Coming for you, Vic”.  Vic let out a terrified scream and passed out.


Back at the Pleiades Office, Ash finished displaying the recordings from the cameras hidden inside the garbage truck to Killroy and Seul-ki.  “At this point I turned off the compactor and released the truck to Grid Guide, which had it flagged as a moving violation and steered it to a nearby Knight Errant patrol car.

“Hunh,” replied Killroy.  “That was imaginative.”

[The attack happened off-screen as it was an NPC performing the action and I just provided a synopsis to the players.  Killroy’s final response is exactly what his player said when I told them.  That should have been a warning to me, but I missed it.  This is the exact point where the one-upmanship started to kick in.]

Friday, April 3, 2076
7:35 AM
Killroy decided to ambush Vic on his way to work as security was likely much tighter in and around the CPT offices.  As there were several ways Vic could be driven to work, Killroy asked Seul-ki to help corral Vic.  Seul-ki agreed to assist as Killroy had been possibly life-saving help the previous day.

When the tracker started moving, it indicated that Vic was taking city streets to work, avoiding the I-5.  Killroy repositioned the GMC Bulldog he had commandeered for this attack and had Seul-ki go find out what vehicle Vic was being moved in.  Seul-ki used her motorcycle’s maneuverability to easily intercept the tracker and discovered that Vic was being driven in a late-model Humvee.  It would be fast enough to escape what Killroy had planned, so Seul-ki contacted Killroy and recommended she slice the vehicles tires to slow it down for Killroy’s attack.  Killroy agreed and OK’d the attack once the Humvee was within three blocks of the ambush site.  Seul-ki settled back and shadowed the Humvee on a parallel street, using the tracker to keep near.

As the Humvee crossed the three-block boundary, Seul-ki swept in on her motorcycle to the attack.  The driver did not spot her until she made her first attack.  Using her lesser sword, she came in on the drivers right blind spot and slashed at the right, rear tire.  The tire was solid, so instead of deflating, Seul-ki instead cut a chunk off.  The Humvee immediately started bucking slightly whenever the now flat side of the tire came down.  Seul-ki compounded the problem by zooming forward and slicing off part of the front right tire.  The Humvee was now heavily bucking, making control difficult.

The driver attempted to drive on the sidewalk to bypass some slow cars ahead (and maybe run down Seul-ki on her motorcycle), but timed it so poorly with the bucking caused by the tires that he nearly flipped the Humvee when he hit the curb [he glitched on his piloting check, but not critically].  When the Humvee slammed back down to the ground it demolished a public data terminal.  The crowd walking on the sidewalk scattered to avoid getting run over.

At this point, the Humvee passed the side street where Killroy was waiting and Seul-ki peeled off to let Killroy take over.  Killroy accelerated the GMC Bulldog around the corner and maneuvered to approach the Humvee from the left.  As he pulled abreast of the Humvee, Killroy remote triggered the opening of the side door and deployment of the smart-linked gun platform holding his assault rifle, Vera.  Killroy used his smart-link to aim and shoot Vera at the Humvee’s engine compartment with APDS rounds.  The shots punctured the Humvee’s armor and damaged the engine, causing the Humvee to lose speed.

As Killroy overshot the Humvee, the driver saw Vera sticking out the side of the Bulldog and recognized her from news stories a couple months ago [see Monkey Business].  Caught mid-block and facing a known criminal with more firepower than he had, the driver decided it was time for a radical maneuver to make an escape.  The driver made a hard turn to the right and drove into the side of a bodega, crashing through the exterior wall and deep inside the store.  The driver pulled Vic from the Humvee and into the back of the bodega, looking for a fire exit.

Meanwhile, Killroy calmly kept driving down the street and triggered the withdrawal function on the gun platform, pulling Vera back into the vehicle and closing the side door.  A couple of random turns and he was free and clear of the area.

[This event made local news.]

1:43 PM
On Killroy’s request, Bookie tracked down and hacked into Vic’s commlink.  He used Vic’s account to purchase a very expensive coffin and had it over-nighted to Vic’s apartment.  Bookie then had a horseshoe floral arrangement (with the banner “Better Luck Next Time”) and a barbershop quartet singing telegram sent to Vic’s boss for delivery Monday morning, using Vic’s company expense account.  Bookie wrapped this up by purchasing Vic a first-class, one-way ticket to Hiroshima, Japan, using the expense account, selecting several additional (and very expensive) options for the flight.

3:00 PM
In preparation for attacking Vic on his way home from the office, Seul-ki scouted out the street in front of the office by disguising herself as an old Chinese woman and sitting at the bus stop in front of the office.  CPT security was vigilant and noticed that the old lady at the bus stop never got on any of the buses that came by, so a couple of guards went out to investigate.  Seul-ki stalled for a bit so she could text Ash to come pick her up.  Ash [who was conveniently in the area] picked her up and drover her around the block.  He then cast Detect Law Enforcement Badge and noticed three badges loitering in the area.  He immediately drove another three blocks down and into an alley.  

Seul-ki ditched her disguise and got out of the car.  She then ran up the side of the six-story building, using window ledges to assist [and a combination of physical adept powers].  Seul-ki then ran along the rooftops, making her way back to the CPT offices.  The final building was nine-stories tall with a roof top garden and separated from the 16-story CPT building by a 6-story parking garage.  Seul-ki hid herself among the foliage and waited, periodically checking the tracker for Vic’s position.

4:00 PM
The sub-dermal tracker in Vic indicated he was heading to the roof.  Seul-ki looked around and spotted an Ares Venture VTOL approaching the roof of the building and realized Vic was leaving work by air.  Judging the distances by eye, Seul-ki realized that, even as a physical adept, there was no way she could reach the roof of the smooth-sided CPT building.  She contemplated using her swords as makeshift ledges by jamming them into the CPT building, but she would need a third sword just to make the roof and then would be out of weapons.

Seul-ki looked around and found a small, decorative, tool shed.  Inside she found several well-use trowels.  She tucked one into her sash and held two more, one in each hand.  She then ran three stories DOWN the side of the building she was on to the roof of the CPT parking garage below her, leaping and rolling to her feet on the garage roof.  This triggered alarms on the garage, which Seul-ki ignored as she sprinted across the garage roof to the side of the CPT office building.

Seul-ki leapt onto the side of the CPT building and started running UP the side of the building, aiming for the helipad on the roof, 10 stories away.  Fourteen meters up the side her momentum petered out and she jammed one of the trowels into a niche of the building facing.  With her Light Body power, this provided enough of a ledge for her land on before starting another sprint up the vertical surface.  Another 14.5 m up the side she stuck in a second trowel to land on before drawing the third trowel from her sash and sprinting up again.  The third sprint cleared another 15.5 meters of vertical distance before Seul-ki wedged in the third and final trowel.  She then ran up the final 6 m to the roof, where the Ares Venture was just coming in to land at the helipad in the center of the building’s roof.  Ten stories below, corporate security guards were just beginning to scramble onto the garage roof.

Across the roof from Seul-ki’s position was the enclosed waiting area for the helipad.  The walls facing the helipad (and by extension Seul-ki) were floor to ceiling windows.  Seul-ki saw Vic and his bodyguard in the waiting area, Vic watching the VTOL land, the bodyguard on his commlink.  The bodyguard was clearly being warned by building security to the threat, but he seemed to be having trouble processing what he was being told, until he looked up and across the roof at Seul-ki.

The bodyguard’s training kicked in hand he stepped in front of Vic while drawing a Browning Ultra-Power heavy pistol.  Seul-ki drew her lesser sword…and attacked the tail assembly of the landing VTOL.  The Venture’s armor deflected the sword blade, but the pilot finally noticed Seul-ki.  The pilot yawed the VTOL around it’s z-axis to get a clear look at this looney attacking his aircraft with a sword.

In response, Seul-ki threw her sword into the air intake of the front left thruster engine.  The high-grade steel sword was chopped up, but not before thrashing the ceramic turbine blades in the engine and scattering shrapnel through the engine casing, damaging the engine significantly.  Thick black smoke and flames started venting out the front left thruster, which rapidly lost power, destabilizing the still hovering aircraft.  The pilot kept the VTOL from crashing and/or exploding, but the craft drifted into and through the facing glass wall of the waiting area before setting down partially in the waiting area.

Vic’s bodyguard was attempting to hustle Vic back down into the building while calling for security backup.  Seul-ki ran into the waiting area to attack, but her cat totem demanded she play with her prey first.  Rather than slicing the bodyguard with her sword, Seul-ki kicked him in the face.  The bodyguard responded by shooting Seul-ki at point-blank range, seriously injuring her.  Her totem now demanding blood, Seul-ki drew her ancestral sword and cut the bodyguard deep.  The bodyguard’s next shot missed entirely, so he resumed hustling Vic away from Seul-ki.  Seul-ki reclosed the gap and they attacked each other simultaneously, each dealing a wound that would shortly be mortal.  The bodyguard decided Vic was not worth the death benefits the company would pay out and dropped his pistol, raising his hands to surrender.

Vic chose this point to start blustering and gesturing as if to cast a spell at Seul-ki.  When no magics materialized, Seul-ki sneered at Vic.  She stepped over to the bodyguard and beheaded him, allowing the bodyguard to regain the honor he lost by surrendering [from her perspective].  She then threw the head at Vic, who lost his composure and fled screaming back down into the building.

Seul-ki, bleeding heavily, stumbled back to the far edge of the roof to await either her death or Doc Wagon, whichever arrived first.  She watched as the ruined waiting area was slowly consumed by the fire spreading from the downed VTOL, thick black smoke roiling into the fading sky.


Six minutes later, a Doc Wagon VTOL arrived and revived Seul-ki, partially healing her massive gunshot wounds with magic before taking her to the nearest registered hospital for further treatment.  The CPT security and fire response personnel avoided looking in that direction while Seul-ki was there.

[Seul-ki made her second to last Death Save and avoided bleeding out before Doc Wagon arrived, but only just.]

End of Part 1

[As I started writing this up, I realized what size of a wall of text this would be if I posted it all at once, so I’m breaking it up into separate posts.  I’m not certain how many parts there will be, but I suspect it will be three, maybe four.  We’ll find out when I finish writing it up.]

[I ran out of time for a proper edit.  I'll do some clean up and the links below this evening.]

The other jobs are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit
Yak Money
MoM Defense

Ludovic’s Hell  Part 2
Ludovic’s Hell  Part 3
Ludovic’s Hell  Part 4

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Five: MoM Defense

[This job happened April 18th, May 2nd, May 23rd, and then never finished due to events in Ludovic’s Hell (which got way out of control).  I’m including it as an example of working against player expectations and to show that not all Johnsons are business people.  Some of them are planning to use runners as Kleenex.]

PCs Involved
The Fin – female human con artist and gambler from India, by way of Russia, posh and elegant
Killroy – male human street samurai, specializes in hand-to-hand combat (and apparently machineguns)
Void – female human physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Bookie – male elf alcoholic hacker, favors whiskey with a whiskey chaser
Seul-ki – androgynous human from Korea, a laconic expert with swords
Limbsaw – female human street samurai with a monofilament chainsaw, works body disposal on the side

Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm
Ash – male human car shaman/rigger, speaks in the third person and follows The Spirit of The Road

Tuesday, March 31, 2076
Part of a barrage of calls, The Fin was called by Ms. Johnson, a middle-aged orc woman claiming to be part of Mothers of Metahumans (MoM), a semi-political group supporting metahuman rights.  She asked to meet with The Fin to discuss a discrete protection job.  The Fin agreed to the meeting and they settle on a 2:00 PM meeting at the orphanage, Daylilies of the Shire.

2:00 PM
The Daylilies of the Shire is at 13404 N Echo Lake Rd, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex, which is just north of Echo Lake in the Redmond Barrens, built on the remains of a bulk florist facility.  Due to issues with safe travel in the Redmond Barrens, the trip to get there took 2 hours.  The Fin brought a team consisting of herself, Killroy, Seul-ki, Limbsaw, Prometheus, and Ash to get the details and look over the place.

Daylilies of the Shire is hidden from the road by a 4-meter tall, 12-meter deep thicket of various plants and bushes.  The relatively short driveway turns twice inside the thicket, so there is no direct line of sight from the road to the building.  Once past the thicket, the property opened up to a one hectare (2.5 acre) landscaped lawn adjacent to the lake.  A 4-meter security wall ringed the property, except along the lakefront.  The orphanage was a single-story, rectangular structure with a small parking lot in front on the left.

Ms. Johnson, a middle-aged but fit orc woman in jeans and flannel, met with the team in the front conference room. She explained the orphanage needed help defending itself for a week while a crucial piece of construction is completed, from April 6 to April 13.  The construction will disrupt the orphanage’s normal security perimeter and they’ve reliable information an attack will happen during that time.  The attackers are financed by the Humanis Policlub.  The orphanage cannot afford to pay a great deal as most of its funds are tied up in the construction project, but they can afford to pay 21,000¥ for the week’s work.

After a quick poll of the team through facial expressions, The Fin agreed to take the job for the offered 21,000¥, but asked Ms. Johnson will go to her sources to try and find out how many attackers they should expect.  Ms. Johnson agreed to this.

Ms. Johnson explained that the team will coordinate with George, the handyman, for the placement of any security equipment.  The Fin asked for a tour of the property, to which Ms. Johnson agreed, but only the exterior.  She explained that the orphans were rescued from abusive situations and might react poorly to anyone not orphanage personnel.  The team accepted this and took a tour of the grounds.  Poking around in the landscaping, they discovered that the lake approach was protected by a couple of well-hidden automated gun platforms.  There were also a variety of security sensors scattered around the property and along the walls.  All the windows of the orphanage were mirrored and appeared to be bullet proof.

The construction area was on the front side of the building, at the right-hand end, and marked out with small orange flags.  The team discussed options and decided on an array of sensors covering the areas nearest to the construction area [the most likely place for an attack] and placement of Killroy’s smart-linked gun platform.  Satisfied for the moment, the team left.

Thursday, April 2, 2076
Late Afternoon
Killroy took Void and Bookie to Daylilies of the Shire to scope out security and make suggestions.  Bookie scanned their Matrix security and found it surprisingly tight.  Void, after walking the property herself, found the physical security to also be in very good condition.  Sitting in the conference room (made available to them as part of their contract), they discussed what further steps might be taken.  Void suggested a second smart-linked gun platform up against the wall and pointing back, perhaps concealed to appear as construction material, to catch any attackers by surprise and put them in a crossfire.  Killroy agreed to this.

Killroy contacted Leona, his arms dealer contact, and placed an order with for a second smart-firing gun platform.  She located one and agreed to deliver it to Killroy on Sunday.

[This is as far as things got due to Ludovic’s Hell, which I’ll be writing up next.  It was an increasingly messy spiral of destruction and death with major, metroplex-wide effects.]

End of Run

[So the players were expecting this to be a high-karma run and were willing to accept a relatively small amount of cash as a result.  That is metagaming and I wrote this job knowing the players would accept a charity run for lots of karma without asking too many questions.]

[That’s not what this job was at all.]

[If the players had investigated at all, they would have learned that Daylilies of the Shire was a front and not part of the MoM network of metahuman rescue facilities.  It was a Yakuza bunraku surgery center, turning stolen teens and pre-teens into meat-puppets for the sex trade.  The “Humanis” attackers were actually another group of shadowrunners attempting to rescue family members and burn the place down.  This was a “dirty-dog” job that could sully the PCs reputations if anyone ever learns they were involved.  It is also possible that the Yakuza might try to use this as leverage with the Pleiades Group in the future.  Depends on how mean I feel.  Or how crazy the Yakuza get.  We’ll see.]

The other jobs are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit
Yak Money

Ludovic’s Hell (A.K.A., “Well that escalated quickly”)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Session Report – Woodchipper – Job Four: Yak Money

[This job happened April 18th, May 9th, May 23rd, June 27th, and August 1st.  Most of the sessions were receiving the job, planning, and scouting until the job happened on August 1st and took up the whole session.  Most of the sessions in June covered portions of the Ludovic’s Hell run and not this one.]

[This was also the point in time where being without work started to really oppress me creatively and I started to go radio silent online.  Luckily, I had the runs outlined and the Johnsons, meeting places, and pay outs already calculated and written down or the game would have ground to a halt.  Unluckily, I started getting skimpy on my notes during the game and some details got lost.  I think I covered most of it, but any sparse areas in the session report are due to lack of notes on my part.]

PCs Involved

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
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
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

Tuesday, March 31, 2076
While being driven home by Sin from the limo meeting with Mr. Johnson for The Mendoza Hit, The Fin received a call.  The voice on the other end said, “You once delivered a ring to me from a dwarf with no respect.  Meet me at The King and Tiger in Casino Corner at 10:00 PM tomorrow.  I have a business proposition for you.”  The Fin recognized the reference to the Mafioso who paid the Pleiades Group to kill Sam back in January [see A Dwarf in Need, Session 5].  The Fin stated she would be there.

[Originally, the meeting was scheduled for 10:00 PM the same day, but I as the GM dropped the ball and forgot about it until after we were past it in the timeline.  So, one small ret-con later, the meeting was the following night in game.]

Wednesday, April 1, 2076
10:00 PM
The Fin arrived slightly early at The King and Tiger, a small pub-style drinking establishment tucked away in the back of a casino, and was escorted to a back-corner table.  The table was flanked by several bodyguards while a single man sat at the table.  The Fin recognized the man from video taken by the team back in January.  More than that, she recognized him as Giacomo Montagna, an underboss in the Finnigan Family, the top Mafia family in the Seattle Metroplex.

After the initial pleasantries, the underboss got to the point.  “There is a group with no respect encroaching on our business here at Casino Corner.  They’re spreading a lot of corporate script around to fund this.  We want their bankroll to disappear to slow them down and make them lose face.  They have a warehouse in Everett where they store a lot of it.  We’ll supply the address, you hit the place before the 9th and remove the script from their control by, what’s the term – ‘by whatever means deemed expedient.’  That sounds about right.  No one can know I asked you to do this thing, but if you play ball for me, I will owe you a solid favor.”

This perked The Fin’s ears right up.  A favor from a Finnigan underboss was no small thing, plus, if the Pleiades Group was stealing a Yakuza or Triad war chest [both crime syndicates were known to work the Everett district] full of actual corporate script…  The Fin played it cool and accepted the job offer without asking for any other payment.

[There was a little more to the interaction, including getting the address, but I didn’t get any of it written down in my notes.]

Thursday, April 2, 2076
Sin, Killroy, Void, Murdoc, and Prometheus met with The Fin to discuss the job.  The Fin explained the client had Family connections and wanted all the corporate script extracted from a rival organization’s stockpile.  Anything else the team found was theirs to keep and considered part of the pay for the job.  The Fin carefully refrained from explaining exactly who the client was and that she would collect a favor from a Finnigan underboss.  From the address of the location they were going to hit, the group worked out that their target was the Yakuza in Everett district.  This did not dissuade the group, but impressed upon them the need to never be identified during the job, meaning “no witnesses” and all that entailed.

The group brainstormed for a while, tossing around several ideas that were discarded as being either too complicated or too easily trackable.  After an hour or two of discussion, the meeting broke up with only a rudimentary plan in place: A) smash in, B) swap script for paper ash, C) leave with the script and hope no one does a chemical analysis on the ash.  Killroy had a meeting with Ash and Seol-ki to plan out a different job [see Ludovic’s Hell, when written], Void needed to go scout out the Mendoza Telecommunications office building [The Mendoza Hit], and later in the day Void and Bookie had to go with Killroy to Lilies of the Lake to scout out security [see MoM Defense, when written].

Friday, April 3, 2076
[This happened at the same time as Void was performing the Mendoza Hit.]

Bookie tracked down the blueprints for the converted carwash the Yakuza were using as a repository for their war chest.  He then asked Killroy to give him a lift out to Everett so he could check the Yakuza’s Matrix security.  Killroy agreed and they drove over there in the afternoon rain.

Once they were a couple blocks away, Bookie sleazed around the Matrix to see what the Yakuza had.  He found a single system running security for the whole site.  Unfortunately, Bookie got cocky and the Yakuza spider [slang for a decker providing security to a system] watching the system noticed him.  The two deckers danced around, exchanging attacks, until Bookie finally targeted the Yakuza computer system and bricked it, giving the Yak spider a bad case of dumpshock.  Bookie hung around to see if the Yakuza site had a backup data system and they did.  They also had two more spiders show up from elsewhere [the original spider got in a distress call before getting bricked].  The two new spiders didn’t spot Bookie, but he didn’t want the Yakuza boosting their security because they thought they were going to be attacked.  Bookie ran silent and sleazed his way out of there.

When he dropped out of the Matrix into his meat body, he reported what he saw to Killroy.  Bookie also added that he could probably take the additional spiders if it became necessary when the job went down.  Killroy then put the car in gear and drove the two of them back to the Pleiades office.

Saturday, April 4, 2076
A full day after Bookie checked the Yakuza’s Matrix security, Void went over to scout out the physical security.  The Everett neighborhood was a mix of low residential and commercial buildings.  The Yakuza building was a modified car wash.  All the car washing equipment was long gone and large doors closed off the area, now apparently used as a warehouse.

The property was fenced, with a number of nice cars parked on the premises, clearly belonging to the Yakuza soldiers on the property.  The Yak soldiers appeared to be the only real security on the outside, most of them sitting around and playing tile games while drinking.  Civilians periodically came up to the entrance to the old office, apparently to do business or make payments to the Yakuza within.

Void decided that the Yakuza here were well known and apparently feared or respected enough that their mere presence was enough to keep anyone from moving against them.  After spending the afternoon watching, Void observed the Yakuza boss leave for the day at 5:00 PM.  The remaining soldiers moved inside the office area for the evening party.  Local restaurants delivered food and more alcohol.

Void liked what she could see and reported back that the Yakuza were overconfident and if the Pleiades Group attacked after the boss left, they’d be drinking as well.

Monday, April 6, 2076
5:38 PM
The team rode to Everett in Sin’s GMC Bulldog, remotely driven by Sin.  A couple blocks from the target site, Sin directed the delivery truck into an alley to let Prometheus out.  Prometheus hiked on foot until he arrived on a roof top overlooking the remodeled carwash.  This position allowed Prometheus to provide overwatch fire with his Remington 950 “hunting” rifle that was loaded with APDS ammunition [“armor piercing, discarding sabot” ammunition, meaning it is designed to pierce vehicle armor].

Once Prometheus was in position, Bookie slipped into the Matrix to go hack the Yakuza’s data system.  Bookie set off a databomb while looking around the system, which triggered an alarm announcing he was there.  The Yakuza spider and Bookie mixed it up a bit, but Bookie way out-classed the spider and drove the spider out of the Matrix.  The spider, still smarting from the dumpshock, pulled the plug on the data system, denying Bookie access to the site security cameras and any data on the server.  Bookie instead starts tagging Yakuza commlinks for later control until he comes to the attention of a demiGOD [police decker from the Grid Overwatch Division].  The demiGOD cuts Bookie’s connection to the Matrix, causing Bookie some dumpshock.  [The demiGOD also alerted local security to the data hacking, but this being Everett, the fastest HRT will still take an hour to show up.]  Bookie, shrugging off most of the dumpshock, tells the team he has taken out the Yakuza spider, but he may have set off an alarm.  Bookie then rebooted his cyberdeck.  He neglected to mention that he’d been kicked off line by a demiGOD.

Murdoc cast improved invisibility in Void, Killroy, and himself [recasting the spell on himself a time or two to get a high enough effect].  Sin then drove the Bulldog around to the front gate and let the assault team out the back of the delivery truck before driving away.  The assault team approached the old lobby entrance and could see several Yakuza soldiers turning over furniture and preparing to be attacked.  Void checked the door to see if it was locked, just as one of the Yakuza soldiers reached over and locked it.  Killroy pulled out a NeuroStun grenade and hand-gestured to Void to open the door for him.  Void quickly unlocked the door and pulled it open just wide enough for Killroy to lo0b his grenade into the room. She then pushed the door closed.

The Yakuza soldier closest to the door, who was turning around to the door to see why it unlocked itself, saw the grenade fly into the room.  He called out a warning and dove for cover.  Two Yakuza soldiers dove for a door back further into the building, screaming in Japanese that the attackers were using gas grenades.  The rest of the Yakuza in the lobby area very quickly succumbed to the effects of the knock-out gas and slumped to the floor.

After waiting a full minute to allow the gas to disperse, Killroy and Void entered the lobby.  Void started cuffing the Yakuza soldiers with zip-tie cuffs and removing their weapons.  Killroy checked the door in the back, right corner of the room.  It opened into the side of a hallway that ran the depth of the building.  He paused to relay this to the rest of the team.  Just as he was about to step into the hallway, several Yakuza soldiers popped open doors down the hallway and started repeatedly firing long bursts from their submachine guns down the hallway in Killroy’s general direction [remember: he’s still invisible].

Killroy was tagged a couple times before he could pull his leg back out of the free-fire zone the hallway had become, but his armor held and he was not injured.  Killroy held his position just inside the lobby as the Yakuza emptied their magazines, shooting up the drywall, door frames, and doors at Bookies end of the hallway.  Through the splinters and clouds of powdered drywall, Killroy saw the door across the hallway was marked “Security”.

When the Yakuza paused firing to reload their weapons, Killroy stepped into the hallway and fired Vera in controlled bursts to kill several of the Yakuza soldiers in the doors, and then smashed into the “Security” room.  Inside were sever reclining chairs, a small data server, and two Japanese men.  Killroy called out, “Freeze,” in Japanese.  One of the men brought an Uzi to bear and Killroy quickly shot him dead.  In his bad Japanese, Killroy told the other man to put on the zip-tie cuffs Killroy tossed at him.  He complied with Killroy’s order immediately.

Killroy heard submachine guns finishing being reloaded all down the hallway.  He pulled out another NeuroStun grenade out and tossed it down the hallway.  The Yakuza resumed shooting blindly down the hallway.  As the gas reached each soldier, noticed the reduction in the number of bullets shooting up his end of the hallway and heard the thump of the body hitting the floor.  During this point the Yakuza server rebooted and Bookie took control of the handful of security cameras on site.

When the fire stopped [plus a few tens of seconds for the gas to disperse], Killroy calmly walked down the hallway, checking the side rooms as he went for any conscious Yakuza.  In the back rooms, Killroy found some Yakuza who decided to go out in a blaze of glory.  Killroy was more accurate that they were and had body armor, so shortly the Yakuza were all dead.  One had been calling for help on a commlink and Killroy warned Prometheus to be on the lookout for Yakuza reinforcements.  Sin decided that a quick get-away would be necessary and turned the Bulldog back towards the Yakuza building.

With the back office cleared, Murdoc entered the building.  Then he and Void joined Killroy at the restrooms, which contained the connecting doors to what had been the observation area when the carwash was functioning.  They carefully went through the men’s room [finding two unconscious Yakuza soldiers] and into the warehouse area [the converted carwash area].  The lighting was poor, but Bookie spotted three groups of two waiting in ambush and some stragglers trying to escape around the improvised warehouse doors.

The assault team went in and eliminated one group of Yakuza ambushers before they got a shot off.  One of the groups panicked and fired wildly, shooting up the third group.  Murdoc used lightning to take out the panicked two Yakuza.

Prometheus reported he had eliminated one of the escaping stragglers and that Sin was just arriving.  He also reported that all the civilians on the street were running away or closing their shops by pulling down steel shutters.

Killroy, Void, and Murdoc started searching the warehouse area for the large amounts of corporate script and anything portable and valuable.  By the time Sin had the truck backed up to the improvised warehouse doors, two crates of cash, one of street drugs, two of black market cybernetics, and other assorted valuables had been located and rounded up.  The team quickly loaded all the loot into the back of the Bulldog and then climbed in behind it.  Sin rapidly drove away, turning a corner just as a cycle gang of yakuza soldiers on motorcycles of all types and descriptions came around a corner behind them [Sin’s player made an amazing Pilot: Ground Craft skill check to break out what could have been an ugly car chase sequence].  Prometheus stayed in place to verify the Yakuza missed seeing the escaping GMC Bulldog and then left on foot.  Sin directed a separate car to go pick Prometheus up before the entire neighborhood was crawling with yakuza looking for revenge.

End of Run

[The players had wanted to do an Ocean’s Eleven swap-out job so the Yakuza would not know the money had been stolen (and so they wouldn’t come looking for it) but had no source for corporate script-grade paper to create the ash.  As it is, they got away with a lot of physical loot and a bunch of corporate script that might be too hot to spend.]

[For the miscellaneous gear the players stole, I had them make a perception test and based the value of what they found on how well they rolled.  This gave each of them a nebulous pile of gear that they could pull specific things from until they pulled that value of goods in total.  This saved me time and made sure the players got the cool things they wanted to find, a win-win for the GM.]

The other jobs are:

Aquamatics Schematics
The Mendoza Hit

MoM Defense
Ludovic’s Hell (A.K.A., “Well that escalated quickly”)