Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Session Report – Under the Mountain – Sessions 2 and 3

[These sessions happened December 19th, 2016, and January 2, 2017.  They were mostly planning sessions with little actual activity, so I combined them to speed things up.  The Other GM was running.]

[In Session 5 we realized we needed to do some ritual magic for the safe house and retconned it to happen in-game on Tuesday.  I’m inserting the activity here for better story continuity, even though it doesn’t happen for another three sessions.]

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

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2076
The group did extensive planning and brainstorming. We asked Bookie to put together a data file on the target.  While he did that, we located a small abandoned warehouse in Renton to use as a safe house during the job.  [It wouldn’t do to have Aztechnology track us back to our office, no it would not.]  We found one to suit our needs and immediately set up security on it.

We placed an order for four “portable doors”.  These are pre-rigged breaching charges on rectangular frames.  Once triggered: Boom!  Instant door.  We ordered them strong enough to cut through a foot of reinforced concrete – they’ll arrive Thursday.  We don’t have a specific use for them yet, but most of our plans involve a quick escape and underground labs have a reputation for strong walls.  [My notes don’t indicate which character secured these, it was likely Void, but it could have been Killroy or both of them separately.]

Bookie delivered a data file with all the public data on the target, Dr. Zoe Berganza:

  • She was originally a citizen of Renraku.
  • She has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering.
  • Her parents are dead, but there is evidence she had a significant other.
  • All public records stop in 2073 – there is nothing on her after that.

We speculated that Aztechnology did what we are going to do, extract her, in 2073.  There is some evidence her significant other was also grabbed at the same time, so we might end up extracting two people.  There was a debate on whether or not the pay covered this.  We decided that for nearly half a million in pay, it did.

That night we called in Baelthor and a new mage The Fin recommended, Ezekial Tee, to assist Wasabi in the ritual casting of some wards.  The first ward was [Rating 6] versus magic and was cast on a Mage Bag [our name for a body bag with a rebreather system inside it to administer air laced with NeuroStun to the occupant].  The three of them got too ambitious and channeled WAY too much magic for the ritual.  Wasabi’s heart stopped from the strain; Baelthor’s heart went into fibrillation; and Ezekial Tee flopped around on the floor with smoke rising from him.  The Mage Bag nearly glowed from all the power in it.

Prometheus immediately clapped his [Rating 6] Medkit on Wasabi and triggered it to restart Wasabi’s heart.  Sin attached his Medkit to Baelthor and it brought Baelthor’s heart back to a regular rhythm.  [Wasabi burned through all of his Physical Damage boxes AND all three of his overflow boxes. Baelthor through two of his overflow boxes.  Ezekial Tee was able to shrug enough of the Drain that he didn’t go into overflow, but just barely.  The GM allowed for Prometheus’ use of the Medkit to save Wasabi's life because Prometheus has an inhuman reaction time, always has the Medkit on him, and could apply it the same round Wasabi took the Drain damage.]  Minutes later, Doc Wagon arrived on site and applied lots of professional [and expensive] healing.  It will be Friday before all three mages are back up and running, if not healthy.  [Doc Wagon Gold Card - NEVER Shadowrun without it.]

Wednesday, May 27, 2076
Quiet day.  Mostly securing the safe house while the three mages recover from their near death experiences.

Thursday, May 28, 2076
Bookie was able to deliver accurate plans for the HVAC system and the security set-up of the underground lab.  It is both better and worse than we hoped for.  Pertinent data on the HVAC system:

  • There is a separate underground processing system that pulls from three concealed surface vents spaced around the site.
  • The processing system connects to the lab by large vents with graduated air filters.
  • The air filters are replaced from inside, meaning the vents are large enough for people to move through.
  • The next scheduled cleaning for the system is scheduled for Thursday, June 3rd, 2076, meaning if we quietly use this system for access, no one will notice for several days.

The interior security for the lab was not as bad as we feared, but there were more guards than we wanted to deal with.  Cameras can be looped [especially with our access point attached to their security systems], but actual guards had to be dealt with or hoodwinked.  Also, we didn't want them chasing us on the way out - a running gun battle to the safe house would draw Knight Errant attention.

A plan was starting to formulate.  The HVAC system looked like the fastest way out of the base, but would require a lot of climbing to the surface.  We placed an order through one of Void’s contacts for four sets of gecko gloves and kneepads.  We overpaid by 3000¥ to expedite the order and were told they would be available Saturday at Noon.  This sets our infiltration team at five people (Void doesn’t need the gecko gear due to her PA powers).

The "portable doors" arrived.  We carefully stashed them in the safe house.

End of Session(s)

[These two sessions were short from the description side as they were more planning and requesting of data.  We also started ordering gear we thought we might need so it would be available by the day of the run.  We figured the worst that would happen is that we would have spare gear if we ended up not needing it for this run.  Plus, that’s what an expense account is for.]

[One of the reasons we were doing so much planning was not analysis-paralysis but actual fear.  This was the first time we’d gone after one of the magic-heavy Big Ten and we had no idea what sort of Pandora’s Box we were about to open up.  Add on Aztechnology’s reputation for nastiness and dirty tricks and we were genuinely concerned for our characters long-term survivability if any of them got caught.]

[Ezekial Tee’s player doesn’t actually join the group until Session 4, but as mentioned, the ritual work was retconned during Session 5.  The player ended up with scheduling issues and was not able to stay past this run, which was unfortunate.  We enjoyed having him at the table.]

Session 1

Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
Session 7 [Not Yet Written]

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Session Report – Under the Mountain – Session 1

[I’m reaching back into my notes archive for this one.  This session happened December 5th, 2016.  The Other GM was running.  As it has been a year since we played, I might be missing some details, but that’s life.  Also, it is short.]

[I have skipped one run since the last session report I posted.  I might go back and write it up later, but the odds are low, mostly due to the skimpy-ness of my notes and the amount of time that has passed.  I only bring it up for two reasons: we did a character re-spec before it and we swapped out some characters.  The Fin was replaced by Wasabi, and Bookie was made an NPC and replaced by Moondance.  Wasabi’s player reverts to playing The Fin almost immediately after this run, but Moondance hangs around.  Also, Void is now an actual elf with body-shaping PA powers and Sin and Prometheus received equipment upgrades.  Also-also, Murdoc’s player moved away and had to drop from the game, which we all regret.]

Void – female night elf physical adept B&E specialist, a shadow that blends in easily
Moondance – male street samurai with an Ares fetish and a sniper specialization [new character]
Prometheus – male human street samurai, handy with any firearm
Wasabi – young male human mage with more than a touch of ADHD [new character]
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)

Monday, May 25, 2076
Moondance was contacted by his father, Sundance, who is a Johnson for Ares [referred to after this as The Johnson].  The Johnson wants a target extracted by the Pleiades Group from a corporate facility on June 1st.  The target’s brain must not be damaged as data is to be extracted.  The pay was high [430,000¥ plus a 10,000¥ expense account] due to the target being unaware and located inside a secret, underground, Aztechnology lab in Puyallup!  On top of this, while it was recommended that the extraction happen after 2:00 AM, the drop-off will happen at 8:00 PM in a park in Bellevue, meaning the Pleiades Group will have to sit on the target until the drop while Aztechnology magically scours the city for retrieval of their personnel and revenge.  No pressure.

Moondance accepted the job and brought the job particulars back to the Pleiades office [located in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Downtown].  He consulted with Prometheus and the two of them put together a team and started sketching out a plan.

Additional details on the job include:

  • Details on the lab (two floors above ground, three floors below, ~50 personnel)
  • Map of surrounding area (most secretly owned by Aztechnology)
  • Name of the target, with picture (Zoe Berganza – female human Awakened researcher)
  • Name of inside contact (Hercules Mulligan – male human on security team)

We spent the rest of the session trying to get a grip on what we didn’t know but needed to know.  We decided we needed more information about the HVAC system for the underground lab.  We also needed to contact our inside man (Hercules Mulligan) about connecting an external access point to the lab’s matrix systems so Bookie could hack in and get us some floor plans and the security layout.

Tuesday, May 26, 2076
We sent Hercules Mulligan an external access point via a courier drop.  He agreed to have it up and running during his next shift, Wednesday night.

End of Session

[So a hallmark of this run was a lot of planning and brainstorming on how we were going to pull this one off.  We were very concerned with the fact we would have to sit on the target for a while, during which time Aztechnology would be actively searching for her and us.  As the megacorporation with lots of magic and the most fearsome reputation on revenge, keeping our involvement secret was our highest priority, followed only by keeping the target hidden and alive.]

[One other thing: it took us a couple of sessions to put the pieces together, but we (the players) are fairly certain that the Johnson on this run (Sundance) is the same guy Prometheus shot at the end of the Urban Surfin’ run for intercepting the delivery of the case.  We very much hope this run is not his revenge on us.]

Sessions 2 and 3
Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
Session 7 [Not Yet Written]

UPDATE: Corrected some formatting to match my style guide and changed meeting with Hercules Mulligan to sending him the access point.  Reading in later notes I realized we don't meet face-to-face until later in the run.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Novel Status Update and Resumption of Blog Posts

So I reached an agreement with Atlas Games on licensing their Over the Edge IP for Getting Educated, the novel I'm writing.  More accurately, the novel I started in 2009 and set aside until earlier this year when I finally returned to it.  I finally worked out where the story was going after a particularly knotty wall of writer's block on the subject and resumed writing.  I'm now over 45,000 words total, with a target of ~70,000 words by the time I finish the first draft.  I've set myself a deadline of the end of April 2018 for draft completion, which is very do-able.

When I get closer to 60,000 words (or the end of January, whichever comes first), I will start releasing it in ~1500-word chunks per week on Royal Road Legends.  I'll post links here as things go live there.  I have an account set up, but I'm not certain I want to keep that user name or use something closer to my actual name or something based on this blog's title.  I'll hammer that out by the end of this month.

My plan was to open a Patreon account when I started posting content on Royal Road Legends, but with the current kerfluffle about their new patron fees, I find I need to review that decision.  I may start on Patreon and then move to a different service when a good replacement becomes obvious.  Patreon looks to provide value to me by showing me what I need to do for that style of interaction, but they don't seem to really understand their own value or how people use their service.  I'm still evaluating options.  Push comes to shove, a PayPal tipjar might do in a pinch.

UPDATE: Patreon has reversed course on the new fees.  Read more here.

To avoid getting stalled on writing, when ever I hit a block with Getting Educated I switch over to a series of fantasy short stories I'm writing on the side.  It's D&D 4th Edition fan-fic using an original character named Epikydes and is fun and light.  Bouncing between that and Getting Educated helps keep me writing on my writing days.  I might post the Epikydes stories over on RRL.  We'll see.

Finally, I will resume posting my Shadowrun session summaries mid- to late-next week.  I don't have the exact day set, but Thursday seems likely to be accurate.  I have notes to work from for two complete runs and the run we are currently working, so there is plenty of material for me to write up, which is good as the holidays have been playing havoc with our gaming schedule.

That's it for now.  See you again on no later than the 21st!