By: Jennifer Harding
The meet was in a small restaurant attached to the bar. It was early, so most of the chairs were up on the battered plastic tables. Ten people stood and sat around the room, eying each other suspiciously. When I walked in beside Mr. Johnson, they all looked over at us. Most passed over me and focused on the well-dressed corporate suit beside me, smiling at them with just the right amount of teeth, just the right amount of a crinkle at the corner of his eye. He probably practiced in front of his mirror, labeling this smile Confident Professional. I didn’t blame any of the prospects for ignoring me, with my off-the-rack suit that’d been out of style a few years ago, hair several weeks overdue for a trim, and a face could best be described as bland.
Mr. Corporate Suit—Mr. Johnson for today—handed me a piece of electronic paper. Its wireless capabilities were turned off—which meant there was at least one hacker in this group, and Mr. Johnson wanted to preserve privacy. Fair enough. I glanced at the paper, saw it held ten neat little picture-icons, each one a snapshot of one of the hopefuls. I touched one, and the paper filled with text; name, age, history. Skills.
Twenty-one. A kid. An uneducated Latino street tough with a few talents and a nice physique. I flipped through the other nine profiles, then looked up at the hopefuls.
I pointed to the Latino kid, who watched me with wary black eyes. “Why do you think you’re here?”
He narrowed his stare at me, flicked an almost imperceptible glance towards the suit. “For a job.”
“What’s the job?” I asked.
“Snatch and grab,” he said, using some street lingo. “Dunno any more details.”
“And why should I hire you?”
He sneered at this, as though I was some annoying Mr. Johnson. “I’m a wheelman. I know the streets. I’m good with my fists, an’ I can shoot straight. I got experience, never been caught.”
“What, you’ve boosted a couple of cars, taken them to a chopshop for some easy cash. Maybe knocked over a stuffer shack for some soy crunchies when you’ve gotten drunk with the gang,” I said scathingly. I looked around at the ten hopefuls, all of whom now stared at me as if I’d suddenly sprouted an extra pair of arms. “And now you think you can be a professional? You want to play in the big leagues?”
I leaned forward. “Do any of you care that less than ten percent of runners survive their first year? There’s ten of you here. Do the math—if you can count that high—and that means one of you might still be standing this time next year.” I pointed to Humes. “Think that’ll be you?”
His dark eyes were a bit wider now, and he looked around with a touch of nerves under his bravado.
“Or maybe you?” I pointed to a thin redhead, a girl with more freckles than skin. “You think your magic will protect you, keep you alive? Let me tell you, mages burn out in the shadows faster than idiot kids with hard heads and fast fists. You go against another team, or some corp sec goon, and the first thing they’re gonna do is try to take you out.”
“Or you?” I pointed to a beefy ork, “Think ‘cause you’ve got some secondhand ‘warez, ‘cause you’ve been faster than some overweight security blobs, that you’re ready to be a pro? What happens when you go up against some corporate sec team with first-class cyberware and guns that’ll punch a hole through your armor jacket? When you come up against a hacker who puts a virus in your cheap ‘warez? When you slow down and get a couple of your teammates killed ‘cause you’re a cocky son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t listen to your own team’s hacker?”
I turned around, left the room, Mr. Johnson following me with a frozen smile on his face. I’d call it his oh, shit smile.
When we were alone in the hallway, he cleared his throat.
“Perhaps if you reviewed the files, you’d see that they have solid skills, and, while, yes, they’re inexperienced, I’m sure your experience can compensate—”
I held up a hand, cut him off. “I know what you want to do. I don’t want to see a bunch of kids die. You can’t just take a couple of street toughs and hand them a Predator and call them shadowrunners. That’s how you end up with deadkids and botched jobs. But I’ll talk to them individually, see what I think—and then I’ll tell you.”
That evening, I sat in a ratty chair, looking over five young faces. The safehouse was being rented out of the stingy expense allowance I’d negotiated. Otherwise, we were on our own. No funding, no support—just their talents and my experience. Sink or swim, baby.
It was too late to regret the favor. I was already feeling the weight of responsibility, of knowing that these fresh young faces might not make it, hell, probably wouldn’t make it. I gritted my teeth. My job was to keep them alive for a month. To make them into a team. To teach them survival skills before throwing them out to the wolves. Goddess help me.
“Okay, I’m DangerSensei. For the next month, you’re gonna be my team. Mr. Johnson has hired us for a job. We’re to hit a warehouse, under Yak guard, and get several crates of material. That’s not the real test, though.”
I looked around at them. The Latino wheelman was looking much more humble, after the ripping I’d given him last night, during our “interview.” He also sported a nice shiner, a gift of the knowledge I’d given him as well: being “good with your fists” didn’t mean dick if you didn’t know how to duck. I’d picked up the red-headed magician—a wiccan, goddess help us all, fresh off the farm, but magic was rare enough that you worked around what you had. An elf chica, a techie—not the best techie they’d offered, but she’d surprised me with a burning wit, and I figured that a good dose of brains could make up for inexperience. Muscle came packaged in a hulking troll who was fidgeting on the floor. His specs said he could handle heavy weapons, and someone had put some ‘warez in that oversized body. Probably best if we avoided asking who had put it there. Hell, he could double as a vehicle if we ever needed a ride somewhere. And finally an all-about man, a twenty-three year old guy with a completely eclectic variety of skills and charm in spades. I’d had hopes he’d make a face. Or a used-car salesman.
“The test?” Mr. Charm asked.
“Survive for the month,” I said. “All of you. We lose anyone, we’ve all failed.
“I’ll start. I’ve taken this job because I owed someone a favor and I couldn’t say no. You’ve taken it because you don’t have any better ptions,” I said. Tech girl gave a snort. “My job is to show you guys the ropes. The ‘What Not To Do’ stuff. Teach you how to use your skills, how to build your team.”
They looked at each other, wondering. I nodded.
“Muscle-bound boy here,” I pointed to Humes. “He’s got the makings of a good wheelman, a good rigger. Good reflexes, courtesy of some secondhand wires that’re probably loaded with malware. He’s fast with his fists, and can handle a gun. Never handled anything bigger than an AK. He’s got more guts than brains, and needs to learn to listen to a leader.”
Humes narrowed his eyes, opened his mouth to object. I held up a hand.
“Look, you don’t know each other. You can’t rely on each other. A lot of teams start this way, thrown together by a Fixer because he thinks you have a good complement of skills. Well, first thing you should do is say what you can—and can’t—do. Because if your team is counting on you to smooth talk some guard, and you’ve got the charm of a ghoul, you’re gonna all end up dead. Got it?
“Now, you, tech-girl. Introduce yourself.”
The elf looked around, cleared her throat. “People call me Gidget,” she said. “I’m—as DangerSensei so elegantly put it—a tech. I can do some hacking, good at doing data searches, but I’m best at hardware. Building it or taking it apart, either way. I can handle a gun, I’m quiet, and I’m pretty good at blending into a crowd. I may not have graduated from charm school, but I can string together a sentence just fine. I don’t know anything about fighting up close, though.”
I gave Mr. Charm a nod.
He smiled around at everyone, giving the two women a wink. “I’m Rick,” he said. “I’m quick on my feet, quick thinker, and I’m comfortable going into most any place, high class or low. I’ve run with gangers and I’ve served drinks at corporate to-dos. I can ride a bike and drive a car, but I haven’t got a clue as to how they work. I know how to shoot, I know how to duck—” he gave a pointed look at Humes, “—and I can handle a knife. I also know a bit about patching people up, basic first aid, that sort of thing. I can get around in the Matrix, but I’m no hacker. Chat rooms, that’s more my style.”
Gidget rolled her eyes at that, but I shrugged, then pointed to the skinny redhead.
“I’m, uh, I’m Riley,” she said, her voice soft and nervous. “I’m a Wiccan. I can do magic… um, healing, and shielding, and turning people invisible. And, confusing things a bit, if necessary. Spirits. I know about spirits.” She fell silent, her checks almost as red as her hair. Mr. Charm eyed the girl with a bit of awe and envy, Humes, a touch of fear. The troll looked like he was wondering if she’d turn him into a newt. Yeah, magic can do that to folks. I was pleased to see the techie seemed blasé, even though she was sitting right beside the redhead. Girl had a good head on her shoulders.
“Now, you,” I said, pointing to the troll. He shifted on the floor. “Buster,” he said. “I’m a troll.” I closed my eyes, counted to ten.
“Right. Buster is here for muscle. Heavy weapons. Close combat. And he’ll serve as a living shield in a fight—Riley, you and Buster are going to be best friends. Buster, someone starts shooting, your first job is to get yourself between the bullets and the redhead. Understand?” The redhead and the troll looked equally terrified at the prospect. I smiled.
“So, there you have it. A wheelman, a hacker, some muscle, a face, and a magician. Some of your skills overlap. Some don’t. We’re missing some, but I’m working with what I’ve got.
“Now, let’s talk gear. Our budget is covering the safe house for the month, and there’s plenty of soybars in the cupboard. We don’t have the cash for anything else, though. A lotta times, you come into a one-shot deal like this, it’s each man—or woman—for themselves for gear. Since we’re spending a fun-filled four weeks together, let’s talk about what you can bring to the table.” I pointed to Humes, who was scowling.
“What?” he asked, belligerent. “I’ve got my own gun, my own clothes. If I was rolling in the nuyen, you think I’d be here?”
I gave a short bark of a laugh. “How about a car, wheelman? Or some bikes?”
He nodded, grudgingly. “I got a truck,” he said, shrugging. “It’s even got seatbelts. I can install a leash in the back to hold Buster.”
“Good,” I said, biting my tongue. “Transportation, check. Now, you, tech-girl.”
“I’ve got my ‘link, my programs. I may have even, ah, cracked the copyright on them, so I can patch up your links with something a bit higher-end. I’ve got a few odds and ends. Tech gear. A toolkit. That sort of thing.”
“Tech, check. Rick?”
Mr. Charm smirked, and spread his hands wide. The meaning was clear: It’s all me, baby. Gidget rolled her eyes again.
“Riley?” I asked.
The Wiccan blushed once more. “I have my own tools, for my, uh, magic. I have some spirits I know, too. Um. Nothing else, really. I’m sorry.”
“Spirits are good, kid. They can make a big difference, so don’t sweat the rest,” I said, making an effort to be nice. You pampered your magic a bit, in the shadows. Hell, for a team like this to even have a magician, that was a miracle. I’d point that out to the rest of them privately, later on.
“Buster?” I asked. In reply, he unzipped a large duffel beside him, and a handful of bullets spilled out and rolled across the concrete floor. Inside, I saw a jumbled assortment of guns, spotting the standard Predator Iv, an Uzi, an AK-97, a Remington, and—fuck me, was that a Panther? I took another deep breath. I could almost feel my hair turning grey.
“Okay, next up, contacts. Who you know can make the difference between getting work—getting work that doesn’t get you killed—and starving. We’ll start with Rick this time,” I said. “Oh, I’ve got lots of friends. Got a friend who works up at the charity clinic in Pomona, she can get her hands on lots of stuff. Another friend who works for the PCC, in their ID services department, and her sister, who’s in the police secretarial pool. I know a lady in the Ancients, and another girl whose brother’s in the Koshari. Know a girl who works at the Long Beach port
I stopped him with a raised hand again. “Do you anyone who’s not female?”
He gave me a grin.
“Okay, we’ll leave the contacts to Mr. Charm here. Now, this is the part where, if you all had some experience and knew each other, we’d start planning the job. But since we don’t know squat about each other, or about what we can do… let’s do some team-building bullshit. Go do some mountain climbing.”
Four sets of eyes looked at me with shock. I cracked a grin; the first one of the day.
“Or we can go grab a beer and swap life stories,” I said, and they all sighed in relief.
I shook my head. Kids these days.
© 2009 WizKids, Inc. All rights reserved. Shadowrun, Matrix and WK Games are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of WizKids, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.
ABOUT THE GAMESeattle, 2075... unlike any place in the awakened world. That's right, I said 'awakened'. Near the beginning of the century, magic, dragons and other creatures of legend returned to the world with a vengeance. Some discovered that they suddenly had a talent for casting spells, empowering them to do anything from levitate to hurl balls of fire down the streets. A few folks started to be born to normal humans that some began to call 'elves' and dwarves'. Then some normal humans started 'goblinizing', painfully transforming into what were dubbed 'orks' and 'trolls'. Humanity was split into 5 subcategories of metahumans. All this along with technological advances in computers, as well as cutting edge cybernetic implants called 'cyberware'. It seemed that the world as we knew it had changed forever.Now, some 65 years later, magic and cyberware are commonplace. Central governments have balkanized into smaller nations and city-states and Megacorporations have emerged as the new world superpowers, a law unto themselves. Nestled amidst the Native American Nations, Seattle stands as the center of the North American world of corporations. In this environment, the rich get richer and the poor remain in abject poverty. High security areas have good police protection but there are many places that law enforcement dares not venture. In these areas, gangs run rampant and criminal enterprises are the law of the land. When a corporation needs something done discretely or illegally, they often call upon Shadowrunners, inner-city mercenaries willing to do other people's dirty work- for a price. These individuals eke out a living, risking reputation, life, and limb in the hopes that one day, they'll hit that big score and be able to afford the finer things in life; opulent luxury, real food (as opposed to the nutrisoy that most folks have to eat) and everything else most people feel they need to be happy.
A Word From the GM
This game is semi-freeform, which means that it uses “stats” but only to aid in the freeform RP. A player will never need to roll dice if they don’t want to. We will be using Shadowrun 5th Edition stats. Money is very important in this game, so players and GMs alike will need to keep track of the Nuyen (the world currency in 2070) they accrue and how much they spend. Note that most minor expenditures are usually covered by your lifestyle rating.
The GM for this game will be Crash.
Information on the setting can be found on the wonderful WIKI
that the lovely Josietta has worked so hard on. This is a great resource for the history of the game, but we will not be using the character creation section and in the last five years the use of Cyberdecks are back.
Character creation can be handled one of two ways. Players can create full-fledged characters from Shadowrun 5th Edition using the Core Book and Gun H(e)aven 3 only. I do not have the other books.
If you do not have access to the rules or just don’t want all of the hassle of character creation and just want to play in a really cool setting then you can go to the Races and Archetypes Thread located here
and pick a race and an Archetype. Mash the two together and you have an instant character for stats. Just make some minor modifications if you wish (get my approval) and come up with a background and you will be good to go. All new characters will have no experience as Shadowrunners. They will be neophytes looking to get into the shadows. Any concepts with experience as Shadowrunners will be rejected.
Players that were a significant part of the original Seattle 2070 game can make their characters 5 years older and will get a bonus Karma reward for playing those original characters. They will be the only experienced Shadowrunners allowed at the beginning of the game. All old plots will be considered completed and you can start with fresh connections if you wish.
PM full sheets to myself (Crash), but basic concepts can be discussed here. Players are encouraged to work out relationships, friendships, rivalries and enemies with one another.
As always, any questions or concerns anyone has can be directed here or via PM to myself (Crash).
While this game is in the Extreme Section I don't run extreme sexual content and any non-con scenes need to be agreed upon by all parties beforehand. Any Extreme and/or Non-Con content will need to be spoilered with a warning about the content inside. Again this is not a big part of my writing style. The game is in the extreme section because of expected combat scenes.A Note about Contacts
I encourage potential players to look at the NPC section of the Big Board and if you have a contact that falls under one of the existed contacts I have written up to use that NPC as your contact. If there is not an appropriate NPC/Contact feel free to write up your contact using the NPC Character Sheet and I will post it. Others may be looking for a similar contact and it could be logical tie ins to know other characters.
[floatright][img height=400]http://<insert image>[/img][/floatright][b]Name:[/b]
[b]Place of Birth:[/b]
[b]Current Place of Residence/Lifestyle Level:[/b] (Do you live in Auburn? Tacoma? Downtown? Low Lifestyle? High Lifestyle? Squatter Lifestyle?)
[b]Living Arrangements:[/b] (Do you live alone? If not, do your roommates or family know that you're a Shadowrunner?)
[b]History:[/b] (Must be detailed and include at least three paragraphs)
[b]Condition Monitor (Physical/Stun):[/b]
1. Where is your character from?
2. Does your character have a family?
3. Does you character have an ethnic background?
4. What does your character look like?
5. What does your character dress like?
6. Does your character have any physical quirks?
7. Where did your character learn their Skills?
8. Where did your character get their gear?
9. Where does your character live?
10. Who are your character's contacts?
11. Who are your character's enemies?
12. How did you character learn magic? (Adepts/Magicians Only)
13. What are your characters likes and dislikes?
14. What is your character's moral code? Will the character kill? Why?
15. Does your character have goals?
16. Does your character have personal beliefs?
17. Is your character religious?
18. Does your character have personality quirks?
19. Why does your character run the shadows?
20. How does your character view their role as a shadowrunner?