User:Gadget/Thicker Than Blood/Episode 2
I knew going into this game that there would be little to be done except for some light leg work and the runners bringing Martin into the fold of the group, so this sessions prep came a bit down to winging it and bringing a little more flavor to the world. I, also, did a little prep for next session, as that would be a bit more set in stone...or at least one would hope.
Much of the pregame setup was done last minute as everyone had done last minute character changes, per my allowance, but hadn't actually informed me of said changes until the day of the game, so, I had to go over all of the characters last minute. Certainly not my preferred method, but it did get me fired up to run the game. On the same note I had to play a little last minute catch up to bring everything up to snuff, including the inclusion of some new contacts that I was given a rough outline for and create a few blurb write ups. All in all, I'm pleased with them as the new contacts fit nicely into the world and the runners all seem like they are well rounded.
The one thing that I wanted to drive home with the introduction of Martin is that none of the characters had, as yet, met him. It would produce an exercise for me to GM on the fly, to see how they chose to solve a problem, and to give them the opportunity to interact with some of their contacts and perhaps make new acquaintances.
I'm a little dismayed that no one has added any flavor text to the characters or NPCs as yet, but hopefully inspiration will kick in. As I have noted, I award Karma for added pages of character flavor and description. I hope to see some in the coming weeks.
After a long night of sitting in a holding cell or face down in the mud hiding from the cops, the runners were looking quite a bit the worse for wear. None had slept, and Jackie, despite her superior constitution, had managed to get hypothermia from being in the Pacific Northwest January cold and rain all night covered in wet mud and leaves. None of them had had anything to eat since the afternoon before, either. Needless to say, it was time for a hangover breakfast and a warm place to sleep the previous evenings shenanigans off.
Jackie barely managed to make it to Puyallup in one piece as her body began to shut down and her hypothermia grew worse, and she couldn't manage to do anything but terrify the clerk at the Overnight Motel into denying her a room. Luckily, Ling Ling and Two-Face had decided to take their cab straight to the motel and managed to find Jackie wandering in parking lot in time. Ling Ling procured a room while Two-face talked Jackie down and they got their fellow runner into a warm bath and gave her proper emergency hypothermia care. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and Two-Faces know how, Jackie was stabilized in a little over an hour, and they were back to some of every runners greatest life problems...where and how to score some food and a couple of hours of sleep before getting back on the job. They, also, had to deal with the fallout of Cat's shenanigans and figure out how to cover their tracks before their job went sour.
Jackie had managed to contact her hacker friend Red with her coordinates before going into full hypothermic shock, and had asked him to help her with a data trail burn of the previous evening. When Red arrived at breakfast and the issue explained, and especially that Paku was involved, he quickly moved to help his friend and her fellow runners to break the trail of their commlinks, in exchange for a favor to be paid at a later date. While Red worked, Jackie and Ling Ling went to procure some new clothes for Jackie, Ling Ling got in touch with her Ancients ganger contact, Lao, about getting a new hacker for the team, she attempted to contact Paku to give him a status update, and Two-Face did some Astral recon of the Port of Tacoma and then summoned a very powerful fire spirit.
What Two-Face found at the Port of Tacoma holding center he had not been suspecting. The entire place was tainted, not only with the Astral resonance of the Tacoma Aroma, but something far more sinister that corrupted the entire docking area of the holding branch and particularly the warehouses themselves. He barely managed to avoid a resident watcher spirit, a translucent and many tentacled thing with a large central eye, as he researched the aura of the place and found that the background count had been created by some form of magically active drugs. None appeared to be present at the time, but they had been left an undeniable taint to the place. As two-Face continued to investigate he accidentally ran smack dab into another watcher spirit, which immediately set out an alarm and ran away. Two-face thinking it best to take a hasty retreat, left immediately to avoid further detection.
in the meantime, Lao was more than happy to help Ling Ling out, for a favor, and began to ask around. He eventually came to the fixer, Ariel, who was more than happy to put another of her representatives on the job...especially given that she owed Lao a number of favors. Ariel contacted Martin and laid out the meets details, and that he was to be very careful with Lao as he was a very dangerous individual who did not take kindly to being crossed. Martin loaded up his van and was on the way.
After a short get together with Red, and being reunited with their newly refitted commlinks, Ling Ling and Jackie walked in on the end of Two-Face's ritual summoning, and were contacted by Paku for his status update. ling Ling did a fine job of damage control, and won some points with him for taking the initiative on getting a new hacker. Jackie and Ling Ling were then off to procure their new comrade in arms.
Smartly, Jackie covered her head and wasn't wearing gang colors when she dropped ling Ling off at the Ancients hangout, and then made a hasty withdrawl from her rival gangs territory. Ling Ling was left to fend for herself, but being a semi-regular visitor and acquaintance of Green Satan's Black Banner gave her a lot of leeway with the gang members. Lao instructed her that there would be a new shipment soon and that he would like her help, that the hacker was on his way, and that she could wait in the rundown office of the Ancients warehouse. When Marin arrived, however, it was a very different story.
Parking his white van in front of the Ancients hangout, and radiating social awkwardness and timidity, the gangers swarmed like sharks to a bleeding meal. Harassing the Martin inside his van, they quickly intimidated him out of it and proceeded to rob him at gun point until he managed to convince them that he really was asked to come by Lao. Lao got Martin his shoes back, and instructed him that Martin would owe him a favor for saving his ass, and then and took him to Ling Ling. She negotiated Martin into joining the run and metaphorically wrapped him around her little finger. Meanwhile, Lao listened in on the proceedings and then left them to the ends. Upon leaving, Lao threw Martin's armored jacket at him, after having retrieved it from the other Ancients, as a reminder that he owed him one and that he aimed to collect.
Upon returning to the room at the Overnight Motel, Ling Ling and Jackie crashed out while Two-Face and Martin worked on a plan and Martin did some recon, information gathering, and hacking on the Port of Tacoma's main node.
Post Game Notes
I'm really pleased at how the night went and, in particular, with how Cindy managed to solve the teams need of a new hacker and how to integrate Tyro's new character. It was a great on-the-fly roleplaying experience that integrated some good contacts in an interesting way, and, I feel, it really allowed Tyro to get his feet wet with Martin's personality. Martin having "Incompetent (Intimidation)" as a drawback Quality makes roleplaying him, and with him, an interesting challenge as the character just radiates "easy mark" and simply does not grasp how to stand up for himself or scare someone. This seems like something that wouldn't be much of a problem, but when you think about how often intimidating someone can come into normal human interaction, and especially with people like Shadowrunners and the tough personalities they interact with, it can mean the world. I even had to remind myself of that when Tyro would take a forceful or intimidating manner while speaking or acting in character that Martin would come off as almost laughably un-impressive. That Cindy decided to use Lao, an impressively intimidating ganger surrounded by a veritable army of street toughs, as the contact to meet with Martin allowed for all kinds of roleplaying fun. I like how it turned out, and look forward to having Lao come calling for his favors.
I, also, enjoyed how everyone handled doing some initial track covering, began developing a plan for getting the job done, and dealing with the "Cat Incident." Everyone played very well, and they managed to get a fair share done despite the problems of the previous night. The Cat Incident has certainly pushed the plot in an interesting direction, and runners now owing a number of people favors for helping them out has laid some fun plot hooks. I'm also really interested to see what Jeff intends to do with his newly acquired fire spirit, and what the runners make of the horrible astral taint of the docks.
All in all, a good session. I look forward to next weeks.
I would like to put out there as a reminder that I do encourage cinematics in the game, and award Edge and extra dice to actions for "stunting." For those of use familiar with the Exalted system, it is used in exactly the same fashion and if you describe an action in a particularly interesting way I will award up to three "stunt dice" and perhaps an Edge and/or Karma for a good roleplaying. And remember, this also includes social situations; roleplay it out before a roll and it may reward you.
Jackie 13 = 2
(1 for having her character uploaded, 1 for session participation)
Ling Ling = 1
(1 for session participation)
Two-Face = 1
(1 for session participation)
Martin = 2
(1 for session participation, 1 GM awarded point for good roleplaying)
Fun session, indeed. I was afraid the fiasco with Cat would spell a premature end to all the characters but I get a feeling the story has a chance to continue. I am intrigued by the astral taint inside the warehouse, hopefully we'll be able to find the needle in the haystack because I think we'll be getting more than that when we go in. As for Martin, I believe he is a better fit for both the party and Tyro as a player. I've always found Incompetent (Intimidate) an amusing and somewhat challenging drawback. It should be fun to see where that goes, especially with a character like Jackie walking around.
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