Saturday Seed – 10 (Shadowrun)

This seed is being planted for Shadowrun, for an experienced group that typically works the shady end of the street, prefers to go unnoticed by everyone except high-paying employers, and enjoys their larceny.

Several sessions before you wish to spring this seed upon the group, describe a pending election and mention their celebrity mouthpieces swaying public opinion this way and that by the minute. Later in the session include the description of a ‘Coming Soon’ flyer hinting at the opening of a new night club or hot spot somewhere in the neighborhood. If things work out geographically, a session or two later, the group might pass by the site on other business, and see the building shrouded from view tarps and scaffolding assembled by construction crews ostensibly working round the clock to refurbish the exterior. It has a great location, and seems to have that elusive quality which makes a place really jump.

In the next or a subsequent session, include as background and colour the information that several of the politicians from each party and interest have received death threats from cranks, lone nuts, and extremist groups, and that the media are running with it halfway between joke and an attempt at manufacturing outrage. If possible, try to engage the characters in political discussion about candidates in specific (if you have established the political leaders and their opponents in your setting already, or are about to do so) or politicians and their natures in general. Take notes – you will need their responses later. Try to keep it low-key and real. You know how people get around election time.

When you are ready… a regular contact approaches them with wind of a great deal that the client wishes to keep very, very quiet. The client has offered a finder’s fee to the group’s fairly innocuous contact if he/she can encourage the group to agree to meet to discuss a two-part contract, with options on a third part should they perform their end satisfactorily. Payment is a sum each runner should find terribly tempting plus the offer of reducing or obviating any current legal tangles they might be wrestling with. The contact has instructions on how to make a blind drop to deliver their answer if they decline.

  • A group that learns of these instructions, might not notice the detail that the contact is only to deliver a message to the drop if the group declines, and might choose to surveil the site trying to learn more about this very secretive client. Let them. They will still have a chance to learn something, but assign stiff penalties as the surveillance will be completely inactive.
  • If they do notice the detail, and decide to send the contact as a lure, they will have their normal chances to detect a highly trained operative watching the site remotely for the passing of the contact. It should be hard, but as the group is experienced, they certainly deserve a chance to discover something.
  • If they do detect the means of surveillance, and find the operative, they will not get much, but that in itself should be a valuable clue to the level of play on which they have found themselves. The operative will have instructions to make a chalk mark on a highly visible wall which could be spotted from practically anywhere within the area’s several unobstructed fields of view, at up to truly ridiculous ranges. He knows that this spot will be checked for the mark at noon every day for one week. This gives the group the means to contact the client on their own should they choose to do so.

If they decline, a luxurious gift-basket containing one or more favorite items of each member of the group will be delivered to one of their regular watering holes, shortly after they arrive, with a note simply stating, “Please reconsider”

Their contact will pester them (primarily to get his finder’s fee) each day.

If they continue to decline, a better gift-basket will be sent to a more secure or private location that they frequent. The client, while likely capable of penetrating deeper through the levels of whatever security they may employ to protect their hideouts, will not violate their privacy further in this way.

If they continue to decline, after one week, a local person, such as a shop-keeper, will approach them in private to ask them why they keep declining (also for a decent pay cheque).  As with the operative, he is to mark an obvious spot so passive optical observation can be used from great distance. He too knows that the spot will be good for just one week.

If they still decline, things die down… for a while. (see below)

If they accept, they are offered a job first testing, then upgrading the security measures at the new night club, simply called V. A direct representative of the client will meet them as Mr. Johnson, and lay out the full details.

  1. Perform a successful intrusion to the inner office and deliver a bottle of champagne left for them in the safe. They have up to 2 weeks to prepare for the run. If they do not attempt the intrusion within 2 weeks + 1 day, they will forfeit all payment, and be considered ineligible for part 2. They are not to indicate on which day they will attempt the run. Delivery of the champagne is to be to the site foreman on a set date of 2 weeks +2 days from the date of hire. Detection or Capture by security will again result in a forfeiture of payment and ineligibility for part 2.
  2. Successful completion of part 1 will result in 50% payment, a nice letter of congratulations – both delivered by the foreman – and a new opportunity. Mr. Johnson will meet them the next day and ask them to provide an estimate for upgrading security and procedures to prevent intrusion, installation and implementation of the plan, plus a demonstration that proves the upgrades are effective. This latter part means the crew will need to recruit runners themselves to take a crack at an intrusion of their own. If the crew cannot penetrate the new security measures, they will be paid the remaining 50%, plus action will be started on whatever legal problem was included in the deal. In addition, the group will be eligible for part 3. If the crew succeeds, the job is over and no payment is made. They are thanked politely.
  3. V will be open for 8 days before its Grand Opening. Things will be low-key for that initial week, but media types and critics will be given VIP treatment, and various local politicians will be wined and dined by the managers.  On the night of the Opening, top celebrities and socialites will be there, and no expense will be spared to have the club explode onto the night scene of the city. The group will be offered the chance to supervise security on that night for a payment equalling that for the initial agreement.

This is what you have been building toward. The group is being set up. Do your best to keep this from being obvious prior to this point. Try your best to build a mood of enjoyment in using their skills for what seems to be legitimate security testing, and getting well-paid for their efforts. Make the challenges interesting and hard. Allow each character a chance to use their specialities to find weakness in the existing set-up and improve it. Lull them into a sense of security, then pull out the rug, and give them a high-pressure, short time frame to save their asses.

What is going on? The client intends to assassinate three important targets (2 politicians, and one of their celebrity supporters) and frame the group for the hit using evidence (doctored and undoctored, spun and unspun) from their work for them (if any). If the group declined to work for the conspirators, they will simply be targeted for death as a matter of tying up potential loose ends. These hits will give the group another way into the story if they want it.

If the group completely declined the job, they will have a few opportunities to detect two-person teams following them passively throughout the late afternoon of Opening Day. These hitters know nothing except that they have been paid well to kill a nobody (the PC). They have not been paid well enough to fight to the death if their target gets the upper hand. They have been paid well enough to try to escape if they get outmanoeuvred and captured. They have not been paid well enough to try to endure torture or other means of interrogation – polite, financial, or otherwise – unless their egos have been bruised by cruel, cruel taunts. A clever player’s clever character should be able to draw a connection between the style of hiring (through a friend), signalling (chalk), and payment (hefty) and the job the group turned down 2 weeks ago. They will have however-many hours between gleaning the information and the time of the assassination (11:58pm) to figure out who, what, when, where, why, and how all of this is taking place and stop it… if they want to stop it.

If the group took the job, but failed part 1 or 2, or declined part 3, they will hear through the grapevine that the group of runners they recruited to test security have accepted the task of running that night’s security at the last-minute.

Things go fast from here:

  • The Opening is at 9pm with celebrities expected to begin arriving by 10pm for a red carpet entry
  • Between 9:30 and 10pm someone attempts to kill the contact who brought the first message. This is a normal street thug hired for the task and due to his limited intelligence and resources will be clearly mistaken as excessive violence during a robbery . That contact has his normal chance to spot the tail, and deal with the problem by whatever means comes naturally to them – including calling the group for help.
  • News reports around the same time indicate a body – obviously murdered and hidden where it would “never be found” – was accidentally found. Initial forensics indicate use of a weapon calibre which “coincidentally” is what one of the more violent characters favours. The photo of the victim is easily recognized as being one of the men who works security on the main door and liaises with the valets. PCs can encounter these reports virtually anywhere they are: walking past news stands, open windows, in bars, news tickers, etc, etc.
  • *The discovery of this body is a failure on the part of the plotters’ henchpeople to follow instructions properly. If any of the conspirators survive the events of the night, these incompetent agents will be among those whose bodies are never found.
  • At 9:30pm one of the characters is contacted and asked to fill in for a missing member of the security team who apparently called in sick. (Yes, the dead one – but the flunky doing the contacting does not know that the missing worker is dead). As the character is intimately familiar with the security operation, they are ideally suited to do this favour for the owners of V, and be commensurately rewarded. (Double the original offer). If that person declines, the next most likely PC will be contacted in short order, and so on. If no one accepts, then move the story on to them having a chance to notice the two-person teams coming for them and have those teams move in to strike no later than 10:30pm. The security detail will operate 1 person short, and this will be made to look like it was a part of the assassins’ plan.
  • At no later than 11:15, the second team of runners, if they are involved in V security or not, will be manipulated into dropping from sight. No witnesses will be able to accurately place them anywhere after that point, nor will they be reachable from that point on, unless the PCs are already with them, and foil the conspirators attempts to take out this second team and pin the deaths on the PCs.
  • At 11:58pm the three victims are to be shot and killed at medium range by weapons matching the style favoured by the PCs. If the PCs are not involved with part 3, then the cameras in the club will have been programmed to have specific blind spots, as if the group had set this up earlier to cover their attack and getaway. If they are involved with part 3, then the cameras will conveniently just miss the moment of the assassination, but clearly show the presence of the PCs in and around the club during the night.
  • The second team of runners, if they have been involved in the club security on opening night or not, will turn up dead with circumstantial evidence pointing toward the PC group around 1 am unless previously saved by the PCs.
  • From this point on, pretty much everything is in your group’s hands. Either they will or won’t get involved, the assassination will or won’t be foiled, they group will or won’t be framed, and the villains will or won’t get away with it.
  • The authorities, unless prevented by the PCs, will be able to easily and quickly uncover a clear trail linking the PCs to V, its security, the second team of runners, and their murder, the dead security guard, and good, if circumstantial, evidence for method, and for opportunity; the stickler will be nailing motive. Each runner will have a sizeable amount of creds in accounts traceable to them (set up by the conspirators), but this just casts further doubt on their innocence.
  • As the investigation heats up, people with whom the PCs have spoken in the past month may be called to testify as to their knowledge of the characters’ political affiliations or outlook. Use the group’s own words as often as you can – for their good or ill.  Some witnesses will be plants or will have been bought off, to supply damning evidence – providing motive.

Have fun!

3 Responses to “Saturday Seed – 10 (Shadowrun)”
  1. 1nsomniac says:

    Found your site today and I definitely like your material. It’s well thought out, but leaves plenty of room for adaptation for any GM’s campaign. A lot of sites that post campaign hooks leave the focus too narrow to be applicable.

    My primary game is Shadowrun, so this one caught my eye first, but I love your Cthulhu stuff as well. Great stuff! Glad to see a good RPG resource still out here, since so many have fallen silent in recent years.


    • Runeslinger says:

      Thanks for the kind words~
      I have been slowly updating myself to SR4 these days, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a few seeds get planted for Shadowrun over the coming weeks.

      I have linked to the Data Haven – it looks like you have a lot of good stuff there!

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  1. […] linked to the Shadowrun hook here for your convenience, but I highly recommend that you check out the whole site.  There is a wealth […]

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