Icarus Protocol: Blood Pact
A few weeks ago I had an unfortunate situation occur where a good deal of the players in my Shadowrun group couldn’t manage to make the session that day. Normally I expect about five players, but in this case I only ended up with just the two and that was definitely not enough to do the run I had planned. This left me – as the GM – with three options. The first was to call off the game or maybe play something else with them, like a board game. This was arguably the easier of the two options and probably what a fair number of other GMs may have done in this situation. Alternatively, I could have continued with what I had planned and played the existing characters as NPCs or similar.
But there was a third option and one that was infinitely more challenging: Go entirely off script and make something up purely as I went along. In other words, basically wing an entire run – from no notes or similar – designed around the two players who came. This had some advantages in that I could easily tailor the run to the players who were there and meant that I didn’t need to do a complex run, which needed me to play PCs as DM controlled NPCs or similar.
Naturally the most difficult option was the one I picked and after spending a bit of time thinking about what to do, I just purely winged everything in this session.
The first thing I decided to do was to get the runners to go and chat to their previous ally, Anodyne. Anodyne had sent the runners an odd email, asking about a job that Arias wanted her to do and needed some advice on it. Meeting Anodyne in a local bar, she described that Arias had asked her to go to Shanghai, where she was to look for an individual who may have been responsible for delivering the virus used in a terrorist attack there. Arias was certainly paying top dollar for any information, which might lead to this individual being apprehended or who the virus was ultimately sold to. Anodyne was just skeptical about the job and being a cyberized individual herself, was concerned about Arias possible motivations for it.
After some debate, the runners ultimately encouraged her to go and take the job where she left to Shanghai. If you’re wondering, this is where running two games at the same time and within the same “world” works really well. One campaign can and often will start to influence the other, making them feel like one continuous world as opposed to being stuck in their own little “bubbles”. In fact when I initially made both Icarus Protocol and Mostly Flesh and Steel, how both of these games could cross over and feel like a part of the same coherent world was very important. In fact I started with a plot that was very intertwined between both games, until I eventually decided it would be better that they link in places but were ultimately their own things.
In any event, after this the runners returned back to their safehouse and heard about a minor job being advertized around the docks district nearby. Apparently someone was in need of a courier, which was a fairly simple job and they needed them in a hurry. The contents were not particularly worrisome, but they needed someone capable of defending themselves to deliver it just in case things went wrong. Few questions would be answered and discretion would be paramount. Thankfully this group had already proven to be fairly discreet, so they were definitely going to be pretty in line for this job.
Once they met the Mr Johnson offering the task, who turned out to be a tall scarred Troll and not that interested in chit chat, they soon found it to be a strange case of some sort. This run seemed really simple: Take the case to one of the corporate executives of Aztechnology up in the rich district of the city, send a message it had been done and then get paid for it. Couldn’t be easier right?
Either way, taking the job they soon managed to acquire Davis (the VI that controls the parties transport APC) and drove out to the mansion where the executive lived. Once there they soon found themselves expected and they were let straight in. Interestingly, this seemed to make the players much more agitated and worried than when they thought they would have to sneak inside in some manner. Either way, they got to the executive without much of an incident and handed him the suitcase, where he opened it up. His initially arrogant and superior attitude soon faded in an ashen expression of sheer abject horror, then an oddly calm expression.
He took whatever it was inside the case, which to the runners seemed to be some kind of strange obsidian dagger shaped like a triangle and then he pretty much ran himself through with it. His sudden death triggering the security of the mansion to immediately begin to descend upon the runners – whom they assumed had killed him. This required a quick exit as automatic turrets began tearing the room apart and the security started shooting. Grabbing the suitcase before they left, Mister and Eric jumped out of the window and called for Davis to come around for them. Dealing with the security closing in on them, Davis flew around the corner with the runners piling in – while Davis drove away.
However the closing automatic gates presented a new problem, though Eric was able to use his technomancy to fix that issue there was one last issue: A heavy attack rotodrone with a big cannon appeared above and began shooting Davis. While the APC had a fair amount of body and armor, the cannon was able to do an enormous (and surprising) about of damage – with several shells making immense “holes” in the roof. Naturally this would not impress Skemm (who owns Davis) one bit if he should find out about it….
In any event, here is where I realized that vehicles without a rigger are immensely hard for a technomancer and a mage to use effectively. With the heavy rotodrone locked on and continuing to attack with its cannon, Davis took matters in his own drone brains hands and shot back. Amazingly, with only a handful of dice he managed to score 5 hits and then did sufficient damage with his own weapon to disable the rotodrone for a while – long enough to escape in any event!
With some new holes on board and a mysterious dagger, some parchment resembling human skin and questions as to what just happened, the runners returned to the safehouse to hide out.
Now… let’s just hope Skemm doesn’t figure out why Davis has some new holes in him that weren’t there before…