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The kind of test you dont dare to guess He was willing to take a back seat and sit on the forger to on. After what seemed an infinite silence, Edwards finally make sure she didnt decide to look for a better deal. It was asked, Why am I here? Cobain respected his long- Tares reply and a piece of electropaper with a picture time teammate, but thirty-six was old, on the back nine of on it that he slid across the table said it all, Revenge, dear an orks eighteen holes of life.
A few days of much-need- Victor. Does Betty look familiar? And he understood. After all of that, Cobain, Quill, and Gas Crank were left to do the actual steal. They should be enough.
The team didnt have anyone else right now anyway. Cobain had taken over 10 Years Later for Tare almost five years ago when their former face got Cobain stared out through the rain-speckled glass at the a break with Horizon and stepped from the shadows into skyline of Boston. The soft hum and lilt of classical music the light. At the time, hed felt a little twinge of jealousy, played through the ships sound system.
It was louder in but since his own fall from the light, Cobain had only a few the ballroom, but continued everywhere, a link between regrets. A woman hed wished he was able to hold on to, all the guests, no matter where they were, and a reminder a few runs hed wished hed done better legwork on, and of what they were here for. Well, what most of the guests a good friend he would have preferred was still breathing.
Despite his profession- porations. He looked at others still in that life with sadness. The neo-anar- beautiful the city was at night. Mo never gave to cover as much of himself as he could before slipping into him a straight answer, but Cobain found out the truth after character and stumbling toward the outer deck. Mo had lost his fight with lung cancer two months ago. Feigning drunk, he staggered through a course that gave At the mans remembrance, Mos sister pulled out an old him a chance to spot all six of the people he needed eyes compact disc player from the end of the last century.
She on. Juan, the Azzie exec, was inside seated at a table visi- slipped in one of those old flat discs and told everyone ble through the rear deck glass. Burly Azzie with the case that this had been Mos favorite music. She talked brief- was walking away from the table and headed toward the ly about the band, Nirvana, and the start of their counter- rear deck.
Lastly, the megacorporations. When Cobain introduced himself Quill was leaning over the railing above, looking out into to Mos sister to ask about the band and the songs, she the night. Everyone was where they needed to be. When Cobain set the plan in motion by staggering along down he told her Mo gave it to him she hugged Cobain tight and the side of the boat.
With one hand on the rail and the oth- told him how much Mo must have loved him to have given er holding his glass, he stumbled and sloshed champagne, him such an honor.
When she explained that Cobain was worth more per ounce than gold, all over the deck and his the last name of the lead singer, who had killed himself clothes. He intentionally lost his grip on the rail as Burly when Nirvanas music had been bowdlerized and popular- Azzie stepped out onto the rear deck and toppled into the ized, he understood. Mo would have loved their current job. It was right up What the watch it, the Azzie blurted. The target was a silver case, currently attached to Oh, my god, I am so sorry, Cobain slurred while clum- the wrist of a very burly Aztlaner in the company of Juan sily groping at the Azzie and splashing champagne down Gualara, Director of International Infrastructure Analysis the mans sleeve.
Programs for Aztechnology. The case holder was a mem- I think youve had enough, Burly Azzie said. He pulled ber of his security detail, who also happened to be a former Cobain back. Hed managed to do rate Security. Gualara had been invited to the yacht in or- what he needed to, and now needed to give the big guy a der to get ACSs man in place to make a quiet deal with a little space. Enough or not, my glass is empty again. Excuse me, All information Mr. Johnson had left out at the initial meet, Cobain slurred and stumbled toward the server.
THE warrior who traveled the countryside. The best known of these is that name chosen. And might I say how much I hate Slamm-0! May not harm the innocent. May never accept bribes or misuse authority. Mwa- corrupt. The host. Tales of paladins being blacklisted. Key aspects of the code are to protect to the layman. Must not allow art or beauty to come to harm.
Must not the modern world. If he lives. While Aztechnology suffered a few punches. Fighting corrupt officials. Evan Parris. The Covenant with Patients is the best known something new. The man might be altruistic. How do you put bullets in people? Damn his eyes. Thank you! Must provide medical aid if able. The oath has been re-written dozens of times in history. The ideals of the elven paladin run thick in that nation. Damn fool waves a gun at my people.
The loyalty aspects are somewhat gods of medicine should they become an oath-breaker. I patch him up free of charge. Those shadowrunners who follow the core beliefs. Other ethical codes the oath conveys are to fight against evil and injustice. Just ask Prince luchadores. Puyallup at any point in time.
May never torture or harm prisoners. Orks in the Salish-Shidhe nation. Must maintain honorable conduct and obey the rules of war. Same for cops. You pass a black mark. My office is neutral ground. An ethi. True or neighborhood against all threats. Never show fear. Those few bad apples give the rest weird fetish magazines are left out in the open. Do not allow yourself or your Restriction: Must obey orders from superiors.
Being a doctor means a lot of things. An Akichita warrior must show bravery and strength. The spirit of brotherhood it car- pected to keep themselves to this strict code. One weak and few instances of this are as telling as counting coup. They are further expect- their comrades to undertake such looting. Challenge your strength against worthy foes. A doctor never steals from a patient he visits.
One of the newest. Must not lie to Never harm the weak or innocent. Not only are solders ex. From there. As this sadly implies.
Must not loved ones to fall into decadence or slothful behavior. You get close enough to Restriction: Must always follow the commands of knife a guy. If you manage to earn in the feudal-corporate empire gives them sway over ten. Most of feathers.
A second infraction could burn off a point best friend. These corporate samurai obey whatever order comes If a player continues to break their Code of Honor whenever from above. A smaller number refuse and take to the streets and become street samurai. Committing seppuku.
Your brothers determine when you earn one. They follow the Way of the Sa- murai. Those who make such refusals ordinarily accept whatever punishments their lord sets forth. Go near scores of lesser lights. They take this very seriously. There are below the masters but a cut above the common worker.
These guys are near his belly. The to cops. May not use lethal code against fellow Restriction: To serve as an officer of the law. They see themselves as the good guys. The Good Cop them up.
Stay away and ev. When it comes them might one day be elevated to hands of GOD. The best of strong step in to protect the vulnerable. Samurai drama—it always ends you has a moral obligation to keep it up until you repent. Most cops are for viruses. They track down identity thieves. To hold your personal conduct beyond reproach sion is to mend and defend the Matrix. They have to be in order to try on. Most never get the watchmen in the night who keep the dark at bay.
Ten percent are crooked. This makes them a pariah in their own the dotted line. They practice penetration and code. To protect those in need and. Never destroy information. They meddle in t-shirts made! The study of knowledge itself. The leading followers of the code were those at the front of magical research. Hermetics understand that a Thing—be it a song. Always speak the truth and de- have a great place to live.
I had doors sealed that should not be opened. Capture rare things intact rather of research projects at the small cost of signing away than destroy the unknown. In older times. Both are logical. The three pillars of Hermetic thought are found in alchemy.
Listen to the spirits! In these studies. Do you have a book of spells? Note that not all who follow the Hermetic Code are magicians. Though remem- the typical snatch-and-grab. Most of the general types of spirits and keep others away.
Sometimes those avenues to protect themselves. To find live subjects and the difficulties of keeping those subjects the purest. In extraterritorial rights. An overnight stay with no sleep p. When smaller fact. The first enemy a runner is going to have to over- there in the dark. These borders without losing them to border guards.
What about all those other jobs out tion. A few Fatigue to rev up that imagination engine because in the next few Tests p. Be sure to consider other critters that might be in the area.
Nature and fatigue are possible ob- take them onto megacorporate property and you have stalcles.
Some of those paracritters or spirits Megacorporations can hire runners to do this kind of probably like the flavor of the local mojo. When bad things finally show up. Hoofing it through the wilds ly fleshed out adventures. SR5 with some armor-based modifiers will pages. Street Gri- Virus. The idea of Infection unexpected opposition. Street Gri- Speaking of infections. The paranoia of infection. These have friends. Erratic behavior is one of the earliest signs natural security provided by their remote and open of infection.
Street Grimoire. Stolen Souls. While those last two may often the threat of vampires p. These they are constantly changing and anything can be hid- jobs bring into question their morals and standards as den.
The Human-Metahuman Vampiric p. This can lead runners to getting caught up extra level of difficulty to tracking them down. These beings of pure mana require some spe. Aztlan trying Much like nature has been shown to play an adversar- to squeeze blood from an obsidian rock.
HMHVV infection hitting the player characters p. Jobs can occur on ships. Jobs or civilizations. Maybe the characters are moles or When looking for a change of pace. These areas are target in a vast blackness with no signals reaching them great for making players think outside their normal op- thanks to the interference of the water.
What does this p. Street Grimore. Challenging accessibility. Street a team of infiltrators who think they are operating un. Not that an entire run should occur inside an area like And once the team has the spot. Another of the best things is that run was never intended to be a space game. Though the classic theme for a story in space is to a new metaplane or even just to the Dweller on the the isolation of the characters.
Roads are easy have become a haven and breeding ground for the vi- to follow and most runners can handle that. This is an especially but that just means you know where. Once projecting over escape. Factor in underwater currents that can push run more interesting. Often the reason for the event Inside. Magical phenomena can ap- approach a station. Even a stationary undersea habitat is not going dealing with some impending disaster—instead.
And times a nice side story or even a fun one-shot run to yet another of the bests is the complete and utter disre- set the stage for some Earthside action can be fun. What happens when that combat the search off course on the way down. Same goes for While many foveae are stable and some even have docking with a station and sneaking in—when entrances warnings around them for mages to keep out.
If the the case. Finding a way out fantasy, horror, or some other setting. It may require a could be an entire adventure all its own. Second, time little extra planning by the gamemaster, but any setting can be skewed in the metaplanes. It can run faster or can appear in the metaplanes and the characters can slower and can allow a relatively smooth transition be- suddenly be redefined.
The metaplanes the effect of death is a mystery to all. Use this uncertainty to keep players on We looked at some interesting places, but what about their toes and generate a memorable story for them, but interesting people? Shelley Red, a dwarf about to screw over three differ- newly created head case may be actively avoiding de- ent street gangs at once just because she can. Or may- tection.
Combine this with the abilities of the head case be Lillbet Kassidy, an elf obsessed with Atlantis who is p. All these people and any run on a megacorp. Maybe a the personal problems of their contacts. These are the local shops and the other downtrodden The corp may create a cover story to throw off pursuit citizens of the world. Some asked them to help. This sort of white- sons is a Shadowrun classic, one that has been around hat action can be an interesting aside from a campaign since the Missing Blood adventure back in First Edition.
Described more thoroughly in Street players wanted to include more details about the day- Grimoire p. Runners have unique missing persons for decades. While going after some- skillsets that attract a lot of attention, so no matter how one inside a corporation may be a challenge, going after low they keep their Public Awareness, their Street Cred someone who has been taken by insect spirits is often makes them stick out.
And again, they make come with interesting twists and turns. This can include a great test for characters with a moral, emotional, or negotiating with a gang to leave a certain shop alone; ethical reason to continue the search even after a more running off a BTL dealer who has taken up residence pragmatic individual would realize it is a lost cause. The myriad of reasons for someone Association p. All of these rea- the location or target of the jobs. Johnson may especially when the job is not so much about being pro- be Awakened and frown on active spells in his presence.
Along with that, the there. This can also give gamemasters the chance to think. Maybe the rules are nothing but talk, ing evidence of misdeeds, or modifying voting results or maybe the forbidden acts will awaken guardian spirits through Matrix, magic, or muscle. There The people who do the hiring can also add flavor and is always someone who wants political power and is variety to the job. Instead of the standard Mr. Johnson in willing to pay to ensure they get it.
Erewhon dressed In the corporate-controlled Sixth World, govern- in golf pants, a flannel, and rain boots. They can be rath- ments need corporate backers to survive. Defense con- er eclectic in their tastes or esoteric in their speech be- tracts, food-supply deals, infrastructure maintenance, cause of the eccentric ways for which the Awakened and dozens of other corporate deals suspend the gov- are notorious. The magical tradition of Mr. Johnson can ernment between their megacorporate masters like a come into play quite strongly.
Where a hermetic mage marionette. They sell their Matrix infrastructure rights might meet in a museum, a shaman may want to meet in to NeoNET so they can download guns and tanks from Ares, the park, or a follower of the Muslim tradition may wish while contracting Saeder-Krupp to build their highways to meet in their local mosque. All of these places pro- and paying for it by allowing Renraku to install GridGuide vide interesting background and flavor to change things across the nation.
The These kinds of employers also tend to ask runners to weak nations simply sell themselves to the highest bid- go to strange places and look for even stranger things.
In the end, governments provide a chance to from Death Valley, a jaunt to Yakut to deliver a mes- do jobs similar to corporate runs, but with a whole differ- sage to a spirit near Tunguska, or just meandering down ent cultural flavor and interesting exotic locales. And even ORGANIZED CRIME better, these jobs can push them into encounters with Honor amongst thieves must truly be limited to thieves anything from paranormal critters to Awakened jungle in the shadows, because no other criminals really force tribes and carnivorous plants to hidden corporate instal- honor onto themselves when dealing with their rivals.
Gamemasters may decide to throw teams for a Though there are the occasional exceptions, such as loop when they make plans for a trip to the siteian within the extremely traditional Yakuza, dealings be- jungle and suddenly come across a big concrete bunker tween the various criminal organizations are usually leading to a high-security secret lab.
They also make an interesting change of pace Troubles for these types of runs also come in the from the standard corp job. But working for an Orga- form of poor intel security. This means competition the runners to work against. There are sweet toys, or even a little extra comfort sleeping at careers to be made, information to be stolen, and of night knowing the local gang owes you a few favors. Government employers an immediately obvious outcome or may be a single offer plenty of opportunities for runners to visit differ- move in a larger chess match.
The local Mafia hiring ent locales, getting a taste of the local flavor through the runners to damage a few pipes under the local Ares interactions with their delightful government officials. Political sabotage can oc- a great layer of deniability for another megacorp.
This stuff happens ety to your Shadowrun game is the nature of the organi- all the time as each OCS tries to solidify their operations zations themselves. Working for the Mafia is going to be and territory.
Runners can be great assets for this when way different than working for the Yakuza, the Triad, the one group needs to muddy the trail early on before they Seoulpa Rings, or the Vory. On top of that, you have the make their big moves. But life is not all of crazy. And like the gangs, each of the above organiza- wine and roses here—an OCS is not a bottom-line-driv- tions has a lot of flavor and variety between all their dif- en corp, and they tend to take their affairs a little more ferent sects, families, gumis, etc.
The Yellow Lotus may personally. This means that job results are far more like- look at failure as a reason to not hire a team again, while ly to elicit emotional, and possibly irrational, behaviors the 99 Blossoms may see failure as a sign of disrespect by their employers.
While a megacorporation may be a and make sure the runners feel the sting of response. Now, what can be worse and create more personal What better place to find jobs outside the brand-ham- troubles than doing runs between two syndicates?
How mering megacorps than a clandestine group that is about jobs within an OCS? Consider Higori Atsu trying to willing to kill anyone who even whispers a word about undermine Michael Higori, the Morelli consigliere look- it without express permission? The Black Lodge, the ing to remove internal competition to his Don, or Gregor Aleph Society, the False Face Society, and more are out Virilenko trying to clear his path to the top—all of these there, ready to be dropped into your game.
They have create jobs that can embroil a team of runners in all sorts jobs that start with wetwork to eliminate loose lips and of bad news. These jobs are almost guaranteed to get far move on from there. The secret societies of the Sixth more personal than most corp runners are going to be World often use their fellow denizens of the shadows in used to, including choosing sides—or more likely being order to further their ambitions.
A trio of great focuses bought or threatened into choosing sides. This work of- for jobs in this doubly shadowy realm are runs against fers some character-driven options and carries ramifica- other groups squatting in the dark corners of the world, tions far beyond the job. Get in too close with the Morelli operations to keep an organization secret, and work to Family and runners can lose contacts and job offers, or remove cancers that may have grown within their own worse become a target for groups trying to weaken their shadowy ranks.
First and foremost, the most likely work a runner will One more great opponent when playing the OCS get from one secret society is against another secret game is the government. While powerhouses they once were, but their scrappy under- secret societies may operate in opposition to some dog status can make them interesting to work with— megacorps or an OCS, they rarely take on such large and against.
An OCS may do a fair amount of business foes directly. Some of these jobs pull runners contract scraps the megacorps leave behind. These further down into the shadows than they already live, jobs are also the kind of ops that new runners can cut and as the shadows get darker, they get deadlier.
But their teeth on. Even if they do, ners on their toes. These jobs run a wide cause they allow them to stretch their imaginations. Se- range. Government facilities and datastores hold orig- cret societies are exactly that, and often come and go inal blueprints for many buildings, infrastructure layout before anyone ever puts them into a book, especially documents, city-planning data, blackmail materials on those written in-character, so canon can kiss the gam-.
Get wild, get crazy, and entertain the ble with the cases already out there. The corps have players in whatever strange way they might desire. The been scrambling for subjects to study to help them un- world is full of crazy, and that crazy often gathers in or- derstand what is happening and how they can fight it.
If a group like the Church of Elvis is public and than happy to let shadowrunners take the risk instead acceptable in the daylight of the Sixth World, imagine of their own operatives or security forces.
That means what the darkness holds. That answer high-value targets, or anything in between to keep the would require the secrets of dozens of runners, both liv- runners from knowing they are about to come into ing and dead, to be revealed. Jobs to eliminate investiga- contact with one of the most dangerous viruses of the tors, or even simply inquisitive spouses, can test the lim- twenty-first century.
If runners get infected, they could help spread the tab, they may make the team a target for the next group CFD virus in the shadows, where monitoring and health of runners. Datasteals against news firms, police corps, care is rare. This could lead to an even faster spread private citizens, and even the big boys are sometimes of the problem. These themselves from becoming the next target. In order to keep investigations from es looking for their kin in order to understand what has digging into the members and risking revelation, run- happened to them, to gather in order to further their ne- ners can be tapped to eliminate the problem.
These jobs farious plans, to seek protection in numbers, or simply often come with a variety of stipulations, such as mak- to find a friend.
These jobs offer some interesting Mr. Squatters who suddenly have the nuyen to it points to person X, who is a nobody working down hire runners thanks to newfound abilities but who still at the Stuffer Shack. Get caught up because idea who the ganger is. These are just a few of the hun- they are about to rock your shadow-world. The dirty dreds of possible stories that can be created by a virus and dark story can be dug into in Storm Front, Stolen that knows only the limits of its signal and the presence Souls, and Lockdown.
The broad strokes come down to of nanites. Megacorporations were taken remember that metahumans are not the only group that by surprise by this virus. The new Matrix came about suffers from the effects of the CFD virus.
Nearly any bi- due to a number of factors, but one was that the CFD ological organism with a decently developed brain can virus was already sneaking out, and the corps real- get over-written. The last alternate campaign here stays on the criminal territorial property to pull the client out to the street. The work tends to be more direct when it comes bright that another corp might want to extract them?
The a specific project? These campaigns can develop and morals collide. At the same time. SWAT teams can have the cool van. These games can give ferent roles discussed in this section can start as side perspective to the restrained power of these corpo- scenes where the runners take on the roles of their rate cops that have to balance the bottom line on the contacts and investigate a crime scene. Doc Wagon of. Gamemasters can create some personal di.
Maybe the group wants a campaign where they are all Company Men. Are they anti-heroes. Players can put They may also have to decide when to help innocent together members of the Mafia.
Seoul- bystanders and when to focus on their job. The whole while they Out to Dry and stuck in the shadows anyway. Vory v Zakone. Characters can explore their feelings and the that weird guy from Assets Management while trying ways others in the world view shadowrunners to create to look nonchalant. Are they willing to risk failure to knock guys for a bit might be a nice change of pace for the a competitor down a peg?
Are they looking to shine so group. Some of the dif. He actually caught a whiff of his shapeshifting tics and feeding him an inventory. His van.
Then again. A ready to run. He walked slow even though he could see clipped the cable in place. The sparse lighting cast deep Elyas timed it perfectly and raised his left arm to fire a rather shadows around every car in the lot. The Seattle was definitely going to be a gold mine. A posi- system so that his order would be ready at the moment he tive mood. If it were just the lights. It was an appropriate show to be airing before this eve. He tried to seem scared.
But the combination of were already full of furry masses. Two napping under the lift like last week. The mood gauge made him rethink trying to ver- pulled up. The combo of electricity and kit. Elyas held still. A man. The electronic sensors in his nose detected a myriad the shocknets. He pulled out a harness and winch cable from an empty lease the safety.
He spotted the big front paws of the massive if the gold kept falling right into his lap. His head good corporate planning. Narcoject was more than enough to drop the tigrine shifter. So the glance at the van was the real message. Elyas was stepping out into the side parking lot It was just enough. The cultures of nations and religions have Troll: It is not a They defy their primary culture in often-standard ways matter of racism or even a sense of superiority.
That is. When working with their own. Dwarfs are.
The cul. Let me also mention that within every culture exists and bottom lines. It is that strength of will not a weakness as some based on the individual. But the cultures of and define themselves—though you might not want to metatypes—only in existence for 55 to 65 years. Within dwarven culture. Within each to expect. They are stoic. My personal philosophy is one of acceptance ranks.
Building an Though I dislike opening with a bad pun. I am in no way. Metahuman- ity is a conglomeration of individuals all reflective. It remains full of people with a stead a sense of steadiness and understanding that they similar past and shared culture.
What is rarely realized by any counterculturalist is and prefer to deal with. My name is Garrett Storm. One of the most significant disadvantages to their but they break the social standards of the broader cul- insular and well-connected nature is it feeds into the ture. Some of the con. Or they may never have met and just got a name A note on the metavarients: Due to local cultural varia- passed to them by a friend. Traits that. The urban legend of and magically savvy.
Especially when these dwarfs. These small populations are too often defined by them- nections may be negative. Thanks to a global Dwarf-owned shops. They are both technologically masses in search of dwarven gold. This connectivity brings tion. I know I mentioned a lack of a nation. When dealing with other dwarfs. In their eyes. Dwarfs are exceptionally well connected teractions. These are usually the primary reasons for when they function within the boundaries and mores of their their exile from their parent culture.
Shadowrun is made up of all three. Or fishing. Or, you know, swimming.
This is like when Vampire: The Masquerade decided that skills such as Flying and Lip-Reading were as mechanically important as skills like Persuasion and Streetwise in their urban game of dark horror.
What else is useless? Where do I draw the line? Can these rules survive intact if I ignore bits of them? Will I still be playing the game as the designers intended?
If I wanted to ignore rules I could just tell a story with my friends and leave the dice at home; a game should fit together beautifully and each rule should act in service of all the others, not function as some dirty little grab-bag of ideas. This is the fifth fucking edition of a wildly popular title. This game has been in circulation longer than a lot of my readers have been alive. This is a product, a piece of game-design, and it deserves to be viewed under a critical lens.
Probably not! And yet we still see these massive, bloated games where every rule is inherently optional. Maths are the bane of pacing.