Excerpts

Shadowrun

The Compendium is continuing to grow at a pleasing rate, and the information and formatting will go leagues towards making the site redesign later this year much smoother, easier, and more enjoyable.

But, as usual, it’s not the only thing I’m working on. I’ve front-loaded myself with things to do this year (which should help when my better half leaves for six months in the spring), including a hobby I love that takes a lot of my effort.

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy ‘nerdy’ things, especially tabletop role-playing games. One of the original games that got me into the genre was Shadowrun, a cyberpunk magic mash-up set in the future.
I came across it in the ’90s, when the concept of Deckers needing to physically plug into the Matrix (internet) made perfect sense considering ‘wireless’ still meant ‘radio’ back then, and no one had coined ‘wifi’ as anything other than an odd noise babies sometimes made.

Since then, the setting has had several major editions come out to move the timeline on, and it’s been very interesting watching how the writers have handled adjusting expectations of a future dystopia as our own technology moves on. For one thing, the Matrix is now wireless, among lots of other changes. It makes for a fascinating study in unusual storytelling, as the influences driving the setting forward are a bit different to normal writing.

Still. Cyberpunk 2077 comes out in the tangible future (thank you CD Projeckt Red), which is the same setting (almost) minus the magic, and I am hyped as heck for that game. And thus, I finally committed to my long time promise to run a Shadowrun game for my friends.
Shadowrun plots are always complicated. There’s intrigue, backstabbing, espionage, rampant technology and spirits refusing to follow any agenda but their own, and of course… dragons. All of it leads to needing some extensive notes for who is working for who, who is betraying who, and basically playing a complicated game of plate spinning to keep everything in the air until the exact right moment to have it come crashing down.

Couple this with the character ‘classes’ being very different from each other, so the players need one on one mini-sessions to upgrade specific elements of their character with a suitable story attached, and the whole thing can get very out of hand. Which is why I haven’t really had much in the way of weekends or time off this year so far, even if we’ve missed two sessions due to real life.
Worth it, though, for seeing my friends engaged in a story and trying to work out what’s going on.

This Sunday, the team will be raiding a mixed corporation research center, looking to purge some data files (and probably steal anything not bolted down on their way out). I fully expect it to be smoothly executed up until one tiny thing goes wrong, someone flubs a roll, and then all hell will break loose. It should be a fun time, but it means I need to spend a bit more time stating out potential loot grabs, enemy armaments, and hazards this week.
So instead of something Hevna related, I shall instead share the prologue from the mess the party has got themselves into.
Have a nice weekend folks. Mine is gonna be busy.

Deniable Assets

Prologue

The title block on his desk said he was a Junior Assistant (Archivist Division). Once, he had thought the role would be a mostly clerical one, with some minor implants to help with filing faster.
As he watched one of a trio of Junior Assistants (R&D Division) undergoing an ‘entirely voluntary’ cranial implant to join the internal Combat League, however, he could only find amusement in the innocence of his younger self.

“I want results,” said the Overseer behind him. She didn’t raise her voice, she didn’t sneer, she just said the words as flatly and concisely as possible.
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Normally, I wouldn’t be looking at your division to handle this, but I have received favorable reports of your competence. The Board will be making a choice soon enough, and it would be to the benefit of us both if my name sat at the top of their choices.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I will see this mess gets untangled as quietly as possible. It should be no major issue to, ah, file the details away out of sight.”
“I want more than that. Clean it up… and get me what these idiots failed to. History has more than enough examples of what happens to companies that do not seize the competitive edge. And what happens to inept employees.”
He turned away from watching the medical drone implanting persona fixes into his hapless colleagues and smiled softly up at his boss as the edges of her crisp suit started to flicker.
“I make a point to learn from the mistakes of others, ma’am. Please, leave it with me.”
“I’m curious… what makes you think you will succeed where they did not?” she asked, lifting her gaze from a data slate.
“Simple, ma’am. While the view from the tower is beautiful… I still remember what the ground floor looks like.”
“From tiny acorns, a mighty oak will grow?” she smiled with a roll of her eyes.
“If nothing else, one at least ensures a supply of wood, neh?”
“See to it. I look forward to your reports.”
The hologram snapped off, the radiance of the Overseer’s display turning dead along with the feed of his colleagues elsewhere in the Tower. His office again sat in the muted browns and greys he preferred, only softly lit from his own desk.
He flicked on his central console and sat for a moment drumming his fingers. Then he plugged a cord into the back of his skull, flicked his fingers and spoke a single sentence.
“The Chronicler seeks No-one.”
The Matrix sped away in front of him. In his business, time was valuable, and the devil made off with idle hands.

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