Chicago, circa 2077

Operation: Reclamation (a.k.a. Land Grab)

Chicago, once known as the Windy City, fell hard when an astral threat emerged and someone decided to detonate a tactical nuclear device downtown. This changed Chicago into Bug City for many years. Insect spirits threatened to overrun the whole Sixth World but it began and stopped with Chicago. Application of a magic eating bacteria eliminated much of the bug threat along with nearly every other dual-natured creature in the city. Chicago politicians had no choice but to establish a quarantine zone.

Containment Zone Expedition & Recovery [CZER]

CZER is a Chicago based corporation dedicated to providing the manpower and firepower required by all the other mega corporations to reclaim their assets believed long gone within the Chicago Containment Zone. Through various unknown methods this small specialty corp holds the proverbial keys to the Zone as the only officially sanctioned force allowed to operate within the Zone.

After the blast and bugs CZER formed up and hired every chummer with a gun forming their own ‘fire teams’. They leveraged associations with warlords and street gangs in the Zone to distribute supplies and keep tabs on important locations. CZER greased all the right palms to become only slightly less empowered than Lonestar within the remains of great Chicago.

CZER maintains a stable of teams to available to the highest bidder for jobs in the Zone. They provide modest living quarters, training facilities and medical services. Teams are ranked based on a profit vs expense sliding scale. The more a team makes for the company and the less they cost to maintain the higher they rank on the ladder and the broader their selection of jobs.

Client’s pay CZER for access to the stable. Then the client negotiates pay directly with the team that accepts the job. This is generally cheaper than getting official permits and allocating funds from parent corporations. It also provides a great deal of ‘Plausible Deniability’ in the event the job goes pear-shaped.

CZER provides armor, munitions, vehicles and some support personnel to each team. If the team wants to cover one or more of these expenses it can increase their standing while making them paupers at the same time. Status through the sacrifice of profit.

Most teams have four to six members to cover all the bases. Some are fewer, some are larger but this is the average size. Roles include Heavies, Faceman, Snipers, Melee Monsters, Riggers, Deckers or Technomancers and a Mage or Shaman. Those last few are often rejects from other metroplexes on the run from a spotted past, just generally down on their luck or literally damaged.

Meet Team Sigma

Not on the bottom rung but having a hard time climbing the tilted ladder, Team Sigma are a rag tag group of Runners.

  • Deviant is their sniper adept; good at extreme range or in your face style combat.
  • Sunshine is a combat mage with a bit of a habit.
  • Moci the street sam/rigger/decker, a real jack of all trades, master of none.
  • Malus is a short ranged/demolitionist street sam hailing from parts unknown.
  • Finally we have Max a brawny Ork Heavy street sam with attitude.

This band of misfits has managed to fight their way up the ladder to Sigma but haven’t cracked the code for advancing beyond. Will they climb or get crowded further down?

So long Seattle, hello Chicago.

I ended my previous Shadowrun session based in Seattle because i just wasn’t feeling the system. It’s such a mechanics heavy system that it’s hard to find a story line to care about. I’ve never been a big fan of game mastering modern settings. It’s too easy for players to poke holes in familiar settings or constantly compare the game with how things work in real life. Distracting to say the least.

I’ve accepted the challenge to try running Shadowrun again with a different group of players. This time, however, i’m establishing more control from the outset. The players will generate a coherent group with a predetermined reason for working together at least initially. I’ve been reading up on Ares Fireteams and other rapid response teams similar to modern day SWAT. The team will be one of these types of units. Initially they will be Corp Sponsored like an Ares Fireteam, Knight Errant or Lonestar. After a few sessions they’ll be able to ditch and move on to freelance if they like.

The party will begin in the Chicago Metroplex running published missions from Shadowrun 5. I’ve started using Realmworks to develop the area and will utilize it to track any pop-up missions or opportunities as the game progresses. I’m building up Chicago and Seattle both to allow some cross country missions. I’m building NPCs in Herolab so that i can advance and scale encounters and contacts appropriately for interaction with the team. Herolab portfolios can be linked within Realmworks allowing for very quick reference to all the information i’d need to keep up with my players.

I’ve found some awesome map resources for both cities using Google Maps as a baseline. Some very talented game masters have converted much of the geographic information into online maps for ease of reference.

These, coupled with all the details i can flesh out in Realmworks, will help me keep the game moving along.

It’s been forever since we last visited the Sci-Fantasy game system known as Shadowrun. We’ve grown tired of slogging through fantasy dungeons and need a break. It’s my turn to run the game so after some discussion I settled on Shadowrun. What follows is my poor interpretation of a rather complex game setting.

Shadowrun is set in a no-so-distant future where technology has become so ubiquitous that humans are implanting technology in their bodies to enhance everything from personal communications to muscle reflexes, the term cyberpunk comes to mind. Similar to the movie Johnny Mnemonic but with an additional twist.

The ‘Awakening’ was an event when true magic returned to the world causing recessive genes in some humans to activate and BOOM! elves, dwarves, orks and trolls are all over the place. With the return of magic native shamans suddenly had real power and Native Americans began to take back their lands. Now the world is this weird combination of high technology and magic. Magic also awakened all the associated creatures and spirits providing all manner of things like dragons. Matter of fact, Dragons run a few of the mega-corporations…

This future world is dominated by corporations instead of traditional nations. Information is just as valuable as currency and plain old violent interaction is very common as corporate interests collide. Many of these ‘mega-corps’ have larger standing armies than what’s left of the nations around the world. With the meta-human re-emergence traditional countries have been shattered. As is human nature, anything different must be contained or destroyed but with Magic in the world he who has the largest gun is not necessarily the victor. Large swaths of continents have been converted into meta-human exclusive nations. Between Native Americans and the new meta-humans the borders of America have been reforged.

Shadowrun: North America Map

Players are ‘shadow runners’ that undertake various tasks on behalf of a ‘Mr. Johnson’ usually through a ‘Fixer’ middle man. Players take on the various roles needed to round out a typical team; heavy weapons, melee muscle, mage, shaman, face man or tech expert. Life as a shadow runner is dangerous at best so knowing how to shoot is a major plus. Most runners aren’t on any official books so they can be disavowed fairly easily. Need something stolen? Need a competitor or nuisance eliminated? Need some extra muscle to guard your goodies? Hire some runners and maybe another group to watch the first… just in case.

I haven’t even looked at this game system for over 20 years so I will be cramming as much information as possible between now and my first session. They released a 5th edition a couple years ago, doesn’t look too different but if i’m going to make a decent attempt to entertain my players i’ll need to be a little more familiar with the mechanics.

I’ve settled on running a couple pre-generated missions from the official source and see where it takes us. As is always the case, I expect the original plots will not survive the first session. That’s half the fun.