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Artifacts Unbound PDF/Print Pre-Order Now Available

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Crimsondude

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« Reply #30 on: (10:35:27/10-23-11) »
Thank you!

Of course, the other good thing about the named NPCs is that there are statted characters who have been given a pretty well established way to have a relationship with the characters. Moire Ferguson was the Ms. Johnson from the Corporate Punishment adventure "Double Take," you know the one where you go into Tír Tairngire and face Scale and a team of 250-karma Tír Ghosts. So it's a nice callback since she and the runners end up on the run. She's a cool character, and a survivor. So she had to be in there.

Of course, TIntagel is one of those Ghosts. Maybe not him exactly, but those were stats that we used as rough estimate when Critias and I built him.

Psychic Highway to Hell is a hoot, and part of my pitch was that it was similar to the adventure you mention in certain respects, but there there is this tonal shift that I wanted to introduce post-Spy Games to really show how this would work when you sit a team down.

Oh, and how cool is the art for River City Shootout? That was cool to see come back.

nakano

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« Reply #31 on: (11:33:12/10-23-11) »
Psychic Highway to Hell is a hoot, and part of my pitch was that it was similar to the adventure you mention in certain respects, but there there is this tonal shift that I wanted to introduce post-Spy Games to really show how this would work when you sit a team down.

Definately a huge shift in tone. 

[spoiler]I absolutely loved the Guardian's test.  Absolutely loved it.  My players will hate it, but it is so damned cool that I cannot wait to run it.  I loved the number of different runs that really focused on putting players in uncomfortable places, choosing who they snub/offend/blow off, and who they don't.[/spoiler]


Nath

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« Reply #32 on: (19:49:15/10-25-11) »
Artifacts Unbound is more of a "campaign book" than any other previous release called that way. The general background part is reduced to a minimum, 8 pages who gives away the premise of the "Artifact Rush". The following 17 chapters all have a similar layout, with an in-game introductory piece, an overview, three to eight "Plot Points", Locations, and a People or Characters section.
But only the layout is similar, as every author used it in a different way. Some chapters make a single adventure, with each Plot Point being a scene. Other describe a more general setting (like the Artifact Rush in Seattle) and each Plot Point is a separate adventure. It's a mix of both in some other place, with several Plot Points making an adventure, followed by one separate adventure ("Hey guys, what about breaking in the IRS offices while Washingon is on the brink of destruction ?").
So, I'm not too sure about that new "Plot Point" format. The old "Setup/Event 1/2/3/Climax/Sequels" adventure short format was too directive, so maybe it's for the better. I would probably simply had self-descriptive titles, instead of simply numbering plot points, and maybe different title levels to set different adventures and scenes from the same adventure apart.

AU gives maybe as much as thirty adventures for a Gamemaster to work out. Unlike Ghost Cartels, it's not one big campaign you have to run in its entirety. You can pick what you want, or play them with different gaming groups. The drawback is that, almost everything AU gives is part of an official adventure. The book is not designed to help you creating your own adventure. Oh, there are things that can be used elsewhere, like some description of Istanbul, or an CAS air carrier crew stats (completely expected from a book with that title). But the book never (or rarely so) gets out of the perspective the adventures provides. Why someone made a copy of the Sextant and forced captain Barret to bring it onboard the Kitty Hawk will remain a mystery, just as how the real Sextant gets from Caracas to Portland between Coming Full Circle and The Tale of Two Princes (let alone how Ehran and/or the Draco Foundation lost all the four artifacts after Dawn of the Artifacts in the first place, except "magic did it").

Some gamemasters will love it, because it provides them with just what GM and players actually need in the end : adventures to play. For those who always write their own adventures, feed on background and build storylines based on their PC background and previous adventures, I'm not so sure.


For my usual comments, notes and wonders:

- The Shantaya's Compass is only 2600 years old, and would thus have been created during the Fifth World.

- Charles Sturgis studied the Piri Reis Map and the Phaistos Disc at the MIT&T at some point before June 2069. It's not clear if that was the Disc-found-in-Phaistos, on display in the Heraklion Museum, or the actual, real Phaistos Disc artifact, who must then have been shipped back from Massachusetts to the metaplane below the Bosnian Pyramids, where the PC found it in Darkest Hour.

- Charles Sturgis doesn't have any hacking skill that would allow him to hack the car he needed to commit his second murder.

- Matador career is summed up as "a mercenary who worked for Argus, the intelligence arm of MET2000". Compare to what Matador used to say about MET2000 in Fields of Fire, as well as Picador comments in SOTA:2064. New perspective.

- The adventure Coming Full Circle may likely results in the PC killing both Black Mamba and Picador. But don't worry, they should keep on connecting on Jackpoint I guess.

- Hi-speed trains connect Cairo to several cities in the Middle East and Africa, possibly including Lagos.

- The Cairo adventure makes no mention on the magic ban enforced according to the Sixth World Almanac.

- While Issac Olaleye and Yabuku are supposed to hail from Lagos (it's even supposed to be Yabuku first trip outside the city), their native language is Swahili. In present days, Swahili is not spoken by any ethnic groups in Lagos area (the closest area Swahili is spoken is eastern Congo). Them speaking Yoruba would make more sense.

- About the Maltese Falcon : "a gift to King Charles V of Spain from the Knights Templar." According to the original novel and the movies, the Knights of Malta, also known as the Knights Hospitaller, did offer the Maltese Falcon to Charles V (hence the name).

- From Jakpointer point of view, the Atlantean Foundation plays the Artifact Rush in the big league, while the Knights Templar and the order of St. Sylvestrine are "little dogs". If you leave aside Alachia role at the head of the AF (which is not common knowledge, even on Jackpoint), the foundation would rely on 33 Mystic Crusaders (number from Street Magic, page 73) and hired guns. I have a hard time imagining the Vatican has even less people involved.

- So the Apep Consortium and backers include blood mages, master shedim and insect spirits. I guess there should be toxic shamans as well.

- In Give the Devil His Due, the word "shade" is used several time, and only the very last section explain shades are "shedim who've inhabited the bodies of dead soldiers" and not the shadow spirit type described in Street Magic, page 147.

- The Black Lodge in the UCAS comprises Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, Senate President Pro Tem, House Majority Leader, and House Intelligence Commitee Chairman, plus two other Congressmen. All secretly awakened. This is not just "seven high-ranking members of Congress" as the text puts it, but the four highest-ranking. On the other hand, the "Majority Leader" position would be kinda redefined as the UCAS political scene has six significant political parties (Archconservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Technocrats and New Century) seating on the Congress with shifting alliance.

- "The Black Lodge has since assumed private control of Monticello. Publicly, Monticello is run by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Fund, which was taken over by Manadyne in 2067." There's implicitly a link between the UCAS Black Lodge and Manadyne corporation here.

- The introductory in-game material and overview of All-Seeing Eye says the Black Lodge gathered the Disc and the Compass. However, Plot Point Four mentions also the proximity of the Sextant of the Worlds. Then, the following adventure A Tale of Two Princes starts with the Sextant is in Saeder-Krupp arcology in Portland, then stolen and taken to Dublin, then brought to Washington by the PC. It's not clear how the Sextant get to Washington in the first place and how it moved to Portland (on the other hand, the whole premise of AU is that the artifact change hands on a regular basis). But I'm under the impression it's a mistake and the Sextant shouldn't be in Washington during All-Seeing Eye.

- In A Tale of Two Princes, the PC should hand the Sextant to Jonathon Reed and Jessa. Yet, Surehand carries it in the Praxis short story. It seems the PC are actually the only runners around not deemed worthy enough to carry an artifact, as two runner teams get to bring the Disc (left in the Black Lodge's hands at the end of All-Seeing Eye) and the Compass (handed to the Draco Foundation in the same adventure).

- The Lagos handout taken from Dusk is, as far as I can understand, completely useless, as none of the adventure takes place in Lagos. The closer they get is in A Matter of Reputation, bu the PC meet their employer on the Matrix and are to go after their target in Cairo, with no given reason to make a stop in Lagos. The Seattle Downtown map filler also seems out of place (but I guess the much more useful map of Washington that is indeed going to feature in Conspiracy Theories wasn't ready yet).

Crimsondude

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« Reply #33 on: (22:09:56/10-25-11) »
Man-of-Many-Names refers to the shedim as shades in the intro fiction when it is mentioned that they've been causing trouble around the world. That said, yes, there is room for it to be clarified, including the potential for breaking their masking during the first fight. As far as I know it was clear or clear enough to the others who looked at it.

The thing about toxics is that they do not work well with others, and I'd just as well keep their working with each other and other people unique to Winternight. Well, whatever's left of it.

I will say that the reference to the Sextant in All-Seeing Eye aside, which I took to be general information since both ASE and Princes are pretty closely tied it seemed useful to mention it in ASE. We did trace every path each artifact took, and so even if it's not clear these aren't just a set of random occurrences.

Thankfully there's an entire book about Conspiracy Theories and such coming up that includes material on DeeCee that WILL refer to the events that happen in and around that area.


Ultimately, there are a Hell of a lot of questions left unanswered. That was generally the intent.
« Last Edit: (22:16:09/10-25-11) by James Meiers »

CanRay

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« Reply #34 on: (22:41:27/10-25-11) »
The thing about toxics is that they do not work well with others, and I'd just as well keep their working with each other and other people unique to Winternight. Well, whatever's left of it.
More than you'd think.

And, I think it's Friday that is out of her box, as well, and free to pursue the goals of the organization again.  ;D
Si vis pacem, para bellum

Argent

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« Reply #35 on: (21:05:32/10-26-11) »
Ultimately, there are a Hell of a lot of questions left unanswered. That was generally the intent.

And that is one of the many reasons why I love this game. :)
Running the shadows since 1989.

Crimsondude

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« Reply #36 on: (21:18:21/10-26-11) »
One of the things I liked most was the mass of NPC statistics, both general and specific.  That alone means, that long after the adventures seeds in Artifacts Unbound have been played, Artifacts Unbound will remain in my stack of core shadowrun books.   
Something I might mention is that the named NPCs represent a tier of character who is powerful, but whom the runners would have a better than even chance of meeting (as opposed to the Street Legends, where it's less than 50/50 when it comes to Lofwyr as opposed to, say, my pointy-eared avatar, who is more accessible than one might expect).

I mean, seriously, I have a burning desire to have Tintagel return again and again. Moire will be around again, depending on scheduling issues, because Pistons put her into our (my) hands when she was used in Corporate Punishment. BWAHAHAHA. Anyway, some SL vets who remember her can re-read Spy Games and guess how. :)

Frankie the Fomori

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« Reply #37 on: (23:18:09/10-26-11) »
I would say I have sunk to a new low.....I just refought Black Mamba and Medjay's dust up in the Hotel that they had in spells and chrome"Snake in the City"...this time MedJay owned her and with out any use of Edge (Medjay has that advantage as well)

Nath

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« Reply #38 on: (14:55:24/10-27-11) »
Man-of-Many-Names refers to the shedim as shades in the intro fiction when it is mentioned that they've been causing trouble around the world. That said, yes, there is room for it to be clarified, including the potential for breaking their masking during the first fight. As far as I know it was clear or clear enough to the others who looked at it.
Man-of-Many-Names is not exactly known for straightforward speaking, so I took his use of the words "shades" as poetic license. The Overview clearly label the soldiers as shedim, but from Plot Point Four it starts referring to them as "shades," at which point Man-of-Many-Names exact words were a bit far. Actually, until I read the stats I thought that was automatic spell-checking in action (much like "arcology" became "archeology" in War!).

The problem is, now whenever someone will use the word "shade" in SR he will have to explain if it is the shadow spirit-type or the shedim-type, or expect people to guess it from context.
« Last Edit: (17:01:02/10-27-11) by Nath »