Shadowrun Play => Gamemasters' Lounge => Topic started by: Frost on (18:36:22/02-28-18)

Title: Checking the return
Post by: Frost on (18:36:22/02-28-18)
Just looking for some critique on a campaign. Basically, I was running a group for a bit but had to take a hiatus due to a heavy semester load in grad school. Things have finally let up enough for me to restart the campaign, but I'm stuck on between two scenarios. So I thought I'd see if there is any consensus on one or the other.

We stopped dead in the middle of a run on a research facility located under the Rats Nest in the Redmond Barrens. The group was attempting to destroy a rogue AI that had seized control of the facility and was using nanotechnology to do its various nefarious deeds. It ended with them dead in the middle of the compound, after dispatching the last wave of head cases. So here are the two options I'm considering (keep in mind, two players will most likely not be returning and one has joined):

Option 1: Pick up the campaign directly where it ended, albeit with character changes.

Option 2: Tell the group that the mission was a success and that we're picking up shortly after the run finished for the sake of simplicity with changing players. However, this would be a lie and the players actually wound up unleashing the AI on the world. This option would be filled with many strange things happening, such as seeing the phrase "You let it out" written in random locations, and various NPC's making a mysterious appearances, both good and bad. The goal with this campaign is for them to slowly realize that the run did not end how they thought, but that they had their memories wiped after the failed run and the AI is loose in the world. I'm leaning towards this one because it would give me a chance to screw with them in fun ways, plus give me a chance to shake the dust off.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: PiXeL01 on (18:42:20/02-28-18)
Option 2 for sure. It allows you to ease new players into your world as well by starting easy and then slowly increase intensity
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Frost on (18:54:01/02-28-18)
That's what I was leaning towards, but I wasn't sure if the whole "blacking out the runners without a chance to resist" was in bad taste.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Marcus on (19:14:11/02-28-18)
Option 1
If a team screws up then consequences are fine, but if they were making progress and it seems likely could have successfully finish the job, then let them finish the job, and see what happens.

Telling them the missions was a success when it was actually a failure is dirty pool, of the first order, i'd rather just rocks fall and everyone die and just start fresh.

Better to retcon some character changes then dump truck that stuff on them.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: firebug on (19:37:09/02-28-18)
Yeah, if you have a lot of new characters, I wouldn't want to go for either of those things.  The first option has the issue of nobody remembering what happened, and also as you said, they died.  If you wanna restart the whole mission that'd be okay.

Option 2 though, that's...  Well, for one, there's a difference between "memory whiped" and "memory fully altered".  The first one is kind of a deus-ex-machina, the other is a major deus-ex-machina that could end up feeling like a slap in the face, or at least confuse new players (who may feel kind of annoyed they failed a mission they never did) while the returning players may see it coming as soon as the first hints drop.

Why not just begin anew with new characters, who will eventually encounter and deal with the AI?  It works as its own continuity for you GMing, without needing to over complicate things.  The returning players will know it was a result of their previous characters' failure, while any new players will just experience it as if it were a new story unfolding.  You won't have to deal with anywhere near as many hiccups in the plot.

As a much more minor example of what I'm talking about, when I GM'd 4th Edition, my players did a run where they delivered a pressurized container that, unknown to them, contained sea water, petroleum, and two shadow crabs.  Now in 5th edition, in my version of Seattle, there's a gang called The Fangs, who's leader has a chemical gland that produces a powerful tetradotoxin, which he uses to supply some of his gang members with.  This was the guy the brought the creatures to, so he could use his contacts to get an augment that produced what the crabs produce.  The results of player action shaped how I GM.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Frost on (09:05:29/03-01-18)
Thanks for the input. I think I found an acceptable workaround.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Mirikon on (11:47:52/03-01-18)
My .02 nuyen is that if everyone died at the end of the last campaign, then start up with new characters. You can find a way to tie this in to the old campaign by either having a link between the new and old characters (a cousin comes looking for their buddy who went quiet), or one of their contacts was one of the team's contacts, and is worried about something the old team did. So then you can investigate the old run, and find out exactly what happened. Oh, and I suggest you read Harlequin's Back and the Darke chapter of Threats (or was it Threats 2?) for good advice on how to do creepy growing terror.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Frost on (12:14:49/03-01-18)
I don't think I'm going to kill the remaining group members characters, but instead make them the method that the AI used to escape the facility. The facility was created pre-crash and was never updated with wireless capabilities, both for security and secrecy. So the AI was trapped inside of it, and needed to have the runners help it escape.

I actually had the AI hypnotizing them in the facility. They were in heavy environmental armor specifically designed to repel nanite attacks, but the AI successfully managed to hack the signal for their heads up displays and gave them a several barrages of hypnotizing image and sounds affects. I rolled willpower checks for them to see if the resisted and eventually everyone had succumbed, but we had to stop before anything came to fruition. My plan was to have them have to resist their hypnosis in order to stop themselves from letting the AI out, we just never got there. So instead, I'll just basically say that instead of destroying the AI, they helped it escape by accessing it to wireless tech of some type, then it let them go in case it could use them again later. I plan on having them very slowly shake off the effects of the hypnosis and realize what has happened. I figure this can set them up with a long-time campaign NPC which could either be nemesis or ally. 
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Mirikon on (18:27:11/03-01-18)
Be very careful. That kind of thing is part of why people threw controllers at screens at the end of Mass Effect 3.
Title: Re: Checking the return
Post by: Frost on (20:15:44/03-01-18)
Never played it. Had to pretty much give up video games while going to grad school so I could concentrate on that pesky school work. So far the group is pretty good about my Shyamalanian plot twists because they're accompanied by humorous situations. I think I've got the situation evolved enough to be accepted. The problem is that I've got a group of experienced players who don't want to give up their old characters and new players who have never played before and I've got to make a run that moves fast enough while allowing the new players to learn. If I dropped them all in where the original run left off the new players would be completely lost and out of their depth.