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New GM & players playing "On The Run" moved to NYC sprawl. Any tips?

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Doom Unicorn

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« on: (14:40:28/05-14-13) »
Hi chummers. I think I've read almost every Shadowrun novel and sourcebook, hiding in the aisles of my local bookstores since the mid-90's, but I've never actually played - until now. I've GM'ed a few other systems, and one of my players is a veteran player and GM of those systems, but the other players are brand new to tabletop. We have a combat mage, a pistol gunslinger, a face, and a hacker/rigger, and I'm going to take them through "On the Run" (moved to Brooklyn) and then the first (free) mission from the NYC season of missions. After that, I'm hoping I'm comfortable enough to take some of the hooks and spin them off into a home brew campaign.

We're planning to focus our campaign primarily in the NY metropolitan area because we're all so familiar with its present-day incarnation. I've re-read Neo-A guide to North America, and got the Rotten Apple, but I haven't bought anything from the missions season. I'm hoping you can share any "gotchas" I need to know about the sprawl. There's plenty of source material for me about Manhattan, but I think the runners won't spend as much time there as they will in the outer boroughs.

So my first question: "On the Run" moved to the outer boroughs of NYC and "SRM 03-00 Everyone's Your Friend" - any tips and gotchas I need to know?

My second and bigger question: where do I need to focus in order to avoid contradicting any canon when I run my players around Brooklyn & Queens in particular, as well as the rest of the NYC sprawl surrounding Manhattan Island? Below are some of the hooks I'm playing with. If there are any named groups / NPCs I'm conflicting with (like the names of the Triads / Yakuza families in NYC), it would be awesome if you could mention them. NOTE TO MY PLAYERS: don't be silly and ruin your fun by reading any of this if you find this forum!

[spoiler]
  • Humanis-related conflicts arising from humanis elements in the "old new york" neighborhoods of Brooklyn (especially biker gangs in North BK in the style of modern-day Hell's Angels / Aryan Brotherhood / Nazi Lowriders) and Humanis Policlub, coming into conflict with metahuman gangs like the Ancients & the Cutters (who fight between each other), a chapter of pro-metahuman Friends Stand United skinheads, and elements of the Ork Underground. Also black ethnic vs chicano ethnic gang conflicts between old local gangs like La Raza Nation, Ghetto Brothers, Jheri Curls, Decepticons, United Blood Nation, etc.
  • Yakuza/Triad (and limited Seoulpa ring) conflicts in the Chinatowns -- slightly tamer in the Manhattan Chinatown, but grungier and bloodier in "Little Fuzhou" (the much larger version of BK Chinatown in Sunset Park) and"Taipei City" (the much larger version of Queens Chinatown near Flushing/Bayside). They're involved in all kinds of shady dealings, but especially gambling, prostitution, and human trafficking. They also have "proxy gangs" in conflict, like Asian Boyz, Ghost Shadows, Flying Dragons. The Yakuza is slightly weaker from conflict with the mafia, so there's only one family in charge of the whole area, and they're unified in purpose. The Triads have internal conflict because there are 4 of them: the Seattle-derived Eighty-Eights that is highly ethnic Chinese, The On Leong Chinese Merchants Association (a little more inclusive), Born To Kill (Vietnam / Laos/ Cambodia connection), and Green Lotus Dragon.
  • Carrib-league derived gangs that are woven into the Ghost Cartel plots (to come later after I read that book), also throughout the Jamaica Bay area, including various voodoo baddies of Jamaican, Haitian, and Dominican descent, all undermining the existing drug trade of the city. They're sort of the lower level baddies, with the bigger conflict actually being between Mara Salvatrucha (tied to El Salvator ethnic interests and Bogota) and Mara-18 (ethnic chicano ties, maybe including Aztlan connections) to dominate the drug trade.
  • Mafia/Vory conflicts between the ethnic Italian & Eastern European parts of Brooklyn & Queens. The vory dominate "Brighton" including Coney Island and Gravesend areas next to Little Fuzhou in southern BK, and "North Brooklyn" that includes Greenpoint, Williamsburg, BedStuy, Bushwick. The mafia stronghold dominates "Jamaica Bay", now the entire area from Sheepshead Bay along the water  to Howard Beach and JFK Airport, plus north through Ozone Park. They come into conflict over data theft, smuggling, protection rackets, and most of all drugs. The vory are sort of the upstart element, and the mafia is much more powerful in NYC but also much more entrenched in their ways. They're getting a slice from the carrib-league and south american drug trade -- or maybe thought they were -- so they haven't put down their giant boot just yet. The mafia also has purview over other "ethnic mafias" like the Valentza Family (in greek neighborhoods) and the Rudaj Organization (in Albanian areas). The vory has a very strong connection to the Jewish mafia in Hasidic neighborhoods that are very isolated from surrounding areas.
  • Internal mafia conflict between the 5 families, the primary actors being the Purple Gang (genovese), Vario Crew (lucchese) and Waterfront Crew (gambino).
  • Brooklyn Heights is a haven for the ultra wealthy and Long Island City / Downtown Brooklyn are Manhattan-like in their security, so there are more high-end conflicts there that spill over from corporate intrigue and politics in Manhattan.
  • The "Brownsville Barrens" are an extension of the existing neighborhoods of Brownsville & East New York that are practically lawless -- mirrors of the Redmond Barrens from canon -- and have similar gangs & interests as you'd find there, plus corporate warehouses and factories that are less "knowledge-worker focused".
  • The "Gowanus Disaster Zone" is a walled off area around the Gowanus Canal where Toxic stuff is going on
  • Most of the rest of Queens & Long Island further east is burbs, as is Weschester, Staten Island, North Jersey, and the Connecticut sprawl all the way through to Boston. North of Westchester, in upstate New York, there has been some magical re-forestation, and the Mohonk Reserve is in armed rebellion against the UCAS in the mountainous regions and foothills, tying in some NAN-like interests and opportunity for wilderness runs.
  • The UCAS military has an active base in the re-opened Brooklyn Naval Yard.
  • Police forces are split between Lone Star, Knight Errant, and NYPD Inc (which doesn't have the same blanket contract as with Manhattan Island)
  • Neo-A elements are more vocal in the outer boroughs and use those areas to base operations into Manhattan to undermind corporate interests
[/spoiler]

Clearly, I'm very focused on the way the underworld & gang violence would have evolved in Brooklyn & Queens. I'm not sure exactly why they'd need shadowrunners as deniable assets between the various forces -- though it makes sense in the internal conflicts between families -- but I'm working on that!