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[SR5] So Apparently I'm running a campaign now... (Setting Help)

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SoulGambit

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« on: <08-14-13/1348:08> »
I ran a brief story with SR5 for the sake of testing out the rules and giving my group something to do while one of the players was away. They've liked it enough to request more, so I'll be running a small Wednesday campaign. I'm wondering what all should be done with the setting. On the one hand, yay! On the other hand, I kind of wrote my plot with only one story in mind.

Session summary:
[spoiler]Session 1: A Technomancer by the name of Honest Baker apparently invented the best program since sliced bread--called YggHelix.exe. Renraku tried to recruit him, failed, and murdered him when he refused. They thought the program was lost. Mr. Johnson thinks it still exists, and is willing to play the PCs 100,000 Nuyen each for its recovery. Mr. Johnson's best guess is that either his sister knows where the program is, or the Sons of Avalon (a Mage Gang Baker hung out with) do. PCs try to find the sister, she's hold up in a back-ally hospital that's under siege by a Rigger/Decker team. PCs murder and intimidate the NPCs, respectively, finding out they are a group of "Freedom Fighters" who believe YggHelix should be freeware. Some sloppy camera work gets one of the PCs on the news.

Session 2: They talk to the sister, who apparently had a stroke and is senile. It may have something to do with a lot of her head/brain being replaced with lots of Datalocks. They loot her stuff, and find some encryption codes inside a nanopet. The group Technomancer didn't return, so being hit by a sniper rifle was suddenly a lot more lethal. In place, a Sprite whose icon is a Hawk on top of an Eagle contacts them and does plot exposition. Their key leads to a box the Sons of Avalon have that leads to half of the program. He warns them to beware the "Snake" and that he'll help them when the time comes. They drop the sister off with one of the PC's contacts in Ares and raid the Sons of Avalon's hideout. They find out the sister is a rather powerful, but burnt out mage thanks to smoething her brother was doing. They talk their way into Baker's old room, tip off Renraku what's going on, and Renraku threatens them / offers money to make them go away. They refuse, beat up a Red Samurai, and flee. One of the PCs gets a call--Ares found out about the girl, thanks to the news report from earlier.

Session 3: While Ares has the girl, they don't know why she's important. The Sprite comes back and explains that she has half the program, and that from what it can tell Ares will probably sell her off. He offers to tip the PCs off when the exchange is happening in return for them activating YggHelix inside the girl's skull. The PCs agree. What follows is a rather simple raid on an Ares caravan. They activate the program... and everything connected to the Matrix starts to fry. The program writes itself specifically for her brain, becoming useless outside of it. By the time they escort the girl back to the pickup, pandemonium has broken loose--largely thanks to basically every car on the road crashing / breaking down. They just start to realize what's going on, but resolve to finish the run. They hoof it to Mr. Johnson, apparently a rich billionaire. They pass the girl off to him, get their payment. Some allusions to him being a Dragon are made.[/spoiler]

So, I have to take care of two things: the fact that the PCs would get far more money than they should, and the setting implications of YggHelix. The former is easy, I'm letting everyone respec as a Prime Runner, throwing in a timeskip, and waving my hands around all the plot holes. The latter, all that's IC right now is that its a virus like in the backstory of the .Hack series. It somehow weaponized the Renraku Grid (particularly its DemiGOD), murdered everyone in VR, and bricked almost every Matrix device in existence.

We're time-skipping 5-10 years. Society has more/less put itself together. Event/Virus that still needs a cool name has gone down in history. Only AAA corps and local corps survived economically, although a few of those Local Corps are vying for a larger position. The Renraku Grid has apparently been quarantined off, although everyone in the Matrix can see a massive but unreachable tree icon in the horizon--like a Host. Renraku -could- just shut its Grid down or disconnect it from the Matrix, but they hope to somehow reclaim their Weapon as a recoup to their losses. For now they are studying the effects of YggHelix. Lowfyr or some other Dragon has the girl that caused the mess, but apparently the YggHelix is sentient and resists his attempts to control it.

Thing is, the game is running smack into my lack of setting knowledge. I'm not sure where to... go from here. Nor am I sure the extent of socio-economic changes this would cause. I'm wondering if you guys have any ideas or insights or setting elements I'm not familiar with that'd be helpful. Ultimately, I'm going to run it a tad episodic, like a season of Avatar. Things tie into the main plot occasionally, but its not the only thing, so I can buy myself some time.

street.mage

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« Reply #1 on: <08-14-13/2005:43> »
Looks like you've painted yourself into a corner, so to speak.

I've always wanted to run a time machine type story, and that's the first thing that came to my mind, that the characters would have to go back in time (Hey, it's SR, that kind of thing could happen, right?) to stop themselves.  But they can't reveal themselves to their past selves, or like some paradox/time warp happens (according to Renraku or whomever gets the characters to do this).  You could also make this time thing be part of a ritual or something that maybe the dragon knows (I don't know, just writing what comes to mind), though I wouldn't make this a device, unless it exploded and offed the people responsible (and of course the virus ate all the data) for the creation of the time travel device.  You could even make it a time scenario where they have to be in the bermuda triangle at a particular phase of the moon during a certain time that happens once a millenia...there just has to be some type of special focus and of course, the travel of getting there.

Outside of that, I'd say check out Shadows of Asia for some good fluff info on Renraku for their home turf - Saeder Krupp is also big in Asia.

Good luck!

Crunch

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« Reply #2 on: <08-14-13/2117:52> »
I'd STRONGLY recommend against the time jump. In realistic near future settings the technological differences in 5 years can be jarring and raise all kind of state of the art issues.

Instead have the Johnson screw them over in grand old SR tradition and have them on the run trying to figure out the devious plot they're accidentally caught up in.

SoulGambit

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« Reply #3 on: <08-15-13/0101:05> »
Yeah. As previously stated, the story wasn't really... meant to continue beyond this. That is, I didn't care about sustainability when I developed it.

One idea, thinking about it. A much shorter timeskip, around a year. It turns out, there was a corporation or group that just so happened to already be prepared to fix everything that was broken. Perhaps a local Denver Corporation that got pushed to AA thanks to fixing everyone's stuff, and is looking to turn their temporary success into a permanent revenue by overtaking the weakened Renraku?

firebug

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« Reply #4 on: <08-15-13/0335:21> »
Honestly, one of the Megas being prepared to handle the YggHelix makes sense.  Especially one of the few run by a dragon.  They can and will be prepared for things of that magnitude, especially if it was something one of them is already involved in.  The other corps probably know about the YggHelix "project" and may have even let it happen to essentially do what your Denver corp wants.  "Hey, Renraku fucked up and burnt out everyone's stuff with [insert media-fed lie about source of problem] but Ares is right here with your new fix, guaranteed safe from [aformentioned danger]!"  Even though, naturally, it was never something that could have just randomly happened, they'll imply to the masses that the only reason it won't happen again is because their new tech is good enough to stop it.
I'm Madpath Moth on reddit (and other sites).  Feel free to PM me errata questions!
Jeeze.  It would almost sound stupid until you realize we're talking about an immortal elf clown sword fighting a dragon ghost in a mall.

markelphoenix

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« Reply #5 on: <08-15-13/1654:02> »
I ran a brief story with SR5 for the sake of testing out the rules and giving my group something to do while one of the players was away. They've liked it enough to request more, so I'll be running a small Wednesday campaign. I'm wondering what all should be done with the setting. On the one hand, yay! On the other hand, I kind of wrote my plot with only one story in mind.

Session summary:
[spoiler]Session 1: A Technomancer by the name of Honest Baker apparently invented the best program since sliced bread--called YggHelix.exe. Renraku tried to recruit him, failed, and murdered him when he refused. They thought the program was lost. Mr. Johnson thinks it still exists, and is willing to play the PCs 100,000 Nuyen each for its recovery. Mr. Johnson's best guess is that either his sister knows where the program is, or the Sons of Avalon (a Mage Gang Baker hung out with) do. PCs try to find the sister, she's hold up in a back-ally hospital that's under siege by a Rigger/Decker team. PCs murder and intimidate the NPCs, respectively, finding out they are a group of "Freedom Fighters" who believe YggHelix should be freeware. Some sloppy camera work gets one of the PCs on the news.

Session 2: They talk to the sister, who apparently had a stroke and is senile. It may have something to do with a lot of her head/brain being replaced with lots of Datalocks. They loot her stuff, and find some encryption codes inside a nanopet. The group Technomancer didn't return, so being hit by a sniper rifle was suddenly a lot more lethal. In place, a Sprite whose icon is a Hawk on top of an Eagle contacts them and does plot exposition. Their key leads to a box the Sons of Avalon have that leads to half of the program. He warns them to beware the "Snake" and that he'll help them when the time comes. They drop the sister off with one of the PC's contacts in Ares and raid the Sons of Avalon's hideout. They find out the sister is a rather powerful, but burnt out mage thanks to smoething her brother was doing. They talk their way into Baker's old room, tip off Renraku what's going on, and Renraku threatens them / offers money to make them go away. They refuse, beat up a Red Samurai, and flee. One of the PCs gets a call--Ares found out about the girl, thanks to the news report from earlier.

Session 3: While Ares has the girl, they don't know why she's important. The Sprite comes back and explains that she has half the program, and that from what it can tell Ares will probably sell her off. He offers to tip the PCs off when the exchange is happening in return for them activating YggHelix inside the girl's skull. The PCs agree. What follows is a rather simple raid on an Ares caravan. They activate the program... and everything connected to the Matrix starts to fry. The program writes itself specifically for her brain, becoming useless outside of it. By the time they escort the girl back to the pickup, pandemonium has broken loose--largely thanks to basically every car on the road crashing / breaking down. They just start to realize what's going on, but resolve to finish the run. They hoof it to Mr. Johnson, apparently a rich billionaire. They pass the girl off to him, get their payment. Some allusions to him being a Dragon are made.[/spoiler]

So, I have to take care of two things: the fact that the PCs would get far more money than they should, and the setting implications of YggHelix. The former is easy, I'm letting everyone respec as a Prime Runner, throwing in a timeskip, and waving my hands around all the plot holes. The latter, all that's IC right now is that its a virus like in the backstory of the .Hack series. It somehow weaponized the Renraku Grid (particularly its DemiGOD), murdered everyone in VR, and bricked almost every Matrix device in existence.

We're time-skipping 5-10 years. Society has more/less put itself together. Event/Virus that still needs a cool name has gone down in history. Only AAA corps and local corps survived economically, although a few of those Local Corps are vying for a larger position. The Renraku Grid has apparently been quarantined off, although everyone in the Matrix can see a massive but unreachable tree icon in the horizon--like a Host. Renraku -could- just shut its Grid down or disconnect it from the Matrix, but they hope to somehow reclaim their Weapon as a recoup to their losses. For now they are studying the effects of YggHelix. Lowfyr or some other Dragon has the girl that caused the mess, but apparently the YggHelix is sentient and resists his attempts to control it.

Thing is, the game is running smack into my lack of setting knowledge. I'm not sure where to... go from here. Nor am I sure the extent of socio-economic changes this would cause. I'm wondering if you guys have any ideas or insights or setting elements I'm not familiar with that'd be helpful. Ultimately, I'm going to run it a tad episodic, like a season of Avatar. Things tie into the main plot occasionally, but its not the only thing, so I can buy myself some time.

Blue Pill/Red Pill it. The past few runs have been a sim that the Runners were not aware of. Find past events in a prior run/LegWork for them to have been 'inserted' into the Sim during their sleeping or otherwise.

This opens up a lot of freedom for story telling. Why were they put into a Sim? What did the Corp/Organization gain from doing so? Was it a test of skills within a controlled environment to see how they responded? Did they pass the test? Was it to record certain experiences and resell them as a weird BTL trip (read crime syndicate abduction)? Are the players being released from the Sim do to it 'coming to it's conclusion', or are they being rescued by someone who opposes the Corp/Organization? Are you pulling them out of the Sim immediately, or are you going to start dropping hints inside the Sim that 'something is off' and let them break out via becoming aware of the 'wrongness' of the Sim.

markelphoenix

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« Reply #6 on: <08-15-13/1657:20> »
Also, to compensate any Karma 'lost' from the Sim, allow them to retain any Karma Spent (skill gains, etc..) due to it being 'real to them'.  Nuyen can be recouped from them carrying out some 'Pay Data' or selling the knowledge of the 'project' to a competitor, etc.

Belker

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« Reply #7 on: <08-15-13/1955:15> »
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