As yes, after delays for snowstorms, extended work issues, and NE Patriots’ football games, we finally got back to the Fourth Corporate War. A new (old) PC was introduced at their fixer’s party, where they were reminded that despite their recent success they were still the ‘B-Team’ (the Shadowed Ones kidnapped the OTEC security coordinator for the West Coast). Perhaps some introductions would be in order?
– Tyree Jones (Covert Op 4/Solo 4) – While he appears to be a thirty something mulatto from the US Virgin Islands, he is actually a much older retired special forces colonel, Sam Fisher, who (in game) showed a list of top secret government Black Ops to a media (with a digital eye camera), and was “erased” by a former CIA contact of his. (The player has finally been allowed to play the character again with a new identity, and the loss of all his contacts, money, gear, and retirement pay, after all he is officially ‘dead’ now). This is ‘the new guy’ to the group. [Rep – 4]
– Beatrice “Bea” Laugherty (Solo 6) – Rebellious daughter (18 almost 19, I believe) of a corporate agro executive and a career military officer. A brief stint in the US Army showed her to be unsuitable for rigid government discipline. A more successful tour with a mercenary unit in Africa proved her worth. She is a trained tank gunner trying to make her way in the Edgerunner world. Think “Tank Girl”. [Rep – 2]
– Rose (Covert Op [Shinobi 4]) – Her mother is a member of one of the last Ninja clans in Japan and her father is a member of the United States military. The marriage didn’t work out and her mother was “forced” to divorce her husband and return to the mountains of Japan with her “half breed” daughter. While the clan seemed to reluctantly accept her, she couldn’t help to feel that her presence was resented. (GM’s note: since this “could” have important ramifications to the group, I can’t go into too much detail here as members of the party do read this board.) Rose asked her father to help her get out of Japan, and he got her job with a friend who was running a mercenary operation in Africa (see Bea’s story). Rose came with Bea to Night City to be members of this team. She thinks she has successfully escaped her clan’s notice, but they have been following her exploits with great interest, while they decide what to do about her. Everyone in the party, but the Japanese netrunner, Takashi, thinks she is a Covert Operative. [Rep – 2]
– Takashi Obahoko (Netrunner 6) – He was raised in a Shinto Temple is the Japanese countryside, where he was left by his parents. Raised by Shinto priests, he is a very devout member of that religion with a curious theory that the Net is an extension of the mystical world and AI’s are actually Kami spirits manifesting in the digital world. He is dirt poor and has very low tier equipment, but his skills and intelligence help make up some of that handicap. He is an abysmal shot, but is highly skilled with a katana. Takashi is a young country boy out on his own for the first time, and his English skills are sadly lacking. At a party he heard Yoru Tomobiki, Arasaka’s Night City security chief, call Rose (in Japanese) by her Clan name (they are from the same prefecture), so he is terrified of her, but hasn’t mentioned her true vocation to anyone. Takashi comes off as a bit of a coward so, Bea has given him the nickname “Taco” since, in her opinion, he is such a “girl”. Bea has decided to “make a man” of him, whether he wants it or not. [Rep – 1]
– Christy (Solo) – “Twas Beauty that killed the Beast” Christy is a drop dead gorgeous ATTR 10 young woman, who makes ends meet as an “exotic dancer” when times are tight. She is very lightly augmented, so often is underestimated due to this, her looks, and lack of reputation. [Rep – 1]
– Michael Lars Cooper (Solo) – Old “Grenade Face” Got to love those hideous scarring rolls on the Life Path table! A good solo, which has stopped more than his share of bullets for the group. [Rep – 1]
– Dr. Gordon Freeman (Medtech 7) – The good doctor used to be a teacher at the University of Las Vegas, but ran afoul of both the Russian and the Italian Mob in the recent Mob War in that city (see the numerous posts by Destacado and others on the last adventure). Well, both sides ended up thinking he had worked against them so he lost his job and almost his life. Jesus Menendez, the PC head of the Hispanic Mob in that city has had the doctor’s career destroyed so he can’t get a legitimate job. So now he works as an Edgerunner medtech (one step above a ripperdoc). [Rep – 2]
Ah yes, well, the “B Team” has been sent to Aberdeen, Washington where it is suspected that OTEC is “up to something”. Their mission: find out what IT is, gather some “evidence” and report back in a week to ten days. Support: 6000eb down payment and you’re on your own! Intelligence: Good idea, go out and get some! After all that is what we are paying you for.
Well, they put their netrunner on the Intel question, and Takashi came up with maps, legal digest of local laws, recent copies of the local paper, transportation map, hotel listings, local history (Nirvana was from Aberdeen!), and the location of the local OTEC office. That is right next to the small navy base there. OTEC is a major supplier to the base, so the Marines based there would probably take a dim view of a major assault. Anyway, the group could only afford public transportation (dirigible and local train) so they only brought light and legal weapons. They got there; found a cheap hotel, and all settled in for the night. Well, except “Bea” who hooked up with a bunch of sailors who just arrived in port and has woken up in a strange hotel amid the refuse of a drunken bacchanal with a number of passed out sailors and another local girl.
Saturday, December 18, 2024
Well, well, Session 5 of the Ocean War under their belts and the group is still alive. I did forget to mention one thing from the last session. As they arrived at the Aberdeen rail station, they say a Screamsheet box flashing so two of them bought the local “Gray Harbor Gazette” which just came out that day. Rose, the teen ninja, read the article dealing with their Kelp Farm Raid (I do a lot of hand outs in the course of the game, so they got an illustrated screamsheet courtesy of Word). She pointed at the story (one of two on that page and said, “Hey look, we made the paper.” Ah, well, more on that later.
This week we had one no show, and one called into work, so those characters (Tyree and Michael) were sent to investigate the corporate clear cutting of the forests to the north. I will deal with them later. The remaining five characters started sorting thru the clues from the net research done by Takashi, except for Bea, who pursued the sailors. Players rarely do what you expect them to, when given a wide range of options. On this note they did not disappoint me.
They had found out that OTEC had just dredged the harbor as a ‘public service’ for a Tall Ships demonstration. So, they posed as a group of students studying the changes in the ecology of the harbor as a school project. They rented a dive boat and equipment and with all they right sampling gear, checked out the dredging, took samples etc. Dr. Freeman was a college professor, so he knew ‘the drill’ so to speak. The rest of the party was the right ages and all could dive. They group did not draw undue attention to their presence so no one checked their cover story to closely as they acted in every way like a group of grad students out on a field trip.
The only wrinkle was the net runner who was attacked by a Dog Program while running the local OTEC Data Fortress. Nothing seems to have come of that, and he went back several days later and downloaded a lot of “Operations Documents”, which he is sifting thru. No, there is no file listed “Secret OTEC Plans (that you need)”.
By cross-referencing old harbor soundings, the information gathered from their own dives, and new soundings provided by Bea’s new sailor “friends”, they discovered that OTEC put a deep-water channel in the harbor leading to a very heavily guarded warehouse in a private yacht marina in another small town on the harbor. OTEC is covering over the dock by that warehouse, and each day there is a heavily guarded convoy arriving there. The last bit of information they want to get before they return is “where the convoys are coming from.”
I am kind of proud of the group. They have come a long way from their last adventure: The Keystone Kommandos Blow Up a Kelp Farm. They acted as a fairly cohesive group, pursued multiple leads simultaneously, and used information gathered on different approaches to complement their other lines of inquiry. Well, one more session should do it and then back to Night City, and then they will finally have some time to settle into their new (Combat Zone) neighborhood.
Well, the ‘B-Team’ followed the armed OTEC convoy to get what they felt was the last piece of information they needed to complete their surveillance mission. The vehicles went to the local airport to the commercial freight area (restricted) and picked up a cargo or in this case people in the bus they were guarding. The presence of a borg (Spider, but they couldn’t recognize which one in was) kept them at a distance. With info in hand (or rather collated on the netrunner’s Cyberdeck) the group returned to Night City. Their employers were pleased and paid them. They then returned to their combat zone building.
Well, that is where things almost got a little dicey. As they went up to the second floor, they saw two new children in the hall, who ran into an apartment (THEIR apartment) and locked (no problem, they had a key), and BARRED (damn!) their armored door. The only other tenant in the building seemed to have moved out and was replaced by a different voice behind that door. The group briefly considered then rejected Rose’s idea just to force their door and kill the mother and children. To be honest here at least half of the group was horrified by that suggestion. The new tenants (squatters) claimed they had paid rent to the “Association” to live here.
After a little investigation, the “Association” turned out to be the “Morrison Square Improvement Association”, or as one player put it “a god damned lawyer gang!” A colorful but not particularly correct appellation. They are, however, an organized crime group, that is a cross between the Mob and a violent Guardian Gang. They charge a monthly ‘membership’ to those that live in the area. As their ‘Treasurer’ said, “No one HAS to join, but this is a rough neighborhood, and BAD things can happen here.” It was apparent that the local water and power companies would not come unless the ‘Association’ approved (another fee).
They decided, “what the hell” and paid. As it turns out, they have discovered that the group DOES keep the peace, and the water and power companies quickly respond to their calls for service. The group has adopted the policy of appeasing the “Association” instead of righteous indignation, and trying to take it down. This is probably a prudent approach. Well, the war has settled down into one of its quieter phases (for a few weeks), and they now get to “play in the sandbox” for a little bit!
Well, the snow has cooperated this week, and Episode 7 of our Fourth Corporate War Campaign went off without (too much) of a hitch. There was quite a bit of (mind numbing for reporting sake) detail role-playing as characters fixed up their rooms in the Combat Zone building they have rented. I still can’t believe they actually legally rented a building in the Zone, but perhaps they were afraid that the GM (wait, that’s me!) would descend on them after they expended so much of their funds fixing it up and divesting them of it with hordes of faceless and heavily armed mercenaries. Could be.
For fun they all attended a New Year’s Eve Bash thrown by their fixer, Smiling Sid, at his posh ‘rented’ place in Rancho Coronado. Once there Bea continued to antagonize Sid’s secretary, Candace, by continuing to call her “Barbie”. They met another ‘fixer type’ from Trinidad-Tobago, who is a friend of Sid, named “Uncle Billy” Titcombe (picture Gene Hackman in the Unforgiven). His entourage consisted of “Junior”, his nephew (young, Creole black from French Guyana) his assistant; “Jamal”, his Black Muslim bodyguard, and “Cleo”, blonde arm candy from London.
The three female party members (Christie, Bea & Rose) along with Cleo eventually jetted off in an AV limo with some rich Euro Trash royalty to ‘watch the sunrise’ from a penthouse suite in a casino on Lake Tahoe. Of course the prince and his two buddies were expecting some, shall we say…”Expressions of Gratitude” from the young ladies? Virginal, young, Ninja wanna-be Rose was, of course, not interested (and offended). However, the others were more than happy to make a party of it.
The girls ended up getting stranded in Tahoe, so they stole a car and returned to Night City the next day. They walked into a robbery at a convenience store where, hopefully, Rose learned a valuable lesson. “When a man is watching and pointing a gun at you at greater than point blank range, no matter what your initiative is, if you jump up from your knees and charge him, you will be shot!” Fortunately, in this case, not fatally this time.
In Night City, they decided to try to unload their ‘hot’ car and approached ‘the Association’ if they were interested in buying it. They were sent next door to talk to Bruce, the man who handles those types of transactions. Here things got a little dicey. Next door is the Clam Shack, a hellhole of a strip club. Now it was Bea and Rose out on this one. Bea knew what the place was but Rose thought it was a seafood restaurant, and Bea decided it would be funny let her find out the truth for herself. Well, Rose was horrified, and at that moment a drunk came up to Rose and asked if she would like a drink. She doesn’t answer and tries to walk around him. Here is where the wonders of Point of View come into play.
– Drunken patron: who thinks she hasn’t heard him, takes her (gently) by the arm and repeats his offer.
– Terrified young woman with high martial arts skills freaks out and kicks Patron’s balls up into his throat.
– Bouncers come over to restrain dangerous hysterical girl, who resists.
– Cooler tasers young Ninja wanna be, and its lights out.
At this point the bouncers turn to Bea and ask if they are together. Bea says no, she is here to see Bruce, and walks away. Now what happens next is how the same incident can be viewed quite differently.
– She wakes up on the sidewalk outside with the bouncers leering over her, telling her to get lost. In fear of her life she pulls out her little martial art weapons. The bouncers pull out guns and tell her they will kill her if she ever sets foot on even the sidewalk here again. Her friend, Bea, is nowhere to be seen.
– Crazy bitch cripples ‘good customer’ for life. They use non-lethal means to subdue her, and
take her outside, and watch over her so no one takes advantage of her while she is unconscious.
– They give her the ‘standard’ talking to about violence in their establishment.
– Crazy Bitch draws weapon and threatens to kill them.
– They draw bigger weapons to end the discussion without any further violence.
Ah well, party’s often become their own worst enemies. It has dawned on Rose that Bea left her in a lurch, and failed to watch her back. No getting involved in the fight was OK, but not being there when Rose woke up is the issue. They have talked it over, but this incident still might cause trouble between the two characters down the line.
And what about the poor shmuck with the crushed testicles? Who knows? Maybe more from him later. Well, except for a small, uneventful half-day bodyguard job that was it. Everybody was happy getting their places ready and they are awaiting furniture deliveries and completion of the plumbing repairs. That’s all for now!
Interesting approach to describing the situation. Since we are talking about points of view, let me humbly submit Bea’s point of view on the situation and the players involved.
She has loads of training, but no practical experience. Sheltered is an understatement. It’s like she never grew up around people or never socialized with anyone. Bea befriended her when they were first put together as a group. She seemed a bit overwhelmed at the time and looked like she could use a friend. She was standoffish at first, but eventually warmed up a little bit. Bea still feels that she looks down on her and the way she lives her life. Bea got enough of that from her mother, which is why she left home.
Dr. Gordon Freeman:
Bea detests him. He is a useless piece of scum. When he is not leering at the girls in the party or making suggestive comments, he is spending money mainly on Christie in hopes of getting her into her pants. That is about the only time he isn’t’ miserly with his money. Everything else he keeps in his E-book, so that he a demand the money back from the group of the group fund. He once put down a scream sheet as a party expense. He is also egotistical and thinks he knows the best way to do thing, when he has almost as little real world experience as Rose. This last comes more from what he says and how he acts rather than character knowledge.
Out of character Dr. Freeman was previously a professor at UNLV. He talks down to other party members, sort of like a teacher lecturing students. He expects us to give him respect because of his title more than anything he has actually done. The PC who plays Rose actually confided that Rose is creeped out by him and would consider bleeding to death or having a less skilled party member bandage her than let him touch her. This stems from Rose’s encounter with the doctor when she returned from the Clam Box. He offered to ‘examine’ her to make sure she hadn’t been raped while she was unconscious.
So onto the reasons behind ‘abandoning’ Rose in the situation described above.
The first encounter in our new building:
After we had the grenades dropped on us, Bea was more than willing to leave the occupants alone. She backed away from the door, but Rose charged up, followed soon after by ole Bucket Head (later to be known as Canoe Head, after the high caliber bullet passed through it). Bea’s training kicked in and she automatically took position to cover them. She was going to voice her disapproval over the decision later, but after old Canoe Head bought it, she felt her point had been made for her.
Rose took fire as well and went down in the door. Bea jumped in and pulled her to safety. Once she had regained consciousness, she was all for giving it another try. Bea instead recommended finding a quiet spot to rest and recuperate. Renting a building was a stupid idea to begin with. Being use to field operations, she was more than happy to squat in a building. Especially since they would be away during missions and couldn’t defend it.
Trip to Aberdeen
Bea was left in the lurch while attempting to gather information from the sailors in port. The rest of the party was happy to make jokes at her expense, but none of the other girls wanted to accompany her. They had fun calling her a slut and asking if she was trying to bed the whole fleet. They instead went diving in order to collect the information. Bea was eventually able to drag Rose along, but kept a wary eye on her, in case she freaked out. She met a nice sailor and had a good time. He didn’t put the moves on her (too hard). Luckily, he was a complete gentleman.
Unfortunately, she wants to correspond with him. She is waiting for a letter to be delivered. Given our line of work and the operation that we were on, this could come back to bite us in the ass. To add insult to injury they expected Bea to pony up for a share of the cost of the underwater expedition, while totally discounting the information she was able to gather, stating that all she had done is party with the sailors for three days. If she wanted to be compensated, she should have charged the sailors. Rose did not come to her defense and actually looked down on her for being promiscuous.
Return to “our” building
As expected, new tenants moved into the building while they were away. Both Rose and Dr. Freeman were all for kicking in the door and taking back their rooms. It didn’t matter to them that there were kids (two had run into the room when they had first walked into the hallway) in there. Fed up, with the entire situation, Bea walked away in disgust. She was not going to be a party to gunning down innocent kids or their parents, who were just squatting in a building that had been left vacant in the combat zone.
The New Year’s Eve Party
Rose found herself in a situation, where she was asked to go watch the sunrise in Tahoe. She had been paired up by Cleo (the game master’s PC in NPC mode) with a Japanese business man. When the invite went out to go to Tahoe, Bea kind of invited herself along in order to keep an eye on Rose and Christie. Christie, the other female in the party and Cleo were also going. Christie was hooked up with a prince she met at the party and Cleo was with some other powerful type.
So they flew to Tahoe and when the time came to ‘pay the piper’, Rose balked and would not go through with it. Bea stepped in to cover for her (and took one for the team). Yes she slept with the Japanese business man. It was to save Rose from having to do it and because he could possibly prove to be a useful contact down the line. Instead of being grateful, Rose was upset, because she felt that Bea should have explained what the men had been after. Rose stated that she would have simply declined the offer, which would have left Christie completely on her own. This situation, once again, left Rose viewing Bea as a slut.
Fencing the Car
By this time Bea was pretty much fed up with Rose’s high and mighty virginal attitude. In the initial meeting Rose had left the room rather than be privy to an illegal transaction. So, by the time they reached the Clam Shack, Bea could care less about Rose’s sensibilities. Rose needed to grow up and learn to survive in this world. Bea was expecting her to turn around and flee at the door, once she saw what was going on inside. That she continued to follow Bea, shoed the possibility of some growth. That of course was until she put the customer’s balls into orbit (a situation that the GM never gave her the opportunity to try to diffuse before the knee met balls). After that, the bouncers were on top of her, before again Bea was given the chance to react.
Regardless of having the opportunity to diffuse the situation of not, after she began fighting with the bouncer and cooler, Bea let the situation take its course. Rose was going to be thrown out. Bea couldn’t risk being thrown out before completing the transaction. There was a stolen car sitting in our garage. Dr. Freeman was already making plans to make it his own personal property or at least the party’s car…which could only end badly. Bea decided to remove the temptation, while getting those who had been involved in the theft (Rose, Christie and herself) some walking around money.
Lesson One: if you steal a car, either fence it or dump it. Bea’s thought was to fence it to at least get some money, since the rest of the party was intent on sinking all of the money we were earning on jobs into this building. Fixing up a building is a good idea, but not one in the combat zone. The group should have squatted in the combat zone for a little bit of time, till they could afford to rent a building in a nicer area (especially since their work takes them away from the building for weeks at a time).
Bea split the money for the fenced vehicle three ways ($900 each). Rose refused to take the money…at least at first. Once Christie took her cut, Rose willingly snapped up the $900. Rose is still pissed at Bea, but Bea is really at the point where she could care less. She is trying to make up with her, since they have to work together.