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...Helen's starting up a new Shadowrun campaign.  Completely new -- our old characters, like my Jewish street samurai Mossad -- are retired (for playing purposes).  And she's got a hell of a concept for the campaign.

We're all kids.  In Berlin.

(Before I forget to mention it, we're using 2nd Edition rules, because they're what Helen's most comfortable with, and what we all have the most books for.  And I honestly can't fault Helen for going with comfort; what I've seen of SR5 looks like a completely alien thing.)

So anyway, the character concepts are working out interestingly.

Attila, ever the one for overkill, is playing a 9-year-old troll physical adept.  (That's basically all you need to know about an Attila character -- it will be hard to kill, and good at killing other things. <grin>)

Peggy's playing what amounts to a 9-year-old version of Hanna, only raised in Sweden instead of Finland, and in Berlin to investigate the disappearance of her father.  She's going to be the team sniper, only she's so small she has to use a hunting rifle instead of a real sniper rifle.  She's also a shamanic adept of Wolf, which if you don't know the system means she's a very minor magic user, basically able to use only combat and detection spells, and only able to conjure forest spirits.  She actually designed the character to be the Shadowrun equivalent of a D&D ranger, so she'll be using the optional Edges/Flaws rules to get a few extra things like Animal Empathy. Lately, Peggy has been beefing up on both real-world and SR Sweden, and has been searching online for just the right picture of a small girl with a big gun to use to represent her. If only she would choose a name for the character. Oh, and her spells.

Me?  I had a lot of ideas at first.  One, which folks might find amusing, was a young Hermetic magic-user who thought he was Harry Potter.  Literally.  He was going to be convinced he had to use this stick and Dog Latin incantations to cast his spells (and I went through all the known spells from Harry Potter and worked out their SR equivalents).  He was also going to address all elves as "Dobby" and "Winky" depending on their gender, all Trolls as "Hagrid", and all Talismongers as "Mr. Ollivander", and his teammates were probably all going to be addressed as various other characters from the books.  And he was certain he was in Germany as part of some convoluted scheme to defeat Voldemort, who naturally was in England.  Completely insane but functional.

Eventually, though, I went with a different concept:  Lukas Veidt, an 11-year-old corp brat whose parents work for Saeder-Krupp practically 24/7, leaving him a latchkey kid ostensibly watched over by his uncle, who basically calls the kid once every day or two to make sure he's not dead but otherwise ignores him.  For fun, Lukas leaves the corp building where he lives after school and basically pretends to be a street kid.  Helping him survive this unwise choice of hobbies are two things:  one, his parents sprung for a "Big Man on Campus" package of bioware when he was conceived, basically giving him an edge in physical abilities and charisma, and two, he's actually a Dog shaman, who didn't realize he was a Dog shaman until recently clued in by a friendly adult.  (He just thought he liked dogs a lot.)  I spent thirty of his starting force points to give him grade 0 Initiation, with the ordeal of summoning a familiar.  So he has a big yaller dog as a "pet" which is actually a Force 2 ally spirit.  This left him with 5 points for spells, so I gave him Stun Missile, Treat, Disregard, Makeover and Fashion, all at force 1.  The last two he uses to disguise himself when he leaves the SK complex, and to cleanup and revert back when he comes home.  His spirit lodge is a blanket over a couple of chairs with all his "stuff" under it.  Oh, and his only weapon is a slingshot.  I've got some Flaws I'm going to use with him (Day Job, for instance, to simulate having to go to school), but I haven't quite decided on what Edges to buy with the points I got back.  Probably more Force points to boost his spell repertoire or power levels, and to give his "dog" an alternate human form.

I suggested to Helen that I could make him a Tiger shaman instead, with a tiger ally spirit, and reallocate a force point from a spell to give the spirit an alternate form of a stuffed toy, and change the kid's name to "Calvin", but she wasn't amused. <grin>

We've got one more player, our friend Frank, but I don't know what he's going to be playing, as he hasn't been by since the first character-building get-together.  When I find out I'll let you all know.
Oh, right... one of the other ideas I played with was creating a character who was in everything but name a Borrible. Elven child, for the ears. Lukas' slingshot is a leftover from that character concept.
Having GM'd SR5 - and having it been basically the first system I ever GM'd, I can straight up say that Helen is right -without ever having read second ed. The rulebook is laid out like the Winchester house. Even the basic introductory scenario is so badly laid out that plot basic information like where the hostage is is left hidden in the bottom of a paragraph. I ended up winging the last half of it.... so we became the group that spent two whole sessions in McHughes.

Just remember....

....If your runner makes a deal with a corp stooge whereby the stooge must only bring two 'vehicles', those two 'vehicles' will be the gnarliest attack helicopters possible.
That game seems highly amusing. As someone who has played both 2nd ed and 5th ed I want updates on the crazy!
Well, we were going to have our third session of the game on Saturday, but Helen had a migraine and cancelled it. I was planning on writing up a summary of all the action to that point when the session was over, but, well... Let me see what I can do for you before I leave for LBI on Saturday. I can let you know that Peggy's discovering her sniper's a little weak in melee and needs more magical oomph before she actually attempts to use the spirit side of her limited shaman skills; Attila's character just looks at things and they die, as typical for an Attila character; and Lukas has discovered that a) wristrockets are surprisingly effective against ghouls, and b) it's no fun to have to catch a bus home on school nights when you're trying to find out who's abducted a friend.
(07-02-2018, 11:52 AM)Bob Schroeck Wrote: [ -> ]Lukas has discovered that a) wristrockets are surprisingly effective against ghouls, and b) it's no fun to have to catch a bus home on school nights when you're trying to find out who's abducted a friend.

Life lessons we all wish we'd learned sooner, I'm sure. I'm always in favor of ruining some leechface or skullhead's night.
(07-02-2018, 11:52 AM)Bob Schroeck Wrote: [ -> ]... and Lukas has discovered that a) wristrockets are surprisingly effective against ghouls, ..

Which reminds me of an image I once saw ... (goes and looks) ... ah, here it is. (Warning: Pixiv link. Pixiv is the Japanese equivalent to DeviantArt in that you can waste lot of time there following links.)
Oooh-kay. Not sure what that has to do with the game except her age, but it is cute...
She's wearing and using wristrockets.
Am I seeing the picture you think I'm seeing? Little blonde girl with ponytails in an Ultraman costume? She's got nothing on her that looks like a wrist rocket.
Are you seeing a picture or an animation, Bob?
A still picture. I gather I should be seeing an animation?

And, this being Pixiv, saving or linking to an animation is nearly impossible. I did manage to grab a still from further in, though.

not so much wrist rockets as wrist miniguns in my opinion
Ah! But yeah, not what I meant. "Wrist rocket" is a brand name, at risk of becoming a generic since I was a kid (or maybe it has), for a high-tech slingshot that is designed to brace itself against your forearm when you hold it in firing position.
Oh, meant to say -- I'm the process of writing up, in between other tasks, an account of the game sessions so far.
So, I've finally gotten the chance to write up the events of the campaign so far.  As of the moment I write this, we've had five(-ish -- Helen had a migraine the time before last) sessions so far, this past Saturday having been the most recent, and we've actually accomplished a fair amount.

So, where to start?

I guess with a bit more background on my character Lukas.  As I mentioned some months back, Lukas is an 11-year-old poser, the son of a mid-level Saeder-Krupp employee who lives in a nice (but not really high-end) apartment (with a doorman and everything) and basically has fun by doing the mid-21st-century Sixth World equivalent of playing on the railroad tracks at the edge of town -- he goes out and pretends to be a street kid.  He's made a few friends, including an Orc girl about his age named Elise, with whom he frequently hangs.  (It was, I've decided, Elise who first realized that Lukas was doing stuff that looked like shamanic magic, and hooked him up with a fellow by the name of Oskar, an adult and a practicing Dog shaman, who clued him in, and also told him enough about initiation that Lukas tried it on his own despite barely having five weak spells under his belt.)  

I've mentioned the "Big Man on Campus" bioware package he got when he was born, which sets him up nicely to become the German equivalent of the Quarterback who dates the Head Cheerleader once he gets to high school and/or college.  Thing is, he's turning out to be more of an intellectual than a jock.  Contrasting his intellectual streak, though, Lukas is also more than a little impulsive and danger-blind, which may be a side-effect of his bioware.

Anyway, this particular day on the first game session, Lukas slips out of the apartment after getting home from school (as is his wont) and looks to hook up with Elise for whatever 11-year-olds on the street do for fun in 21st-Century Germany.

He can't find her.  Anywhere.

And when he asks around, he finds out she's been missing for a couple days.  Ever since she went to get a meal from a mobile soup kitchen that's been getting good word-of-mouth in the community recently.  Curious and concerned, Lukas figures he has enough time to hop the bus ("MOOL-TEE-PASS!") to Essen, where the truck/kitchen has been parking for the last few weeks, and take a look around.

When he gets there he finds it's set up right next to a good-sized cemetery that gives him -- and his familiar spirit Wolfgang -- the wiggins.  (It's got a background count of fairly unpleasant-feeling magic.)  He also finds a few other kids who are looking for friends or family:
  • Ylva, a tiny 9-year-old Swedish girl whom he'd normally dismiss as a "little kid" below his notice, except for the fact that she is both loaded for bear and possessed of the tiniest magical talent he's ever assensed
  • Zoltan, an 8-year-old Troll boy (which means he's only 7 feet tall and 300-some pounds) who has some kind of magic Lukas is unfamiliar with (and uses a Hungarian street name whose spelling I am unsure of but sounds like "Beekovar")
  • Esbeth, a Dark Elf girl who has the same kind of magic as Zoltan
and finally
  • Valentine, a pre-teen with a frankly shocking amount of cyberware in her for someone her age, if his astral senses (and Wolfgang's, too) are to be believed.  
Their investigations have also led them to this specific food truck, and pretty much because they're the only ones who aren't queuing up for food but are looking around suspiciously, they all notice each other and make cautious inquiries that reveal their common reason for being here.  They decide to join forces, figuring that it's no coincidence that the people they're looking for all came to this location, and based on the bad vibes it gives off, they decide to investigate the cemetery.

Which, as it turns out, is inhabited by ghouls.  They fight off a small band, and then find a passage underground in an open tomb, and follow that down into a warren of tunnels under the graveyard, and fight more ghouls.  During all this Lukas discovers Zoltan and Esbeth are both physical adepts, Valentine and Ylva are just freaking deadly, and that a ghoul can be put down with a 15mm slingshot-fired BB.  And the rest of the group learns to grab for Lukas' collar or sleeve before he dives into the next hole or tunnel to see what's in there. (Oh, and Ylva it turns out is also a shamanic adept of Wolf, but doesn't do a lot of magic yet.)

Despite whacking a fair number of ghouls, they find no evidence that any of their friends were ever down there, and retreat back above ground and out of the cemetery.  Valentine arranges to get the bounty the local government offers on ghouls, and the group splits up, intending to meet again the next afternoon.  Lukas manages to get back home before anyone notices he's gone.

When they meet up again (in the second game session), Valentine hands over credsticks for the fraction of the bounty she was actually able to get from the adults who turned in the ghoul corpses for them.  Then the group begins looking for other possibilities where their friends may have gone.  Wolfgang has among his physical manifestations a fully functional form as a dog, and it's his nose that picks up Elise's scent and eventually leads them to a small warehouse complex at the edge of a small but heavily-polluted river, surrounded by a high chainlink fence.  Within are two big warehouses and a smaller building that looks like it holds offices; the backs of the buildings are flat against the river, more or less, and a parking lot in front of them hold a number of trucks.  When they spot toxic spirits patrolling the compound, they have what they are sure is confirmation of Wolfgang's tracking abilities.  

Ylva breaks into a five-story building across the street and perches herself on its roof in a position that gives her a straight line of sight on most of the buildings' entrances, and sets up a sniper nest with the (big) sporting rifle she carries around.  Meanwhile, Valentine, Lukas, Esbeth and Zoltan break through the fence and begin sneaking toward one of the warehouses, using the trucks in the parking lot for cover.

Unfortunately, Lukas' skill at stealth is rated only at "avoid doorman" and not "escape notice of malevolent supernatural critter", and he draws the attention of one of the patrolling spirits to the little group.  This doesn't go as badly as it could have, as Lukas promptly banishes the approaching spirit with such ease it surprises him.  He banishes the next one, too, so quickly it doesn't even get a chance to react to them.  Zoltan and Esbeth idly beat the third one to death, and that leaves the compound safe for them to cross.

(The second session ended at this point, and we picked up again when the next began.)

They pick a warehouse, and when they get to the door Valentine does her best to circumvent the security on it.  She must have missed something, though, because when Zoltan pushed through the door he set off some kind of electrical grid trap just inside.  He toughs it out, and it's either a one-use thing, or needs a long recharge, because it doesn't go off for anyone else who heads into the warehouse.

Which is good, because we get attacked by a barghest almost immediately.  It takes us seemingly forever to take the damned thing down, along with the hellhounds following it.  At one point Esbeth (I think it was) takes enough damage to knock her out and down, and one of the hellhounds starts dragging her off.  I forget which one of us it was, but one of us took care of that hellhound.  (And Ylva misses all this because it takes place entirely inside the building.  With no communications between us she has no idea what's going on.)

After the hounds were all down, along with that damned barghest, we slapped a trauma patch on Esbeth and then Lukas cast Treat (one of his five spells) on her.  Because it's not that powerful a spell, it takes a few minutes, but soon she's back at 100%.  Which is good because about that time Valentine warns us that an alarm went off when we entered, and that there are mooks inbound.  We set up to ambush them, everyone but Zoltan taking advantage of our small size to secret ourselves in unexpected places with good lines of sight on the two entrances to the warehouse.

When the thugs and a toxic shaman enter, they get caught in a massive crossfire, between those of us inside the warehouse, and Ylva on top of the building across the street.  Once they all enter, she has far fewer targets but still manages to pick off a couple who get too close to the door.

Lukas banishes the spirit the shaman came in with, and nails him with a BB between the eyes.  It doesn't kill him, but does set him up nicely for one of the others to finish off.  Meanwhile Zoltan and Esbeth are taking the muscle apart.  When all is said and done, a bunch of pre-teens successfully outgunned and outfought a half dozen cybered mooks and a toxic shaman -- and in the process we found a hidden area in the warehouse where all our friends (and quite a few other folks) were locked up, apparently as "stock" for a human-trafficking ring.

We briefly discuss stripping the mooks for parts and selling their cyberware but a quick look shows that they don't have anything special enough to make it worth the time spent.  We do decide to take the barghest and sell it through Valentine's contacts.  Speaking of whom, she boosts the mooks' car, and we find a small arsenal in the trunk (including a real Barrett sniper rifle that Ylva can use instead of her sports rifle, assuming we can find a way to transport it unseen when needed, as it's about twice as long or longer than Ylva is tall).  We also relieve the mooks and the shaman of equipment they no longer need, including what appears to a toxic weapon focus knife the latter had on him.

We dump the barghest in the trunk, load up our friends into the car and free the other captives, and peel out just before the cops arrive.  We make sure Ylva sees us and meet up with her around the block from her sniper nest so she can join us.  We get home, and get our friends home.  The news the next day claims there was a massive firefight between the cops and the trafficking ring, but you know, we kinda doubted that.  And that session ended.

The next session was kind of low key, as Helen had (as I said) a migraine and Esbeth's player didn't show until the very end.  We ended up spending the time designing a magical group that the shamans and the phys ads decided to form, debating and discussing the various strictures we felt were appropriate, and basically doing all the game mechanics stuff for the group outside of game time, which would then be accounted for at the next session.

Lukas takes the toxic-aspected knife focus to his friend Oskar, who will look to see if it can be "cleaned" or is permanently toxic.  Valentine fences the equipment we don't want from the mooks, the barghest's body and the car -- and we make a pretty penny even after her contacts' cuts.

And basically that was it for that session.

The next session, it's a bit more than a month later and a Saturday on the game world calendar.  By that time, the magical group is formally begun, and after two tries succeed in making an astral contact.  Lukas, who's already a grade 0 (self-)initiate, doesn't have enough karma to advance to grade 1, but Ylva and Zoltan immediately initiate to grade 0.  (Esbeth doesn't initiate, as her player couldn't make this session at all.)  

In the process of forming the group, it was decided that we need a physical base of some sort to establish the group's medicine lodge and provide Lukas with working space for his enchanting kit, later to become a full shop. Various alternatives are discussed, including renting a storage unit or just squatting in an abandoned house, but  Zoltan and Ylva both put out feelers for a suitable property, and one of Zoltan's contacts directs him to real estate agent.  Zoltan and Wolfgang (the latter in his "corp suit" human form, because Lukas is in school) go to talk to the agent.  There's some back and forth, during which the agent (one Manny Sazo, IIRC) tells them he knows he's dealing with a troll kid and a familiar spirit, and to come back with an adult whose name can be on the paperwork.  Fortunately, another of Zoltan's contacts will serve, and arrangements are made to come back later at which time Manny will have properties to show.

Good results, but this now requires we come up with more money than we have at the moment (which might be sufficient for a deposit on the property, but no more).  Fortunately, our earlier escapade in the cemetery has resulted in a formal notice from the local government that it's open season on ghouls, and we decide to go hunting.  However, without Esbeth we are short some needed muscle, so Valentine contacts her fixer and gets us set up with a razorgirl who was looking for a little work.  Which is how we meet the new PC who's joining the campaign this session.

Yuroichi is a 16-year-old Japanese street samurai who hasn't yet revealed why she's in Germany, and isn't entirely pleased to be stuck with what she thinks is a bunch of little kids (despite her fixer insisting to her that we're the real deal).  Lukas (looking too clean to be a shadowrunner) and his big yaller dog being the first team members to meet her at the gate of the cemetery doesn't do much to change her opinion.  But when all 7 feet of Zoltan scares the crap out of her by simply "materializing" at her side (very high Stealth skill), and little Ylva with her big guns does the same, she starts rethinking her position.  

When Valentine finally shows up (and implies she's been there for a while, watching for kicks), we head into the cemetery and do what prep we need to do out of sight of the street.  Which in Lukas' case means summoning a storm spirit and having it provide Concealment for the party and giving it standing orders to attack our foes.

We proceed deeper into the cemetery than we did the first night, and come across an unlocked crypt with obvious foot traffic around it.  And Ylva and Zoltan both notice the tracks aren't just for ghouls -- there are goblin tracks as well.  After a short discussion (goblins are nasty, drain Essence once they've got you down, and might be sapient so it isn't exactly legal to kill them), we decide to enter, but send Wolfgang ahead to scout.  He reports back that the way is clear, so we descend to the chamber below.  It has three exits, and after some sniffing and reporting, we take the one that doesn't smell of goblins -- but are attacked by a band anyway almost immediately.

The fight would have been a curbstomp except about halfway through the fight Lukas blows a couple rolls and takes a serious and a moderate wound in rapid succession, dropping him to the ground and giving a goblin a chance to start dragging him off to be an Essence smörgåsbord.  Yvla shoots the one dragging Lukas away, the storm spirt flings some lightning and in seconds the entire band of a dozen or so goblins are dead.  First aid gets Lukas back on his feet, but he's too messed up to try healing himself, so instead of going forward and getting those ghouls we wanted for the bounty, we retreat and Valentine hits up her fixer for a healer willing to come out and fix Lukas up.

Fortunately there is one, and we meet him at a warehouse apparently run by Valentine's boss and his people.  It takes him all of 2 minutes to put Lukas to rights, and he charges us only 300 nuyen.  (Lukas is still just out of it enough that when the healer says "three hundred", Lukas blinks and asks "Thousand?")

The gang decides that it's too late to go back to the cemetery and calls it a night, planning to come back on Sunday for another try.  And Lukas decides that he really needs to do something about having a Body score of 2, and decides he's going to make an astral quest to learn Increase Body +4, then cast and quicken it on himself (and on Ylva, because Peggy's worried about her fragility, too).  (And as he gets the Karma to afford it, several other attribute-increase spells as well.)

And that's it for now.
We had a little interim mini-session last week that I forgot to mention. Somewhat disturbed by how easily he went down, even though he was wearing rather good armor, Lukas decided to do something magical about it. He went to his friend Oskar and purchased the materials to raise his medicine lodge to rank 12, and also purchased training in the Increased Body +4 spell from him. (The lodge thing was because his revised plan (after changing his mind about the astral quest) was to create the spell from scratch. Then he thought to ask Oskar, "Say, you wouldn't happen to know...?")

Lukas is a quick study -- he picked up the spell in just an afternoon. And when he got home he cast it on himself and then Quickened it. He already had a Body of 3 (2 natural, +1 from bioware), so now he has Body 7, which should make it considerably easier to survive fights.

He also cast and Quickened it on Ylva, who was even more fragile than him. She now has a Body of 6 (and owes him some unspecified repayment for the points of Karma he spent on the Quickening).

Oh, and I forgot to mention in the big post above that at the start of the last session, Oskar was able to "cleanse" the knife focus of its toxic taint, and gave it back to Lukas. It's a +3 weapon focus, so as soon as Lukas scrapes together 18 Karma, he can bind it and actually use it.

But that's not going to happen for a while because he's got a couple more spells to learn, then cast and Quicken on himself and Ylva -- Increased Reaction 3, and Increased Charisma +4.

And Saturday's the next full session, so you'll see more here in just a few days.
Peggy's character can be a monster even as it is if she advances it right, and i say that as someone who has played Wolf totem adepts for 20 years. i look forward to reading more of yall's adventures
If you've got any advice, I'm sure Peggy would love to hear it!

Right now, Ylva has only a 2 Charisma. Before we started the game we spent an evening just "doing things" with the system to refresh ourselves, including all manner of magical tasks, and we quickly realized that with her current Charisma, her ability to summon spirits is all but crippled. The weakest possible spirit, Force 1, is still half her current Charisma which pushes the difficulties and drain up dramatically; we ran Ylva through summoning a spirit, and she promptly took Deadly stun and passed out. So yeah, Charisma is a priority for her, just to get that half of her shamanic abilities into usable shape.

(Lukas already has a respectable Charisma, partly from his bioware, but +4 on top of it wouldn't hurt at all.)
Shakes his head. Don't focus on summoning, focus on two things Los combat spells like mana bolt and stun ball, and the health spell increase reflexes. After that body to be able to soak damage and agility for fighting.

You have a specialized summoner in Lucas that can handle summoning and banishing and while having a backup on the magical front is a good thing, it sounds like you need shooting support.

That said, my builds tended toward close quarters combat adepts with pistols and shotguns, and acted as a backup sniper
I should make clear that she's a Wolf shamanic adept, which means she has only combat and detection spells, and she's chosen Forest spirits as her only summons. But I'll pass on your advice to her. Thanks!
Frak, I forgot about that part. She is going to want to have her very first power points in the adept increase reflexes then
No, not a physical adept, a shamanic adept. That means she only gets spells from the categories in which and can only summon spirits of the type for which the totem gives bonuses. (That's what I meant about Lukas asensing her as having "the smallest magical talent he's ever seen.)
Oh hell, guess I need to go back and look at 2nd ed rules again.
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