Run Report 3

So yesterday we wrapped up the longest run I’ve written so far, which ended up taking three sessions. My players had to deliver several packages to several unusual locations, where, it turned out, there were large, powerful spirits waiting to accept said packages. In each of the locations, though, there were packs of wild, territorial critters that in between them and the coordinates for the package drop off, which they had to get past. I discovered several things this session.

The first is that characters built for tanking can be incredibly difficult to hurt in Shadowrun if they have a chance to put on their armor and get prepared. Riptide, the oni-ork, when he’s in his security armor, throws something like 30 dice against ballistic attacks and 26 dice against impact when resisting damage. And his armor is completely legal according to the rules in the core book and Arsenal. Without some seriously armor piercing attacks, I can’t actually do physical damage without killing him outright (well, knocking him out and putting him into the realm of bleeding to death), because of the rule that any physical damage attack that is less than the character’s armor is downgraded to stun. It takes something like 17 or 18 damage to actually get past his armor. I strongly suspect he can laugh off a monofilament whip. This means that while I can still send the characters on missions where they get a chance to gear up and prepare first, I need to put them in situations where they’re unprepared as well, otherwise Riptide is never really going to feel threatened. It’s actually possible, when he’s fully decked out in armor, for him to drop a frag grenade at his feet to get a bunch of melee combatants off him and not take any damage. This is compounded by the fact that the team has two magicians, and they have somewhere in the realm of 9 or 10 counterspelling dice which together they can apply to the whole team, as long as they can see everyone. This means only very powerful magic can get through and hurt even the characters who, without the counterspelling, would be relatively vulnerable to magic.

The second thing I learned is that large groups of critters are kind of a pain in the ass to run. I sort of knew this already from the initial devil rat encounter. The problem with critters is that, while I think they’re neat and fun to use as opponents, unless I run large, powerful critters which are harder to explain the presence of, it takes large groups to really cause any threat to the characters. A group of 20 or so leshy (a type of sapient, territorial awakened humanoid) was one of the encounters, and leshy tend to set traps and pelt intruders in their territory with rocks and sharpened branches. The runners spotted the pit trap far too easily, and the rocks and branches were not very effective. They had several casters, however, which could summon spirits and use combat spells, but again, only one combat spell actually hit anyone because of the counterspelling.

The problem with rolling attacks for 20 leshy is that it takes a long time, because each leshy has to attack, and then the target gets to dodge, and if they don’t entirely dodge, they get to soak damage. The second initiative pass I decided to roll once for the entire pack of leshy, and then simply have the players roll their defense and damage resistance tests in quick succession. It sped things up significantly compared to the first round. In any situation where you have a large number of antagonists with the same stats and relatively low threat attacks (small critters, gangers who aren’t very good with their weapons, etc) I highly recommend this shortcut. You could even simply buy hits using their dice pools, eliminating the role entirely, but the danger of this is that you need at least a dice pool of 8 to get more than one hit. I don’t recommend letting the players buy hits in a combat session, because that takes all the suspense out of combat; it’s always possible they could glitch or crit glitch and take some actual damage, even if, like with my leshy, they’re only being pelted with rocks.

Riptide notwithstanding, both encounters were relatively effective. I caused physical damage to one of the magicians when a dour (a dwarf-like awakened chimp) shoved some rebar through her stomach, and in the leshy encounter two of the characters were only a box or two of stun damage away from being knocked out. All in all, I’m satisfied with the session, but I need to figure out a way to make Riptide sweat that won’t result in most of the other characters being it too much danger.  Suggestions would be welcome.

(It’s going to be a while before I actually get around to posting this adventure, for which I apologize. Next Wednesday, I think, I’ll be posting the first part of the first adventure I wrote myself.)

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One Response to “Run Report 3”

  1. Andrew femling Says:

    Wow I get to take up more space on your blog 🙂 I hope that I will be offering help full advice towards Riptide situation. In all the gaming I have done (about 20 years) I have never tried to be a player killer. But I also like to create detailed stories that make the players have nightmares in life, and at times I have succeeded.

    I would create a situation that involves the creature Incubus with a Earth spirit. It would take some battle field control on your part to separate the party a little on a run though. But this could prove to be a very funny and humbling experience for our sweet Ork.

    I would plan it with in a Corp office run, allow the runners to try to make it through with stealth and a good run plan. But if they trip the alarm then it is time for a controlled response from a NPC mage/ head of security at that site. I will use the name Mordath, who will have great physical security typical of most corps in place. But he will also have several contingency plans to deal with different Runners and their abilities.

    One of them will include our Incubus, to set it up have several wagemages cast barrier spells to split off our tank from the party. Open the needed door, and inside will be a caged Incubus about 15 feet of the ground in a bullet proof glass cage. than have one or two earth elementals stationed nearby. The incubus will use its Desire Reflection and the spirits will use it’s binding power. You will then have an ork tripping and stuck to the ground. Mordath, that bastard elf will have some sort of knock out gas to give the incubus and then some guards will come in and cuff old big and nasty.

    Now we get into other party story mode, we have a team mate capture while they should be forced to leave…..maybe some drones firing rubber pellets at a high volume will convince them. They will either have to try to get the companion back, while our dandilion eater is having his merry way getting information/ trying out new tech/drugs on our not so free roaming tusker.

    This NPC can be a one shot dude, or a bastard that re appears to slot off the party for games to come. maybe moving up the old corp ladder 🙂 I hope this was useful, if you would like me to restrain from posting in the future just drop me a note. Take care enjoy your day.

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