Friday, January 01, 2010

Current situation, and request for character goals

Fall semester for your junior year of high school is beginning. Belinda is still the closest you have to a guardian, as you haven't heard from your parents since shortly after you started school about two year ago.

You're pretty sure that the vampire/blood cult problem is solved, or at least cleaned up for the time being. You know they had a lot of influence at the clinic you uncovered, but you don't know if the corporation that ran the clinic (Azthechnoogy) knew about the vampires. Internet research suggests that Aztechnology/Aztlan (I'll use AZ to refer to them unless the distinction between the corporation and country is significant) at least covertly allow vampires as employees/citizens. Conspiracy theories connecting AZ to blood cults and other murderous-but-sentient critters are also common. With what you've seen, its likely that the rumors are true, but they've done an awesome job cleaning up after the bloodshed that follows vampires and blood cults, and making sure witnesses change their stories or appear to be crackpots. Its also possible that most people believe the rumors, but just don't care.

Bug spirits didn't make their presence felt at all over your summer vacation. Its hard to believe that they've all left Chicago, but they've avoided you for a while. Common sense would tell them that you are a huge threat to them, as you've disputed large groups without casualty and have actively sought them out multiple times. Why they haven't attacked is at least a small mystery. They might just be counting on the inability of children to discover them if they do a better job keeping a low profile... or maybe they're waiting for a good time to strike. Catching one of you alone and replacing you with a good-merge bug would be their best option. Belinda has given you some minor aide in this vein of research, more to scare you out of pursuing it than any other reason. One of the scariest aspect of good-merge possessions, is that the bug end up in a perfect disguise that can even fool magical senses, and get access to all of the powers and memories of the replaced individual. This makes you guys tempting, but still extremely dangerous targets.

You still don't have too many contacts that will help you out after graduating. Belinda is encouraging you guys to attend career planning and job fairs. You don't find them too useful for your bug-hunting problems, but the Ares Rep makes sure to talk to you guys every time you show up, and he makes a point of inviting Markus and any of his friends to Ares promotional events in the area.

Joan continues to use you guys as runners and appreciates help in collecting and refining magical materials as well. She could get a lot more use from you if you were a little tougher and had a little more free time to go collect rare ingredients for her, but she's happy to leave the easy chores to you guys for now. The pawn shop owner appreciates minors to make deliveries for him as well, although his jobs little more risky if you ever open up the boxes. Anything he has that is illegal would be much easier for a typical cop to identify. He pays a little less than Joan as well, but if you ever need small arms, ammo or light armor, he'd be a good source (once he trusts you enough to not tell anyone where you got the stuff if you get caught).

The smuggler isn't too useful as a source for new stuff, but he's always got a market for illegal goodies you need to get rid of, as long as it pays well enough for him (travel costs for ocean-going ships and his banshee are really expensive).

Its also time for you magical group to grow. Eleven people is a lot, but its not too many, so long as the group's goals and philosophy include education, then at least going to school counts towards creating and maintaining the magical link between group members. More real members of the group allow the group to help with more initiations, and provide more members for ritual teams, however, its harder to maintain the magical link between members.

(ooc): Adding new members to the group is supposed to require a month of work and an Arcana test (teamwork test). Unless your group gets over fifteen members, I'll assume the group makes the test. The maximum number of initiations the group can help with (lower karma cost) is equal to the number of members in the group, which isn't going to mean much to the character until they are long out of high school, unless you get some members killed off. Although ritual magic won't help much on your combats, you might be able to find some use for it. In the setting, its usefulness is primarily for assassination, however, they are other used that just take a little more creativity, such as using the earth control spell to raise an island out of the sea (the group I ran for in Gaithersburg decided to raid an island out of the Puget Sound).

Current Roster:
Markus (Matt)
Takeda (Paul)
Radcliff (Rob)
Bob (Kevin)
Sedrick (Andy)
Lu Bu (Barry)
Derric (NPC – Hemetic Mage)
Andrew (NPC - Christian Theurge)
Sean (NPC – Norse magician)
Sara (NPC – Shinto Priestess)
Karyn (NPC – Shaman, Dragon)
(we can talk about adding new members during the session unless you guys want to RP recruiting via posting here.)

Next, to help make the games move a little faster, I need to know your characters goals and motivations. Not only the mechanical goals the players have for the characters, but the in-character goals for each character. In-character goals don't always have to be reachable or necessarily in line with the player goals. They also don't need to show up in each (or even any) game session. The point is to know what direction your character is planning on going, and have some idea of how he plans to get there. Also think about how you can get into situations that might lead your character to reaching goals that the character might not be aware of, or get into situations that make the goals you might have for the character make sense (You'll have to look at example for that sentence to make more sense). Also, start thinking about how your character might react to being forced to become a shadowrunner. Your characters should be honestly considering becoming criminals right now, but eventually you are going to be forced into living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (quarantined zone) that will be nearly impossible to escape from. Then before you get out of Chicago, nearly all of the citizen's get zeroed, and will not be able to recover their true SINs, and will need to decide if they want to stay SINless, or try to get new SINs.

NPC Goals (a.k.a. Examples)
Derric – NPC Hermeic Mage
First and foremost, Derric needs to survive high school. Why combat skills are necessary to survive high school only fate can know, but all of the magical Threats in the greater Chicago have decided that he will learn to fight. This makes being at least a semi-competent fighter in the physical world mandatory, and learning to fight better in astral space a requirement as well. Luckily, learning to fight better with magic fits in to his other life goals, so at least he doesn't feel like thats a waste of time and effort. Also, in order to deal with the current threats to his life, he needs to learn where the nests and hives of the bug spirits are, so they can be taken care of. While he knows he's not powerful enough to destroy them all himself, certainly, if they could be pointed out to the popper authorities, they could be dealt with.
As for his real life goals, during and after surviving his combat training (a.k.a. high school), he plans to work as a free-lance magical security consultant. He already has some work in that field by making and maintaining wards for small businesses that can't afford established professionals. He'll need to learn a lot more about magic tan his peers would normally learn in school if he wanted to start right out of high school, but thats not too much of a stretch considering his contact with major magical threats, and his fast advancement in magical power (graduating high school with one initiation would be a significant accomplishment). Having a good reputation and good (and more) magical contacts will also help, as will being a particularly power mage wit access to powerful magical resources. To increase his magical power, Derric needs to summon a powerful ally spirit, both to help him survive the current magical Threats in his life, but also to help him research new spells and design focus formulas.
His more mundane goals include learning more about non-magical security to complement his goals in magical security, and to learn a little more about mechanics so he can do more than just his own oil changes. Having just come of age to get a driver's license, he plans on getting a street-legal bike in the near future. Having once loved off-road biking as a hobby growing up, he wants to be a little more serious about it as a way to escape the stress of the magical world once in a while (not to mention that such skills are still useful). He thinks about looking for a girlfriend, but his relationship goals are more centered around finding a good breeding partner than a real love life. He believes that elves are superior because of heir long lives, and that the awakened are superior for their ability to access power that the non-awakened are denied. Since both are inherited traits (in his point of view), he'd only consider a relationship with an awakened elf.
His final goal, what he'd consider the crowning achievement of his magical career, would be to become powerful enough that he could cast effective combat spells in space, or at least on a space station. (this would require a magic rating of 15 or higher for the biggest space stations or 19 plus to open space, and any foci or spirits he brought along for the ride would also need to be just as powerful).

Find bug hives/nests
Increase combat skills to 4, max out magical skills
Get security related skills to 4, magical security to 6
Summon ally spirit, at least force 8, maybe higher (costs around 100 karma)
Find more contacts in the magic industry and get a reputation for magical skills. (might require improved social skills)
Improve mechanics and piloting (ground)skills to at least 3.
Increase initiate grade and magic attribute as much as possible.

Okay, I'll give this a whirl:

Marcus's goals:

1) Short-term (I hope): Keep an eye out for Bug Spirits and their nests, minions, etc. While any hope of wiping out this menace long-term is probably wishful thinking, it is safe to assume that these monsters still have an interest in the party. At this point, however, he's not interested in actively hunting them down now that the "Tower of Bug Spirit Doom" appears to have been cleaned out.

2) Learn more about security systems "just in case." Having often been in situations where he skirts the edge of the law, this knowledge would be handy.

3) Learn more about business. Marcus wants to "go legit" and have a successful career; he considers his shadowy activities during high school a pool of knowledge he can draw upon, but he doesn't intend for that to be his career. Learning more about how business works (financial aspects, law, etc.) would help him advance through the corporate ranks quicker.

4) Longer-term career goal: He wants to achieve a mid to high level position in a company that lets him use more than just his magical combat skills. He is NOT interested in just being a "tough grunt" in the corporation (though that may be how he has to start out) - he wants a job where he won't be one of the first "red-shirts" to be flung at a problem. He's hoping his broad knowledge base will let him get some sort of field operative position where he can travel and be outdoors frequently. The concept of spending all day in a cube farm is repugnant to him.

5) Career interests: environmental sciences, anything engineering related, and eventually business and security (once he gets the knowledge skills.) He knows that a person of his skill level can fill many roles, which should set him apart from the basic "security grunts with guns."

6) Hobbies: Motorcycles and cars are of interest to him, though he's far less concerned with collecting classics vs. tweaking them and driving them. He also has interests in his childhood hobbies of botany, zoology, and geology.
Ok, here's my stuff:

Bob is a very laid back troll, intelligent enough, but not very focused. He's content as long as he has a full belly and some spending cash. Unfortunately, fate doesn't seem to want to leave him alone. Bug spirits, dragons, vampires, and every other being in Chicago with an agenda seems to be after Bob and his schoolmates. Not necessarily a bad thing, dragons are pretty cool after all. But as he enters his junior year and lives through more trouble, Bob realizes he needs to get serious about surviving. He's going to need better skills, training, and gear. Unfortunately, he's not sure what he needs specifically, so he's going to pursue what seems pretty cool to him.

Bob has a vulnerability -- the beginnings of a Don Quixote complex. He's enamored of old movies, especially anything involving Batman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or the works of Akira Kurosawa. So Bob views himself as a superhero. After all, he's got superpowers (throwing abilities, troll toughness, drake form), a secret identity (high school student), super allies (his friends), and super enemies (see list above). Now he just needs some super gear. A set of Red Samurai armor with a wooden No-Dachi, SWAT armor with a flamethrower and grenade launcher, something exotic, cool, and badass as hell. Of course aquiring these things will be a bit a challenge.

So what are Bob's goals?? First he needs to better combat skills. He's not real interested in guns. Maybe because he's a troll, or maybe because of the movies, Bob is more in favor of hand delivered destruction. Throwing stuff is effective and fun, but he's seen enough to know that he needs more than a pocket full of marshmallows to live. Axes and swords interest him, the more exotic, the better. And he's really dying to try a monofilament whip. Martial arts interest him and could be a factor which makes him more focused over time. Bob will have some interesting choices to make over the next year.

Now for training. Every good superhero needs a cover, and the best covers are things that are natural. So what comes naturally to a troll, or at least to Bob? Drinking and fishing. Must have something to do with being from the upper peninsula of Michigan. So what training or skills, besides lots of practice, does drinking need? Not so much drinking, but making drinks, as in brewing alcohol does. Which leads to chemistry. Bob does have a knack for mixing things, so pursuing more training in chemistry and related sciences would be appropriate. Long term this could lead to a job as a master brewer, bartender, or organic chemist. And what does skills or training could fishing involve. Well for starters, piloting the boat and swimming. So courses in navigation and nautical piloting, as well as some mechanical knowledge (gotta be able to keep the boat going). Training in scuba diving could be useful and fun. Besides, SEAL's are cool and pretty badass.


After all this training and work, Bob is going to need to do something for fun. A couple of things interest him -- motorcycles and medieval reanacting. Bob saw a copy of Easy Rider at a formative age, but got the wrong message from it. He's not interested in drugs, but instead the easy, simple freedom of the road. Bob sees a motorcycle as the land equivalent of a boat, a machine totally under his control that allows him to escape the world and live freely as he chooses. It's just that you can't go as fast in a boat as on a motorcycle, although Bob is willing to try. So Bob's training in piloting (land this time) and mechanics will have more uses. And then there's the medieval reenactment. Bob is interested in medieval stuff for one huge reason -- armor. Bob doesn't like pain, and tries to avoid receiving pain of any type as much as possible. So he likes armor, the stronger and thicker the better. So he always chooses clothing with an eye to maximum protection, whether it's ballistic, impact, fire retardant or chemical protected. As a medieval reenactor, he's supposed to go walking around in chainmail. And chaimmail works so well for bike accidents and looks cool on bikers, who are of course, badass.

With all this training and other stuff going on, who has time for a girlfriend?? Up until now, Bob just hasn't had any real time or interest in the opposite gender. And besides, how many age appropriate female trolls are there at his school?? Humans are too fragile, elves are too skinny, and dwarves are too short. And then Bob met Lieutenant Lane, female orc cop and Bob's first crush. Maybe the hormones finally started to flow or one of those hits knocked some sense into the troll, but Bob is now experiencing his first love, or at least lust. She's an orc (strong, tough, and protruding incisors) which is cool. And she's a cop (uniform, taser, badge, authority, and handcuffs) which is badass. And she's older, which means experienced and skilled. Bob is already having thoughts about playing bad cop/badder cop (it involves strip searches and handcuffs -- up against the wall and spread'em cutie pie) or having her take his sea serpent on a deep, deep dive (sea serpents always go deeper, stay down longer, and come up wetter). But how to gain the affections of his Juliet (yeah, Bob watched that movie too)?? Not sure, but Bob is willing to go to some lengths and try some strange stuff to impress her. Now if his efforts would just pay off.

Summary --

Increase combat skills, max out thrown weapons and close combat
Get chemistry and history to 6
Improve piloting(ground and water) and mechanics to 3
Obtain exotic weapons and armor
Maximize Willpower and Edge
Get Lt Lane to fall madly in love with troll (may require upgrade of social skills)
Get contacts in alcohol industry or chemical industry
Obtain additional martial arts training
Get scuba certified
Go fishing
Brew some Hurlg
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