Sunday, June 06, 2010

Bug Loot & What next?

Karma: 12

From your initial looting, and what was still left after you went back the next day after school:
12 (now stolen) racing bikes
24 Ares Predators
38 Full clips for ares predators
136 ready-to-sell BTLs
1 Mostly-intact electronics facility (requires 30k nuyen in repairs/spare parts)
56k nuyen worth of raw materials for facility
3 force 6 power foci (orichalcum rings)
3 force 6 combat spell foci (ruby pendant)
2 force 6 weapon foci (jeweled daggers)
2 force 5 weapon foci (simple knives, from the shamans downstairs)
2 force 6 power foci (gold wands topped with scarab beetles)
2 force 6 soldier spirit conjuring foci
2 force 4 health sustaining foci (beetle-shaped belt buckles)
18 SINs from gangers
18k nuyen in certified cred (spread over 18 credsticks)
59k nuyen on single credstick
6 laptop computers
?? Most of the data from computers used in the facility, which have since been wiped/damaged.

So what is next. The electronics facility is really nice, but going to be hard to protect unless you go through the effort to move it. You have a lot of data to sift through and decode. These guys were clearly all beetle shamans, although that doesn't seem to mean much yet, but why were the bugs fighting each other? Since when do bug spirits sell BLTs? Why all of the foci that the shamans weren't using? Why did the shamans have so many foci to begin with?

We are going to have to move the lab. We are going to have to purchase a new location, a little more secure location.

As for what the bettles are doing, maybe the mantis girls might have a clue, or Jonas might know.
Yeah, I tend to dislike it when we go off on largescale tangents then suddenly ask what do you do. As I lose focus on the problem at hand.

Immediately after we left IHOP my mind raced through a lot of things. Especially as regards combat tactics for the roof fight.

Ways to attack the mages/spirits indirectly came to mind. Counterspelling... IF they counterspell, they MUST soak the drain of the spell they dispel. Resistance dice are only added to living creatures which are rolling resistance to a spell. Otherwise the spell is cast, then someone intentionally uses a dispel action to eliminate it. Doing so causes drain (to the dispeler(s)).

Using high force spells... this can be used as an indirect weapon. My drain pool was high enough to soak that fairly reasily... but I sincerely doubt the shamans or their soldier spirits could.

(spirits have two choices against a spirit zapper spell... it's not cast on them but on an area... so it goes up... then they either attack it and soak damage as if hit with a Force-P astral combat attack. Or they try to dispel it ans soak drain.

Should have guarded the gunline w/ a good casting of spirit zapper... (would interfere only w/ spirit powers like the cicada's... and not at all with gunplay. Even for the guardian spirit gunner).

Should have started dropping mana statics on the rooftop. Unaspected background count is hell on spirits. It wouldn't have done much in terms of additional penalties (the cicada's buzz would suffer from the BGC even if they're not in it). But it would severely reduce their ItNW armor!!! Making the gunfire much more effective.

(even better, if they try and dispel the mana static while it's being sustained to be made permanent... it's got a monster drain code!).

I should have dispatched spirits to the building as soon as the hidden ward was breached. Even possibly gone in astrally myself from school, to recon quickly and left spirits to deal w/ the problem if necessary... instead place gets trashed :(.

We didn't have time to put up a proper ward, only the low force 'tripwire'. The tripwire could have been used to sprint off astrally and dispatch whoever was there screwing w/ the labs.

We need to think more like private eyes at times... IE: hidden cameras and the like. (barring a rapid astral response to a situation like above... which I dislike as part of the party gets left out).

Contracting... we've already tried this a little w/ bringing down ares or police on things. But hiring a private investigator might be a good idea.

Again, need to find some way to get access to a decker.

HTR (high threat response).
We need it... no more weak members allowed, such as NPC's who can't defend themselves!! Fraternity will bite us otherwise.

Another observation... they have very nasty resources available to them and a LOT of them. Those need weeded out... this means our opposition is always better equipped than we are... Not only that the nature of bug spirits is such that they can pretty much easily infiltrate any organization.

Not to get too much of a bunker mentality but our only option is to go guerilla in a way... especially in SR... you normally don't take everything (because it may be bugged, traced, etc...). But we're left with little option but to take their own weapons and use it against them if possible.

We need to check and see if the girls have had anything done to them. A quick use of a zpirit zapper will show if they're bug spirits... (the spirits can't go through the specialized mana barrier w/o getting attacked by it).

Also we need to make sure they haven't had their memories editted or some other kind of mind magery done to them.

I agree with you on most of what I understood there, which is probably about anything that did not deal with magic fighting.

I've tried to deal with being a decker as well as a front line fighter. But, it seems that we really don't get any kind of matrix situations, except that we either find what we are looking for or not. Doing matrix stuff can be very time consuming for one person and everybody else just sits around the twiddles their thumbs, since, just like astral, it is a matter of seconds to do things in the matrix. Also, we might have a hard time finding someone that will work for children.

As for the investigator stuff, again, it would be difficult to find someone that will work for children, especially ones that want to get involved with bug spirits. But, we also get hundreds of karma to spend on skills and attributes and the such, one of us could get skills to help in this, and I think the best canidiate would be Barry, since he is geared more towards being a face than anybody else.

It is not a thing of having people less powerful join our group, it is a matter of people being alone or in a small group of two that is what makes a difference. They can send like 10 flesh forms(or whatever) to take out one person, because we cannot withstand an assault of that many, alone, especially if we cannot prepare before hand.

We have spy gear, it is just that we did not have the stuff available after combat ended. We were not expecting to find a fully functional electronics lab that we can confiscate to use as our own or anything like that for that matter. So, it was not thought to bring spy gear.

As for them having more resources than us, ah, we are kids. We do not have the resources that an adult would have access too. We cannot get C4 from Cutter or Joan or whomever because we are kids. We cannot get grenades because of that same fact. We cannot hire people to do stuff for us, because we are kids. Only reason Ares and the police are at least "useful" to us is because, one, we took down a cyberzombie and turned it in to them (Ares) and Bob has the police Lieutenant as a mid-level contact.

And as for the guerilla activities, that is fine, because we don't have the resources that we could have, for one, and another is that this is Chicago before the bomb went off and the wall was erected, so the bug spirits have amassed in large quantities here and there is nothing that we can do to change that fact, just like the spire.

That is about all I can think of right now.
And you misunderstood my points... I dislike simply having story happen while you're left as a mere observer w/ little to no impact.

My point was this... make up a strategy... then proceed to talk about anything but. Then suddenly out of the blue, what do you do.. Then the half-baked idea is fully implemented and no chance is given to revise the plan on the fly.

You don't seem to realize how easy it is to make explosives... as a teenager I MADE some and proceeded to depth charge fish with it. Buying off the shelf, no... but a little knowledge of chemistry and I'm lucky I didn't hurt myself.

Adults.. we have a ton of ganger ID's right now and a mage(s) who can cast physical mask... which adult do you wish to act as. We also have some other older fake-ID's.

Similarly resources, we have a lot, they have more... our problem is spending them... see above.

Who said anything about telling the PI exactly what he was investigating. The point is you hire a private dick to trail someone and tell you where they go who they're meeting with.

Yes, an actual PC decker is a huge slowdown as they go do things by themselves... (given the period, even the improvements to this in SR4 aren't really available at all). NPC though... Maybe if you contact them through the matrix... they'd never know children were on the other side.

Also strongly disagree... yes defeat in detail is always a problem. But weak members only make the problem worse... as fraternity means you MUST do something to help them. But members w/ no self-defense skills, (or at least a spirit or two bound) only makes it a lot worse.
Well, as for the weak members, I'm sure it was nothing we could have done to prevent them from being kidnapped. If the plot said Dunkelzahn is kidnapped and we have to go save him, then Dunkelzahn gets kidnapped and we have to go save him. Is he too weak? Hell no. It is plot, just like the spire and just like the two girls getting kidnapped. Is there another way we could have go about doing it, yes, I'm sure there is, but we just didn't think of it.

As for the decker, I think we had talked about doing just that, but either would couldn't find someone to help us out or it just got thrown on the back burner and forgotten.

Explosives, yes, I do realize how easy it can be to make it. I watch a lot of police and terrorist/anti-terrorist shows and movies and see how just getting fertilizer and mixing it with some other common household products can make explosives. Are we willing to risk blowing up our boat to make some, no, not really. It almost happened once, if I remember correctly, with just the troll making alcohol. Will it be the grenades we want, probably not. Will it be enough to blow up the spire, not at all.
OK, lots of topics to cover:
I don't believe I've told you that its not possible to make explosives, you don't have the tools required to make standard grenades, and Cutter has said "no" to selling you explosives often enough that he'll realize if you ask for the ingredients anyways. He actually has your best interests at heart here, like keeping you out of jail (explosions will bring police if anyone hears them... th silence spell gets around that though).

Ingredients are harder to get in the 2050s though. Any chemicals purchased in large enough quantities to easily make explosives are tracked and restricted. Even the rare legitimate farmer would have to be licenses to get fertilizer that could easily have the AN extracted or used as is. (If we can arrest old women for buying too much Sutafed with at different stores over a one-week tracking period, then tracking other chemicals should be easier in 2050.

In short, with nothing but a chemistry lab, you can make small explosives that aren't particularly useful in a fight (i.e. no heat/motion stable explosives that detonate on impact). Stealing some detonators or using the electronics facility to make some detonators will change that, but you don't have the facility set up yet. Standard grenades will also require a metal shop if you want more than a few. (You can get a few casings that have been turned into souvenirs, but there aren't hundreds of real casings available in Chicago, at least from your current contacts and normal stores.)

Current explosive restrictions: Materials that can be purchased by a minor, in small enough quantities that deckers looking for potential terrorists couldn't possibly notice the purchases, and can be made with only a chemistry shop. (Do you have shop/facility tools for something that could make real grenade casings or detonators yet?)

Weak initiate group members.
As for weaker members, they aren't weak by any stretch, just weaker than you guys, and not by that wide of a margin (except for the two newest, who are equivalent to starting characters). Also, remember your group can only help in initiations up to the number of members in the group. As Paul said, when plot sends a team to capture your allies, they will be out-numbered and out-matched.

As best you can tell, they haven't been manipulated magically, but they don't remember much at all after being jumped.

Narrating fights.
We will likely continue to deal with narrating events because we don't have a lot of game time, and don't use the boards to post very much legwork. I would have been perfectly happy to spend all of last session planning your mission to get the girls back and running the fights next week, but I think that would have bored you guys to death. But I also don't need you to have weeks to plan out how o deal with an ambush because we had to pack up just as the trap has sprung, half of SR is planning the run, the other half is reacting to things off-the-cuff when its seems like your plan has failed to survive contact with the enemy.

More in next post...
The electronics shop.
Its not “trashed” or useless in any way. Someone got there the next day, and made a mess trying o clean up evidence and collect any valuables you didn't already get. You'll have to replace the computers and other minor equipment, but that literally boils down to spending the money, possibly hiding the trail behind a fake identity. You just need to decide where to put it. Easy options, stored as cargo on the boat until you find someplace good to set it up (not usable like this, but still yours), rent/buy someplace to put it, or look for an abandoned building to hide it in. Just describe how you get power, and how your acquire room. I don't really want to spend too much game time with how you get the electronics facility set up unless you somehow attract to much attention to it and draw enemies.

The private eye idea
Don't know what you expect here. You can definitely find one in the yellow pages (matrix version, of course). This could require lots of RP, depending on what you ask him to do, how much you're willing to pay, how you communicate, and how much danger you put him in (they won't react well to being sent after bug spirits unawares).

Deckers in the 2050s
The matrix fluff of the 2050s doesn't seem compatible with the rules for 4th ed in the least, so I much prefer to skip the topic of PCs hackers until matrix 2.0 gets implemented in the setting. As for hiring decking support, you haven't been in any situations on game night where one would be particularly useful yet. Also some more skilled help with sifting through the data you got from the BTL factory may be useful... but its a lot of data, much of it useless. You're going to have to do data searches while looking for answers to specific questions. The data is mostly logs of what the facility was producing and communications between the shamans and other staff at the facility. A quick glance doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know, but there's probably more useful information there if you know WHAT to look for.

If you want to hire a decker, how do you go about finding one? How much do you plan on telling him? What do you want him to do? Do you want to make him a contact? What type of decker do you look for (criminal, SINless, student, corporate, professional research assistant).

Questons? Legwork?
You guys do have lots of cash, any plans to spend more of it anytime soon?
As for a decker, we did have one time where we could have used a decker. That was when we met the cyber-zombie. And we did talk about getting one for that mission. If we get one, I say going through the matrix to find him is the best way and making him a contact would be best, since we would probably need him a multiple times. I would probably get him as one. I have mentioned in the past that I try to get as much time as possible in our matrix contraption as possible, as well as trying to hang out at decker locations to become known to them. What kind, don't really know. We would probably want one that does illegal stuff, like hacking into corporate locations to make sure the video feeds are looped and the alarms are turned off, as well as one that can do research and find things we need.

As for our new facility. Can the boat hold all of the stuff we get from that warehouse for storage?? If it can, then I say we hold up with setting it up for now. Let things cool down. Then we purchase a warehouse that we can start using as another base of operations. Have like two floors, the second one is the facility, or maybe the first floor, not really sure.

What do we need to hire a private investigator for? We have done pretty well with investigating things for our ops. Granted, our characters are not geared towards a lot of investigating, but we have all been focusing on combat things, since we get into that more so than anything else.
My comments were mostly towards the nature of the line-up to the narration. We get so far off track, that when we come back, the action is really poorly considered, and little chance to revise the plan in action is given.

How about trying what kids will do. Get into the warez scene online pirating games. Then be patient and work up a reputation and eventually make some online contacts.

Not going to be a great one to start... but a start is a start.
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