Shadowrun 5E “Splintered State” Session 2 Report

The runners reach a safe house to investigate the mysterious commlink, and survive a surprise attack.

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Watch our sessions live on twitch.tv/gorbash722 every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central.

I spent a lot of work this last week preparing for last night’s session. It payed off, as my players made it much farther than I anticipated, though not so far that I ran out of material.

The session opened at the semi-cliffhanger from last week. The PCs were just exiting the motel room where they found a mysterious commlink among a group of bodies, only to run into some old foes. Sam’s gang wasn’t about to start talking, remembering how the PCs had killed one of their own in an earlier altercation. The players could’ve sneaked out, but Falkirk opted to say howdy, and we rolled for initiative!

Crazy enough, Sam’s group of street thugs are not particularly strong, but I was rolling the best I’d ever rolled in my game master career. I was getting 4 and 5 hits on like 6 or 7 dice (in Shadowrun a hit is rolling a 5 or 6 on a d6, so a 33% chance). Suddenly this easy-looking fight turned painful as everyone was taking some damage.

It didn’t help the PCs that they were stuck between wanting to flee and wanting to fight. They had an easy escape route that their foes couldn’t follow, but they hesitated for a few rounds as everyone took shots at each other. Finally they ducked outside (after killing another gang member) and escaped with the commlink and their lives.

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The runners licked their wounds at a safehouse I gave them courtesy of Jeremiah Redd. I’d anticipated that we’d need another grid-map so I had a back-up generic apartment I could throw in in case the runners just wanted to get somewhere.

It worked out well and the PCs were given some down time to heal and analyze the commlink. For the first time in our shadowrunning career the PCs were given a fairly obtuse puzzle involving the commlink, and had to use investigations and their contacts to gain as much information as they could. I thought I helped as much as I could, offering up more information than what the published adventure suggested, and fudging a few thresholds to help speed things along.

Like the stealth mansion moments in the last mission, the investigation didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. Most of the players felt dissatisfied at the confusing revelations they received involving the Ork Undeground, Governor Brackhaven, Operation Daybreak, and the commlink’s owner, FBI Agent Seth Dietrich.

Interestingly, instead of wanting to quickly offload the commlink or sell it to the highest bidder, the runners wanted to find out more information about the commlink’s evidence. There was one avenue they didn’t go down that might’ve helped give them some more information, and I probably should’ve found a way to just give it to them to help ease the frustration. As much as I like doling out tantalizing clues and mysteries, above all the experience should be fun and enjoyable, never frustrating.

At the end of their investigation I threw them a bone slightly earlier than the adventure suggested, moving them directly into Scene 4. Agent Dietrich himself called the commlink and set up a meet between he and the PCs at the Fort Lewis Zoo, with a promise of 100,000 nuyen. The PCs wanted to go scope out the zoo immediately, so I unleashed the scripted (but variable) attack on their safehouse.

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This time the tables were turned. The Knight Errant forces that attacked were low in number (only four) but each was very strong, and supposedly a match for the PCs. Ha! Mauta took one turn to completely destroy the mage, while the rest all got in hits on Black Knights, while my rolls struggled to connect at all.

Seeing as how they were cops and not mindless thugs, I had them retreat after taking heavy wounds and losses. The PCs wanted to pursue but I shut that down immediately with suppressing fire as they retreated. The PCs were left with yet more questions about what they’ve gotten into, but it was time for our session to come to a close.

Hopefully utilizing this oddly dense yet simplistic published mission as our finale won’t backfire terribly, but I’m somewhat worried based on the dialogue between the players during the investigation. They’re basically overthinking and worrying about everything, which is not at all how I thought their normally gruff and violent reactions would go. We’ll see what the future holds; hopefully it stays fun. It also might be a lot shorter than I was thinking given how far they made it this week.

Watch our sessions live on twitch.tv/gorbash722 every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central.

 

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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