- Written by Craig Andrews
"Of the Flesh"
A Shadowrun Duels Scenario by Craig Andrews
Deep within the seedy streets of Touristville, in Seattle's Redmond Barrens, two groups of Shadowrunners clash during an assassination attempt on one of Novatech Seattle's Directors whilst he is out trogjamming.
What is Shadowrun?
It is the latter half of the 21st century. Magic has returned to the world, awakening powerful creatures of myth and legend. Technology merges with flesh and consciousness. Elves, trolls, orks and dwarves walk among us, while ruthless corporations bleed the world dry. You are a shadowrunner – a mercenary living on the fringes of society, in the shadows of massive corporate arcologies, surviving day-by-day on skill and instinct alone. When the powerful or the desperate need a job done, you get it done... by any means necessary.
Shadowrun is a science fantasy setting based in a near-future universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. Thematically it combines the genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime, with occasional elements of conspiracy, horror and detective fiction.
What is Shadowrun Duels?
Shadowrun Duels was a collectible miniatures game produced by WizKids back in 2003, set in the world of Shadowrun.
Unusually the Shadowrun Duels 'miniatures' are 1:12 scale action figures each with a separate base that has three Clix dials. This twist on their single dial Heroclix range allows the figures to take damage in one of three areas (Head, Weapon, or Body) as they fight during the game.
A clever multi coloured dice based mechanic also allows for a level of roleplaying to be easily included in scenarios along with multiple options for different equipment and weaponry that can be chosen from before each game.
Kas Sorennen is one of the Directors of Novatech Seattle, reporting directly to the VP, Samantha Villiers. Novatech Seattle is just one of Seattle’s many large Corporations. Sorennen has had a very successful career thus far working his way up through a combination of hard work, corporate networking and crushing those who he feels are weak and in his way – standard practice in the Megacorps. He is married with children and lives in a lovely five bedroom house on Bellevue. However, like a lot of his type working for the larger Corporations, he is not happy with lot in life. Long hours and the pressures of working for the good of the Corporation over all else has led to Sorennen finding excitement in places other than the boardroom. Thoroughly unsuited to the life of a runner he regularly engages in what he thinks is something pretty close. Through a contact, a certain Mr Johnson, he arranges monthly visits to Touristville in Redmond Barrens where he indulges in pleasures of the flesh with those who have changed into what he sees as exotic creatures – Orks, Elves, Dwarves and Trolls.
Sorennen isn’t entirely stupid, you don’t get to be Director of a Megacorp without taking precautions and when he makes his monthly sojourns to the Barrens he is always accompanied by two Runners hired through the same Mr Johnson.
However, Sorennen isn’t without enemies, even (some would say especially) within Novacorp Seattle itself. Namely, Michelle Valdez. Valdez, an Assistant Director who reports to Sorennen, has noticed his monthly absences and after a little digging through his private emails by way of an independent contractor has figured out where he goes and what he does, trogramming in the drekking barrens. Many would have considered blackmail as an option but Valdez herself has a few skeletons in the closet and doesn’t want to risk any comeback so she herself has approached a Mr Johnson and asked for them to arrange for some runners to remove Sorennen from his position as Director in a considerably more direct way than blackmail or corporate manoeuvring.
Each player selects two of the official pre-generated Shadowrun Duels characters. The defending player chooses 14 points of equipment per character and the attacking player 12 per character. The defending player also gets control of the Sorennen bystander disk once he is alerted (see special rules below).
Note that this scenario is fully compatible with Jeremy Schwennen’s excellent advanced ruleset, Shadowrun Duels Reloaded. Simply generate your characters using his rules. The defending characters should have slightly less equipment than the attacking characters.
Given the nature of the game and the size of the ‘miniatures’ the playing area for Shadowrun Duels is usually the entirety of your front room, or at least a section of it. As such no map is provided. Books and boxes from the kitchen cupboards can be used to quickly create a block or two representing the dirty streets of Redmond Barrens.
There are a few things to ensure however:
1) Sorennen must start inside a building in the centre of the playing area. The building he is in should only have one entrance.
2) The bodyguards should be placed within six inches of the door to the building.
3) The assassins start the game off the playing area and move into play during the first turn from any designated area edge. The places do not have to be the same as they are presumed to have been scoping out the area formulating their plan of attack.
The defending player is trying to ensure that both they and Sorennen survive this deadly attack! They should endeavour to subdue or kill the assassins (depending on their nature and thoughts on other Runners just doing their jobs) and prevent Sorennen from being killed. If Sorennen is killed they have no loyalty to a dead body and will, most likely, withdraw by the nearest designated playing area edge. However, if you are playing particularly vengeful characters you might want to take out the dreks who blew your score.
The assassins, quite simply (although I dare say not easily) need to kill Sorrenen. Once he is dead they can withdraw from any designated playing area edge.
Special Rules for this Scenario
Pleasures of the Flesh: Sorennen is engaged in activities with Jenna Vasquez (a young lady of negotiable virtue) which essentially makes him a piece of scenery until something suspicious happens. He is unable to take any actions until activated. Once activated control of him passes to the Bodyguard player, Sorennen will act after all other characters are done, regardless of their relative initiatives. Any shooting outside of the building will alert Sorennen that something is wrong, however close combat is quiet enough that he will not notice unless it is inside or on the roof of the building he and Jenna are in. You should use the Bystander Disk to represent Sorennen (click on the PDF icon at the end of the scenario to download a PDF with a correctly sized disk).
Guard Duty: The Runners acting as Bodyguards are not particularly vigilant as they actually care very little about Sorennen having been on this dead end protective duty many times before (hence why they are slightly less equipped than the attackers). They will wander around outside the building, ending their turn facing in a random direction. Until alerted to the assassin’s presence, the bodyguards player can move the figure in a straight line using only their base move (no extra dice may be added) in the direction they are facing. However, once the move is complete their facing is decided upon by rolling a D12 (where 12 equals facing in the direction they moved). If their base move would take them into a piece of terrain they stop just before it and then roll for direction. This ends their turn unless they now have Line of Sight to an assassin.
Sneaking: In this scenario the assassins can move their base move without making any discernable noise. Common sense and good gaming judgement is required if the assassins make any actions that cause a noise (reloading a weapon, opening a door, preparing a spell etc).
Ork, Interuppted: It is possible that one (or both) of the assassins will enter the building and attack Sorennen before the bodyguards are alerted. As Sorennen is ‘busy’ with a young lady, both her and Sorennen must be killed in the same turn in Close Combat for things to remain silent. If this happens then the bodyguards continue to patrol as normal until they see or hear what's going on. If Sorennen and Jenna are not taken out in the same turn then the screaming will alert the guards immediately and they can move normal from this point on. If Jenna is not killed in this initial attack her Bystander Disk should be used to represent her (click on the PDF icon at the end of the scenario to download a PDF with a correctly sized disk).
Oi, Chummer! Didja Hear That?: As there are many ways in which technology can help spot those hidden in the shadows, each turn the player(s) controlling the bodyguards should make a skill check for each character [Black/Head 10]. Note that Liada and Midnight, if in play, get +2 to this roll due to their acute Elven hearing. If passed the bodyguard hears a strange sound, or notices something shining in the darkness, and moves their move towards the location of one of the assassins instead of aimless wandering, this cannot be boosted with dice. It only affects the direction of the move and they must roll randomly for facing at the end of it as normal. Once again common sense and good gaming judgement should decide the path they take.
Expanding this Scenario with Optional Rules
Weather: Rain could be used to heavily favour the assassins but you could offset this advantage by adding more bodyguards. Or perhaps snow, making an approach by rooftop very dangerous for our erstwhile assassins.
Streetlights: Basic rules for streetlights could be introduced where the assassins have to make a skill check for keeping to the shadows in places where there are lights. You could also come up with a quick mechanic for ranged fire from ‘off board’ taking out said lights, bearing in mind it could alert the bodyguards. You could also have riggers sending in drones to disable the lights or even hackers getting into Seattle Light and Power to turn off the city block.
Difficulty: If using two assassins is not enough of a challenge you can try reducing it to one or vice versa adding an extra assassin.
Objectives: If playing with more than two people you could also try introducing slightly different goals for each Assassin. Maybe one is in fact there to take photographs of the action or even
Variations on a Theme: This scenario could easily be re-written in a myriad of ways to represent the many assassination attempts that are common amongst the corporations in Seattle. You could create a scenario involving a group of demonstrators that have planned a diversion to draw an important figurehead into a sniper's line of fire. Or maybe a scenario where subtle tactics get thrown out the window as a militant group is persuaded by person or persons unknown to storm the main office of their corporation building itself!
This scenario was originally written as a basic one page outline for Shadowrun Duels back in 2005 and was based on a Inquisitor scenario published online called “Under the Cover of Darkness”. I have re-written and expanded it significantly for its inclusion here on OITW. It’s meant to serve as an introduction the espionage ridden back-stabbing world of Shadowrun as well as provide a basic scenario to introduce people to the mechanics and concepts of Shadowrun Duels.
It can easily be adapted to any number of wargame rulesets. In fact in the New Year, once the madness of the 2013 Advent Calendar has subsided, I plan to expand and embellish it for use with Two Hour Wargames’ excellent 5150: New Beginnings ruleset.
"Of the Flesh" is an Orcs in the Webbe Original article and was written exclusively for its 2013 Advent Calendar and was first published on Thursday 12th December 2013.
This is the first of many articles featuring the world of Shadowrun which are planned for OITW's 2014 lineup.
Shadowrun Duels is now out of print but the figures can be found every now and again on eBay, alternatively you can use any number of near future or sci fi miniatures to represent Runners in your games of Shadowrun.
The Shadowrun Duels rules including Jeremy Schwennen's expanded Shadowrun Duels Reloaded can be found in PDF format here on OITW.
For anyone not familiar with Shadowrun there are a variety of places on the internet you can learn more, one of which is the game's Wikipedia page here.