Monday, July 12, 2021

Planning Out Loud: Lowlife 2090

Image by Parallel Vision from Pixabay 

Because none of my players read this blog, I think I will use it to plan out loud for a one shot I arranged to play with some of my favorite gamers this evening.

The game I am running as Lowlife 2090 a Cyberpunk and Sorcery game in the vein of Shadowrun, but running on the low fantasy gaming engine, and assuming that magic and non-humans have always been there, but magic is simply too dangerous for Mortals to rely on, and so it has not significantly slowed the development of Technology.

Most of the players I've invited tonight are hardcore Shadowrun fans. It should be fun to see what they think of similar game running on the Low Fantasy Gaming engine. My review later this week. (You can put the cattle-prod down, Stephen!)

The Premise

So, I wanted to take the hacking, magic , and especially the vehicle chase sections of the game to the test, so I came up with what I feel is a pretty solid adventure premise that, in the pitch document, I called Operation: Whirlibird. Here's the bullet-point rundown of the mission brief:

  • A megacorporation ("Nakajima") has been running a secret heliport on the upper floor of an ostensibly abandoned skyscraper in a slum ("Sacktown") of the game's setting ("Mendoza City")  while working on a lightweight attack helicopter for killing wasteland monsters.
  • The Helicopter represents millions of Ceracoin (¢) in R&D, and the patents that are about to come out of it are worth billions.
  • The Sacktown Heliport was chosen to keep industrial espionage to a minimum. It is a self-contained facility.
  • The facility was suddenly and violently overrun by a type of urban monster called Skrunts. Think a venomous cross between a bat and a velociraptor.
  • Usually Skrunts appear in small numbers and take time to Infest an arra: this attack involved an abnormal number and even more aggression.
  • The Head of Security, Karl Hanzer, prioritized abandoning the facility and getting to safety over defending the non-human resources. As is there is one co firmed dead and two missing personnel Thomas Arsenault (technician) and Augustine M'joze (engineer.) .
  • The self-destruct system failed to initialize, so the Hanzer sabotaged the drive system of the Helicopter and evacuated. 
  • Thanks to gang aggression the evacuation operation is ongoing. (they are in a running shootout with the Vat Bois gang. ) 
  • The company assumes that this is an attack, and possibly sabotage. They want the PCs in to destroy the Helicopter (¢40,000) or repair it and fly it to a waiting Outland facility for a substantial bonus (+¢30,000).
  • Verifying the death of the missing facility personnel is a secondary objective with a reasonable bonus (+¢2,500 ea. To verify their status, or +¢10,000 for live extraction.) 
  • Hanzer managed to re-initialize turrets designed to keep intruders entering from above. And the CTAC count is Very High today, too, both good reasons to take the stairs.
  • There is no time to waste. Rival agents are assumed to be on the way.
  • It is unknown if the Vat Bois are complicit. 

The Facts

Here is what is going on that the PCs don't know about. 
  • The Skrunts are not a coincidence, they have been antagonized using a Sonic device that is drawing them on site and making them aggressive. 
  • The Sonic device was invented and activated by Thomas Arsenault, he is disgruntled and hoping to be extracted by the Rival company, selling both proof-of-concept for his Sonic Skrunt Control Device (SSCD) and offering up the Helicopter as an offering to buy him a high position.
  • He can't turn the SSCD off... It is jammed and he has been forced to lock himself in a pantry.
  • Augustine M'joze is locked in a bathroom with the Head of a Skrunt they had to decapitate to get safely enclosed. The scratched up door and bloody headless Skrunt indicate where he is hiding. 
  • The extraction team is already on-site, but taking their time. After their Drones got shot down, they realize they were going to have to hoof it, and sabotaged the elevator before heading up.
  • The rival team got waylaid by Skrunts that they expected would be docile. They have fought their way to the hangar but are nursing Wounds. 
  • Another company has already been siphoning off Intel. They hope to destroy the Helicopter and kill enough researchers to be able to claim the patents for themselves. The Helicopter is evidence as long as it is not slag. They are behind the Vat Bois. 


Now that I have parsed out my idea, here is how I would assume the encounters would play out:

Intro: Briefing on the road. 
A. Optional: Divert to help Hanzer? If so the Encounter with the Rival Lowlife will be different. 
1. Arriving outside the Scraper: some Gas Gunners are fiddling with a crashed Drone. They shake the PCs down to guard their car. They are doing the same for the Rival team. Smart PCs might be interested in jacking Rival gear. 
2. Trapped elevator... A mine with a little graffiti to warn people. 
3. Hack a door to get in. (Or use the pass code Hanzer gave them in thanks.) 
4. Multiple waves of Skrunts... And a trail of dead ones. 
B. Optional: Kill even more Skrunts to get to where Arsenault is calling for help. 
C. Optional: Find and disable the SSCD
D. Optional Free M'joze. 
5. The Rival Lowlifes: Are trying to repair the Helicopter... Or if the PCs helped Hanzer. 
They include an Entech (L. 3), a Gunhand (L. 2) who is wounded, a Vex (L. 2), and a Hacker (L. 1) who is wounded and sickened by a Skrunt bite. 
6. Hacking the Security System: w/ Advantage if they helped Hanzer. 
7. Gunship: A Rival company has sent a killer helicopter. Time to scramble, either by car or helicopter. 

This is a one-shot, so things like rumors, etc. are less important. 

Some Specifics

I don't need too much in the way of detail... Yet, I may put this in a tiny PDF with a Map at some point. But for now here are the things I need to know:

Helping Hanzer

Hanzer is the only combatant in the (currently damaged) Holden Gantry [p. 172] use Peacekeeper Sergeant [p. 239] fighting 3d6 Gangers [p. 235]. Hanzer describes the server, gives a key, and gives up three cans of spray skin in return for help. 

Outside the Scraper

7 Gangers [p. 235] tinker w/ damaged Comac T-88s [p. 174]. Bribing the Ganges right might lead the PCs to a modified Nissan Bench [p. 172]  with a couple of monocycles with the ability to go up walls mounted w/ climbing gear on racks (use Scorpa Wisp). There are a couple of empty Drone racks, a Scarab [p. 172] in the truck and has an IRR Punisher [p. 138] mounted. 

Rival Lowlifes

The Entech: Sugar Cup, F Elf w/ custom Cyber limbs. Set of Mechanics tools. 

The Gunhand: Lil' Beef, M. Minotaur w/ intense beard, South African accent, enjoying sweating Arsenault. Currently at 12hp, starting to feel sick. 

The Vex: Rack Attack, F. Human w/ tattoos from USMC mechanized warfare unit and dog tags. Pissed off about losing Drones. 

The Hacker: Nibbles, M. Elf, fashionably dressed, looking pretty bad right now, currently at 2hp. Waitng until he is done heaving to hack the security system. 

If the PCs stopped to help Hanzer, Nibbles will be finishing his hack in 1d4 rounds and the copter will be ready for dust off as soon as he opens the hangar. 

The Security System

Is currently on Alert. It is a hardwired VR System.

The Gunship

Use Beriev Vikings [p. 173] for both helicopters, but the prototype is better armoured and faster. 


I will share how it went later. 

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