It’s less than 24 hours after my first post and I’m already feeling that crushing sense of doubt. That whole, “this is too big for me, too much for me; I’ll never get this done. How do people do this?” sensation. I didn’t sleep well. Kept seeing battle scenes and stuff playing out in my head; don’t know if it’s anxiety. I don’t feel anxious, but here I am. So I’m writing. Even if I’m not making forward progress, I’ll keep doing something more than nothing.
Here’s a little motivational comic to get things started.
Let’s look at the available resources, since we don’t have many.
New Orleans on the Shadowrun wiki — there’s not a lot here, but there’s enough. The list of corp influence is the big one; those guys are going to be what make up the primary Johnsons and antagonists of the story. One of them’s going to have to be singled out as the “big bad”. At the current stage, I’m planning on setting the story before present-day 5th edition, which is somewhere in the 2070s, I believe. As with the other SRR games, this is going to be closer to 2055, meaning I can even delve back a little farther and canonize the rise of one of the corps. The other big thing to take away is the stuff on tempo. Could serve as a story hook. Would be at least nice to reference it somewhere.
This Reddit fan-history of New Orleans — entirely non-canon, but still offers some possible hooks and insight. With the proposed rise of Biotech in ’52, that would cement the idea that the story should take place around ’55, which I believe puts it on the same timeline as Hong Kong and Dragonfall. As with those stories, the intent is to make the protagonist different from those two.
It mentions a “Green Scale Lodge” but Quick Google Search doesn’t bring up any other hits on it, so I don’t know if that’s a canon name or if it’s UGC. Before I commit to using or not using that name, I want to know if it’s a “thing.”
Target: Smuggler Havens, pgs. 7-29, 79-97 — Listed as a reference in the wiki page for New Orleans. I don’t possess this book or know how I would come about it, but I’m going to have to do everything in my power to go about getting it either in digital or hard copy at some point.
I did my own word cloud of stuff I want to make sure is included, either as themes or motifs, so let’s go over those.
Krewes — Before I moved down here, I had no idea what Krewes were. Contextually, they’re no different from, say, the Shriners in other parts of the US. Or the Lion’s Club. Or anything along those lines. Krewes are basically groups of people who donate to charities and stuff, not unlike an adult form of a frat/sorority. A few Krewes are gender/race locked, not as any “hard” rule, but you just won’t find men in the Krewe of Nyx or Krewe of Muses, but you won’t find women in Krewe of Druids, you won’t find white people in Zulu, and so on. In the world of Shadowrun, it appears that Krewes, at least some of them, have transitioned into violent gangs; that’s going to be a difficult thing for me to reconcile with. What I’d rather see would be a Krewe’s elite be a shadow organization behind a gang.
Other than the parades, Krewes are expected to host a bal masque. Yes, it’s kind of like Eyes Wide Shut without the copious amounts of open sex and class warfare. But crashing a Krewe’s bal masque of the rich and elite should be a legendary feat that would make a good shadowrun, similar to Is0bel’s DeckCon run in Hong Kong with more extended pinkies and disdain towards the poor.
Voodoo — Can’t have a New Orleans story without it. As with Qi in Hong Kong, voodoo should be a thing that at least one run is built around, but is a force that everyone understands and talks about, even if they don’t practice it themselves. There are also a lot of misconceptions about voodoo that are worth clearing up; the one that sticks with me is that Marie Laveau, aka “the Voodoo Queen” was a practicing and devout Catholic. Contrary to popular myth, voodoo is not a religion, and people in the faith (any faith) could be voodoo practitioners. With the Reddit post talking about how the Roman Catholics accepted women into the priesthood, and St. Louis Cathedral being a relatively famous US church, it’s not out of the question that a major NPC could be a Catholic voodoo shaman—an identity that, even without name or face, just tickles me pink.
Hollywood South — A moniker that the city tried to enforce while it had the same tax credits as Los Angeles. With the transition into the 6th World, though, I think there could be something to be said about simsense culture, as the CAS is going to want their own entertainment hub rather than import everything from Hollywood. I don’t want this run to look exactly like the Repulse Bay run from Hong Kong, however, so that’s going to be…contentious. Maybe I can combine this with the bal masque run; a simsense star would be a Krewe member, surely (Nathan Fillion was king of Orpheus this last year).
Vampire culture — One of my first experiences of New Orleans was actually finding a business card in a subway in NYC that talked about a “gathering” down in New Orleans; I went to the website…it was some trashy geocities-level cobblemosh of people who I’m pretty sure genuinely believed (or wanted to believe) they were vampires.
Of course, there are the novels by Anne Rice that made New Orleans synonymous with vampire culture, so the idea of vampires being a thing isn’t out of the question by a long shot. I have to balance this carefully, though; again, I don’t want to rip off the “out-of-place vampire” like Ku Feng, but there is something to be said about that poor-quality website in that if you wanted to mask a real operation, masking it under the guise of ineptitude is a relatively good way to about it. What I could do would be to interlace it with the Matrix, and make the “vampire club” or whatever in the Matrix look like a totally amateur-designed system to make them look like enthusiasts rather than actual vampires. Not to mention…whoever would think about hacking vampire message boards? I think I might be on to something.
In terms of actually designing the story:
I’ve gotten now about halfway through the tutorial series by Harebrained Schemes on how to use the editor and looked through the tutorials on the wiki. The next step, I think, is going to be just jumping in and designing a run, if for no other reason than to test how I work with the system (and just making sure the editor works on my Crapbook Pro). The thing is, I don’t have any concrete ideas about what my runs look like. I have a few nebulous ideas…
So, in my next post, I’ll lay out my blueprints for the meta story and some sub-meta shadowruns, and from there I’ll figure which one I have the strongest vision of, and actually start physically laying it out, from sketch to screen.