How about that presidential debate, amirite?
Man, Trump is—if nothing else—just a glorious fount of villainous inspiration. I mean, both candidates can be, when you pull specific qualities out of them. Seriously, how perfect a Big Bag could one make by merging Clinton’s shady persona of perfection and Trump’s outright “braggadocio”?
Let’s talk about the meta-story:
Instead of making the big bad actively try to accomplish some horrifically vile deed, team shadowrunner is going to take a more active stance in ridding the world of an evil.
In Frozen Synapse, the impetus for fighting against Enyo:Nomad is that they’ve become the dictators of Markov Geist. Charon’s Palm has learned and subsequently instructed the people of E:N on how to basically rig elections, control the populace, so on and so forth, all of the removal of freedoms that represent the height of villainy in cyberpunk literature. The fight between our fixer and the Big Bad CEO is deeply personal, but also represents the war of ideals—the freedom and anarchy of the shadowrunners and the security and stasis of the corp. Obviously, we know where Team Shadowrunner should stand.
What we need, however, is to raise the stakes for the player.
In Dragonfall, the protagonists came to believe that a dragon was after them, at first, and only later realized that the intent was to release it on the world, but by then the motivation became personal with the murder of Paul Amsel. In Hong Kong, there was the double-threat of the APB and the Yama King looming over the players.
However, for right now, I’ve got nothing. Threatening the players’ lives directly is too easy. So, backburner for now.
Regardless, the story concludes when the fixer and the corp “face” reunite and have it off with one another while Team Shadowrunner faces off against corp’s personal guard or what not. In a big fucking tower—because yes. Dragonfall and Hong Kong both have their final fights in the dirt, so I’m going to go up. Rooftop fight for the finale.
I want there to be a feeling of change or transformation.
One thing I liked about a couple of the UGC stories I’ve played is that the safehouse isn’t static. I think Mercurial pulled it off pretty well, but I think the jump from flophouse to Maria Mercurial’s pad was a bit too sudden and a bit to staggering. I really like in Grand Theft Auto games, specifically 3 and Vice City, how there’s basically a 3-tier system.
I’d like to give the player the impression that they’re moving up in the world. The first few runs should be…not “easy-peasy” but they should feel small and basic and have smaller payouts than later runs. Maybe even “side jobs” for other shadowruns. Like, say a “bigger run” needs a van stolen; it’s up to the player to go out and steal it. But in the course of the run one of the “main” runners goes down or doesn’t make the meet and the player has to step up, which earns them street cred.
This isn’t a place the players should linger long—2 runs, 3 at most, and then they “graduate” to a better pad, maybe a more connected Fixer.
So, let’s break this down to one or two paragraphs. A pitch.
The year is 2057. The city of New Orleans is always changing. Goods come and go, and people die. And yet, the world just keeps on turning. New Orleans has always been a smuggler’s haven, a place where friends are cheap and the music is loud. The streets are cacophony of howling brass and the whispers of scandal, best enjoyed with a Sazerac on the side.
While others fled to the runner havens in Seattle, Chicago, or elsewhere, there was something in the siren song of New Orleans. Work is good, when your Fixer can keep his head above the bar. But you know there’s opportunity out there, waiting for the right runner to come by and snatch it. And if you can dodge the corps and the bullets and the occasional storm, well, maybe you can make a career in the shadows of the Big Easy.
Bleh. It’s generic, but it’ll work for now. It doesn’t touch on the Big Bad in any meaningful way. But hey, it’s a starting point. That’s what I was looking for.