Hey! You’ve been a good person lately. Have some working music:

Finished reading the New Orleans section from Smuggler Havens, including some of their creature lists and adventure ideas in the later chapters. Was really happy to read this line:

Many of the megacorporations familiar to Shadowrun players have a minimal presence in New Orleans.

That’s the conclusion I came to shortly after beginning my research, but to have it summed up so succinctly in a canon book…it’s just nice to have that kind of reaffirmation.

Still kind of scared to really dip my toe in the editor (any more than I really have). I mean, I tried to make a room and it kinda sucked. But maybe I’m looking at it from the wrong point of view. It really felt like in Dragonfall, almost any room could be used for combat, and they’re all designed with that in mind, maybe some of the Drogenkippe rooms aside.

Maybe I have to think out runs a bit more clearly before I really start digging in, or I’m just going to faff about. The other thing I should do is look at some other UGC, figure out what’s really possible. HBS did a “let’s review” series a while back before the Director’s Cut of Dragonfall was even released; I’m probably going to get into that.

The problem is that a lot of the things I saw them calling out (in just my short time watching) were trivial—people forgot to make text GM-speech in some cases. I’m not even at that level, but that would annoy me. These people can design bars, entire building interiors, neighborhood exteriors, but they can’t check a box or wrap some text in a border to change its appearance on dialogue? And I know HBS made this mistake once in Hong Kong, so no one’s a saint, but that’s just a really common problem I’ve noticed with med/low-quality UGC.

I kind of want to reconsider moving into the Hong Kong editor. Yes, I know the soundtrack options are lesser, but the combat is more refined, cyberware is better, adept spells are better, and they have some sick skyline assets. It’s true that New Orleans CBD is about the size of a penny compared to the metroplexes of Sixth World Seattle, Chi-town, Kowloon, and so on, but if I’m gonna do a rooftop battle, it’s gotta have them Hong Kong assets.

While I ponder, I’m going to start drafting up some content and writing it out, which means it’s time to evolve the SEO and start discerning things between “blog” and “content”. Not a huge issue, but an important one.

Anyways, gonna throw on another pot of coffee and get to work.

Building New Orleans: the Lady and the Lingo

Finally got my hands on a copy of Smuggler Havens, which details New Orleans circa 2060, just after Dunkelzahn’s death (the will is mentioned). Tons of stuff in it, for 29 pages. Practically a gold mine, compared to what I’d been working with before.

Haven’t got through reading it, but already, one thing is readily clear: New Orleans has to feel different. Shadowrun’s pretty heavily focused on Seattle, and a few other cities. I get that. The “image” of Shadowrun is that corp-laced Bladerunner sort of world, and if you take a glance at New Orleans for more than 30 seconds you’ll see that’s just not possible here. We’re not going to see the massive skyscrapers or pyramids, the perma-night ambience of most cyberpunk. Not so long as the French Quarter remains a historic district and the city remains below sea level. So for a New Orleans story to feel like New Orleans, we have to bring out those differences…while still remaining true to the source material.

Maybe I’m in a little over my head.

Shadows of a Different Color

Really quickly, one of the first things I noticed in Akimura’s lingo is that “chummer” became “bonhomme”. Okay, no one actually uses that in our NOLA, but let’s play fantasy for this bit. That’s going to make its way into common parlance. That’s illustrative of New Orleans—it’s a city that feels like it was painted with all the same colors as the rest of the US, but the image turned out a little different. Napoleonic Code, little French catch phrases, coffee with chicory—that’s all real shit, and it has impact. If you come to New Orleans, and you want to come here, it’s because you’re looking for what’s different.

Hell, I like to listen to music while reading, and just reading the section on New Orleans, I had to pause my Perturbator-based playlist and just turn over to a New Orleans jazz selection. Turns out, even in the Sixth World, you can’t shake some things from the Big Easy.

What’s going to be difficult for me to grasp is the Japanese influence. There’s basically none of that in New Orleans as we live and breathe. That’s pure fiction. But, in a neo-futuristic vision of the world that includes megacorps, okay, I can kind of see it, and most of it’s going to come from tourism. So we’ll roll with that. Makes me wish I had the portrait assets of Hong Kong, but the soundtrack will keep me writing in Dragonfall.

La Dame du Morte

Miriam Kozlowski is a much bigger figure than I gave her credit for, at least in the shadows. Now, I don’t know much about mafia and their ops, but again, let’s play in the fantasy world for a bit. Any story in New Orleans is going to have to involve her, at some point, some how.

I’m enjoying the idea of her brothel rivalry with the bunraku industry trying to creep in, and there might be some fun to be had in a run to that accord on either side. Also, I’m having flashback vibes to Assassin’s Creed 2, where a bordello served as Ezio’s “safehouse” for a spell while he was getting onto his feet. I did have a very specific idea for the main safehouse, but I didn’t want to start out there. On the other hand, hell, even the HBS games didn’t use more than 1 safehouse; why would I want to develop more than one, unless there was story to be had there?

A discussion for a later date.

(Nothing says I can’t combine the two ideas. So, let me stop being coy for a blog no one’s reading anyways—I’m planning to use the Marigny Opera House as the safehouse. Right now, it’s a decommissioned church, and an absolutely gorgeous space, used as a performance venue, mostly for ballet and some local ground-level theater. But if the Mafia were to acquire it and turn it into a bordello…okay, it doesn’t have a plethora of rooms to be used in the business, but maybe as a business center? I dunno. The idea needs work.)

Either way, one way to really get the New Orleans scene rolling is to make the safe zone not a bar, but a bordello, and it adds that wink of sex appeal that some come to associate with New Orleans culture, what with its burlesque and cabaret scene in our world. I understand the ramifications of this decision. The “adult industry” is a minefield of moral and ethical dilemmas. Having protagonists romping with whores is going to take a delicate hand in writing, but I see no reason why it can’t be done, and done tastefully.

Huh. That gives me an idea for Kate Burnside’s street name. We’ll call her “Wink.”

I like it.

Review: The Corps

Before I can get into the telling of this story, we need to know who the players are, right?

Let’s take a look at the corps.

As a current resident of our world New Orleans, I can verify that oil & gas and medical are the two major industries. Oil and gas are actually down, but that’s largely due to events in our world; in Shadowrun, being an 80s fever dream of the future, oil and gas are still in abundance, and only appear to have grown.

That means we’re going to want to highlight Seretech, United Oil, Gulfstar (oil, possibly?), Cross Biomedical*, Shiawase Petrochemical, and some subsidiaries in the form of Envirotech (more Shiawase) and Biogene Technologies (Yakashima).

*At this point in history, Cross is a AAA Prime Megacorp.

Just from the corp list, it looks like biotech is a major competing ground between several corps; may be good stuff for a run to unlock biotech.

After doing some digging, I found on the French subreddit that Gulfstar is in fact a New Orelans-based company, and it’s a juicy one. Translated:

Gulfstar is a corporation headquartered in the New Orleans and President Jacob Keene . His main area of activity is petrochemicals but it also has a local cruise company, Delta Queen , which offers its customers a range of illegal services through an arrangement with Miriam Kozlowski .

The source material is a 3.0 version book called Smuggler Havens, which apparently deals with New Orleans. I’ve tracked down a copy and will peruse it, but I’m thinking Gulfstar’s going to be our Big Bad in some way. It’s nebulous enough to include everything I want: Matrix tech, computers/electronics, petrochemicals, even entertainment. And they’ve got mob connections.

But I think we can go deeper. I want this to be a story of change, and part of that means the “canon” resolution (like all SRR games I’m hoping to allow for multiple variations on the ending) will be putting the universe into line with the books. What if, like Kindly Cheng moving to Seattle with the Triad, we can tell a story about how Kozlowski comes to power. I din’t think I want Miriam to be the Fixer a la Kindly Cheng, but I think she can be a major player. And I think Gulfstar is going to be involved somehow.