Shadowrun 101 - A Basic Run
Branson Hagerty (Blackjack's Shadowrun Page Posted April 01, 1996

A simple sample:

Joe samurai is hired to break into a corp's office and steal the CPU from his desktop computer. They need the hardware within three hours. It is now one in the afternoon. The name of the corporation is Corp Inc. It is located in an A section of downtown Seattle. The office of Mr. Coogle, the corp, is located on the tenth floor in room 12.

Possible courses of action, can you guess which one's the best?

A. Joe samurai walks into the lobby of Corp Inc. with a panther cannon and a LAW screaming, "Is there a Mr. Coogle here? I'm looking for a Mr. Coogle..."

B. Joe samurai drives his heavily armed and recently stolen City Master into the lobby, pops open the hatch, and screams "Is there a Mr. Coogle here? I'm looking for a Mr. Coogle..."

C. Joe samurai hooks up with Joan decker and Jack shaman and they drive to the location, Joan in a separate car. They drive past the building once and pull into a nearby parking lot, five new yen an hour. Joan had noticed two security cameras on the outside of the building and a guard in the lobby. Jack shaman tells everybody he'll be right back, pops into astral space and discovers that astral security, if any, is out to lunch. He also spots a guard and a camera by the elevator of each floor. Before being frightened back into his body by a pissed off Spirit Of Man he takes a quick look at the target room, discovering no security systems and what could possible be Mr. Coogle happily singing to himself on the can. He returns to find Joan gone and Joe buck naked in the back of the Brumby, changing into a suit. Jack briefs Joe on the corporation's "security" and Joe laughs so hard that he almost drops his fake ID. Joe in turn informs Jack that while he was gone Joan phoned a friend who gave he some access codes and a floor plan which she printed out before leaving to find a nice isolated place to jack in. Jack says "neato" and flips a coin as he cannot decide whether to stun someone as a diversion, or blow something up. It comes up tails and Jack begins to look around for a nice Electrocar he can Wreck. Jack puts on his head set and Joe thinks his into action as he exits the vehicle and merges with the rush of corporate foot traffic. After stopping for a soy wiener at a small cart across the street from Corp Inc. the security cameras begin to nod. Everything is clear. As Joe crosses the street he notices that there is a patrol car in the area and informs Jack that he should not blow up anything just yet. He enters the building and is promptly intercepted by a big, burly security guard named Alf who requests to see his ID. Joe produced the fake and holds his breath. Alf's expression turns to that of a smile as he compliments Mr. Shurbert's new hair cut and allows him to proceed. Joe runner enters an elevator, notices that the one and three buttons are flashing in rapid sequence, and quickly gets off. Apparently Joan thinks it better that he take the stairs. Hoping that nobody noticed the trip up he briskly enters a stairwell and begins the climb to the tenth floor. On the way up he notices that one of the security cameras is nodding, smiles, and continues on his way. Once at the tenth floor he walks at a business person speed past the guard and over to office twelve. He knocks. Nobody answers. Apparently Mr. Coogle is out getting lunch, or else unconscious on the toilet. Joe figures it is possibility one and comes to the realization that he's been standing in front of the office door for a good ten seconds and the guard is beginning to take notice. Quickly he enters a security code and, with a loud obnoxious yelp, the device rejects it. He tries another and the same thing occurs. Joe runner is beginning to get worried, even more so as the guard approaches with a quizzical look on his skinny elven face. This would be a good time for Joe to panic, were he not a professional. He quickly surveys the situation. Guard at four meters, two business types in the vicinity as well. He hears Jack's headset hit the van floor. The guard is in Joe's face now. Jack has a Manhunter in his belt. He decides to wait. A call on the guard's radio. A seemingly possessed troll has barged into the lobby and has commenced with urinating on everything. All available guards to the lobby. The camera behind the guard begins to nod and the door lock snaps open. Joe runner says something witty as he and the guard part and Joe enters the office. Jack is back on his head set and explains that the troll was his idea as Joe breaks out his electronics kit and removes Mr. Coogle's CPU. Joan's voice startles him as it suddenly emerges from an intercom box and she informs him that the print scanners on the elevator buttons are now deactivated. On the way down Joe decides to be safe and take the stairs anyway. He exits onto the street after wading through a crowd of business types and security personnel who have gathered to watch the now hog tied troll roll around on the floor and attempt to figure out what the hell is going on. Joe stops for another hot dog before meeting up with Jack and Joan and heading to the drop off location.

Which option's best? If you guessed C, you get a cookie.

This run is probably one of the simplest out there. No assault cannons or Wasps or dragons or Black IC or demons with your name on them. A simple in and out. Joe samurai's scenario went off fairly well. Here are some points I felt were important.

*The GM didn't do anything to bail Joe out of a tough situation, his fellow runners did. Had Jack just sat around doing nothing the events on the tenth floor could have turned ugly. Had Joan done the same he never would have made it off the ground floor. Joan had a constant eye on Joe's progress and made sure his path was clear. Jack was ready to jump in at a moment's notice, which he did without putting himself or the rest of the team in further risk.

*Joe kept his cool. He could have started blasting when cornered on the tenth's floor and may have succeeded in his mission using methods of that type. But he didn't have to, and probably didn't want to. Blowing away a messed up ex-runner with a vendetta against children is one thing. Taking out a security guard for walking down the hallway is another.

It is doubtful that any actual run would ever go down this smoothly. Usually the group is lacking either the necessary equipment or personnel required to do the job perfectly. Had Joan not existed the entire approach to the situation would have been different. This team used what they had to their utmost potential and that is what made the difference.

This story also represents my own personal bias against what I deem unnecessary violence. The group could have pumped the building full of cyanide and then blown it up after taking the loot. They could have gone in with silent APDS flinging assault rifles and taken everybody out. And as a GM I should tolerate their actions without bias. But I normally won't. This doesn't mean you can't snipe off guards around a compound or HMG a gang headquarters. Sometimes you almost have to. But think first: Is this what my character would really do? And if he would, make sure you can justify it to yourself in several ways just to be sure. Sometimes you have to do really terrible things to live, just make sure you're not living to do really terrible things. Unless that's what your character is all about.

In which case he won't even make it through one of my gaming sessions.