game design, games, Popojojo, writing

One Player Game Jam Roundup

so my one-player game jam finished yesterday, and overall i think it was a success. here’s my roundup of what i learned.

before i started i had a few specific goals in mind. i wanted to refine some of the movement mechanics, and specifically include double-jumping, floating, and sliding.

double-jumping was really easy, as i just looked up a tutorial and copied the blueprint directly.

doublejump

floating has proved a little more difficult, partially because i wasn’t sure what to search for. (so far in my experience game design mostly seems to involve googling ‘unreal engine double jump blueprint’ etc.) the specific ability i want to include is what i’d call floating, but other people seem to refer to it as a ‘hover jump’ or some other such thing. the best example i can think of is the ‘flutter jump‘ in various Mario games.

this is what i’ve figured out so far but it’s not perfect for a number of reasons.

floatingmechanic

firstly, as of now the ability requires pressing its own key, rather than holding down the jump button. figuring out that functionality is gonna take more work because it will also require tweaking the double-jump due to how the second ‘jump’ works. so for the time being, i just settled on using a separate button because i’m more interested in fleshing things out quickly.

the real problem is that i need to work out how to limit the use of the ability so that the player can only float once per jump, because as-is you can float indefinitely as long as you press and release Q quickly enough. The GIFs below should illustrate what I mean.

floating the way i want it to work:

float1

floating cheat:

float2

there’s also a problem with how the movement change translates the character’s velocity/direction, because if the float button is pressed on the way up Popojojo will float upwards rather than begin floating once the maximum height of the jump has been reached. so, still a lot of work to do on the floating mechanic, but i’m at least glad that i’m beginning to understand how blueprints translate into practice.

i never even got around to try working on a sliding mechanic, but i did change the landscape from 2D sprites to a proper 3D landscape, which made everything more slippery anyways. it seems like the next step for this is going to be working with the friction setting and figuring out how to use crouching/pressing down as a slide button. right now when you press S Popojojo goes into a crouch but it’s just an animation and doesn’t actually change anything about the movement speed or friction.

i had some stretch goals for myself, including adding music and sound, a menu system, and a new landscape. i didn’t do anything related to making menus (i suspect that’s going to be a whole thing) but i did add some ambient music and sounds, though it’s not perfect. the music seems to stop when Popojojo goes underwater, which i’ll have to figure out.

here’s a little video that includes the ambient music, some bird sounds, and a jump sound.

maybe the thing i’m most excited about is that i learned how to make a river! i’ve consciously tried to pace how many different parts of the engine i learn so i don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out, which means that until now i’ve avoided physics and post processing volumes because when i knew nothing about them they seemed really complicated. turns out they’re not!

i added water to the world using this tutorial, which uses the water material from this example project. there are a ton of details about how the material works that i just decided to skip by importing the complete material directly, so as of now the water itself looks a little wonky because the waves are moving way too fast.

titlegif

i’m sure the underwater effect (that’s the post processing part) can use some work because i sort of just guessed at what visual changes might seem underwater-y, but that’s not a big deal. at the moment the thing i’m more interested in working out is exiting the water, because right now the player basically only has one jump available. like, when you float to the top, you can only jump out of the water as long as you haven’t already pressed the jump key, because the whole time you’re swimming the game treats it as if you’re still jumping/haven’t landed. so, that’s a thing i’ll have to figure out.

i probably won’t work much on Popojojo in the next couple of weeks because i need to get the first three books of Ages of Decay online, but this has been super fun and i’m excited for the next time i work on it because i’ll have much more specific goals in mind.

(also, i learned how to make gifs, which is its own neat fun thing)

games, Popojojo, writing

One Player Game Jam!

i haven’t seriously worked on my games in a little while because my day job has taken priority over the last few weeks so i decided to make up a challenge for myself. starting at 8:00 AM GMT tomorrow and ending Sunday morning, i’m gonna do a one-person, 72-hour game jam. i’ll be posting updates on twitter using the hashtag #oneplayergamejam, as well as some gameplay and design videos on youtube.

the primary goal of this exercise is gonna be to build out Popojojo so i can demo some of the core movement mechanics, including double-jumping, floating, and sliding (a la the Rayman music levels, not as an attack move). the stretch goals beyond that include some sort of menu, a completely redone landscape (using an actual Unreal landscape rather than simple sprites) and some music and sound effects. they’re just some small steps and the game won’t be anywhere near completion at the end of it, but i think it should be fun, and should hopefully get the project up to where i want it to be.

 

games, writing

VR appreciation post

i just got an Oculus Rift and gosh is it neat. here are some early thoughts on it.

i’m typing this right now on the Oculus Desktop that’s part of the Rift Core 2.0 beta, which definitely takes some getting used to but isn’t dramatically slower than a regular keyboard, and is actually faster than the touch keyboard on my surface. more typos than a regular keyboard but part of that is just down to experience. i have the virtual keyboard up in the air so it’s definitely a workout keeping my arms up but i like it. i’ve always wanted to type like i was boxing.

here’s a look at that paragraph before i fixed any of the typos. i should note that this was done with actually typing with my virtual hands; you can also use the controllers, which are much more accurate but feel less like johnny mnemonic.

typos
typos

i also got the Virtual Desktop app from the Oculus store, and while the customization and background is more fun the keyboard on the Oculus Desktop works much better. Neither app is perfect but they’re both a lot of fun and i’m excited to see how the experience develops with each update.

there’s a reason i’m mostly talking about the joys of typing in VR and that’s because one of primary reasons i wanted a VR rig was for ‘productivity’, which is to say, writing and (to a slightly lesser extent) game design. i’m currently finishing up a phd in english literature, an experience that has ruined my back, shoulders, arms, and wrists through repetitive strain injuries. a standing desk has helped somewhat but what’s really wonderful about the ability to type in VR is the range of motion i can get from it, and because my injuries made it difficult to type for any extended period of time anyways, so far writing in VR hasn’t actually been much slower overall.

i’ve yet to try any art or game design programs yet but i’m excited to start working in Unreal. i just got a whole new machine so i’ve had to reinstall everything but once i get back to work on my games i’ll definitely write up some thoughts on what it’s like.

games, writing

Commander Keen appreciation post

Commander Keen was (maybe) the first videogame i ever played. i can’t remember whether it was that or something on the Sega Master System. if it was the latter, it would have been the Sega Card version of Galaga or Rambo: First Blood Part II. either way, the one that made the biggest impression on me was Commander Keen and specifically the freeware first chapter of Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons.

there was a lot about that game that appealed to tiny me. first was the conceptual association i made between Commander Keen and Spaceman Spiff (aka Calvin) from Calvin and Hobbes, which was my favorite comic growing up. i knew they weren’t part of the same official universe or whatever but i did feel like they were a ‘type’ i could identify with.

overall the game was too difficult for me and i could never actually beat any of the Vorticons that appeared at the end of levels, so at the time i always had to have my brother or dad take over for me once i got to the end. i never finished the freeware version, but i did see the ending once my brother beat it.

the sound design of Commander Keen always stuck out to me as a kid, as the sounds for the pogo stick, ray gun, and teddy bear/free life were so memorable. i also loved the Yorps, aliens that would sort of just bump into you and cry when you jumped on their heads. like Whispy Woods in Kirby’s Dream World, the Yorps forced me to confront my own bloodlust, as they look so tragic if you go past bopping their heads and just shoot them in the face.

it wasn’t until years later that i actually got to play the full game, along with Commander Keen in Goodbye Galaxy. before the days of DRM my friend and i would trade games and that was how i ended up with all three chapters of Invasion of the Vorticons and both chapters of Goodbye Galaxy (that’s also how i first played Rayman, one of my favorite games in terms ambience, music, and art design).

while i already loved Commander Keen, my mind was completely blown by the full game and sequels. in the final chapter of Invasion of Vorticons Keen travels to the Vorticon homeworld, where, in addition to seeing funny domestic scenes of Vorticons at home, there was an entire Vorticon alphabet you could decipher, which meant you could go back to the first chapter and read different signs and stuff.

the sequels impressed me more for the depth of the story and the variety of characters and art, though it was also a very big deal that you could hang from ledges, which felt extremely cutting edge the first time i played it. i also fondly remember the day i finally figured out the inch-worm puzzle that takes you to the secret level.

bartending, cocktails, drinking, games, recipes, spirits

Heartwarmer (Recipe)

this recipe came from a game we used to play behind the bar. the game starts with somebody putting one ingredient into a tin and then passing it off to someone else, who adds another ingredient and passes it back (or to another person) and so on. you’re allowed to taste the mixture as the game goes along but nobody is allowed to say what they put in, so the quality of the drink that comes out of it depends on everybody having a decent palate and not fucking things up along the way. sometimes it ends up in disaster and sometimes it ends up being tasty. this is one of the better ones, with ingredients listed in the order they were added.

Heartwarmer
½ oz. Cardamaro
1 barspoon amaretto
½ oz. Lemon Hart 151
1 barspoon Luxardo maraschino
¼ oz. cinnamon syrup
¼ oz. demerara syrup
½ oz. 100 proof apple brandy
1 oz. Elijah Craig

[stir with ice]

strain into a Nick & Nora or coupe

[image By Nheyob – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0]

games, writing

kirby appreciation post

last year for the 25th anniversary of the Kirby series, comic writer/artist gigi d.g. made a very beautiful comic that, in addition to being warm and lovely on its own, prompted lots of people on twitter to offer their own fond memories of the magical little puffball. here are some of mine.

Kirby’s Dream Land was the first game boy game that i got to pick out all on my own (instead of collaborating with my siblings), and was the first videogame i completed without help from anyone else. i picked it because i’ve always loved cute, soft things, but aside from that one of the things that’s made it so special to me is the way it helped me understand how videogames work. I distinctly remember my 7-year-old brain being completely vaporized by the first boss fight, Whispy Woods.

whispy

Whispy Woods was the first boss fight i had ever played myself, and the first time i ever understand the role patterns and systems play in videogames. i’ve been obsessed with games for literally as long as i can remember, but until Whispy Woods they remained a kind of wondrous mystery to me. i used to watch my siblings and uncle play Super Mario Bros. at my grandma’s house (because that’s where the NES lived) and feeling equal parts fascinated and frustrated. it was always too difficult for me to play, and the Bowser fights were particularly baffling, as they always seemed impossible or too easy, depending on if you had a fire flower. i never realized that everything operated according to a pattern, and it always felt as if my own uncoordinated movements would never best the precision and skill demonstrated by the game (there’s probably some sort of Lacanian millennial mirror stage analysis to be made of this human/computer interaction but i don’t feel like exploring it).

in contrast to all those games that mystified me, i only died once before i figured out the pattern to Whispy Woods (spit the apples at him!), but more than that, this was the first time i figured out there even was a pattern. all of a sudden i understood how games worked. the Whispy Woods fight made videogames intelligible to me in a way no other game had, and once i finished Kirby’s Dream Land i found i was able to easily play games i had previously given up on as impossible (the two main ones being Super Mario Land and Tiny Toon Adventures: Bab’s Big Break). so in a very basic sense, Kirby taught me how to play videogames.

there’s another detail of the Whispy Woods fight that always stayed with me, and it’s what happens when you defeat him. at the end of the fight, you don’t kill Whispy Woods, you just make him cry.

eye

i cried easily/a lot as a child and it was a huge deal to me to be put in the position of making someone else (a magical tree) cry. it complicated my understanding good v. bad, hero v. villain, etc, and even though it’s necessary to finish the game and i thought Kirby had the moral high ground in this case, the little bit of nuance offered by those handful of frames played a big part in my emotional development. for that reason alone Kirby will always hold a special place in my heart.

some day i’ll write about how Kirby’s subsequent adventures helped me conceptualize my own neurodiversity/SPD/ASPD, but this is prolly enough for now.

tl; dr: Kirby is great 🙂

games, LaZerBear Market, writing

Bubbler, Chillum, and the LaZerBear Market

enough of old things i never finished! on to the glorious new things that i’m actually working on! in this post i’ll introduce some of the starring characters in my game (which has the working title LaZerBear Market, or LZBM for short).

that cheerful individual you see up top there is the titular LaZerBear, the world-renowned mascot of a chain of automat convenience shops in the near-future setting of the game. the market’s tagline is ‘Your Favorite Place in Space!’ (that’s a little architecture joke for you 😉) though as of now they only have one non-terrestrial location.

LaZerBear is frequently seen in the company of dankbot, a mobile vending machine that sells cannabis-derived products around town (in the LaZerBear universe, cannabis was legalized alongside alcohol in 1933, part of the alternate history in the LaZerBear universe). one version of dankbot can be found on twitter, and below you can see some of the different versions that i’ve sketched out. dankbot is the first playable character of LZBM.

other characters include Bubbler and Chillum, a pair of cats that are best friends. The concept of B+C developed out of an illustration I did long ago imagining a goofy 90s-esque sidescroller in the vein of ToeJam and Earl called Bubbler and Chillum: Bongs of War. Even as cats, their respective body shapes are supposed to reflect the paraphernalia that inspired their names.

while LZBM will have a robust single-player experience, at its heart it’s a party game, and there are a number of other unlockable characters to play, mainly based on various natural phenomena, and each with their own special abilities and strengths

one important feature of LZBM is a large amusement park/golf course/race track modeled off the solar system, which has gone through various iterations while sketching. look closely and you’ll see the concept art for the version where a giant animatronic wizard uses magic to make the sun glow

finally, i shall leave you with this scale drawing of a multi-necked bong-spaceship

Image (2)

games, writing

District Blues

‘District Blues’ was an idea i had for a Shadowrun Returns campaign based in Washington, DC, a city i love very much. the story is lore-adjacent, set in a kind of AU of the main Shadowrun universe because I wanted to mess around with the story and make DC more important than it normally is in Shadowrun (seriously who cares about seattle)

below is the unedited design document i made for the project (which i wrote in notepad). i’m sure it’s bad and embarrassing and i’ll probably go back and delete it at some point.

District Blues: A shadowrun story

DC/VA/MD area divided into three color-coded districts

Red= Pentagon and Defense Contractors/Megacorps in NoVa
White= Georgetown, area northwest of connecticut and k street
Blue: Everywhere else, especially everything East and Southeast of Rock Creek Park

[SWITCH ORDER OF CHAPTERS 3 + 4]

Flavor and random details:
k street and golden triangle area connecticut ave. are mixed-color zones, meaning they function as sort of neutral areas where people from differnet districts can hang out even if they don’t have credentials to enter white or red zone, but these areas areas strictly, strictly policed

use walls between districts to cordon off exterior areas
a la gaza or belin wall with graffiti etc. on the sides
gangs/shady people control hidden access points between the white and blue districts, no access between blue and red districts as military and MegaCorps keep strict, deadly watch over the barrier

trigger so that if the player tries to open a random house/apartment door in the open-area of the blues, a few seconds/minutes later someone will come out to see why someone was trying to get into their house

if the player is nearby they will ask the player if they were trying to get in/if they saw anyone [example dialogue: “who the fuck goes walkin round tryin to open random doors? ‘fi find out who it was i’ll kick there ass” or if the player admits to it “why the fuck you tryin’ to ge tinto my house? you a cop or something?”; responses “i wanted to know what was inside” “why, you got something to hide?” “i see a door, i try to open it. it’s sort of an OCD thing”

 

include “New Revolution” faction as version of Tea Party (no coup, but definitely annoying) [chubby white New Revolution tourists vacationing/protesting in the whites; maybe have some in the thief apt. area talking about how to use the metro and which areas they should avoid a la the tea party/glenn beck metro advice]
New Revolution includes members of the Humanis Policlub trying to make their movement seem more “pro” than “anti” by hanging around their natural allies in the New Revolution/Tea Party

include annyoing charity people asking for donations to causes a la children international in the White and nice areas of the Blue districts

(for example, a terrible campaigner asking someone “what’s the same between a woman a tornado?: they both scream when then come/cum and take your house when they leave” before asking for money for starving children)

all sorts of interest groups from across the shadowrun spectrum asking for donations (stuff for Mothers of Metahumans, Sierra Corps, Elvish stuff, Native American stuff, etc.

in the same way that real DC has interest groups from all over, Shadowrun DC has interest groups of the shadowrun world

include universal brotherhood in some capacity; maybe a church running a soup kitchen/homeless shelter as well as a Family-type house for congresspeople

free shadowrun versions of politico, city paper, examiner, and express [find shadowrun slang term for these kinds of newspapers]

“lifestyle guide” ; i.e. apartment listings with injoke about how you decide your character lifestyle in PnP game

different ads on walls depending where you are, i.e. defense ads in white and red district, loans, medical, and drugs in blue district

“freedom” cards sold to the SINless residents of the Blues so that they can have a form of credit, transit, ID, etc. even if they don’t have a SIN (with all of the regular bullshit that goes along with prepaid cards, payday loans, and all that jazz)
functions sort of Corp script, although there are service fees and they can still getb in trouble for not having a SIN at any time

each “public” service (like different train and bus lines) is maintained by a different Corp or subsidiary so the PC needs a different card/credential for each one [pay ten nyen to buy each card, with only 5 nyen of credit on it]

central metro hub location is where all the “public” transit lines meet, so it is essentially a giant hub of corporate advertising

“handi-cab” robot-controlled cabs that are call-able from paystations located throughout the city (although much less frequently in poor areas, and no where in the slums) [if you try to tell the cab to take you to a poor/slummy part of town “you hear a faint whizzing, as if the robot driver was racking its carbon and silicon brain for something smart to say, but instead the cab just yells ERROR and peels out, leaving you behind in a cloud of burnt rubber and shame”

Rich people at the capitol taking cabs, poor people taking the bus

embassies in white district [use embassies and other official buildings to build flavor and ambiance while also giving a narrative reason for why the character can’t enter them, such as guards, gates, etc.] build the world without making the world-building feel thin or facade-ish

old, fading campaign signs in the blues from Dunkel’s election

[custom art asset with changing/GIF-like hologram campaign sign for Dunkel – “Hope and Change,” with “hope” appearing under a picture of humanshaped-Dunkel and “change” under a picture of dragon Dunkel

 

 

spoof versions of:
american express “this is what membership does” ads
chase freedom card

 

president is kyle haeffner

Los Verdugos–MS-13
The Spikes [not totally though]–Black Guerilla Family/Dead Man Incorporated/D.C. Blacks
Humanis Policlub–Aryan Brotherhood
First Nation–Folk Nation

 

open-roaming areas:
waterfront
[georgetown canals, with shops, open cafes, trees, cobblestone, fancy banks {that you can only get into with the right creds/etiquette}]

university
[georgetown campus, with students, food, library, offices, classrooms, green space, cobblestone]

nice part of blues
adams morgan/mid part of blues
[no abandoned or decayed storefronts, but worn down and older buildings]

zoo
[open pits, decayed and abandoned carts and gift shops, gangers hanging out in former animal exhibits, with main fight location being in the elephant enclosure (ringer by spectators on surrounding bridges and hillsides), also some awakened critters/monsters living in buildings and enclosures

ganger/slummiest part of blues
[fully abandoned factories, beyond decay]

 

tenement/hotel part of blues
[brpken down houses, liquor stores, decay]

h street/troll neighborhood part of blues
[nice, hip area juztaposed with worn-down neighborhood, decaying buildings, abandoned storefronts]

rigger locale
[Corp area, with slick storefronts, restaurants, banks, office buildings]

thief apt. part of whites
[cleveland park village-type area, with open cafes, restaurants, small grocery, banks, bars, trees]

open-roaming areas with touching borders/ways to walk from one to the other:
university-waterfront
tenement/hotel-ganger/slummiest
nice part of blues-mid part of blues
zoo-nice part of blues
zoo-mansion/black lab
zoo-mid part of blues
rigger locale-comedy club

 

open-roaming interior area:
metro hub with multiple levels
use stairs and transitions to move between levels

 

fast-travel options:
train/monorail (anyone, but only goes as far as hotel/tenement area of slum blues [must walk to ganger/slummiest part])
train stops in: nice part of blues, mid aprt of blues, h street part of blues, courthouse, rigger locale, thief apt area, waterfront)
cab (only in nice/mid part of blues, whites; for detective and thief only)
motorcycle (for dealer only)
bicycle (for social worker only)

train credentials limit where people can go (i.e. only people with proper work/residence permits can get on the train to certain areas; for example, social worker can go to blues and courthouse in reds, but cannot go to whites, while dtective can go to blues but not red or whites and thief can go to whites and blues but not reds)

 

need two versions (pre and post hurricane) of the following:
university/waterfront
comedy club
mid part of blues
k street/rigger locale
shady bar in slums

 

forms of communication/newsmedia:
broadsheets
television
scrolling banners/signs
underground publications/message boards
silk road-type store/forum

 

{STORY/LOCATION CHANGE: SOCIAL WORKER WORKS AT HOWARD U IN THE BLUES, DEALER LIVES IN ADAMS MORGAN}

 

figure out way tot do wireless net/decking, maybe with some kind of comm item

chapters 1, 2, 3, and 7 all have female leads, chapters 4,5, and 6 have male leads

 

Custome art assets: hanging paper lanters,

 

CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS:
general characters:
FedPol officers in different districts and of different ranks have different hair, i.e. blue for standard beat cops working the blues, white for higher ranking officers, and red for special forces/swat/military police
(racial discirmination is demonstrated by fewer high-ranking metahumans)

 

beat cops:
humans, orcs, trolls
phys-adepts and street samurai
mostly male, some female

 

orcs:s2, s4, s7
male: h3
female:h5
trolls:s2, s4, s7
male: h3
female:h5
humans:s6, s1, s3
male:h4
female:h6

c8

 

officers:
humans, elves, occassional troll, orc, and dwarf

 

humans/elves: s6, s5
others of random s

 

orcs:
male hair: h4
female hair: h5

trolls: f: h7, m: h4

humans:
m:h5, f:h6

elves:
m:h5, f:h6

dwarves: f: h5, m:h4

c1

 

special forces/military:
humans, elves, trolls
red mohawks

 

 

Chapter 1:
Detective:female Dwarf s1h5c11
(give her a beard or mustache)

female Megacorp: female elf s6h1c10
male Megacorp: male troll s5ht11

troll escapee: female troll s4h4c2

decker whiz: male orc s1h2c8

rival mr. johnson: male human s4h1c6

street doc: male orc s2h1c4

bro-dudes:
human and elf males s5-6 except for one 1
human h1 + 5
elf h5 + 7

 

ganger-slavers (MS-13 equivalent gang)
mainly orcs, trolls, and humans, with a few dwarves (no elves)
orcs: s2 +3
trolls: s2 +3
humans and dwarves: s2 + 3

orc hair: female -h1, h2, + h7
male: h2, h3, + h5

troll hair: female – h1, h7
male: h2, h3, h6

human hair: female -h2
male: h6

dwarf hair: female – h1, h2, h6
male: h5, h6

hair color: c4, c10, c11

dwarf facial hair: b7, b9
troll horns: t3, t4

 

brothel owner: female dwarf s5h2c14

 

chapter 2:
Thief: female elf s4h5c9
shaman: male elf s6h1c13
rigger:male human s5h5c6
mage: female elf s2h2c11

mr johnson: human male s6h1c2

 

chapter 3:
main character: female human s6h4c6

chapter 4:
face: male human s1h5c
infiltrator:male human s5h3c12
comm:male dwarf s3h6c4b7
crooked cop: male troll s7t11

chief of police: female elf s4h5c7

murdered megacorp rep: female orc s3h6c1

 

chapter 5:
gangers (random members of gangs left over from massacre in first chapter) [these are the surivors from different gangs who have banded together in the wake of the auction, and now someone had the bright idea of finding out where the troll came from and seeing if there’s more money to be had):
troll, orc, human, some dwarves, and two elves

trolls: s1, s2, s5, s6, s7,
female hair: h1, h2, h7
male hair: h1, h2, h3, h6,
color: c4, c6, c9, c14
t7, t11, t12, t13

orcs:

 

ideoglogical goals for entire project:

highlight the little ways capitalism fucks with and entraps poor people through finanical fees, etc. [make these processes explicit by turning them into explicitly visible game mechanics]

include small, explicit game-mechanic/structural demonstrations of racial, gender, and class inequality

subvert and detonate traditional representations of gender in games

highlight structural gender and racial inequalities through the story, conversation, and game mechanics

explain the tactics and goals of capitalism as it relates to the working poor through game mechanics and narration

make capitalism intelligible as an active, totalizing force to people with no experience with Marxist theory

make clear, obvious connections between the dystopia of District Blues and the dystopia of the real world so that the objects of the game’s satire are explicit and unavoidable

be cruel in the game’s specifity and ideology, and leave no room for second-guessing its intention or targets

be contemptuous of power while manipulating the player without overt force or coercion [i.e. force the player to enact a specific, ideological narrative while making the illusion of choice and agency nearly seamless, or, put another way, make the player hate capitalism, patriarchy, etc. without presenting them with a stupid “pick one of three different colored buttons” option]

 

 

 

 

Ideological goals for each chapter:
Chapter 1: disrupt representations of gender, highlight legacy of slavery and racial inequality as it relates to DC and the country as a whole, highlight the wage-slavery of the garment/tech/manufacturing industries

Chapter 2: challenge liberal notions of what makes an acceptable leader, challenge liberal notions of charity, criticize liberal priviledge, criticize liberal morality

Chapter 3: criticize representations of gender in comedy,

Chapter 4: highlight collusion between the state and the press, highlight corruption of the justice system, collussion between justice system and corporate interests, criticize the influence of money and total absorption of public services into private control

contrast the outsider who tries to take power through the system (the corrupt cop) to the outsider who refuses to use the abusive power of the state against innocents, but instead only targets the abusive state (the player character)

 

Chapter 5: bloody demonstration of the relative degrees of violence committed by supposedly inhuman “thugs” compared to the systematic inhumanity of capitalism

forceful, explicit demonstrations of the atrocities committed by capitalism [such as security tapes of working conditions in the black lab]

 

Chapter 6: challenge the idealization of non-violence as a solution to any and all forms of oppression or injustice, and highlight the need for violence in the face of a corporate state that feels no shame and thus is not affected by non-violent resistance

point out how the idealization of figures like MLK, ghandi, etc. has been used as a tool by neoliberalism in order to forestall radical movements in developed and Western countries and de facto delegitimize any radical movement that deploys any form of violence, regardless of how proportional or disproportional it is

 

Chapter 7: leave the audience smiling

 

 

Chapter 1: Run Mourner Run (slave song)

Detective story with action/combat
low to mid-level character

detective is black dwarf female phys-adept

Detective gets hired to find a “runaway” by a Mr. Johnson posing as a concerned parent
detective is a lady, with femme fatale ms. johnson and her ‘husband’

ms. johnson is an elf, mr. johnson is a troll, and supposedly the runaway is mr. johnson’s son from his previous marriage who suppsoedly broke off contact after the johnson’s got married. it wasn’t until later that they suppsoedly got a call from the runaway’s roomate (or manager, boss, friend, etc) saying that the son was in trouble

 

Runaway is supposedly a trust-funder in the Capitol for an internship who ran off, is in reality an escapee from a sweatshop/illegal experimentation black lab hidden under where the Indonesian Embassy currently is north of the Zoo
Escapee is in posssession of a special suit/garment that the Megacorp running the black lab wants back
When the detective finds the escapee in slums of Blue district (East/Southeast side), other runner groups hired by rival Megacorps show up, after these are dealt with (either by escaping, killing them, or getting them to kill each other) hiring Megacorp shows up to claim prize and kill detective

Ends with detective seemingly being killed and left for dead, but the end of the final chapter reveals that the detective survived and has been telling the story of the game to the weed dealer

 

characters/character types, skills, etc.

Detective:
hard-drinking phys-adept, with a dark sense of humor and a wit that might be too sharp for her own good

ms. johnson: slick corporate mage acting like a trophy wife, femme fatale
mr. johnson: brutal corporate enforcer, the classic noir brute/thug

 

DAYTIME
options for places character can start investigation:
secret access point between white and blue districts located in popular nightclub
no info except the bouncer saying that mr. and ms. johnson didn’t come through this way (even though they said they did)

local blue-district gastropub (in somewhere like Adams Morgan) that is popular with White district residents slumming it

detective gets told to go to zoo tourney, because any of the White district trolls that come to the Blues like to go there to beat up on lower-class, underfed gangers in order to feel tough, and the gangers never really retaliate because they don’t want any senator’s kid getting shot
optional: detective can get into a fist-fight with White district brodudes

Brothel
brothel directs player to local street doc, who talks about a troll coming in with some expensive tech but no money looking to get patched up

ganger at zoo talks about a troll who showed up out of nowhere wearing some fancy tech before nearly killing two gangers the other night, but he ran off before the ganger knew his name (as the troll was due some winnings)
optional: the detective can try to finagle the troll’s winnings out of the ganger
ganger directs detective to street doc who works the zoo fights at night

 

Street doc says the troll asked about a place to stay (for free or cheap), and the street doc directed him to a cheap, by-the-hour motel further into the slums

 

detective goes to slums to investigate hotel and is told off unless she pays or fights the hotel owner, who only says that the troll came by looking for a room but couldn’t pay, so left. Maybe the gangers who hang out on the corner might know something

after leaving hotel, the detective is jumped by a group of rival shadowrunners and knocked out, waking up at street doc’s place

 

NIGHT
detective returns to slums to talk to gangers who were hanging out on the corner across from the hotel, and who might have seen either the troll or whoever jumped the detective earlier in the day

The gangers are really just neighborhood kids, and the detective can pick up a team member if she talks to them the right way/completes a side-quest for them (maybe finding someone medicine or some shit). the new potential team member is a young decker whiz-kid who has hacked together his own wetwork and uses it to steal from rich cyborgs

the gangers have a lead on the shadowrun team that jumped the detective, and because she doesn’t have any other info, she decides to follow it. She ends up further into the slums at an abandoned factory, where the other shadowrun team is investigating. It looks like the troll may have tried to stay the night there, but then something happened because there are dead gangers around and signs of a struggle. apparently the abandoned factory is a ganger hideout that the troll stumbled upon

the detective (and companion) can follow the other shadowrun team, confront them and offer to join forces, or attack

joining forces or attacking means that they delay long enough that the rest of the dead gangers’ friends show up, and a massive fight starts, ending with either all gangers and shadowrunners dead or else just the gangers dead

with all dead, the detective finds info on the shadowrunners’ scheduled meeting with their mr. johnson in a bar

with some shadowrunners still alive, the shadowrun team decides to kidnap or extort the mr. johnson for more money (due to the unexpected danger of the task) and asks the detective for help

following means tracking the other shadowrun team to their meeting with their own mr. johnson, who is apparently working for a smaller corp (not the one who hired the detective)

if detective meets mr. johnson alone:
mr. johnson offers detective the same deal he offered the shadowrun team, and provides more info on the subject, namely, that the troll is in possession of a prototype suit that was “liberated” from a MegaCorp black lab somewhere in the Blues. the mr. johnson doesn’t know anything more about the troll, beacuse he works for a small corp and doesn’t actually know anything about the lab, he only knows what his corp was able to pull from its corporate espionage efforts (which only revealed that the MegaCorp was in semi-freakout mode over the theft of the suit)
He hasn’t heard anything about the troll being a runaway or whatever, and becomes nervous if the detective mentions details about Ms. and Mr. johnson
gives detective money to bid at auction

 

if shadowrun team and detective meet mr. johnson:
mr. johnson attempts to abort the meeting by saying that the shadowrunners have voided the contract by bringing in the detective, while the shadowrunners say that they want a new contract because it is more dangerous than they were led to believe.

the detective has the option of trying to talk everyone down, sitting back and staying silent, or trying to antagonize everyone

talking down results in a renegotiated deal
sitting back results in a firefight where mr. johnson and one or two shadowrunners die
antagonizing results in everyone dying except detective (and whiz kid if present)

if detective follows shadowrun team to meeting:
is stopped at door by bouncer, who can be bribed or fought
or the detective can sneak in through the bathroom
or wait outside until the meeting is done and then has the choice of following the shadowrunners or the mr. johnson

if the detective comes in through the front, the shadowrunners get suspicious of mr. johnson and proceed to attack detective and mr. johnson

if the detective comes in through the bathroom, she can listen in to the conversation and enter at any moment with the option of walking in and introducing herself, walking in and killing shadowrunners, or walking in and killing mr. johnson

regardless of what happens, detective envetually ends up at ganger headquarters, where the troll is being locked up with the intention of selling him. the gangers have been foolish enough to broadcast that they have the troll, which means that every corp around has sent someone. the gangers have the intention of holding an auction, but the main MegaCorp that hired the detective has the intention of wiping everyone out

possibilities:
the detective is the first one there (if other shadowrun team has been killed)
the detecitve arrives after other shadowrun team (if left alive/followed)
the detective and other shadowrun team arrive together, with at least one rival MegaCorp represenative there

options:
walk straight in with intention of bidding, which is only possible if the detective/shadowrun team have enough money to buy (possible if all deal conversations are conducted succesfully, including renegotiated deal with mr. johnson, who gives them money explicitly for the auction)

walk straight in with guns blazing with intention of taking troll by force

sneak in with intention of breaking out troll

sneak/bid combo where detective walks in to bid while other shadowrun team or whiz-kid sneak in the back

bidding means bidding against rival teams, which include mr. and ms. johnson, who the detective is surprised to see

detective can talk to ms. johnson, who says that the detective’s services are no longer needed. she offers to give detective money to just walk away. if detective walks away, then she can return to her office only to find mr. johnson there with backup, who shoots her and leaves her for dead

bidding occurs but no matter what the detective does not have enough money, although she can bluff and then try to talk/fight her way out of paying, or bid while other team members break in, cut the lights, and try to sneak the troll out

if ms. johnson wins the bid she takes the troll before calling in reinforcements to slaughter everyone there. detective can either stay and fight or run. either way ends with detective confronting ms. johnson with troll, and managing to free troll before ms. johnson shoots detective and leaves her for dead
[ms. johnson has special equipment to remove suit from troll before killing him, because suit makes him invulnerable, but the detective manages to free the troll after the suit has been removed]

if rival team wins then ms. johnson allows them to make the transaction and start leading the troll out while she exits, and then reinforcements come in and attack everyone; ends same as above

if guns blazing, then its just a straight firefight, with detective and surviving team escaping with the troll, who they take to the street doc to get suit taken off. detective returns to office, then gets shot.

sneaking to break out troll means breaking out troll, taking him to street doc to have suit taken off, and then returning to office with suit, only to find mr. and ms. johnson who shoot detective and take suit

sneaking while bidding means troll escapes and is taken to street doc while detective is caught in firefight/melee after it becomes clear that the troll has escaped. Corp representatives execute all of the gangers for their apparent duplicity, while detective redezvous with street doc and gets the suit, returns to office, and then same as above

if the detective/runner team make deal with second mr. johnson, then instead of returning to office they return to mr. johnson, where initial mr. and ms. johnson shoot everybody, take the suit, and leave detective for dead

ends with detective seemingly dead, although probably richer
ASCWINWOTYTSD (“ask-Win-WHAT-it-said”)
x. Lit. “A Sucking Chest Wound is Nature’s Way Of Telling You To Slow Down.”.

locations:
nicer area of the blues, which includes:
nightclub
gastropub

mid-range area of the blues, which includes:
detective office
street doc
brothel
zoo

slum area of the blues, which includes:
hotel
ganger corner/tenement (where whiz-kid lives)
ganger hide-out where troll spends the night
bar where shadowrun team meets mr. johnson
ganger auction site

 

Chapter 2: Every Hand’s a Chummer (the gambler)

Heist story
hacking, surveillance, legwork, combat at the end, and combat throughout if the player isn’t careful or stealthy
mid to high-level character

Aging theif finds the noose tightening in the capitol, as story opens with theif being confronted by ominous Mr. Johnson about completing a job in order to pay off a debt or something
The job is onerous, so the thief decides to stage one last grand heist in order to get back at Mr. Johnson/corp holding whatever over her head while at the same time making enough money to escape the city and never come back

theif is colorful elf female decker

theif (a decker) must assemble a team of three others
a shaman
a rigger
and a mage

side-quests are required in order to get each member of the team to agree to the heist

Decides to rob vault in the basement of the Draco Foundation and pin it on Mr. Johnson so the Megacorp blames him and takes him out in order to forestall retaliation from dragons/Draco Foundation
the Draco Foundation is only open one day of the month so that it only needs to have cash reserves that one day, meaning that the heist has to occur the night before, which also means it will have higher security than normal
The heist goes off, and finishes with a grand shootout in the back of the Draco foundation between the heist team and Mr. Johnson and his people. The heist team kills everyone but Mr. Johnson, who escapes only to be taken out by his employing Corp

DAY
begins with meeting with mr. johnson
thief can either go to her apartment/house or head straight to recruiting the rest of the team
some kind of fast-travel vehicle that allows her to go to each area easily in order to recruit

side-quests (can be completed in any order)

mage= steal some kind of book or grimoire from the univserity library special off-limits section and clear ethics violations from mage’s record

shaman= go with shaman to pick up special ingredients

rigger = help rigger fuck up rival corporate wageslave’s presentation at conference in front of bosses

after recruting team, theif returns to apartment, where there is some pre-payment/equipment left by mr. johnson as well as threatening communications

NIGHT
team meets at blue district bar to plan

DAY
legwork outside draco foundation

NIGHT
actual heist

 

locations:
White district village area (including cafe where thief meets mr. johnson, thief’s apartment)
Blue district nice area, including nightclub where heist team assembles before the job begins
White district k street area including cocktail lounge where theif recruits rigger

White district Georgetown waterfront area where thief recruits shaman (teaching meditation to yuppies)

White district university area including library where thief recruits mage

White district tech/embassy area where Draco Foundation is located; daytime for legwork, nightime for actual run

safehouse area where team splits up winnings and goes their separate ways

 

random covnersation ideas between thief and team memebers during recruiting, planning, legwork, etc

on why its ok to steal from draco foundation/why dunkel sucked

 

character perspectives on dunkel/draco foundation

thief: ultra-radical who neverhteless lives a comfortable life, but feels she can justify this comfortable life because every penny she has she came by by “stealing it honestly,” instead of stealing it dishonestly the way capitalists/MegaCorps do

 

rigger: “apolitical,” but really this just means he doesn’t really care about stuff and is happy to make miscief and get by; he would likely kill a Corp person over a SINless, but he doesn’t feel any need to go out of his way to help the SINless; i.e., he is not actively awful but he is largely unaware of much of his privilege

 

mage: a “tame” radical who has resigned himself to working within the establishment system, although things like shadowrunning allow him to feel like he still has some edge or subversive qualities. he has no illussions about how corps, politics, and people like Dunkel work, although he has learned to be a little more polite about it than the thief

 

shaman: less critically or specifically aware of his privelege than the mage and almost entirely uncritical of capitalism and state power in general, the shaman nevertheless leads a more practically radical life due to the fact that he maintains an urban garden (including growing weed), offers natural wellness instruction, and generally tries to increase harmony and healthiness between people. furthermore, he frequently offers his services for free to impoversished residents of the blues while chargings the yuppies who live in the Whites exhorbitant fees. however, he has bought into the idea of dunkel as a great leader/instigator of change, and feels bad about stealing from the draco foundation (sort of like a devoted obama supporter who nevertheless is like, well, yeah, politicans are still owned by corproations, but the lesser of two evils, right? also I’m so glad he supported equal rights for metahumans yay! we are the dragons we’ve been waiting for)

 

the mr. johnson works for a bank

 

ends with bank employees and lonestar getting massacred, with Corp covering it up so as to not anger the dragons

 

each member of the team strategically forgets a portion of the plan by taking [shadowrun forget-me-now] both so that they cannot give it away even accidentally (for example by being read by a Copr psychic or tech person) and so that the player does not even realize the entire plan until it goes off successfully a la good heist movies

 

Modified personafix chips are also used in covert infiltration, to enhance the acting and disguise of a mole.

 

Chapter 3: Girlbrush Interlude

Point and Click comedy adventure story
Server in a comedy club has to wait tables while figuring out who stole the weed.
low-level character (maybe mage or decker)
lots of npcs/civilians

server is white human female

 

possibly real time
takes place over a night, with the server being required to serve

The area is in lockdown due to the events of the next chapter, so no one is allowed to leave the club (which the player discovers if she tries to go out front for a cigarette)
the staff and comedian are forced to keep the show running in order to keep the audience from getting feisty, violent, or demanding
as the night progresses the comedian starts running out of jokes, while the staff stops trying as hard
all the while the server must discover the weed-thief, who turns out to be the comedian who has just been hanging around after finishing his first show
no violence, just conversation and interaction with objects so it turns into a traditional point and click adventure, with funny inventory etc.

 

first scene
exterior of building, with only available option being the drug store next door (where the player can maybe buy a lighter, rolling papers, some booze, or pens) or goign down the stairs to the club

arriving at work, going to locker room, changing, talking to co-workers (some might be busy and just say one or two things, others might talk more)

info that can be found around the club:
the line-up for that night (in the box office)
menus
employee schedule
which servers have what extra work

 

prep work/comedians start showing up
the annoying comedian makes the player character organize and set up the lounge according to ridiculous standards

short smoke break out front near stairs before first show starts

first show:
taking orders, putting in orders, serving orders
custoemrs complain if: they get the wrong order, the server takes too long bringing their food, hte server doesn’t know what’s on the menu or what they are out of
random customers might complain about two-item minimum
if server does poorly, someone might try to leave without paying, which leads to side-mission of finding them in the parking garage and getting them to pay

after first show
cleanup, count money close up the lounge, get showroom ready for second show,buy weed,get high in the parking garage while the annoying comedian tags along

second show starts, take orders, serve orders, with short break because the show is longer

decide to go get high again only to discover that the weed is missing

investigation begins as show progresses
server and friend go out front for a smoke to discuss the mystery only to discover that no one can leave the club

emergency meeting near the box office where manager tells everyone what to do

they have to keep the show going and no one flahses a light at the comedian so he just keeps on

finally the show eneds, but by this time the annoying comedian has been locked in the parking garage and potentially arrested while his weed stash has been found and is enjoyed by the staff

separate interior areas:
club (including lounge, bar, main room, green room, and kitchen)
employee area (lockers, bathrooms, etc.)
parking garage (little smoking area, supply closet)
front of club (smoking area with stairs leading to street level, blocked off by police)
only exterior area:
outside club on street level, with only options being drug store next door or stairs leading down to the club

 

Chapter 4: The Leadbellied Boat (the titanic by leadbelly)

[in this chapter, replace lone star with Federal Capitol Police Service aka “FedPols”]
mid to high-level characters

main character is black, most of the partygoers are white

main character/face – black human phys-adept
infiltrator – street samurai
comm person – dwarf decker
crooked cop – phys-adept/street samurai orc

 

Murder mystery, point and click mixed with assasination and stealth
Annual dinner at the Cosmo/Alfalfa-type club but a high-ranking Megacorp official is murdered so Lonestar shows up and locks down the entire building before attempting to interview each guest in turn
Certain factions are able to sercure offices/rooms for themselves while the rest of the guests have to mill around the club, eating, drinking, gossiping, and speculating on the murder
as the night goes on, more murders occur

although it is not clear at the start of the chapter, the player character is part of a three-person shadowrun team working to steal important info from the first person murdered. the player character was working surveillance, one person was working comms, and one was supposed to actually go in and steal the data

the infiltrator was discovered in the act of stealing the data and ended up killing the Megacorp officer, and later ends up killing the person working comms when they get into a fight about taking the data/reward

the murders are actually committed by the infiltrator, the comm person (who kills someone to cover his/her tracks after the job goes bad), and the rogue lone star officer who initially hired the team through an intermediary, and who comes to lead the invesitgation when the murder happens. this lone star officer is a divisional chief for DC who is tired of never getting promoted or included (including not being invited to the dinner in question) and decides to look for other ways to make money, but it rapidly becomes clear that he is punching above his weight

the player character’s involvement is revealed over the course of the adventure through their inventory (which includes fake ids, matrix hacking stuff, a secret weapon, etc.) and conversations with other party-goers, and finally through conversations with fellow shadowrunners and lone star officer

(e.g. during a conversation with a partygoer it is revealed that the PC is a “face” or something, and the partygoer thinks this means that the PC is a sex worker hired for the party but really the PC is supposed to be the person blending in with the rest of the elites and stuffy folk)

climax comes with standoff between PC, infiltrator, and lone star officer, and PC has the option of:

siding with lone star officer in return for previously-agreed reward by either killing infiltrator or pinning everything on him and dead comm person

siding with infiltrator in return for share of whatever profits they make by selling data to a fence by either killing lone star officer or pinning everything on him and dead comm person

killing both and keeping data
allowing infiltrator and lone star to kill each other (with option of dramatic final conversation while either one bleeds out)

 

begins with ordering a drink at the bar and chatting with bartender
once bartender conversation is over, comm person cuts in to ask about surveillance info and update on infiltrator progress

some mingling and planning going on the same time, until the infiltrator is ready to go and then they have to maintain comm silence

toasts/speeches start and everything seems fine except the MegaCorp official hasn’t been seated on the dais

then a scream rings out and everybody freezes (maybe the person speaking tries to make a bad joke)

the comm person says “shit!,” and then cuts the lights
there is panic for a few seconds before the lights come back on
security team rushing to dais, the speaker telling everyone to be calm and that the program will continue in a few momemts

gossipy mingling going on for a little while while the face tries to get in contact with the infiltrator or comm person

goes to restroom in order to get some privacy only to find rich people doin’ it

gets in contact with comm person, who says he can’t find infiltrator anywhere

as face leaves restroom and heads back toward ballroom, infiltrator steps out of side office and pulls face in, revealing that the plan went bad and he had to kill the MEgaCorp officer. he further reveals that the buiilding is in lockdown and that the FedPols are on their way
face says that he’s got to get back to the room so he doesn’t look suspicious, and tells infiltrator to rendezvous with comm person in the air vents or whereever he’s hiding

the police show up and make a big show of getting a headcount of everybody and finding everyone on the list
they find out that one person is missing (the rich guy from the bathroom) and go looking for him while they start interrogating everyone there. there are some scuffles/confrontations between FedPols and private security, as well as a sort of brief staredown beteen the lower-level district head running the FedPol operation and the overal District chiefwho is there as a guest

before the police can get to the face, someone comes back to report that the missing guy is also dead, found murdered in the bathroom

the police deicde to split up the people into different groups (which ends up being divided according to socio-economic class), until finally the face is left in a room with the cop running the investigation, who reveals that he is the person who hired them

after a brief conversation the face is locked in a small room by the cop, and has some time to investigate the room and try to escape. the infiltrator calls and asks about the cop, while the face can try to ask about the dead guy in the bathroom

then the comm person shows up and breaks the face out, and it turns out the comm person has not spoken to the infiltrator the entire time. they decide to make their way to the basement, where the comm person was hiding out and there is apparently a secret sewer exit

[stealth section as the comm person and face have to sneak through building]

if they make it to the basement, then they find that it has been locked and sealed and that the keycodes or whatever are in the office of the murdered MegaCorp officer

if caught, they are taken not to the cop heading the investigation, but to the room where the chief of police is hanging out with other rich city officials

if taken to police chief, face has the opprotunity of covering for him and the comm person by making up a lie/using charisma; if succesful, the chief will continue talking and reveal potentially useful information about the cop running the operation as well as where to locate weapons, health, or some other things in the building (maybe reveal location of security station so face and comm person can check cameras/local matrix)
if unsuccesful in covering, chief will simply have face and comm person guarded until the cop running the operation shows up

in either case, the cop running the operation eventually arrives, has the room cleared of everyone but the chief and the face/comm person before killing the chief and pinning it on the shadowrunner team. he then says that the face and comm person have to find the infiltrator and the data he stole or else they will be charged with everything. they are to retrieve the data and then meet on the roof

if earlier they made it successfully to the basement, the face then has to stealth to the MegaCorp office to find the keycodes. If caught on the way, he is brought to police chief and story proceeds as above

either way, next scene is either face in office with comm person in basement or both face and comm person in office

the room hasn’t been touched, and the body is still there so they try to piece together what happened

if just face in room, then comm person attempts to guide him to improtant areas by entering matrix. he directs face to a secret compartment in the office somewhere, where the data is actually hidden. it is revealed that the infiltrator was not successful in finding the data, and only managed to the kill the MegaCorp officer

if both in the room, the comm person decides to try to find the security area in order to access matrix

in either case the comm person is murdered while jacked into the matrix, (although maybe he is able to dejack in time to identify his killer?)

the face is left in the office with the data, and now realizes that he is incredibly unsafe. However, he now has the data and the keycodes for the basement door, so he can try to escape if he wants, but he’ll have the murders pinned on him and the infiltrator might try to kill him

options available:
go to basement/security room to find murdered comm person
go to basement to escape with data
go to roof to rendezvous with cop leading invesigation

if face heads to basement, he finds the infiltrator there, who insists on killing the cop running the investigation (the infiltrator does not know that the face has the data, although when he discovers this on the roof he might attempt to kill face). they go to the roof and end up in three-way standoff

if face heads to security room, he finds out that infiltrator killed the comm person and is now hiding in the basement, and has the option of either heading to the roof to get the cop to help him kill the infiltrator, heading straight to the basement to kill the infiltrator, or teaming up with the infiltrator to kill the cop. [invent some reason why they can’t just leave htrough the basement even though they have the keycodes; narratively they can’t leave because they need to keep their names cleared, but this narrative impetus needs to be a hard limit so players don’t just decide to run away]

if face heads straight to the roof from the office, the cop is there waiting, but intends on killing the face after getting the data, he is stopped by the infiltrator and there is a three-way standoff, with the face having the option of siding with either the cop or infiltrator, allowing them to kill each other, or trying to kill them both

if face goes to security room, then roof, then basement, same three-way standoff occurs, just in the basement.

rooftop resolution means the face can leave out the front door, as his cover is intact and anyone who could say otherwise is dead
basement resolution means face can leave through basement exit or front door

 

locations:
main ballroom
MegaCorp officer office
basement
roof
bathroom
side office
police chief office/sitting room w/ balcony
security room

Three stories (and a basemet)
Basement: secret sewer/maintenance exit
First floor: ballroom, side office, bathroom
Second floor: police chief office/sitting room, security room
Third floor: Megacorp officer office, roof access
Roof

 

Chapter 5: More than Rain (tom waits)

Action/horror/survival
Team of gangers who survived the auction from the first chapter decide to look for secret black lab they heard about while observing the firefight etc. in the slums in the first chapter.
low to mid-level characters, with high-level Corp security team
gangers are all street samurai or riggers, security team has a better range of people

maybe the megacorp in question is ares macrotechnology, and the security team is a firewatch team

the “horrors” mentioned in this chapter are actually just precursors to the real Horrors that came through thanks to the evil shit going on in the black lab, and the monster they have to fight on roosevelt island is a particularly nasty precursor

maybe there is a level in the black lab attempting to generate a link between the lab and the astral rift created by Dunkel’s death, and doing so has allowed madness and horror through

 

gangers are orcs, trolls, dwarves, and humans

A hurricane is on its way, so they figure this is the perfect time because it would take lone star too long to get there if any alarms were tripped.

To get into the zoo, which is controlled by gangers, they have to enter a fist-fight type tournament, buy their way in, or sneak in. if they sneak in they have to avoid the gangers who run the zoo, although other gangs will only attack if antagnonized

They begin by making their way through the semi-abandonded national zoo, fighting off monsters and rival gangers until they make their way to the seemingly abandoned mansion on the top of the hill. After fighting some monsters/crazed people who were experimented on and are now squatting there they find the secret entrance to the black lab, which has seemingly been abandonded and semi-destroyed following the escape of the slave-laborer from the first chapter. While inside they are met by a team of corporate security, who kills some of the gangers while taking the rest as prisoners, until they all have to team up in order to survive the horrors of the black lab.

while inside they find a variety of horrors, including a crazed corporate shaman trapped in a room surrounded by spirits he has accidentally conjured from the memory of all the awful things that have happened in the black lab

With their entracnce route cut off, they decide to make their way through Megacorp secret passage to the Red district, but only end up leading the horrors into the Megacorp headquarters themselves. The gangers are put in holding cells, but escape when the horrors rampage through the corporate office while a hurricane rages outside. PC ganger and head of corporate security team escape by finding the abandoned subway tunnel running from Alexandria to DC, but only after initiating the building self-destruct sequence in order to destroy the horrors that have infiltrated the building

ends with them escaping onto roosevelt island, but they have to fight one final giant monster before they are safe and can try floating down the river to the georgetown waterfront/sewer/canal

the security team retrieves a device/fetish that was acting as an antenna for the dunkel rift, and by bringing it to the corp headquarters (in closer proximity to the rift) it makes it possible for a big monster to come through and end up on roosevelt island (in addition to the abominations etc. that were in the black lab and which rampage the corps headquarters)

 

[the suit from the first chapter was initially developed in order to withstand the rift and handle whatever came through, but maybe it kept killing the test subjects they used (because they were putting the suit on them and forcing them to interact with the device/fetish), until finally the troll escaped because even though the suit was useless against the energy of the rift/device/fetish it did make the wearer invulnerable to other things]

 

Lots of shooting, traps, death, etc. Resident Evil shadowrun style

 

locations:
zoo
mansion exterior
mansion interior (three floors and basement w/secret entrace)
black lab (six floors)
secret tunnel
MegaCorp headquarters (holding level, security level, three floors of offices, tech testing level (with special robot/fun asplosion prototype tech to fight big monsters), and escape route via high-ranking official office)
abandoned subway tunnel
roosevelt island
georgetown canal

Chapter 6: The Hurricane (in reference to bob dylan/unlawful conviction as well as the literal hurricane)

Murder investigation/legal puzzle — point and click mixed with some mild fighting, stealth, and surveillance
mid-level character
main character is an orc shaman defending troll youths accused of brutal beating

shaman is black orc male
non-violent activist who, over the course of the story, comes to see the neccesity of violence when confronted by shameless, soulless Corp representatives

(make this chapter a repudiation of non-violence as a universally-applicable standard for resistance in the face of injustice)

 

[include “stronger than the storm” parodies as part of corporate attempts to shift attention away from the incident at their headquarters]

 

The hurricane was worse than anyone imagined, and parts of the city have been extremely damaged as a result. The immediate aftermath included small riots and reports of monsters in the blue district, but the megacorp whose NoVa headquarters were destroyed has successfully managed to play all of this off as the result of the storm.
PC is a social worker/volunteer/defense attorney attempting to figure out circumstances of a metavariant person’s beating (a yoga instructor beaten nearly to death on the street, who is now in a coma). FedPol are classifying it as a hate crime committed by a group of trolls against a meta-species during the aftermath of the storm, but the murder is suspicious. It turns out the meta-variant was actually murdered by the Megacorp because he was in a relationship with a Megacorp employee who ended up with data linking the megacorp to black lab and monster outbreak
Story ends with social worker exposing the megacorp by leaking data to the matrix and the trolls being released

begins with social worker helping with clean-up in troll neighborhood when FedPols roll up in force to arrest youths (police brutality is evident etc.)

social worker talks to cop in charge, and after some initial potential violence makes it clear that he is an attorney and intends to represent the trolls

social worker goes to courthouse/police station to be with trolls as they are interrogated but meets with resistance and is only able to talk to them a little bit

decides to investigate on his own, so has the option of heading to wageslave apt or yoga studio/crime scene (which are all in same open-world area)

can use shaman abilities to call up emotional resonance at the crime scene (meaning a spirit/abomination that has to be fought), which makes it clear that although the attack was violent, there was not “hate” in evidence. instead, the attack was conducted with the cold brutality of a professional killer. the yoga studio was ransacked and the teacher beaten, but in an efficient way. the studio was not simply destroyed, but instead was ransacked because someone was searching for something

outside the yoga studio former employees there who noticed someone poking around reveal that the teacher had been talking to coworkers about how he was about to quit because he had landed on something big

wageslave apt. contains extremely nervous wageslave (boyfriend of attacked yoga teacher) who seems traumatized by attack (but eventually it is revealed that he is not afraid of random hate crime attackers, but rather his own employer)
he witnessed the attack, but has not given testimony under the pretense that he is too traumatized (in reality he knows that it was his employer who did it)

part way through interview with wageslave a corporate lawyer/mage shows up and gets him to stop talking, while offering to make corporate donation to troll neighborhood/social work in order to get the social worker to stop investigating

social worker returns to troll neighborhood to interview family/friends, and discovers that the troll youths were apparently paid by a slick-looking mage the day before to do soemthing unknown, and that they were out in the nicer area of the blues (where yoga teacher was attacked) spending the money they had been given earlier in the day by the corporate mage [they were paid to be in the wrong place at the wrong time]

social wokrer runs into Corp representatives hassling neighborhood/family of the defendants under the pretense of contacting them about their freedom cards, but in reality they are using the family’s debts/metadata regarding where they have been [because the freedom cards track them any time they use that Corp’s public transit line] and how they have spent money to scare them into not testifying or anything

social worker returns to courthouse/police department and realizes that the case is already lost in the public eye/they won’t get a fair trial, so decides to try to make truth known some other way

social worker returns to wageslave apt. at night and uses shaman abilities to force truth out of wageslave while obtaining data linking corp to both the beating and the black lab

corporate mage shows up with two psy-adepts (the ones actualy responsible for the beating) because he was notified that someone had entered the wageslave’s apt. but mage and wageslave are horribly murdered by the spirits/abominations that the shaman releases as a result of the wageslave’s guilt and indifference to the fates of the trolls who were wrongfully accused

ends with shaman meeting a decker at the slum bar and paying them the wageslave’s payoff (that he recived for lying about who attacked the yoga teacher) to release the incriminating data onto the open matrix

 

locations:
slum area of Blues w/ troll neighborhood
shady bar in slums where social worker leaks data to shadowrunner for distribution

mid-areas of Blues:
social worker office
yoga studio
megacorp wageslave apartment

red district:
courthouse/police department

Chapter 7: Wigly Slice
(“good drug trip motorcycle” in Shadowrun slang)

Delivery game, including conversation, stealth, disguises, etc.
high-level character but with extremely specialized skills for drug dealing and nothing else, i.e tons of charisma, etiquette, and intelligence
maybe a mage or phys-adept

dealer is colorful human female mage

 

A weed dealer goes all over the District area making deliveries, and in doing so provides an epilogue to each of the previous stories.

has a motorcycle that can be interacted with in order to fast-travel to different locations, although when crossing between blue and white districts there are intermediate scenes where the dealer has to talk to guards or police

 

epilogues occur in reverse order, so it ends with the detective from the beginning of the story

Depending on the player actions the epilogues are slightly different, but everyone gets their own little mini-story. The story ends with the weed dealer meeting the detective from the first story, who reveals that she has actually survived and has just killed the mr. johnson responsible for setting her up, as he and ms. johnson have simply ‘retired’ to be part of the White district yuppie elite following the exposing of their employing megacorp. her next target is ms. johnson, although she hasn’t decided what to do next

 

each epilogue includes a flashback sequence where the weed dealer hears their stories/plays limited scenes as that character

Epilogues:
Chapter 1: detective is alive and has successfully taken out mr. johnson, and is planning what to do about ms. johnson next. she and the dealer get high in her office, which is partially destroyed thanks to the hurricane

Chapter 2: the thief has left town, while the weed dealer discusses the news of the heist with the mage, who is a college professor and regular customer

Chapter 3: the server is still working at the club, although maybe he/she has a higher position or something. the dealer and club servers get high in the parking garage

Chapter 4: the dealer walks by the police headquarters near K street and sees the police head giving a press conference trying to quell cirticism about the lack of security at the Cosmo/Alfalfa club dinner

Chapter 5: When the dealer goes to pick up some weed from his grower [who is the shaman from the heist episode and has an apt./growroom on the watefront], the surviving ganger and Corp security guy are there laying low while trying to figure out what to do next [the shaman found them on the waterfront]

Chapter 6: the weed dealer begins his/her day by delivering some paperwork to the social worker, because they are friendly neighbors and the social worker called to ask if the dealer could bring it by his/her office before the dealer starts the deliveries for the day. the now-freed trolls are there working in the social office, with some as admin, some as counselors, etc. in a funny image of trolls answering phones and doing paperwork

games, writing

mods and games and games and mods

mods! they’re wonderful, and i’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on the nexus putting together my ideal combination of mods. more than that, thinking about how i’d tweak games i already play has been one of the more productive game development exercises i’ve found because it’s a fun way of thinking through why developers (or modders) make certain design decisions. here’s a collection of random mod ideas i’ve had, as well some of the notes and sketches that went into the Shadowrun project i wrote about earlier.

first are my little notes on XCOM (enemy unknown). it’s funny how some/many of these things were eventually made by other people or else were incorporated into the sequel/expansions.

here are my various Shadowrun Identity notes and map ideas for Domestic Placement Agent

probably the biggest idea i had for a mod was for a Fallout 3 overhaul that i started thinking a lot about after playing through the Calvert family storyline in the Point Lookout expansion. i moved to DC the same month i started playing Fallout 3 for the first time, so i mostly learned to navigate the city according to its post-apocalyptic version. i found it especially funny that the fictional capital wasteland was more egalitarian than the actual city, because the videogame version included a metro stop in georgetown, something that the poshos in real-life georgetown wouldn’t have allowed in a thousand on thousand years.

finally, here’s an idea for a game i came up with during some sort of game jam thing but obviously never completed.

games, writing

Shadowrun Identity: Domestic Placement Agent

A British decker working on behalf of Coutts & Fitzherbert reaches out to the player to serve as a maid or butler to a noble family in London haunted by a criminal past.

in 2013 i started working on a scenario for ‘Shadowrun Identity’, a community project making content for Shadowrun Returns based on existing campaign prompts from the books and whatnot. as far as i can tell the SRI project fizzled eventually and the site now directs to what i think is ads for japanese marriage coordinators. for my part i got as far as an introductory post, the skeleton of one map, and this design document (no idea why the last sentence in it is cut off).

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i never finished because i got a job in a restaurant instead of working from home so i didn’t have any time. also this project was probably too ambitious considering i started planning things before i had even gotten the game/editor. anyways, i still think some of the ideas are interesting and/or funny, especially because i wrote this whole story about english people before ever living in/visiting the uk.

eventually i’ll post papers from my own shadowrun project that i developed with no intention of actually making. it was called ‘district blues’ and was set in an alternate sixth world washington dc

ETA this extra information i found from another document that includes more details of the project. some of this overlaps with the document linked above, some of it is new/different. i haven’t looked through it all so i’m sure there are typos everywhere

shadowrun identity project shadowrun identity project
“A British decker working on behalf of Couts & Fitzherbert reaches out to the player to serve as a maid or butler to a noble family in London haunted by a criminal past.”

the position is actually that of a bodyguard, but [some politician or noble] is doing the hiring under a pretense because he is supicious of even his chief of security
the decker works for Couts & Fitzherbert in a discrete section that fulfills special requests, including hiring shadowrunners, and the politifician has hired them to find a suitable bodyguard who can perform security and investigation duties while undercover to everyone but the client
the PC has been hired as a surreptitious bodyguard, because supposedly terrorists have taken out a hit against the nobleman
[in reality, the nobleman is being blackmailed about his family’s involvement in the government’s illegal kidnapping and extradition of metahumans, and particularly trolls and orcs.  the blackmailer is his long-lost troll twin, who was sent to be raised by a noble family of another country rather than be deported along with other goblinized-people in the immediate aftermath of goblinization. because the noble family was using its airline and transit wealth and resources to help the government illegally kidnap and deport people (in the aftermath of the king being murdered for being turn into a troll — the nobelamn hears about this and decides to send away one his chidren rather than kill it, because even though he thinks its a monster its still his flesh and blood–) , they were able to help their baby troll escape detection on his way out of the country via a diplomatic contact.  now the family, (including the current nobleman) uses the connections and programs it secretly helped start to continue collussion with the British government in its illegal extraordinary rendition program, and the troll twin, after discovering the truth of his parentage, figures out this information and threatens to blackmail the nobleman, who in turn hires the PC under a false pretense in the hopes that the PC will end up killing the troll twin)]
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
British Decker: elf female s6h6c9 – quasi-runner herself who headhunts for Couts and Fitzherbert “special requests”
Couts and Fitzherbert makeover specialist: dwarf male s4h4c7b5 -former footman who went to work as a consultant for Couts and Fitzherbert because there was much more money there

 

Nobleman: human male s6h1c3 -a racist, vain, petty child of priviledge who would be pathetic if he his ignorant tantrums couldn’t result in the deaths of countless people, whether we’re talking about individuals who cross him or the countless poor affected by his policies
Husband: human male s5h5c5 -an up-jumped rent boy who the nobleman brought with him after he took over the family’s affairs following his father’s death
Wife: human female s6h1c2 -a marriage of convenience and politics between two noble families
Head of domestic staff: dwarf female s5h2c11 -former nurse of the previous noble patriarch who had been with the family since a little bit before the nobleman took control and was given control over the family’s domestic issues since the nobleman had little interest in the particulars of running the house
Head of security: orc male s7h4c11b6 -british royal marine, met nobleman during the latter’s (politically) compulsory service in the military and was taken on as security chief/intimidator
Head of food/service: elf male s1h7c4 -relatively recent hire, replaced previous chef who the onbleman accussed/suspected of stealing and selling food on the black market (which has arisen due to the fact that the proles all have to eat variously-flavored soy products)
Gardener at country house: orc female s6h2c14
Mayor of village where country house is located: male dwarf s6h4c12b1
Village hoodlum (red herring for break-in): troll male s7h1c4
Old security person at country house: human male s5h5c1 -caretaker/security person at country house (which is rarely occupied), who bristles when the house if filled and he has to be subordinate to the security chief, who he disrespects for being younger and a troll

 

 

 

Troll Twin: troll male s4h0c0 – sent away to live with the family of a foreign ambassador rather than being givne over to the British govenrment’s secret goblinization deportation program. learns the truth of his parentage when his adoptive parents die and he is unable to collect on their will because his genes don’t match. while this sends him into poverty, British nobles’ obsession with lineage makes it relatively easy for him to figure out his real family because there were extensive studies tracing the lineage of british noble houses.  though it takes a long time and a lot of trouble, he is eventually able to smuggle himself into england in order to reconnect with his family, only to find that his brother wants nothing to do with him

 

 

 

 

A three-act play

Act Ithe player starts in the seatle airport, waiting for a sub-orbital flight to London
SCENE 1:
Fade in to just before stepping through automated security system
the machine asks the player for identification and ticketthe player has both and has the option to:give identification and ticket -player goes straight through to the terminalNumber sequence [decker check] -robot responds with : please proceed, governorsay something like “No way, fascist robot!” -Robot responds with: I accept your exercise of free speech, under code …. [robot lists a bunch of laws etc], citizen. If you do not have identification and a ticket, can you please step aside so that other passengers may board? Here is a ticket for a free soy-namon bun, which you will find located next to the ticketing counter.Flirt with it [charisma check] -which leads to the revelation that the robot security machine is slightly self-aware, which causes it to malfunction and semi-explode
while waiting in the terminal, the player can buy food or beverage, watch the news, connect to the net for a fee, check messages [which includes some initial background info about the job (name of contact, name of company, tickets, fake id, check bank account history (which shows them being poor but then getting a large deposit)/withdraw money.
player inventory:ticketsfake idcash

the terminal features scrolling news tickers, tv screens, and flight information boards, as well as digital signs showing where to line up for the flight
news/bookstore with food and drinksrestaurant and barexecutive club (player has ticket/identification needed to gain access thanks to company/client)
the player has two in-game hours to walk around and see stuff before hte flight leaves

flight sequence: exterior of plane on the tarmac, sitting in the terminal in Seattle while it’s raining out
exterior, plane in noon sky
exterior, plane at parabolic height,
exterior, plane in late afternoon sky
exterior, plane in sky in dark, poison-looking clouds
exterior, plane on tarmac in London, one again in the rain

after flight sequence the player is met at the airport by the decker,
SCENE 2:
who takes him/her to their hotel in London, where there is a barber and arms dealer ready to make the player look the way he/she needs to for the job, and so that the player can get whatever weapons he/she wants (the decker apologizes that the player had to travel via commercial flight and thus had to leave his/her weapons behind, but it was neccesary to maintain the cover, as anyone watching would expect to be able to track the new maid/butler at least to the airport)
the company is willing to offer the player bonuses if he/she completes certain side-tasks, such as findoung out information, planting bugs, or stealing data (including a special ending)
the player gets outfitted, and then whenever he/she is ready, they go to the client’s house

the client lives in a nice, brownstone-type house in a fancy/rich part of london, but the mother and children are out of the country on a vacation somewhere, and the father amd his husband [they live in a megage a troi] are going to their country home for a “working vacation,” but in reality it is because he suspects that someone is trying to murder him
the player arrives as the father’s staff is rapidly moving things out of the house and gettinge everyone ready to travel, because they are leaving for the country that night
when the player arrives, he/she has to check in with the head of the household staff, and it becomes something like a Downton Abbey episode, although there are suspsicious things about
at first the father acts like he does not know/care about the player character other than he or she being a new hire, but before they leave the house he makes some kind of contact, maybe telling the player to watch out for some other member of the household
maps/map areas:airport terminalshotel roomnoble house (3 floors) first floor: entrance hall, kitchen, den/lounge/bar second floor: dining room, playroom, office third floor: bedrooms
end of Act I
Act II
while at the nobleman’s house in the country, someone reports seeing a monster in the forest whilst they are out on a hunt. later in the week, a keycard goes missing during a garden partyfinally, there is a violent disturbance in the garage one night, and while the security team is checking it out, the nobleman’s safe is robbed, even though it is supposed to only open to someone with his biological signature
a mysterious note is left in the safe, and soemhow it makes it seem like those responsible want to be paid off at a drop location back in London
the nobleman and his husband
SCENE 1:interior of country house
(include locked room that doesn’t show up on matrix schematics, but which contains a nursery outfitted for two babies, although one of the cribs is broken and there are signs of a decades-old struggle)
interior of house (three floors in center wing, two floors in either side wing)
center wing includes large entry hall, massive library, dining hall, den, office/study, and bedrooms
east wing includes greenhouse, kitchen, larder,
west wing includes blocked off nursery, workshop (carpentry, 3D printing, etc.), garage/stable

SCENE 2: grounds of the house(employee sees troll somewhere on the grounds and thinks that it is the “ghost of [wherever they are])
front lawn/driveway, back lawn/garden area, forest/hunting area
the immediate grounds of the house are surrounded by a wall/low hedge that serves as a boundary to different areas so that the forest area is a separate section
SCENE 3:safe is robbed, investigation into theft, opportunity for player to find the actual ghost (who reveals some of the family history, including another secret room where aborted troll babies, who were born to the family after the initial twins, are kept in jars)
some kind of evidence, letter, or communication indicates that the shadowy party wants to meet, and the employer (nobleman) acts as if the person wants money
the office/study is open, which was previously locked, and the player is able to possibly break into the nursery
the player is also able to enter bedrooms in order to “service” the rooms but in reality investigate

ACT III
Back in London
SCENE 1:back at the nobleman’s house during preparations for the drop.  the house is dark, shadowy, and empty, as opposed to the first act, where it is brightly lit and filled with people

 

SCENE 2:on the way to the drop, the player meets up with a representative of the  decker from before, who provides weapons and additional money if the player retrieves both the money for the drop and whatever was stolen (without alerting the client)
the player meets with the representative in a metro station, and the rep. gives the player a code for the lockers that contain weapons, money, and depending on the archetype of the player, drones, fetishes, etc.

 

SCENE 3: the drop, where all is revealed, and depending on player actions, the player can choose to side with the troll twin, the client, expose them both, blackmail them both, or kill them both, or it becomes clear that the troll twin really just wanted family and to be loved by his brother, but as he goes to hug him, the nobleman kills him in a fit of disgust. the player can then agree to dispose of the body, threaten to turn in the nobleman, or attack him
depending on prior player actions, the nobleman’s husband (who is generally nice but naive) has followed them there out of suspicion, and might discover them at various stages
if the player agrees to dispose of the body, the mission completes and the player gets a bonus from the company since he/she ahs returned with information they might use to blackmail the nobleman
if player threatens to turn him in, the nobleman will attempt to bribe, which the player can accept or deny
denial leads to the same thing as attacking outright, which is a fight
depending on how suspicious the husband is, he might appear at various stages to witness different points (the shooting of the troll twin, the attempt at bribery, or the gunfight)
if shows up during initital shooting, is horrified and threatens to go to the police, so the nobleman kills him
if shows up during bribery, doesn’t understand what is going on and either is safe (if player accepts bribe) or hides and survives the gunfight
if shows up during gunfight, is accidentally killed by nobleman, who reveals himself long enough for shadowrunner to take him out or capture him
(depending on how the player approaches the drop, there can be lots of fighting, stealth, or facework)

SCENE 4:outside the airport, the player completes the contract with the hiring company, gets a sort of mission debrief, and gets paid according to how he/she performed. the story ends with them boarding the plane in London

if the player has done everything “right,” he/she has enough money to afford entry to the super-super-special club in the airport

 

SIDE STORIES:
The nobleman is suspicious of his security chief, thinking that he knows about/is in cahoots with the troll twin, but in reality the security chief has been mysterious because he has been in contact with the head chef, because the security chief is interested in learning to cook
The head of the domestic staff has squirreled away money and valuables that she stole while serving as a nurse for the previous patriarch, which the player can use to lean on her for information if he/she finds out
the previous chef wasn’t actually stealing food to serve on the black market, but once he was fired, he contacted the new chef, who does steal food and uses the old chef as a fence, with the gardener helping out
if the player character is a decker he/she can steal info from the nobleman’s computer regarding political/defense issues to sell to Cout and Fitz