This week’s Saturday Seed is for Shadowrun and could either be the basis of a short series, or a perhaps an ongoing social element through a campaign.
This small seed touches on issues of fandom and the urge to belong, and focuses more on legal savvy and deductive ability than Panther Assault Cannons… although they may find their place too…
Planting the seed
As a backdrop, a session or two before you want to use this seed, plant awareness of a big name performer’s large-scale event, such as a multi-day concert festival, being due in a few weeks. The characters may want to go, or may be too cool for such a mainstream event, but it is hard to escape hearing about it. The seed may be brought into play by having two vaguely connected runs get shopped around at the same time paying top dollar and expecting the very best. The dates are the night before and the night of the first show. The two runs will not look related, but they should stand out to attentive characters in relation to the date and its effects on security activity in town.
This seed is a good excuse to involve lots of character types with a mix of experienced and inexperienced runners coordinating on the operation, capped with the risk of extreme violence against a large set of well-paid and equipped security guards.
Tickets are sold out, scalpers are raking in tons of cash from kids dying to see their favorite performers, and authorities are making special plans to control traffic, deal with crowds, and prevent violence. Corporate security has been assigned to protect the venue, protect the entertainers, and protect the intangibles of brand image and digital product. The concert is good for the corps involved, but also good for most businesses in and around the venue. Everyone wants it to be a big success.
A series of live performances are going to be recorded (as usual) for this festival, and two on site recording studios have been prepared. One is for the headliner, the other is for all the other acts.
By mistake, the characters come to learn of both lucrative jobs and can attempt to secure both of them if they like. The Johnsons involved are under strict orders to ensure two unrelated groups undertake the tasks, but no one is perfect, especially when they are just flunkies with no idea of what the real objective is.
Run 1 is simple on the surface, but carries a very high threat of violent response from media corp security teams, with Lonestar backup. The run entails nothing more than planting a small electronic device of unknown construction and purpose (which could burn hours to determine) into a spot in the datalines of the support acts’ recording studio where it will remain undetected and functional during the festival. The assumption should be one of piracy, and the rate of return is high enough to make it seem okay to all but the fattest and laziest runners.
Run 2 is more complicated as it involves planting a smaller and more sophisticated set of devices into the datalines of the venue and the corporate recording studio. The need for secure and undetectable placement is even higher and the threat of deadly response is even higher. The pay check is impressive, and with negotiation may get impressive enough to make people stupid about risk.
What is going on
One of the most obnoxious performers (from your group’s point of view) is behind the Mr.s Johnson tied up with this seed. Unlike many others this performer maintains a firm grip on all aspects of their career, especially the business and promotion side. They know that perception defines reality, and that a person is only as good as the records of their performance.
The first run is to plant the curious device puts it into a position where it can allow remote interference with the data being recorded of all the performers at the show. It does not prevent or copy the data stream, it alters the data stream to ensure that specific vocal and instrumental performances are sub par. The alterations are subtle and spaced out so as to only degrade the performance quality in certain sections of popular songs.
The second run to plant two devices puts them into positions to protect the data stream being recorded of the ‘villain of the piece’ and to enhance the performance to an excellent level, covering any and all vocal or instrumental short-comings. Its real piece of genius is that it also performs this function on the data stream being recorded by registered fans in the audience as they record the performance live… effectively erasing the mistakes of reality from the digital record before they are ever recorded. Through exclusive membership programs and protocols available for free and installed to ‘enhance the experience’ through various behind the scenes clips, articles, reviews, alternate versions, etc the penetration of fans’ devices is accomplished with none the wiser.
This is nothing more than dirty business and vanity in action, but it comes at the price of putting runners’ lives in deadly peril for a tiny fraction of the money the performer makes in a handful of hours. If left unchecked the little prick will continue to rise in popularity despite an obvious lack of enduring talent, the media record of the event will show stellar performances, and all the artists in the festival will be left shown in less flattering lights to slowly vanish from public consciousness like yesterday’s charity.
Darken others' doors: