Well our campaign is well under way. To bring you all up to speed I run a weekly shadowrun game on wednesdays in Sacramento California. I have 4 players who play 90% of the time, and one fifth man who plays whenever he can. It's a good size for a group and they are all great players. The main characters are Hatomi (a phys-ad ninja), Slider (a Renraku security decker), Hung-Lo (a Wujen) and Seven (a Street Samurai). That pretty much brings you up to speed. I may mention these characters again, but I will be in very general terms.
So this week I decided that the decker really didn't need his loyalties divided between Renraku and the runners. He showed in a previous game that he had absolutely no problems calling in Renraku when things looked like they might be "advantagous" to the company. His connections with Renraku centered around a "friend for life", an Executive at Renraku. So what is a good GM to do? That's right, I killed the executive and setup and entire 3 session adventure where the players would track down the killers to exact revenge.
I was taking care not to deprive the player to wontonly of his character concept. I had his department restructered, his new boss looked down upon his outside the corp. activities. So they fired him, and gave him a nice severance package. We had this neat little scene where he disguised his deck as outgoing mail (even seperated the parts) and smuggled them out of the building.
What did he do next? No... he didn't call the other runners and head to the scene of the crime. He didn't hit the net and hack into lonestar for the investigation report (I had a nice hand out all prepared just in case). No... he went home to wait for his deck to arrive... for 3 days. Then he sat around waiting for Mr. Johnson to call. His best friend died and he lost his job and he didn't even ask "when is the funeral".
So there I am, I have 3 players stairing at me waiting for me to say those magic words, "Your Mr. Johnsons secretary calls and asks to setup a meeting." That's where I got lucky. The phys-ad had just saved up enough karma to initiate, and had just figured out that a Meditation trial leading to self initiation was the way to go. That's where the fun began.
During the second day of his meditation a thin guant man with thin stringy hair came to him. His mind was flooded with images of a house, and a little girl. These images fast forwarded from the late 1800's to 2060 showing him the progression of the home throughout the years. Finally it ended with a little girl standing in front of the house. His meditation was then interrupted (causing him to fail the trial) and he was left with a profound knowledge of exactly where this house was, and that he must go there.
He called the other players, negotiated their prices and off they went to the house. Needless to say we had a fairly entertaining run as the players tried to solve this "ghost" story without the mage present. In the end they discovered a Fly spirit infecting a young girl in the basement. They eliminated the threat and ran like hell.
Blah blah blah, this lead him to a group that combats insect spirits with the help of a friendly male mantis guide. I then allowed him to initiate with that group instead of solo. Now I have a "magical" series of runs to pull out when it's the Mage/Phys-ad's turn to be in the spotlight, and we had a fairly entertaining evening of it all. Oh, and near the end of the run Slider finally asked "hey... when is my friends funeral?"
I learned a lot this week about running adventures off the hip, and had a really great time doing it. My plan now is to write up several "small" runs in case the players decide to avoid my non-Johnson plotlines. Each of these smaller runs will leave the villian/target/culprit undecided, so that I can sway the outcome towards the overall plotline. If the players don't do as expected I can run the Mr. Johnson in to send them on an errand. This should allow me a greater freedom for running adventures "on the fly"... HAHA.. ITS A PUN... GET IT?