This week I learned an important lesson in building my runs. I made one mistake when putting together the run and all hell broke loose. I know plenty of you already know this, but hopefully I can make it fresh and funny.
So the runners have their mission. They need to stop a ritual in progress, thus halting a powerful Demon Spirit from rushing past the border patrol to freedom, it's shoes held over it's head. I have a set of powerful Adversary initiates setup, decent range of spells, put some serious thought into what equipment they would actually have and setup the warehouse they were summoning in with traps all around to liberate extraneous limbs from the torsos of reckless characters. I had a whole plot setup for one of the characts to get partially possessed so he would have to deal with a demon in his mind trying to corrupt him. It had the makings of a great evening.
Now I need to bring you guys up to speed on one of my house rules. I don't change the run after I have planned it. I put everything on paper, more or less, and try my best to out think my players in advance. I do everything I think is appropriate, and take precautions for the stuff I would try if I was a player... on the paper. The second the players get to a scene I don't change things. This free's me up to play my own private version of whack-a-runner. When I run games I believe it is my job to kill the players. During preperation I am fair and balanced, once initiative is rolled... well... I have a little rubber mallet and all I see is players heads popping up at me.
The players know this, and I ramp up the lethality of my encounters slowly till one of the player characters becomes "living disadvantaged:. Once one kicks the proverbial bucket, I feel thats the right level of kill factor.
So where was I? Oh yeah... they haggle a little bit with the priest who needs "expendable heathens" to take on this dangerous mission, and off they go. It was designed to be a simple run... get the players to the warehouse, and then possess one of them after a few rounds of combat. After the possession I had left the evening freeform. I wrote up a few NPC's they might bump into while working on an exorcism, and had a few interesting encounters I could toss in if things got a little dull. They also had to retrieve a magical book... blah blah blah.
One round all 12 priests are dead. All of em. One player got ellectrocuted, a moderate wounds worth, but otherwise they were out a few nuyen for bullets.. How did this happen you ask? They were wearing 0/1 robes. I hadn't put them in any kind of armor, and boy was my face red. Also the floor of the warehouse was now pretty red...a nd some of the walls... and the guys themselves... well you get the picture. After the first one went down I realised they needed to have some armor, and quickly started casting their Amor spell (I have a series of pre-prepped spell lists I use)... before even one could get an armor spell off, they were dead. Even the decker killed 3.
This naturally thwarted the ritual, forcing me to meld a run I was preparing for the week after with this evenings. In all honesty the improvised run was way more fun, and actually worked out well... but nobody got possessed... yet. Mark my words, there will be a little voice in someones head soon... very soon. So let this be a lesson to all you GM's out there... put your NPC's in armor every chance you get. Be it a spell, form fitting or a security suit. I know I learned my lesson... even though I know I already knew it someplace in my head.
Until next time...
Luis The Dog