Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Business Spotlight: Zhang's Thaumatheurgy

Zhang's Thaumatheurgy
2415 South 13th Street/Small Store Archetype/Zhang, owner and proprietor/No Racial Bias/LTG#402 (86-7530)
This is Zhang on a good day. Please note that he is smiling.

Zhang's Thaumatheurgy has been a mainstay of 13th Street for the past 50 years. The current proprietor, known only as Zhang, is the son of "Old Man Zhang", who was the son of "Grandfather Zhang", who started the shop back in 2018. Back then, Asian herbal and folk medicine was about as close to magic as you could get. When the magic came back, things picked up for Grandfather Zhang and his family. Despite doing fairly well over the years, the business has never expanded or moved. Zhang attributes this to his father's belief that if something isn't broken, you don't try to fix it unless you have to.

The shop is stocked wall-to-wall with tons of magical items - fetishes and foci, herbs and other ingredients, talismans, etc. But Zhang is no ordinary talismonger. A number of runners make use of his services as a craftsman an information broker. Need a piece of gear modified to fit your spellcasting style? Zhang and his family can do that. Want to do the job yourself? They can sell you the goods to do it. Can't pay? Zhang will cut you a deal - for the right bit of street info or lore if you've got it.

Molly, aka "Moxie", Zhang's daughter (artwork © 2016 GreenTigey)
Being a spellcaster, Zhang tries to stay on the good side of the local circles - namely the Silver Circle, Omaha's own magi council. As for the Star? Well, let's just say that Zhang has his own special relationship with Lone Star, Knight Errant, and their respective paranormal squads. At any rate, Zhang will sell to anybody of any race and metatype. He doesn't discriminate. He asks no questions unless he thinks something could come back on him or otherwise doesn't smell right.

While Zhang sticks to the traditional ways, his daughter Molly, aka "Moxie", is known for taking a high-tech approach. While nobody has figured out a way to automate spellcasting, she has taken the time from her magical studies to find ways of making it easier for mages to carry and access lore on the go. She also likes to dabble as a drone rigger, but is far from being runner material.

The only tradition Zhang broke was marrying an elf. The marriage didn't set well with Old Man Zhang and the rest of the family (who also had a "tradition" of selling only to human magi), but Zhang himself stood firm and made a point to keep the business profitable by expanding its clientele.

Design Notes: You'll note that neither Zhang nor his daughter have been statted out. They've got plot immunity, which means they might show up from time to time, but they don't run the risk of being killed off. I suppose if you have to have stats for Zhang, use the talismonger stats from the Friends and Foes section of the Shadowrun 4A rulebook.

Over 480 and through the 'Hood, to Zhang's Thaumatheurgy we go... (map by Google Maps)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Money, Money, Money

I'm going to take a step back from writing in-character and put on my gamemaster's hat here. Money makes the world go 'round, especially in Shadowrun. One of our merry band asked a valid question regarding his character's lifestyle and what he could expect to make with his "day job" as a private investigator.

Let me be brutally honest here: it ain't much. Now, that's not to say that being a shadowrunner alone is going to have you rolling in Nuyen. Every business has dry spells, and if your reputation takes a hit, expect those dry spells to be long, hard, and probably cold (or hot, depending on the season). The business of being a private investigator is pretty boring. Lots of surveillance, talking to people (who usually don't want to talk to you), more surveillance, undercover business investigations, background checks, license plate and Social Security searches, and paperwork... oh, God, the paperwork...

In Nuyen we trust, provided it's legit... Image ©2016 Jeff Laubenstein, featured in Challenge Magazine #56.

To fully understand how things are in the Sixth World, let's look at how lifestyles are defined briefly in the 20th Anniversary rulebook (p.86-87); the Nuyen amounts given are monthly expenses followed by starting funds:
  • Street (Free; 1D6 x 10¥ starting): Literally living on the street; few or no expenses; eating out of the trash.
  • Squatter (500¥; 2D6 x 20¥ starting): One step up from the street; a jury-rigged shelter, abandoned building or the like.
  • Low (2,000¥; 3D6 x 50¥ starting): An apartment, but nothing to brag about. Just you and the masses.
  • Middle (5,000¥; 4D6 x 100¥ starting): Nice house or condo, maybe even real food.
  • High (10,000¥; 4D6 x 500¥ starting): A high-rise luxury flat, building security and good food on demand.
  • Luxury (100,000¥; 4D6 x 1,000¥ starting): Imagine it, friend, just imagine it.

Being investigators, your pay is going to be hourly and depend on the type(s) of services rendered. Charges for an investigation usually entail a minimum number of hours (2-8) depending on the type of services needed. Brief initial consultations are free, but actual office time is chargeable, including initial interview with the client and typing up a formal report. The hourly rate goes up for out-of-town (x1.5), evening (x1.25), or weekend work (x2). If all three factors are figured in, it's usually going to be triple the normal rate.

Expenses will usually include:

  • Administrative setup fees of 50¥ - 150¥ per case.
  • Mileage of .75¥ per mile driven.
  • Cost of lodging and other travel costs.
  • 6¥ per 5'x7' digital image or 30¥ (flat fee) for video surveillance.
  • GPS monitoring runs 50¥ - 75¥ per day with a 3-day minimum.
  • Necessary state or federal fees and lab fees.

Retainers are figured on estimates on the number of billable hours required. Simple projects might range from 500¥ - 2,000¥. More complicated and time-consuming situations will run around 3,000¥ to 10,000¥. The billable amount is deducted from the retainer as the investigation progresses. If it takes longer or requires more effort than expected, the investigator contacts the client for authorization to keep working and to get additional payment. If a case doesn't take as long as expected, the remaining amount may be refundable, but is normally subject to a minimum charge. That minimum charge is usually 750¥ to 1,000¥. 

Of course, you can't guarantee results and the total number of hours varies. An easily resolved marital infidelity case might run between 500¥ and 1,500¥ or it may jump up to between 2,000¥ and 5,000¥ if the lovebirds are extra squirrelly and change their meeting spots at random; a criminal defense investigation running 25-50 hours might total between 1,000¥ and 6,000¥; and a very complex investigation, such as searching for a birth parent or adopted child might total 5,000¥ to 10,000¥. 

Background checks are usually a flat fee of 20¥ - 200¥ or more, depending on how in-depth the client wants them to be. The minimum “no hit” fee is 20¥ if nothing out of the ordinary is found.

Mr. Johnson's First Rule: Speak softly and carry a big credstick. Image by Jim Nelson from The Neo-Anarchist's Guide to Real Life, ©2016 Catalyst Game Labs.

The big money is going to be coming from high-profile, dangerous jobs, some (meaning "most") of which will be "off-the-books". In these situations, it's going to be a "flat fee" - meaning you'll get paid once the job is done (unless Mr. Johnson gives you an advance of some sort) and the price is either set by Mr. Johnson or, if you're good enough, negotiated and agreed upon. In those rare "feel good warm fuzzy" jobs where you're helping the disadvantaged, you'll be lucky to get paid as most clients in such a situation don't have much money, if any. Bare minimum, you'll probably come away with some contacts, allies, or markers to call in the next time you're in over your head.

So, all that being said, how much will your character actually make every two weeks? I could launch into a system to roll that up but that's more work for everyone than it's worth. Figure that if your character has the "Middle" budget lifestyle (5,000¥ per month) or less, you'll be making that in an "average" month without any added side jobs. I may institute a rule to see if business is better or worse than usual each month, but I haven't sorted that out yet.

EDIT: Well, having done all sorts of mental gymnastics, paged through a number of organizational books (Threats, Underworld Sourcebook, etc.) as well as looked at the rules for groups as contacts, I'm still kind of up in the air with regard to how to implement a rule about how business is going each month. I've got a system brewing, but I'm wrestling with how best to keep it simple. While I'd love to have some general stats, I may just chuck it all and just go with the flow of the story. Watch this space for more details...

EDIT #2: So, after rolling ideas around in my head, I've decided to just go with the flow of the story. The reason behind this is two-fold: first, it follows the best gamemastering motto ever - Keep It Simple. Second, statting up organizations with mechanical metadata just brings Shadowrun a step closer to what people have stereotyped it as, "Cyberpunk D&D". As I've stated before, Shadowrun defies that stereotype on so many levels, no matter what William Gibson wants us to believe.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Omaha in the Shadows - Part Two of Several

Omaha: The Big Picture
For a midwestern city, Omaha has quite a bit going on. Business, culture, entertainment, education - it's all here. If you want something a bit different from the same-old-same-old in Denver or Seattle, then Omaha is definitely the place for you!
- Some anonymous wageslave's tourism spiel

>>>>>[Yeah, Omaha's got a lot going on, folks. We've got a dragon living somewhere out south of town who likes to play with trains; a relatively benign underground community (when they're not at war with Knight Errant or the Star); an overpopulation of corpdrones and their overlords; a small propaganda war going on between the bigots of Humanis and the SJWs of the Metahuman League; and for entertainment, there's always a firefight or two in South O if you're brave enough to go there. But don't just take my word for it. We'll let the population figures and the rest of the info speak for itself...]<<<<<
 - Kuroneko (08:03:37/10-11-77)

Omaha in 2077
Population: 1,760,562
Human: 83% (roughly 1,461,266)
    White: 83%
       Jewish: 2%
       Irish: 7%
       Italian: 3%
       English: 4%
       Czech: 3%
       German: 18%
       Polish: 3%
       Swedish: 2%
     Black: 13%
     Hispanic: 3%
       Puerto Rican: 3%
       Aztlaner: 83%
       Cuban: 2%
     Asian: 1%
       Chinese: 19%
       Vietnamese: 8%
       Asian Indian: 14%
       Japanese: 15%
       Filipino: 12%
       Korean: 13%
       Hmong: 4%
       Hawai'ian: 2%
       Guamanian: 2%
     Amerindian: 1%
 Elf: 2%
 Dwarf: 1%
 Ork: 14%
 Troll: <1%
 Other: 1% 
Source: The Shadowrun Wiki

>>>>>[Omaha's strength lies in its diversity, regardless of what kind of drek Humanis and other groups of bigots try to sell you. Sure, there's friction - but whenever you get a big number of people in any one place, there's bound to be someone rubbing someone else the wrong way. Despite the divisive flashpoints of the past and present, Omaha has always managed to come together and sort things out for the better.]<<<<<
 - Hardtop (08:16:55/10-11-77)

 >>>>>[*golf claps* Wonderful. Now maybe you'd like to explain how that diversity involves forcing the majority of this city's metahumans to live in the North Barrens. If you can call existing in that hellhole living, that is.]<<<<<
 - Tank (08:23:12/10-11-77)

>>>>>[Actually, the North Barrens have the second largest population of metahumans at 50%. South O has the largest at 55%.]<<<<<
 - FeloniusMonk (08:34:00/10-11-77)

>>>>>[North, south, it doesn't matter. Poor is poor. You don't know how bad it is until you've lived through a winter where the snow and wind came through your bedroom wall and dinner was a coupla sewer rats your brother bought off some dwarf in the Underground.]<<<<<
 - Tank (08:36:05/10-11-77) 

Omaha: Beginning the Breakdown
Like any other city guide, we've broken Omaha down into a number of regions. Even though we're known by some as "The Little Sprawl on the Prairie", Omaha is still big and can be confusing to even someone who's lived here since birth. To make things easy, we'll start with Downtown, also known as "The Box". 

Welcome to "The Box" (Downtown)
By Big Red

Original map by Google Maps, Photoshoppery by me.

Population: 300,000
  • 80% Human
  • 10% Elf
  • 5% Dwarf
  • 2% Ork
  • 1% Troll
  • 2% Other

Security Rating: AAA to A
Patrolled By: Knight Errant

The Box is a 16-square mile AA zone that takes up the whole downtown area, the borders are pretty much the River to the East, 50th street to the West, Center Road to the South and Lake Street to the North. This area includes most of the corporate headquarters and housing, the Old Market, Midtown Crossing (totally misnamed), Evo/Buffet Park Omaha, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Clarkson Medical Center, Creighton University, Henry Doorly Zoo/UNO Buffet Parazoological Center of Research, and the Evo Convention Center.

This is the most corporate area of Omaha serving the corps almost exclusively. This area is pretty locked down with KE patrols on every other corner, cameras everywhere, drones, and even more corporate security. This is also where the Midwest Stock Exchange moved to after Chicago shut down. Prepare to be harassed if you look out of place.

Because of the cold winters and the fact that most of the area is new construction, the buildings have been interconnected with covered bridges and walkways between most of the larger buildings. It is said with the right ID You could walk from the ballpark to Midtown Crossing without ever going outside, of course you would be subject to security checks as you went from building to building, as well as extraterritoriality rules.

Don’t have a nifty corp ID and a SIN? No problem. There's always the Omaha Underground. The OU is a series of old sewers and utility tunnels that run through the downtown area. Maintained by a gang of dwarves calling themselves the Market Rats and used by the shadow world in order to breach the tight security of The Box, there are countless entries and exits in the Old Market and some of the older buildings in town. Beware though, while KE does not patrol the OU, they are aware of it. Also, the place is crawling with devil rats and other nasties. Use it at your own risk. Also don’t forget to leave a gift for the Market Rats, you may not see them, but believe me they'll know you're there.

>>>>>[Yeah, I've heard rumors that Evo has taken to dumping some of their less successful "experiments" in the sewers and river. Combined with the new critters from the SURGE it's a whole new wild kingdom down there.]<<<<<
 - Mr. Myth (04:09:45/10-12-77)

>>>>>[Suuure they have, Myth... and you're a regular Merlin Parkins... or is it Markie Stuffer? Maybe you should post some of those blurry pics you're so fond of showing us with your stories...]<<<<<
 - Thunderfoot (04:10:00/10-12-77)

>>>>>[Maybe you'd like to accompany me on my next trip to the Underground. I could always use someone to act as bait.]<<<<<
 - Mr. Myth (04:10:50/10-12-77)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Omaha in the Shadows - Part One of Several

Omaha, NE UCAS - An Overview
By Big Red
Hoi, chummers, and welcome to Omaha. It’s not what you expected, right? I’ll bet you were expecting cornfields and cowboys, not skyscrapers and industrial parks, right? Bet you didn’t know that every megacorp has a presence here, especially the ones that focus on Matrix or military hardware? You see, chummer, Omaha hasn’t been a podunk town since the 1950s. 

Just south of Old Omaha was a little US Air Force Base called Offutt, which during the Cold War became the home of Strategic Air Command (SAC), later U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and finally, after the formation of the UCAS, UCAS Strategic Command (UCASSTRATCOM) . This was the home of the 55th Wing, as well as numerous other projects. This brought in a ton of military contractors, from Raytheon and Northrop Grumman to Boeing, all wanting to be close to the decision makers.

From its inception Omaha proper was a bustling midwestern city focused mostly on meat production and as a distribution hub for the railroad. Its centralized location was perfect for taking east-west cargo and sending it north-south, and vice versa. And where the railroads went, so did telegraph lines, and later telephone lines, and even later fiber optic cable. This made Omaha a central hub for phone, and later internet switching.

While this was all going on there was also a little known local boy by the name of Warren Buffett buying up shares of a little known textile company know as Berkshire Hathaway, eventually gaining majority control. Local legend says that occasionally Mr. Buffett would run out of money, or need a favor, and would offer locals a few shares of what, at the time, was worthless stock. Later, this stock would become the most valuable stock in the world, leading to Omaha having one of the highest number millionaires per capita.

Life went on as normal in Omaha, up until the late 80s and early 90s. As a communications hub, Omaha started seeing a boom to its tech sector with the growth the internet (that is the prehistoric Matrix for all you script kiddies), and a decline in its manufacturing and rail business. This led to the tearing down of much of the old warehouse district and the creation of the ConAgra Campus and the Old Market District.

It the early 2000s Omaha became a serious hub for financial data, with FDR and First National Bank, as well as Mutual of Omaha, Ameritrade, and PayPal all taking up residence in the Metro. Add into that the increasing additional infrastructure as other old world matrix companies such as Google and Yahoo, HP, eBay, and others opened data centers and call centers. Omaha was set to become the next Silicon Valley.

>>>>>[Not to rain on Big Red's parade, but for anybody who's interested, you can find more about the history of our fair city here, or here, or here (if you're wanting info on the history of the Barrens...)]<<<<<
 - Darksylvre, Sysadmin (05:41:45/10-07-77)

>>>>>[If you're willing to trust in that pre-Crash 2.0 drek.]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (05:41:46/10-07-77) 

Dragons, Indians, VITAS, and the Crash
By Big Red
The early 21st century was a whirlwind of growth and change for the Big O. Tech companies expanded into every section of the city; Berkshire Hathaway continued to grow; and the city continued to expand West at a massive rate, and the NAN happened.

Omaha sits in an interesting place when it comes to Native America, with four large reservations all within a hour or two of the city, but no real resources. Many of the tribes in the area, specifically the Omaha and the Winnebago, had no real stake in the NAN until the NAN forced the Lone Eagle Incident. Omaha was spared the worst of the Ghost Dance, being that we are nowhere near any volcanoes, but Offutt saw a marked increase in population as it was used as a staging ground for troops being trained to run the concentration camps.

VITAS also mostly passed us by, probably because for a city of over a million, Omaha was incredibly spread out and has more hospital rooms per capita than most cities. (This probably comes from the fact that Omaha is the largest city for almost 200 miles in any direction.) This lead Omaha to overtake Kansas City and Des Moines as the largest city in the region. This also led to further expansion westward, as people wanted more and more of a buffer between themselves and their neighbors.

Once the Treaty of Denver was signed Omaha started to take on a new prominence as refugees from the newly formed Native American Nations relocated by the hundreds of thousands. For a city not used to massive poverty or homeless, Omaha did a good job taking care of the issue of the massive influx of people.

The poor and refugees were herded into increasingly more crowded slums in North and South Omaha. The Red Cross tried to house as many as possible, building tent cities at the edges of the city, with FEMA buying out every hotel room and arena space in the Omaha area, but the truth is the Big O couldn’t just absorb 800,000 new people in six months. Utilities broke down; electricity, water, and sewer services were all overworked – and then winter hit.

Winter in Omaha is never easy, but the winter of 2019 was one of the worst. Combine already overtaxed utilities with extreme cold and inadequate shelter, record low temperatures, and record snowfall, and you have a recipe for disaster. Thousands died of exposure. Thousands more died of diseases borne of overcrowding. It wasn’t until the Emergency Act of 2019 was signed and the federal government declared Omaha a disaster area and sent gave federal aid offering zero percent loans for 10 years to build new multi-unit housing.

Local hero Warren Buffett, in partnership with Kiewit Construction, built the first of the Omaha Towers to help house these refugees. Five of these structures were built in total, each containing 10,000 units. These mixed-use buildings were supposed to be micro cities in their own right. Each included shopping, office space, parking and apartments. The first of these was built on land just south of Omaha in what use to be called Papillion, at 72nd and Giles. Replacing a boarded up Wal-Mart and surrounding strip mall, it took two years to build and supplied thousands of jobs. Buffett was hailed as the savior of the city.

Smelling the federal money, other companies got into the act. One tower went up at the old Crossroads Mall site at 72nd and Dodge, another took the place of the dying Oak View Mall at 144th and Center, the fourth was built in Elkhorn on 209th and Dodge, and the fifth was built in South Omaha in the old stockyards.

In a coup, Kiewit was able to snag all five contracts. That is not to say they were the only ones to cash in as large housing projects went in all over the city,. Most were mixed-use, as the builders would be able to cash in on prime commercial space – all on the government's dime. As long as at least 75% of the tower's units were for residential housing, it was a go This also led to skyrocketing property values east of 72nd, and the wholesale demolition of some of Omaha’s oldest neighborhoods.

Along with the refugees also came the businesses that didn’t want to be part of NAN. Omaha became heir to many of Denver’s larger companies, such as Lockheed-Martin, Wells Fargo, and Oracle, further cementing the city's tech and financial cred.

But, it seemed that every time Omaha was just about to pull itself back from the edge, something else happened.

By 2021, Omaha was just starting to come together, the new Omaha Towers were starting to open, more than 50,000 new housing units had been built. The refugees were finding work and housing, and the city was starting to feel better. And then Goblinization struck. Overnight, 10 percent of the population just changed, often in frightening ways. Orks and trolls were suddenly a reality, just like the elf and dwarf children of the twenty teens. And just like everywhere else, the citizens were less than thrilled.

In 2022 the second round of VITAS struck and this time Omaha was not spared. With the city crammed to the gills with NAN refugees and, building up instead of out, Omaha was hit hard. Some of the Omaha Towers took a chance and closed to the public, sparing their occupants. Over the next two years many projects that had started were abandoned, leaving ghost towns of skeletal buildings, now open for squatters. Some of these are still around today, built up by their less than legal tenants and often nowhere close to code.

In 2029 it was the Crash. Omaha being heavily reliant on communications, Internet, and finance business, was hit hard. A city that rarely ever saw six percent unemployment was now topping 30 percent as businesses closed, merged or restructured in the wake of the Crash of ‘29.

Out of the Ashes
By Big Red 
With the Crash of ‘29, and federal aid running out, Omaha stopped growing and land prices plummeted. Eventually the new megacorps started moving in, seeing opportunity in the heartland of America. Slowly at first, and then more rapidly, Omaha started to recover.

One of the first things that the megacorps did when moving in was to buy up the downtown area and install their own police. Lone Star got the contract for most of Omaha, but Knight Errant got it for Downtown. During the rough years many of the subdivisions out west became small walled enclaves, and the poor were pushed further north, south, and east across the river. Offutt Air Force Base grew in size and scope, taking up many of the functions of Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain.

By 2050, Omaha was once again a bustling city and a center of Matrix, biotech, and transportation services. The downtown area was remade again, this time instead of demolishing everything that came before the megacorps decided to leave the Old Market mostly intact, but building over it. Most of the undesirables have been moved out of the city to Council Bluffs, North Omaha, or South Omaha.

What we ended up with is the very segregated community we have today. 

>>>>>[I remember great grandaddy Sylvre talking about how it used to be in the "twenty and sixteen" as he called it. He said people out west thought everything east of 72nd was an unsafe ghetto... Of course, South O wasn't as rough and tumble then as it is now. Nowadays you take your life in your own hands crossing the street there - day or night.]<<<<<
 - Darksylvre, Sysadmin (02:10:45/10-08-77)

>>>>>['Nowadays'? 'Rough and tumble'? Who talks like that? Who taught you to talk, Dorksylvre, your grandmother?]<<<<
 - Kuroneko (02:12:21/10-08-77)

>>>>>[Dorksylvre... Hurr hurr hurr - you're soooo original... Keep recycling those jokes. They'll be funny again... someday...]<<<<<
 - Darksylvre, Sysadmin (02:20:12/10-08-77)

Bugs, Halley's Comet, SURGE, and a Dragon
by Darksylvre
Omaha got a new surge of refugees when Chicago turned into Bug City back in 2055. This time, the city was ready and absorbed a good number of the refugees. Despite the city's readiness and the media's “effort” to get people to “pull together” and help their “fellow man”, the segregated nature of the city remained intact. The rich moved out west, and everybody else moved (or was relegated to) the outskirts in the north, south, and eastern portions of the sprawl.

The OU grew quite a bit as some of the city's have-nots spilled over into Market Rat turf. At first the Market Rats weren't too keen on sharing with “breeders and trogs” at first, but after Knight Errant stepped up patrols to quell any “rioting”, everybody worked together to see to it the OU was left in peace – at least for a little while. Of course, the way KE and the media like to portray it, the heat backed off because of what was going on topside.

After Omaha's first big wave of Chicago refugees, there were whispers and rumors that the Universal Brotherhood was in town. After the Awakening, Omaha loosened up its conservative image a bit. Magic was studied at UNO, Bellevue University, and even most of the high schools. We even got our own local celebrity mage (more on him below). Still, Omaha's conservative image wasn't so loose as to allow bugs in. Overnight people were seeing insect spirits in darkened alleyways, in the storm sewers, even in the toilet.

The madness lasted for three years and became so bad that Knight Errant and Lone Star started scanning people at public venues. Religious events even had to have special permits from the city and the heat's paranormal squads to come to town. After a while the fever broke. The Universal Brotherhood, despite its insidious nature, never came to Omaha, but the paranoia and fear did leave a lasting impression – or perhaps even a scar – on the religious community.

Things went back to normal for a couple of years, and then true to form, life in Omaha got interesting again. In 2061, Halley's Comet came roaring through our neighborhood and the mana levels spiked. The SURGE (Sudden Unexpected Recessive Genetic Expression) brought a new round of changes to society. Without warning, we were no longer just dealing with orks, elves, and trolls. Now we had oni, minotaurs, pixies, and changelings to boot!

Humanis and Alamos 20,000 had a field day with this new wave of metatype diversity. But, not being ones to set on the laurels of their acceptance, some elements took things into their own hands. A fledgling movement started in Omaha, calling itself the Metahuman League. The group's goal was to combat the hate with education and understanding. It didn't take long for the idiots in Humanis to mistake that stance for weakness.

In 2063, a group of “concerned” citizens marched on a Metahuman League town hall event with blood on their minuscule minds. Surprisingly, nothing happened, especially after two attendees led a handful of mages in bringing their own magic abilities to bear on the troublemakers. A Native American shaman named Talks-With-Thunder and another individual who calls himself Wakinyan not only helped to erect a barrier, but also sent the cowards running – straight into the hands of Knight Errant.

The news reports and Knight Errant both reported that the drekheads were scared so bad some of them actually turned their blue jeans brown. After the air cleared and Knight Errant released an “official” report, the public learned Omaha had a new resident – a dragon. Wakinyan, as he prefers to be called (his real name is Sturmschwinge or Stormwing), was apparently awakened by the tearing open of the Watergate Rift when Dunkelzahn was killed in 2057.

This revelation generated a lot of talk. The city council and military officials were conflicted. Some saw the dragon's presence as a threat, considering the shakeup Ghostwalker's appearance caused. Other groups saw the dragon's presence as a boon to Omaha's cultural and economic sectors, considering the wealth dragons command in modern society and the curiosity some (like Dunkelzahn and Perianwyr) have exhibited in the same.

In the end, the city, the military, and Wakinyan came to an understanding. Having made lucrative investments in several companies, including the startup Halifax Protein Products, he currently resides in an undisclosed location south of Omaha.

Of course, not everybody was on the same page. Some Native Americans protested Stormwing's naming himself after the Lakota thunderbird. The Skinwalkers, a local Native American gang (or “extremist group”, as the media call them) even vowed to destroy him for his “crass cultural appropriation” of a sacred name. Needless to say, Wakinyan isn't losing any sleep over the debate.

The biggest mystery of all is Wakinyan's origin. When asked if he had followed Ghostwalker through the rift, he simply claimed that he woke up when he felt Dunkelzahn's death, assumed human form, and came to Omaha to hang out and watch things unfold. When asked how he met Talks-With-Thunder, Wakinyan simply replied, “We're old friends.” Naturally, this has led many to believe that either Wakinyan was in Omaha in human form long before the Big D died, or that Talks-With-Thunder is immortal, like the legendary Harlequin. Whichever story is true, neither one is budging from their original story.

>>>>>[You don't know half of their backstory, kiddies. If you even knew a quarter of what I know about those two, the hair on your hair would turn gray. But enough about what I know. Carry on, young runners, carry on!]<<<<<
 - -H- (??:??:??/10-11-77)

 - Darksylvre (00:16:34/10-11-77)

>>>>>[Oh, come now, young one. Don't be so stiff and boring! You live in interesting times! Don't just chronicle them, enjoy them. Live them by making your own history! Sow the wind! Reap the whirlwind! Spit in the Man's eye! Just be sure you're not spitting into the wind, else you'll get blindsided.]<<<<<
 - -H- (??:??:??/10-11-77)

 >>>>>[Don't mind him. Darksylvre comes by it naturally. If he wasn't stiff and boring, we'd have no benchmark to measure the meaning of our lives against.]<<<<<
- Big Red (00:46:20/10-11-77) 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dramatis Personae, Pt. 2 - The Heroes Of The Story

Julian F. "Geist" Sabbatini (played by Mike Fontaine)

Investigator/Magic Specialist, River City Investigations 

Body: 2          Charisma: 5      Edge: 2
Agility: 3        Intuition: 3        Essence: 6
Reaction: 2    Logic: 3            Magic: 5
Strength: 3     Willpower: 5    Initiative: 5

Active Skills: Assensing 2, Banishing 4, Binding 4, Con 3, Counterspelling 4, Etiquette 2 (Underworld +2), Negotiation 2, Pilot Ground Craft 2 (Bike +2), Pistols 2, Ritual Spellcasting 4, Spellcasting 4, Summoning 4, Unarmed Combat 1

Knowledge and Language Skills: Area Knowledge: Omaha 3, Catholic Church 2, European Club Culture 2, Language: English N, Language: Italian 4, Language: Latin 3, Magical Theory 2, Smuggling Routes 2

Positive - Magician (Tradition - Black Magic; resist Drain with WIL + CHA), Mentor Spirit (The Adversary)
Negative - Low Pain Tolerance, Sensitive System, Simsense Vertigo

Combat - Powerbolt, Stunbolt
Detection - Heal, Increase [Attribute] (CHA)

Illusion - None.

Manipulation - Control Thoughts, Influence, Magic Fingers, Makeover

Gear: Actioneer Business Clothes (armor 5/3), armor jacket (armor 8/6), form-fitting full suit (2050 era, armor 2/2), Colt Manhunter (concealable holster and laser sight), sword, Suzuki Mirage racing bike (vehicle sensor), Sony Emperor commlink, fake SIN (Julian Schwarz), spirit binding materials (rating 4, 2 packs), sustaining focus (health; bonded; rating 3), 600¥.

Background: Julian is the youngest of four children, and the only magically active member of his family. He grew up in and around the shadows as his family runs a smuggling operation, but for the most part his life was pretty normal as a child. In high school his parents let him in on the open secret of the family business and he would work for the more legitimate fronts of the business as he learned the ins and outs.

Being the youngest, he often was spoiled, but his inherent charm kept him from being seen as spoiled. Beautiful as a child and handsome as a man, Julian's family had big plans for him either in the family business or in politics. This all changed when his magical aptitude test came back his sophomore year of high school, showing that he had a high likelihood of becoming a full magician.

To a very Catholic family like the Sabbatinis this meant only one thing, and after he graduated from high school he was shipped off to Rome to learn magic from the Church. He studied for years with a number of groups, including the Westphalian theurgists of Germany, the Orthodox Exarchs, even the Vigilia Evangelica, but never seemed to get the hang of Christian theurgy. The idea of being subservient and submissive seemed abhorrent to him. He could follow the basics, but her was never able to get off the ground and dropped out after a few years.

He decided to then take some time off and see Europe on a personal quest for power of another sort – in the more hedonistic dens of Europe – and accidentally opened his world to the magic he knew he had. Following the voice of the Adversary in his head he was led to one of the dark cabals of Europe, a cabal of the young “Who's Who”, all dabbling in the occult, but few having any power. To most is was just an orgy of drugs, alcohol, and sex. But Julian could see that in the chaos was control. He could see the magic and hear his mentor.

For the next few years Julian avoided his family and ruled the European club scene, until one day he realized a deeper truth. He couldn't go further in his magic until he returned home. By avoiding his family, by hiding who and what he is, he was giving them power over him, and he couldn't have anyone having any power over him.

So he returned home and outed himself to his family as a follower of the Adversary and a practitioner of black magic. His family reacted almost exactly as he expected. They cut him off completely and threw him out. They even went so far as to partition to have him excommunicated from the church and his SIN burned.

Julian knew this was going to happen and accepted it as a challenge. At the start of the game it has been about two months since he was kicked out. He is down to the bottom of his funds. He has worked a few jobs, but they were hard to get at first as he had to actively work against his parents influence, but it is getting easier as he is starting to create his own reputation.

Things are beginning to turn around, however. An uncle he never his mother never spoke of (her older brother, no less) has taken him under his wing as a protege of sorts. Julian hasn't quite sorted out what this means, exactly, but when in River City...

James "Bison" McClendon (played by Terry Buethe)

Investigator/Surveillance and Recon Specialist

Notes: Bison's stats are the same as the Covert Ops Specialist archetype on p.100 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook, except for the following changes:

Active Skills: Change Modern Literature 2 to Rare Books 2

Knowledge and Language Skills: Change the languages listed to: Latin 2, Chinese 2, Spanish 2, Arabic 3, English N

Background: James McClendon grew up in a well-used RV, spending a lot of time near the Missouri River in Omaha. As he was growing up he didn’t know where the money came from for his family to live, but he knew they often had to relocate on very short notice. He later realized his mother was a prostitute and the sudden moves were driven by law enforcement’s attempts to crack down on such activities. Because of the promiscuity of not only his mother but his ancestors over the last several generations, James’ ethnic and racial backgrounds are a muddled mess. His appearance is almost Polynesian, but not quite.

James’ greatest ambition is to put as much distance between himself and those trailer park roots as possible. Some of that is accomplished in the minor details of his life. For instance, as he was growing up everyone called him “Jimmy,” so now he detests that nickname and insists on being called James. Whenever he can scrape together enough money he goes out on the town to fine dining establishments and high-class entertainment venues. Of course, this first required him to accumulate enough funds to purchase appropriate clothing for such occasions.

Early on in his quest to at least appear classier, James purchased a pricey gold watch and after wearing it for a few hours was itching all over. Realizing he was allergic to gold, most of his jewelry now is platinum. He typically wears a platinum ring on each hand, a platinum watch and a platinum chain around his neck.

James primary source for this funding has been “borrowing” money or valuables from nearby RVs when the camps filled up for the night. He became quite adept at picking the basic locks on the mobile homes and breaching whatever security systems some of the wealthier campers had installed, skills he began acquiring at the age of fourteen. He had always been fairly intelligent and seemed to have an affinity for working the intricacies of locking mechanisms. The electronic locks and security systems confounded him at first, but with some study online and after nearly being caught twice after accidentally setting off alarms, James became more comfortable with dealing with those as well.

Believing that knowledge is power, he values any information he can gather, especially if it seems leverage-able. (This is also part of avoiding the “dumb as a box of rocks” trailer park image.) As a result he has accumulated a decent understanding of corporate politics, finances and rare books. James has earned an associate’s degree in cyber security (learning more about those pesky security systems) but most of his knowledge comes through his own time spent in various cyber libraries.

James keeps himself in reasonably good shape, attempting to avoid the fat, blemished, disheveled look often stereotypically attached to trailer park denizens. He also attempts to dress somewhat fashionably, even when not going out on one of his rare luxurious evenings. His mixed ethnic background is a decided asset for his physical appearance giving him a slightly exotic look that seems to draw women to him.

James is in his early twenties, although when necessary he can pass for a teenager or (with a bit of makeup) someone significantly older. His hair is a dark brown, nearly black, with dark eyes (although his cybereyes allow this to be modified) and a brown/olive skin tone. He is slightly taller than average, but not so much as to stand out, and of average build.

James has a brother and a sister that he knows of, although odds are high that other half-siblings exist. His brother is a mechanic and his sister works in a cyber components factory during the day and works the streets at night. James can’t remember his mother ever being employed by the same source for more than a few months and he’s not sure which of the many men, if any, is his father.

Although James acquires much of his income through burglary, he also does freelance work in acquiring specific objects or information for those who can pay well. It was through one of these jobs that he acquired his cybereyes as part of his payment. Mr. Johnson involved wanted to be able to communicate with James during the course of his mission and so agreed to provide the necessary equipment.

James loves the thrill of conquering the locks and security systems people and businesses have put in place to foil him. It gives him a sense of power and superiority when he can dismantle what the elite and powerful think is keeping them and their belongings safe. This is part of overcoming his RV camp upbringing and one-upping those he views as looking down on him for his background.

James is also aware that since Mr. Johnson paid for his cybereyes a backdoor might exist into their systems. He isn’t too concerned about that in the short term, but his long-term goal is to be able to have them swapped out for an upgrade with no Mr. Johnson involved.

James has two fake SINs. One as a tradesman who can come and go easily for various “service calls.” The other for a moderate level corporate person. His short-term goal is to increase the number of fake SINs in case the current ones become a problem.

Artwork ©2016 CGL

Tank (Played by James Smith)

IT/Computer Specialist

Notes: Tank is temporarily being played by the GM as an NPC. His stats are the same as the Hacker archetype on p.105 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook.

>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Artwork ©2016 CGL

Clay "Broadside" Moore (Played by Chuck Themm)

Surveillance Specialist/Driver

Notes: Broadside is temporarily being played by the GM as an NPC. His stats are the same as the Drone Rigger archetype on p.101 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook.

>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dramatis Personae, Pt. 1 - Management and Veterans

As I slowly gear up to start my Shadowrun game, I thought it would be a good idea to give you, the players, a look at who your characters will be working for and with. First, let's introduce the current owner of River City Investigations...

©1989 J. Laubenstein,©1990 FASA Corp., ©2016 CGL.

C.M. Holmes

Owner/Lead Investigator

"I used to hate being called a 'Dip' when I was with the Star... Without me on the force it's obvious they've earned the nickname."

Body: 3            Charisma: 1        Edge: 2
Agility: 2          Intuition: 4          Essence: 6
Reaction: 3      Logic: 5              Magic: 6
Strength: 2      Willpower: 5       Initiative: 7

Skill Groups: Conjuring 4, Firearms 3, Influence 2, Sorcery 4

Active Skills: Arcana 3, Assensing 3, Astral Combat 3, Computer 2, Data Search 4, Disguise 3, Dodge 2, Enchanting 3, Infiltration 1, Instruction 3, Intimidation 1, Locksmith 2, Navigation 1, Palming 2, Perception 6, Pilot Ground Craft 1, Shadowing 3, Unarmed Combat 2

Knowledge and Language Skills: Art 3, Business 4, Combat Tactics 2, Data Havens 2, Economics 3, Gangs 3, Languages - Cantonese 2, English N, French 2, German 2, Hebrew 2, Latin 2, Mandarin 2, Literature 4, Mafia 2, Magic Traditions 4, Magical Theory 4, Religion 2, Shadow Community 5, Spirits 3, Triads 2, Unarmed Combat 2, Underworld 3, Yakuza 2

Positive - Focused Concentration (Rating 2), Magician (Tradition - Gardnerian Wicca; WIL+ LOG to resist Drain)
Negative - Addiction (mild, tobacco), Big Regret, Infirm (aging), Pacifist (Minor)

Combat - Manabolt, Ram [Object] (5), Stunball
Detection - Analyze Truth, Clairvoyance, Combat Sense, Detect Life

Illusion - Invisibility

Manipulation - Armor, Physical Barrier

Gear: Armor jacket, HK 227 SMG (stock, laser sight, gas vent 2), 100 rounds APDS ammo, 4 disposable fetishes (one each combat, detection, illusion, manipulation), micro transceiver (Rating 1), five power foci (each Rating 1), 2 stimulant patches (each Rating 1), 2 trauma patches (each Rating 4); Middle Lifestyle.

Background: Carson Mycroft Holmes is owner and lead investigator of RCI, though he is lead investigator more in name than in actual activity. Carson is getting old, and he knows it. Running the shadows, especially as a private detective, is a dangerous balancing act and he didn't reach the age of 60 by being a rash drekhead. As a result, he has brought his nephew Julian "Geist" Sabbatini (his sister's son, played by Mike Fontaine) under his tutelage.

A former Lone Star DPI (Department of Paranormal Investigations) mage, Carson left Lone Star in 2053 after there was talk of a pay freeze as well as a number of other cutbacks. The gap caused by Holmes' departure was lost on upper management, but not his former colleagues. Nearly a quarter of a century after he left Lone Star behind, a good number of Holmes' friends on the force have either retired, died in the line of duty, or been removed from the force under a number of unfortunate (and sometimes mysterious) circumstances. Despite the loss of contacts and his advancing age, Carson remains a formidable mage and detective and does take on a case or two when the load is heavy. However, most of his time is spent managing the day-to-day business of RCI. 

Notes: This character is essentially the Former Mage Detective archetype from SR2e with a few tweaks and changes. Originally, I wanted to model him more after Sherlock Holmes, but as I did so, I found he was becoming more and more a Mary Sue. So, I decided to trim back the fat, so to speak, making him a capable, if aged, private eye, mage, and mentor for the group.

Artwork ©2016 CGL

Shiro Kishi aka "White Knight"

Occult Investigator

Notes: Shiro's stats are the same as the Occult Investigator archetype on p.106 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook, with the exception of the following changes:
  • Swap Arabic and English (Cityspeak +2) around so English is his native language.
  • Change Latin 3 to Japanese 3 and Japanese 2 to Latin 2.
  • Shiro practices magic in the Shinto tradition (WIL + CHA to resist Drain).

>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Artwork ©2016 Daegann

Kurami "Kuro" Kishi aka "Black Knight"

Security Specialist/Bodyguard

Notes: Kuro's stats are the same as the Combat Mage archetype on p.99 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook, with the exception of the following changes:
  • Change metatype from Elf (30 BP) to Human (0 BP); eliminate low-light vision and increase Edge from 2 to 3.
  • Change Latin 3 to Japanese 3.
  • Eliminate her Addictions and Sensitive System (+20 BP total) and add Will to Live (5 BP).
  • Like her brother, Kuro practices magic in the Shinto tradition (WIL + CHA to resist Drain).
>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Artwork ©2016 CGL

Rebecca "Blossom" Lloyd

Security Specialist/Bodyguard

Notes: Blossom's stats are the same as the Gunslinger Adept archetype on p.104 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook except for the following change: Swap Cantonese and English (Cityspeak +2) around so English is her native language.

>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Artwork ©2016 CGL


Public and Client Relations

Notes: Drago's stats are the same as the Face archetype on p.103 of the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary rulebook.

>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Artwork ©2016 CGL

Lionel Barleycorn

Secretary/Filing Clerk

Notes: Lionel's stats are the same as the Corporate Manager on p.6 of Contacts, Adventures, and Sprawl Sites. Simply change his metatype to troll and apply the metatype's special abilities.

>>>>>[Further information forthcoming...]<<<<<
 - Big Red, Sysadmin (23:08:00/10-03-77)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Private Detectives in 2077

Once again, not a real ad, not a real agency. Artwork ©1989 Jeff Laubenstein, from Sprawl Sites (©1990 FASA Corporation, ©2016 Catalyst Game Labs),  no infringement intended. Photoshoppery by me.
So before we begin the game, there are some things that need to be said about what private investigators are and aren't.

What Can RCI Do?
Investigators for RCI typically help people locate clients' birth parents, find missing or stolen property (though typically not repossess it, despite what the prop ad above says), conduct security audits for small businesses and companies (few if any megacorporations would hire a local firm to do this - they have too much pride), investigate cases of infidelity or missing persons, or any issue the police (or in this case Lone Star or Knight Errant) can't (or won't) do much about. As noted in the above prop ad, RCI does provide personal security for clients. Typically this is just for visiting celebrities, but occasionally a Mr. Johnson may hire them out if they feel their own retinue's firepower and abilities may be lacking.

Another service provided by RCI is that of occult investigations. In the spirit-filled Sixth World, hauntings, demonic possession, and the like are no longer continually scoffed at by skeptics - though there are of course skeptics on both sides of the fence who actively work to debunk the actual fakes.

In short, the bulk of a PI's work involves civil cases and possibly consulting with law enforcement about active cases (willingly or unwillingly, depending on their relationships with the Star and who the players are). Despite not having the gravitas of constantly dealing with criminal investigations, private investigators are NOT above the law.

What RCI Investigators Can't Do
There are a number of things private investigators in general can't do, and a few niggling details about what private investigators in Nebraska can't do. Let's look at the big picture first - the things you can't do as a private investigator.

Licensing: Private investigators must be licensed for the state they are operating in. In this game it's assumed the characters are training to be or are licensed private investigators hired by River City Investigations. Trainees are expected to work with an active licensed investigator for a set amount of time, spend a certain number of hours in the classroom, get certified to carry a concealed weapon, submit an application and undergo a background and fingerprint check (of course in Shadowrun, this would mean a character would have to have a SIN (System Identification Number) - either a real one or a convincing fake). The downtime used to train and recertify isn't going to be played out unless there's a pressing (or entertaining) need for it in the story.

Impersonating Law Enforcement: Because private investigators deal primarily with civil issues, they don't have the same powers as the Star. There's no uniforms, no flashing of a badge or gun - meaning you're not a cop and you can't claim to be one. That's not to say that a former cop-turned-PI couldn't pull some strings with buddies on the force to get info or otherwise try to use what little clout they retain from their past life to do their job, however. Overall, a private investigator is supposed to work with local, state, and federal authorities, depending on the circumstances. Of course, just because you're supposed to "play nice" with the Star doesn't mean you have to like it.

Trespassing: A private investigator can't break into or otherwise trespass on a property, house, or building (some states even require them to get the owner's permission to enter before doing so). The only exemption to this is if the PI is serving papers as a process server, depending on the state they live in.

Surveillance: This is a tricky conditional situation. Private investigators do rely on surveillance and interviews quite a bit, but there are limits to how, when and where they get their information. Wiretapping a phone or other communication system without consent from one of the individuals is forbidden. Nebraska is considered a one-party state when it comes to recording calls and conversations, specifically:
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 86-290(2)(c) - It is not unlawful under sections 86-271 to 86-295 for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic, or oral communication when such person is a party to the communication or when one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any state.
Across the river, Iowa's law states:
Iowa Code Ann. §§ 808B.2(2)(c) - It is not unlawful under this chapter for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication if the person is a party to the communication or if one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception, unless the communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any state or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act.
Pretty much meaning that if the investigator is part of the conversation and wants to record it, they can. Also, if a conversation is being held in public and is naturally loud enough to hear, a private investigator is certainly able to eavesdrop on it. Still, phone (or commlink) taps may require a warrant, which means working with law enforcement.

Taking pictures or video recording of public activities and meetings is not an issue as long as the subjects are out in the open public and not within a private building. That means you can't take pictures or video of them through a window. Mail tampering is right out, especially since the UCAS Postal Service has armed carriers nowadays.

GPS Tracking: Private investigators cannot place a GPS tracker on a vehicle without the consent of the owner. If a client wants to put a GPS tracker on a vehicle, it has to be in their name (for example, a husband tracking his wife's use of his vehicle to confirm suspicions of infidelity).

Hacking and Information Gathering: Ah hacking (or decking) - one of the great activities in Shadowrun. Hackers and deckers do a lot with regard to information gathering both online and offline. Online it's a matter of having the finesse to get into and out of a system without getting caught or at least getting away with the information. Offline, it's a matter of social engineering - pulling the wool over some poor wage slave's eyes and asking the right questions to get the needed information - or the security information to get to the actual goods. Private investigators can't hack into social media or e-mail accounts, nor can they run license plates without reason or access protected information (school, bank, medical records; phone records, etc) without the account holder's consent or a court order.

Legal Arrest: In today's United States, private investigators do not have the power to make a legal arrest, like a police officer can with handcuffs and the Miranda Rights. However, private investigators can make a citizen's arrest such as when an individual is endangering the public (attempted kidnapping, domestic abuse in public, etc) or when a federal offense is witnessed (like bank robbery). Some states require written consent for a PI to make specific arrests or may allow a PI to serve an arrest warrant under special circumstances.

Bounty Hunting: That leads us to another topic - bail bonds and skip tracing, commonly known as "bounty hunting". Nebraska frowns hard on the profession of bail bondsman to the extent that it's not a legal profession here. Meanwhile, in Iowa, bail bonds are legal. Unfortunately, as one Council Bluffs bail bondsman learned, you can't just chase your quarry down in Nebraska and bring them back to Iowa.

So That's 2016 - What About 2077?
Well, that's a good question. Things are going to be different. Laws get repealed, changed, loosened, tightened, circumvented, and generally bent out of shape in the dark future. There are sure to be specific requirements for PIs who are mages or technomancers that won't apply to regular gumshoes. Then there are always the regular tropes associated with private investigators in books, movies and TV - like the "I'm your buddy on the force so I'm gonna look the other way" card, and whatnot. I'm no expert and this is just a general overview. If something comes up in the game, I'll most likely determine if applying the modern law or a changed future version fits the story or if it's going to be handwaved.

That's the long and short of it from what I've researched. As the game progresses, I'm sure there will be more details unearthed...