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Making our favorite games even better
If you have a NPC you would like me to add and credit you for please leave a comment with the requisite info with a quote.
Joe ‘Scanner’ Mcafferty:
He is a dwarven fixer with his hands in many pies. He has red wild hair suffering from too many cowlicks and not enough washings and pale skin from not spending much time outside. He famous for his eidetic memory and habit of looking really close at you the first time he meets you. Some people say it gives them goosebumps. Personality: eccentric, fair, and dabbler. Connection: 4. Places to meet: Various Matrix Hangouts, an upscale bar with a discreet backroom, or occasionally at clubs because he likes to dance. Backstory: Joe has a minor magical talent and can astrally perceive. He is in his forties and survived a brush with the Universal Brotherhood and is paranoid about Insect Spirits.
“You’re wearing the same exact outfit from three years six months and 3 weeks ago during the meet at Club Dreaddy. Doing laundry?”
Mark ‘Six Fists’ Jackson:
A mixed african and east asian Ork; Mark is a very likeable and affable most of the time and is famous for his boxing career before he goblinized thirty years ago. He is starting to get old but like most goblinized orks will likely live longer than his children and even grandchildren. Personality: Affable, Dependable, and dangerous when crossed. Connection: 5. Places to Meet: Docks, a dive bar in the warehouse district, or a park with his grandkids playing in the background. Backstory: Mark is in his late fifties and now has 34 grandchildren. Mark can often supply his own labor force for various muscle related projects and is connected throughout the docks and warehouse districts. When Mark gets mad his bottom tusks can scar his nose from his jaw grinding and even as an old man he is feared by the gangs in his area.
“Watch your step with this Johnson kiddies; my nose has been aching all afternoon like it took a good bare knuckle punch.”
By Urition from Reddit
Mike. Australian human fixer.
A former low level Shadowrunner Decker. He lost both his legs when a run went bad, and a grenade detonated at his feet. He couldn’t afford the cyberlimb replacements, so he opted for primitive prosthetics. He managed to rent out a small place on the corner of (for me it’s King William Street, but just change the street name), and now works with his prior contacts as a Fixer and occasional information broker. Connection 2.
Quote: “Come on down to my cafe, lads. We can talk business over a nice soykaf…”
“Hakase” (means Doctor or Professor) Kachiro. Japanese Elf Street Doctor.
The first time the players walked into Kachiro’s surgery, he spouted rapid fire Japanese at him. The Face translated it as “You want a new kidney? Freshest one of the batch! Only 400 nuyen?! Cheap for friends of Mr. Wu!”
His “medical degree” is highly suspect, seeing as it was written entirely in pencil… in his own handwriting… But he seems to know what he’s doing. Only 60% of his patients end up joining the organ cooler he has in the back. But despite all of his failings, he’s surprisingly knowledgeable about medicine, street drugs and the shadow community. Connection 2.
“Want a new kidney? Freshest on the street! Only 500 nuyen! Very cheap for friends of Mr. Wu.”
“Shinigami” Japanese Human Wizard.
If you make a mess on a run that was SUPPOSED to be quiet, you call Shinigami. For a… modest fee, Shinigami and her team will infiltrate your job site, and remove witnesses, bodies, bloodstains, bullet holes, and if need be, even remove astral signatures. But do not anger her. There’s a reason her codename means “Death Spirit.” She has a particular weakness for antiques, and is even willing to forgo payment if you can offer her something interesting. If she’s not working, she’s usually relaxing a club in the city somewhere. Connection 2.
“I will eliminate your witnesses, purge the astral, and protect your life… for that little urn sitting in the corner. It’ll look darling on my mantle.”
Xing Liu. Chinese Human Civilian.
Xing Liu runs a club downtown called Z3r0. They get awesome DJs in, and his rich brother hooked him up with a great simsense network and a state of the art Matrix Host with meatspace holo-projectors. Hottest place in (small to mid sized city). It’s a well known Shadowrunner Haunt among the locals and often filled with dealers, runner wannabes, and fixers and beginner Johnsons looking for new talent. Law enforcement finds itself having an easier time ignoring the club as it serves a purpose for the local economy. The club has a reputation for mind manipulation and reading among the more experienced runners and fixers. Xing Liu himself is really just a pawn of his brother who works for (X the local dominating corporate or underworld organization), but all he has to do is manage a bar and earn much more money than he should. Who is he to complain? He’s a complacent, rich pushover. His personality is fairly self-effacing rather than the normal over the top ego of a club owner. Connection 3 as he knows a lot of people but only the green and the wannabe trust him.
“Al! You can’t beat up a guy in my fridge… Umm… well… okay… just… don’t make a mess? please?”
“Place is pumping, man.”
By Akintude from Reddit:
Raquel “Vine” Vasquez:
She is a TerraFirst! contact. The first thing the players will notice upon engaging her in conversation is that she smells really, really good, something floral and exotic, a consequence of the Renraku perfume she splurged on after completing a recent run. She’s an Eagle shaman, and will pick up details about the party with her enhanced perception. Like the other runners in the bar, she can be hired or approached for information. She’s wearing breeches made of rough fiber, an unbleached cotton doublet cut short at the sleeves to show off her tribal tattoos, a moon-shaped silver pendant she looted off a hermetic mage after winning a duel of spirits, and a respirator mask above the pendant. She’s slightly above average height and has a pixie cut grown long. Given her mild allergy to pollutants, she can be found exclusively at Ig. Connection: 4.
“The world we live in is more connected, but we’re not. We’ve lost touch with so much.”
“You can’t bury your head in the sand on these issues. Not everyone has the strength to fight what’s wrong, but they can support the people who will make things right.”
“Nature warns humanity from its course. Tally the damage done by man-made natural disasters. Add up all the property values and lives lost from earthquakes caused by fracking, hurricanes and tsunamis caused by global warming, floods caused by the melting ice caps, healthcare costs and property damage from pollution and acid rain, and see where TerraFirst! stands. They’re not even a blip on the graph. But all you’ll see on the news are spin doctors who feed people lies about how the solution is the problem.”
“As Eagle watches over me, so must I watch over all of us.”
“You’ll have to forgive me, but what’s this all about?”
If asked about Prez: “That corporate whore is so full of himself. I tried chatting with him one day, and he just looked around the entire time like he was embarrassed. I couldn’t believe it. What do you think his problem is?”
If asked about Revenant: “If he comes in, I leave whether I’m done with my drink or not. I’m not the only one, either.”
“I try to live in harmony with all things, but with all his ‘ware, I’m not sure he even qualifies as human. Spiritually, I mean,” she adds, glancing around. “Look, I’m clearly not comfortable talking about him, so let’s change the subject.”
If asked about Inferno: “Inferno? Who… oh, you mean TK? You don’t want to hire him, trust me.”
“He’s a teamkiller. Go ask him if you don’t believe me. He can’t deny it.”
“Wagemages make me sick. I saw an earth spirit bound to a road crew once. The pain in its eyes was real.” [she banished it and it didn’t resist]
Rafael “Revenant” Farrar:
A veteran street sam who’s short on diplomacy. His body is covered in patchwork cyberware, with no two pieces except his lead-lensed cybereyes from the same set. His lower jaw, teeth, and tongue are alloyed steel, blown off in a confrontation with a Lone Star patrol. He wears a cloth-of-gold serape over an armor jacket, with an Ares Alpha in plain view above and an Enfield shotgun in a quickdraw holster at his side. He likes to drink and fight, often instigating brawls, and will order a Blood and Sand (Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, Cherry Heering, orange juice) before setting his cyberarm to vibrate the drink against the counter, causing an incredible din. His nickname refers to his seemingly endless ability to come back from the dead and wreak vengeance against his enemies, an ability enhanced by his super-platinum Docwagon contract. Streetwise characters or those with an aura scan will know there’s something seriously wrong with the Revenant: he’s lost almost all of his humanity and can no longer relate to people. When he’s not on a run, he’s running on autopilot, ancient subroutines from when he still had a soul. Connection 5.
If the party introduces themselves, he’ll cut them off almost immediately. “Get to the point.”
If they mention cyberware:
“Who sent you?” Unless it’s someone Revenant knows, he’ll say, “Never heard of him.” and go back to drinking.
If they mention hiring him:
“Creds up front. No cash. It catches fire.”
If they can pay enough to satisfy him:
“Give me the simple version and three days to prep.”
If they make a joke:
“Shut the fuck up. Don’t do jokes. Don’t laugh and smile at me.” If they ask why not during a negotiation, he’ll say he doesn’t give discounts and to drop the act, even if the joke in question couldn’t be construed as rapport-building. If there’s no negotiation in progress, he’ll say the jokes aren’t funny and that people who shit themselves are funny.
If the party’s wearing leather:
“That the fake stuff, or the kind made of brown people?” He doesn’t seem to be joking.
“Might be surprised. In Dhaka they use LTL. No holes in the skins.” He pauses a while, contemplating what he’s said, then adds, “Not a good gig. Third-world organs, third-world prices.”
If asked about organlegging:
“Hearts. Intestines aren’t worth it. Too hard to keep ’em alive.”
If asked questions:
“Information is power.” A popup appears on your commlink: Pay Up, ORC [Orbitally Registered Corporation] has initiated a transfer of Y2,000 for the following service: “one ?”, the word question denoted with a question mark.
He has some decent tips to offer about combat, all geared towards street sams, mixed in with appalling stuff like his organlegging quote.
He reaches into the neck of his serape with one mechanical finger and draws out a small platinum dog tag coated in something ultrareflective, a burning dwarf star in the solar system of the bar. At the top of the talisman is a piece of heraldry: a caduceus centered inside an encircled medic’s cross, with ECG spikes above random engraved letters and numbers. “Get one. Make your geek link it to your biomonitor.” He takes a sip of his drink. “Basic’s fine. Hold it until you can afford superplat. Then those doubledipping shits can’t scam you on death benefits.”
If asked about the scam:
“I went gold. Paid 25k. Saved 5k on the resuscitation, 2.5k on HTR, 400 on ICU, net loss 12.1k.” he says robotically. “Did the math. Saw the scam. Saw the bill. Another 120k in death benefits. All that
red…” he grimaces, baring his steel teeth in a snarl. “Well. Mistakes were made.”
If asked about the mistakes:
“Racked up more debt. Had to walk it off. That was very hard for me. I only did it because no one else had an interest in my survival.” He takes another sip, then looks at all of you. “You’re a team. Stay that way.”
“Old-school thought money was power. Info is power. Money is worth.” He pauses, and you watch yourself listen in his lensed eyes. “You’re not smarter than the market. Before you know you need to decide, the market’s already decided. Use that.”
“Not everyone has what it takes to do what it takes.” He slams his drink, then contemplates something. “30,000Y and I’ll tell you what to do when it happens to you.”
If the party refuses outright or says they don’t have the funds:
“Come back when your lives aren’t worthless.”
If they balk at the price:
“Information is power. This is cheap.”
If they accept:
You watch 30 large disappear before your eyes, data fragments sent high in the sky. Revenant verifies the transfer went through before he speaks.
“Understand the nature of your weakness. What you have done. What you have failed to do. Then purge yourself of all things that lay claim to that failure. They begin with your birth. A weak mind controls weak limbs through a weak spine. Conjoined with society they become your identity. Who you are diverges from what you want. Then an accident happens. Mind, body, spine, identity; one breaks. You discover it can be forged anew. Form follows function. In that newness you are free.
Whatever you want, you can have, to the limits of your influence. Let the nuyen guide you as you guide yourself to strength. What you can’t bear to part with, your failures will take from you. They make you stronger. Let it happen. Discover your body doing things you never thought yourself capable of. When who you were is gone, erased bone by bone, limb by limb, synapse by synapse, there will be nothing left to hold you back. That,” he says, breathing deeply, “is the secret.”
— the reward for listening to the speech is a previously unannounced 10% cyberware discount [the doc will say it turned out to be cheaper, so he’s passing on the savings], plus karma if the players point out the absurdity of using a strong mind/body to follow dreams established in times of weakness, or of the aimlessness that must surround a life built upon nothing
If asked to summarize, he’ll tell the players:
“Locus of control. Four points of failure within you. Mind. Body. Spine. Identity. Two responses to failure. Surrender. Change. Find the point of failure and choose to change. All you need,” he makes the gesture for cash, “is influence.”
If the players complain about being overcharged:
“A fool and his money are soon parted. You have less money. You are less foolish. Your lot has improved.”
“You paid for advice. Its worth depends on how closely you follow it. Follow it to the letter. It’ll more than pay for itself.”
“Get a simrig. Hot sim. Handlers pay extra.” He takes a drink. “Got hacked once. Thought my hardware glitched. Kept seeing 3D shit in wireframes mode.”
If the party inquires further:
“Left it on. Didn’t bother me much. Fucking idiot hadn’t heard of a pain editor.” He takes another drink.
“Good cover isn’t enough. Minimize your exposure to enemy lines of fire. You can only kill three or four at a time.”
“A retreat is an invitation to chase. Don’t accept the invitations of your enemies. Show up where you’re not invited.”
“The element of surprise is overrated. A plan that hinges on striking first is a bad plan.”
Clifton “Weasel” Jones:
A tall man with heavy-lidded eyes and a friendly demeanor. Typical garb is one of several King Cobra hoodies, each an extravagant affair with an iridescent scale hood and gilded maker’s mark on front and rear, plus some form of cargo pants and StreetRace spring-loaded performance-enhancing athletic shoes. Weasel’s street name stems from both his uncanny ability to get out of trouble and his rounded, stoat-like face. An avowed pacifist and natural peacemaker, Weasel believes in putting other people’s needs above his own, a rarity in a slum fueled by narcissism and violence. His hustle supports his relatively modest lifestyle and the shenanigans of his six sisters, at least one of whom is perpetually in trouble. He is thoroughly reliable. Connection 2.
Sisters’ names: Trista, Tameeka, Aisha, Rowan, Sassan, and Latoya
– Weasel can sometimes be seen swaying back and forth and bob his head with his hoodie up. He’s listening to music through over-the-ear headphones with trodes on the inside of the headband.
Another one of his hoodies shows a cobra blasting away with sideways submachine guns, one gripped in its tail and another in its maw, featuring the inscription STRIKE FIRST STRIKE HARD. Weasel has taken a paint can to the shirt, marking the image with the iconic red circular NO symbol. His stencil includes miniature letterforms that follow its curve, making them difficult to read.
“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”
Doug “TK” Spahn, aka “Murderin’ Merlin.”
Calls himself by the streetname “Inferno.” Got his other names in a friendly fire incident the street won’t let him live down. He comes off as a mildmannered guy, a real milquetoast compared to the alpha personalities of the 2070s. Deep down, though, he really does enjoy the power being Awakened gives him over other people, and uses the runs as a kind of social sanctioning that lets him avoid dwelling on the consequences of his actions. He’ll offer his services cheap the first time around, not knowing how weak that makes him look. If taken on a couple runs, he’ll earn enough karma to buy off his bad rep quality. Connection 1.
“They’re just giving me a hard time. I looked it up, and as it turns out, friendly fire incidents involving actual fire are actually quite common. What’s your commcode? I’ll send you some graphs.”
[if the players take him up on their offer, he’ll send them an absurd, psuedoacademic graph, clearly homemade. The design is appalling. It’s got uneven columns, mismatched fonts, and cheesy graphics. You skim over the thing, but instinctively stop when you reach a badly written pair of paragraphs explaining why the “Unarmed/Fists/Karate/Grappling” category has a low likelihood of collateral damage. If you have Edit File, Perception, Aesthetics, or Academic Etiquette skills at 4 or above, you need to roll Willpower, immediately.]
“Did you have to bring that up? I’m trying to move on.” He looks noticably pained. “It was an honest mistake. They would’ve forgiven me.”
“Man, why do you keep harping on about this? Were you there? Did you know them? Then who cares? Stop being a schlong. Worse things happen to better people every day.”
“So you’re gonna give me a hard time too. OK, asshole. Fragging fire away. I’ve heard it all before.” He mutters something, “Lucky I’m not burning you up too, asshole.” [the characters can roll street etiquette, where success reveals it’s an empty threat]
“I was just a kid when I found out I was Awakened. I didn’t want to be treated any differently, but nobody would let me live a normal life. Couldn’t get the quals I needed for a good wage because colleges didn’t want me on their campus. My day to day was filled with worries about scans and background checks. I still applied for jobs, but the corps thought the only thing I was good for was magic. I guess they got their way, because here I am, slinging spells for a living.” He smiles sadly, taking a deep draught from his beer bottle.
“I think situations like mine are more common than most mages let on. Society kind of pushes us to places where it can deal with us. The mage who grew up on trids of Karl Kombatmage blowing stuff up for money will let you know he’s living the dream, but maybe that message doesn’t resonate with everybody. They should make trids about, like, Bob the Awakened Accountant and his loving family, or something. Kind of shake up the current drip where people go cradle to grave in fear of us. I mean, man,” he sighs, frustrated, “we’re not any more dangerous than the guy who blows a couple grand at the gun shop. You think people would chill if they knew that?”
[the real answer is no: magesploitation is profitable, so acceptance has to be forced]
“Like my codename? It’s got a little pizzazz to it, right? I thought it was kind of cool.”
Aleph is an experienced talismonger with a mainstream shop in a middle class area with regular patrols requiring a SIN for sales and taxes. His clientele is a mix of different types including the slightly gullible mundane. An excitable, portly man with long, unmanaged brown curls and thick eyebrows. He wears a plum sportcoat over a cyan set of shirt and trousers that don’t quite match. His competitive edge is that the gang members who bring him artifacts do so for pennies on the dollar in exchange for flashy trinkets and services. Though he’s quite tall, he appears largely harmless. On busy days he may have a teenager gopher and/or greeter helping him that is always nicknamed Tav. Connection 4.
You open the door to a tinkling of small glass chimes. The shop’s side and rear walls are covered in plassteel honeycomb panels containing reagents and objets d’art [under lock and key]. Mud-colored drywall obscures spaces without inventory, hung with ornamental rugs, tapestries, and paintings. A peculiarly dressed woman stands with her forehead pressed to the wall, shining a black light onto the object of her fancy. You scarcely have time to look around the shop before its proprietor, a tall, portly man in a plum sportcoat and cyan shirt, snaps to attention and rushes up to you in a nimble waddle.
“WELCOME, WELCOME!” he booms. “WHY HAVE YOU COME TO THIS PLACE? HMMM?” He looms large over you, and his eyes begin to glow!
“I carry Shamanic and Hermetic materials of the FINEST quality.”
“Customer is an appellation conferred on those who buy something. YOU have bought NOTHING. The correct term for YOU is SHOPPER.”
“Feast your eyes upon this.” He motions you toward a speckled shell about the size of a child’s fist. “Once inhabited by an ancient dio-genidae. Its biological origin and mineral composition make it perfectly suited for cross-tradition rituals.”
“It reads as five drams of reagents.” He points to the thin protrusion that runs through the center of the shell. “If one were a REPROBATE PHILISTINE it is conceivable the shell could be split in twain, with each half retaining nearly half the whole’s power.”
Suhailah of Samarkand
She’s a mystic who can explain the karmic balance of the universe, but doesn’t quite understand that her spiritual journey would be better undertaken from outside the dangerous squat she lives in.
— she’ll talk about the value of cultivating intuition and how society’s drift towards intellectualism resulted in an overwhelming specificity of information beyond what the conscious mind can synthesize. She’ll tell players to go with the flow, follow their hearts, all that jazz, and that when they do they’ll see more and decide faster than people whose worldly outlook is based on logic.
Suhailah can be met buying magic trinkets from Aleph when the PC’s visit his shop. Connection 3.
Appearance: Wears an white half-mantle above a stonecolored mummywrap. Angled lines of vermillion and smoke splay forth from thaumaturgic circles at her shoulders, converging at a point two-thirds up the mantle’s pyramidal hood. Her long dark-brown hair is frizzy and broken. The circles are in the same places at the front and back of the garment.
She offers various forms of training to celebrities and possibly the PCs – yoga [AGI], spiritual guidance [INT], and magical training in various support spells.
“Aleph’s selection is very good, and he knows his products well. What he does with that knowledge depends on how much he likes you.”
“He buys from people who don’t know what they have. Once you’ve initiated, you’ll be able to see the irony in that.”
“Trust your intuition. It’s your body’s way of synthesizing information beyond what your conscious mind can analyze.”
“Always remain in balance.”
“Go with the flow. Follow your heart. See the world in the blink of an eye.”
“You can’t shoot from the hip all the time. Machines resist intuitive understanding just like they do magic. The best people with machines are the ones think like they do: coldly and logically.”
“I’m a spiritual advisor. Most of my clients are Hollywood types; their generousity makes it possible for me to charge sliding-scale fees.”
“Life will ask you to make difficult choices. Before you make them, stop. Don’t think. Feel. Your body will have already decided. Do you respect it enough to listen?”
Bartender. Former Urban Brawl player who got his spine fractured in in the minors. The league repaired it free of charge, then politely informed him they were going to exercise the buyout option in his contract, forcing him to confront the reality of being a man without a game. He became a low-level enforcer in a gang, was made due to his popularity, served a dime in prison, and only recently completed his probation. He’s a big man, with enough muscle left to give people pause before starting shit, and his arms are covered in sleeves of jailhouse tattoos. He’s wearing a signature edition fightwear tee in XL that fits snugly across his doughy frame as well as black tube jeans printed with imagery of broken chains. His hair is short and buzzed, with shaved swirls that look like someone ran their fingertips across his skull. Though he looks tough, he’s really just trying to make it day to day – people have always told him what to do, and now that he’s out there on his own, he’s not sure what he really wants. All he knows is what his past won’t let him have – a sports contract and a corp job. He got sick of violence in prison, so that path is out, and now he’s adrift.
He can tell the players about the downsides of having a criminal SIN, give them a stray rumor or two (he doesn’t pay that much attention), talk about the locals, and make drinks that are way stronger than they should be. Connection 2.
“Whatcha want?” The man takes a couple steps over to the point-of-sale system, where he keys in the name of the drink one letter at a time. After the first few letters are entered, he selects it from a list, moves his lips when reading over the instructions and bottle locations, then methodically goes through the process of making the drink without taking another look back at the terminal. When he’s finished, he pulls out a scanner and runs its beam along the glass, popping up an analysis of the drink he’s created beside an image detailing the drink’s ideal composition. A large red D- flashes on the screen for a split second, with the options “Retry, Refund, Ignore” in red boxes. He presses a button on the scanner, causing the display to read “Customer override confirmed,” and passes the drink to you.
“Frag the machine. Drink up. It’s good.” You imbibe. On one hand, it’s not as good as it could be. On the other hand, it’s a lot stronger than it should be. Your call.
If the players like it:
“My man. You’re gonna fit in here. Need something else, give me a holler.” He walks over to the other end of the bar to chat with a pair of workers in railyard coveralls.
If the players don’t like it:
“Yeah, well, that one’s rung up already. You order another one, I’ll make it however the computer wants.”
“I don’t trust computers much. Don’t like being told how to live my life by dead things.” — he’s ignorant of programming concepts, and if taught, whoever teaches him will gain a point of karma.
“You got problems, take ’em outside.”
“Raf’s a good customer. Drinks like a fish and doesn’t bitch.” He grabs a bottle from one of the lower shelves. “Says some fucked up shit though.”
“Between me and Raf, we maintain a respectful atmosphere in this joint. Heh heh.”
“You want to get personal, talk to Prez. I just work here.”
“Someone told me I should get into shadowrunning. That’s a damn fool idea if I ever heard one.”
If the players keep ordering drinks, one day he’ll stumble across something good.