The Adventures of a Cyberpunk 2020 GM and her players, part 4

It has been a while since I’ve written one of these, but with the move to a new job on the horizon I’ve been a bit busy. Combine that with some scheduling issues and we just haven’t had a session for a while.

Following on from the previous session’s conflict, our player character roster has changed slightly. We have:

  • Edward “Crossfire” Caine – A retired corporate security member who has found himself feeling rather useless, so has taken to edgerunning to keep his skills sharp.
  • Zheng “Hard Truth” Huo – A… paranoid conspiracy theorist vlogger who is obsessed with his job to show the real truth to the masses.
  • Yuveleva “Loader” Konstantinovna – A Russian netrunner with a day job who seeks to earn mega-money through edgerunning.

Important NPCs that came up in this session were:

  • Iron Hawk – A relatively new fixer who is interested in bringing the PCs into the edgerunning scene as new talent.
  • Corrupted_Angel – A young netrunner under Iron Hawk’s employ who has started making a name for herself after a few successful clean up operations
  • Ghost – An edgerunning driver who works for Iron Hawk. New to the area and with weak English, but has a fancy katana.
  • Doc Locke – A fully qualified doctor and medtech working for MediCare who has taken to edgerunning as a means of gaining practical experiences, as well as truckloads of cash.

We picked up the day after we last left off, with Hard Truth recovering from the wounds he suffered in his fight with Plata. He wanted to move, but couldn’t afford to pay a full month’s rent for what would have been about half a week, so he took his chances and waited for the month to be over before he moved apartment. During this time he decided to put his plans into motion and started a smear campaign against Plata, which gave mixed results. He successfully convinced one of the Jackals that Plata was a child molester and all around awful guy, hoping to get some rumours spreading within the gang that they both used to be a part of, but his attempts online were met with failure. He set up a fake profile on social media, spent a few days making “normal” posts, before making posts implicating Plata in sexual assault and pedophilia, however a netrunner by the name of n3t_sh4d0w uncovered the falsification and exposed it to the public.

Plata simply got out of hospital and was told by one of his colleagues that there was this smear campaign that someone tried to do on him, but the account was shut down shortly after being exposed as fake.

Meanwhile, Crossfire decided that he wanted to be homicidal and decided to go into the combat zone, going into Jackals territory in the middle of the night. He crit his streetwise check (hitting an almighty… average difficulty DC. He’s really not streetsmart) and managed to not get lost or stumble upon a group of angry combat zone gang members. Instead he found a pair of mildly intoxicated lovers, waited for the street to be clear, crept up behind them and shot the man in the back of the head, before grabbing the woman and choking her to death. He then put the bodies on top of each other, shot the woman in the back of the head and started to sneak away.

Now, for the record, I’m just as confused as you are, intrepid reader (unless you are Crossfire’s player, as I’m sure you had your reasons). Apparently, this was done to gauge reaction times of the Jackals, but I’m finding myself wondering if it was really necessary. Regardless, Crossfire was spotted sneaking away (as eight nearby Jackals heard the gunshot and one of them crit his awareness roll) and started trying to lose them in the alleys. Not being the most streetsmart of individuals, he got a bit lost and couldn’t seem to shake them. He eventually decided to climb up a building, rolling an impressive athletics check to start the climb, but he was seen by four of the Jackals who opened fire on him. Fortunately, they were unable to hit him before he managed to climb onto the roof of the building. He then managed to lose them while they worked out what to do about this and made his way back to the safety of the checkpoint and the moderate zone.

The PCs were then summoned to a meeting with Iron Hawk as she had a new job for them. They convened at a bar in Syndicate territory, where the PCs were introduced to Loader, a Russian netrunner who was to help them with this job. Iron Hawk’s motivations for giving the PCs this job were mixed. She has her reasons which I cannot disclose here for wanting Loader on the job (can’t say it because then the player could find out and it’s super secret right now!), but the reasons she’s giving this fairly big job to the PCs is a bit of forced development. Either the team will die on the job, or they will learn how to work together and not screw up as much. She used a bird metaphor and no one had the all-important zoology skill and I was disappointed, talking about how birds learn to fly. It seemed to go over the PCs’ heads.

The job itself was an important corporate extraction. The party were to extract an anti-AI researcher and bring him to a secure location in the combat zone. The party asked who was hiring for this job, but Iron Hawk advised that she could not divulge such information, but assured them this was not a kidnapping, as the target desired the move. Furthermore, Iron Hawk informed the party that three of her other more competent edgerunners were unavailable for hire as they were taking care of another job for her; these edgerunners were Corrupted_Angel, who had led the clean up operations following the PCs’ latest screw ups, Ghost and Doc Locke.

The PCs then spent the rest of the session planning what to do and considering purchases on the 40,000eb expense account they had been given for the job (they were told it would be a bad idea to run away with it. Spoiler alert, it would be an absolutely awful idea to run away with it). Loader demonstrated her netrunning prowess, subtly setting up a meeting between her and their target, as his email and phone contact details were undoubtedly tapped, so she hacked into a speaker at his home and made it play a message for him. As I had work the next morning and all most of what was going to happen was planning and purchasing, I decided to end the session there.


I thoroughly enjoyed this session, even though not much really happened. I’ve been waiting to spring proper jobs on the party for a while, and felt this was a good opportunity that would make sense. It’s a fairly substantial problem that the PCs have to tackle and multiple ways to go about it. It will be interesting to see how they go about it.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to compare how the PCs do it compared to the other team who are on a very similar job. The NPC crew, I will admit, were given the bigger, harder job, as Iron Hawk really needs the bigger job done right and didn’t want to risk giving it to this dysfunctional group of PCs she has; they are doing another extraction, but on an Autosoft executive. I have mapped out their plan, done the rolls and bought the gear they would need and I said I would show a comparison of the expense reports for the two teams and the two jobs, as anything bought on the expense accounts needs to be documented.

I can’t wait to see how it all pans out next week / the week after (depending on how long it takes).

One thought on “The Adventures of a Cyberpunk 2020 GM and her players, part 4

  1. Longer answer.

    Caine is used to working in a professional security setting. People follow orders and protocols and are competent. The priority is that everyone goes home to their family at the end of the shift. Heroes not only die, they get other nearby people killed.

    He was expecting something similar from edge-running, but with better equipment. This has not remotely happened. The run when Panther died had an actual plan. Not a great one, due to a chronic lack of info-gathering, but a plan none-the-less.

    Start by taking out the driver and the vans with focussed fire.

    Instead, everyone scattered like cats and did their own thing – without any signals to let him adapt. He quickly shifted from “complete the mission” to “get as many of our people out alive as possible.”

    As for Plata and Truth’s recent debacle…

    He’s noticed he’s running in the CZ a *lot* . Not something he expected. And he recognises he’s at a significant disadvantage here. He doesn’t know the territory, or how people act.

    Hence his “experiment”. Admittedly what happened to Saint was a trigger for this. How do you do various forms of violence in the combat zone effectively, but with no backup? Because right now, he is the only real source of violence in the group. And he learned quite a bit from that encounter with the lovers.

    Based on that experience, he has a second plan which won’t involve either the CZ or actually killing anyone. For now.

    As an aside, he subtly demonstrated his solo skill to the new net-runner and then asked her to do a google search to prove her ability – citing difficulties with a previous net-runner. He knows with a phone book he could have the answer in under a minute. The fact that several days have passed and she hasn’t bothered to do it, troubles him as to her reliability…

    Looking forward to the Ocean’s 11 caper this weekend!

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