We’re in it for the Money: Yippee-ki-yay

GM Note: The thief is referred to as “John Schillios” in this adventure.

The game begins with a bit of a current events recap for the players: after their previous mission which ended with the arrest of lead researchers and executives of their former client, a trial date has been set for Kennedy vs. Divine Spark Inc. and is already rapidly gaining prominence in the media due to its highly unusual nature; even in a world filled with magic, “mind theft” is something that will tend to draw quite a bit of attention.

While the other players are arguing over how to best upgrade the Escalade they acquired in the second adventure, John, in a rare show of piety, begins the session by visiting a temple of Correlon, patron deity of the elven people. He kneels before the alter for only a moment before standing and making a small donation to the temple, the same donation he makes on this day every year. Then, departing the temple, he goes to a payphone and makes a single phone call. The call rings through to voicemail and he leaves a simple message:

John: “It’s me. Ask for John this week if you need to find me.”

Hanging up, he heaves a heavy sigh and goes about his business for the day.

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We’re in it for the Money: Do Androids Dream of Electric Dire Sheep?

GM Note: The thief is referred to as “Thomas Dresden” in this adventure.

The players (minus Norm, who is taking several company-approved vacation days to work on a personal project) are stashing away the werewolf serum they acquired after the last adventure in Thomas’ off-site storage locker. Gorak, now back in action after his brief contraction and subsequent treatment of lycanthropy, is lifting the crate full of vials on top of the freezer that formerly held the bodies of several of the Sons of Limbo biker gang, when the party receives another call from their G&H beepers. Locking up the storage locker, they proceed to G&H headquarters to report in for their next job.

Upon entering Punwick’s office, there is another woman standing by Punwick’s desk, who he introduces as Dr. Sarah Cohen, lead researcher on a project being headed by Divine Spark Industries, a subsidiary company of Arcane Technologies Ltd. The project in question is primarily an experimental venture, testing fully synthetic humanoid cybernetic constructs for use as bodyguards, body doubles, and the like. While cybernetics are somewhat common, full androids are as of yet an impractical venture, due to virtual intelligence technologies not yet being advanced enough to effectively handle the complex movements of a humanoid frame while simultaneously interpreting and adapting to potential threats. Divine Spark hopes to alleviate some of these problems through their work on the Kusanagi project.

Recently however, four of the experimental android prototypes forcibly escaped from the testing facility, fatally wounding one of the guards in the process. After escaping, they fled into Sigil, and while Divine Spark still possesses data on the androids’ GPS locators, they themselves lack the manpower to pursue them. They could go to Arcane Tech or the Harmonium to handle the problem, but this would likely result in a serious hit to their stock and possible termination of their bid on the Kusanagi Project. They would like to avoid that outcome if at all possible so they’ve come to Gillespie & Haggard for help. They’ve hired G&H, and by extension the players, to track down the escaped androids and retrieve them, unharmed if possible.

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We’re in it for the Money: Dog Soldiers

GM Note: The thief is referred to as “Xavier Riser” in this adventure.

Once again, the party is summoned into Punwick’s office for a mission briefing. Standing next to Punwick is a man in full military uniform, who Punwick introduces as Major Doyle of the British Special Air Service on Earth. Apparently, several members of the SAS were on a retrieval mission when their returning aircraft vanished from RADAR and radio contact somewhere over Lebanon. Apart from the obvious problems, another one is that it wasn’t supposed to be over Lebanon. Wishing to avoid an international incident, Major Doyle has arrived in Sigil to recruit the help of Gillespie & Haggard in finding out what happened. The players’ mission is to determine what happened to the lost aircraft and retrieve its crew and its cargo.

GM Note: Yes, I know this is a far cry from standard operating procedure as any competent military wouldn’t outsource a search and rescue op to a company with a history as… colorful as G&H, but I’ve never worried much about steeping my games in too much realism. If the party can beat up a bugbear in a Miami nightclub run by a drug-dealing Alabama gnoll then I think they can take the time to do a job for the SAS that would normally just be relegated to another special operations team.

The players ask a few questions, and are understandably suspicious about not knowing the nature of the cargo (the word “classified” is sure to instill that kind of feeling in people) but ultimately accept the job; they’re trying to establish a reputation after all, and they don’t want the good jobs going to the next team down on the roster.

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We’re in it for the Money: Jumpin’ Jack Flash

After the last adventure, most of the players are spending their time either relaxing or gearing up for the next inevitable job. Gorak and Strauss work out the purchase of personal radios for the whole team so they can keep in better contact, and Norm sets aside his rapier and purchases a set of matching katanas which he fully intends to dual wield in combat. Max, however, is making more unique use of his time. Changing his name to Ethan Forge to protect his ever-changing identity, he goes about trying to set up an entire fake entity. His idea is to create a fictional individual, the mysterious “Mr. Mannheim”, and then build the reputation of this individual through his own actions, slowly but surely developing a persona that is widely recognized but never truly known.

GM Note: The idea behind this particular gambit is most probably rooted in D20 Modern’s somewhat nebulous “reputation” score. At level up and after certain defining adventures or actions (to be determined by the GM) the characters can increase their individual reputation scores that can be applied in specific interactions. For example: if a player is trying to convince a security guard to let them in to an exclusive event, they can supplement their diplomacy roll with their reputation bonus in the hopes that word of their deeds will allow them enough prestige to enter. This can also work against the players, however, if a certain criminal (or authority) element that they would rather avoid has heard of their actions before, making eluding that element all the more difficult.

Ethan goes out and hires several low-level financiers and web designers and has them set about the task of creating a fictional history for Mr. Mannheim: business transactions, investments, company websites and the like. Anyone who hears the Mr. Mannheim name from now one will be able to find an elaborate history of his business dealings through a simple internet search, legitimizing any claims to association the players might make.

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We’re in it for the Money: The Wild Ones

At the start of the adventure, the players are all off separately doing their own things: Norm is killing time at a Café, Gorak is playing in a backroom poker game (and losing), Strauss is honing his skills at an indoor shooting range, and Maximillian Pegasi (the moniker that the thief has given himself this week) is up to something that’s probably illegal if you look in the right books.

GM Note: This is just a little something I like to do at the start of every adventure. It gives the players an opportunity to flesh out their characters outside of the regularly structured combat and investigation of a normal game. Admittedly, most of the players in a typical group will always say they’re doing the same thing 90% of the time, but there’s usually one guy who will go the extra mile and start to build a behind-the-scenes arc for whatever character they’re playing. It’s an opportunity to allow the players to add some flavor to the character they’re playing and hopefully gets them more invested in what they’re doing.

After a few minutes of establishing their off-duty routine, the players get called into work; they all carry a kind of beeper (a device which Gorak described as “kinda like those little things they give you at Olive Garden before you’re seated) that effectively allows them to be on call virtually any time. The players all head to Gillespie and Haggard and sit in a small waiting room until all of them arrive and a secretary buzzes them through into their boss’ office.

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