View Full Version : The Fixer (Shadowrun Brainstorming)

Gorbash Kazdar
2008-06-15, 09:18 PM
Looking for a bit of help creating an NPC.

I'm getting ready to start a game of Shadowrun, and am having trouble figuring out what will be a very central piece of the campaign. The game in question is going under the title of Drek Runs. The characters are all very new to 'running - this will be the first run for each of them. They have less gear and fewer contacts than normal, and I gave them somewhat fewer build points to represent their lack of experience.

The thing that ties them all together is that they all know the same fixer contact. This fixer calls them together for their first run, and will likely be their go-to contact for the first several sessions until they start building up their own contacts.

Given the fixer's importance, I want him (or her) to be memorable, but I'm having trouble coming up with ideas. The fixer in question is well connected in the Seattle area and respected in the shadow community. Beyond that, sky's the limit.

So, hit me with your best ideas!

2008-06-15, 09:20 PM
Terrible phlem problem from a bad smoker's cough.

Citizen Joe
2008-06-15, 09:25 PM
How about a Catholic priest doing 'God's Work' in the Barrens. They runners and Johnsons contact him in the confessional, perhaps even a virtual confessional. The team members all start out down on their luck and end up at a community center that he's trying to maintain.

Gorbash Kazdar
2008-06-15, 09:42 PM
How about a Catholic priest doing 'God's Work' in the Barrens. They runners and Johnsons contact him in the confessional, perhaps even a virtual confessional. The team members all start out down on their luck and end up at a community center that he's trying to maintain.
Ooh, I really like this... not sure it's quite the flavor I want for the game, but it's a unique and very interesting concept.

2008-06-15, 09:44 PM
Not very shadowrun-y though...How about a deranged Catholic priest who only thinks he's doing God's work in the Barrens?

2008-06-15, 09:50 PM
One concept we used that turned out very well was a Japanese man that the GM had us convinced was Yakuza and it turned out he was only masquerading as Yakuza and he was actually a Black Ops rep for one of the big corporations (forget which, it was a long time ago).

Citizen Joe
2008-06-15, 09:52 PM
Ooh, I really like this... not sure it's quite the flavor I want for the game, but it's a unique and very interesting concept.

See The DaVinci Code for a grittier Priest/Runner relationship.

EDIT: Note that he could have also been a Chaplain in some war with military contacts.

2008-06-15, 10:17 PM
What about a ghoul? After all, they're sentient, have control over their actions, and could even be acceptable as PCs.
(And a Ghoul Catholic Priest?)

2008-06-15, 10:35 PM
I tended to come up with a lot of really silly characters. One of these was "The Major". He was a survivalist conspiracy theorist, and gun nut. He mostly sold guns. But also camping equipment, canned food, crazy magazines, and so on. But he wasn't used frequently enough for any of that other stuff to be applicable.

He may or may not have ever been in the army.

As far as actual missions go...

-The truck that "things fall off the back of" got attacked by a Gang. But, there was another gang who also wanted to do the same thing. It got wrecked pretty badly, but they were able to crash into a warehouse, and take cover. Between the fact that they're well armed (they are after all driving through an area where gangs can roam) and that two gangs are fighting over them, they'll be able to last a little while. The main goal is to grab a few of the boxes that contain the loot that was to be delivered. It could be slightly incriminating. If they can't get the stuff away, the team is to destroy it. They get bonuses for being able to bring the heavily armed truck drivers back alive, and if they can get the whole truck out. (Again, it's pretty badly wrecked)

-Some mid level crook has had their daughter kidnapped. Or that's what they'd have you think. It turns out this was a very elaborate prank. The team is payed based on how much they entertained the people doing this. The crook and daughter might not even be real people, but there was enough falsified information in the system to convince the Fixer they do in fact exist.

-A Cthulhu cult has been abducting people. It turns out that in reality they're basically stupid and harmless. They did however ignore the employer a bit when they shoved a dead octopus in his face, telling him that Cthulhu will devour us all. Being rich, and having no patience, he wanted them killed, and fabricated a story. If they don't kill the cult, they'll gain them as contacts. And while stupid, they have a few connections. They can even get unpolluted octopi and other delicious sea creatures. They mostly get sold junk, but sometimes they get some actually magical materials. (They're all Mundane). Alternatively, use something else for the stupid cultists.

-Some real estate agent wants to seel some property, but there's a ghost causing problems. It has some ghostly motivation. There might be something that comes out of them helping deadie resolve the issue, or maybe it's the exact same result as if they banish them. It can be as powerful or wimpy as you feel like

-A Pirate themed gang is fighting with a Ninja themed gang. Neither of them are really pirates or Ninja. The employer is some Yakuza guy who just found it all really stupid and depressing and just wants it to stop. Even if it's stopped through mass murder.

-Some suit wants something stolen. Turns out this is really just a security test. As a bonus, if the team successfully steals the thing, they are allowed a chance to be verbally abusive to the security.

-A little girl is missing her cat. The team has to find it.

-A little girl likes another little girls cat. The team is to steal it.

-A little girl received a failing grade in math. The team is to do repeatedly horrible things to the teacher, and murder them in a gruesome fashion that would traumatize any who see the body. If they do the "sensible" thing and turn her into the police, they'll earn themselves an enemy who really shouldn't be much of a threat but somehow manages to be. They can kill her in some fashion and hopefully dispose of the body in a suitable fashion too. They might find some way out of this incredibly dark situation without murder, but they'll need to get creative. Or you can avoid this plot entirely.

-Some bored spirit places the team in a magical chocolate factory. They can either play along, or come up with what will likely be a needlessly violent solution.

Gorbash Kazdar
2008-06-15, 11:06 PM
To clarify a bit on the style of this game, it's going to be pretty serious and gritty, in classic cyberpunk fashion. The Drek Runs bit is that since the team is a bunch of newbies, to begin with they're going to get the table scraps - the runs no one else wants to bother with, or that have to be put together on the fly. So while the runs may be bad or strange, I don't want them to be outright silly.

Citizen Joe
2008-06-16, 12:14 AM
I was going to suggest using the phrase "Let he who is without SIN cast the first stone." as a justification for the priest to send the runners (who are SINless) out on missions. Then you could go through the books and find other quotes that you could twist around so that it seems a little related to what is going on.

Although you can pull down all sorts of 'wrath of god' type stuff, mostly the priest is not going to be sending people out on wetwork assignments. This may actually make the jobs significantly more difficult because they need to find a way to manipulate things behind the scenes to help people. To make matters worse, most people showing up are going to be desperate without any money. However, what the characters are actually gaining is contacts and favors.

Now, at some point there's going to be some prime runs that show up, and as the GM you need to decide if the Priest thinks the runners can do it, because it is his name on the line. One option is a Corporate fat cat who the priest married comes to the priest for a delicate matter. Another option would be clearing out a vampire den with orders straight from the Vatican. Anyway, slowly get the runners addicted to the Priest's contacts and nuyen. Then have him geeked, quietly, in his confessional. Hopefully, the team has some sort of faceman/disguise artist so that they can pretend he is still alive to keep the nuyen and jobs flowing... or they cut and run and the whole neighborhood goes to hell.

2008-06-16, 02:29 AM
A character I was playing once might be a useful basis for this fixer or his replacement. This is all 3rd edition stuff.

Of the players for this game the GM and I were the only ones who had played Shadowrun before. I purposely made my character last, knowing I was going to have to fill any vacant roles that the others missed. We ended up with three sammys and a katana adept, I had to be... very multi-functional. Face, astral, magic, medic, tech, computers, and driver. I managed to do it.

Malik the elven conjurer/skillwire face. I was able to start with 4 essence, force 3 power and fire focuses, 8 charisma, 6 intelligence/willpower, a force 6 fire elemental with three services left, a decent car, a run down warehouse, half a dozen level 6 skillsofts, and six or seven contacts. You can work him up from that or I can type in the whole character from the sheets. He had 40+ karma laying around when our game ended, more elementals too.

Malik-as-hole-plugger worked pretty well. The costs of summoning the elementals he needed gave him reason to go on runs, he was limited enough that the GM didn't need to challenge a full sorcerer or shaman, and he covered the party lack of anything but lethal force. Malik-as-Fixer would be a year or so older and probably working as a free-lance magical security consultant (he could put up a pretty mean ward and was good with watcher spirits) and moonlighting as a Fixer for extra money. Initiation and elementals are expensive as heck. Malik wouldn't restrict himself to just magical stuff, he was pretty good with software and biotech and had contacts with street docs and environmentalists. Had a young contact in the Barrens too.

Malik could make a decent Fixer because he's pretty self-sufficient and well defended as long as he isn't surprised. Being a magician with force 5 and 7 elementals means he's dangerous to annoy too. However he isn't a big fish in the shadows, luckily he isn't trying to be. Small jobs, low to moderate risk, some extra cash. He'd even be willing to pass the players along to better fixers when they 'graduate' (he'd expect the other Fixers reciprocate with some low end runs for his guys). Watcher spirits and computer contact would likely be combined for the first few contracts. Being hard to trace is important when you're working with rookies, and it's unlikely they'll be able to follow both at once.

2008-06-16, 03:32 AM
Prime requisites for a fixer are the following (in rough order of importance)

1) Contacts. LOTS of contacts. Contacts in the underworld. Contacts amoung military personnel. Contacts among the wealthy elite. Contacts amoung the politicos.
2) Personal Charisma. All these contacts have to trust the fixer. He's the "hub" in their network.
3) A cover job that has a large cash flow, preferably one that is relatively untaxed and/or hard to trace.
4) A stable of people to deliver or pick up things for the fixer (plausible deniability). These people need to be able to go into and out of lots of different places with a minimum of notice.

Figure out what the best kind of fixer is yet? It's...

A high-class Pimp or Madam They deal in large sums of untaxed cash, have contacts practically everywhere, have a stable of people to do errands for them at their beck and call, and the good ones are generally charismatic. They've also got blackmail material on LOADS of people who may not want it known they avail themselves of sexual services.

Make him or her a heavily-cybered example (say, for robosexuals - lots of cyberlimbs in SkyDoll style, or imagine what could be done with internal temperature adjusters in particular areas, or that 3-foot tongue from the Man&Machine book) and a personality quirk (don't go with the stereotypes - you'll just get laughed at - I rather like the idea of a highly religious sir or madam), and that's a pretty memorable character.

Mark Hall
2008-06-16, 10:44 PM
Ooh, I really like this... not sure it's quite the flavor I want for the game, but it's a unique and very interesting concept.

Actually, I have the character (http://www.editors-wastebasket.org/nexx/shadowrun/Jesuit.html) for you!

He's a former Jesuit (you know, the Catholic Church's commando unit) who was badly injured (permanently blinded) in a training mission. He's now a low-level fixer, and fighting alcoholism.

2008-06-17, 02:44 AM
Huh. This thread didn't bump itself on the main page when Mark posted. Wonder why not?

2008-06-17, 09:56 AM
My all-time favorite fixer was Eduardo Zhang, proprietor of Ed's Taco and Lube, a combination restaurant, full-service garage, and money laundering operation. A very low-rent sort of fixer with many street contacts and simple jobs. I always pictured him as a skinny little balding man with black hair, a widow's peak, and liver spots all over his face.