Part 20: Bad Scalp DayPart 20 - Bad Scalp Day
Hello, and welcome to a special non-canon edition of this LP of Shadowrun: Dragonfall wherein we explore the various failure flavors available in the Humanis mission. While failing the run itself is impossible, Dietrich's personal quest of saving his nephew is a different matter.
In fact there are no less than three different ways to really ruin the day of everyone's favorite punk shaman, two of them Bad and one Extra Bad. We'll just work our way up.
First we'll jump into the middle of a perfectly normal run. The most obvious way to fail Dietrich's quest is to get Alexander killed, either by failing to convince him to change sides or simply by having him eat dirt during the escape. There's no practical difference between the two, so we'll go with the more interesting one.
Last time Volker failed by treating Alexander with disrespect. Surely that'll work better for us though.
Don't let him pressure you, boy.
I'm not a boy! And he's right... I *did* swear an oath. I owe Humanis. They took me in when nobody else would. Taught me to be *strong*.
No, Alex. What these pigs are teaching you... it ain't strength. Come with me, and I'll take you under my wing. Show you what *real* strength is.
This TRAITOR associates with MONGREL FILTH! If you listen to him, you will be BETRAYING YOUR PEOPLE!
I... I don't know. I don't know what to do.
Here's one suggestion, how about you stop wasting our time and make up your mind already. We have places to be, those Kreuzbasarians sure ain't gonna solve their personal problems on their own.
If you can't see through Humanis' bullshit, you don't deserve to live.
[Dietrich shoots you an angry look.]
Fuck off, Rosa! They know how to prey on kids like Alex. It's not his fault!
These ANIMALS don't respect you, Alexander. They DENY your choice. Your uncle over there thinks that you're a CHILD. Now do the right thing and put an END to this.
No. No, he won't. I've seen lots of Humanis guys who've been here for YEARS. And if you really gave a damn, YOU'D have BEEN THERE for me when I NEEDED YOU!
No! Alex! Don't do this!
Alas, in the end Alexander simply couldn't be persuaded and as a result he ends up fighting on the losing side. But we tried our best and that's what counts. Can't win 'em all and all that.
We could have Dietrich kill his nephew himself, but that's maybe a little too dark even for us so we'll just have Blitz gun the kid down in front of him. And no, there's no change in dialogue if you do that. I like the way you think though.
From here things proceed as usual, we fight our way through the compound and save Maxim and his smugglers from the Humanis outside.
As we head for the escape van...
[Dietrich stares at his gnarled hands.]
He's dead. My nephew. My fuckin' blood.
You did what you could. We need to get out of here.
Sorry, man. But your friend is right. We've gotta get the hell out of here, *now.*
Beckenbauer doesn't give a flying fuck about anything but getting the Humanis plans, so we'll head straight for the safe house from here.
Like I mentioned last time, Eiger's the only non-Dietrich crew member who brings up Alexander's fate.
Any thoughts about that last run?
After all of the moral ambiguity that we've been wading through, hitting Humanis was *incredibly* satisfying. What they had planned... it makes my blood boil just thinking about it.
Alexander may've been young, but he wasn't a child. If he were six or seven, I might feel differently. But he was old enough to know that what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway. Actions have consequences. And that's all I have to say.
Harsh but frank as usual. Might not want to say that in Dietrich's earshot though.
Speaking of which...
We lost him. Alexander... he's dead. I can't believe it. I... I failed him, boss.
Not your fault, Dietrich. He failed himself when he chose to join those animals.
Do me a favor, boss? Leave me alone for a while.
Yeah, he's too bummed to say much. Obviously the Dragonslayer also deems him a failure and thus won't gift him with his unique power of questionable usefulness.
Last thing we can do here is to ask him the usual question about the previous run:
The second way to fail the quest is probably the rarest one, and requires Dietrich to go down in battle before reaching Stahl. In practice this means it has to happen during the Rammbock ambush. Doing this by accident is easier said than done as he comes with an auto-reviving Trauma Kit, and even after going down a second time you still have three turns to revive him with someone else (or to end the fight, though you still need to have a Trauma Kit on someone or they're toast).
Several highly unfortunate and crazy unlikely accidents involving a variety of grenades later the old man calls it quits, and we head on to the compound without him.
Without Dietrich around Alexander doesn't even bother showing up, presumably being gunned down as one of the faceless grunts instead. Stahl isn't feeling as chatty either.
Your time has come, fool.
[He turns to the group that just entered the room.]
Once again we paint the walls with the beautiful hues of Humanis blood and escape.
And this time we board the van in silence.
The practical outcome of this route is the same as before, but the conversation with Dietrich is slightly more involved.
Bad luck, Dietrich. That's all it was.
Yeah, two accidental friendly fire grenades is one thing, but three? I mean, in a row? AND you somehow managed to accidentally Electro Core yourself on top? Geez, must've walked under a ladder factory operated by particuarly spiteful black cats or something.
Yeah, there was some of that... but luck ain't everything. Back in my glory days, I made my own luck. If I were still in my prime, I'd've beaten those Rammbock bastards into pulp, bad luck or no. But now, I...
Unfortunate outcomes both, but sometimes things just don't work out despite everyone's best efforts. That's just life, y'know? Dietrich will obviously be pretty bummed out and he misses out on his unique ability, but otherwise the story and conversations with him will go on as usual for the most part.
But there's one more path we can take, and a couple of other things to show off besides, so this time we'll go all the way back to the U-Bahn station before we boarded the train.
...So I'm asking you, as a personal favor, to let me come along on the run. I have to get into that compound, Rosa... I *have* to find Alexander. I have to turn him around before those animals make him do something unforgivable.
Of course, Dietrich. I wouldn't keep you from something like this.
Thanks, boss. Never doubted you'd bring me, of course... you're too good a woman for that. But it's good to hear it, all the same.
Don't worry man, we've got your back. That's what friends are for, right? We'll get in there and show those racist bastards what for, together.
Now then, this team composition looks pretty good. We've got the firepower, the matrix expertise, the support and the magical might. Nothing particularly important appears to be missing.
Once again we reach Schattennest, meet up with Maxim, and start heading for the Humanis compound only to find our journey interrupted by gangers.
...Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this *does* need to get violent. Get ready to ventilate these assholes, Rosa. We've got a schedule to keep.
Oh Maxim, dearest of all our friends, we're about to do exactly that.
Change of plans. I'll be taking the shipment, the cash for the delivery, and all of your lives.
[She chortles.] Heh. And here I thought today was gonna be boring. RAMMBOCK! KILL 'EM ALL!
With twice the people strangely upset with us this time, we immediately take cover in the leyline-clad side area and let the two groups of idiots handle things between themselves.
We do make sure to put a bullet into Maxim personally though. He had a portrait and everything, he deserves better than going down to some random thug. Yeah, you're welcome Max old boy.
When the fight eventually dies down together with everyone else present, we walk up to where his body would be had it not been claimed by the all-powerful Spirit of Corpse Despawning.
The rewards for being backstabbing bastards are quite considerable. We do miss out on 1 Karma, but I'd consider this a fair exchange rate.
The compound itself is even lonelier than before. At least we can just head straight for Stahl without any extra yammering, beyond Duerr making his usual demand.
Once again, no Dietrich, no Alexander. Must be a scientific phenomenon of some sort.
Shut up and die already.
This is actually a Quickness 4 check which claims to let us attack first but since that's the case regardless, it leads me to believe that particular mechanic simply doesn't work.
Also fuck this guy, and fuck Duerr and his organization too. We're done being pushed around.
Without the smugglers' presence, the battle outside is much trickier than before as the enemies are now scattered in better positions and are all against us from the start. Nothing we can't handle by playing it careful, but the game definitely makes you work for that extra ¥2000.
A long firefight later, the details of which I'll leave to your imagination because it's not that interesting, we leave this rotten place behind one last time without a single living soul left to watch us go.
With Stahl dead, Luca is feeling a lot chattier.
My employers aren't happy about what happened to Volker Stahl. Yes, he was a vile man, but he was *our* vile man. In killing him, you have created an unstable situation that could lead to an additional loss of life.
It's fair to assume that for all their shady and outright evil crap, the Lodge and Stahl did have conflicting interests and the man probably wasn't that much better off alive than dead. But putting him down sure was satisfying, so I think we can consider this a win regardless.
The money wasn't worth it. He had to be stopped.
The loss of a single chapterhouse isn't going to make a dent in Humanis' strength in this city. In fact, Stahl's death will only make the rest of Humanis even more bloodthirsty. They'll blame Stahl's death on the metahumans, print up some new propaganda, and paint themselves the victims.
If you play as a metahuman yourself, he'll specifically point out that Humanis will use Stahl's death in the hands of one as proof that their cause is justified.
Say whatever you like. I made a difference today.
The crew members will also comment on Stahl's demise (Dietrich's only applies if you save Alexander obviously):
On the plus side, he's dead now! So that's good. ...I dunno, boss. If you were hoping for something more profound, I'd talk to one of the others.
The thought of Stahl lying dead on the ground brings a smile to my face. I hope that he enjoys rotting in Hell.
That said... I'll admit that I do enjoy a certain sense of satisfaction thinking about Stahl's head breaking apart. So there's that.
We even dropped that pig Stahl. The perfect end to a perfect run. Again, boss - great work.
Oh, and while Beckenbauer is pleased about Stahl's demise, he's presumably none the wiser about all the smuggler murder as he makes no comment on it. Poor Maxim, forgotten by the world already.
Oh hey Dietrich, did you hear about our extremely successful and highly profitable run? Man you should've been the- oh. Ohhhh.
Sorry, Dietrich. I forgot that you'd asked to come along.
[He stares at you incredulously.]
You forgot? You *forgot?* I *told* you how important this was. I *begged* you to bring me on that run. What else did you need, a fucking diagram?
Look we had a lot of optional objectives to juggle around okay, you can't expect us to remember all of them. Sheesh.
Cool down, Dietrich. I said that I was sorry.
"Sorry" won't cut it, boss. Not for somethin' like this. Whatever friendship we might have had, it's over. Now walk away.
Hang on. Does this mean that you're leaving the group?
No. I wouldn't abandon Glory an' Eiger like that. I don't cut and run. But after this thing is done... after those two are out of danger... I'm out. Now, please, boss... get the hell away from me. I have a nephew to mourn.
Fine, go ahead. Blame me for spoiling your half-assed intervention. If you really cared about that kid, you'd have done something to help him a long time ago.
Yeah... Screwing up the quest by accident (or "accident") is one thing, but it's only the conscious decision of not bringing Dietrich along for the run that will cause him to actively hate your guts for the rest of the game.
Trying to initiate conversation with him from this point on will just lead to the same response:
This also affects his part in the ending, but that's such long ways ahead that I obviously won't cover it here.
But worry not, after all this has merely been a trip to the middle ground between light and shadow, the dimension of imagination, an area we call... the ~Non-Canon Zone~. So! Next time we'll get back to the real world where Alexander lived, our best pal Dietrich is happy and aside from the impending draconic doom and the variety of other minor downsides of living in a dystopian cyberpunk world, things are downright cheerful.