Part 26: Real Work for Real WorkersPart 26 - Real Work for Real Workers
We're back in the 'basar once again, our karmic reward from finishing the Gesundbrunnen job amounting to 4 hits of the K-juice. This'll be a brief update to get us started with the next run as most Kreuzbasarians are still resting their vocal chords from all the yammering of recent times, but we do have some sweet level ups to go through as even the short side jobs count towards crew advancement which pops up every 2 missions (aside from the final one to lvl 6 which is story-gated).
Sniper Specialist II: Eiger gains the sniper rifle ability "Interdiction Shot" which fires a discarding-sabot HTI round that ignores armor completely. Cost: 2 AP. Cooldown: 5.
Shotgun Ammo Mod: Eiger gains the shotgun ability "Dragon's Breath Round" that sets targets on fire and strips 1 Armor. Ongoing DMG: 4. Cost: 1 AP. Cooldown: 3.
Ah, Interdiction Shot, the great equalizer which'll tear through even the bulkiest body plate as if it were a shirt woven from the collective integrity of FIFA. What's not to love? I'll tell you what, it's the 2 AP cost which takes a machete to the poor ability's defenseless hamstrings. The fact is that taking two 1 AP shots or shooting & moving is more useful than a single armor-piercing attack in almost every situation, and most enemies only have light-to-medium armor to begin with so getting the full benefit from the effect is rare. With a whopping 5-turn cooldown on top, you'd expect a bit more bang for your buck.
Dragon's Breath Round has Eiger light people on fire with shotgun shells, which by itself ought to render this a non-contest. I mean alright, it's a bit more badass on paper than in practice since being on fire in this game is more of a minor inconvenience rather than the sizeable collection of unpleasantries we usually associate with being burned alive, but it's at least easy to weave into a normal battle plan and works in almost any situation. A bit of extra damage, a smidgeon of armor removal, cool why not.
What isn't mentioned in the perk description is that unlike other shotgun attacks, Dragon's Breath Round never hits adjacent targets at any distance. While this can be considered a bit of a downside, it also makes it safer to use around allies, in particular Glory who spends a lot of time intruding on other people's personal spaces.
Nerve Spear: Dietrich's basic Nerve Bolt spell now flushes enemies from cover when they are hit.
Battle Hardened: Dietrich's years of devotion to the Dragonslayer Idol imbue him with an innate +1 Armor.
One more pretty boring level before Dietrich gets his hands on the real good stuff. The bad news is that Battle Hardened is a direct stat boost perk which, as I mentioned when he was offered the Throwing Weapons bonus at level 2, are bugged and do literally nothing. The good news is that you'd probably be better off picking Nerve Spear anyway since the biggest threat for a backline support like Dietrich is ennui, and Rosa's Armor III immediately eliminates anyone's survivability issues anyway.
In practical terms Nerve Spear lets Dietrich to do the exact same thing with Nerve Bolt that he can already do with his throwing knives, but slightly more accurately (unless using Aimed Throw) and with the Nerve Bolt's innate unbalancing effect which makes the target slightly easier to hit for a couple of turns. An unbalanced and coverless enemy is very easy prey, but as with the knives the main problem is landing the bolt itself through someone's cover bonus, especially since the man isn't exactly a flanker. But well, at least it does something.
Razor Specialist II: Glory gains the razor claw ability "Fray Armor", an armor-stripping attack which hits twice with each hit stripping 2 Armor from the target. Cost: 2 AP. Cooldown: 2.
Pistol Specialist II: Glory gains the pistol ability "Hail of Bullets" which targets up to 4 enemies and then opens fire on all of them. -5% accuracy, must have at least 3 targets. Cost: 2 AP. Cooldown: 5.
Glory gets another choice between a claw skill and a pistol skill. Between the two Hail of Bullets is definitely the more interesting ability, and while it's possible to get some decent use out of it if you're willing to micromanage Glory's equipment, you're undoubtedly better off playing a handgun user yourself if going all Michael Thorton on everyone's ass is your goal. You bring Glory when you want to tear out the page containing the word "cover" from your opponent's dictionary, and this doesn't help her achieve that goal. It's also stuck in the same 5-turn cooldown club for uncool nerd skills as Interdiction Shot, and is obviously of no use without at least three visible targets.
And if you were hoping it'd at least be visually badass, y'know taking down a bunch of bad guys like BLAM BLAM BLAM one after another, well...
...not exactly. That muzzle flash hasn't got a clue what's happening either.
Anyway, Fray Armor is one of the stronger armor removal abilities in the game and especially valuable if you don't have access to the rather overpowered Strip Armor III spell. The 2 AP cost makes it a little harder and riskier to use than Glory's other abilities as her accuracy is only average and one or both attacks can miss, but knocking someone out of cover and getting rid of their armor in the process is a solid mix and her Adrenaline Pump ensures she usually has the AP to spare.
Decking Boost: Blitz's Decking is increased by 1.
ESP Boost: Blitz's ESP Control is increased by 1.
Well, well, look at our boy Blitz finally starting to make up for his previous slacking, that's a downright impressive range of stat ups. Love the zero-effort perk descriptions though, Dietrich got a fancy explanation about the Dragonslayer providing him with +1 Armor but here it's just "yeah here's an extra point go nuts". It's very Blitz-like.
Now normally I'd declare this choice a complete no-brainer as Decking is simply more useful than ESP Control... but these are both direct stat ups, and if you've been paying attention so far you probably realize the problem here. Indeed, perk-wise this is a completely blank level for Blitz as neither choice does anything! Which I guess in a way makes it even more of a no-brainer. And unlike with Dietrich's mostly irrelevant Throwing Weapons and Armor ups, this is actually kind of a bummer as the Decking boost would actually be kind of nice to have.
One silver lining is that 5 Decking which he just now reached is enough for all but one skill check (which requires 6) until the endgame, and after the next level up he'll have enough for that one too. There are a couple of higher checks in the endgame but by then Blitz is a legitimate decking wizard and able to clear them with or without the perk.
Now then, back to the real world where our first order of business is reporting bach to Mettback. Wait, the other way around.
Ah, welcome back.
I took care of that business with the Rabengeister. They won't be hijacking our shipments any more.
[A faint smile plays across the normally taciturn merchant's face.]
Yes, this much I know already. The missing shipment arrived just before you did... though I barely caught a glimpse of those who delivered it. How were you able to manage that?
I made an arragement with their leader, and they agreed to return the weapons.
He's more openly pleased if you take the violent route, but the rewards are the same. Failing to bring back the shipment disappoints him and he obviously won't upgrade his wares, but he still pays you for stopping the attacks as per Quorin's promise. Finally if you don't finish the mission before paying Alice's fee and thus hitting the point of no return, he'll say the shipment's already been taken out of the city and his tracking device destroyed.
Here is your payment as promised. And, should you need any new weapons... thanks to you, I have some new merchandise available. Would you like to take a look?
Sure, let's see what you've got.
Successfully returning the shipment adds a bunch of high-tier equipment to almost every category in Gunari's store, for example the best pistol available before the run was the basic Savalette Guardian. It's definitely a high-priority mission for anyone reliant on hardware to do their killing with, but for us it's just a nice optional bonus in case we want some higher-tier body armor for ourselves or extra weapons for our companions.
Moving on, Kami is more or less the only person around who has something new to say... kind of. See, the only way to trigger this particular conversation is having your completion of the Gesundbrunnen run align with the time she asks you to trade stories, but since we already had the latter chat we're technically locked out of it now.
But worry not, in the magical land of LPs such trivial obstacles are easily overcome and just for you I've recreated the whole exchange from the game files.
Hey there! Got any interesting stories to tell?
I was just in Gesundbrunnen, if you're looking for something new.
[Her brow suddenly tightens with concern.]
Oh. What was going on there?
Shouldn't you have heard all about it by now?
No, you must have just gotten back. Takes a minute for information to percolate if it's not direct, you know that. Also they probably wouldn't tell me about that...
Well, they were stealing supplies meant for the Kreuzbasar, so we got it back.
Did... Did it get violent?
No, it was resolved peacefully.
[She exhales like the wind just got knocked out of her.]
I'm glad that worked out okay. That's my home kiez you know, so I have a bit of attachment, for all the running away from it that I did.
Now there's an easily missable bit of trivia. She's unsurprisingly a bit more shaken if you decided to go on a killing spree in her home, but she gets over it in roughly two text boxes so it isn't really worth showing off.
Did you have family there?
In a place like that, everyone's related somehow. So, yes?
Why'd you run?
How couldn't I run? You stop having dreams, in a place like that. My friends who hung out with me here at the cafe? They all wanted the saddest things. Picking up a good piece of trash, being a truck driver, getting laid, money in their pockets.
I don't know, those seem like fairly reasonable things to want. What's her issue with truck drivers anyway?
I knew there had to be more, but there wasn't a good way to know about it. So when Altuğ offered me the job I jumped for it like a hungry dog, you know?
And what's better about the Kreuzbasar?
Well, for one, you can see the sun on a regular basis. I think I'm a plant, honestly, I need the sun to be happy and grow. But there are also more opportunities. Travel is easier.
[She taps her forehead.]
More opportunities for communication too. You know how I like stories? In Gesundbrunnen nothing new ever happened. Here, there's something new every day. It's amazing. I couldn't believe it when I visited here. So I had to come.
Well, now you know what's happening.
Yeah. Thanks for telling me, Rosa. I really appreciate that.
Let's hope we can manage to keep this a place worth coming to in the future as well.
We have no real business in the magic store, but since we're nearby anyway we might as well get our by now traditional dose of Absinthe's prophecizing.
Rosa. Hold a moment, I'll call Aljernon for you.
[She pauses, squinting at you. Her mouth dips into a frown.]
Curious... when I look at you, I see red.
[She nods, and the frown slowly falls off of her face. Her voice becomes dreamy.]
Red splattered like paint across great metal arms. Small rooms drenched in it, with droplets oozing down from the ceiling.
[She offers you a cautious smile.]
Alright lady, there's a fine line between cryptic and creepy and I think we've ended up on the wrong side of that particular divide. We're outta here.
At least we're comfortably familiar with the particular brand of weirdness that goes on within these walls.
We told Quorin that Amsel would handle the rations we promised for the Gesundbrunnen folk. You're uh, cool with this arrangement, right Paul?
Rosa. Is there something I can do for you?
I sent a man named Quorin to talk to you. He runs things in a neighboring kiez. They're on hard times, and I promised them some rations.
I did hear about Gunari's missing shipments, by the way. If we are to aid Quorin, then I trust that our... misunderstandings... with the Rabengeister have been resolved?
Yes, and I hope we've made some new allies as well. Today it's Gesundbrunnen on hard times, but tomorrow it might be the Kreuzbasar.
A wise move, Rosa. I think Monika would be proud. Very well, I shall make the arrangements. I'm glad you were able to retrieve Gunari's shipment without needless violence. Good work.
If you instead make the data tap deal then you can go chat with Altuğ about it, whose comments are more or less in the same vein but spoken more loudly.
Alright, let's for the first time actually use our mission computer for picking up a mission. We have a couple of choices, but let's just go with this one here.
[Amsel's face winks onto the screen.]
Here you will find the complete transcript of my conversation with "Herr Fuchs," a potential client. The job seems to be relatively straightforward, and the payout is reasonable.
Sounds promising already.
After reading the transcript, you may choose whether or not to accept the job. If you respond in the affirmative, our client will be notified, and I will make all necessary preparations for the run.
In-game the entire conversation is in this text form, but for the sake of presentation we'll just use the traditional dialogue format.
Very well. Please describe the work that you would like to have done.
Straight to the point. I like that. Very well. I would like to retain your team's services to clean up a mess.
My employers dispatched a team of operatives to conduct a quiet operation at a local SCHERING Pharma AG lab. Unfortunately, they botched the job. The team was eliminated, but we have reliable information that one of the operatives has been taken captive.
If this were a traditional fantasy RPG instead of Shadowrun then our objective would obviously be to rescue this unlucky person. But this guy, Fuchs, probably doesn't mean that kind of cleaning.
If this rogue agent were to spill information leading back to my employers, it could lead to a corporate war. A great many lives could be lost. My employers would like nothing more than to prevent such a tragic turn of events.
Ah. I see. And you wish to retain my team's services to tie up loose ends?
Exactly. The captive operative is a rigger by the name of Thorvald Enstad. We need him neutralized before he can inform on us to his captors. As Enstad and his team have already put the facility on high alert, stealth will not be an option. Your team will need to shoot its way in, eliminate Enstad, and exit the facility.
A straightforward enough task, and well within my team's capabilities. What are you offering in terms of pay?
¥15,000. This offer is non-negotiable.
Very well. I will pass the offer on to my team.
Very good. Good day, Herr Amsel.
So we're to go execute a fellow shadowrunner who's being held captive, and loud & violent is our only available method of approach? Almost getting whiplash here coming from the pacifistic do-gooding that was our last run... but the payment's on an entirely different level too, so our answer is obvious.
No sense wasting any more time here, so let's grab our cleaning tools and head off.
We'll be taking the train as usual.
As was alluded to in the briefing, this mission is amongst the most unavoidably combat-heavy runs in the game and might even top the list. At the same time it has the most crew input from any non-prologue run so far, particularly from Eiger, which makes her even more of an obvious pick. We'll also really want a decker, and on that front it's Blitz or bust. Bluzt.
As for the last spot, well, Dietrich and Glory are more or less interchangeable in this one so it comes down to personal preference. I might as well spare myself the effort of having to pick and let y'all decide, why not.