Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Transhuman Space

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-26-2008, 09:44 AM   #1
Catgunner
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Default THS Assassination

I'm starting a new campaign, with a group of characters playing a small private detective/security consultant group in Quito. The group consists of a leader who was an ex-SIA guy who used to work on Mars, an ex-cop (SWAT) from Quito, an ex-military bio/nano warfare specialist who had an accident and had to be ghosted...only partially successful though, and the (involunatry) xox of an E.U. AI trained in counter-memetics.

For the first adventure, I'm going to have them work an assignment as a bodyguards for guy (a sapient rights activist) that is being threatened with assassination. Their first order of business is to prevent an assassination, and then investigate the source of any attempted assassinations (successful or not). This will lead into a bit of a conspiracy/mystery plot, as the guy is a bit of jerk, and their are a lot of people who would have a motive to kill him. In fact there is more than one attempt on his life, one which is just some basic thugs (probably meant more to scare him than kill him) and then a more serious threat.

Now the question is, what would make a good THS-style assassination? I could always go with the simple sniper rifle attack, but I'd like something with maybe a little more style. The assassination needs to be highly visible, not something that is so subtle that you might not even recognize it as an assassination (like an engineered virus or something similar.) The reason it has to be visible is that the organizers behind the assassination are using it as a key piece in a more complex memetic campaign, and they want to get people agitated with a very public assassination.

I've got some ideas, but nothing has really come together. I thought I'd throw it out here to take advantage of other people's imaginations.
Catgunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #2
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: THS Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgunner
Now the question is, what would make a good THS-style assassination?
Well, the real question is what would make a good THS-style assassination and be remotely interesting. The most common method probably involves stealing a cybershell, stripping its programming, packing it with explosives, and sending it to blow up near the target. For more interesting options, I might go with having someone replace a defoliator cyberswarm (normally used to trim hedges or some such) with a devourer cyberswarm, and having it attack the target when he gets close. This will be difficult for the PCs to deal with, but isn't instantly deadly, and has the memetic advantage of being spectacularly gory.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 10:38 AM   #3
sn0wball
 
sn0wball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Schleswig, Germany
Default Re: THS Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony
I might go with having someone replace a defoliator cyberswarm (normally used to trim hedges or some such) with a devourer cyberswarm, and having it attack the target when he gets close.
One could have all kind of household or business appliances hacked or exchanged. If stripped of all security measures many devices could be turned into devious killing machines. They´d be highly visible, spectacular and would give the PCs a good conventional fight.

To a beginning group, this also would be a demonstration of the level of automation in 5th Wave countries (and maybe induce a certain degree of paranoia ....). Well, ok, the concept of household robots turning against their masters and running amok maybe is a bit dated and overdone, but if the person behind the attacks specifically wants to invoke stereotypes, why not ?

A memetic assassination is another possibility. Spread the right rumours about the target and another group will take care of him. Criminals, extremists, terrorists, fanatics or the gorvernment could be used for that means. Of course, that leaves the question how those will make their move.
__________________
No unconsenting english phrases were harmed during the writing of this post.

Last edited by sn0wball; 03-26-2008 at 10:46 AM.
sn0wball is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 11:12 AM   #4
Catgunner
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Default Re: THS Assassination

I like those ideas. The cyberswarm idea is nice because it does showcase one of the features of the setting that I think some players tend to ignore.

Everything I was coming up with was some combination of too lethal and too subtle to be very interesting for the players. (Like you said, Anthony, that is the key question.) I want something that will give them a good challenge, but be possible for them to detect and prevent. The nice thing for this adventure is that I can let them fail (or not), and still have the plot continue with only a few modifications. If he survives, in some ways it's more complicated for them because the target is going to be quite difficult to deal with once he realizes that he is actually a target. (He has a bit of a sense grandeur and self-importance that this will play into.)

Since my players are mostly new to GURPs, I thought this would be a good way to get things started. I can have the thugs attack first, and let them get used to the combat rules in a not so lethal way, and then upgrade the intensity for the second attack. Also I can throw them into a situation pretty early without the problem of building up for a conflict only to have them make mistakes because they aren't completely in tune with the rules and the setting.
Catgunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 11:25 AM   #5
Catgunner
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Default Re: THS Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by sn0wball
To a beginning group, this also would be a demonstration of the level of automation in 5th Wave countries (and maybe induce a certain degree of paranoia ....). Well, ok, the concept of household robots turning against their masters and running amok maybe is a bit dated and overdone, but if the person behind the attacks specifically wants to invoke stereotypes, why not ?
Definately. In fact, I'm wondering if I could find someway to work into it that the assassination is supposed to look in some way like Columbia Aerospace was behind it, or involved or something, as irrational as it would be for them to do something like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sn0wball
A memetic assassination is another possibility. Spread the right rumours about the target and another group will take care of him. Criminals, extremists, terrorists, fanatics or the gorvernment could be used for that means. Of course, that leaves the question how those will make their move.
That's not a bad idea, but I think it's almost adding too many layers of obfuscation into my plot. In essence the bad guys are trying to strain relations between Columbia Aerospace and Quito.
Catgunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 12:25 PM   #6
Frost
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Darkest Salop
Default Re: THS Assassination

I have found pupetry is always an option in these situations. Opperating the assasination remotely either literaly using drones, hijacked pupeteer implants or even low grade memetic effects through a implanted virtual interface isn't terribly subtle or oridginal but it can be effective.

Although it is probably too conservative I personaly would go with the classic remotely opperated drone or cyberdoll used as a gun platform. Given that the target is a sapient rights activist and that the job is supposed to be conspicuous actualy hijacking a Cybershell belonging to a citizen AI and either operating it through a telepresence rig or an LAI with the nessecary skills would offer certain advantages. If the goal is to discredit the target as well as killing him consider the value of <ahem> recreational cyberdolls, celebrity xox or eidelon optional but highly recomended. The presence of one at the crime scene may raise questions about the targets sincerity and general character.
Frost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 01:15 PM   #7
sn0wball
 
sn0wball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Schleswig, Germany
Default Re: THS Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgunner
Definately. In fact, I'm wondering if I could find someway to work into it that the assassination is supposed to look in some way like Columbia Aerospace was behind it, or involved or something, as irrational as it would be for them to do something like this.
If there are several attacks, there could be some coincidental connection between them, like everyone used the same network provider or former employees of the same organisation are involved. Or all attackers received messages from the same source with a dubious content which look like codes, but are really memetic spam, totally unrelated to the plot. You could use that again in later scenarios ... hinting that DALI KOKE is somehow behind everything plot that occurs in the area. And maybe this is even right ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgunner
That's not a bad idea, but I think it's almost adding too many layers of obfuscation into my plot.
Good point. Confused players can become bored players. As a player, I hate it when I know we´ve barely scratched the surface and the GM throws around hints of layers upon layers still to come, grinning deviously from behind his screen.
__________________
No unconsenting english phrases were harmed during the writing of this post.
sn0wball is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 02:18 PM   #8
Catgunner
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Default Re: THS Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by sn0wball
Good point. Confused players can become bored players. As a player, I hate it when I know we´ve barely scratched the surface and the GM throws around hints of layers upon layers still to come, grinning deviously from behind his screen.
Yeah, I've been that GM laughing maniacly from behind the screen. I really can't help but create plots that many layers, often relying on the players innate habit to lie to each other even when they don't need to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frost
If the goal is to discredit the target as well as killing him consider the value of <ahem> recreational cyberdolls, celebrity xox or eidelon optional but highly recomended. The presence of one at the crime scene may raise questions about the targets sincerity and general character.
Actually in this case, the basic goal for the bad guys is to mainly sow confusion to facilitate some other scheme. (I'm essentially lifting the plot from Toxic Memes that they use an example of how to create a memetic campaign.) But funny that you mention it, one of my layers is the fact that the target actually is involved in some indiscrete activities with either bioroids or cyberdolls, or (if my players can handle it) an erotopus, and his girlfriend (or wife?) has found out....making her a suspect at first.

Also it's going to be slightly complicated by the fact that the two different attempts are hired by two different sources.
Catgunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 03:17 PM   #9
Frost
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Darkest Salop
Default Re: THS Assassination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgunner
But funny that you mention it, one of my layers is the fact that the target actually is involved in some indiscrete activities with either bioroids or cyberdolls, or (if my players can handle it) an erotopus, and his girlfriend (or wife?) has found out....making her a suspect at first.
An Erotopus you are a deeply sick person, and I can only gaze on in awe as you not only anticipate my twisted sugestions but improve upon them [lol].

It shouldn't be that hard to work in any number of embarasing complications to both provide false leads and compromise security. Having thought about the problem a bit further I would like to suggest another suspect if not actualy instigator for the attempts. The principles 'allies' may well want rid of him. Even if it is legal being a doll 'enthusiast' would probably not be the best publicity for a pansapient rights movement and an embarasing front man can easyly become a likeable martyr who will preach the message just as effectively as an ediolon or a heavyly edited SAI shadow. The only thing it needs is a carefully created contingency plan and a few hundred thousand Yuan into the right bank account.

Last edited by Frost; 03-26-2008 at 03:32 PM.
Frost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2008, 05:51 PM   #10
thtraveller
 
thtraveller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Manchester, UK
Default Re: THS Assassination

Pan-sapient rights activists come into contact with all sorts of Bioroids and AI shells. Many of these were built for the black market. So being associated in one capacity or another with say an ex-slinky star Tianyi Bioroid with a nebulous background or even an Erotopus are to be expected.

They are also likely to come into conflict with established organisations and individuals who oppose sapient rights for a huge variety of reasons. That one or more major shareholders of Columbia Aerospace are strongly opposed to it seems quite likely given their dependence on AIs being relatively cheap and fully controllable, as well as links to other Bioroid soldier manufacturers. These people are going to be very well connected, possibly even with the SIA and the Triads (common enemy), and probably right across the solar system, including Mars and Titan. You can hide but you can’t run ;-)

There are also those that strongly support PSR like seventh heaven, Society of Isidore and EU government agencies, who might provide overt and covert assistance.

Assassination attempts can come from a huge variety of quarters from the irritating to the deadly. E.g:
subverted maintenance bots
cyberswarm or individual tiny cyber bots – injectors, eaters
newshawks
walking shell bombs
puppeted inside agents
military weapons platforms
I think the key would be to use things that ordinary enterprising citizens could get hold of (or maybe print on simple 3d fabricators) rather than make them professional hits - for playability and deniability. Things like:
electrolasers (shock someone to death by repeated use),
easier-to-get-non-fatal-but-nasty drugs (metabolic reset?),
drowning by puppeted water creature (astropus?),
attacked by predator,
old fashioned beatings,
and if it escalates orbital/aerial crowbar drop (near miss).
__________________
Always challenge the assumptions
thtraveller is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.