Shadowrun 4e: Hiding in the Dark

hiding-in-the-dark[1]By Megan Robertson

The next in a compelling series of shared campaign adventures…

Publisher’s blurb: “If the Ork Underground is going to become an official district in Seattle, it’s going to need some cleaning up. Even if it’s not, some of the criminals down there have a pesky habit of bringing their activities to the surface, and plenty of people want them eliminated. Seattle law enforcement has had enough, and ADA Dana Oaks is determined to bring down some of the higher-profile criminals of the Underground – starting with a mob enforcer who goes by the name of Junior.

“Criminals in the Underground don’t go down easy, though, and shadowrunners are going to have to use all their skills to track Junior down. When they find him, they might discover that their task isn’t quite as straightforward as they may have thought.

“Continuing plotlines started in SRM 04-00: Back in Business, Hiding in the Dark introduces new characters while giving the runners the chance to solidify their friendships with characters they met in the previous adventure = or maybe make new enemies, or even drive wedges of enmity even deeper.”

A couple of news stories and a police report set the scene before the Introduction runs through the standard background information for the GM on adventure layout and the specifics of running a game in a shared campaign. The Mission Synopsis then lays it all out, and the plot ties neatly back into what has gone before (assuming you played the previous Mission, Back in Business, that is!). How much of this the characters will ever find out depends on how they do during the ‘run, of course, but it’s likely that they will get the gist of it fairly quickly… and then have to make a very Big Decision.

Like most ‘runs, it all starts when someone has a job that needs doing – this time, it’s the law that’s hiring, and the job on offer involves discovering the identity of a mid-level crime boss. But even this introductory scene is well-described with plenty of atmosphere and incidental events that help it all come alive, as well as give the characters what they need to begin their task. Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems, and a couple of other groups start to take an interest and offer the characters money for information about what they discover in the course of their investigations.

Even here, some of the leads pan out and others are dead-ends… but all are atmospheric additions to 2070 Seattle and worth remembering if you want to run other adventures here. It could be easy to get side-tracked, so beware, especially if you are running this in a convention slot – or you could develop any of them into side adventures in their own right if you have the time and inclination to do so. At least, unless the characters refuse to talk to anyone, they ought to be able to find out what they need to know at this point, and the troubleshooting section even covers that eventuality.

Armed with details of the best places to seek their quarry, the characters arrive at the first location… but what they find might not be quite what they had expected. The second one should prove more fruitful, provided that the characters are prepared to talk rather than brawl with the folk they encounter. The troubleshooting notes even include a way to ensure that they don’t get into something that might derail the entire plotline, or run out of time, should you be playing at a convention or are otherwise time-limited.

Eventually – and given the multiplicity of routes provided it’s quite hard not to – the characters will meet with someone who can indeed lead them to their quarry… but only after they run a few errands for him, of course. And errands run, the adventure concludes as they are faced with a very big choice to make, one which will lay the groundwork for many of their relationships and alliances for their entire time in Seattle. No pressure, then!

It’s all too easy to glide through a ‘run without thinking about the consequences of your actions in any greater depth than who you might annoy, how to evade the cops or where the greatest profit lies (all being important points to the average ‘runner). This adventure poses a more challenging choice, one that operates at a moral or ethical level, that should make the characters – and probably their players – stop and assess just what it is that they want out of their ‘running career. The adventure wraps up with a series of different endings dependant on what the characters decide, and the aftermath of their choice.

The adventure is well-resourced, with development in depth and troubleshooting notes to aid the GM, several maps and some well-developed NPCs who, if they survive (most should, but you never can tell!) are rounded and detailed enough to reappear in your own stories or later adventures in this campaign. But the real highlight is the sheer depth of the decision that the characters will have to make, something that raises this adventure head and shoulders above the rest.

Book Details:
Author: Steven “Bull” Ratkovich
Publishers’ Reference: SRM04-01
ISBN: n/a
PDF, 37 pages
Date: March 2011

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