Time moves on in the Sixth World again with this scenario for Seattle based
shadowrunners. Trouble has been brewing in the shadows for some time now and
matters have come to a (horse's) head with the assassination of Don James
O'Malley, boss of the Seattle Mafia. Obviously this event leaves the whole
criminal power structure of the city under review and the syndicates start to
redraw their territorial lines. Your shadowrunners are going to be interested
in the whole host of nuyen friendly business opportunities now up for grabs.
This book shows just what you can dangle before your hungry players.
The multiple plots are distinctly non-linear. The author provides four separate
`tracks' or plot outlines, one for each of the major criminal organisations.
The players can jump onto a track and follow it to it's conclusion or hop
around from one back story to another. The only scripted events are supplied as
a short timeline of events, but otherwise the adventure is completely open
Thankfully the players can enter the adventure through a number of different
routes, so although the book appears to cater for criminal types, there's just
as much scope for the team to be Lone Star lawmen or a news hungry media team,
a concept introduced in the Shadowrun Companion. This is a big improvement on
the old Mr. Johnson hook, and does show that the events that happen in the Mob
War will affect everyone's lives one way or another, no matter who you are.
Of the four tracks provided, the Mafia works best. Reading this you find
yourself doing Al Pacino impressions in your head. The descriptions of the
major players are inventive yet also trigger all the old movie archetypes that
you know, excellent stuff. The other syndicates don't fare so well. The Yakuza
are the current crime overlords of Seattle but there doesn't seem to be too
much to get your teeth into, whilst the Triads and the Seoulpa Rings get scanty
attention. Each track has a couple of adventure frameworks for you to flesh out
and a handful of plot hooks to generate ideas from. These are all adequate at
least, but they all need plenty of advance work.
The book rounds off with a "Threats" style treatment of two dragon crimelords,
and it's the first time that the book really feels like it's describing a world
drastically unlike our own. Until now the criminal politics could have applied
to the current day just as easily.
Overall: A decent introduction to running a crime based campaign but you'll
need the Underworld sourcebook to really make the best of it. All these
adventures need work, and to get the most from the book you'll have to get your
runners to jump around the four plots, otherwise you've just shelled out for a
quarter of a book, and that would be criminal indeed.
Review by Barry Stevens