Operator Spotlight 2: Red

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In the world of Glass Shadows, where almost every device is computerized and interconnected by the Datasea, it’s always smart to be on the right side of a good hacker. If you need information about anyone, or even information about a deep black Megacorporate project, you turn to a hacker and hope they are friendly. Red is our friendly.

Born into a life of luxury, Red is the daughter of a highly-placed executive with Gene-N. In her late teens, her father gave her a “gift” and arranged for her to become a Chimera, genetically spliced with fox DNA. She still has not forgiven him.

Agenda
Faction: Unjacker (Intuition)
Motivation: Get back at her father’s corporation 3
Interest: Making money 3
Interest: Programming 3
Vice: Playing Chicken with Killer Countermeasures 5
Culture: Corporate (Contact, Education)

Loathing what her father’s improvements on her body, Red buried herself in the Datasea. How could she not fall in love with a place where she could be anything? Of course, being anything was not enough.  In the Datasea, Red wanted all the limits removed.

Cheap scripts let any pup pretend to be a hacker. Yeah, that may be where she started but so did a lot of the vets. It was not long before Red found a talent for restructuring code and doing real dives though unidentified backdoors. It did not matter how hardened the host was, the nastier the site the less Red could resist the challenge. What she did not expect, and has learned to embrace, is that the forced fox splice has juiced her reflexes, letting her react just that split second faster.

“Thanks dad, who do you bank with again?”

Red is a corporate kid with daddy issues, her Faction and Culture represent this. Red fell in with the Unjackers after she fell out with her father, but she still maintains some contacts inside the company.

Archetype: Hacker
Package: Net-Worker
Load Out: Software

Hacker
History 2
Strength 1
Dexterity 3
Constitution 4
Sense 8
Fortune 5
Wisdom 6
Intelligence 9
Mental 10
Expression 7

Skills: Background (Hacker, Programmer, ARCist, or Security Consultant) 7, Computer Operations 5, Data Mining 5, Datasea Diving 5, Concentration 3, Pick Four: (Analyze, Battery, Firearms, Intuition, Art: Digital, Science: Electronics, Maintenance: Electronics, Education, Study: Select, or Melee) 3

Red picks the following skills:
Background (Hacker) 7
Computer Operations 5
Data Mining 5
Datasea Diving 5
Concentration 3
Analyze 3
Firearms 3
Battery 3
Maintenance: Electronics 3

Red is concentrated on the skills needed to access, use, and control hosts on the Datasea. However, shitting on daddy, or more importantly Gene-N, means she had to be ready in the meat world as well.  Hardly stupid, Red will avoid them if possible. She knows that it is inevitable that she will piss someone off, though, so she is competent when it comes to a fight.

Boons:
Free Communications
Thought Reader
Pick Five: (Angel Communicator, Better Gear (Can be taken multiple times), Cyber Augmentation, Cyberbrain, Genegineered Body, Hive Mind, Implant Thought, Link, Passive Reader, Playback, Pluck The Secret, Root Control Angel, Truth Finder, The Human Mind 2.0, Wealth)

The Net-Worker package is all about communications and control, and Red drives her selections right for the Root Control Angel boon. With that under her belt, she has the potential to work a target like a puppet if necessary, taking over their Angel and controlling their every action.

Software Loadout:
Base Loadout: Costs PV 10
Poor Attack Utility (PV 3)
Poor Barrier Utility (PV 3)
Poor Bypass Utility (PV 2)
Poor Proxy Route Utility (PV 2)
Chain Shirt (PV 0)
Dagger or Throwing Knives (PV 0)
Data Thread (PV 0)

The basic Software Loadout provides Red with the tools of her trade and some basic protection. She will definitely spend some extra PV to get a better weapon.

Red is an invaluable asset to her team. She can open doors that Percy’s lock picking skills cannot. She can also take control of camera systems, security, and even people if necessary. Not to mention turning Mongo the super-goon into their best friend, whether he likes it or not.

 

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Handler Spotlight 2: Lector Jones


Lector Jones

For our second Handler, we explore a character motivated not by political aspirations, or even greed, but actual capitalism. The idea that an open economy means everyone profits and those with savvy profit even more.

Lector Jones (Grace Moore)
Motivation: Restoration of a Free Economy 7
Faction: Unjacker 3
Occupation: Unknown/Arms Dealer(VP of development at “Gun Co”)
Interest: Supply Lines 3
Interest: Angel and Wing Technology 3
Vice: Paranoia, Grace stays off the grid as much as they can 5

Lector Jones is actually a complicated character. In the meat, he isn’t a he at all, but a woman by the name Grace Moore. Grace operates behind the scenes of a large arms manufacturer, using the Lector Jones persona, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality meetings to conduct business. Grace is an Unjacker, but she doesn’t follow the “pure” ideology of her faction. She’s not in it to free the masses from control, although, that would be nice. A system devoid of its controls is wild and unpredictable There is a lot of money to be made in unpredictable.

Grace knows that mass Unjacking will cause a huge uproar and wars will ripple around the world. That’s great news for anyone manufacturing or selling arms. While other companies, headed by Angel Traditionalists, are scrambling to survive, Lector/Grace will make huge profits and her company will gain market share. The way Grace sees it, it is a win/win; get people unplugged, let them start a war, reap the rewards.

While she supports the idea of revolution and arms distribution, it would be far too easy to see Grace Moore as part of the problem. To mitigate this and hide the fact that she’s a woman Grace has invented the Lector Jones persona.

So, when someone needs to supply rebel forces mustering in B-Ham or Loserville, the square-jawed icon of independence, Lector Jones, steps in. No one has ever met Jones on the meat. It is too dangerous; everyone knows he was involved in the Jaguar event down South and another dust up in Liberia. Too many big names to meet outside the Sea.

Of course, the reality is that Lector Mueller died by government hit squad, and Victor Jones bit it from a roadside bomb. But damn if those two didn’t look like twins. After a little Datasea magic, the perfect gun-runner was born. This lets Grace slip into the background, a simple facilitator for Jones’ genius.

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Unveiling Covers Part 4: The Big Reveal

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!!

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This is the full cover image, drawn by Eric Lofgren, and the logo designed by Mark Quire.

In the background, you can see the towering block of the Manhattan Arcology, or ManArc. The spires that top it are home to the rich elite.  Bastian and Gillian you’ve already met.  The “foxy” lady in the trench-coat is Red, a hacker whose genetic code was spliced with fox-genes to supercharge her reflexes.

The truck upon which rests Bastian’s BattleFrame belongs to the fourth member of the team, Percy St. Croix (you can juuuust catch a glimpse of his shoulder in there).  Between Red and Gillian is an example of an Augmented Reality Construct, a window into the Datasea visible to all of the team members via their Angel implants.

 

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One Size Does Not Fit All – Multiple Characters in Glass Shadows

Something that we mentioned in our article on Handlers and Operators is the idea that players do not just have one Handler and one Operator, but multiple Operators.  This is true. While traditionally players have only one character, Glass Shadows breaks away from this to help emulate the genre, and to keep the campaign fluid and interesting.

Cyberpunk fiction often involves people drifting through others’ lives without ever knowing they are interconnected. For example, we see characters drift in and out of each other’s’ lives in the Sprawl, Bridge, and Pattern Recognition trilogies by William Gibson, the Father of the Genre.

Glass Shadows takes a very serialized view of the world. While the players may have a grasp of all the strangely intertwined events going on, not even the well-connected Handlers know everything. Also, not every story will call for a Street Samurai, Console Cowboy, Drone Pilot, Frame Operator, Bodyguard, and Infiltrator, and that’s just a sampling or common roles players might take on.

Once a story has been selected from the Handlers, it is time to build the team. Players may use existing Operators they have created or create a new Operator for this new story. The players decide who is involved in a given story based on the scope of the story.  These may be new or recurring characters.

Because players will likely take on several roles through the course of a campaign, Operator creation should be fast and dirty, with the player making a few key choices about their character. Play is designed to highlight both their personality and skills.

New stories begin with players bringing their characters together, often handled by a lead Operator, selected by the Handler, contacting others or hunting them down. This might involve going to Chiba City and Istanbul before getting the actual job off the ground.

As players mix and match old and new characters, a web of relations will evolve. Who works well with whom? Didn’t that Frame Operator swear he was going to get the Vet if they ever met again? Damn shame… A job’s a job and they are going to need each other to get this job done.

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Unveiling Covers Part 3: Bastian

Meet Bastian McKirk, a mercenary BattleFrame pilot, and his Godalming Arms GA-27 Doberman Anti-armor BattleFrame.  While Bastian is a fortress and a killing machine while he’s Synced with his BattleFrame.  Outside of it, he still knows how to use a gun.

 

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Operator Spotlight 1: Percy St. Croix

Percy St CroixIn the massive sprawl of the Easel, no one stays in one place. If you are going to move around though, you probably want some protection or at least know what gangs control what territories. That is where Percy St. Croix comes in. Born into a labor camp, known as a “Co-Op”, Percy’s first choice that he really made for himself was to steal a car and get the hell out of Baton Rouge.

Agenda
Faction: None (Area Knowledge (The ECILAL))
Motivation: Doing the Right Thing 3
Interest: Gang Politics 3
Interest: Getting the Hell Out of Dodge 5
Vice: Alcohol 3
Culture: Scum (Lock Picking, Scrounging)

For those who have read the Handler Spotlight 1, the Agenda may look familiar. There are some differences though. Operators have additional Skills on top of their Agenda. These Skills are based on a series of choices the player makes. One of which is their Faction. The other is their Culture. Culture represents the kind of environment the character was raised in. These choices open up short skill lists related to the Faction or Culture.

Percy has been on the road for a while. He knows the players and how to get by when you’ve got nothing. This is reflected his Skill choices of Area Knowledge, Lock Picking and Scrounging.

Percy also has some other interesting Agenda choices. Percy is motivated to do the right thing, but he is more interested in getting the hell out of dodge. We can expect Percy to help others but only after making sure he’s nowhere near the actual danger.

In addition to the Agenda, Operators have 3 other big choices to shape their character. A character’s Archetype shapes the majority of the Character’s Skills and base Attributes. The Package provides a series of related Boons. A Load Out gives the Character their starting gear. Here are Percy’s choices:

Archetype: Transporter
Package: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Load Out: Survivalist

Transporter
History 1
Strength 4
Dexterity 10
Constitution 9
Sense 5
Fortune 8
Wisdom 6
Intelligence 7
Mental 3
Expression 2

Skills: Background: Pick one (Courier, or Wheelman) 7, Vehicle 5, Pick Two: (Brawling, Intuition, Maintenance: Vehicle, Movement, or Stealth) 5, Second Chance 3, Pick Four: (Area Knowledge, Dodge, Fasting, Perception, Tracking, Negotiation, or any unselected skill from the 5 point pick-list, Brawling) 3

Percy selects the following Skills:
Background: Wheelman 7
Vehicle 5
Maintenance: Vehicle 5
Stealth 5
Second Chance 3
Dodge 3
Perception 3
Negotiation 3
Brawling 3

Like his Faction and Culture choices, Percy knows how avoid danger, but if caught off guard or if he cannot get out of a situation he can defend himself.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Boons:
Burst of Speed
Better Gear
Pick Five: (Always Fade Away, Advanced Gengineered Body, Augmented Reflexes, Augmented Senses, Better Gear (Can be taken multiple times), Cyberbrain, Cyber Augmentation, Dart, Direct Neural Interface, Driver, Genegineered Body, Quick Step)

The Signed, Sealed, Delivered Package is all about doing things quickly. The Package has several combat choices, cybernetics and Gengineering options. Percy stays true to his concept. Sure Augmented Reflexes and Senses are an advantage in a conflict, but it also means being able to react faster to road conditions. His DNI allows him to plug into specialized vehicles while Driver and Better Gear ensure Percy’s going to have a great ride.

Survivalist Loadout
Base Loadout: Costs PV 10
Large Backpack (PV 0)
Canteen (PV 0)
MRE, Single (PV 0)
Hatchet or throwing knives (PV 0)
Magnetic Compass (PV 0)
Basic Flashlight (PV 0)
20m Nylon Rope (PV 1)
Poor Camouflage clothing (PV 1)
Average Climbing Gear (PV 3)
Nanobot Stitchers, 1 Dose (PV 4)
Poor emergency care kit (PV 2)

The Survivalist Load Out gives Percy gear to camp out in the abandoned areas of the ECILAL along with some basic maintenance equipment. The rest of Percy’s starting Gear selection, along with his starting Advancement Points go to a Cargo Transport with a trailer which Percy’s player defines as Frame hauler with an extended cab.

Percy knows his way around. He can get you where you want to go, but he’s not a powerhouse. The rig lets him move a small team, and being set up for a Frame means they can have firepower in abundance. Also, Percy may ward off any hungry road gangs even if there isn’t a Frame in tow just by making them wonder who he works for.

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Unveiling Covers Part 2: Gillian

Time for the next piece of the cover pie. Meet Gillian, a retired corporate solider and drifter. Gillian’s training has left her with a diverse skill set and a fondness for energy rifles.

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Next week we introduce Bastian.

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Handler Spotlight 1: Aloysius Lavie Suvue

wishLet me introduce our first Handler, Aloysius “The Wish” Lavie Suvue.  Because we are playing in a world of conspiracies, why not jump in to where so many theories are birthed; politics and religion? The modern world has a good number of examples of politics and religion overlapping, too often with terrifying consequences. However, Glass Shadows remains a strange reflection of our world so let us push this idea further.

Aloysius “The Wish” Lavie Suvue

Agenda

Motivation: Political Influence 3
Faction: Angel Traditionalist 3
Occupation: Cult Leader and Underground Tech Trafficker specializing in the third world
Interest: Relief and Aid 3
Interest: Politics 5
Vice: Twisting Religion 7

So, what do these things mean? Before explaining the numbers, lets learn a bit more about Wish.

The Wish is a cult leader. Why? Because the faithful do not ask questions. The members of the Wish’s cult have had their Angels edited. This is his digital blessing alters the perceptions of the faithful to match Wish’s reality. This ensures a loyal power-base, and allows the would be leader to augment his sermons with virtual constructs.

Wish’s Enlightened Order of Belt-fed Divinity moves with conflict. He sends out messengers to spread his gospel to refugees and the disenfranchised. They provide support and supply lines for weapons. More importantly, they provide Angels to those so poor even this basic technology was denied them. Of course, the Angels have been updated to the Enlightened vision.

By securing his power-base, the Wish opens the door to his real desire; political power. Each new cell of Belt-Fed Divinity is a doorway to legitimacy and forced acceptance by the politicos. Now that we know who the Wish, is let’s look at those numbers again.

Agenda

Motivation: Political Influence 3
Faction: Angel Traditionalist 3
Occupation: Cult Leader and Underground Tech Trafficker specializing in the third world
Interest: Relief and Aid 3
Interest: Politics 5
Vice: Twisting Religion 7

Wish wants to be on the inside. He knows that with enough political influence one is virtually immune to any form of prosecution. Each part of the Wish’s Agenda is designed to bring him closer to that goal. Wish is a Traditionalist became he knows Angel tech makes control of the masses easier. Subversion of religion helps to legitimize his cult, as does providing actual aid to those in need.

Knowing Wish’s background, we can guess that most of his ops will center around getting into, or out of, third world hell holes, like Wyoming, or Bosnia. In the field, operators may gain bonuses based on his agenda. This may be something like discrediting the local government, or a rebel force, advancing the Traditionalist agenda in general, or helping to root his cult wherever the operators might be.

Fun facts about the Wish: yeah, he’ll send hundreds to die, but then again, he may save thousands. Is his nut job religion really any weirder than any other?

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Unveiling Covers Part 1: The Title Card

The cover is in and it is awesome! Now we’re going to have a bit of fun. We start with the title card.

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Next week we reveal Gillian, one of our signature characters who made it to the cover.

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Under the Hood: Handlers and Operators

As we mentioned before, players in Glass Shadows take on multiple roles. Each player acts as a Handler, creating operations and affecting the course of their missions.  Players also take the role of an Operator, the people directly involved within a mission. Today, we’re going to discuss what what defines a Handler and and Operator.

In Role-playing terms, Handlers are the motivating force behind a campaign. The players use them to create stories that they would be interested in, and to affect the success of their Operators during their missions. A Handler is defined by their background and Agenda.  An Agenda contains the following “statistics”:

Motivation: What drives the handler?
Faction: Which faction does the handler supports?
Occupation/Cover: What, if anything does the handler does for a living, or at least pretend to do?
Interests: What types of things draw the handler’s attention?
Vice: Similar to an interest, what can the handler simply not resists indulging?

The player assigns a value to Motivation, Faction, Interests and Vice.  Motivation, interests, and vices, along with the overall Faction goals, help define what type of operations the Handler would design.  It is important for players to keep their Handler’s interest in mind while pitching an Operation, to ensure that their Handler will be “interested” in directly influencing the Operation. Handlers can grant bonuses to Operators based on their Agenda.

Operators have some additional characteristics including Attributes, Skills, Boons (advantages unique to the character), and Equipment. Like Handlers, Operators can use their Agenda during a mission to provide bonuses by pursuing their Interests and Motivations or indulging their Vice. Unlike Handlers, an Operator can be Unaffiliated, signalling they have no true interest in the background machinations of the various factions.

Players open new stories as Handlers, deciding the scope of the next op as a group before jumping into the mission as an Operator. Over the course of the campaign, a player may create a number of different Operators with radically different skills and backgrounds, or focus all of their attention on one Operator. The goal is to give the players and GM the tools to create an immersive world with various personalities and shifting goals and stories.

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