I’m developing the mission essentials feature of the blog to provide gamemasters with a mission distilled to it’s core components. Its hoped this will allow sandbox gamemasters to rapidly generate missions as the core components present themselves in game while Non-sandbox gamemasters can use this as a template while preparing for a game. For the first mission essentials I present the extraction – the mission where the PCs need to abduct or free a person from hostile forces and bring them to a pre-defined drop-off point.
The target of the extraction is a live metahuman who the PCs have been tasked to move from one location to another. Often this is because the PC’s employer wants something that the target can provide that a simple data steal wont. This might be the target’s potential worth, information only they know or the organs inside them. (live metahumans keep organs fresher than iceboxes.) Regardless of the reason the target has been selected for an extraction only one factor is important: how willing they are.
- An Unwilling Target: An unwilling target will need to be subdued or restrained prior to party leaving for their destination. This may add additional complications in moving the body through a hostile or suspicious area and for the duration of the journey the party will need to be vigilant not only of hostile forces but of their abductee as well.
- A Willing Target: A willing target makes things easier for the PCs. Often the target has inside knowledge of the pick-up location and is keen to help the PCs escape. However, he will lack the combat experience needed to avoid incoming fire and may flee at the first sign of trouble. This self determination makes the willing target an unknown risk factor for the PCs and they may wish to subdue him to avoid the trouble – something he will also object too!
The two most important locations in an extraction mission is the target’s origin or pick-up location and the destination or drop-off point. There might be additional locations the PCs need to reach before the drop-off but these are complications in the mission and shouldn’t feature in every extraction.
- The Pick-up: this is where the PCs need to pick-up their target from. Smart PCs will perform the legwork to identify the target’s least secure location and extract them from there. However, the opposition will often secure their assets to a minimum level according to the target’s risk and impact of capture.
- The Drop-off: this is the location the PCs need to reach in order to complete the mission. If the opposition has the resources, this is also the location they have been trying to discover for the duration of the extraction. If they were successful then the PCs will need to protect both their target and their employer.
The opposition during an extraction will be the target’s former allies. If they realized how important the target was they may already have counter-extraction measures in place like bodyguards and tracking devices.
If the PCs successfully extract the target then the opposition will attempt to discern the drop-off location if they have the resources available. If they are successful in this approach then this will allow them to set-up an ambush and retrieve the target. Alternatively, the opposition will want to stay in contact with the magmatic rough astral space, the matrix and physically if needed.
If the opposition is unable to retrieve the target and deems the perceived risk of his extraction to high then they may order his execution. Better to lose six months of research than be beaten tohave your own research patented by a competitor.
A list of possible complications that could affect the party’s success. The list is not comprehensive and other complications are possible.
- The target changes their mind during the extraction. If they were unwilling they become willing and vice versa.
- When the PC’s reach the drop-off point the PC’s employer changes the location.
- The PC’s employer needs additional people extracted after the PCs have left the pick-up location. The employer won’t show at the drop-off unless the PCs have all of the targets.
- The employer doesn’t show at the drop-off. He has either been eliminated or didn’t get the final approval to pay the runners. Either way, the PCs are left with the target, no pay and possibly a hostile counter-extraction team bearing down on them.
- Half-way through the mission the target discovers his former allies have leverage over him. This causes him to lose confidence in the extraction and he either attempts to return to his former allies or lessen the leverage they have over him.
- A rival extraction team ambushes the party on the way to the drop-off. This will either delay the PCs, drawing the counter-extraction team closer or the party will need to become one to get their target back.
- The target of the extraction is not a metahuman but a paranormal animal.