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Students of Strixhaven EP 3 – Passionate Performances

Arth, Edolkar, Khorvus, Trix and Darius stand in the Biblioplex, the grand library and centrepiece of the Strixhaven campus. With two orientation challenges complete (for both Silverquill and Lorehold), they decide on which college challenge to go for next.

Remembering the hint given to them in the bog by the Treant Professor Willowdusk, they approach a beautiful, green-skinned dryad, speaking with students and tending to a small garden. The professor greets them fondly with a wispy voice, introducing themselves as Veralda Lang. Veralda indicates that for the Witherbloom challenge, there are a number of Pests located in the garden. The task is simple: Help the creatures to… grow. The party finds that many other groups of students look to be attempting this challenge, but so far, none appear to have been successful. Edolkar grabs a pest from the garden, and brings it back to the group. The group look around for a red berry, similar to what they had found in the bog, and Trix, comparing an earlier sketch she had made, is able to grab a handful stealthily.

Trix’s cousin Athena shows up, gloating on her successes, but has still not completed the Witherbloom challenge. Athena tries to glance at Trix’s sketchbook, but fails, and walks off. Trix holds the berries in her palm, then grabs one and puts it into her mouth, showing her chew and swallow it. The pest, interested, quickly grabs the remainder of the berries, then begins to grow. This draws the attention of many students, so Arth quickly creates a diversion by asking Khorvus what that “spell” was that he cast. It takes Khorvus a moment to realise, but he then follows along and indicates it was learned from his Triton clan, and that a similar book is somewhere in the Biblioplex, somewhere up high. This causes a rush of students to start running through to the information kiosk, trying to figure out the spell they cast. Veralda congratulates the group, providing them with the Witherbloom stamp on their orientation challenge. She indicates that as the professor for Magical Physiologies, she looks forward to meeting them in class later this week.

The party decide on how to proceed, and agree to do the Prismari challenge next. A Genasi woman name Veyran, with fiery hair is watching and guiding an ad-hoc performance of third-year Prismari students. The professor explains their challenge is: to see Passion, in whatever way that comes out. As they consider their options, Khorvus takes out his Warhammer and shield, beginning a military kata called “Wrath of the Kraken Lords”, as he moves around in a small circle. Arth pulls out a small drum and begins a drum beat following his movements. Edolkar begins a deep, guttural chant in his native tongue. Trix follows along, slicing with her wings to create gusts of air in the circle. Darius is encouraged along and follows the flow of everyone else. His innate sorcery activates, and he emanates waves of fire. The third-year students and Veyran soon join in, following Khorvus’ moments around the circle. As Khorvus finishes his kata, he slams his Warhammer down, the waves of (mostly safe) fire blasting away into the Biblioplex. The party receives an applause from the Prismari students, and Veyran stamps their orientation challenge, having successfully shown passion.

With one more challenge left, they head to the Quandrix professor. A large, bipedal bear greets them in the common tongue, introducing themselves as Ruxa. Ruxa discusses with Arth that much of Quandrix’s focus is on understanding the nature of mathematics, and how mathematics can understand and shape nature. Ruxa indicates the challenge is to tell a joke, which is ciphered onto a whiteboard that he shows to the party. If you’d like to give the puzzle a go yourself, take a look at the puzzle below:

The Quandrix Puzzle: A cipher.

Ruxa provides the following clue to get the party started:

  • The campus map shows the association of the Central Campus (shown in the cipher as a flower-like/star object) with the other colleges. Ruxa notes: Many students start their journey at the Central Campus before looking northward.

For those who need some help, you can see this hint to understand how the cipher might work. To avoid spoilers, we won’t share too much more of the player’s discussion, you’ll have to listen from 59:04 on the episode if you want to hear the answer! After much debate, the party crack the clue, and present the joke to Ruxa. With a hearty chuckle, the bear congratulates them on solving the puzzle.

With their orientation challenge complete, the party rush back to Groff Lundquist at the student store, presenting their five stamps. Surprised, Groff makes a magical announcement to the Biblioplex that a group has now returned the challenge sheet, and a light applause is heard from the patrons inside. Groff indicates that as their reward, they are eligible to choose their accomodation, which is normally reserved for later-year students. The party discuss their needs, including:

  • A roost for Trix
  • A library and pool for Khorvus
  • A room with a view for Arth
  • A bed wide enough to fit Edolkar
  • And finally, somewhere quiet for Darius.

Inspecting the requirements, Groff indicates that there is a cottage on the central campus, normally reserved for third and fourth year students, that should meet their needs. The party accept, and receive a few sets of keys and directions to the cottage. Before they leave, Groff hands everyone their student bundles, including student clothing, welcome books and other introductory equipment.

Finishing up at the Biblioplex, the party head to their new accommodation which is only a short walk. Looking like a country cottage on the outside, the place looks warm and cosy, made of brick and large wide windows gleaming light in. The interior is a combination of wood, brick and stone, with a large common room available for study sessions. Trix finds at the top of the cottage a suitable roost in the rafters. Edolkar finds a bed that while not entirely suited to his height, is sufficient for his needs for now. Khorvus finds in the basement of the cottage is a small bathhouse, with a mixture of oils, scents, and sprays. Arth finds many nooks and crannies perfect for reading. Finally, Darius finds a room more than suitable towards the quieter end of the cottage.

With some downtime, the party begin to take care of their own matters. Khorvus unwraps the seaweed package given to him by Havon Danmar, the captain of the Coral Guard in Levinas. Inside the wrapping is a dried-out starfish. Curious, Khorvus carries the starfish into the bath, placing it gently into the water. The starfish grows in size to the size of a small shield. As Khorvus holds the shield in his hands, he realises that without water, the starfish will quickly shrink back to its husked form.

Meanwhile, unpacking her things Trix hears a muffled voice from the bottom of her bags. She unwraps the parcel and finds a statue bust, degraded to the point that most of its features are indistinguishable. The bust is rude, short-tempered, and seems quite forgetful about whom it once was. Trix explains the bust is now in Strixhaven, under her care, to which he seems disinterested, but appreciates being given a nice view of the campus near a window before muttering to himself trying to recall his previous life.

Students of Strixhaven EP 2 – Radical Riddles

The party, consisting of Arth, Edolkar, Khorvus, Trix and Darius, continue to follow a large, tree-like Treant, who is directing them towards the Witherbloom campus, out of the Detention Bog. The party engage in light conversation, further introducing themselves to one another.

The elderly Treant pauses for a moment, then directs them to listen, with some light rustling being heard from just ahead on their path. The Treant bends down, picks through the foilage, and grabs a small grub-looking creature. She indicates this is called a “pest”, and is the mascot of Witherbloom students. She notes the pest seems agitated, and likely hungry. The Treant calls to Arth, towards the back of the group, and asks for him to pick some berries. He grabs a handful, moving forward to passing them to the Treant. She thanks him, and explains that pests are friendly, but are cautious to eat offered food unless they see the creature eat some first. Trix offers to try it, and kneels down. She holds a small handful of berries, then showcases eating and swallowing them. The pest watches for a few seconds, then begins to pick at the remaining berries on the ground. As the pest eats, it grows larger and larger, until it is the size of a small dog. As it rolls over its belly, she gives it a rub before sending it off back into the bush. Trix, realising she hasn’t introduced herself, asks for the Treant’s name. She introduces herself as Professor Willowdusk, and they continue their walk inwards towards the Witherbloom campus.

The party arrives at a careful curated set of buildings, constructed from, and built-into, collections of large trees and other sorts of native flora. These buildings form Witherbloom campus. With the close connection to nature, Trix and Khorvus feel some sense of familiarity of the campus with their respective homes. The Treant directs them to a wide and tall open room, with a collection of horse-like creatures standing on a platform, each drawing a carriage. Professor Willowdusk indicates these carriages, drawn by the clockwork horses, depart on a strict 15-minute schedule, ferrying people from the outer campuses back to the central campus. Arth thanks the Professor for the lesson, and the party go to sit in a carriage and prepare to depart. After a few minutes, the horses depart destined for the central campus. With some time to spare, the party talk amongst themselves.

The carriage parks at the central campus, in a station house nestled near the Biblioplex and an array of large, grand buildings, gardens, and walkways. They enter into the bustling Biblioplex, the heart of the central campus. Having been told as part of their orientation to check in at the student store inside, Trix is the first to saunter over to the store. A young human named Groff Lundquist greets them, and asks for their names to sign them off. The party goes through, with Trix, Arth, Darius and Khorvus signing off. Edolkar provides his name, but finds he is not on the books. Begrudgingly, Edolkar leans in and says the name given by Regus and Falstra, Robern Stoutarm. In surprise, Groff recognises the Stoutarm name, and quickly checks the name off. Groff indicates that he needs some time to prepare their first-year packages, including clothes and other gear, so encouages the party to take part in the Orientation Challenge. As Groff passes a piece of paper with the five college symbols on it, he indicates the party must travel to each of the five representatives, spread out through the Biblioplex, and complete their respective challenges to earn a stamp. The first group to return with all their stamps may receive a prize, but many of the other groups are already well into the challenge.

The party moves further inward to the Biblioplex, looking toward a Snarl, a shifting ball of energy that emanates a magical aura around it, one of many contained throughout the demiplane and seen as a raw source of arcane magic. They look to find a professor to begin their challenge, and Khorvus, keen to one-day join Silverquill, approaches a man dressed sharply in black and white attire. The middle-aged man, named Nils, speaks eloquently, asking if they are ready to begin the Silverquill challenge. He indicates that the challenge is a riddle, and says:

Often polite, but not always civil,

I can be explosive, but I am not a missile.

Some use me to barter, though I don’t usually see gold,

I’m used more and more by those who grow old.

What am I?

The party debate for several minutes, presenting a few options on what the answer could be. To avoid spoilers, we won’t provide any of the guesses (or the answer) here! You can skip to ~45:20 on the episode for the answer. After some time, Edolkar presents a suggestion. Nils pulls out a stamp with the Silverquill symbol, and stamps the orientation challenge sheet for the party. Khorvus thanks Nils for the challenge, and indicates his interest in meeting with him again in the future, as a Silverquill student. Arth expresses interest in speaking with the Lorehold professor, and Trix agrees. The party moves towards a short dwarf, dressed in long-flowing robes in white and red. The dwarf carries large scrolls on his pack, and as the party approaches, he introduces himself as Hofri Ghostforge. He welcomes them to Strixhaven, and indicates his challenge is much more straightforward: To learn about navigating the Biblioplex for resources, and to find a very specific tome, and bring it back to him. He indicates to not tell the librarians that he is involved in anyway, as they are not friendly with him at the moment. The party walks up to an information desk, filled with clerks cataloguing books and scrolls. Trix asks a young librarian for assistance, who becomes agitated upon hearing the name of the book, thinking Hofri is involved. Trix is about to recall a small bit of information relating to the book, fooling the librarian. The librarian begins to check through an index, but asks Trix to confirm the book is part of an orientation challenge. Failing a deception check, Trix admits they need the book to retrive the book for the challenge. The librarian indicates she can’t help the students all the way, and writes just the aisle number, leaving them to find the book themselves.

After a few minutes, the party interpret the note and find the aisle, and determine the tome is on a shelf well above even Edolkar’s height. Edolkar lifts then throws Trix upwards, while Khorvus begins to climb the shelves. They find the tome, which is much heavier than expected. Trix begins to push from the outside of the shelf to Khorvus so that he can hold and catch it. Khorvus holds the tome in one hand, still holding on, and shouts for those on the ground to help. Arth rises up and sits of Edolkar’s shoulders, attempting to reach the book that Khorvus passes down to him. Arth fails to hold the book, and it begins to fall to the ground. Darius, in a panic, begins to emanate a bright light, and he then grows in size, with what appears to have been from a Growth spell. In his large form, he easily catches the falling book, placing it on the ground. After a few moments, he meditates and calms himself and shrinks back to his gnomish size. As a team, the party carry the tome back to Hofri. He thanks the students, stamping their orientation challenge sheet.

Students of Strixhaven EP 1 – Disorientation Day

Welcome to Students of Strixhaven! This is Episode 1 in the new campaign, based on the Strixhaven sourcebook by Wizards of the Coast. If you want some pre-game discussion on characters and the setting, you can listen to EP 0.

The episode starts off with introducing the cast:

  • Ben, the Game Master.
  • Jackson, playing Edolkar, a Minotaur Barbarian.
  • Luke, playing Arth, a Human Bard.
  • Michelle, playing Pulsatrix (Trix), an Owlin Rogue.
  • And Ze, playing Khorvus, a Triton Paladin.

The Strixhaven setting encompasses a “magical university”, comprised of five different themed colleges, and will follow the adventures of the characters as they complete their studies on campus. To start, the story begins with examining each character’s arrival to Strixhaven on their first day, with each player rolling a D20 to determine whose character goes first. The order becomes: Trix, Edolkar, Khorvus, Arth.

Trix is located in the Feywild, and lives in a small area called “Nox”, which contains a large majestic tree called Noxwood and where it is eternally night. Many Owlins live amongst the branches and within the hollows. On the night before Trix is due to depart for Strixhaven, she is looking for her grandfather, to seek his advice. She looks in her Grandfather’s study, but only finds her mother instead, cleaning the room. Trix asks if her mother has seen him, to which she says he is probably out and about on another study mission. When Trix asks for advice, she is encouraged to follow her heart. As Trix returns to her bedroom, she finds her cousin, Athena, sitting on the bed. After a brief conversation where Athena tells Trix she thinks she’ll be “running behind” Athena, just like in Noxwood. Athena departs, leaving Trix to do a last minute check of her books and supplies, before doing a little bit more study, then falling asleep.

Trix wakes some time later, feeling well rested. To her surprise, the purple haze of twilight (to indicate a day-night cycle in Noxwood) is in full swing. Trix looks to her clockwork alarm, which she had set to wake her up early, but finds it has been tampered with, not going off when she had expected. She throws together her books and supplies and flies out the door. As she looks out from a branch, she spots Athena and a few other Owlin students awaiting to travel through a portal, the magic imbued into an ancient tree that bends to form a semicircle. Trix continues to sprint, duck and dive through the branches, before making her way to the forest floor and towards the portal. By the time she arrives, she finds the portal closed, with her only way to Strixhaven now closed.

As she sits down in a panic, a short time passes before her Grandfather, Aegolius, places his wing on her shoulder. She explains that she must have slept in late, and has missed the portal. Aegolius wipes away a tear from Trix’s eye, and moves towards the bent tree branch, sitting beneath it. He mutters a chant, before burning what looks to be an incense, and a brief flash, the portal to Strixhaven re-opens. Aegolius tells Trix she must take care, and she asks for any last-minute advice. He says that he is not sure what he could teach, but offers her a… challenge. He pulls out from a small bag a bust, made of some sort of marble or stone and indicates the bust was given to him by a colleague, who was unsure of its origins, and he passes it to Trix. As Trix grabs the bust, she hears muffled speech. Aegolius encourages her to take a look later, and travel through the portal before it closes. Trix sees the faint glimmer of the white stone buildings of the main Strixhaven campus, and she steps through the portal.

In a quiet part of the Material Plane, Edolkar awakens in a pristine noble manor, located at the top of a newly-founded settlement in a mostly untouched valley. His lodgings and equipment, prepared and paid for by his “adoptive” parents, have all the amenities one could need. For Edolkar, it does not feel like his real home, which is known only as Look’aer, a small village, nestled much deeper and hidden in the valley. Edolkar often remembers the day in which he was taken whilst on a hunting trip, and becoming another subject of the Stoutarm family, a well-known noble family with deep magical ties.

He gets out of bed, contemplating having to travel even further away from his homeland. A butler arrives and directs him to the main dining room, where Regus and Falastra, his “adoptive parents” are enjoying a meal. Regus welcomes him, (referring to him as Robern, a new, designated name), asking about his preparedness for Strixhaven. A meal is served for Edolkar, which he picks at. Regus engages in conversation, reminding him to remember the prestige his new family brings, and that thanks to their contributions, he has been granted an admission for this year. As Regus and Falastra depart for other matters, he converses briefly with Gherom, a young servant and now-friend of Edolkar. Gherom wishes Edolkar the best of luck with leaving, and indicates a hedge wizard is outside, preparing a teleportation circle for Edolkar to use. Edolkar goes outside, taking in one last look upon the valley to which he used to hunt and roam, before approaching the elderly wizard. A circle is arrayed with a series of markings and a glowing hue, with the wizard instructing Edolkar to step onto the circle. After a brief ritual, the circle activates, and Edolkar is teleported somewhere far away.

Deep below the ocean’s surface, Khorvus, a young Triton, lives in the city of Levinas, a Triton colony settled in the depths of the Leviathan Trench. Having served with the local military force, Khorvus now shifts his thoughts to a life of adventure, serving as a Paladin under the God Persana. The colony is in a day of celebration and ceremony. Khorvus awaiting to participate in the farewell ceremony, where chosen Triton’s are sent off above the surface to learn, adapt and bring back knowledge and resources to help the colony.

Khorvus’ friend, Yaldas, greets him, and they begin to walk towards the packed stadium, along with Khorvus’ family who are eager to watch the ceremony. As they split off from his family, the pair discuss their respective assignments, with Khorvus being sent to Strixhaven, and Yaldas being sent to a place called the Society of Sensation. As the ten selected individuals arrive to the platform, the crowd simmers and a priestess of Persana approaches. She provides words of inspiration to Khorvus and the others, before finishing with a humble prayer. As the priestess steps down, the captain of the Coral Guard approaches, working through the line of ten Tritons. As he meets with Khorvus, the captain speaks briefly, before presenting him with a wrapped seaweed parcel, that he calls a gift and reminder of home. As the others now on assignment begin to depart to their respective destinations, Khorvus enjoys a last moment with his family, including his mother, father, and sister. Khorvus’ father shows concern for the world above, having not ventured up there himself. Khorvus is directed towards a large dome, pocketed with breathable air. Inside, mages begin to prepare travel portals to different destinations for all the chosen, including one to Strixhaven. Khorvus collects the last of his gear, then steps backwards through the portal.

Week’s before Arth‘s depature, the young late-20s man stands at the edge of town, with his family walking with him to stay goodbye, before he travels to the hub city of Portsmouth. Arth’s father instructs Arth to find his old adventuring partner Zaneus, located in the city, who can provide accomodation for a few days before Strixhaven begins for the year. Arth thanks his family for their time together, and promises to learn more about the world, and write often. Arth’s young sister, Celeste, expresses disappoint that Arth will miss her upcoming birthday. Arth apologies, hugs his family, and begins to depart for Portsmouth.

Weeks later, on the day Arth is due to depart, Arth awakes and sits down for breakfast with Zaneus, in his lodgings in the industrial quarter of Portsmouth. Zaneus, pondering over books and scrolls, enquires if Arth is finally leaving, to which he ignores the snide and asks for another adventuring story. Zaneus searches through some archived boxes, until he finds a small photo, of a younger Zaneus and two other adventures. Arth begins to recognise the other two as his mother and father, as Zaneus admits he forgets what the actual adventure was really about. Zaneus instructs Arth to seriously consider that at some point, like many before him, he will be faced with a challenge; continue his quest for knowledge, including understanding the truths of the universe, or accept compromise, and follow in his father’s footsteps. After they finish their meals, Arth packs his things and prepares to leave.

A short time later, Arth and Zaneus arrive at The Hub, an enchanted building designated for facilitating magical travel, both regional and multidimensional. They arrive at a side room, with two cold, stone pillars in the middle of the room. He examines a scroll, taps the pillars with his staff, and mutters an incantation under his breath. The dimension door opens, and Zaneus offers Arth an apprentice job if things don’t work out. As Arth steps through the doorway, he jokingly asks if he could be taught the dimension door spell that Zaneus just cast.

With the party members now having travelled from their respective locations, we venture now to Strixhaven. Each character sees for a moment the white marble structures of the central campus, before finding themselves yanked, physically being hurled away from their intended destinations, into a dark and murky swamp. Edolkar is the first to arrive, noticing a small gnome scrawling at a teleportation circle embedded into the soil. Khorvus and Arth fly in, landing in the swampy water nearby. Khorvus notes the unsettling welcome he has been offered, while Arth quickly examines the other people around him. A few moments later, Trix teleports in, splashing into the water as well. As she walks towards the others, she expresses her concern. The gnome, realising that the four others are now around him, goes into a panic. Khorvus approaches the gnome, asking what he did. The gnome indicates he is a Sorcerer, and that when he panics or during moments of high stress, sometime odd things can happen. He suspects that he has somehow overridden the destination of the others. The gnome introduces himself as Darius Zadelwort. Having take some time to notice their surroundings, Arth and Khorvus realise the swamp they are in as the Detention Bog, a part of the Witherbloom campus, and still on the demiplane that comprises Strixhaven. The party continue their introductions, before being interrupted by Darius, asking if they can stop the pleasantries, and help Darius remove the teleportation circle. He points out a number of small creatures emerging from the water, that he asks the party to keep away, while he tries to calm himself in order to break the circle. Several Sea Snakes begin to approach, hostile towards the people who have landed on their nesting grounds.

The group enter into combat. The snakes, very aggressive, land a few bites towards the party, attacking Edolkar as the largest of the five. Khorvus, with a naturally high AC, is able to dodge the creatures or otherwise absorb the blows. Arth, not yet confident in the use of his father’s long sword, fails to swing at one of the creatures. Trix flutters over, striking at one of the larger snakes with her Rapier. Another snake strikes, hitting a blow against Arth. Khorvus turns his attention towards the larger snake, swinging his war hammer down against it. Edolkar reaches down and grapples one of the snakes. Edolkar aims and throws the snake far into the depths of the swamp. Darius, maintaining focus, begins to see the circle around him fade.

In the second round, a snake attacks against Edolkar, but overreaches and misses. A second snake moves against Khorvus, which also fails. Arth, feeling more confident, lands a successful blow against one of the smaller snakes, slicing it in half. Trix moves and darts under Edolkar’s legs, then slices one of the remaining snakes. Khorvus throws an overconfident blow against the last, final snake, but fails in their strike. The snake climbs up the handle of the war hammer, towards Khorvus. Edolkar strides over, grappling the final snake, then throws (yeets) it far off into the swamp. The teleportation circle’s magic fades entirely, and Darius breathes deeply. Darius thanks everyone for their help, and everyone reflects on their fighting styles.

A rough, barky voice calls out to the group from the distance. With the appearance of an elderly witch, the woman, appearing as a tree, approaches. She asks what they are doing out in the “bog”. Darius tries to explain, but panics again. Arth chimes in, explaining they accidentally got sent here instead of the central campus. She begins to direct the group out of the bog.

The newly-formed party fight off Bog Snakes while Darius tries to remove his teleportation magic.

Students of Strixhaven EP 0 (Session Zero)

Welcome to Students of Strixhaven! This episode is what we call a “Session Zero”, which is a pre-story episode where we discuss the characters everyone has made, briefly talk about the campaign setting, and any questions we have about playing the game. If you want to jump straight into the main story, check out Students of Strixhaven EP 1.

We go around the table and introduce the players:

  • Ben, The Game Master (also known as a Dungeon Master).
  • Jackson, playing Edolkar, a Half-Orc Minotaur Barbarian.
  • Luke, playing Arth, a Human Bard.
  • Michelle, playing Pulsatrix (or just: Trix), an Owlin Rogue.
  • Ze, playing Khorvus, a Triton Paladin.

The players roll a D20 to decide who will discuss their character first, with Ze’s Khorvus up first. Ze explains that Khorvus is a Triton, a seafaring race originally from the Plane of Water. A colony of Triton was established in the Material Plane along the Leviathan Trench, deep below the waters on the ocean floor. Khorvus was accepted as part of an initiative to send Tritons to the surface, to learn about different cultures and societies. Khorvus’ assignment is Strixhaven, where he will learn about the magical society, and continue to develop his skills to ensure he can protect his colony, and the entire Material Plane, from creatures seeping through from the Plane of Water like Krakens and Sahuagin. Like many Tritons, Khorvus boasts a sense of arrogance, born from a collective belief that the actions of the colony should have his people idolised, even though many races do not know of the threats they defend against.

Next up, Jackson introduces Edolkar, who he introduces as a Half-Orc Barbarian (GM note: In episode one we introduce Edolkar as a Minotaur, as Jackson was still finalising the details!). Edolkar is a native of a small mountain clan, who had until recently lived peacefully with his family and village. As an expanding human town moved into the area, Edolkar was one day taken from his family, and put in with a human family who while well-meaning, continue to try to push Edolkar towards what they refer to as more “civilised” society. Edolkar is being enrolled to Strixhaven to ensure that he develops properly in a social setting, as well as learn magic as expected of the human family he has now become a part of. Under watchful eyes and pressure, Edolkar has not had an opportunity to find his people, but dreams of one day returning to his people, using the supposed magic he is to be taught at Strixhaven.

Arth, introduced by Luke, is what you’d call a mature-aged student, who growing up in a small hamlet, has learned everything there is to know about the town, it’s peoples, and history. Believing he is destined for more and now entering his 30s, Arth constantly strives for knowledge and seeks to attend Strixhaven to understand the secrets of the universe. He cares deeply for his family, who encourage him to pursue his dream, and grapples with the conflicting choices of staying close with his family and only knowing the world around him, or continuing his dream to further develop knowledge and understanding.

Finally, Michelle introduces Pulsatrix, also known as just: Trix. Born and raised in an Owlin settlement in part of Yggdrasil, located in the Feywild, Pulsatrix is constantly touched by magic, but does not herself know enough to cast it. Thanks to her small stature, she developed proficiency with sneaking and hiding, but wants to develop magical abilities to protect her when she explores fortified or perilous ancient ruins, whether in the Feywild, Material Plane, or beyond.

After everyone introduces their characters, the Session 0 discussion moves onto discussing more technical terms, such as the general theme of the podcast. The players discuss that the Cyberpunk Red campaign was a lot more serious, with the nature of the setting leaning towards more combat-heavy encounters. Overall, the players agree that a “college lifestyle” would work best as the main theme of the series.

Moving on, the players discuss different forms of storytelling, such as “Railroading”, “Sandboxing” and “Track Drifting” (a flexible combination of the two). Overall through previous experiences, the players agree track drifting is a good approach, as it grants the best of both worlds, with a linear narrative of a deep story, while providing moments of unplanned creativity for character development.

Timelines are discussed next, including how the movement of time should be addressed, especially over the larger scope of a college trimester or year. The general agreement is that major events can be focused on for game sessions, but there can be gaps in-between the study weeks when nothing is expected to have happened on campus outside of classes.

Strixhaven will consist of a focus on mandatory courses, but the players also discuss how to look at elective classes, which each player will take separately. The players agree a quick, short recap as the semester continues to look at how everyone’s classwork is going would be the best idea, and this can be looked at every few episodes with rolls made to determine how well their studies did.

Clubs and Societies play an important part of college life. The Strixhaven book provides useful resources on different clubs, societies, and jobs, that characters can take part in as part of their day-to-day life. Similar to the elective courses, the players agree an occasional focus on the events that happen between classes in their extracurriculars would be best.

Exams play an important part of college life. While the Strixhaven book has some basic concepts for exams, such as making ability/skill checks, the players discuss the concept of a “hands-on” practical part of an exam in the form of Excursions. These excursions would take place outside the college campuses, and allow the characters to tackle physical challenges related to their studying topics. From a group perspective, this would be useful to avoid “splitting the party”, and let the characters go about as a group the assignments for their excursions.

Lastly, Relationships are an important part of a developing student’s time on campus. The players talk about friends, rivals, and even romantic relationships, and how that deep it should be discussed as part of the game. For the most part, brief overviews of developing relationships can be talked about, and it can be considered that friendships and rivalries may develop “off-camera” without needing to be discussed heavily.

If you’ve enjoyed listening to Session Zero, we hope you jump straight into EP 1 of Students of Strixhaven!

Students of Strixhaven Trailer

Students of Strixhaven is the latest campaign adventure by Tales from Trantor, played using the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) 5th edition rules.

Four students find themselves caught up in campus life when they attend Strixhaven University, one of the greatest places of learning and study throughout the planes. Join Arth, Edolkar, Khorvus and Trix as they adjust to college life, make new friends (and enemies), and uncover mysteries that threaten the foundations of the university itself.

Check out our website for episode recaps, character bios, campaign information and more:
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~ Theme Song by Tabletop RPG Music~

Origins: Gunhead

This is a one-shot episode, which takes place before the Brace the Badlands campaign. This means you don’t need to have listened to the main series, but there might be characters or events referenced which this origin story ties into.

In this episode, Gunhead (played by Jackson) is walking through the hallways beneath a large bank branch in New York City. Alongside him are Kara, a Rockergirl, and Blane, a Tech. A security guard is walking just ahead of them, directing them to the main vault door. Their in-ear agents chime off, with the familar voice of Kaboose, on the extraction team asking them to confirm they know the plan. They sound off:

  • Kara confirms she will distract the guard long enough to let Blane do his work. Once inside, she will cause mayhem and steal randomly, to make it look like they weren’t after anything in particular.
  • Blane acknowledges that he will need to invoke the vault door’s manual override, sealing them in and giving Gunhead time to do his thing. Once the door is closed, he will disconnect the security cameras on the walls.
  • Lastly, Gunhead repeats his part of the plan, which is to disengage any localNET security, pop open the security deposit boxes, and gain access to the private vault which has the artefact they’ve been sent in to collect.

The crew arrive just in front of the vault door. The guard uses a large key to activate the mechanics of the door, which swings open, and indicates he will wait just outside for them while they tend to their business in the vault. Kara tells the crew she needs to take a “breather”, and begins to flirt with the security guard, pulling out her foldable electric guitar. Meanwhile, Blane pulls open a maintenance panel near the vault door, finding a mixture of components that will force it to close when he activates an override. Kara continues to strum her guitar, keeping the guard distracted. With a nod from Blane, they all move into position, with Kara repositioning to step through the threshold into the vault. By the time the guard realises what is happening, it is too late, and the door closes and locks shut. As the guard begins banging against the door, the crew quickly get to work on the rest of the plan.

Now locked inside, Gunhead whips out his cyberdeck and jacks into the localNET. Bypassing a password on the first level, he encounters, then takes control of a control node on the second level which administrates access to the security deposit boxes. Invoking a security override, he calls on Blane to pass him his fingers to scan into the biometrics system to open the boxes. As Blane runs around popping open the boxes, Kara begins to sift through, making it look like their search was random. Blane begins to inspect the security cameras, finding them just out of reach. Kara helps by pulling out some of the deposit boxes, which Blanes then fabricates into a makeshift ladder/step-up. Reaching up to one of the cameras, he makes quick work of it to disable it.

Back in the localNET, Gunhead drops a level and encounters a Skunk Black ICE program. The Skunk moves to attack, but Gunhead’s defensive stats (in the NET) are enough to dodge the blow. On Gunhead’s turn, he activates his sword program, landing a single, killing shot, which derezzes the Black ICE program completely. He moves downward, attempting to crack a password on the next level. The backdoor check fails, so disheartened, he decides to switch to the other branch and runs an EYE-DEE on the file in the NET. Cracking it open, he finds this is a running database of customers with deposit boxes in the vault. He quickly exports, then greps through the output to identify anyone of importance, and directs Kara to a box owned by Ronald Masteron, a well-known figure in New York City in 2042. Blane shifts to the other camera in the room, sets up his make-shift stepladder, and begins to work on dismantling it. Having too strong a smoke from his blunt, he fails to dismantle it properly. He grabs some tools, tries again and finishes it off.

Continuing to browse the localNET, Gunhead sees a Hellhound Black ICE program. Curious as to what could be behind it, he lunges in with his SWORD program. He quickly gets into battle, then destroys the running program. Blane begins to inspect a door marked “Private Vault”, and asks Gunhead to check the customer assignment list, who confirms the vault belongs to “Colomon Enterprises”. Gunhead finds a control node in a lower floor of the localNET, which looks to control a number of security systems, including access to the “Private Vault”. Cracking the floor with a control check, he now overrides the security lock to open the private vault. Inspecting the contents, Gunhead finds what looks to be an “artefact”, somewhat like an old data storage device. Kara calls Kaboose to confirm they’ve retrieved what Richmond was looking for, so he begins the extraction plan. The crew step away from the north wall in this small room, and Kaboose blows open a hole and walks through. They walk through a basement neighbouring the bank, and walk out through the back room of a convenience store. As they depart from the immediate area, Kaboose begins to head towards Richmond. Gunhead asks Kaboose to keep Richmond busy, as he needs to find out what is on the artefact before he hands it over.

A short time later, Gunhead, Kara and Blane arrive at Gunhead’s Arcology apartment. Gunhead dives through his old equipment, eventually finding gear compatible with the old-school artefact, then plugs it into his sandbox kit, which has no outside NET connections. Preparing his 2020 era kit, he activates the program that has been loaded off the artefact. Landing in a black void, filled with red and purple coloured hills, he sees a figure in the far distance and moves toward it. As he approaches, Gunhead sees the figure of a man, his body mostly transparent, who appears to be meditating. Gunhead walks up and touches him. The figure is taken aback, asking questions about what they want from him this time. Gunhead shows his confusion, asking what the virtual space he is in “is”, and the man realises Gunhead isn’t with the people that normally talk with him. He introduces himself as EYE-VAN (pronounced like IVAN). Gunhead pulls away from the sandbox, to search against the localNET for the name. After a brief search, he gets results about EYE-VAN, a known hacker during the 2020s era. He also finds an article showing EYE-VAN’s death, with an image showing him jacked into his cyberdeck, and brain seemingly fried. As Gunhead tries to process this, EYE-VAN explains that while his body and probably real mind are long dead, somebody using some advanced tech was able to capture at least part of him, and as far as he can figure he now gets traded around. Every few years he gets booted and forced to process sensitive, confidential data that can’t be trusted with AIs, then gets shut off before he finds himself at the hands of a new corp, to do it all over again. Gunhead expresses sorrow, and says he’ll find a way to help. EYE-VAN explains there are only two real options for something like him:

  • Destroy the storage medium of whatever he is on, so that he can never be booted up again; or
  • Upload what’s left of his consciousness to beyond the Black Wall

Gunhead indicates he would never be able to destroy the artefact, and worries that EYE-VAN wouldn’t last with the rogue AIs that roam beyond the “safe” NET. In response, EYE-VAN shows that through his meditation and the time he has had between boot-ups, his grasp of “reality” now extends far beyond just his virtual persona, as he reshapes and forms the surrounding environment in the sandbox, showcasing some of his power. Impressed, Gunhead agrees and takes off his headset to speak with Kara and Blane.

Meanwhile, Kara and Blane hear a knock at the door which causes them to investigate. Kara sees through a peephole that it’s Kaboose, and opens it. As Kaboose enters, trailing behind is Richmond, the crew’s fixer, who begins to question why they are running late and how the job went. Kara and Blane attempt to keep Richmond distracted, while Gunhead continues to talk with EYE-VAN. When Gunhead explains that he promises to find a way to get him beyond the Black Wall, EYE-VAN explains he used to have a direct jack-in to the old NET at his friend Barry’s bowling alley, though he questions if Barry is still around given how much time has passed. As Gunhead disconnects, Richmond begins to question him about the job and to have over what they recovered. Gunhead attempts to hide that they found the artefact, but Richmond indicates he’s done playing games, looking to Kaboose who has his pistol on his waist belt. Gunhead moves to disconnect the artefact, while secretly reaching for a pistol, duct taped underneath his desk. In a quick, sudden motion, Gunhead draws the pistol towards Kaboose. Richmond reluctantly backs down, as he and Kaboose leave, telling Gunhead that if he stays on the East Coast he’ll be a dead man. As they continue to push Richmond and Kaboose back out of the apartment, Kara and Blane draw their weapons, overpowering them, giving the crew a chance to run for the elevators. With a head start, they travel through New York City to reach this “bowling alley”.

Taking public transport, the crew arrive a short time later at the bowling alley, finding it packed inside because it looks to be league night. They enter and speak with an older man, who they find out is Barry, and Gunhead explains the situation regarding EYE-VAN. Barry explains that EYE-VAN favoured using a jack-in point to the old NET in one of the bowling lanes that Barry had installed, and while it has been covered over and unused should still be a hard-line to the old NET and a way to reach the Black Wall. Barry speaks with a few bowlers taking up the lane, and they bowlers move off to the bar. Gunhead prepares the artefact, along with his own equipment, to jack into the older NET architecture to move EYE-VAN across. As they begin the process, Kara and Blane spot Richmond, Kaboose and a handful of armed thugs barging into the bowling alley, beginning to search the place. Thanks to the crowded environment, they are somewhat hidden but determine it is only a matter of time before they are found. Kara approaches some of the leagues members who went to the bar, and introduces herself as the Karasmastic, from the entertainment feeds. She indicates Richmond’s crew are from a rival bowling club, and that Barry needs help to get them out of here. Riled up, the bowlers quickly move in and enter into a fistfight with Richmond and his crew.

After what feels like hours (in NET time), Gunhead and EYE-VAN approach after a long journey through cyberspace to what appears to be an infinitely high wall, cordoning off a large swathe of the old NET. As Gunhead touches it, he finds it solid and unmoving, but for EYE-VAN, in his transparent, not-fully-a-consciousness form, it appears to be more malleable, as he waves a hand through which parts for him. EYE-VAN gives a word of thanks to Gunhead for his help, and warns him to “watch everyone”, before passing through the remainder of his form through the wall. As Gunhead looks on, a relic of an old virus appears in the distance, moving in quickly to attack Gunhead. As Gunhead shouts in terror, through the wall a single lightning strike appears, de-rezzing the virus, giving Gunhead the opportunity to safely disconnect from the old NET.

Back in meatspace, Gunhead finds Kara hovering near him with her bat drawn, while Blane, wearing a league jacket, is bowling down one of the lanes. Kara and Blane update Gunhead on what’s happened while he was online, and they debate on what to do next. They decide the best solution is to slip out the back, where Barry shows them a side exit. Barry thanks Gunhead and acknowledges that (he hopes) what was left of EYE-VAN is now in a “better place”. Gunhead, Kara and Blane agree the best thing for now is to leave the East Coast to get away from Richmond. Gunhead debates on travelling to California in the near future…

Origins: Rama

This is a one-shot episode, which takes place before the Brace the Badlands campaign. This means you don’t need to have listened to the main series, but there might be characters or events referenced which this origin story ties into.

In this episode, Zacharus Rama (played by Ze) is a young up-and-coming police officer in the Night City Police Department, who volunteers to assist with MAXTAC callouts. The other players for this game, Michelle and Luke, play cyberpsycho gangers named Karmen (Netrunner) and Wildeye (Exec), who Rama must go up against.

As the scene opens, Rama is travelling in an armoured van, marked with MAXTAC on the side. They are en route to a corporate office building with reports of cyber-enhanced gangers taking hostages. As they approach, the squad commander Kobeck asks Rama why he signed up. Rama indicates he’s been on the beat for a while, and lost someone close to him because of it, and wanted to take it to the next level. The technical operator of the squad, Leon, tells Rama about a prototype EMP they’ve been given for the job called the “Freakshow Football”, which is intended to knock out a cyberpsycho’s cyberware. He spends time during the drive to examine it, and agrees to keep it nearby should the event arise. The van stops, and they arrive at an office of Continental Brands. In the time of the Red, Continental Brands is a large-scale manufacturer of common food products including Kibble, the most prevalent “food” on the market. The squad approaches local police officers who have cordoned off the area to get a situation update. Rama enquires from the Sergeant on duty what’s happened, but the officer can’t report much, and believes the gangers that stormed the building are completely insane. From the office workers that were able to leave the building, it’s believed that a number of employees are still inside and being held as hostages. The sergeant refers Rama to a female office worker, Rebecca to get further information on the situation. He confirms the number of office workers in the building, and how many gangers are believed to be inside in. Rebecca indicates that a side door near the warehouse might be a suitable entry point as the gangers barricaded the front doors.

Meanwhile, above on the fourth floor of the Continental Brands office building, Karmen and Wildeye have begun enjoying the amenities of the CEO’s office. As one of the gangers notice MAXTAC arriving, dissent begins to grow amongst the group. Karmen and Wildeye reinforce to “stick to the plan” and to trust them, and to keep pressure on the cops, so that they can all eat some good Kibble. Karmen monitors the building camera network, accessed thanks to her hacking skills, while Wildeye directs his underlings to take defensive positions near the elevators, doors, and windows.

Rama spends a few minutes briefing the team, and recommends the team proceed through the side door near the warehouse. They grab the rest of their gear out of the van and approach the door. They find it locked, and after some trouble manage to break it open. Rama throws a flash bang grenade and begins to clear the room. The warehouse looks empty, so they move forward and secure it. Wildeye repositions the crew, heading down to the third floor which houses a data centre. Rama and his team move forward, ending up in the main reception lobby. On the lobby computers, Karmen takes control over the monitors, piping in a looping video feed of people eating Kibble. Rama pulls the power plugs, turning them off. Rama scans the building schematics, confirming the layout:

  • First floor: Reception, Warehouse, Offices
  • Second floor: Main Office Floor
  • Third floor: Data centre
  • Fourth floor: Executive offices

He decides to use the fire escape ladder shafts to traverse the floors. A ganger keeping lookout alerts Wildeye and Karmen that MAXTAC is on the move. Karmen calls up the elevators up, and two gangers move to jump onto the top of the cabins to be able to re-position quickly. The first ganger lands gracefully, while the other, Cindy, misses (critically) and plummets down the elevator shaft, landing near Rama at the bottom. Kobeck begins climbing up the ladder, with Rama and Leon covering. Wildeye sends another ganger to move onto an elevator, while Karmen flicks the lights in the shaft on and off, before turning them off completely. The MAXTAC team finish moving to the second floor, sweeping but finding no hostiles. Karmen triggers a computer override to the computer terminals, resulting in crackling devices. Rama notifies the police outside that the first floors appear to be clear, and reinforcements begin moving in downstairs. Not finding the hostages, they agree to move up to the next floor.

As the MAXTAC team begin their ascent, Wildeye gives the go-ahead to start shooting. As the encounter begins, Rama lands a critical hit with his incendiary ammunition against one of the gangers. Wildeye returns fire with his heavy pistol, also landing a critical, hitting Rama for some damage. One of the gangers who had caught on fire, spends their turn putting out the flames. Karmen repositions the elevators to bring in reinforcements from above. Leon moves to shoot one of the gangers, but misses. Now injured, Rama’s second rifle barrage misses. Fennec’s shot fails, and the previously burned ganger spends their turn attending to their wounds. At this point, everybody is missing their shots, so the gangers retreat back upstairs.

As they arrive at the data centre floor, Leon stabilises Rama’s wounds from the fight. As he recovers, he coordinates with Kobeck and Leon to sweep the area in search for the hostages. After a few minutes, Kobeck shouts that he has found something. They find a collection of deceased near one of the corners. Rama moves to hold the group’s rear, while Kobeck and Leon inspect the bodies. As they approach, Karmen receives a proximity sensor notification, and activates an explosive that was left embedded in the remains. The blast catches Kobeck and Leon, who are flown back. Rama does what he can to stabilise them both, before notifying the police downstairs that there are no remaining hostages and that he is going after the psychos.

Wildeye directs one of the injured gangers to the kitchen, to have their wounds treated. He then positions defensively. Rama cracks open an elevator maintenance panel and manages to switch one of them to a mechanical override. As the elevator arrives, he gets in, pops the maintenance hatch and climbs on-top of the cabin. As the elevator moves to the fourth floor, one of the gangers moves towards the doors. She investigates, finding the elevator cabin empty. Rama drops a flash bang grenade which hits. Karmen switches from her NETrunner socket arm, to a different arm with a pop-up baseball bat.

Rama, shooting from above the cabin, lands two shots against the blinded ganger. Wildeye provides an inspirational speech, before moving towards the elevator to fight off Rama. Mindy, one of the remaining gangers, runs downstairs under the assumption of looking for Kibble. The blinded ganger shoots, somehow lands a blow, but it doesn’t pierce Rama’s armour. Karmen moves to inspect the injured ganger, being treated in the kitchen. She convinces the medically-trained ganger to leave them, as they are practically dead.

Rama throws an incendiary grenade, aiming to limit the ganger’s mobility. A ganger catches it, with it blowing up in their hands. Wildeye directs the remaining gangers to head downstairs, leaving only Wildeye and Karmen to take on Rama. Karmen activates her pop-up baseball bat, which she then wields to move closer to Rama. Wildeye closes in the distance to the elevator, so Rama throws a frag grenade as part of his readied action. The grenade encompasses Wildeye, who is able to most of it off thanks to his pain inhibitor cybernetics. Wildeye continues his stride, shooting at Rama from close range and landing the shot. Rama arms the “Freakshow Football”, and rolls it on the ground. It activates, with Wildeye being in the radius, along with Rama himself. Both of their cybernetics lock up, leading to Wildeye losing his pain inhibitors and his cyber eye. As a second wind, Wildeye lands a critical hit against Rama with his pistol.

Rama throws another incendiary grenade, then closes the elevator doors to shield from the blast. Without sub-dermal armour, Wildeye takes the full brunt of the blast. Karmen attempts to create a makeshift barricade to hold off the police reinforcements, but they quickly break through. With assistance Rama finalises his attacks against the cyberpsychos, landing a final, killing blow against Wildeye. He finds the injured ganger, left in the kitchen, and takes a single shot, hitting the ganger in the head. The officers begin to clear the floor, with Rama being directed to the ground floor to be assessed. Kobeck and Leon, having been treated by Paramedics, meet up with Rama to debrief on the mission.

Origins: Fennec

This is a one-shot episode, which takes place before the Brace the Badlands campaign. This means you don’t need to have listened to the main series, but there might be characters or events referenced which this origin story ties into.

In this episode, Fennec, the crew’s Nomad, is on a routine mission for his nomad family, flying down the Pacific Corridor (between San Francisco – Night City – LA), along with his brother Gallen, both flying modified CH-53 Sikorsky helicopters, filled with cargo. Fennec receives a call from the Inyokern airbase, with the operator asking if they can divert via Night City to pick up a few contacts from the dotHASH group. The operator confirms the group are heading to a helipad somewhere in the hot zone and will await their pickup.

Meanwhile, Sarang (a Media, played by Michelle), and Koban (a Solo, played be Ze), are running up a flight of stairs in an old Zetatech building, nestled right in the hot zone of Night City. They make their way to the helipad, along with several crates of Zetatech-branded secret files. As the pilots get closer, they connect to Sarang and Koban’s comms and introduce themselves. Gallen indicates they are still a few minutes away, getting them to ‘sit tight’, while they approach and fend off approaching members of the Locusts gang. Sarang moves forward, taking a few shot towards the Locusts, but misses, shattering the glass doors near the stairwell. A Locust tries to shoot at Koban with an SMG, but misses. Koban closes the distance with the Locusts, drawing his pop-up machete cyberware weapon, and swings, landing a strike. A second Locust approaches, taking a shot, but misses. The fight continues, with Koban keeping pressure on the Locusts with his machete and Sarang reinforcing with suppressive pistol shots. The two CH-53 Sikorsky aircraft arrive a short time later, with Fennec assisting the dotHASH members to load their equipment into Gallen’s vehicle. Sarang and Koban fit into Fennec’s aircraft and they begin to take off.

A fight begins over the streets of Night City.

After a few minutes in flight and still over the skies of Night City, Fennec’s sensors pick up that two Zeta-tech manufactured Aerodyne’s (AV-4s) are in hot pursuit, and closing the distance. The AV’s immediately shoot off some missiles towards both Fennec and Gallen. Fennec dodges the blow, while Gallen takes a direct hit. Sarang takes control of the rear-mounted machine gun, aims and fires, but staggers from the recoil, which fails to land against the AV. Fennec prepares his helicopter to evade the next missile barrage. Koban clicks to his under-barrel grenade launcher, and shoots towards the nearest AV. It misses, with the grenade exploding in midair, shaking the enemy aircraft but not dealing any significant damage. The enemy aircraft both spend time reloading, to fire another missile on their next turn. Gallen launches his helicopter’s unguided dumb missile at the target behind him, which misses due to the damage he’s already sustained. Sarang, feeling more confident with the machine gun, lands a successful hit against one of the AVs, spraying them with bullets. Fennec launches a missile, but the launch controls lock up, dropping the dud out of the sky towards the city below. Koban clicks back to his assault rifle, landing a barrage against of the AVs, hitting a critical piece of machinery. Both of the enemy AVs fire again, but both miss, resulting in more missiles falling onto the outskirts of the city. Fennec activates his flare defences, but the system jams. Meanwhile, Sarang and Koban keep up the pressure using their small arms. Fennec activates his small neural-linked control gun, which lands a shot against one of the AVs. Blood spatters in their console and the AV plummets to the ground. The remaining AV shoots another missile, aimed towards Gallen, which lands a direct hit. Gallen attempts to keep the helicopter stabilised, but calls to Fennec over the comms that he is going to have to bring the CH-53 down, and begins to glide to prepare for an emergency landing. Fennec begins to loop the aircraft around, aiming towards the crash site where Gallen landed.

Arriving at the crash site, they find that Gallen brought his helicopter down on a pile of tyres, next to a gas station out towards the outer stretches of Night City. Gallen is alive, but injured. The station owner, a man named Gaff, greets them. Fennec moves to check on his brother, with Koban providing first aid. Sarang begins to go through the wreckage, searching for the files they took from Zetatech, but finds they are gone, with marks pointing to a car having left recently in a rush. The old man indicates a few cars were scavenging through the wreck, look to have found something, then left eastbound in a hurry. Gallen and Fennec debate on how to proceed, with Fennec pressing to chase after the Locusts. Gaff indicates he has some cars in the back of his lot, which Fennec asks if they could borrow to pursue the drivers. Fennec offers to leave his helicopter as leverage while they borrow one of Gaff’s cars.

Out on the highway, they approach a car travelling at significant speed, which looks to be more Locusts. Fennec matches their speed, and Sarang and Koban prepare to fire at the car. Koban switches to his under barrel launcher, launching a sleep grenade right into the back window of the car. A scuffle occurs, with the Locusts attempting to pick it up. Many of the Locusts fail to endure the sleep gas, and collapse. One of the passengers in the car moves in to take over the driver’s seat and continues to keep the car on the road. As Fennec brings the car closer, Sarang shots at one of the tyres, which begins to deflate. The driver continues to struggle, eventually braking and crashing outside what appears to be a secret base in a cavern. The driver grabs a few of the Zetatech files, and runs into the base.

As the team arrive, they debate on how to proceed, Gallen suggests he sneaks in from another entrance while they approach from the front and try to find the remaining Locust that fled. Fennec, Sarang and Koban briefly search the crashed car, with the knocked out Locusts still asleep. Some of the containers are found in the car, but they determine some files are still missing. For now, they decide to zip-tie the Locusts to be dealt with later. They agree on a stealthy approach to the entrance of the cavern system, with everyone preparing their equipment.

Working their way through the caverns, they find embedded into some of the walls and pillars are sets of plastic explosives, dug into the rock. The explosives are wired and flashing a red light, so they agree to be cautious with their approach. Rounding a corner, they find the Locust who fled from the car, catching his breath. The Locust begins to scream and run, as everyone enters initiative.

The Locust continues to run away, while Fennec repositions. Koban detects footfalls from more Locusts approaching from another cavern, and moves to hold the Locust down. Sarang also moves to cover, awaiting the Locust backup. The Locust remains stuck under Koban’s boot. Fennec hears reinforcements approaching, so hides behind a pillar to not alert them. Sarang checks through the remaining files the Locust brought in, finding a datashard which she pockets. Reinforcements begin to arrive from several neighbouring caverns, and don’t notice Fennec in hiding. Koban fires a teargas grenade from his under barrel, which lands and engulfs part of the cavern. A new Locust takes a few pistol shots, which (thankfully) miss, as they reposition. Fennec, still hidden, draws his pistol and shoots at one of the Locusts which has just approached. He misses the first shot, but succeeds with the second, landing a powerful hit on one of the Locusts in their body. Koban fires an incendiary round from his rifle, which sets alight one of the Locusts in the cavern. Another Locust shoots at Fennec, but misses. Sarang shoots at the Locust currently on fire, landing a shot directly into their lungs, causing them to collapse to the ground.

As another Locust approaches from a different cavern, Koban and Sarang notice that the Locust is holding a detonator device in his hand, with a dead man’s switch activated. With the device bleeping, Gallen appears and begins struggling with the man, keeping the Locust’s hand closed to not activate the switch. As Koban and Sarang confirm they’ve collected what they needed, Gallen yells at them to start moving out of the cavern systems. Many of the other Locusts start to flee as the explosives in the pillar start blinking faster. Fennec directs Koban and Sarang to run, and moves to check on his brother. Gallen reinforces for them to leave, so they run. As they near the exit, Fennec’s phone connects, and they can hear the struggle continuing between the Locust ganger and Gallen. A voice is heard shouting “No do-” before a series of explosions ring out throughout the cavern, blasting debris. Fennec begins to dig through the rockfall, but it is too difficult.

As they assess the situation, Sarang plugs in her datashard and begins to broadcast the data they’ve collected via a satellite feed. The data contains black book files, agendas and secret military contracts which she sends wide throughout multiple CitiNETs.

Over several days and weeks, Fennec leads a recovery effort with his nomad family to sort through the debris. Surprisingly, not a single trace of Gallen’s body, or that of the deceased Locusts, is found. Without closure, Fennec continues to hold onto hope that his brother is alive, somehow, and intends to track him down…

Origins: Rez

This is a one-shot episode, which takes place before the Brace the Badlands campaign. This means you don’t need to have listened to the main series, but there might be characters or events referenced which this origin story ties into.

This story takes place during the earlier life of Rez (known as Isabel Rezetti earlier in her life), while she was working as a Trauma Team Med Tech in Night City. Clients can pay a recurring subscription service for the benefit of receiving aid from the Trauma Team medical service. When in danger, or injured, a highly specialised team is dispatched via aircraft to the client’s location to triage and securely move them to a safe location for further medical treatment. During this session, the other players take on different characters:

  • Luke plays as Eaves, a tactical assault officer, equipped with a variety of weapons.
  • Ze plays as Omar, the team Search and Rescue operator, he uses technology to help locate clients with the help of his backpack-sized drone Shakes.
  • Ben (the GM) also takes on the role of a character named Fens, the group commander.

Flying over the skies of Night City in an AV-4 (an aircraft powered by ducted jet fans), the team are reviewing their gear as they proceed en-route to a new job. Fens updates the team that two executive-class clients, Ryan and Lisa Barrett, have triggered an alert automatically from a linked cyberware bio-monitor. Due to some type of local interference, they can’t confirm their exact location, but have an approximate radius somewhere in the Merlott apartment tower, in the Upper Marina district. The team prepare for departure on the tower’s rooftop helipad, with Omar preparing his weapons, Rezetti checking her medical equipment, and Omar running diagnostics on Shakes. Fens indicates they will need to work their way down, scanning to find a better signal on the clients.

By triangulating the signal, Omar indicates to the team that the decayed signal appears to be strongest three floors down, so they continue down the interior stairwells. On the floor, Rezetti listens against a door, but hears nothing. Omar finds a small set of air vents, and wireless plugs into Shakes, taking control and viewing things from the robot’s perspective. Crawling through the vents, Shakes arrives into the interior of the apartment, and leans up to open a door. Shakes’ motion detection activation detects at least one human in a far off room, further into the apartment. Navigating around the person, Shakes moves to the front of the apartment, finding a barred door blocking the main entrance. Lifting the bar off the door, it opens, and Omar collects Shakes in his hands. Eaves leads the charge into the apartment, engaging with the unknown person Shakes encountered earlier who shouts in surprise.

Entering into combat, in round one, Eaves pulls out his stunrod and makes an attack, dealing a shocking blow against the ganger. Fens moves closer to the kitchen, identifying another ganger, and shoots with his heavy pistol, landing a shot. The ganger closes the distance with Fens, shooting with his shotgun. While his armour absorbs some of the blow, Fens is injured from the shot. Rezetti moves into help Fens, shooting at the ganger with her SMG. Shakes repositions to help Fens and Rezetti, shooting with his SMG again, but misses.

In round two, Eaves shouts to the ganger he is entangled with to tell them where Ryan and Lisa Barrett are. The ganger is not cooperative, so Eaves tries to hit them with his stunrod, but misses the first swing. The second swing hits successfully, knocking them around. Fens shoots at the ganger in the kitchen, hitting them, but suffers a returning blow from the ganger’s shotgun. Another ganger shoots with their heavy pistol, hitting Eaves, but being absorbed by his armorjack. Rezetti moves back into the kitchen, shooting with her SMG, but missing again. She decides to try moving further into the apartment, asking Omar to provide cover. Omar shoots his SMG as a distraction, missing the target.

In round three, Eaves lands another blow against the ganger with his stunrod, with the second hit failing. Fens switches to his stunrod, successfully hitting one of the gangers in the kitchen. The armed ganger with the shotgun lands a shot, but Fens armour absorbs the blow. As Rezetti continues moving forward into the apartment, she encounters a panicking ganger who tries to run for cover. She lands her SMG shots against his back. Omar shoots his SMG again, dealing a critical injury, forcing them to drop their shotgun.

Moving into round four, Eaves switches to their assault rifle, and lands a successful fully automatic barrage against his target. Fens, noticing the dropped shotgun on the ground, kicks it out of the way of the ganger. Using his pistol, he lands a headshot, taking them down. The remaining ganger attempts to run towards the balcony of the apartment. Rezetti forces the ganger into a face down, using her reputation as a Trauma Team officer, which results in the ganger saying where they are keeping the clients before running into hiding.

Omar sets Shakes up to monitor for monition detection on the other side of the apartment, while Rezetti moves to find the clients. She finds an injured man and woman, and begins to perform basic triage, assessing their wounds. Eaves and Fens begin to scan the rest of the rooms for hostiles. Rezetti speaks with the woman, identified as Lisa Barrett, who is stable. The husband, Ryan Barrett, appears to be dazed due to some injuries, and doesn’t respond to Rezetti’s prompts or commands. Rezetti scans and determines that Ryan has a broken leg, and is suffering a concussion due to a damaging blow to the head. Meanwhile, Omar is able to use his agent to track the signal scrambler, which looks to be a shoebox-sized device sitting on the dining table in the kitchen. Omar activates his tool hand accessories, and (rolling a critical) easily disables the scrambler, preparing to take it. Almost immediately the AV-4 pilot connects into their comms asking if they are ready for their EVAC. They decide the best approach is to move the clients to the balcony, where the pilot can move in. Eaves finds the now-hiding ganger, and tries to interrogate him, but (rolling a critical failure), slips at the last moment. Fens steps in, backhanding the ganger, and asks him what the ganger’s intentions were. The ganger reveals that Ryan Barrett is a Corpo for Arasaka, and runs an Insurance division, repeatedly cheating people out of their payouts.

Isabel Rezetti examines the clients for injuries

Meanwhile, Omar’s motion detection activates, picking up movement on the other side of the apartment near the front door. From the video feed, Omar sees a heavily-decked cyberpsycho and relays this to the team. The cyberpsycho attempts a shot (but misses), then moves in to kick the drone. Taking control, Omar moves Shakes in to land a hit, dealing a small amount of damage. Everyone enters into initiative.

In round one, Eaves activates his Sandevistan cyberware, placing him at the top of the initiative order. He tells Rezetti to start packing up the clients, while he distracts and engages the psycho. Eaves makes a suppressive fire check, forcing the cyberpsycho to move into cover on their turn. Controlling Shakes, Omar tries to land another hit against the psycho, but is deflected. The cyberspsycho, shielding from the suppressive fire, moves further back into the apartment. Fens and Omar position to watch the apartment and continuing to put pressure on the ganger. Rezetti utilises her medical expertise to stabilise Ryan Barrett and brace his leg for moving him.

Back into round two, Eaves repositions to the kitchen, and reloads. Omar has Shakes climb up the wall, and it lies in wait with eyes on the cyberpsycho. The psycho moves out of the hallway, activating a pop-up grenade launcher, and aiming down the hallway. Fens jumps in to absorb most of the blow, suffering most of the blast and breaking their left arm. Omar is partially caught in the explosion, taking a serious hit as well. Omar switches his SMG to Full-Auto, making a wide array of shots, but they ping off the cyberpsycho’s armour. Preparing to move to the client’s to the approaching AV-4, Rezetti preps Ryan Barrett for transport. As it arrives at the balcony, Lisa is directed onto the aircraft, while Rezetti begins moving Ryan closer to the balcony.

With the AV-4 in-place, coming into round three, Eaves lays down suppressive fire to keep the cyberpsycho pinned. Omar programs Shakes to drop off the ceiling and grabs him, packing him up for transport. The cyberpsycho, reacting from the suppressive fire, ducks into cover in a small bathroom. Fens instructs everyone to finish packing up and prepare for immediate EVAC. Omar runs into the kitchen, holding Shakes in one hand, and grabs the scrambler in the other. Rezetti continues dragging Ryan along to get them into the AV-4.

In round four, Eaves throws a teargas grenade down the hall towards the cyberpsycho. It hits, restricting their visibility. In retaliation, the cyberpsycho feels their way through the apartment to try and find the team. Omar continues moving to the AV-4 and arrives at the balcony, helping Rezetti to place Ryan Barrett onto the floor of the aircraft.

Into round five, Eaves inspects Fens’ broken arm, applying just enough triage to stabilise it. The cyberpsycho continues moving forward, but still can’t see the team. Fens instructs Eaves, Omar and Rezetti to get on board while he keeps the psycho busy. On the aircraft, Omar connects Ryan Barrett up to a cryo-pump to keep him stable. Rezetti continues to make their way to the aircraft.

As part of round six, Eaves makes their way to the AV-4. The cyberpsycho comes out of the kitchen, making a wide barrage with his SMG which pings against the outer shell of the vehicle. Fens continues moving forward and jumps onto the aircraft. Omar and Rezetti try to shoot the cyberpsycho. It functions as covering fire, keeping the psycho pinned.

With all team members onboard and accounted for, Eaves throws a smoke grenade as the AV-4 prepares to depart. As the aircraft starts to move away from the building, the cyberpsycho makes a final shot with their pop-up grenade launcher. The shot hits against the open door of the AV-4, with Rezetti and Fens taking a majority of the blast. For Rezetti, who was holding a handhold, their entire left-arm is blown off. On the side of their helmet, her name tag only has “REZ” remaining. Fens is equally damaged from the blast, being stablised during the short flight back to the Trauma Team headquarters.

Arriving at Trauma Team HQ, a number of doctors and surgeons arrive to the air pad. Prioritising the clients first, they begin to cart Ryan and Lisa away for medical treatment. A doctor and nurse approach the team to assess their injuries, applying a cauterising resin to Rezetti’s wound. They indicate they’ll have to bring her into surgery to replace the arm…

EP 24 – A Taste of Your Own Medicine (Finale)

Inside the administration building of the refinery, the crew continue to investigate the rooms, looking for Rayze. They head upstairs, passing make-shift bedrooms and into a kitchen. Towards the back of the office, they spot a NETrunner who appears to be jacked in and hasn’t yet noticed them approach. Rez makes too much noise and draws the runner’s attention, so Rama makes a quick push to rush and tackle him. With a critical success, the NETrunner is able to side-step out of the way as Rama misses. Rez dives across a small desk to lunge and stab with her sleep dart, but this misses as well. Gunhead tells Rez to pull out the runner’s trodes near the back of his neck, which she is able to step around and yank. As the interface trodes collapse to the ground, the NETrunner collapses to the ground in shock. Gunhead approaches, pulling out his pistol, and interrogates the man to gather information about his architecture. The NETrunner reluctantly agrees that this isn’t worth dying over and discusses the main layout, including: monitoring drones, fire suppression systems, and the main refinery start/stop controls. Gunhead logs in as the NETrunner and gains full control of the systems.

The crew attempt to subdue the NETrunner.

With full access to the system, Gunhead pipes the feeds from the monitoring drones to everyone’s agents as they change course to fly through the refinery, searching for Rayze. Towards the back, north-west corner of the refinery, one of the drones spots a bald man with a bushy beard holed up with two other gangers in a small building. They leave the taped-up NETrunner upstairs and proceed to head downstairs and out of the building. Waiting for a few remaining gangers to leave and join the firefight outside, the crew slip through into the main refinery area. As they approach the building where Rayze appears to be hiding, Rama passes a flash bang to Fennec, and they prepare to breach at the same time.

The flashbangs roll and go off, with Rayze and one of the gangers being hit, ending up blinded and deafened, while one of the other gangers is able to avoid the flash. Achieving a surprise round, the crew move into action. Rama fires off with his pistol, landing two shots against one of the gangers. Gunhead approaches, shooting the same ganger and dealing further damage. Fennec pulls out his sword and runs towards another ganger, making two swings and killing them outright. Rez runs around to the side of the room, stopping just before Rayze. Rama re-positions and finishes off the other ganger, leaving just Rayze remaining. Fennec moves forward, drawing his sword and placing it on Rayze’s shoulder. Using the Facedown rules of Cyberpunk Red, Fennec rolls against Rayze and succeeds, forcing him to back down. As Rayze accepts capture, he says in disgust that this would have been their chance to push back against the corporate greed prominent in the time of the Red, where these people could have had control over their own destinies.

Fennec indicates to Rayze that the Raffen Shiv have betrayed him, filling him in on their earlier conversation and what Rayze wanted to do. They handcuff Rayze and walk him out of the refinery. Many of the gangers who are in combat against the militia stop their fighting, as Rayze tells them to stop and informs them about the Raffen Shiv betrayal. Disheartened and with their leader captured, the gangers hand over their weapons. Rayze asks what the crew plan to do with him, and Fennec asks if he wants to talk with Solomon and the Raffen Shiv, to discuss the recent change in events. Fennec composes a message to Solomon, indicating that they captured Rayze and shut down the Oildale gangers operation, but that Rayze really, really, wanted to speak with him, so they are bringing him back to the bar. As they make their way back to the bar, they receive a simple message stating: “Fine, I’ll finish the job myself” from Solomon.

Rayze confronts Solomon, the local leader of the Raffen Shiv group.

Arriving at the bar, they walk past Vera (who Fennec ignores), and direct Rayze to walk into the bar. Rayze approaches Solomon, still sitting at the end of the bar, with many of the Raffen Shiv members crowding around him. Solomon indicates they had to wrap up their deal, and nods to one of his associates, who pulls out a pistol and shoots Rayze who collapses to the floor. While this is happening, Gunhead sneaks past and tells the bartender to get out of the area, fast-walking out the door as Rayze’s body lands on the floor. As they clear the area, Gunhead asks H.U.G.O. to position some cameras on the network to record the bar, then pulls out his agent, calling up the detonator he set up earlier. A moment later, the bar is engulfed by a fireball that destroys almost all the building. H.U.G.O. informs Gunhead that he was able to locate and replicate the dead-man switch signal that Solomon had set up for the remainder of the explosive devices setup throughout the city.

They contact their allies and travel back to Bakersfield University to regroup, finding Evan and Juilet, along with the other reclamation staff, who greet them with applause. The crew fill in Evan Briggs on what has been accomplished, with Evan directing Richard to locate and isolate the explosive devices that Gunhead was able to find on the cloned agent. The crew, having had a big stake in developing Bakersfield, all agree to stick around to help develop the city further.

EP 23 – The Makings of a Plan

The crew continue their discussion about the Raffen Shiv and how to deal with the Oildale Gangers, including Rayze, their leader. Gunhead proposes that there might be a way to remove both parties in one move, to the delight of Fennec who has a long-running history with the Raffen Shiv group. Gunhead confirms that the Raffen Shiv appear to have set up bombs in at least seven locations throughout the city, and Fennec proposes giving them a taste of their own medicine by setting up a bomb in the bar the Raffen Shiv are occuping. They recall that they recently deactivated the explosive on-top of the old corpo building, which could be used, if they can find somewhere inside to plant it.

Gunhead wanders back to the outside of the bar and begins wandering around it, using his cyberdeck to scan the internal network for an entry point. He finds multiple small IoT devices, until eventually finding a Point-of-Sale terminal that he believes he could send a message to. In the message, he indicates that the crew have a bomb they can use, which can blow the Raffen Shiv up. Following a prompt to briefly turn off the outdoor lighting, Rez heads inside and straight to the bar. Ordering a drink, she pays for it and receives a bottle along with a folded napkin. She walks outside, opening it and seeing a hastily written message. The message indicates several locations a bomb could be placed, including a bathroom toward the back of the bar, or the cigarette machine near the table Solomon is sitting at. Meanwhile, Rama contacts Kobeck and Lyon, his MAXTAC colleagues, who pick him up in their AV-4, and travel directly to the old corpo building to collect the decommissioned bomb.

Gunhead works on the cigarette machine while Fennec creates a distraction

As the crew regroup, they discuss how to get the bomb reprogrammed, placed inside, and installed without being noticed. Gunhead accepts the task of setting up an electronic trigger for the explosive to activate on-demand, and sets a unique address on the CitiNET that needs to be reached in order for it to activate remotely. They walk back into the occupied bar, where Solomon welcomes them. The crew approach with Gunhead walking directly to the cigarette machine. Everyone else follows, and Fennec starts a disagreement, flipping over the table Solomon was sitting at. Seizing the opportunity, Gunhead cracks open the corner of the cigarette machine, and slides the explosive inside. As the situation gets tense, Rez tries to calm the room to avoid further escalation, with the Raffen Shiv members being left confused. Fennec swears, but says they will agree to the deal. As they leave, Rama tries to persuade one of the gangers to walk away from the Raffen Shiv.

The crew sneak in from the Northwest.

Preparing to travel to Oildale, the crew discuss how to utilise Trent and the remainder of the milita forces. H.U.G.O. provides an old architectural diagram he pulled from an archive, which helps them establish a plan on how to get into the refinery. Gunhead updates Trent on the situation, and asks for him to use the acquired forces to draw the ganger’s attention while the crew utilise a stealthier approach. The crew then depart for the refinery, travelling by air to scout from above. They see that the gangers have locked down the refinery tightly, with numerous guards maintaining a tight perimeter. Towards the front gate, they spot a few gangers in heated discussion with Raffen Shiv members. As the militia approaches from the city, they part their aircraft in a clearing to the south. Fennec asks Trent to lead the militia to make some noise towards the south and draw their fire, while the crew prepare to loop around to the north and sneak in.

As they progress through back alleys and streets, the cloned-agent in Gunhead’s possession chimes off with a cryptic message from Solomon. Moments later, the Raffen Shiv member shoot multiple Oildale gangers and drive away. Trent takes advantage of the chaos and begins the diversion to give the crew a chance to sneak in. They notice a variety of maintenance drones that patrol the perimeter, and consider hacking one to use the visual optics to search the refinery for Rayze. Fennec cuts open a whole in the perimeter fence, and everyone continues through, approaching the administration building. The crew jump up into the administration building to investigate what is inside…

EP 22 – Meet and Greet

Rama launches one last blast with the flamethrower, piercing the tank’s engine as it bursts alight. He then collapses to the ground in exhaustion.

Kobeck moves to quickly shoot one of the remaining gangers, but misses. Rez steps back towards Rama, before firing again at the ganger she is locked into combat with. Gunhead launches another shot with his assault rifle towards another ganger, shooting up a table, which pierces through the ganger’s body. The last remaining ganger attempts to flee, and begins to start a neighbouring car on the street. Rama spends his movement moving away from the remains of the tank, which continues to burn. Both Kobeck and Rez start moving forward to reach Rama. Fennec takes over the gun controls, and aims at the ganger preparing to escape. The missile launches, bursting the entire car into flames.

Rez inspects Rama while the crew re-group.

As they exit combat, Rez gets to Rama and pulls him away from the burning remains of the tank. She performs a paramedic check on his injury, carefully extracting the tank tread which lodged into his abdomen. Afterwards, she injects a Speedheal stim, which immediately kick starts Rama’s healing process, helping him to recover some health. As Kobeck approaches, Fennec lands the helicopter carrying himself, Gunhead and Nathan safely. Everyone regroups and discusses the events. Rez calls in her Trauma Team contacts to help assess everyone and review the situation.

While they arrive, Gunhead radios Trent, the de-facto commander of the Bakersfield militia force. As he accepts the call and provides an update, Trent passes the call over to a familiar voice. They quickly realise the voice is from Vera, an Oildale ganger captain who they captured previously. She indicates she has a friend who has a proposal, and wants to meet with them. Ending the call, the crew agree to travel to where Vera and her friend, located somewhere closer to downtown.

Meeting with Solomon, a local leader of the Raffen Shiv.

A short time later, Fennec parks the CH-53 helicopter outside the downtown city centre. As they approach the location they were told about, they occasionally meet a few of the militia forces Gunhead banded together. They come across Trent waiting outside a bar, who welcomes him. Trent informs the group these people seem… different, and aren’t actively helping or hindering the Oildale ganger operations. He informs them that Vera is waiting just outside a bar upstairs. The crew move to speak with Vera, who agrees to let past circumstances between her and the group be forgotten. She indicates a man named Solomon is waiting inside to discuss the future of the Oildale gangers. As they walk into the bar, they see a small group of armed men and women lingering, but keeping an eye on the crew. They walk up to the back, where a man in a military vest is smoking and playing cards. In one hand he appears to have a trigger which he clenches tightly. Rez approaches the man, who introduces himself as Solomon. While his approach and mannerisms are polite, it’s clear he has some discomfort towards the crew, as he engages in light conversation. Rez notices a tattoo on his neck, and enquires about it. Solomon informs her that it’s his nomadic tattoo, tying him to the Raffen Shiv for life. Hearing this, Fennec exits the bar in disgust and waits outside. They move on to discussing the Oildale gangers. Solomon informs them that Vera, after escaping during the tank attack on the University, tracked down the Raffen Shiv operatives in town and spoke with him about the push the Southern Californian government is making to restore the city. He indicates that the Raffen Shiv have a contract with the leader of the Oildale gangers, Rayze. They had agreed on future financial incentives based on the successful operation and output of the refinery project Rayze had initiated, but due to the efforts of the crew it doesn’t look to be viable anymore. Solomon says that the Raffen Shiv have elected to cash out their investment in Bakersfield, and makes them an offer: Deal with Rayze, the leader of the Oildale gangers, and in return all standing members of the Raffen Shiv involved in Bakersfield will leave, and he won’t activate the remote explosives he has prepared around the city.

The crew regroup outside to discuss the offer, and Rez enquires on Fennec’s history with the Raffen Shiv. Coming from a local nomadic family, Fennec says that the Raffen Shiv are crooks, thieves and thugs, and wants little to do with them. Fennec enquires on Vera’s history, to which she indicates she was formerly with the Oildale gangers, but shifted allegiance to the Raffen Shiv. Fennec pushes Gunhead to check on this further, so Gunhead attempts to hack into Vera’s agent while “smooth-talking” her. Making a successful Electronics-Security check, he slowly connects an interface jack into the agent in her pocket. It takes a few seconds to begin transferring data and files, so Gunhead continues to stammer through the conversation to buy some time. After the copy finishes, he leaves the conversation and uses his AR goggles to review the files. Inspecting the data, he determines the agent belongs to one of the Raffen Shiv members, but she has been using it as her new communicator. Some recent outbound communication includes correspondence between her and Rayze, who replied with chaotic, psychotic responses.

Fennec ultimately decides that the Oildale gangers are continuing to escalate matters, so they need to take out Rayze, and, if it looks like the Raffen Shiv will betray them, deal with them as well afterwards. Speaking with H.U.G.O, Gunhead determines that with the agent clone, that he should be able to intercept any messages sent to this agent using the same CitiNET identifier. While deciding what to do next, Gunhead thinks they can rely on Trent to help make a push to the refinery, along with their friends and allies.

EP 21 – Insertion

Gunhead and Nathan are both buckled into Fennec’s CH-53 Sikorsky Sea Stallion, while Rez, Rama and Kobeck prepare to drop on the MAXTAC AV-4 aircraft, being piloted by Lyon. Fennec moves the aircraft forward to line up a good shot for Gunhead in the co-pilot seat. Gunhead lines up a shot with the CH-53’s onboard light machine gun, and lands a damaging blow against one of the gangers standing guard on the other side of the Kern river.

The CH-53 Sea Stallion flying towards the tank.

At the same time, Rez, Rama and Kobeck and preparing to insert into the area to take on the tank. Lyon brings the AV-4 around to a back alley, and Kobeck prepares a guiding rope for them to rappel down. Making athletics checks, Rez gracefully descends downward, while Rama in his heavy metal gear drops out of the aircraft before recovering at the last moment, slightly denting the armour. Kobeck follows behind, landing and moving to secure the area, while Lyon flies out of the combat zone.

Entering into initiative in round one, a ganger who sees Rama and Rez takes a shot but misses. Kobeck moves in and shoots in retaliation. Rez proceeds forward and tries to shoot the same ganger, dealing enough damage to force them to suffer a collapsed lung critical injury. The tank repositions itself, aiming towards the CH-53 aircraft. Fennec prepares the aircraft to evade any ongoing attacks, while Gunhead launches another attack with the onboard machine gun, dealing a large amount of damage. Rama approaches wearing his metal gear armour and flamethrower, aiming toward the rear of the tank. Making an attack, he is able to spurt out a wide arc of fire against the tank.

Rez, Rama and Kobeck drop down in an alleyway behind the tank.

Into round two, Kobeck moves forward to circle around the tank, shooting with his pistol to draw its attention away from Fennec’s helicopter. Rez shoots at the tank, dealing further damage to it’s rear, while another ganger moves into a building out of the line-of-fire. The tank lines toward’s Fennec aircraft, launching a shell which just slightly misses. Fennec moves forward, lining up a shot for Gunhead, who launches another attack with the onboard machine gun. A ganger moves into a building and into cover, while the injured ganger who shot at Fennec earlier attempts another shot, which misses. Rama launches another flamethrower barrage against the tank, and moves forward towards the rear.

Moving into round three, Kobeck moves to chase down one of the gangers that disappeared, Rez makes another attack with her rifle, landing several small shots on the side. The tank shifts targets, and now aims towards Rama. Fennec flies the aircraft further to line up a shot on the tank’s rear, now slightly exposed, and Gunhead launches a rocket straight toward the tank. Gunhead’s attack strikes true, and deals a significant blow on the tank’s backside. Seeing the weakened condition, Rama attempts to climb up on top of the tank, but fails as it continues to shake him off.

In round four, Kobeck tries to draw the attention of the tank to get them away from Rama. The pistol shot lands, but deals little to no damage. As Rez repositions to navigate around an alleyway, she encounters a ganger who had disappeared earlier in combat. Shooting with her rifle, she shoots and damages their left leg. In retaliation, the ganger shoots back with their SMG, but doesn’t deal enough to hit through Rez’ armour. Because the tank can’t land a successful shot because Rama keeps “crab walking”, it repositions and fires at Kobeck. The tank fires and the shell lands just shy of Kobeck, pushing him back from the blast. Fennec repositions his aircraft closer to the alleyway, and Gunhead debates on who to shoot at next. From his angle, the missile shot would encompass Rama in the line of fire. Rama keeps shouting for Gunhead to take the shot, which lands against the tank and Rama. The explosion damages one of the tank’s treads, which flies off and into Rama’s chest. A ganger loops around a building, shooting at Kobeck, but misses. Rama shuffles away the tank, further injuring themselves in the process. Seeing the tank heavily damaged, Rama attempts a final burst with his flamethrower…

EP 20 – For Auld Lang Syne

Out of game, the players discuss how to spend their “Improvement Points” (IP), which is similar to an experience or milestone reward system for their character development. The players have saved their IP from previous sessions, and with a recent additional allotment, agree to spend their IP on impriving their Role Ability. In Cyberpunk Red, the role ability is the defining ability or feature tied to each Role.

Michelle improves Rez’s Medtech role ability of Medicine, which grants her expertise in Surgery, as well as Medical Tech (Pharmaceuticals) and Medical Tech (Cryosystem Operation). She specifically chooses to improve Medical Tech (Pharmaceuticals), which will allow her to synthesise pharmaceutical grade drugs like Speedheals and Stims.

Ze enhances Rama’s Lawman role ability, called Backup. Backup is utilised to “call in” reinforcements, usually law enforcers, and the level of experience and equipment the backup brings is dependent on the rank, or value of the Backup role ability.

Luke considers what he has accomplished for his nomad gang, The Aegis, and improves his Nomad role ability, named Moto. Moto represents the ties and connections a nomad has with their clan, so an improvement in Moto represents Fennec’s commitment to the family. With this, Fennec may be able to more easily call upon favours and access an additional array of vehicles from the family motor pool.

Finally, Jackson increases Gunhead’s Interface, the role ability used by Netrunners. The role ability represents the general ability to access and hack into local networks, so an improved value will result in easier hack attempts and greater control over NET actions.

In-game, the crew continue discussing on how to proceed while standing in the lobby of the old corporate building. With enhanced communication thanks to the long-distance link, they debate about calling in some backup for the fight ahead. Gunhead has H.U.G.O. scan the CitiNET for people who appear sympathetic to the defence of the city, and produces a shortlist of names. Gunhead prepares his agent to send out a wideband message to the list of people, calling for support to help defend the city. He sends instructions to meet at the car park on the southern side of the Bakersfield University campus and attaches a group selfie. Almost immediately, a small group appears interested, sharing and liking the message.

Rama decides to send a callout to Kobeck and Lyon, his work colleagues, from the MAXTAC division of Night City (these characters are explored more in Rama’s ORIGIN STORY – COMING SOON!). The message is brief, indicating he is calling in a favour and needs their help to take on a tank.

Fennec queues up a message to Nathan, an Aegis nomad family member, to request for him to provide support from their supplier shipments, secretly hoping he’ll bring something that packs a punch from the Aegis airbase.

Lastly, Rez contacts her work colleagues, Eaves, Fens and Omar (and Shakes), considering that with a large scale firefight they might need the help of some experience trauma team medics (these characters are explored more in Rez’s ORIGIN STORY – COMING SOON!).

Gunhead is able to activate a long-distance link override command, sending the queued messages off away to their respective destinations, in the hope they receive assistance soon. Fennec pulls his car out of the old corporate lobby and the crew travel back to Bakersfield. As they arrive, the crew notice a small crowd of people gathered near the carpark. Gunhead approaches the group and introduces himself, receiving a small round of applause, with a few people seemingly interested to meet the “maker” of GunChan. He looks through the crowd and spots a tall man with a firm posture standing in a military rest position, who he later confirms is named Trent. He speaks with Trent, asking him to lead the crowd into the city and initiate hit-and-run tactics against any ganger groups that may not be expecting an attack. The man accepts the task and immediately starts, splitting up the crowd into smaller groups and handing out weaponry.

Shortly aftwards, Rez heads north into the University campus, closer to the danger zone, and heads into the medical labs. Entering inside, she sees Daniel Simmons attending to Juliet, laying down in a gurney, with dried blood on her forehead. Rez takes over, performing a paramedic skill check and helps to stabilise Juliet further, determining she is physically fine but has suffered a concussion from the tank assault. She quickly makes use of the lab equipment available and gets to work synthesising a batch of pharmaceutical drugs, which she may be able to make use of. She packs up the gear then heads back outside, regrouping with the rest of the team.

Nathan arrives in Fennec’s Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion, with an array of weapons to boot.

With it having been sometime now passed since they sent their call for help, the crew hear the sounds of helicopter blades in the distance. Fennec immediately recognises his nomad family logo and sees that it is his Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, which was being stored at the Inyokern airbase. As the helicopter lands, he sees Nathan exit the aircraft, who walks up to speak with him. Nathan explains after receiving the message that he spoke with Connor Stewart who had been preparing another shipment for their next Night Market shipment, but included a few “extras” for the crew. The crew review the contents, which includes some special incendiary ammunition (with Rama’s name on it), along with a general assortment of typical weapons to resupply the Bakersfield stockpile. Searching through the remainder of the crates, they find two unique weapons; a dart gun with sleep darts, and a flamethrower. Rez pockets the dart gun.

Rama greets his work colleagues, Kobeck and Lyon.

A short time later, another aircraft can be heard in the distance, this time approaching from the south-west. The aircraft is slick black, and the faint sound of heavy metal can be heard from inside. It approaches, swooping around before coming to a stop. Two heavily, armoured people walk out, wearing typical MAXTAC equipment. Rama moves in to approach, greeting Kobeck and Lyon. The two unpack some containers, with Rama finding a full suit of metal gear, very highly defensive armour that should be useful in the upcoming assault. Rama brings his colleagues up to speed, and they agree to support the assault on the tank.

Rez welcomes her Trauma Team to Bakersfield.

As Rama spends time donning the metal gear armour, the crew hear a third (and hopefully final) aircraft approach, spotting an AV-4 with the Trauma Team logo on the side. Exiting the aircraft, Eaves, Fens, Omar, and his drone Shakes, speak with Rez who welcomes, and thanks them for coming. She discusses the best place for them to be, and they agree to provide auxiliary backup support from the air, moving in to provide medical assistance where needed. The crew discuss what armaments they have, and confirm that both Kobeck and Lyon’s MAXTAC AV-4, and Fennec’s CH-53 helicopter have sufficient firepower to launch a strong assault.

They all huddle together, discussing a game plan. Gunhead has H.U.G.O. prepare a real-time feed, using analytical data from CitiNET agents on the network, identifying Trent and his team as friendlies so everyone else can avoid accidentally attacking them. Rama approaches within his metal gear armour, and Rez is able to source a bulletproof shield from her work colleagues. They begin to plan: Rama plans to fly over the tank, drop, then attack with the flamethrower. Fennec asks Gunhead to fly with him in his Sikorsky, giving him a better view from the sky, while Rez agrees to fly-in with Rama in the MAXTAC AV-4. As they prepare to take off, Fennec speaks with a local member of the Bakersfield security force, handing over the remainder of the weapons Nathan delivered in the shipment via Connor Stewart. A short time later, the aircraft take off, heading north towards the tank.

EP 19 – Going Up

Rez approaches Warren, who took damage in the last firefight. She stabilises his wounds using her Paramedic skill, and then moves to assess Gunhead’s burn wounds. She is able to stabilise him, and chooses to use one of her Speedheal stims, which immediately begins the healing process. Gunhead’s wounds turn a fleshy pink, before beginning to heal completely, almost bringing him back up to full health.

Meanwhile, Rama and Fennec hand off the captured ganger to Warren and Ghoul to interrogate, while they start to head toward the elevators at the back of the lobby with the rest of the crew. Rama remembers that two gangers appeared to escape, travelling to the rooftop via one of the elevators. The crew decide on how to proceed, with Rama and Fennec choosing to take one elevator, while Rez and Gunhead take the other. Before they head up, Gunhead checks in with H.U.G.O., and has him check sensor data from some of the equipment he had left on the rooftop when setting up the CitiNET. H.U.G.O reports that telemetry data reports two gangers are on the rooftop, with one close to an antenna tower, the other ganger residing near the elevator doors.

As the elevators arrive at the ground floor lobby, the crew split up and enter in, approaching the rooftop. Rez quickly makes a reaction to a shotgun blast which goes off, with her bulletproof shield absorbing the attack. Rez and Gunhead are able to look towards the remaining antenna tower on the roof, noticing a small bag has been placed near the base of the tower. Everyone enteres into initiative order.

Coming into round one, At the start of the order, a ganger approaches from the tower, positioning to the top of a staircase and making an attack at Rez. The shot lands, but Rez is able to use her bulletproof shield to absorb the rest of the blow, which then breaks due to the damage it has taken. Rez switches to her assault rifle and returns fire, landing a shot and dealing damage. Gunhead repositions and also takes a shot, aiming with his very heavy pistol. The shots land, and Gunhead retreats back into cover. The injured ganger, sitting toward the elevators, tries to pick up his shotgun, but fails, screaming out in pain. Fennec runs past everyone, jumping a small wall, stopping just short of the antenna. Rama steps out, pops two pistol shots at the ganger, and walks back.

The injured ganger, waiting for Rez as she exits the elevator.

In round two, the remaining ganger retaliates against Rama’s execution style attack, and shoots back. The SMG attack lands, breaking Rama’s bulletproof shield. Rez runs up the stairs, stopping just next to Fennec. Gunhead hurries to make another pistol shot, but misses, shooting between Fennec and Rez. Fennec attempts a grapple on the ganger, who is now trying to run away, and coathangers them to the ground, ending combat.

Rama rushes up, placing handcuffs on the ganger. Rez inspects the bag at the base of the long-distance antenna, identifying plastic explosives. Rama recalls having seen similar types of explosives used before, and feels confident that he can disarm it. He spends a few minutes carefully deactivating the explosive triggers, and detaches a remote relay trigger device. He walks up to the handcuffed ganger, and demands to know who has the triggering device that would set this off. The ganger indicates a man named “Solomon” would have it, but that she has no idea where he is. Rama asks Gunhead to sweep the CitiNET, with Gunhead asking H.U.G.O. to check for radio frequencies communicating with this trigger. H.U.G.O indicates that it appears to be coming from closer to the downtown part of Bakersfield, but should be able to triangulate it once they get closer to the origin. Gunhead also finds where a physical cable was cut on the antenna, and quickly re-wires it, with everyone’s agents pinging to confirm long-distance communication is available again via periodic data bursts. Just before they head downstairs, Rez scavenges a few pieces of cyberware on them, including two cyber-eyes with anti-dazzle and image enhancement features. She quickly extracts them, bagging the eyes as the crew head back down the elevator to the lobby floor.

Gunhead tries to re-wire the tower to re-establish long-distance communication in Bakersfield.

Back on the ground floor, they meet up with Warren and Ghoul and debate on how to proceed. H.U.G.O confirms he has isolated the location of Solomon, but recommends that they should send out a data burst and contact any friends or allies they have to get help with saving the city.

EP 18 – Into the Fire

As Fennec’s car comes into a stop in the lobby of the corporate lobby, the crew enter into initiative order.

In round one, Rama starts and, using the cover from Fennec’s car, throws a teargas grenade further into the lobby. The grenade bounces off a desk, missing it’s intended targets, but gets manages to partially affect one of the gangers. In retaliation, a ganger shoots at Fennec’s car, dealing some damage. One of the friendly security guards, Warren, approaches forward into the lobby and retains a defensive position. Fennec activates his neural link and launches a barrage of autofire rounds from his car’s onboard machine gun turret. One of the gangers runs off, and disappears at the back of the lobby, while another ganger makes an attack against the cover they are hiding behind. Rez proceeds forward, landing a shot with her assault rifle against a concrete pillar a ganger is using to hide. In NET space, Gunhead navigates down a floor and encounters a Hellhound Black ICE program, waiting to attack. Gunhead and the program roll to see who goes first, with the Hellhound winning the roll. It launches an attack, but Gunhead is able to dodge the assault at the last minute. In retaliation, Gunhead activates his sword program, dealing a good chunk of damage. Back in MEAT space, a ganger re-positions and makes an attack towards Rama with their heavy pistol. The shot lands, destroying the couch Rama was hiding behind. Another ganger who was wounded from the autofire attack shoots with their SMG, but misses. Ghoul, another friendly security guard, repositions themselves closer into the lobby floor.

Starting in round two, Rama drops his rifle to the ground, switching to his heavy pistol. He runs up to slide across the front of Fennec’s car, but critically fails, falling to the ground. Warren damages and destroys one of the pillars where a ganger is hiding behind, freeing up a shot from the rest of the team. Fennec activates his car’s autofire gun again, aiming at the ganger standing in the open, but fails as he is too close and misses. A ganger moves and attacks Warren, dealing damage against him. Rez makes another shot against a ganger, dealing some damage through their leather armour. In NET space, Gunhead continues his fight against the Hellhound. It attacks, piercing through his defence, and deals damage directly to Gunhead’s brain. Additionally, his cyberdeck and clothing begin to catch fire in the real world. Gunhead launches an attack in return, but fails the first attack. He re-tries with his sword program, succeeding and dealing enough damage to destroy and de-REZ the Hellhound program. With this last NET action, he activates a BACKDOOR program, cracking a password to see the remainder of the NET, including a WISP Black ICE program and Control Node. A ganger shoots at Fennec’s car, landing a few shots against it. Another ganger repositions towards the rear of the lobby, and Ghoul tries to go around behind Fennec’s car.

Gunhead’s avatar in NET space – “No Face” – in combat against a Wisp.

Round three begins, with Rama moving around the car (having just learnt his lesson). He makes two pistol shots against a ganger standing near Fennec’s car. Both shots land, with the second dealing a critical injury. As Rama moves forward and takes the shots, he steps onto the ganger’s hand, crushing their fingers in the process. A ganger re-positions and makes a shot against Rama, but misses due to the far distance. Warren proceeds forward, making an attack with their assault rifle against a ganger, dealing significant damage and dropping them to the ground. Fennec exits his car, and moves forward to meet up with Rama standing next to a nearby pillar, taking cover. Rez moves up into the lobby, and prepares to make an attack when a shot is available. Gunhead tries to SLIDE past the Wisp Black ICE program, but is noticed. It attacks, and deals damage directly to his brain. He makes an attack with his sword program again which fails spectacularly, but his second attack lands. Dealing damage, he is able to deal 15 points of damage, which completely de-REZes the Wisp Black ICE program. With his last action, he inspects the Control Node on the next floor. He scans and identifies that they are deactivated gun turrets in the ceiling setup in the lobby. He successfully breaks the control locks, meaning he can make an attack using them next turn. The injured ganger with crushed fingers tries to pick up their gun, but fails, crawling away from Rama instead. Another ganger further in the lobby shoots at Rama, landing the shot, which is absorbed by his armorjack body armour. Ghoul tries to move behind the back of Fennec’s car, but slips on some garbage left in the lobby.

The bloodied remains of the ganger who took a lot of damage from the ceiling-mounted gun turrets.

Coming into round four and five, Rama retaliates against the ganger which shot at him, landing both shots against the ganger, one of which being a critical injury. The first shot hits the ganger’s shoulder, while the second shot hits his rib cage and into his lung, forcing him to begin coughing up blood and collapsing to the ground. The last “healthy” ganger tries to escape through the lobby elevator floors, but finishes their movement just before the elevator doors. Fennec grapples the injured ganger with crushed fingers, and maintains their hold against them. Rez proceeds further into the lobby to a reception desk. Gunhead activates the control node, and launches an attack with both ceiling-mounted gun turrets, which turn online. He deals 10d6 damage (2 x 5d6), for a grand total of 37 damage. As the shots land, his armour is able to absorb part of the blow, but receives a serious spinal injury. Rama launches two more shots with his pistol, which are partially absorbed by his armour. The now seriously wounded, and last remaining, ganger is able to crawl the rest of the way into a lobby elevator, which Rama notices stops at the rooftop. Fennec and Rama place cuffs on the grappled ganger, and Gunhead decides to finally put out his on-fire clothing.

EP 17 – Out of the Frying Pan

The crew spend about 15 minutes in the hired taxi before arriving in a part of Koreatown, in downtown L.A. The driver asks for his fare, with Rez paying him. As everyone looks around, they find a popular, lit-up with neon diner called “Antons” and enter. Towards the back of the diner, they spot Evan Briggs, sitting in a booth, and approach him. After a brief catch-up on what they’ve accomplished, he offers them a ride back into Bakersfield as he had just finished up work in the greater L.A. District. They agree to grab some food and order some items from the menu, which is served to the table.

As they leave, Evan notes that the hourly databurst usually sending data from Bakersfield has been quiet for about 12 hours, with the crew being too preoccupied to notice until now. They head into Evan’s groundcar and begin the 4-hour journey northward on the I-5. As they get into a closer proximity to Bakersfield, the crew’s agents eventually re-connect to the local CitiNET and phones begin lighting up. While Evan is driving, everyone begins searching through the CitiNET feeds to find out what is happening. The data is sparse, with them being unable to identify anything specific.

A short time later, they arrive at the University and can see large plumes of smoke coming from the north-facing side. He encourages the crew to check in while he parks the car, and they assess the damage. They confirm the University campus is under attack, and spot an old military tank on the other side of a river bed, which is occasionally launching a shot towards the campus. The security team has created firepits and are using smokebombs to maintain a form of smoke screen while they try to determine a plan. Kave chimes in to inform them their long distance links (LDLs) are offline too, meaning they can’t make any outside communication beyond the local CitiNET. The LDLs are a series of re-purposed cell/mobile phone towers configured on-top of an old corporate building.

The crew assess damage to the north-facing side of the University

The crew decide to focus on the LDL problem first, and Gunhead confirms where they need to go having setup part of the infrastructure with Kave earlier, and travel in Fennec’s groundcar. They arrive to find two security guards laying outside, one in bad condition. Rez speaks with them, and performs emergency triage using her paramedic skill to stabilise the injured man. The security guards confirm two more of them are still fighting inside, but are unable to push in further against a group of gangers who are holed up inside.

Inside, the crew see a long-spanning lobby with a number of pillars setup in two rows. The two remaining security guards are behind pillars closest to the door, with an unknown number of gangers sitting behind cover further into the corporate lobby. While Rez, Rama and Fennec try to assess the physical situation, Gunhead scans for a usable CitiNET. Luckily, he is able to find an older corporate network that operates in a half-half state, with a minor part of the newer network operating and usable by his newer-age cyberdeck. Inside, Gunhead identifies a few floors of the architecture, but can’t make it beyond a password lower down.

Meanwhile, Rama switches to using his bullet-proof shield and moves forward into the lobby, with Rez also equipping her shield. Both of them prepare to launch a round of suppressive fire, giving Fennec the opportunity to run back outside and start up his groundcar. He lines up the car and drives in through the main doors, swerving to avoid the remains of corporate lounges and chairs still laying in the lobby. Burning rubber, he makes an improvised smoke-screen as the car eventually stops further into the lobby.

Fennec’s car, “neatly” parked in the middle of the lobby

EP 16 – The Wild Bunch

While they wait to meet at the Pacific Private Rail train station, Rama sends an outbound message via his agent, providing a tip off to the Night City Police Department (NCPD) regarding what looks to have been pocket nukes that they found in the weapons bunker. Hours later, they travel a freight yard and meet with Connor Stewart again. Connor introduces the crew to the train engineer and operator, and the enter onto the train. Once inside, they begin to look around. Fennec inspects the cargo, finding towards the rear what looks to be the artillery cannons they are transporting. Gunhead gains authorised contractor-level access to the train’s localNET and scouts the entire architecture:

1A: Password
2A: File (Shipping Manifest)
3A: Black Ice (Raven)
4A: Control Node (Armed Flying Observation Drone)5B: Password
–>6B: Control Node (Fire Suppression Systems)
–>7B: Black Ice (2 x Hell Hounds)
–>8B: Control Node (Engineering Control Systems)

Gunhead looks at the shipping manifest, and confirms that the artillery cannons have been loaded, as well as finding an assortment of other firearms and ammunition destined for other customers in Los Angeles. He leaves a copy of his own Black Ice to run as an alert proxy, designed to notify him if someone were to connect to the network.

Gangers approaching the train

The train departs and leaves the outskirts of Las Vegas towards Southern California. A short time later Rez and Rama begin to scout out from the sides of the train to keep an eye out for banditry. Rez scouts trucks approaching from a side road running parallel to the train tracks and warns the crew. Gunhead launches the drone, which shoots out from the side of the train. Fennec notifies the train driver, who securely locks the compartment after he leaves.

Using his AR goggles, Gunhead is able to see from the drone’s point-of-view and sees the trucks are closing the distance. In one of the trucks, he spots the back door open and a hacker-looking character, wearing AR goggles themselves, looks to be trying to get close enough to hack in. He activates the drone’s self-defence pistol, and lands a shot against the hacker.

Entering initiative, Gunhead kicks off, and shoots at the vehicle itself in an attempt to stop them. The pistol shots hit the truck, dealing some damage. Fennec exits onto a side railing on the train car and shoots with his heavy pistol, causing one of the trucks to swerve to dodge the barrage. Rama shoots from his assault rifle, but misses as the trucks continue swerving. Some of the gangers climb to the roof of their trucks, with one of them taking a shot with an SMG gun. Fennec gets hit, but his armour is able to absorb the blow. Another ganger moves forward to jump, but fails spectacularly, and falls to the ground, disappearing to the ground below. Rez tries to use the train carriage doors as cover, and shoots with her assault rifle towards the gangers, dealing damage to one of the other trucks.

The Ganger NETrunner attempts to connect, but it frizzles out due to their distance to their train. Another ganger, standing on the truck on the train’s right side, lands a critical attack with their SMG. Rama’s armour is able to absorb the blow (just), but the attack comes at a surprise. Still controlling the drone, Gunhead misses a shot against a truck on the train’s left side. Fennec takes two shots with his pistol, and disables the vehicle the NETrunner was hiding in, and he watches it fade into the distance. Rama takes an overconfident shot, missing an attack as the train navigates around a bend.

Another ganger appears and leaps onto the train, almost falling at the last moment and collapsing to the floor of the outer train rail. Rez takes advantage of the ganger’s compromised position, shooting with her shotgun, and deals a significant amount of damage. A second ganger tries to jump across, but suffers a critical failure and falls, being crunched by the train. A last, more powerful ganger approaches and manages a graceful manoeuvre, jumping and flipping onto the train. The ganger quickly launches into a lunge, attacking Rama with a combat knife. Rama side-steps the first attack, but doesn’t react quickly enough against the second hit, which deals no significant damage against his robust armour. Gunhead disconnects from the train localNET, and moves to help Rama against the ganger. Fennec switches to his sword and pushes through Gunhead and Rama, attempting to attack the ganger who made it onto the train. His first lunge lands, but the ganger is able to block against the second blow. Rama throws his weapon to the ground and switches to his fists, making a brawling check and landing a solid punch.

Rez aims a shotgun blast towards the other remaining ganger, but misses, firing the blast towards the trailing truck. In a panic, the driver brakes and disappears into the distance. Meanwhile, Rama’s armour absorbs another hit from the powerful ganger, who then prepares to jump back onto the truck. Noticing the ganger in a vulnerable position, Gunhead makes a successful attack with his pistol, landing another shot. With this ganger being dealt with by Rama and Gunhead, Fennec disengages and runs to the other side of the train car to check on Rez. With the ganger having run away from Rama, he reaches for his pistol making two shots (one of them dealing critical damage!), he deals significant damage against the ganger who dismembers their own hand in the process. Wanting to continue the fight, Rama tries to jump across to the truck, but slips, almost falling down. Gunhead swoops in at the last moment and grabs his hand, saving him from an otherwise gruesome death.

The ganger in combat with Rez receives a second wind, and stands up to fight against Rez. They move forward and shoot with their SMG at Rez. In their injured state, they critically fail and shoot against the train door instead. Rez reacts with a grapple check, but they dodge out of the way at the last moment. The powerful ganger, who has now made their way on top of the truck, bangs on the roof and it begins to brake. The ganger lands a final shot with their SMG against Rama. Gunhead swoops around to the other side of the train and engages into combat with the ganger fighting against Rez. They land a final shot, causing the ganger to stagger back. The ganger collapses, falling over the train railing and disappears.

With combat over, the engineer informs them they are closing the distance to their destination, and the rest of their journey is quiet. The train arrives a short time later in a trainyard in San Bernadino, and they speak with the engineer who informs them to speak with the weapons buyers who should be waiting outside for them. They meet with the buyers who begin to approach the train, and the crew send off a message to Connor to let them know the job is done. Rama checks his agent, receiving confirmation from the police department they are now keeping an keen eye on shipments coming from Nevada. Around the same time, the crew’s phones light up for a real-time call, meaning it’s someone on the same CitiNET. Rez takes the call, and discovers the caller is Evan Briggs, the representative who met them at Stateline to help with the Bakersfield reclamation works. He asks why they are in town, and Rez briefly explains. He asks if they’d like to catch up, and they agree to meet with him at a café more toward downtown L.A. They grab a taxi which begins to drive them further into the city centre.

EP 15 – What Happens In Vegas

The crew head into the hired car service and debate on what to do with some downtime before they have to meet with Connor Stewart. They agree to head into the main “strip” of Las Vegas and arrive a short time later. Gunhead finds out that Mickey owes money to the Killmore Casino and wants to try his luck, so the rest of the crew agree to travel. They leave Mickey in the strip, as he thinks he wouldn’t be welcomed back given that he is on bad terms with them right now.

They walk up the street into the casino and are welcomed by a greeter. Fennec checks in his sword, while Rez checks in her coat. They head to the bar and finish a round, then go up to a blackjack table. They play a number of rounds, with none of the crew making any profit. After they finish up, Fennec approaches Donovan, the man who accosted Mickey at the airport. He finds out from Donovan that Mickey owes the casino 50,000 eurobucks, and that they took the aircraft as collateral until he can pay them back.

The crew at a Blackjack table

The crew leave, cashing out the remainder of their chips, and head back to where they left Mickey and grab some food (sushi). They eventually find Mickey leaving a bar, and agree to rest at a motel on the outskirts of town before they head to where they were meeting with Connor. The motel is quite cheap, which seems to further indicate Mickey’s financial condition. They double-bunk in two rooms, with Gunhead pulling out the child’s bed. In the morning Rama purchases some pre-pak food (not trusting the motel’s continental breakfast) and they hit the road to a part of town in outer Vegas known as “The Sticks”.

Arriving at the address, they find a trailer park and find Connor Stewart, out of armour, sitting in a couch outside a large RV. He invites them inside, and into a false floor leading into a small bunker installed underneath the vehicle. Throughout the bunker is an assortment of weapons, ammunition and heavy ordinance. Connor explains that while it isn’t illegal to own and distribute this equipment within Nevada, he likes to maintain a low-profile to avoid other trouble that might come up. He directs them to a holo-display, showcasing a private commercial train line that runs mostly parallel to a set of major highways between Las Vegas, Nevada to the L.A. District in Southern California. Rama and Fennec recall hearing about these, but know they are often prone to being attacked by outlaws and bandits along the miles of land bordering the train line. Connor indicates he greased a few palms to get a weapons shipment – specifically the Artillery Cannons – into a train yard on the outskirts of L.A, but wants the crew to scare off any potential attackers. They agree to meet at the private train station in the afternoon to provide security for the shipment.

In Connor’s Munitions Bunker

EP 14 – Market Day

Having not heard from Gunhead in some time, the rest of the crew visit the Computer Science lab to speak with him. They encounter Gunhead arguing with Kave about single sign-on protocols, but eventually Kave encourages Gunhead to talk more about his work building out the foundations of the citiNET for Bakersfield. Gunhead starts to go into detail regarding the features, such as online forums, message boards and online stores. Finally, he unveils his pièce de résistance, an output of telemetry from all citiNET users in Bakersfield. He says this data could help uncover threats to the city, such as encroaching gangers or other dangerous individuals.

The Market alive with activity

Fennec receives a ping on his agent from Mickey, a close friend within the Aegis Nomad clan. Mickey informs him that they are bringing in some supplies to help setup a market in downtown Bakersfield. He encourages the crew to come along if they want to buy supplies. The crew head into downtown a short time later, they arrive into a small, but bustling, city market with a number of different stalls set up. Rez approaches Lenny D, a ramen vendor who they spoke with shortly before investigating the Arcade Parlour a few days prior. Gunhead tries to convince him they had a bet going, but fails to convince him. The crew buy some fresh bowls and begin to wander through the market.

They find Mickey speaking with a heavily armed man in the back-end of the market, and Fennec approaches When asked about a weapons merchant, Mickey introduces them to Connor Stewart, who is hesitant to provide access to his services until Mickey makes good on a promise. Mickey encourages Connor to grab some food while he speaks with the crew. Out of earshot, Mickey informs the crew that Connor is a weapons dealer based out of Nevada, and is looking for assistance with smuggling “less-than-legal” weapons across the border from Nevada into Southern California. Rama prods for more information and finds out Connor is intending to smuggle in artillery. The crew agree to help Mickey and Connor, and Connor them provides them access to a small collection of weapons he was able to bring with him, located in the trunk of his car. Rez purchases an assault rifle, along with a few magazines, while Rama picks up some additional flash bang grenades. A short time later, Connor packs up his equipment and leaves, leaving the crew to inspect the rest of the market. They spend some time purchasing equipment from the other vendors, with the crew picking up a wide variety of new equipment.

Inyokern Airbase – Controlled by the Aegis Nomad Group

They finish up in the markets and speak with Mickey again, agreeing to travel with him and the rest of the Aegis Nomads as they travel back to the Inyokern base of operations, located east of Bakersfield. Driving overnight, they arrive at the fortified airbase in the early hours of the morning. Fennec spends some time catching up with a few Nomad-family members, and they get clearance to borrow a jet airliner to take into Las Vegas, Nevada. They pack some snacks and hit the tarmac, taking off for a short flight across the border. Fennec gets clearance from Nevada air traffic control, and takes the jet down at Enterprise Airport, a regional hub on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

Arriving into the arrivals terminal, they find a collection of large, armed men, sitting and appearing to wait for Mickey. Mickey asks the crew to wait to the side for him for a few minutes. While they wait, they try to identify the men. Fennec asks an air stewardess at a reception terminal, who believes they are representatives of a casino in town. After the men leave, Mickey indicates he has had to hand over the keys to the jetliner to the men, but declines to go into further detail about the discussion. He organises for a ground car to take them into Las Vegas.

The men waiting in the Arrivals terminal at Enterprise Airport

EP 13 – Deal or No Deal

The crew find Oliver Krans in the University and speak with him about his requirements to schedule a recurring nomad resupply deal. Oliver informs them he used to be part of a nomad group currently based outside the L.A. District, but enquires from Fennec about his nomad family. Fennec mentions he has close ties with his Aegis nomad clan, who could assist with resupplying Bakersfield, and agrees to speak with his family to get some idea on pricing to resupply the town. Later, Fennec hears back from his clan who are sending over Mickey and Boxer. Oliver contacts his nomad colleagues and they agree to meet at the University to discuss a deal.

Rez visits Daniel Simmons in the Medical Training Lab at the University, and offers to help him set up the equipment they delivered earlier. As they finish up, Rez also uses her MEDTECH ability to produce speedheals, which she saves for future use. Later on, a man with a missing hand walks in to the medical lab. He introduces himself as Gavin McGuire and explains he lost his hand in a recent fight, but has heard over the local CitiNET that the University was hosting a med bay and wanted to see if he could get a new hand. Rez checks with Daniel, who hands over a vacuum-sealed cyberhand that she can use for the installation. To help establish some goodwill with the community, Rez offers to install the hand for free. Rez and Daniel take Gavin to a spare medical room, and she attempts a SURGERY skill check (and uses some of her LUCK stat, too). After a few hours, Rez finishes her work and installs the cyber-hand into Gavin’s meat arm. She works with him to calibrate it, and she sends a photo of her work to her brother Ricky. Gavin eventually departs, thanking Rez and the crew for their assistance.

Meanwhile, Rama uses some spare tools from the mechatronic lab to repair his and Rez’s armorjack body armour, which had been damaged in an earlier firefight. Fennec searches through the University’s old inventory and finds a lot of older sheet metal, which he fashions into an armour chassis for Rama’s motorcycle (he also paints some nice flames on the side).

The next day, both Fennec’s nomad clan The Aegis, and Oliver Krans’ former nomad clan family, El Coyote Viajero, agree to meet at a designated meeting place, an old lecture hall on the corner of the University grounds. At midday, they all meet in the car park. Fennec’s nomad clan family, Mickey and Boxer meet him. Mickey surprises Fennec with his original nomad car, freshly refurbished. Oliver introduces the crew to Silivio and Isabel Mendez, of the El Coyote Viajero nomad clan, originating from Mexico. As they walk to the lecture hall, Rama briefly speaks with Fennec about his nomadic origins with The Orcas.

The Aegis and El Coyote Viajero clans meeting in a car park at the University

As everyone enters the lecture hall, Oliver walks to the podium and welcomes everyone for coming. He explains their motivation is to organise a suitable trade deal, with recurring shipments of food, medical supplies, and weaponry and ammunition to restore Bakersfield to a functional city again. Mickey asks Fennec to negotiate on the Aegis behalf, as he is more familiar with the city’s future needs. While Oliver prepares some details, Rama goes into further details about The Orcas. During the 4th Corporate War, large areas around Singapore were destroyed or rendered inhospitable. The Orcas used their naval fleet to ferry across refugees to cities along the west coast of the United States, including Night City. Nowadays, the clan operates out of an abandoned oil refinery just off the shore line.

Everyone in the Lecture Hall

After a few minutes, Oliver speaks again and breaks down the estimated needs for the city, such as food for a few thousand people, medical supplies, technical components and weaponry and ammunition. He says based on his estimate this should cost approximately 29,000 eurobucks, per month, but understands every nomad clan has to factor in a variety of factors. He opens the floor and Silvio starts off the discussion and indicates they could provide the delivery costs for 40,000 EB/month. Fennec leads a rebuttal, stating the work the crew have performed to clean up the town will reduce the overheads a nomad clan might need to put in place. Silivio discusses with his nomad counterparts and comes back to the discussion saying they could go down to 35,000 EB/month. Fennec asks Mickey if there is anything more they can do to try and secure the deal, and Mickey says he has a promising lead for discounted weaponry, which would help their margins, but the deal isn’t firmly locked in yet, and he would need the crew’s help. He agrees, and they quote Oliver a lower price, which Silivio is unable to beat. Oliver awards the trade contract to the Aegis nomad clan for 33,500 EB/month, and sends details to Mickey and Boxer to organise the first shipment into town. They finish up the meeting, and Silvio and Isabel leave, heading back to the L.A. district. Fennec asks Mickey to send him more details on this favour he now owes him…

EP 12 – The Art of the Steal

As the crew return from their earlier expedition to the library in the Country Club, they debate on what to do next. Rez accesses a computer terminal, and confirms the library they scouted earlier is open to guests 24/7, so they decide to wait until late at night before going back to check out the wall-safe. They navigate to the dining hall, spending a short time there before moving on. As the crew enter back in, they notice a man sleeping away on a couch just near the door. Rama approaches the desk he saw Aaron Mitchell was working at earlier. He finds a secret lever in the back drawer of the desk and pulls it. On the far wall, they notice a painting cracks open slightly. As they open the false-wall, they find a large mechanical safe.

The crew attempting to leave, after stealing the drugs from the safe

Unable to crack it, they navigate back to the desk, and Rez decides to physically hack into the computer terminal placed on the desk. Logged in, she runs a system-wide scan and finds a file that looks to be the safe combination. They walk back to the safe, and the sleeping man begins to wake up. Rez rolls a persuasion check, and pushes the man back into the couch. Moments later, the man begins snoring again and Rez approaches the safe. As it opens, they find the assortment of drugs they had hoped to find, including an abundance of Blue Glass & Synthcoke. As Rez packs the drugs away, she also finds an encrypted data shard, which she pockets.

Fennec notices a group approaching down the hallway toward the Library. The crew converse on how to act casual as they enter, but to their luck find that these people are friends of the sleeping man, who collect him and return to their rooms. The crew exit and prepare to leave the estate. As they enter up to the entrance, they speak with two guards stationed at the door. Rama attempts to persuade the guards that he needs to leave on urgent business, but the guard insists they remain for their safety. Rama pushes further, and the guards eventually permit them to leave.

They leave and travel back to the Medical Clinic currently occupied by the Endolphin gang. They speak with Versa, who is surprised they came back. Rez hands over the supply, and Versa welcomes them to take what they need from the remains of the clinic. The crew dig through several rooms and eventually find the components they are looking for, along with a small assortment of other supplies they take as payment for their hard work. As they arrive back at Bakersfield University, they crash in their provided rooms within the old student housing complex and sleep off the day’s events.

Daniel Simmons in the Medical Lab

The next day, they return to the medical lab and meet up with Daniel Simmons. He thanks them for their hard work, and begins working away to set up a viable medical lab for future use. The crew decide to grab a quick breakfast, then head into the Computer Science lab to speak with Kave about the encrypted data shard. Kave works with Gunhead to crack it, and they review its contents: An audio recording and a text file.

As they listen to the audio recording, they determine this was taken from a planned meeting between the owners of the Country Club estate (Lavish Entertainment) and an undisclosed individual representing the Oildale gangers. The corporation has agreed to make periodic payments to the gangers to instil a state of unrest, to keep their clientele happy with a ‘wasteland experience’. The file on the data shard appears to be initial plans to demolish and rebuild an old abandoned shopping mall located in Bakersfield, with requests for tender sent out to several large construction agencies.

EP 11 – Exclusive Access

Out of game, the players discuss options for upgrading their character stats through the use of Improvement Points (IP). Ze (Rama) invests points in Drive Land Vehicle (to help with operating his “new” motorbike) and Luke (Fennec) invests in Lip Reading. Michelle (Rez) and Jackson (Gunhead) decide to save their IP to improve their role abilities at a later point in time.

In-game, the crew agree to seek out the items requested by Dan Simmons, who is trying to set up a medical facility in town to cater to the local populace. Specifically, Dan needs three items of value which he believes may be available in an old med building somewhere in town:

  • Andermaectomatic (Skin Remover)
  • Subcytogram (Cellular regeneration Device)
  • Cryodesis Gun (Cryo-induction Gun)
The Medical Clinic

Simmons had previously pointed them to an old medical clinic close to downtown, which they agree to investigate. They travel through downtown Bakersfield and find an assortment of junkies intermixed with ganger members, who don’t appear overly hostile towards the crew. Rez approaches, speaking with a guard watching out front, and heads inside. They find a somewhat functional set-up, lined with juiced-up junkies craving a fix from a woman behind a secured desk. The crew converse with the woman, finding out the people who run the building are members of the Endolphin gang, who set themselves up in the building. The ganger indicates that due to a drug shipment having gone missing, they are in need of a resupply, and the crew agree to investigate a country club in town to source a collection of drugs, in exchange for the equipment they are looking for.

They travel to Eastern Bakersfield and park outside a large estate with a security fence wrapping the outside perimeter and debate on how to proceed. Making a successful local expert check, Gunhead recalls hearing about these sorts of “setups”, typically involving rich corporate types wanting to experience the ‘thrill’ of the badlands while still enjoying comfort. He considers connecting into their local NET, but thinks he would have to get closer to the main building first. Gunhead jumps the security fence, landing into an interior of a courtyard. Failing several stealth checks, he is noticed by some security guards monitoring the perimeter, who begin to move forward to inspect. In a panic, Gunhead jumps into a well-kept hedge to hide.

Gunhead hiding in a bush

Meanwhile, Rama decides to call in some backup from the private security stationed at the University, who begin to drive across town to meet the crew. Gunhead picks up a faint trace of a NET signal, and attempts to hack into a nearby water pump system in the country club grounds. Bypassing some simple security, Gunhead accesses a lower-level of the system’s NET architecture, and disables a nearby pump to get a guard’s attention. He tries to time his hack to spurt high-pressure water at the guard, but fails. With somewhat access to the NET, Gunhead is able to Eye-Dee a file in the NET detailing the club’s upcoming clientele listing, and searches out reservations in the next day or so. He finds an appointment with a police officer due to arrive tomorrow, named Aiden Reyes. In consultation with the rest of the team, he uses write-access on the file to update the name to Zacharus Rama.

With an “appointment”, Rama contacts the Country Club via an outside speaker box. Rama indicates he arrived a day earlier than expected, and the staff open the gate, welcoming them in. Meanwhile, Rez waits for the called-on backup, who arrive a short time later. The crew, including the backup, walk through the front Country Club garden, and enter inside. During their approach, Gunhead sneaks out of the bush and walks in with everyone else. They arrive into a lavish, well-kept building and are greeted by a receptionist who explains the available amenities. Rama is up-front about wanting drugs, but fails his check, and the receptionist encourages him to get acquainted with his accommodation first. In their room, Gunhead slips back into the NET, defeats a Black ICE program, and checks the internal camera systems. They find in what appears to be a library, a man opening a safe, hidden behind a false-wall.

Aaron Mitchell – Working away at the back of the Country Club library

The crew leaves the accommodation, heading towards the library. They enter and find a well-dressed man working away at a desk towards the back of the room, amongst other guests of the Country Club. Rama approaches and sparks up a conversation. The man identifies himself as Aaron Mitchell, the director of the corporation that manages the estate. Rama prods for information regarding the setup, but is unable to get much information out of him. While Rama speaks with the man, the rest of the crew eye out where they think the wall-safe is, behind a Jellyfish painting on a side wall. They exit the library and debate on what to do next.

EP 10 – A Bridge Too Far

The crew wake up after their late night interrogation and re-group in the University’s cafeteria building. VC gets up to speed on what the crew performed last night, primarily kidnapping the Oildale ganger, and he questions whether they can get more information about the Oildale gangers from their confiscated agent. They meet up with Richard Thwatt who hands over the agent. VC is able to use some spare tools to break a physical encryption chip on the device, logging into the agent and identifying a half-dozen names of what looks to be associated gangers.

The Bridge Roadblock

The crew consider whether they should attempt to negotiate with the Oildale gangers again, operating under the alias of a Nomad clan seeking a source of diesel fuel, but elect to attack the bridge they had scouted earlier to cause some damage. As they arrive at the bridge, Fennec and Rama divert northbound around a train line to shoot at the gangers from the north, planning to force them to retreat toward the rest of the party who will prepare to attack. Fennec lines up a shot, which misses, but causes the gangers to flee. Rama lands a critical injury attack against a ganger standing on the bridge, who collapses on the ground. The fighting continues with Rez and VC providing additional support, ending with them clearing out the remaining threats on the bridge.

The crew assess the belongings of the dead gangers, with Rez harvesting a collection of cyberware from the bodies. Fennec inspects one of the vehicles, and Rama locates and takes a crossbow. Later, Fennec and VC work on disabling the diesel-based vehicles the gangers had parked. They decide to clear out the bodies by throwing them into the Kern River, which the bridge serves as a crossing for.

With a clear path to get into Oildale, they decide to do some initial scouting on the Oildale region. From a suitable vantage point, they spot a refinery in operation, with a number of guards patrolling the area and smoke sputtering out. They sneak back to the University with a plan to come back and finish off the gangers for good at a later time…

EP 9 – Splinter Cell

After a few days rest, the crew regroup to decide on the next job to do. Gunhead continues working away with Kave on the Bakersfield CitiNET, while VC is working on optimising the power systems with Son Ji Won. Rama, Rez and Fennec agree to start investigating the Oildale gangers to gather more information on their intentions. They decide a stealthier approach might be a better idea, and drive to scout a nearby bridge that is expected to have gangers posted on it.

They park a short distance away and approach on foot to get a closer look. Through some checks they are able to identify a long bridge spanning the Kern river, with a few gangers set up on top with cars and barriers blocking the road. A small building lies off to the side, which they figure must have been a rest area, and they can hear a TV blaring inside. Rama wants to continue scouting further, but they agree to wait until nightfall to approach the building any further. They spend some downtime in Fennec’s car to wait for dark.

The rest building

A few hours later, they exit Fennec’s car and sneak back towards the building they saw earlier. Rama approaches a window and peaks inside, spotting a woman napping on a couch in the room, with the TV they heard still blaring in the background. They decide on a plan to break in and subdue the sleeping ganger, in an attempt to gather information on the Oildale ganger group. Inside, Rez stands by the TV and prepares to turn it up loud, while Rama and Fennec prepare to restrain the ganger. While Fennec is moving further into the room, he trips onto the ground, startling the woman. Rez blasts the TV to full volume and Rama moves in to make a grappling check. Fennec recovers and works with the rest of the crew to subdue the ganger. Rez confirms that the rest of this ganger’s party outside on the bridge haven’t heard the commotion, and inspects the room. She finds a note from the ganger’s boss marked as a shipment schedule, indicating the bridge gets resupplied every two days. They pack up and get back to Fennec’s car, taking the ganger with them back to the University.

Arriving back at Bakersfield University, they are questioned by one of the security guards. He reluctantly lets them in, directing them to a secure room in the history department to use as a holding area. Rama asks the guard to call in Richard to assist with the interrogation efforts. Fennec heads to the cafeteria to brew some fresh coffee, and they all setup in a secure, locked room in the building. Richard comes in a short time later, and they begin questioning the woman. Rama over extends as he begins to move closer to the ganger, accidentally hitting the table and breaking a coffee cup. They continue to try hard-ball interrogation tactics, but fail to successfully get any information out of them. Fennec tries a different approach, using his nomadic ties to ask the ganger about their use of the oil and petrol with their old-school and retro-fitted ground cars. Through further prodding, they are able to confirm that this ganger knows about some deal setup with the Raffen Shiv nomad group, which has helped with keeping the Oildale gangers resupplied. Fennec continues prompting them along, feigning interest in setting up a better deal on behalf of his Aegis nomad clan to keep them talking. They leave the room and discuss the situation with Richard, who asks them to keep pushing for what information they can gather. Rama brings up an idea of pushing out the Raffen Shiv, forcing a gang war to break out between them and the Oildale group, which they consider.

They enter back into the room where Rez was watching over the ganger, and speak with her again. Fennec proposes a deal, they’ll let the ganger go if they bring a proposal forward to her bosses, but he wants to know their approximate size to ensure they are producing enough resources to supply the Aegis group (supposedly). The ganger indicates the group operates with a few dozen people out of a couple of older refineries, which Fennec finds interesting given the amount of manual labour required. From here, the conversation turns sour, with Fennec noting their ganger group is small-time given their size. This infuriates the ganger, and the proposal breaks down, with Fennec bailing on the plan. They agree to keep the ganger confined at the University for now, and head back to the cafeteria to regroup and decide what to do next.

EP 8 – Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Rez works with Fennec to prepare the barrels of acid that the mysterious figure “placed” into the crowd. Gunhead runs a Pathfinder check, and identifies the remaining programs within the rest of the NET architecture. This includes the virtual “gate” system, that appears to operate the gate which the Tarrasque walked out from. Gunhead accesses the assets from the Sci-Fi asset program he pulled in earlier. He locates a hover car, reserved in-memory as a part of the Sci-Fi asset program. Immediately the hover car appears within the simulation, in the sky above the coliseum, falling to the ground. Rama is able to dodge out of the way, while the Tarrasque is caught hit. The creature is powerful enough to shake it off, but looks to have taken a beating.

VC shouts to Gunhead and Rama, and loops them into the current plan with throwing the barrels onto the creature. The creature swings to attack, with Rama dodging out of the way. Gunhead rolls a critical success and, thanks to his in-memory hacking, shifts himself out of the way at the last moment before the creature lands its blow. Rama moves under the creature’s legs, landing a few pistol shots as he slides. Gunhead slides into the next level of the NET and encounters a WISP program. The program attacks, limiting his available NET actions on his next turn and dealing damage to his brain directly. In retaliation, Gunhead rezzes his sword program, attacking back in return. This continues for another round, with Gunhead able to eventually defeat the program. Gunhead analyses the remaining architecture, and decides to skip past the NPC control node and straight to the end of the NET to implant a virus. Gunhead spends some time developing quick code to produce a virus intended to reduce all NPCs in the simulation to 1 HP. The Tarrasque attacks Rama, but he is able to use the magic shield to absorb the damage.

Slowly but surely, Rama and Gunhead have been tempting the creature southward, close to where Rez and Fennec have prepared the acidic barrels. Once in place, they throw the barrels over the side of the arena’s walls and into the pit, where the acid begins to spread on the ground. Meanwhile, Gunhead’s virus fails to build successfully, rendering it unusable. Having watched this play out, VC decides to shoot the creature from the audience stands with his shotgun. He lands a perfect shot against the already weakened and coated creature and deals the final blow.

Nick Kraven’s team setup on the rooftop

H.U.G.O. indicates he was pleased overall by their performance, and deactivates the simulation. The crew wake up again in the old arcade. Over the building’s comms H.U.G.O says that as promised, he will let the players take him with them, directing them downstairs. As they head towards the stairs, their agents ping off. A message comes through that VC identifies as the mysterious figure from the simulation, asking them to hold off meeting H.U.G.O until they come up to the roof. They head upstairs, encountering the man who identifies himself as Nick Kraven with Netwatch, along with his support team and a Netwatch-branded AV-4. Rez explains H.U.G.O wants to go with the party, so Nick asks that they consider handing the A.I. over to Netwatch for safe keeping, to avoid the risk of a pre-4th corporate war AI going rogue. This causes a heated discussion within the crew. Rama believes H.U.G.O is best kept with Netwatch, and wants to avoid their wraith, while Gunhead and VC want to keep H.U.G.O and steer well clear of Netwatch. They agree to speak with H.U.G.O first before deciding further.

Gunhead downloads H.U.G.O.

They head downstairs into the basement, and walk into a large server farm that was being used as the main brains for the arcade, it’s simulation and H.U.G.O. The A.I. greets them as they enter into a small administrator’s office, and begins shutting down external systems. A short time later, a small integrated computer system plugged in on the desk chimes to life, with a built-in screen confirming H.U.G.O was safely transported onto the storage medium. Gunhead picks H.U.G.O up, and with a majority vote, they decide to keep the A.I. for now. The server farm that was running the arcade now lies dormant, so they decide to scavenge computer, server and network parts for Kave. As they leave, they see the AV-4 take off from the roof and get a message from Nick Kraven. The message states simply that Netwatch will be “watching”. They drive back to the University, and hand off the supply of parts they collected. Gunhead holds tightly onto H.U.G.O…

EP 7 – The Arcade

Lenny D’s Ramen Stand

Heading into the former downtown area of Bakersfield, the crew arrive to inspect the area for buildings that may still house tech that Kave would be able to use to build a CitiNet. They encounter a few street vendors, most selling food, and walk up to a noodle vendor to pick up local rumours. While they eat, the street vendor lets them know about weird things he’s seen in town. The crew pry him for more information, and the vendor eventually explains that there is an old arcade parlour in the north part of downtown. He has seen six people enter into the arcade over the past few months, but he’s never seen them again.

Defying all reasonable logic, the crew decide to locate the parlour and head inside. Inside, they find an array of arcade machines that are still powered on, but the building appears otherwise abandoned. Fennec looks into the details further and finds what he thinks are drag marks on the floor. Gunhead scans for a localNET and cyberdeck picks up a pre-4th war, old-school NET that looks to still be operational, but remains isolated. Displays throughout the arcade continue to gesture for the team to “PLAY”, “PLAY NOW”, “KEEP PLAYING”, so Gunhead and Rama sit down to play some fighting games. VC looks into the back area of the arcade, finding an office which appears to also have been abandoned and coated in dust. Later, VC, Rez and Fennec find a staircase and what appears to be a large and complex mechanical locking system in the basement of the parlour.

After their game, Gunhead is prompted to take his game to the “next level”. He declines, and Fennec and Rama sit down to play a game. As this happens, interface trodes stick out from the machine’s joysticks. Fennec is able to break free, but Rama remains connected. In response, VC pulls out his shotgun. Several small drones appear from slots in the parlour’s walls. They enter into combat with VC, and he takes significant stun damage from their built-in stun weapons. Rama eventually breaks free from the interface trodes. In the NET, Gunhead finds traces of a large program called “H.U.G.O”. He sends a message to the program requesting its purpose. He gets a simple response: To Entertain. Gunhead sends the program terms: Stand down the stun drones, and he’ll play. H.U.G.O agrees, asking for them to all play, but eventually agrees to Gunhead fighting alone with the rest of the party observing. Everyone connects to the joysticks of the arcade machines and black out.

A short time later, everyone awakes in what appears to be a virtual reconstruction simulation of an ancient roman coliseum. Gunhead stands alone in the centre of the stage, while the others have appeared in the grandstand, standing next to a number of NPCs. A large man wrapped in rich clothes watches over the stage and announces that Gunhead “will play”. A large horned creature walks out of a staging room and bellows a loud roar. He questions Gunhead if he truly wishes to fight alone, so Gunhead chooses for Rama to join him in battle. Meanwhile, Rez, Fennec and VC inspect the virtual crowd that is watching the game.

Gunhead faces the monster

Gunhead focuses on avoiding the creature’s claw and bite attacks and turning on his cyberdeck, so Rama moves in and shoots at the creature with his pistol. Gunhead picks up an older type of NET architecture on his cyberdeck and connects in to assess what he can find. Rama continues, landing a few pistol shots against the creature, slowly bringing down the creature’s health. Fennec and VC notice a weird shift of the air, with a new character in the crowd appearing, so VC moves to investigate. Gunhead identifies a file called “Sci-Fi assets program” which is being contained in-memory for this simulation program. VC speaks with the mysterious figure, who indicates he has a vested interest in the party’s survival. The figure also appears to have a cyberdeck, and is able to load into the coliseum a golden shield, which Rama picks up. The figure also informs them of a collection of acidic barrels he has placed in the simulation, which they can use to deal damage to the creature.

EP 6 – Powering Up

Son Ji Won assessing the University power systems

The crew meet with their respective counterparts and get briefed on what each team needs to get the University into a functional state. Collectively, they decide to first assist Son Ji Won, an engineer working to set up a viable source of power for the rest of the University. Son Ji Won explains they may have some luck scouring a few old industrial yards and warehouses, and if they can source a few extra solar panel arrays it may be enough to keep them going until they hook into something better.

They drive eastward to a collection of industrial yards, and park Fennec’s car around a corner. Advancing on foot, they encounter what appear to be several guards fighting off a group of gangers outside a still-standing warehouse. They assess that these guards appear to be wearing former International Electronic Corporation (IEC) insignia. The crew move into combat, chasing off two gangers who escape in their ground car. A final ganger remains, who is then shot dead by Rama. While inspecting the ganger body, Rama identifies a clan patch of the Raffen Shiv, a notorious and dangerous nomad clan that operate throughout most of the Western states.

Gustav, a former-IEC NET Runner

The IEC guards invite the crew inside the warehouse. Rez works to stabilise a guard who was injured during the fighting, while Rama meets with a former-IEC Net runner named Gustav who is overseeing local operations. Gustav explains their ties to IEC, before the corporation was destroyed and amalgamated during the fourth corporate war. Gustav and a few others knew of old warehouses and storage caches that house IEC goods, and they have been hitting these up to supply their new base of operations at the Lake Isabella Dam. In thanks for their assistance with deterring the gangers, Gustav gives them clearance to take a collection of solar panels from a shelf. Gustav indicates that the team should meet him at the Dam if they ever need to discuss greater energy needs in the future. The former-IEC team begin to pack up the remainder of their supplies, in preparation for a retaliatory attack from the gangers.

Rama checks out the Ganger’s road bike

While the crew begin to pack away the panels, Rama inspects and starts up an old motorcycle that seemed to belong to the ganger he shot dead. Rez is also able to extract a set of Scratchers cyberware from the dead body. The crew head back in Fennec’s car, aside from Rama, who takes the new bike for a spin. Arriving back at the University, they meet again with Son Ji Won who is thrilled to have an extra source of power for their needs for now.

EP 5 – Stateline

Fennec’s brake manoeuvre doesn’t work as well as he planned, with the two motorbike riders attacking them swerving out of the way at the last moment. Meanwhile, in the NET, Gunhead faces combat with an ASP black-ice program. The program attacks and is able to de-rez a program from Gunhead’s cyberdeck. In return, Gunhead launches an attack with his sword program. Rama fires a round off from his assault rifle, landing a hit against one of the motorbikes. Similarly, VC takes a shot with his combat shotgun, landing a hit against the bike. In retaliation, the motorbike riders shoot a barrage of shots from their pistols towards Fennec’s car. Fennec makes a vehicle check and rams into both motorbikes, causing them to crash, fading into the distance as Fennec continues driving forward.

The armoured ganger car, chasing after the crew

A short time later, a heavily armoured car approaching from the rear speeds up to catch up with Fennec. The car moves in quickly and lands a barrage of assault rifle rounds onto the car. Sputtering, Fennec’s car is not in good shape. VC decides to throw a flash bang grenade as a diversion tactic, which explodes just in front of the armoured car and appears to stun the driver. With the car almost dead, they pull the car off to the side of the highway and assess the damage. From what the crew can tell, the armoured car continues forward, with the driver stunned and unable to see them stop.

VC and Fennec look into the damage to the car, and figure they can implement some patchwork quick-fixes to get it into a state fit enough to drive again. After a little while, with the car somewhat repaired, they decide to take some back roads to get the rest of the way to Stateline. A few hours later, they arrive in the small border-town, nestled with numerous courier, shipping and fuel companies that maintain a base of operations. Fennec connects into the local CitiNET and is able to contact a member of his nomad clan to get assistance with additional repairs on the car. He gets a reply from a member who will reach him in a few hours. The crew decide to head into a local diner to wait around and prepare to meet Evan Briggs at noon. Entering into the diner, they get some food and get familiar with the bartender, Smokin’ Jack, who informs that Evan has become a regular over the past few days and should come in a bit later on. Gunhead tries to get familiar with a busy man having breakfast, who doesn’t want to speak with him.

A bar located in Stateline

A few hours later, Fennec’s nomad family member Nathan arrives with equipment and catches up with Fennec. He agrees to help patch up the car a bit further to help them get the rest of the way to Bakersfield. Inside the bar, Evan Briggs enters and greets the crew who have been waiting in the diner. He invites them into a back room of the diner, and they all sit down. Evan explains that he is working with the Southern Californian government to hire reclamation teams to work on restoring Bakersfield into a functional, safe city again. In its current state, the city itself has been abandoned, with only a few people still living in the city. The biggest threat to the future prosperity of the city is a group of gangers based out of a suburb that used to be called Oildale. These gangers have been found to acquiring and fixing up old pre-CHOOH2 vehicles that still use diesel and petrol as a fuel source and being overtly hostile to residents and travellers on the nearby roads. Evan wants more information on the gangers, as well as their help with a number of projects his team has at the moment. He asks them to speak with the leader of his forward operating team, Juliet Lonsdale, who has set up in the old Bakersfield University campus.

They part ways with Evan, and Fennec thanks Nathan for working on the car. From the information they gathered, they decide to head off and loop south down the I-5 and head into Bakersfield from the southern roads, instead of the northern roads where the Oildale gangers may be located. Hours later, they arrive to what appears to be the main University campus grounds, that is fortified with fences and floodlights. They approach an entrance gate and security guards who question them. After a quick radio call, they are allowed to enter and are gestured towards the History Department where Juliet Lonsdale has set up office.

Juliet’s Office

Entering into the department building, they introduce themselves to Juliet who enquires into their specialities. For each of them, Juliet recommends they speak with a member of her team that could use their help. This includes:

  • Daniel Simmons, a medical student trying to set up the medical training lab in the University.
  • Oliver Kranz, who needs assistance with coordinating a nomad trade network to bring supplies into the city on a regular basis.
  • Son Ji Won, an engineer working to establish a reliable power source to power the team’s projects at the University.
  • Kave, a NET engineer hired to help establish and maintain a viable citiNET for Bakersfield.
  • Richard Thwatt, the group’s security specalist focused on keeping an eye on the Oildale gangers.

After being briefed, the team head downstairs to meet with their respective counterparts and get to work.

EP 4 – Upgrades

Victor Anyov briefs them on their long-term job

Gunhead, Fennec, Rez and VC head back to the Recyclands office in Fennec’s car, while Rama detours via a local police district to drop off the gangers he picked up from their last job. He arrives a short time later and speaks with the officer on duty, who lets him into the police compound. Rama fills out the necessary paper work, then asks to borrow the car to finish up a few errands before he heads out to city of Stateline.

Rama meets up with the rest of the crew at the Recyclands office, and meet with Victor Anyov. He briefs them on a long-term contract proposal, which is to assist with ongoing reclamation efforts with a government agency for a town called Bakersfield, located in Southern California. Victor explains the contact for the job is a man named Evan Briggs, who is operating out of a city called Stateline, out east on the border of Northern and Southern California.

Collectively, the crew decide to hit up a night market to spend their wages from their first reclamation job. Travelling around, they find a small market in a parking lot, and hit up vendors to make purchases. Gunhead contacts a friend, Echo, who gets him sorted with cyberdeck upgrades. Rama purchases Kiroshi cyber-eyes, and Fennec organises with a family member to swap out his vehicle. After their shopping, they all head to Rez’s container housing and meet her brother Rick, a street cyber-tech surgeon. Rick handles the installs for Rama, which goes well, and they call it a night.

A typical Night Market, vendors selling goods from their car boots

The next day, the crew finish up lingering tasks and decide to hit the road at night, to avoid the increased traffic on the highways. A short time into their drive, they realise they are being tailed by a set of motorbikes that trail behind them. The crew enter into combat, with Gunhead attempting to maintain a high-latency wireless connection to one of the motorbike’s localNETs. After a few more volleys back and forth, Fennec attempts to brake suddenly to deter the motorbike riders.

EP 3 – Best Laid Plans

VC’s flash bang lands upstairs and blinds a ganger, but also gets caught in the blast. Fietro, the ganger boss, manages to dodge out of the way at the last moment. To try and hide his whereabouts, Gunhead turns off the lights in the warehouse building. Rama launches a barrage of shots against Fietro, with Rez following shortly behind with a shot from her shotgun.

The result of Gunhead’s car crash

As Gunhead aims to head towards the office building, he attempts to scan for other localNETs in the area. A few of the cars on the street are picked up by his scans, and he jacks in. Encountering a password, Gunhead runs a backdoor against the car’s security, but fails. Rama lands a critical hit against a ganger’s rib cage. Fietro moves deeper into the back of the office to seek cover. Fennec uses his short sword to pierce through a cubicle divider, moving closer to get to Fietro. VC recovers from the flash bang and moves into the fray. He grabs a office desk and throws it into a position to use as cover.

Gunhead cracks the car’s localNET, but fails on a control check to start it up. Upstairs the battle continues with Rama, VC, Fennec and Rez pushing further into the office building. Outside, a firefight ensues between the ganger’s backup and the police. With control over the car, Gunhead uses his net running abilities to speed the car straight into two gangers. He then spins and launches the car to take out another ganger on the street. VC and Rez land a barrage a shotgun blasts against Fietro and the remaining ganger upstairs, clearing out the remaining threat. They begin to assess the bodies for extractable cyberware and weapons, then head back downstairs to meet with Gunhead. Regrouping with the backup that Rama called in, Gunhead contacts Viktor Anyov to report the job is complete, and he indicates he is sending the client, a Mr. Anuj Singh with the Khuma Astra corporation.

The client arrives

The client arrives in a luxury ground car with security escort, and introduces themselves. They thank the team for their work and enter into the office to assess the building, and review the remaining inventory in the warehouse. The crew head into their cars to head back to debrief with Victor Anyov at the Recyclands Office.

EP 2 – Tactics

Gunhead continues to navigate through the old medical warehouse’s localNET. He encounters a Raven black ICE program and prepares to fight it with a Sword program. In a single attack, he is able to defeat the Raven, which deactivates. Rama continues to inspect the warehouse containers, finding more supplies for the production of narcotics.

Fennec moves the car out of the warehouse and back onto the street. Gunhead cracks a password in the localNET and identifies accessible control nodes that each control the camera and lighting systems in the building. Checking a file he had earlier scanned, he notifies the team of the location of several other Endolphin bases in the area.

Rama and Fennec attempt to gain access to the main office section of the building, but find the door is locked. Fennec hot wires a car on the street, lines it up and drives it into the office door, barrelling out at the last moment. The car collides and the door flies off its frame, allowing the team to get inside. Rama heads into the office first, identifying a few gangers toward the back of the building. Rama propels forward and shouts, himself as an NCPD officer. A ganger panics, throwing down their weapon and surrendering. Rama handcuffs and detains the ganger. While this happens, a second ganger waiting in a side room opens a door and the crew engage in combat. Fennec makes multiple shots with his pistol, with one hit landing. The armed ganger shoots back, damaging a table in the back of the room before retreating. Rama accelerates inwards, shooting off a barrage with Autofire.

Meanwhile, Rez leaves the warehouse where Gunhead is still jacked in. Gunhead connects to the camera systems of the building, and he can see upstairs, identifying a few gangers who have holed themselves upstairs. Rama shouts out the armed ganger in the room, demanding their surrender. As the ganger is injured, they comply and throw their weapon. Rama interrogates the ganger about their activities, and Rez arrives to check on the injured ganger’s wounds.

Rama takes out the ganger’s agent, demanding he call their boss, Fietro who is located upstairs. Rama tries to talk him down in exchange for a lighter sentence. The conversation deteriorates and Fietro disconnects the call, deciding to call in more Endolphin gangers from a neighbouring hideout. Rama also elects to call in backup, with four beat cops being dispatched from a nearby police precinct. Gunhead provides input on the status of the gangers via the camera feeds, while they debate on using smoke or flash bang grenades as a breaching option.

Rama’s backup arrives on-scene

A few minutes later, Rama’s backup arrives, who are briefed on the situation. The officers set up around the entrance to the office building. The crew decide on a game plan: Lob a flash bang as they ascend the staircase at the back of the building, that leads to the upper floor. Gunhead creates a virus within the localNET that loops video of Fietro, the ganger boss, while he superimposes his own audio. He sends out the virus, which is sent to the gangers outside. Gunhead then activates controls for the lighting system in the upper floor of the building. Rama and VC head upwards first up the stairs. VC throws a flash bang into the center of the room.

EP 1 – The First Job

The year is 2045. Night City is a sprawling region on the western coast of the United States, nestled between L.A. and San Francisco. The city itself is still recovering from a nuclear explosion that hit a mega-tower right in its heart 20 years earlier. Cleanup has been ongoing, but the former city center is now known as the “Hot Zone”, and considered by many as a lawless and ruthless wasteland. Some crews, called “Reclaimers” have attempted to scavenge or rebuild in parts of the area with mixed results.

Fennec, Gunhead, Rama, Rez and VC, five citizens of Night City, accept a meeting with a new Reclaimer-focused corporation that has sprung up overnight in Night City. They enter into the Recyclands office in Heywood and wait while a receptionist notifies the managing director, Victor Anyov, of their arrival. The team briefly introduce themselves and a short time later are ushered into a long boardroom.

The crew meet each other, and their employer Victor Anyov, for the first time.

A bald, man of eastern European appearance introduces himself as Victor Anyov and the crew settle in. Anyov explains that they are being hired as a contractor team to perform reclamation works in Night City and its greater surrounds. Their first job is for a small pharmaceutical corporation, Khuma Astra Corporation, that wants to re-occupy a building they previously owned in the early 2020s. He believes that gangers have occupied the building and wants it cleared so that the client can move back in. On a map, he indicates an old building with an attached warehouse located in the Old Med Center, a district of the City Center now located in the radioactive hot zone.

They leave and debate how to get from Heywood to the Old Med Center in the middle of the city. Fennec, a nomad, offers to take everyone in his clan’s custom six-seater ground car. They travel north, and a short time later make their way into the hot zone. They park a short distance away from the building and Gunhead notices a single ganger lingering near a doorway, with a large warehouse door in a neighbouring building. VC tries to use his zoom optics, but many of the windows and doors are barred up. Rama navigates around an alleyway to sneak up on the ganger outside. Rama fails a sneak attempt and alerts the ganger, who bangs the door and notifies their friends inside.

Fennec jumps back into this car and prepares to move into his gun turret. Gunhead and Rez move closer to the warehouse building, while Gunhead tries and fails to jump into a local NET. Rama shoots with his pistol at the ganger. The ganger returns fire at Rama, who is hiding behind cover and avoids their spray. VC moves towards the ganger and takes a shot with his shotgun, which misses due to the distance. Fennec takes a shot with his car’s machine gun, but shoots too wide and misses. The crew continue their assault on the ganger outside the building, with Rama landing the finishing shot. In a rush, Gunhead fails their first few NET running actions while trying to find an access point.

Gunhead eventually locates an access point to the local NET within the building’s warehouse and works with the rest of the team to assemble a plan to get inside. Rez and Rama scavenge what they can find from the dead body, with Rez extracting a few components she intends to give to her ripper-doc brother. VC uses his electronic skills to hot wire a large roller door’s control panel, and Fennec prepares his car along a ramp leading into the warehouse door.

As the door opens, a ganger shouts in alarm. The crew prepare to move in and VC throws a flash bang grenade. He misses his target, and Fennec drives his car up the warehouse ramp, moving to shoot from his car’s mounted turret. The gangers in the warehouse move forward to attack and land a shot against Fennec’s car. Gunhead notices a small electronic device and jumps into Fennec’s car, then jacks in using his cyberdeck. Rez rushes in and takes a shot at a ganger located inside, then seeks cover. A second ganger moves in and shoots at Fennec’s car, dealing damage to the front driver door. Rama lands a few shots with his pistol, then seeks cover again. VC lands a fatal shot with his shotgun, taking a ganger down.

Investigating the contents of the warehouse

Gunhead unlocks and navigates passed a Password in the localNET, but struggles on running an Eye-Dee on a file he has located. Rez shoots another ganger with her shotgun, and manages to take them down. Rama launches forward, making two shots with his pistol. He lands a critical hit in the last remaining ganger’s ribs. Rez identifies and extracts a few pieces of cyberware from the dead gangers. Gunhead uses Pathfinder, locating a Hellhound on a lower level. Gunhead manages to Eye-Dee the file he located, which details the current bases or holdouts of the gangers, called the Endolphins, who have set themselves up in this warehouse.

As they search the remains of the warehouse, they find a number of boxes and barrels that the Endolphins appear to be using to ship and manufacture narcotics and illegal medical supplies.

Generating podcast audiograms with FFmpeg

With any sort of audio file, you may get the point of thinking: How could I use this in other forms of media? Podcasts in particular have seen an increase in popularity on video hosting platforms like YouTube. Even audio-based podcasts (like Tales from Trantor) are capable of uploading their content, but uploading your audio with static images can be a pain and doesn’t catch the eye.

An audiogram is not just a chart that records hearing loss, it’s the term used to define a visual representation of an audio clip. Some people also call audiograms “waveform videos”.

So, how about we use FFmpeg, a free and open-source tool, to combine our audio and an image file to create an amazing audio gram .mp4 file? To begin with, we need:

  • An audio file, preferably in .mp3 or .wav format. If you are just starting out or testing, a smaller audio clip of less than 5 minutes is best.
  • An image file, preferably .png or .jpg/.jpeg. If you are intending to eventually upload to YouTube, I recommend an image that is 1920×1080 in size.
  • A computer with a decent CPU. FFmpeg uses your PC’s CPU to process the waveforms. Most modern day computers should be fine, but they will run a little hotter and louder while rendering the video file.
The “image file” we’ll use for this example. Note that a lot of space has been left ’empty’ along the bottom half.

Downloading FFmpeg

FFmpeg is free and open source software, available on Linux, Windows and OSX. To begin, download the relevant version of ffmpeg for your operating system from their website.

Assuming you are on Windows, download and unzip the folder. If you navigate to the bin folder, you’ll notice the ffmpeg.exe executable.

Great, we’re one step closer! Before we dig into making the audiogram, let’s briefly look at how we want it to look.

Customising our Audiogram

The command that we’re going to run (which we’ll look at later) is going to take in input regarding the intended size of the waveforms, the colour it should be, and where on the video it should be placed. If we take one of the Brace the Badlands videos for example:

An example, taken from the output of the below command.
  • The wave form is the same width as the image (1920 pixels, in our example).
  • The wave form has been placed along the bottom of the image. (Offset by 780 pixels vertically)
  • The wave form has a maximum height set. (We can’t see it clearly in the example, but it is set to go at most to 300 pixels in height).
  • The wave form is in white, the same colour as the primary text. (Using colour code 0xffffff)

This information is important because we’ll feed it into the ffmpeg options later on. Here’s an example of the options used to generate that example image:

-y -i path_to_audio.mp3 -loop 1 -i path_to_image.png -filter_complex "[0:a]showwaves=s=1920x300:colors=0xffffff:mode=cline,format=rgba[v];[1:v][v]overlay=0:780[outv]" -map "[outv]" -map 0:a -c:v png -c:a copy -shortest -vcodec libx264 -acodec aac path_to_output_video.mp4

Linking back to our options, we can confirm that we have the wave size set to 1920 (the full image width) x 300 (the maximum height of the waveforms generated), colour is set to white, and overlay is set to start at 780 pixels. Here’s a simple example of our real estate, with a 1920×1080 image:

That blue area is ideal for us to place the generated waveform!

You may find generating a larger or smaller waveform works better for you. You may also decide to generate waveforms for a video for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Generating the Audiogram

Open the PowerShell/Command Window

Assuming you want to stick with my example of a 1920×1080 image, and a 300 pixel height waveform, we’re going to open a console window on our computer and prepare the command.

Firstly, for our example I’m going to place both the image file and audio file in the same directory as our ffmpeg executable. You can always define the full file path when we run the command if you have the files elsewhere, but this is fine for our example.
Shift + Right-click in File Explorer, and at the prompt launch a Console / PowerShell Window (this may vary depending on your version of Windows).

With the window open, either paste or enter the code as options. Don’t press enter yet as you need to set specific options.

ffmpeg.exe -y -i path_to_audio.mp3 -loop 1 -i path_to_image.png -filter_complex "[0:a]showwaves=s=1920x300:colors=0xffffff:mode=cline,format=rgba[v];[1:v][v]overlay=0:780[outv]" -map "[outv]" -map 0:a -c:v png -c:a copy -shortest -vcodec libx264 -acodec aac path_to_output_video.mp4
An example from within a PowerShell window of the whole code.

Once you have set your image file, audio file and output name, press enter to run FFmpeg. Depending on the length of the audio file and your computer’s available resources and CPU power, this could take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. I’ve rendered a 50+ minute audio file on an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 in ~25 minutes. The output .mp4 file will be available either in the FFmpeg directory, or wherever you set your full output path to.

This will now be ready for you to upload to your video platform of your choice.