The Middle Class Killer – an NPC for Shadowrun

Logo RSP Karneval 250pxWhen they hear the word “company killer” most people think of a cold blooded manager of death, an augmented killing machine, a scalpel to surgically remove critical problems – permanently.

In other words, they do not think of Josh McCaul.

Sure enough, Josh is a corp legbreaker, but as he likes to put it he is “breaking the legs of little people”. Perhaps his favorite in this regard is “middle class killer”. To him, it’s the perfect description of what he does – and is. At the very least it is a far better fit than “company killer”, a moniker that implies a lifestyle and a mission profile that just doesn’t match Josh’s reality.

The right kind of pressure though is useful at all levels. And that means there have to be tools to apply this pressure. That is where Josh makes his appearance.

When the middle management needs to be motivate, when a leak in the secretaries’ office needs to be plugged, or when a lab assistant in the R&D department needs to be reminded of his loyalities, maybe even when some low rung freelance consultant needs to be convinced of something, then the matter is forwarded to Josh.

Despite the general nature of his work, Josh isn’t usually placed in direct opposition or competition with shadowrunners. His targets simply belong to a totally different category. A fact that is quite endearing to the self-professed middle class killer, who likes the minimization of personal risk this – and the other peculiarities of his place within the corporate enforcement structure – brings with it.

Even though he can’t be expected to be on a team sent after your runners, and even though the subject of an extraction or similar is very unlikely to appear on his hitlist, Josh may still prove a threat – for many contacts and potential informants are practically tailormade for his target group.

Josh is no pushover, either. His comparatively low rung in the hierarchy isn’t due to a lack of skill – it’s rather due to a lack of ambition. Josh is content. He does not earn the best money, he does not gain the best augmentations, he does not hold the highest position, and neither does he possess the highest level of clearance – but he has just enough of all of these things and enough free time and personal freedoms, enough of a low profile, to spend his money and his time the way he likes.

The resulting forays into the seedy underbelly of nightlife are a second option to bring Josh into the game, by giving player character’s the leverage to make him into the very sort of information leak, he is usually tasked with putting down.

Level Inferior Equal Superior
Body 3 3 4
Agility 4 4 4
Reaction 3 (4) 4 (5) 6 (8)
Strength 2 3 4
Charisma 4 4 6
Intuition 3 3 4
Logic 3 3 4
Willpower 3 3 4
Edge 3 4 4
Essence 3,4 3,4 2,4
Initiative 6 (7) 7 (8) 10 (12)
Active Skills:
Level Inferior Equal Superior
Blades 4 5 6
Data Search 2 3 4
– Personal Data +2 +2 +2
Dodge 2 3 4
Influence (SG) 4 4 6
Perception 4 4 4
Pilot Ground Craft 2 3 4
Pistols 2 4 4
– Semi-Automatic +2 +2 +2
Stealth (SG) 4 4 6
Unarmed Combat 2 4 6
Language- & Knowledge Skills:
Level Inferior Equal Superior
English (N)
Japanese 4 4 4
French 2 2 4
– Sweet Talk/Seduction +2 +2 +2
Seattle Club-Scene 2 2 4
– Drug Scene +2 +2 +2

First Impression
Drug Addiction (Moderate)
SINner (Criminal Record)

Equipment & Lifestyle:
Colt Manhunter (Smartlink, 2 Magazines each Regular and Flechette Ammo), Defiance Ex-Shocker (20 Darts), Combat Knife, Actioneer Business Clothes, Urban Camo, multiple Disguises and Uniforms, multiple cheap Fake SINs (Rating 1), 2 Fake SINs (Rating 4) w/Licenses for Weapons and Cyberware, Transys Avalon Commlink w/ Iris Orb OS, Lifestyle: Middle

Cyber- & Bioware:
Cybereyes Rating 1 (w/ Recording Unit, Display Link, Termographic Vision), Smartlink, Wired Reflexes Rating 1 (Rating 2 for “Superior”).

Club Owner (Connections:4/Loyality:2)
Drug Dealer (Connections:2/Loyality:2)
Street Doc (Connections:3/Loyality:4)
Insurance Clerk (Connections:5/Loyality:1)
Weapons Dealer (Connections:2/Loyality:3)

So, what is up with the peculiar image accompanying this npc write-up?

It’s the logo of the German rpg-blogs’ carnival, a monthly event asking different bloggers to write articles with a common theme – the topic in April being characters and character development.

Now, Josh obviously qualifies as a character, but the true reason we put him up as a carinval contribution was to demonstrate the method we used in creating him.

The middle class killer was a collaboration between two contributors, working in parallel from the same basic concept (“a shadowrun character combining social and assassination skills”), with one of us developing the rules and the other the character’s background, then finetuning the latter based on the former.

Obviously, this is an approach that is sometimes seen online (and with the fostering of collaboration being the main raison d’être of d6ideas comes pretty natural to us), our experience has been that it appears to only seldom find its to the actual gaming table.

For the carnival, we wanted to make a point about the benefits of this approach – the additional inspiration it offers by being able to go back and forth over an idea, the way it can produce concepts neither of the partners would have developed on his own (thus providing a refreshing splotch of surprise or change of pace for long running games), and especially the twin timesavers of parallel work and the ability to specialize (with someone who finds statting tedious work being able to outsource this part of the process to a partner who has fun doing this – and vice versa for background).

Team work – it works in the industry, and so it does at the gaming table.

Shadowrun and all associated names is the Intelectual Property of The Topps Company, Inc. and protected by Copyright. These items have been used unofficially and quoted exclusively as reference with no infringement on any associated rights intended and without implying endorsement by the copyright holder. Other contents of this articles are published under the following license:
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Shadowrund und alle mit Shadowrun verbundenen Namen sind Geistiges Eigentum von The Topps Company, Inc. und urheberrechtlich geschützt. Diese Elemente wurden inoffiziell und ausschließlich als Referenz zitiert ohne die Absicht damit verbundene Rechte anzufechten und ohne eine Billigung durch den Rechteinhaber zu implizieren. Andere Inhalte dieses Artikels werden unter folgender Lizenz veröffentlicht:
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