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Scrawls From The Scrawls 34 Virtual Submission Copyright 1997 Richard Tomasso

Introduction Screams Full Deck Theme: Trideo


Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. I managed to survive more trips to the mall than I care to make ever again, which may explain why I spent more money than I had planned, but all my gifts went over well, so I can't complain.

For all you people who like to plan ahead, GenCon will be held Aug 7-10 and the early-bird deadline is Jan 31st. Looks like there'll be plenty of cool events this year, and hopefully we'll have our own intra-group planning better coordinated. Who knows, we may even get to game together.
>>>[Let's not get ahead of ourselves.]<<<

As the folks in Legends know, I've changed my job again. I'm now part of the JAVA development team at Digital. Which means I get to work on cool new technology and have a 15 minute commute to my cubicle, which is A-OK in my book. Now if I could only finish some of my short stories, or write a sourcebook for FASA, I could die a happy humanoid (sigh). Speaking of FASA sourcebooks, everyone should get the Shadowrun Companion. Extremely cool book.

We're setting up a new SR campaign, and the weirdest thing happened. We talked about it and said "think about characters, we'll set things up next week." When we next got together everyone came up with a metahuman physical adept, and each of a different race. Steve said we should be called "Talon's Angels", at which point we all realized we needed alternate character concepts.

On a non-gaming front, all of us here in New England are wicked psyched that the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl. Big Screen TVs, overstuffed recliners and sofas have been flying off the showroom floor. I do think the 13.5 point spread is a bit much though and expect them to do much better. In any case, it should be a good game. Go Pats!


SMIF - Smifworld is the place to be. Great use of cards. I came up with a table. Loved In My Past, have you reached your inner child yet?

REI - I think Harry Browne could have done better if he had kept his pledge for a big media push (or any media push for that matter) right after the convention.
Are you hoping to win even more of the BigD's horde with those sonic weapons?

BRANFLUX - Loved the biohazard bag. I'll take a case. Cool beans on winning FASA's response card lottery. I've got a stack of them sitting on my desk, maybe I should consider stuffing the mailbox.
Consensual slave auction? Some guys have all the luck.
Myself in 2057? I think I'll see how I turn out in 1997 first. But Niko should definitely put this one on the list for themes.

SCHATTENSCHRIFTEN - If I forgot to say it while you were here: congrats. Now you'll finally get paid for producing reams of game material. Just remember to double-check the word-count. Hope Kentucky is better than Oklahoma.
Cybermice? I haven't heard about this one, but my work tends to focus on real computers. I'll see if I can find a local demo.
The open-ended tests seem to be more deadly. In your example, the ninja would have survived that hit in the current system. If he had been wearing any armor, he'd have gotten only a light or medium wound. Perhaps the 2-point staging should be increased to 4 or 5.
Nice list of Edges and Flaws, I liked Computer Illiterate, Technical Aptitude, Avante Garde, and Slave to Fashion. Oh, and of course, Weirdness Magnet. We can't leave out Kismet, now can we. Well, I suppose we could, but that's another matter.

SHADOWTALK - I think putting Scrawls on disk would be cool. I brought it up a while ago, but no one else has taken the bait.

STEVE WARBLE - Corporate America turning into Billionaires and Schmucks? (the role-playing game?) Could happen.
The hackers you know wish they were like the guys in the movie? We must hang around with a different set of hackers. Although I can see that coming from the bad-haircut and beer-gut set. Most of my friends are in the bad-haircut and malnourished set.
I agree that how a runner handled his career will have an influence on what he can do once he's done running. I imagine most of the technical types could go corporate fairly easily, as could the mages. The Samurai would have the most trouble, unless they went into mercenary work. Several of our own characters have "gone legit" or have become fixers and such for the shadow community (two of whom are in Portfolio of a Dragon).
I agree that Dwarves are underrepresented in Shadowrun play, but you missed a few things. Dwarves get bonuses to BOD, STR, and WIL, making them very resistant to what life throws at them and giving them good stats for being physical adepts and mages. I played a dwarf physical adept at a convention with a BOD and WIL of 7 and he survived better than most of the group, and probably could have taken them all on. I think they do need more role-playing outlets and perhaps some game-world extras thrown their way.
Nasty set of weapons and armor. I'll be starting my Xmas list early this year.

VOX UMBRAE - "Weenies Without Weenies"? You should take your act on the road.
I won't start on SR decking rules. As I've said before, my main problem is the suppositions of the system, which IMO are flawed. For what it's trying to emulate it does a decent job.
ChowdaCon? Well, we'd have to visit the Cape or actually eat clam chowder to make the name really work, which is fine by me. Actually a beach-cookout with gaming sounds good.
I think I'll really like "Dave Barry in Cyberspace" as well. I just need time to read it.
Once again, someone takes on a topic and does it better than me. The Bad Karma idea is great. Sort of like a past suggestion for Bad Reputation. Reminds me a tad of the karma rules from Marvel Super Heroes.
Death Care - Good characterization. But I had to read it twice to catch everything.

NIKO - Giving up some APAs? Musn't be easy, but at least you decided to stick with ours.
Mulder? Mulder! Cool.





WALK A MILE - You won't believe the newest fad to hit Japan. It's old sneakers. And not just any old sneakers, but old American sneakers, preferably well worn by their previous owner. They're buying them up at flea markets and garage sales by the dozens and paying hundreds of dollars for them. But considering that a new pair of Reeboks cost $500 in Japan, it may be a good deal after all.

DANGER YOUNG WRITER - I recently found out that purported publishers and literary agencies in Atlanta and elsewhere have been soliciting writers for their manuscripts; specifically John Honea Publishers, Renaissance Literary Agency, Eclectic Press, The Book Doctor, and Living Faith Literary Agency. There have been many complaints filed against these entities. Most professional writers associations are advising their members to stay clear and report any complaints to the US Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-372-8347.

TICKLE ME STUPID - Has the Elmo craze gotten well, crazy, where you are? Here in NH, two events convinced me things had just gone too far. (1) A mall had an Elmo doll on display under Marine guard; and (2) an Elmo was auctioned off for $4500 (that's no typo). If I had only known...

ELECTION RESULTS - The final tabulation is in, and here's how it went:
PhillipsUS Taxpayers178,7790.19%
HagelinNatural Law109,9240.12%
NONE OF THESE55750.006% (on the ballot in Nevada)

ONE WORLD, ONE COMPUTER - The spread of JAVA like wildfire in the computer world and a few other things has made me wonder if the Matrix will be like the world wide web with security holes you could drive a mainframe through, or will we really have a somehow unified hardware and software standard that allows us to run everything. I've touched on this before, and some of what's in VR2 answers this, but I'm just curious if the real world will match up to the game/literary future on this front.

VIRTUAL OFFICE - Activerse, Inc. is developing a Java-based application that lets users create an intranet "office", complete with corporate war room, library and game room. Users will identify themselves with icons or avatars and will communicate with email or Internet phone. The tool will allow users to customize the office so it looks like their own office.

GIANT SUCKING SOUND - Of jobs going away in the industry. Seems White Wolf and TSR had some major layoffs (15-20 people each) in December. White Wolf's case looks like bad money management. I'm not sure what happened at TSR. One side-effect of TSR's layoffs is that there is no more RPGA. Rumors have been floating of a truly independent game club forming, if the legal issues can be resolved. Another possible effect was the cancellation of the Winter Fantasy Con.

AT THE TONE, PLEASE DEPOSIT 10 CENTS - In an era of unlimited Internet access for $19.95 or less, and the growth of home-based offices and telecommuting, the network is reaching a critical point. As usual, a big issue is cost, followed closely by infrastructure. ISPs, thanks to a 1983 FCC ruling, do not have to pay the per-minute access charges that the regional carriers do to connect their customers to the network. This is why they can offer flat-rate services. Unfortunately, the network is designed to handle 3 minute phone calls, not 3 hour on-line sessions. This problem gets worse when you have users remaining on-line for 8, 12, even 24 hours at a time. Either the RBOCs have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy new equipment, or the ISPs will have to start paying access charges. If the latter happens, look for unlimited access to go away or become much more expensive.

ALL THIS FOR SIX MILLION DOLLARS - There was a show on TLC called The Real Bionic Man which explored not only the possibility of bionic enhancements, but also showed them being put to use today. Here's a sum-up of what was said for those that missed it.
The Ears: They showed a couple of deaf people who tested the first 'cyber-ear'. It consisted of a microphone implanted just above and behind the ear that had a wire running down to a box, which translated the sound and sent it backup into the ear (to behind the eardrum where the actual auditory nerve sits). When they sampled what the deaf people were hearing, however, it was far from extra-ordinary. It sounded like a bunch of robots talking, and a lot of sounds were incomparable (since it didn't have the same fidelity of our own hearing). They said all the sounds around them sounded alike, and often the man who used the device turned it off.
The Eyes: The 'cyber-eyes' were not nearly as subtle as what you think of in SR. It was one unit. A camera mounted on glasses. They showed two proposed systems, but I'll talk about the more likely candidate to improve. It was a microchip implanted on the retina, and repeatedly zapped with a laser. The chip then translated the info and sent the image to the brain, not unlike a TV. But the device could only process about 10,000 pixels, and our own retinas can process a million, so the image received was low-rez at best.
The Legs: It's pretty simple; a limb molded to the remnant, and hydraulics with a little momentum bending the knee. The user had to select 'gears' for different speeds. An 'automatic' model is tagged at $50,000. Although easy to explain, it's pretty neat to watch.
The Arms: Although the person using the arms couldn't exactly play the piano, he could average day to day things, using sensors within the prosthetic arm to detect movement in his muscle of his remnant, thereby making his arm move. They even showed a prosthetic model that could rotate its wrist 360 degrees. The fascinating aspect, however, was the sensors the doctor was testing on this guy. Small sensors, placed on the thumb and forefinger of the prosthetic, and wired to nervous system, allowed him to tell how hard or soft he was holding something, and even tell the difference between hot and cold.
The Heart(and other organs): The artificial heart is out there and just a matter of perfecting. The current model being tested was compact, and looked flawless- except for it leaking ;) As for other organs, making compact versions of them would be very difficult indeed, so science has laid its faith in genetic engineering.
Bioware: They showed some neat stuff here. They showed a literal 'skin factory'. A place that takes a sample of skin, cultures it, and allows the cells to reproduce on a mesh 'scaffolding' which grows the skin to be sent off to burn centers. They were also trying the same method on calluses, and told how they are working on the liver, but are probably a ways off. As well as limbs. But, they said at the current process, it would take about 8 weeks for a limb to grow. But, that complex a part is far from being achieved.


Dan Smith had a great idea last ish with the playing card table, I took up his challenge and came up with my own. Below is a Random Decking Table (I know, you're all shocked) to give you a quick idea of any unplanned Matrix runs. These can be used multiple times for the same system, both to cover each node and to get a further refinement of a system. Enjoy.

Spades - ICE/Security measures
Hearts - Type/Owner of Node
AChokepoint at SANALocal corp
2Easy access from SAN, hard to go further2Academic
3Increasing security with proximity to center3Research installation
4Strict control between each node4Local government
5Moving to other nodes is via SAN5Police
6Rings of security, with easy areas between6State government
7Lots of alert-generating ICE 7National government
8ICE at all access points8Small corp (rating <50)
9ICE near all important data9Medium corp (rating 50-75)
10Attacking ICE rather than altering ICE10Military
JRoving ICEJData haven
QICE in all nodesQFinancial center
KSecurity deckers patrolling systemKLarge corp (rating >75)
Clubs - System Layout
Diamonds - Paydata
AStraight line from SAN to main nodeAFinancial records
2One SAN, with ring of nodes around it2Employee records
3Multiple SANs, all lead to central node3Current research
4Several independent nodes4Tax records
5Main node with ring surrounding it5New research
6Internal SANs to important nodes6Alliances/Joint ventures
7Nodes in a cross pattern7Blueprints/Schematics
8Several redundant nodes in clusters8Security files
9Grid of nodes, all interconnected9Trade secrets
10SAN at center of a web of nodes10Legal documents
JChain of nodes before clusterJIncriminating evidence on corp exec
QMultiple clusters with their own SANQInformation on Shadowrunner
KConcentric rings, no center nodeKBlack Ops

Little Joker - System contains invalid or out-of-date paydata

Big Joker - Security is too tough, but the decker learns something or gets useful info out of it

Trideo Shows and Series

For Immediate Release
Contact: Fritz Celeran (

In the ever fast-paced Sixth World, people just don't have time to get all the information they need. So, in an effort to cater to the busy professional, student, homemaker, business owner, and information junkie, Spelling Entertainment is pleased to introduce: Short Attention Span News.

Each feature story has all the dead air, mumbling, set-up shots, and nonsense commentary cut out, giving you only the news you need in the time you need it. Plus, through computer-assisted voice acceleration technology, we can give you all the speeches, questions, and answers in less time while still maintaining perfect comprehension of the spoken word.

Recent analysis has shown we can pack twice as much news into a SASN broadcast as in a traditional broadcast. This means you can be twice as informed as everyone else, or get your information in half the time of your competition. Either way, you win.

Contact your trideo carrier or local news station and ask them to carry Short Attention Span News, because you should have all the news you need in all the time you don't.


For Immediate Release
Re: Fifteen Minutes of Fame
Contact: Marsha Caine (

Want to be a star? Want your piece of the global multi-media spotlight? Do you have a talent? Do you just want to see your face on the vidnets? Then have we got a deal for you!

A famous, and now dead, artist once said that everyone will have fifteen minutes of fame in their lives. Well, we decided to stop keeping people in suspense and give it to them when they want it. That's right, you can have your allotted time slot of fame all to yourself at your convenience. What could be better? Make it free? OK, we did that.

Just contact our offices with your request for fame (RFF), and you'll be put into the queue to appear on our broadcast. It's that simple. Now everyone can see what you have to offer, and you can see others who have something to say, show, or do that the rest of the world just has to take notice of. Plus you get to hear the latest news and reviews on personal enhancement technologies and services.

So if you've ever wondered when your chance at the big time would arrive, wait no longer. Just send us your request and you'll be on your way to the big time. Hurry, slots are filling up fast..


Introduction Screams Full Deck Theme: Trideo

Scrawls From The Scrawls 34 Virtual Submission Copyright 1997 Richard Tomasso