Location: Westerlund Junkyard

Another location that I created for my Shadowrun game. This is the junkyard that the Drunken Drone is attached too.

Westerlund Junkyard

>>Nice place for your junk requirements. If you want it then you should be able to find it ... for a price. Just don't expect to wander in and steal what you want though, the owners know their business and the security is top tier.

Type: Industrial / Junkyard
Location: UCAS / Seattle / Redmond

Physical Description:

Located at the back end of the Seattle in the rough area of the barrens, there is a large area that is the Westerlund Junkyard. Your first sight is the large concrete fence that encloses the junk-yard. The fence stands four metre high, a imposing concrete barrier with electrified razor wire coils on top. Visible cameras watch your every move as you walk along the path beside the wall. Gang graffiti decorates the wall with layers of colours, several years worth by the look of them. The southern wall is broken in the middle by a large set of double steel gates allowing access to the junk-yard during business hours (0800-2000 Mon-Fri). On the north west corner of the yard, there is a door leading to the Drunken Drone nightclub.

During the day the yard is full of trucks and machines moving, sorting and shipping materials around the country. Westerlund employees 10 staff to work the yard and handle the various machines used to sort the junk. There doesn’t appear to be any active security personal walking around the site.

During the night, any intruders are met by several drones armed and dangerous, these wander around after the staff have gone home.

>>Don't forget the ghost of the dutch rigger. He walks the stacks at night looking for that one last piece of gear that will complete his masterpiece.

>>Four more ghosts will be added after last night. Some wannbe runners decided to have a go and try and grab one the drones patrolling the yard. From what I have heard it was brief but very messy.

There are suggestions of smugglers using the yard at night as a rest and repair point, but these are just rumours.

Matrix Description:

Entering the node you find yourself in a large warehouse, the walls of which are covered in items for sale. The prices and quantities are hovering in neon-green text above each item. Towards the back of the building there is a door that leds into a large area where auctions are held for the more unique and rare items.

If there is an auction currently on, there are people lining the walls bidding for the items as they are displayed in a large holographic display in the middle of the room. The current winning bid and time remaining are displayed below. If there is no auction there will be a list of items and times for the next auction. Normally auctions are held of the first friday of each month, but addition ones are held if needed to clear stock or special items come up.

In both areas there are icons, dressed in Westerlund uniform, wandering around offering help and taking orders.

Plot Points

In my game this place was a hot bed of smuggling and car alterations. Underneath the junkyard there was a complete rigger repair and rearm yard, accessible through a hidden door under a junk pile.
Otherwise, like many junkyards, it is a good place to find the bit that you need for your masterpiece.

Posted in Role Playing Tagged with: , , ,

Audiobook: Retribution Falls

This is another audiobook I picked up from Audible, based on one of their suggestions. Reading the reviews got me interested as it was described as “Steampunk Firefly”. Well given the fact that I love Firefly and Steampunk is something that I haven’t really dalied with yet, I thought I would give it a go. The description about the book:

Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves.
So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down.
But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons.
It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is ...

Some many cool things mentioned in such a short time. The book manages to deliver them all … eventually …

The narrator Rupert Degas does a good job of keeping my interest while I was listening to the book. The author Chris Wooding struggled to keep the story flowing at the start, but pulled it together at the end.

The problem, with the book, is that there are so many plots and so many questions in the first section that it was beginning to feel like an episode of Lost. I ended up having to rewind the book and listen again to ensure that I had understood something correctly. But as the book progressed the questions started to get answered and the story came to an interesting conclusion. There were some very good plot twists and some “does the author mean XXX … oh s**t he does” pieces which kept me guessing about some of the characters. That is another confusing thing in the start, there is a large cast list, which I found hard to keep straight who is who … but again after the story settles each character has his (or her) motivations and personality which make sense and add to the yarn.

Overall I enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to the sequels .. when I get around to ordering them.


Posted in Audio Books

Audiobook: The Martian

I have been a member of Audible for many years and have a lot of audiobooks, before that I used to get the books for the blind from the library. I find them an enjoyable way to keep me interested while I am gardening or doing other mundane work around the house. So I thought I would write a few reviews of some of the better audiobooks that I own. So here goes, the first one is “The Martian” by Andy Weir.

"So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.
If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m f****d."

The book starts with Mark Watney finding himself stranded on Mars after being left for dead when the mission is aborted due to a severe dust storm. He then fights to survive long enough to be able to figure out how to get rescued. Once he has a plan, he puts it into motion and overcomes all the obstacles that living on Mars naturally places in his path. I won’t give away the plot points or any other spoilers (I hate it when other reviews do). One thing that I was happy with was; all the setbacks suffered by Mark in the book are reasonable and well explained, without any feeling that the author added it just to keep the tension up.

The Audiobook is brilliantly narrated by R.C.Bray, who got the appropriate tone of dark humour into his reading, making the character come alive. You can almost see the grumpy engineer sitting at the console writing the log messages.

The author, Andy Weir, has managed to stick a lot of science into the text without it sounding like a text book (and from what chemistry and physics I have done, has managed to get it right … or at least sounding right). The amount of detail is impressive, and I get the impression that the author had done his homework before writing the book, which is unfortunately not the case for some science fiction writers out there.

So all in all a good book and/or a good reading, so pop off and listen/read.


Author’s Website

Amazon Paperback

Audible Audiobook


Posted in Audio Books, Books

Location: Drunken Drone

I have run many a game in the Shadowrun world. I have decided to publish some of the resources that I have generated over the years. Feel free to use them, just drop us an email if you find them useful.
First off is a little bar that many a run has started from, the Drunken Drone.


Drunken Drone

Type: Commercial / Bar & Nightclub
Location: UCAS / Seattle / Redmond

Physical Description:

Nestled into the north-west corner of Westerlund Junkyard is the Drunken Drone bar. The sign, above the entrance, is made up of two foot high rusting steel letters spelling out the name. At night the letters are illuminated by old fashioned neon tubes.
There are no windows in the walls, just the steel door. The walls are pockmarked by bullet impacts but has survived so far.

Upon entering the bar you see a large room dominated by the old style projected image on the wall, showing what appears to be an old 2d movie involving cars, crashes, police, loud music and barely dressed supporting actors.

>> Those movies are so old they are they pre-date everyone alive, except maybe the dragons (or those immortal elves on the trid), but are good to watch. The Blue Brothers is always good for a laugh ... and the music is just great.
>> DroneGirl

Along the wall to the right is the bar, serving a reasonable selection of local and imported beverages at a not to outrageous price (no cheap drinks here). Serving the drinks is a large orc barman and a human waitress delivering them to the tables that are scattered around the floor. The left wall is lined with booths offering jackpoints for access to the matrix and private viewings of the bars antique movie collection.

There is a door behind the bar that leads into the back area, probably the offices and storerooms. Another door in back is signed “Drones and Dronettes” and are the bathrooms.

Matrix Description:

Entering the node you find yourself in a stylised version of the bar itself. There is an old fashioned jukebox in the corner where you can select old style movies to watch for a small fee.
The door at the back leads to an old school architects office with each of the drawing boards holding a drone or vehicle design being offered by Max. If you want a copy of the design to take home then just talk to the architect at the desk and they will give you a copy for a fee. If you have a design you want to sell, then alerting the architect will cause a decker to enter the room and begin the negiotiation.

Plot Points:

This could be a good place for Riggers to gain some contacts and get info on jobs on offer. In my games this place is the haunt for the smugglers arriving into Seattle after running the various borders nearby. It is also a good place to fence any stolen designs, or pick up the latest toy specs.


Local Characters

Max Westerlund

Classification: Male / Dwarf / Rigger
Height: 1.01 m (3’4″)
Weight: 64 kg (141 lbs)
Skin: Light
Eyes: Amber
Hair: Brown
Quote: “I feel the need, the need for speed”
Short dwarf with an obvious beer gut. Once he was fit and lean but many years of managing his businesses from behind a desk has left him with a middle age spread. If encountered in the junkyard he will be wearing a grease covered coverall, with numerous tools hanging from belts and pockets. During the evenings in the bar he wears a t-shirt (normally with a logo from the 90s) and jeans.
The owner/operation of the Westerlund Junkyard and the Drunken Drone bar. Once a successful smuggler, most across the UCAS / NaN borders,  he decided to retire and start the bar after almost getting killed running some gear out of Tir Tangire. After his father passed away, Max inherited the Westerlund Junkyard. Always willing to turn a blind eye to the business practices of his more interesting customers, especially if they tip well for his discretion..

Posted in Role Playing Tagged with: , ,

Podcast: Happy Jacks RPG Podcast

Warning: The podcast carries an explicit tag and quite often merits it, given some of the topics and language. I haven’t been offended by anything they have said yet, some of the gamer horror stories are hard to believe.

But the warning aside, the podcast is a good source of RPG advice and humor. The main presenters have an interesting outlook and varying experience own the hobby and hence the advice tends to be fairly well thought out.

I have been listening to the podcast since season 2 (they are up to 12 as this post written), tackling the backlog of seasons is a mammoth task as some of the early episodes are upwards of 3 hours long, the more recent episodes tend to be around 2 hours long. The sound quality is generally very good, compared to a lot of the other podcasts, which makes listening easy. The podcast is nominally weekly, but as a lot of the cast are busy during the American Renaissance Fair season and the podcast goes on hiatus during that time. They have done a few episodes with people from other podcasts, which normally are a good laugh and has lead to me finding other good quality casts on the web like Fear the Boot.

Don’t listen to this podcast if you are not willing to try new things, as I have run several games (which I will post info at some stage) based on ideas and suggestions from the crew. There even is a online convention that some of the listeners have started up and run every year, go to the website and then to the forums for more info. The community that has grown up around the podcast is impressive, the forums are active and the members helpful.

So head on over and have a listen.

Link: www.happyjacks.org

Posted in Pod Casts, Role Playing Tagged with: ,

Software: person-description-generator v1.1 released

I am sure there are many GMs out there that struggle at times coming up with reasonable descriptions for the myriad of different NPCs that inhabit you game world. So I decided to write a little utility to take some of the workload off me.

Hence I am pleased to announce version 1.1 of the person-description-generator software. Why 1.1 and not 1.0 you might ask … well I managed to run the tests and get the code all finished and packaged before I noticed a small issue with two of the combo boxes not having the ability to select the Random option, so I updated and released a new version before the announcement was released. Currently it only supports two role playing systems (Shadowrun v3 and Dungeons and Dragons v3) and the basic races from those systems. I will hopefully add systems and races as time permits in the future.

The project is hosted on Github if you want to build it yourself, or you can download a pre-packaged jar.

Read more for the usage and screen-shots.
Read more ›

Posted in Role Playing, Software Tagged with: