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To Catch a Magician. A cyberpunk one shot adventure.

When the best magician in the city decides to start making bank accounts disappear, she takes from the wrong people and needs to perform one last big trick.

Game Setup

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This cyberpunk adventure is system agnostic which means that it can be used with any game system. A result of remaining rules neutral is that you will need to pull the skills, difficulty values, characters, and items from your own system. In order to make the process easier, all of the items you should need to run the game are listed up front so that you can be prepared.

This one-page adventure offers you the framework to the story, but it is up to you as the GM to flesh out the characters, fill in the world, and react to the crazy things your players will inevitably think up. In order to make your playthrough easier, read through the adventure ahead of starting.

  1. Skill Checks
  2. People, Places, and Items
  3. Background for GMs
  4. Job Offer
  5. Street Show
  6. Theater Show
  7. The Fun House
  8. The Magic Workshop
  9. Wrapping it Up

Skill Checks

For each skill listed below, determine what skill in your game system best represents each one to use.

Each skill is listed with a difficulty rating of Low, Average, or Hard. Determine what those values are for your system based off the description below.

CommunicateResearch
InvestigateDodge
NegotiateMove
TechnologyConstitution
Skills used during this adventure.

Easy – Most players with any skill will almost always succeed.

Average – Players with low skill will sometimes succeed, players with high skill will often succeed.

Hard – Players with low skill will almost never succeed, players with high skill will sometimes succeed.

People, Places, and Items

  • Sanso the Spectacular [Robotics Expert] – Known as one of the best magicians around town, Sanso is really a mastermind robotics designer.
  • Jules Craft [Deal Broker] – Jules is an older bookie who runs his gambling ring out of his bar “Queen’s Gambit”, a well known drag show theater. Jules himself is a flamboyant queen with a short fuse and a biting personality.
  • The Triumphant [Theater] – An old theater in the arts district that Sanso uses as a home base.
  • Combat Drones (Assault, Medium Difficulty)
  • The value of a standard job fee
  • Code Cracker or Infiltration software that is used to steal data device information.

Background for the GM

Sanso grew up a street kid who learned magic from the street sharks. After spending years improving her craft and becoming a skilled pick pocket she lifted from a powerful executive. The magician is now frantically upping her performance to pay back the money she stole before her time runs out. Sanso’s latest mark was Jules Craft, a street bookie who needs his money back fast before his clients come knocking, and the thief swimming with the fishes before his reputation is sunk.

Job Offer

The players are approached by Jules himself who got their information from one of the players previous job connections. He will discuss how he hired Sanso to perform at the Queen’s Gambit and the theft that occurred.

Jules will happily discuss most things regarding the theft, and will hire the crew at their standard job fee to retrieve the thief, Sanso the Spectacular, and any stolen money they may find. Jules is very reluctant to provide a sum that was stolen, but if the players persist, he will indicate that it was an amount worth killing over.

Information Bits:
  • Jules can provide the team with a surveillance recording from his bar that shows Sanso inviting Jules on stage, and taking her jacket and purse before giving her a strait jacket to put on before making her disappear in a box.
  • It was the end of the night and Sanso had already left before Jules realized that his bank account had been emptied and his credit lock drained.
  • Sanso is set to perform a street gig tomorrow in the wealthy part of town in front of the Meltdown Fountain at noon.
  • [Communicate/Investigate Average] Jules needs to have the money in the next five days to pay out her books.
  • [Negotiate Hard] He can be convinced to offer the team an increase in pay if the players discover he needs the money for his books.
  • [Technology Hard] Investigating the video tape closely the players find that the table that Sanso places Jules personal belongings on appears to have an embedded micro-computer.

Street Show

Memorial Park is a small green space in the city. The only notable item in the park is the Memorial Fountain, known to the citizens of the city as “Meltdown Fountain” as it was originally built to honor those who died in the nuclear plant meltdown.

The park is in the wealthy part of town and is heavily monitored by both patrol officers and surveillance cameras. In addition to the officers, a sizable crowd of executives, corpo-hacks, and high paid gangsters has formed around Sanso’s stage. Should the players attempt an aggressive move toward Sanso, the crowd will start to jeer and want the show to continue and the patrol officers may even get involved to stop the players actions.

Sanso has setup a large tank filled with water, a heavy black coffin, and the same table that was used at the Queen’s Gambit. As the viewers gather around and Sanso starts her show, it would be quite difficult for the players to make an aggressive action with all of the security teams around.

The magician will call for a volunteer. If one of the players doesn’t volunteer, or if they at any point refuse to cooperate with Sanso, then she will ask them to step down and find another person from the crowd. If the players don’t offer themselves up, then a low-level exec NPC will.

Figuring out the Tricks

Sanso takes all of the belongings except for the volunteer’s clothes and places them on the table setup near the tank. With an [Investigate Average] roll, the players notice lights blinking from the underside of the table. She will then have the volunteer climb into the tank, draw a curtain around the entire cylinder, and after a moment and some fancy words, reveal that both the volunteer and water have disappeared.

After drawing the curtain a second time, she will reveal that the individual has returned, and is standing in the tank dry. She will then let them leave the stage with their belongings.

For her second trick, or if the show is interrupted and she is called out as being a thief, Sanso will get into the coffin, lock it, and never get out. If opened using a [Technology Easy] roll, the team will find nothing in the coffin. An [Investigate Average] roll reveals that there is a fake door in the bottom of the coffin, and that it was sat upon an entrance to the underground sewer system, presumably where she made her escape.

There are numerous ways you can encourage your team toward the next scene, here are a couple of ideas.

  • Looking at the table [Technology Average] the players determine that the electronics are a code cracking and transmit system which is collecting the passwords and other information from the data systems the victims relinquish and transferring them to a server system in the Arts district.
  • Speaking with the NPC volunteer [Communicate Average] or if one of the players volunteered, they can use the victim’s data device to track the account transfers [Investigate/Research Easy] to an account that is held in the Arts district.
  • Shortly after Sanso has made her escape, or if one of the players inspects it, the tank of water falls apart sending all of the water pouring out along with hundreds of flyers advertising Sanso’s next show at a theater in the arts district later that same evening.

Theater Show

The evening after Sanso’s park show, she is performing her biggest gig yet at an old theater, The Triumphant, that she has turned into a funhouse of magic. There are no tickets, and the show is fairly well attended. Audience members walk through a handful of twisting hallways filled with changing lights and mirrors until they find themselves in an open theater with a dozen rows of seats.

There are no other doors except that the one that the players entered through visible in the room, and if the players approach the stage, they will trigger an electrical pulse that runs across the outside of the stage. While the pulse is more for visual effect than protection, any players that are near the stage at the time will need to make a [Dodge Hard] check or suffer a minor shock.

After a few moments, the lights in the studio will dim, lightning will begin to shoot from above the stage, and after a bright flash, Sanso will appear on stage.

She gives a brief welcome to the crowd and explains that her next trick is entirely different than anything they have seen before. The magician then says a few magic words, lightning again to crack across the stage creating a deafening crackle, and the players begin to feel their electronics and metal object floating upward. Anything that is not well secured will be pulled from pockets or out of hands and slowly rise up.

Anyone with metal cybernetics or implants will also feel those being tugged toward the roof. All items that were unsecure will disappear into the darkness that engulfs the ceiling while the show continues. While the pull isn’t strong enough to life someone who has a prosthetic from their chair or pluck out an implant, the force does continue to grow in strength for a few minutes before finally relinquishing. All the items that were sucked up into the ceiling fall back down upon the heads of the crowd. Unbeknownst to the audience, a magnet implanted in the shadows of the ceiling rungs will suck up all of the electronics and apply the same code cracking and infiltration program that was used at Sanso’s other shows. Anyone who had a device sucked up will soon be the victim of the thief and see their accounts drained.

The players can discern what is happening during the trick with a [Technology Average] or [Investigate Hard] check. Once the items fall back to the crowd, Sanso pretends to be exhausted, takes a bow, and exits behind the curtain from the stage.

If the players choose to try and interrupt the show at any point, Sanso will expect that something is up and flee through the exit at the back of the stage. Should the players follow her off the stage, they will enter into the fun house.

The Fun House

The hallways and rooms in the back of Triumphant have been turned into a deranged fun house. Each time the players turn down another way or continue to press forward to find Sanso, roll on the table below or pick a result for the players to encounter.

  1. The hallway starts narrow until the players must turn sideways and one by one squeeze themselves through the narrow passage with a [Move Easy] check.
  2. Spinning mirrors and lights create a disorienting effect as the players attempt to make their way through with a [Constitution Easy] check or become nauseated.
  3. Hidden speakers will continually create sounds behind the players or around corners as they make their way through a handful of passages.
  4. After entering a large room, the walls slide one side to another revealing different images of officers or gang members pointing guns at the team. An [Investigation Hard] check will reveal the pattern and allow the team to find Sanso’s workshop.
  5. The team enters a room filled with electrified mirrors that make the room appear to have six exits. Roll to see which exit the players attempt to take. 1-5 they walk into the electrified trap taking minor damage. 6 they pick the right way out. An [Investigation Average] check or shooting out the mirrors will get them out of the trap.
  6. The players discover an iron locked door. A [Technology Average] check, explosive device, or [Constitution Hard] check opens the door to Sanso’s workshop.

Magic Workshop

Finally making their way through the twisted hallways and into Sanso’s workshop, she will not be taken easily. She will first try to convince the players that if they don’t let her keep the money she will be killed by a powerful executive. A [Negotiate Easy] check can be used to convince her to return any money or information taken from the players themselves, but not the money she took from Jules.

Should the players attack, try to physically take anything, or refuse to leave without Sanso returning the money, she will activate two armed drones to assist her in attacking the crew. If the team be defeated by the drones or if the team falls back into the fun house losing sight of Sanso, she will escape through a hidden exit in the workshop and will go into hiding.

Wrapping it Up

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If the team is able to defeat the drones, Sanso will attempt to bribe the team to let her go with the money that she has stolen, but it is roughly the same amount that Jules has offered them to complete the job.

Due to the competing drives of the NPCs regarding Sanso’s antics, how the adventure ends may open the players up to multiple possibilities for future encounters.

  • Turning Sanso over to Jules, the players will be paid and he will begin to extract the information from Sanso that he needs. This could lead to Sanso’s death, and the mysterious executive that was Sanso was being wouldn’t be pleased.
  • Taking the bribe and allowing Sanso to get away would upset Jules and possibly have her and the people she owes money to looking for Sanso and the players.
  • If the team decides to recover the technology used by Sanso, there is surely other sketchy citizens that would be interested in purchasing it from the players.

Looking for more cyberpunk adventures? You can check out our other free posts Marketing Plan and the Cyberpunk Red specific adventure, The Specimen from Archipelago Station.

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