Shadowrun Missions: On a Silver Platter
Publisher: Catalyst Games Labs
Page Count: 37
Release Date: 12/09/2011
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com
The orc Fixer/Mr. Johnson named MacCallister is a Shadowrun character I can relate to pretty well. We’re both older dudes that keep in shape. We’ve both influenced a younger generation (Myself through Pokemon, McAllister through Orc Rights). We both still use out of date slang like slag, frag, and chummers in relation to the Sixth World and we haven’t updated our speech patterns to modern vernacular that sounds stupid to us. We both refuse to drop the term “decker” even though it seems everyone else has. Of course that’s where the similarities stop. I’m real and MacCallister isn’t. Of course, I’m also not an orc who had my only daughter murdered by a racist serial killer who was a copycat of a PREVIOUS serial killer and have spent the last two years of my life tracking down who was pulling the strings on “The Mayan Cutter 2.0.” I’m of glad that’s not my life, but it is MacCallister’s.
I bring up MacCallister to start off this review because he is the focal point of the newest Shadowun Mission: On a Silver Platter. In this adventure, MacCallister has finally discovered who was behind the fake Mayan Cutter serial killer and is bound and determined to get vengeance. Are you a bit lost here? Well, that’s understandable. On a Silver Platter is a direct continuation of a previous published adventure, Copycat Killer that was only available at conventions. “But I’m new to Shadowrun! How can I play what is basically the second half of an adventure I’ve never experienced?” you might be saying. Others might say, “But I HATE conventions. Why would I want to play this if I could only get the first half at one of those?” Still others might be nowhere near a city where CGL does conventions. These are all valid points and ones I would not only bring up myself but also with some rancor if not for one simple fact – when you purchase On a Silver Platter, you not only get that Shadowrun Mission (which is pretty big page count wise for one of these), but you get Copycat Killer for free to boot. That’s two adventures for four bucks. It’s basically two bucks per adventure that can form the basis of a nice little Seattle oriented campaign. This is an insanely good deal. Of course, the $3.95 price tag for Shadowrun Missions makes them a great deal to begin with, but TWO well made adventures for the same cost as a freaking comic book? Holy crap, that’s awesome. On its own Silver Platter would take a bit of work by your Gamesmaster to make it work for your troupe in regards to motivation and back story. It’s doable, and On a Silver Platter gives you ways to do so, but you wouldn’t get the full effect without Copycat Killer. Since Catalyst Games Labs was awesome enough to give you both adventures for the cost of one, you not only get an awesome one-two punch for your players, but you can fill in the gaps between both adventures with NPCs from either to make a story arc of your own creation, or just use the other Shadowrun Missions from this season. The latter is a good idea as Hiding in the Dark (Mission 04-01) ties into On a Silver Platter somewhat, and most of this season has recurring NPCs that show up in this latest mission as well. Yay, continuity!
Of course, four dollars for two adventures still isn’t a good deal if both adventures are terribly done or they consist primarily of pictures of ninjas Vs. dinosaurs drawn by a toddler with crayons. The good news is that this is far from the case with On a Silver Platter, which is not only wonderfully written, but is a lot of fun to boot. The only two complaints I have about is On a Silver Platter is that has several typos (mostly in the short fiction that sets the mood) and that it is longer than most Shadowrun Missions so it might be hard to play in a single four hour session as it is meant to be, especially with such a large final battle. The former is a minor complaint at best and the latter really isn’t a complaint at all because, “OH NO, I GET MORE GAMING TIME OUT OF THIS ADVENTURE THAN I USUALLY WOULD,” but for players who want a one shot session, their DM/GM/Keeper/Storyteller might have to streamline things a bit, especially if their team likes to go off the rails regularly.
On a Silver Platter consists of eight scenes, all of which take place in various locations around Seattle. Things get off to an explosive start (literally!) when MacCallister’s base of operations is attacked before he can give you the full details on the mission. Things get even crazier when you have not only have to try and save the old orc’s life, but a high ranking member of Knight Errant (law enforcement for you newcomers to the Sixth World) takes over the Mr. Johnson position for the remainder of the adventure. From there you’re going to have to juggle working with the Black Knights, breaking, entering and looting the domicile of a high ranking corporate executive with government contacts, balancing a feud between rival news networks, engaging in a massive battle where you storm the compound of some racist survivalist whack jobs and perhaps most importantly, decide what is justice. There isn’t a lot of combat in On a Silver Platter. In fact, much of the mission is based around stealth, hacking, and talking heads. Oh, there is definitely potential for combat in several of these scenes if your players require it, but this is definitely an adventure where you team’s decker…sorry, hacker, will be a star player. That seventh scene though…man is there a lot of combat. GMs should print off the map and keep careful track of all the people inside the compound, the Black Knights AND the ‘runners because things will become a chaotic mess very quickly if you don’t.
Overall, the adventure is a great one. It’s definitely not for new characters or ones with low builds, but it is one that Shadowrun vets will love, especially if they’ve been playing in Seattle and/or primarily use published adventures in their games. The entire MacCallister saga pretty much comes to a close here (well, unless you and your friends are playing psychotic evil jerks). In some ways it’s as close to a happy ending as one gets in Shadowrun. At the same time MacCallister won’t be typing anything new on his deck for a while if ever. It’s a pretty dramatic adventure and one of your NPC allies won’t be coming out of it alive. It’s also an adventure where it’s pretty obvious your characters are wearing the white hats instead of dingy grey ones, which is a nice change of pace for the setting. Plus you get to shoot cyborg klansman in the face. Who doesn’t love that?
All in all, On a Silver Platter is another great installment of this season’s Shadowrun Mission. It’s in full color, it’s short enough to be played in one or two sessions, it has some nice art, a solid storyline and the price can’t be beat. Again, you’re getting a free bonus adventure in Copycat Killer when you purchase On a Silver Platter so that’s two adventures for under four bucks. That is an insane deal. Anyone who plays Shadowrun, no matter how casually, should pick this up. Hell, if you haven’t played Shadowrun since the FASA days, you should still pick this up just to see what’s changed and the quality of the current product. Four bucks – two adventures! How many other ways can I say this? Quatre dollars – deux aventures! Cuatro dollars – dos aventuras! (I’d have used Euros and Pesos, but the exchange rate wouldn’t have been correct). This is some great fan service here. I’m very curious to see what else Catalyst Games Labs has in store for Seattle as this season of Shadowrun Missions continues. Maybe a journey east of the city to get some damn fine cherry pie? Seriously CGL, make this happen. After twenty years how can we not have an adventure around Snoqualmie and North Bend? We just had the Black Lodge show up in Conspiracy Theories after all…