Dark Angel

Front cover of FASA No. 7313: Dark Angel

Recordings made by the recently-deceased musician Dark Angel turn up in the hands of a recording studio that seems to have acquired them in an underhand manner. His girlfriend, who feels she’s the one who really has the rights to the songs, hires the runners to get them back.

Plot

Show spoilers ↓

Unknown to Dark Angel’s girlfriend, the studio only got the songs because Angel was forced by the Yakuza to give them up.

To complicate matters for the player characters, Angel’s old friends and band members involve themselves in the investigation because they do not believe Angel killed himself. The runners eventually learn that Angel’s brother and the Yakuza were involved in his death, and that he is not really dead—the Yakuza is holding him hostage. However, they must carefully negotiate with other Yakuza clans before they can stage a rescue, to prevent themselves from ending up high on the crime syndicate’s hit list.

Assessment

There are multiple ways to conclude this adventure, and different ways to reach the end, which means the gamemaster may need to be careful that players don’t get sidetracked too much. It is probably easier to try and solve the adventure by shooting stuff than by investigations and negotiations only, but the latter method is not impossible.

Suitable For

Dark Angel caters for both trigger-happy teams as well as those that like to talk and investigate without shots being fired.

Use with Other Editions

Using this adventure with the first-edition rules is mostly a matter of converting the damage codes; these can usually be found in the relevant first-edition books, and else can be deduced by referring to “known” ones.

For Shadowrun, Third Edition, it is necessary to change the skills of non-player characters as well as some spells and other items. All Matrix systems would also need to be changed to the third-edition equivalents.

For Shadowrun, Fourth Edition more work will be necessary because all non-player characters will need to have their game statistics modified, but any special rules given in the adventure must also be changed to conform to fourth-edition methods. Matrix systems in the adventure must likewise be converted.

Note that, although the adventure’s back cover claims it is compatible with the first-edition rules, inside the book it simply points out what gamemasters using those rules will need to convert—unlike a few other books, it does not include double game statistics.

“Music worth ♪ying for.”

When the only known recording of a late, great street musician appears in the hands of a major record company, it’s up to the runners to find out the truth.

Just what was the corp willing to do to get the recording?

Dark Angel is an adventure for Shadowrun. It is compatible with the original Shadowrun rules and the revised Shadowrun, Second Edition rules.

Front cover of FASA 1994 Catalog

1994

When the only known recording of a late, great street musician appears in the hands of a major record company, it’s up to the runners to find out the truth. Just what was the corp willing to do to get that recording?

Front cover of FASA Catalog 1995

1995

When the only known recording of a late, great street musician appears in the hands of a major record company, it’s up to the runners to find out the truth. Just what was the corp willing to do to get that recording?

Front cover of FASA 1996 Catalog

1996

When the only known recording of a late, great street musician appears in the hands of a major record company, it’s up to the runners to find out the truth. Just what was the corp willing to do to get that recording? A Shadowrun adventure.

Front cover of FASA Catalog 1998 Update

1998

When the only known recording of a late, great street musician appears in the hands of a major record company, it’s up to the runners to find out the truth. Just what was the corp willing to do to get that recording?

Dark Angel

Rating = 3

Publisher: FASA, P.O. Box 6930, Chicago, IL 69680

Author: Thomas Kane

Price: $8

Reviewer: Angel Leigh McCoy

In the Shadowrun world, it is no surprising to find an elven rock musician who freaks out on a BTL chip and sets himself on fire. Fortunately, there is much more to this story than is at first evident.

This 72-page adventure sends the players around one ahirpin curve after another. From the beginning, the players are entangled in a web of hidden loyalties. It is impossible to know whom to trust.

Dark Angel is about money and murder in the hazardous business of headbanging rock and roll. Thomas Kane has created a mystery so sinister and twisted that would-be shadowrunning detectives will delight in the challenge. On the other hand, strong-arm, shoot-first-ask-questions-later adventurers will most likely be frustrated by the need for self-control and diplomacy in certain situations.

Dark Angel is not the usual linear adventure. It was written in a “decision tree” format. This means that the adventurers can explore in any direction and still have a chance to conclude the adventure successfully. The order in which events occur depends on what the shadowrunners first decide to investigate.

A “decision tree” format allows the players a certain amount of freedom. Specific events, however, have been included in Dark Angel that serve to redirect the players’ attention to the main question.

Such behind-the-scenes intrigue is this adventure’s most interesting factor—and its most limiting factor. There is so much going on that players may perceive events as occurring randomly. They may begin to believe that they are not in control, but rather are being tossed from one event to another without any accompanying logic. To assist the referee in managing these events, Kane has built in some guidance.

Each chapter includes a section called Debugging. If the players get too far off track, this section outlines strategies for bringing them back to the point. Kane has done a fairly thorough job of covering possible ways that shadowrunners can mess up a run, yet he does not pamper them. “If they persist, go ahead and destroy them…,” Kane writes (p.39). “Drekbrained runners deserve what they get.”

As with other Shadowrun products, the characters in Dark Angel are varied and interesting, offering excellent opportunities for rich roleplaying. The artwork and layout are good, although the maps found in this module leave something to be desired. They are too simple, and are labeled only with letters and geometric shapes. It is impossible to tell at a glance what is what. If the names of the rooms were labeled, it would be much easier for the referee to begin to describe a scene without interrupting the smoothness of play as she searches for a reference hidden in text.

Also, a more detailed index would have been very useful for referencing some of the more obscure information that players invariably request. Overall, this module demands a lot from the referee, and yet, it holds the potential for a tense and exciting adventure.

Angel Leigh McCoy in White Wolf Magazine issue 38 (September 1993)

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