Shadowrun: The Little Guys

   The trouble with minor contacts is that they have to be useful to a shadowrunner somehow. After all, everyone knows lots of people – but it’s only the ones who are actually likely to be helpful that you have to pay for. The clerk at the rental place, whoever’s working the counter at the local fast-food emporium, the frustrated musician who teaches music to thumb-fingered students, and the people who patch potholes in the road may all technically be “contacts” – or could easily become so – but unless there’s something special about them, or they have information to share, it won’t matter. Ergo, here are a few minor contacts with potentially-useful attributes.

   Ishi Nazra owns and operates a small convenience store in a fairly bad part of town. While, being an Ork, he’s a bit more physically intimidating than most human operators, keeping a store open and intact in an area like that still requires either massive firepower – which he doesn’t seem to have – or quite a lot of connections with the local streets and gangs (which he does seem to have). If you want someone with an ear on the ground, you could do worse. Personally, Ishi tends to be heavily involved in “Causes” – whether that’s metahuman rights, homeless shelters, or indigent kittens this week – and will cheerily assume that anyone in the area is just as dedicated as he is.

   Jason Dunwich runs “The Dunwich Horror” (named after his signature concoction), a hole-in-the-wall bar built in the remains of an old art-glass workshop. Today it’s numerous nooks and crannies serve as a hangout for many of the locals, old chips of multicolored glass form mosaics on the walls and decorate the rooms, and small fires in it’s numerous old furnaces provide heat and a place to toast your own snacks. Jason is noted for his ability to produce pretty much any drink a customer needs, including odd concoctions laced with various exotic recreational drugs – although he claims that all of them are “guaranteed non-addictive”. Some of his customers swear by the supposed health benefits of the house specials, and at least one will always be willing to assure any new customer that Jason can mix a drink that turns you into a werewolf, and keeps a bottle full of the stuff under the bar – a rumor apparently based on Jason having an old tattoo of a pentagram on one hand.

   Myrella Seamist Talasien is a corporate kid in her late teens, more than a bit rebellious, and tends to think that being a shadowrunner is terribly exciting and sort of romantic. While shadowrunner groupies are hardly unknown – what with all the simsense adventures, games, and extravagant trid productions out there – she seems to have a fairly extreme case. Lately she’s been venturing more and more deeply into the bad parts of town, apparently a result of the fact that nothing bad has happened yet. Where she’s been getting the money to support this hobby is, as yet, unknown, although she could simply be getting a generous allowance.

   Ronessha Ibin is a reasonably skillful talismonger specializing in fetishes and other quick and cheap charms, claims to be “a channeler of ancient spirits”, and apparently is a uncontrolled clairvoyant. She doesn’t always, or even usually, “see” anything important – but she does “see” enough to keep plenty of customers coming back for another reading and to be kept on retainer by a variety of sensible folk: if you’re on her list (whether as a customer or as a friend), you can expect to occasionally be called up with odd warnings and bits of unsolicited advice. Personally she tends to go in for the centuries-old “gypsy fortuneteller” routine and makes herself out to be a great deal older than she actually is

   Tamara Havelock walked out on an abusive husband years ago, and made arrangements to have a local gang dispose of him when he kept stalking and threatening both her and their two children, Thomas and William, then five and two. In the six years since then she’s supported herself as a waitress and cook, occasionally providing meals for the residents of the battered boarding house next door or quietly renting out a room with very few questions asked and – if desired – pretty much complete isolation from the outside world. The boys, now 11 and 8, are streetwise, more than a bit feral, and pick up a little money by occasionally acting as lookouts and couriers for the local criminal enterprises.

   King Carlsband: While most victims of radical BTL burns wind up as crazies, veggies, or dead, Carl wound up in a cheery fantasy world, wherein he rules Seattle as it’s beloved king. He issues decrees and patents of nobility, listens patiently to every “case” that comes before him, and sings quite passably (it was a musical). He is gracious, impeccably mannered, and essentially lives on invitations and donations. His presence is generally taken as performance art, and is guaranteed to improve any party, to get you into the best restaurants, and to amuse one and all. Personally he is tall, slim, elegant, wears (completely unnecessary) glasses, and dresses as a member of the upper class – of about 1890.

   Harry Eagleton sells cheap – if extremely questionable – soy products, frozen treats (with at least a 1% chance of containing some actual dairy products) and occasional bits of actual meat (of some sort) from his cart, at relatively low prices and only a slight risk of food poisoning. In fact, several of his children run similar businesses – and also participate in his sideline as a lookout, casual spy, and careful listener. A surprising number of people who really ought to know better give in to the enticing odor of Harry’s special sauces and buy things from him while talking on the phone or to companions – and Harry never forgets anything which might possibly make him a bit of money. Personally Harry is stout, bald, and cultivates an impressive moustache – indeed, that is often all that anyone notices about him.

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