Iron DM 2016 (The Complete Game Thread!)


Once A Fool
I feel I could have pretty comfortably done what I was trying to do if I had had 1000 words to work with. Therefore, 750 seems about right to me.

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I'm not advocating a change to the rules. I was just noting how challenging it was to operate in the 750 word limit. If we thought it was too much, we wouldn't compete. Why mess with a good thing?


Heh. My complaint - if any, isn't the word count. Given time, culling from 1500 to 750 is doable. For me the big crunch was the time. In the middle of the week, a 24 hour limit works out to less than half that. In my case, thanks to a last minute work obligation, roughly about 5 - 4 of which were spent brainstorming the adventure before I went to sleep. I suspect I'm not the only one who lost lots of time like that, and I give props to the others for managing.

If I was to change something, I'd run it over the weekends, with each round's matches being simultaneous. I'd keep the 24-hour limit, 750 word count, and 6 ingredient list, though, just block out the workweek.


Iron DM 2016
Round 2, Match 1

[MENTION=6857996]LongGoneWrier[/MENTION] vs. [MENTION=34958]Deuce Traveler[/MENTION]

Your ingredients for this round are:
Heir to Nothing
Silken Wallpaper
Useless Glue
Headless Hunter
Gutted Machine
Star crossed book
Lazy Eye

You have 36 hours to complete your entry, meaning that it is due 8 a.m. EST, Monday morning.

Good Luck!


Iron DM 2016
Round 2, Match 2
[MENTION=976]Imhotepthewise[/MENTION] vs [MENTION=67]Rune[/MENTION]

Your ingredients for this round are:
Balancing Act
Demonic Coin
Zombie Merchant
Triple Agent
Puzzle Box
Blood-Red Star
Horseless Carriage

You have 36 hours to complete your entry. So due at 8:33 p.m. EST on Monday. Good Luck!

For use with Shadowrun Fifth Edition.



Five years ago, Ikeda Electronics was one of the more powerful AA megacorporations in Japan. Many in the corporate circles thought it would soon become a fully-fledged AAA, or be swallowed up by Renraku. Ikeda Toyoshi, CEO and founder of Ikeda was diagnosed with a terminal illness and began siphoning away his company’s profits in order to find a cure. Toyoshi’s disease was cured, but his brush with death caused him to be obsessed with discovering the secret of immortality. To buy himself time, Toyoshi fitted himself with the best augmetics that nuyen could buy. Toyoshi dumped everything into finding any possible method of extending his life. Soon, every single nuyen that Ikeda had was funneled into this quest.

Nothing remains of Ikeda Electronics except the empty shell of their corporate tower and the few individuals kept around to maintain appearances until the Renraku buyout. Toyoshi’s son Jiro swept all of Toyoshi’s expenses into a top-secret project called Wellspring. Hoping to wring some kind of profit out of his father’s madness, Jiro sold the idea of project Wellspring to Renraku as a revolutionary formula to reduce or even reverse augmentation essence cost.

Jiro is no fool, and knows that heads will roll if Renraku discovers the ruse. His plan is to mask the ruination of Ikeda Electronics under the cover of several well-coordinated attacks from many fronts. Jiro covertly contacted the extremist environmental politigroup The Thundering Herd, making up stories about toxic magic being practiced on the Ikeda site. Jiro is assured that they will dispatch their greatest warrior, a centaur, to gut the corporate facility and remove all traces of toxic magic. Jiro also hires a group of shadowrunners to steal everything related to his father and Project Wellspring. To maintain the illusion of a working corporation, Jiro pulls a decker named The Eye out of retirement to man the Ikeda complex’s defenses. Unfortunately for everyone involved, deep in the bowels of Ikeda Electronics, Toyoshi has kludged together so much cyberware and preservative magics that he has become a cyberzombie.

The runners are contacted by their fixer offering them what he calls a “milk run”. They are asked to dress well and go to a high-end restaurant in Tokyo. Once there, an impeccably-dressed man (Jiro) introduces himself as Mr. Tanaka and buys whatever the characters wish to eat before getting down to business. He explains that he represents a third party that is very interested in the rumored upcoming merger between Ikeda Electronics and Renraku. His employers wish to confirm that everything is on the up-and-up, and wants a discreet group of professionals to investigate the secret Ikeda project known as Wellspring.

Their task is to gain access to the Ikeda compound, secure any and all records of Project Wellspring, and analyze them for discrepancies. If Project Wellspring appears to be as revolutionary as the rumors describe, the runners are to destroy all records; if not, the runners are to steal the data and deliver it to Mr. Tanaka. Mr. Tanaka gives the runners a strict deadline to accomplish their task, but assures the runners that building security is alarmingly lax and even antiquated in places. The runners will be paid ten thousand nuyen apiece only if the Project Wellspring data is either confirmed clean or returned to Mr. Tanaka.

The Ikeda Electronics corporate building is a fortress rising high above the Tokyo skyline. Basic observation of the tower during the few days of preparation time reveal that very few people come in or out of the building, while more perceptive runners notice that the shapes that move around behind the windows follow almost robotic patterns. All the “workers” in Ikeda Tower are in fact motorized mannequins that move about with simple programming. Probing the history of Ikeda Electronics uncovers some potentially useful information: Ikeda Toyoshi was apparently a philanderer before his illness took hold, and frequently used the penthouse of Ikeda Tower as an office and den of luxury. Scanning the Matrix in Ikeda tower shows a large number of drones. Matrix security is present, but lackluster in all but a few places like the penthouse. Runners might also notice other individuals scoping out Ikeda Tower; these are Thundering Herd members finding the best entry point for Ulysses, known on the streets (but not to his face) as “Glue”. Mr. Tanaka contacts the runners immediately before the heist and warns them Glue might interfere with the job.

B & E
The only physical security are packs of drones that sweep the floors in regular patrols. The Eye knows that Ikeda is in damage control, and doesn’t put up the kind of resistance one might expect from a hacker of his reputation. He spends most of his time watching trashy soap opera trids, only sending a pack of drones at the runners if they are particularly loud and destructive. He defends himself on the Matrix, but otherwise lets the basic encryption of any devices in the building fend for itself.

As the runners search the tower for the records of Project Wellspring, they feel and hear the detonation that marks Glue’s entrance into the facility. Mr. Tanaka contacts the runners again and urges them in the strongest terms to avoid Glue. The centaur armed to the teeth and quickly goes about making a mess in the tower. Glue is likely to cross paths with the runners and is more than willing to get into a scrap with the runners, especially if they call him by his street name. The centaur can be convinced to leave the runners alone, or accompany them to the penthouse. He is eager to cause destruction, but the ease with which the drone patrols can be avoided means Glue is limited to petty vandalism if he joins the runners.

The runners can reach the penthouse fairly quickly, which they discover is radically different from the corporate blandness below. The penthouse is constructed like a traditional Japanese temple interior, with the paper walls of antiquity replaced by sumptuous silk screens. A powerful guardian spirit is bound to the silk walls and reacts aggressively if the runners are disrespectful to the furnishings.

About the same time the runners reach the penthouse, Toyoshi the cyberzombie wakes up in the sub-basement of Ikeda Tower. Toyoshi is convinced in his cybermadness that Jiro is responsible for his “imprisonment”, and cuts a swath through Ikeda Tower to the penthouse to find his son. Toyoshi cannot distinguish Jiro from anyone else, and attacks everyone on sight. If Glue did not join the characters, he is searching the basement for toxic magic when the cyberzombie stirs. In either case, Glue attacks the cyberzombie and manages to cut off its head before he is cut down in a pitiful amount of time. The centaur’s foolhardy attack gives the runners time to hide. Even headless, Toyoshi continues his rampage. The paydata is in red wood-backed book secured in a safe with a physical lock concealed in the wood of Toyoshi’s desk.

Stealth is paramount in avoiding Toyoshi in the penthouse, especially until the runners manage to disable him. While Toyoshi is not as weaponized as one might expect from a cyberzombie, he is still as durable as a tank and can easily crush bones in his hands. The guardian spirit in the silk walls can prevent the cyberzombie’s backup visual sensors from easily seeing through the silk, but Toyoshi quickly picks up on any sounds and crashes through the flimsy silk walls to attack. The guardian spirit recognizes Toyoshi’s shredded essence and does not attack the cyberzombie.

The Eye is intent on evacuating Ikeda Tower as soon as the cyberzombie wakes up. Runners can convince him to use his drones and decking skills to impair the cyberzombie, especially if they use the Project Wellspring data to prove that Ikeda has no money to pay the hacker. In the same safe that holds the paydata is a black leather book of poetry Toyoshi shared with his favorite mistress. If the cyberzombie sees a runner with the book, it flies into a rage and focuses its attacks on that runner. Runners who use the poems can confuse the cyberzombie, or cause it so much emotional distress that it commits seppuku by pulling out its artificial organs.

At a critical juncture in the cyberzombie’s hunt, the runners are contacted by their fixer or by The Eye, urging them to evacuate Ikeda Tower before orbital ordnance is used to destroy all evidence of the cyberzombie. Soon after the call, Ikeda Tower is destroyed.

Once the dust has settled, the runners are approached by a representative from Renraku who offers them a moderate reward in exchange for their silence about the whole Ikeda matter. In the event that the runners are able to subdue Toyoshi, Renraku offers a bonus for whatever remains of the cyberzombie. Ikeda Jiro disappears from the world stage, never to be found.

Deuce Traveler

Iron DM 2016, Round 2, Match 1, Deuce Traveler Submission (Get Ye to the Underdark)

Title: Get Ye to the Underdark

Ruleset: D&D with familiar Underdark lore as the backdrop


Heir to Nothing
Silken Wallpaper
Useless Glue
Headless Hunter
Gutted Machine
Star crossed book
Lazy Eye


D'roal was a great disappointment to his drow family for he had exceeded their expectations and somehow survived into adulthood. When he was born into his matriarchal society he was already an embarrassment, as the fourth male child in a minor noble house, he could expect to inherit no aristocratic title, no military rank, and no religious function. So he was sent out again and again in the hopes he would die in some glorious battle, but he always returned victorious and without recognition for his valor; thus a continued source of embarassment to his house.

S'zann was an older, married matriarch of a strong noble house, and D'roal's lover. The two had a magnetic attraction to one another, causing controversial whispers about their co-dependency towards one another. When S'zann needed a hitman, or thief in the night, D'roal was always there. When D'roal was in political trouble, S'zann would pull just the right strings to help. But now S'zann was vulnerable, as she was greatly injured and lost her spellbook during a raid on the druegar forces of Eyz'la the Beholder. The spellbook is beyond valuable, having been passed down through the generations of house matrons. In happier times, she had even taught D'roal some minor magics from it when the two were able to have rare moments of elongated privacy. Rumors are now flying about the loss, and S'zann's enemies, including her husband, are calling her unfit and seeking ways to unseat her.

Always brash, D'roal gathered a force of fellow drow outcasts and raided Eyz'la's fortress, succeeding in reaching its center and his lover's spellbook. While there, his men slew several duergar and destroyed much of the fortress' defenses. Yet they were outmatched once Eyz'la's vehicle, an enormous headless iron golem wielding a weapon in each hand, was commanded by the beholder to attack them. With several of his friends now dead, D'roal was desperate to escape and found a device the beholder's servants helped create: a machine that created short-lived, but stabilized teleportation portals. D'roal's forces figured out how to create a portal, but lacked the time to learn how to set the location. They had the portal created to a random place, pulled the main portions of the machine from its encasement, and retreated through into the unknown. Eyz'la ordered his golem to pursue, and it had crossed the portal behind the fleeing drow just as the portal collapsed.

A day later, Eyz'la and his duergar caught up with the drow and golem, who had been teleported to the world's surface. The drow fled into a surface fortress, killed or captured the inhabitants, and sealed its great door to the pursuing golem. The golem was quite damaged from drow sorties when Eyz'la caught up, and it had to have its hunt stopped. The golem was ordered back to camp and repaired before receiving a new set of instructions: patrol around the fortress looking for drow scouts to fight, and to return to Eyz'la's camp for repairs when injured. The drow have thus far been unable to get out and flee, while Eyz'la's men have been unable to create a breach in the walls, though the golem gives an occassional scare when it hammers a side wall or pursues pointy-eared scouts.

Adventure Hook:

The local lord wants these invaders out as soon as possible, which is where the heroes come in. The heroes discover that each force is at an equal strength to their own, so taking out one force would be difficult, while both would be very tough without preparation, external resources, and planning. Luckily, both Underdark forces are quite ready to go home and are more than willing to negotiate with surface dwellers.

Eyz'la's camp might not be as well defended, but his forces are formidable with duergar warriors and casters, the iron golem, and Eyz'la himself. In fact they might have been victorious already if Eyz'la wasn't such a horrible leader. The eye tyrant hates travel, which is why he had constructed his headless golem in the first place, along with his newest invention, the portal-creating teleportation device that can fit him on his golem and entourage wherever they want to go for short and easy trips. Eyz'la hates being away from his comfortable home, and hates the surface, the weather, and the smell of the place. He wants the portal-making machine back that was gutted from its housing since it took much wealth and time to build, and he wants the drow punished for what they have done to him and his home. As a bonus, the eye tyrant would also like the drow spellbook back, as he found the little he was able to study in it quite fascinating. The duergar feel that if Eyz'la leads the attack from his cockpit at the top of his iron golem, they can win an assault on the front gates, but the miserable beholder complains constantly instead and won't come out of his enormous tent.

The drow are less trusting, but want safe passage home, which is why they are delaying while trying to figure out Eyz'la's device. If they can return with both S'zann's spellbook and the device, D'roal believes he can return to a hero's welcome and a seat in his lover's court, bringing great honor to himself, his family, and getting closer to being officially recognized as S'zann's paramour. He constantly carries around S'zann's book, gripping it unconsciously as he talks about her situation. All he needs are those beholder's forces wiped out or scattered. He is in a great position to defend himself, as his drider's have secretly coated the tall courtyard columns and walls with finely layered spidersilk so that it looks part of the artistry of the place. D'roal is ready to 'accidentally' let the front walls be opened so he can lead Eyz'la's forces into a trap, while his men press the enemy into the spider-webbed walls. The driders in this force walk across these treated walls with ease, firing ranged attacks into any battle. The one missing piece of the plan is how to trap the iron golem, who can rip through the webbing easily and has been so deadly. Using drider bile, the drow have created large vats of glue to pour down upon the golem, but so far it has proven useless as the golem rips through it with ease before it can harden.

The party can decide to help one side against the other, either after convincing Eyz'la to get motivated enough to join the battle or helping D'roal come up with an alternate formula for his thus-far useless glue or otherwise finding a way to neutralize the golem. Or the party can help the drow jerry-rig the stolen machine to create a portal back home, leaving Eyz'la to pursue them into the Underdark. The victorious side will thank the party and willingly return home once their objectives are met. The party can also try to pit the overly cautious forces into a final confrontation and pick off the survivors, but the drow and duergar are quite familiar with games of treachery and may have plans of their own to meet with such possibilities. Still, it might be better to take the risk than allow either side to get away with a device that can create stable teleportation portals to the surface, as well as to avoid retribution for their actions.

On the other hand, the party might find much to admire between the two opponents, as D'roal is quite courageous and Eyz'la focused on intellectual pursuits. They can help both sides come non-violently to an agreement, with D'roal giving up the stolen part of the portal machine and promising some financial restitution if his plan to save S'zann political future works, while Eyz'la promises to allow their safe return and give back any killed or captured allies of D'roal. D'roal might be a drow, but he has become a leader by taking care of his outcasts.

Good-aligned parties that help one or both sides can expect a single favor should they need it in the future, such as safe passage through the Underdark, martial aid, or intellectual investigation. Evil-aligned parties might find this as a potential opening to a future alliance. The surface lord will be pleased with the Underdark forces being dealt with and will reward the party depending on the final state of the liege's fortress and nearby people.


Note that the judgment was amended because it was pointed out I had done some math wrong, and I had, and it made a difference in the judgment.

[sblock=Judgment for LongGoneWrier vs Deuce Traveler]
Iron DM 2016
Round 2, Match 1

LongGoneWrier vs. Deuce Traveler

As I read through the two entries, the first thing I would say is that if there was a prize for most improved during the match, LongGoneWrier, who is competing in his first Iron DM tournament would be a shoe-in. Deuce Traveler, our reigning champion, would, one would think, be the favored to win in a matchup such as this, a seasoned veteran of the contest, with wins under his belt, going up against a new-comer, but just on the read through, and initial assessment, I think this is going to be a close match. At least it is for me.

Let me also say at the outset that there is a lot to like in both of these entries, but there are also some weaknesses in both, and I find it kinda interesting that, as in the first round when I judged, so too here, we see some similar weaknesses in each one, which we will get around to in a bit…

So let’s get to tallying up some points. We will begin with Following Rules. Both were turned in on time. However, each one, when I plug them into Word, went over word count. And both did it in the same way – with the description of system after the title. Neither one is vastly over, both are within 10 words of being right, but there you have it. So I will dock each one a single point for this goof (ironically and pointedly, we discussed this very issue back on pages 2 and 3 of this very thread). Since each one had the same mistake, that’s a bit of a wash. However, when they are checked for word count, LongGoneWrier's is a few words over. Initially, my computer said that Deuce Traveler's was as well, but on subsequently checking, it was not. I am not completely sure what caused that glitch, but there you are. Because it is over the word count, I am deducting one point from LongGoneWrier's for the slip.

As far as ingredient use, I don’t think either of these entries was the best I have seen in this competition.

Heir to Nothing was used by both in a similar way, by having one of the movers behind the plot be an individual who is heir to nothing, the one because it was all squandered by his father, and the other because he is a male drow. In "Corporate Downsizing" (hereafter CD), I think the idea is captured quite nicely, but I do have one minor quibble. The PCs don’t actually themselves do much interaction with the poor heir. He is background and macguffin. The heir to nothing in "Get Ye to the Underdark" (hereafter GYU) is more active with the NPCs, but his lack of an inheritance is really not all that special, in the culture he comes from – any male drow would have a similar standing. In each case I will give the use 1.5 points out of the possible 2.

Silken Wallpaper is our next ingredient. In both cases the entry is a bit of a cheat, focusing on the adjective silken, but ignoring the noun “paper.” I think in this case, the slight edge for use goes to CD, as the wallpaper’s ability to block the cyberzombie’s search for them is a neat sort of thing, and though spider webs can be fun for an adventure, they aren’t necessarily all that innovative. (1.5 for CD, 1 for GYU)

Now we have “Useless Glue,” and here LongGoneWrier falls into a rookie mistake. We have a centaur named Glue, but he could have been named anything. He’s also not all that useless in the adventure as he is a possible ally and is fated to weaken the BBG. Deuce Traveler has glue in the adventure, but not really in a way that necessarily will ever matter to the PCs, unless the PCs decide to join up with the drow and have some alchemical know-how. Still Deuce gets this ingredient as an edge (.5 for CD, 1.5 for GYU).

Headless hunter was used in both adventures in a way I mostly liked, though the script that brings about the headless hunter in CD is one of my issues I will talk about later. But in both cases I will give full points.

In Gutted Machine, we have an ingredient where I think GYU is the clearly better use. In CD we have the potential seppuku of the cyberzombie, which while neat, is not necessarily a certainty. The gutted machine, in GYU is a major plot point, though it is a plot point providing motivation, rather than necessarily being a challenge for the PCs. (1 for CD; 1.5 for GYU)

The star-crossed book is likewise, in GYU, a macguffin (making two of them in a single adventure, which is a neat sort of intersection of dueling motivations; though they are weak macguffins in that they matter far more to the NPCs than they ever will to the PCs). I admit that I like the Romeo and Juliet reference, for while I detest the play, a classic is a classic. The book in CD is also a Macguffin, and one with more interest to the PCs, but I confess I am not sure in what way it is meant to be star-crossed. In neither case is the ingredient the best, but I will give a slight edge to GYU here (1 for CD, 1.5 for GYU)

Finally we get to Lazy Eye. I notice that in each case they contestant named their laze eye, “Eye” and in GYU’s case, the name is even more derivative. However, in each case, the eye is central and plays a role befitting an eye (watchman in one, beholder in the other). For this ingredient I will give both full marks.

At the end of the analysis, GYU was just slightly better than CD with ingredient use. Was it enough to win…?

Let’s talk about the usability of each adventure.

Let me say upfront that I think both of these, with some work would be quite usable, though I think one is slightly better than the other. I also think both of them have a similar problem with too much story and not enough “encounters.” What I mean by that is that each of them presents a very complex and rich backstory, but do not actually provide the smaller pieces of the adventure that would make each more fully realized.

With CD, I also see a weakness in the fact that the adventure is just a little too tightly scripted. The ending is written before the PCs ever actually make any choices. Some of this scripting is good, and leads to a fantastic scene with the cyberzombie hunting the PCs through the tower. That has “B” movie excellence written all over it and I really like it (and it would work too in Shadowrun, much better than in a D&D game). But RPGs don’t always happen according to script and just a little more flexibility would really strengthen this entry. What happens if the PCs kill the centaur before the centaur beheads the zombie? What happens if the find an ingenious way to take out the zombie? I can’t give CD full points, but there’s a good adventure here, and the potential for a really fun adventure as well. So 4.5 out of 6 is how I am going to call this one.

With GYU, we have a different set of problems as far as usability. In fact, I think just a little more scripting would have made this one stronger. We have a lot of backstory, a great set-up and then we are simply plopping the PCs down into it and seeing what they do. Its very sandboxy, but a little more of a timeline, a few more ideas for encounters and events would not have been amiss. As it is, the GM is left to wing it as much as the players.

I also am pretty sure that most parties of PCs would try some sort of “kill them all and let the gods sort them out” technique to solving the problem. So all the backstory becomes something of a wash if the PCs don’t try diplomacy out with one side or another. I like where the set-up is taking us, but I think it could have taken us a little further. I’m going to be generous though and give GYU a 4 out of 6 for usability.

And so finally we come to Style. How well does each adventure appeal to me?

There’s a lot I like in GYU. I get a Krang from TMNT vibe from the golem, and something of a Terminator vibe from the drow teleporting who knows where, chased by the golem. It also brings up vaguely fond memories for me of one of my childhood module favorites: UK3 The Gauntlet.

But the adventure loses a little luster for me when there is a built in expectation of negotiating with evil to help defeat another evil. And drow NPCs as sympathetic characters is a no-go for me. I can take Drizzt in small doses, but these guys should be major villains, not romantic foils. I’m going to go with 4 out of 6 points here for style. I suspect that another DM, more fond of heavy Role-playing opportunities would rate it higher, but 4 is as high as I can go.

With CD there’s also a lot I like. Shadowrun is one of those settings I wish I could play in more (or at all) (just haven’t found the right group I suppose). I also think the idea of the cyberzombie crashing heedlessly through the complex is fantastic, full of cinematic possibilities. I get a real 80’s sci-fi “B” movie feel from this one, and I like it. The too-tight script keeps it from being thematically perfect stylewise, and the centaur needs a little bit of work as a plot element, but I think I can give this one a 5 out of 6 for style.

So, looking at the score, "Corporate Downsizing" beats "Get Ye to the Underdark" (and let me just add that if I was being really cantankerous I would cut points off of each for really lousy titles; but I am feeling not all that cantankerous tonight, so I won’t) by the slimmest of margins. We’ll have to see what the other judges think, but I think, personally, the champ met his match in the up and comer this round. "Get Ye to the Underdark" edges out "Corporate Downsizing," bu a single point. In this case, Deuce won because of his better ingredient use, and his being under word count. The champ defends his title one more round, by my estimation, but the up and comer certainly provided a good match. Congratulations to both, but the score tips to Deuce to advance once again to the final round.

LongGoneWrier – Corporate Downsizing
Followed the Rules 5/6
Ingredient Use 9.5/14
Usability 4.5/6
Style 5/6
Total: 24/32

Deuce Traveler – Get Ye to the Underdark
Followed the Rules
Ingredient Use 11/14
Usability 4/6
Style 4/6
Total: 25/32
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Cute but dangerous
Very difficult to decide. Apologies for this being a bit short, but I seem to have gotten a fever and have a bit of a problem staying awake.

Rules - my word count had both slightly over, so no advantage here. Both were in time.

Use of ingredients

Heir to Nothing - Both adventures used this in a similar way (not that surprising) and both uses were good. No advantage.

Silken Wallpaper - I love the drider webbing in Get Ye to the Underdark. It could,of course, be completely avoided by the players, which makes it less strong. The walls in Corporate Downsizing, however, could have been made from any other material. Not really bad because the ingredient has to go somewhere. But I liked the drider webbing a tad more. Advantage Get Ye to the Underdark.

Useless Glue - While I had a laugh at Glue the Centaur because we have a saying here that useless horses become glue, and I kept reading Ikea instead of Ikeda and with Ikea you often do need glue ... anyway, it's just a name. The drider bile in Get Ye to the Underdark is an actual part of the story. Advantage Get Ye to the Underdark.

Headless Hunter - Yeah, well... the cyberzombie in Corporate Downsizing was more relevant as a hunter - if only slightly. Technically, it didn't hunt but just leash out at people. However, the golem in Get Ye to the Underdark wasn't really doing any hunting either. it was mostly there to carry the lazy beholder around. In coolness, cyberzombie wins over iron golem anytime. Advantage Corporate Downsizing.

Gutted Machine - In Get Ye to the Underdark, this is the thingamajig carrying the whole story - the beholder wants his portal partials back or he wouldn't have bothered. Yet, it is also a weak part. How did the beholder's crew follow the drow that fast if their means to travel was disrupted? Even if their lair was relatively close to the surface, they would have needed a means to find out where their foes had ended up. So all that explains this here could be "it's magic"in one way or the other, which is fine but leaves a bit of an unfinished feeling. In Corporate Downsizing, it's the cyberzombie gutting himself, which is cool enough. But then, this is not a guaranteed outcome nor that essential. After all the cyberzombie might as well be thrown off the roof or end up disabled by any other means, knowing that Runners will be Runners. Advantage Get Ye to the Underdark.

Star Crossed Book - In Corporate Downsizing, it's the love getting to the cyberzombie's heart, but again, it's not sure if the PCs ever encounter this. In Get Ye to the Underdark, it's the spellbook the drow wants, and not for love alone but for the usual scheming reasons drow do things. Problem with this is, again, that the PCs might never even hear about it, as drow aren't likely to share any sort of unneeded information, especially not with temporary allies in case the PCs rather side with the drow. No advantage here.

Lazy Eye - And again, in both cases, it turned into names. In both cases, the use was creative enough for it being names. No advantage.


Corporate Downsizing
was easy to read, no big twists and turns to look up again later. Get Ye to the Underdark suffers a bit from a wall of text for backstory the normal group of adventurers will never hear about. There was also a slight issue with long sentences (we call it boxed sentences or run away sentences here - one sentence sits in the other until you don't know what's what anymore). Advantage Corporate Downsizing.

Use in game play

Get Ye to the Underdark leaves a lot for the GM to develop and explain, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's for the most part a sandbox style adventure. Who do the PCs side with, what could the respective sides offer them) do they even side with anyone or will they try to play both sides or just go all in and slaughter them? Or maybe they bring food enough diplomacy skills to have them make a deal. It could last several sessions or be over with before the average GM can even think about adding more complications. I like the idea of drow not only being motivated by simple greed and need, but unless the group teams up with them or even returns with them to the underdark, this will sadly not play much of a role other than in the backstory. And that is one of my pet peeves in adventures - so much backstory no one will ever find out about. While it makes a good read for the GM, it is wasted unless there is a reliable chance to encounter the information, and that's not the case here.

With Corporate Downsizing, you will definitely have them going in considering a Runner looking for a job most likely needs the money. It is a clear, linear adventure which could need a bit of improving in regards to the mix of challenges the team will face. Even if The Eye is just out of retirement briefly and has little concern for Ikeda, his professional pride alone would not likely let him sit by and do nothing while a terrorist and a Runner team go about business in a building he's supposed to protect. He might not be a challenge with the lack of good equipment provided, but he must sure carry his own or at least make the best of what he has. Also, if the runners know The Eye will not be paid, there is little incentive for them to take the job unless they've been paid beforehand, and we know how likely that is to happen. Glue strikes me as someone who would rather try and convince the Runners to aid his cause . after all, their objectives aren't that opposed. The cyberzombie, on the other hand, suddenly jumps the difficulty of the mission up by a lot. This can make for a cool twist, as the adventure says, the milk gets sour. But it is difficult to keep the interest of experienced Runners long enough for this to happen,even if you are just going for a few hours of play. Last but not least - what is the point in destroying all the data? In the building, sure, but if I was Jiro I would want the data extracted for my own use.

At the end, Corporate Downsizing has the clearer, less background-info-drow(n)ed story. Advantage Corporate Downsizing.

Would my players have fun with it?

Yes to both, but they would have slightly more fun, I believe, with Corporate Downsizing.

So for me the winner, if not by much, is Corporate Downsizing.
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