Name: A Killing Glare
Publisher: FASA Corporation
System: Shadowrun 2nd Edition
Format- Softcover book
Size: 28cm x 21.8cm x 0.9cm
Price: OUT OF PRINT
(4.0 / 5)
A Killing Glare is a pre written adventure module for Shadowrun 2nd Edition written by Louis J. Prosperi and published by FASA Corporation in 1993. As this adventure is written with the 2nd Edition rules in mind it transfers fairly easily to the 3rd Edition ruleset but it will require some work on behalf of the GM is they want to run it in 1st, 4th or 5th edition.
The artwork on the cover is nice but doesn’t really bear any resemblance to the plot overall. I’d guess that it is supposed to depict an Urban Brawl game but since none of the characters featured seem to be wearing any kind of similar uniform, beyond some vaguely similar colours I’d say it looks more like generic gang violence than Urban Brawl. As was normal for this period the image is situated in the bottom centre and the adventure title is positioned above that with the standard circuitry surrounding both, this time set onto a crimson and black background
As always, the obligatory warning, this review feature SPOILERS!
The adventure is set in 2054 and primarily revolves around the Shadowrun sport of Urban Brawl, which in simple terms, is effectively competitive gang warfare with the aim of getting a ball into a the opponents goal. It is set just before the final game of the season the Super Brawl which just so happens to involve the local Seattle team, the Seattle Screamers pitted against the New York Slashers. The runners Johnson is none other than Screamers Coach, “Baby Joe” Johnson (a literal Johnson) and the job is to find out what skeletons his star players, a pair by the name of Punch and Judy, have in the closet.
Unknown the runners, Baby Joe is in deep debt with the Mafia and the only way he can cover those debts is for his bets on the Screamers to come good and, for that he needs Punch and Judy. Unfortunately for Baby Joe, Punch and Judy have pulled out of the game after being threatened by the Mafia, who have placed some bets of their own on the Slashers. Despite what he tells the runners Baby Joe really wants some dirt on Punch and Judy that he can use to blackmail them into playing.
Sitting in the background of all of this is the true past of Punch and Judy, which adds a wrinkle to the plot. Punch and Judy are former shadowrunners who used to work for Aztechnology as part of an elite elven team. Back in 2048 they were on a run and they discovered that the Azzies were performing genetic experiments on metahumans (I know, that’s a huge shock). Owing to their own meta status this enraged the whole team and they trashed the data and ran, leaving the Azzies behind. Aztechnology, not being a forgiving bunch, put a hit out on the team and all but 3 were iced, Punch, Judy and a burned out mage named Bubba.
So the runners start making enquiries and this leads them to Bubba, who is somewhat hesitant to help them but eventually relaxes only to have Azzie hitmen burst in just as he starts to talk. A brief skirmish ensues and Bubba either escapes into the Puyallup Barrens or they manage to take down the hitmen and subdue him. After interrogating him or searching his apartment the runners find out about the shadowrunning history of Punch and Judy and that the hitmen work for an Azzie affiliated fixer named Keane.
For the runners, the fun is just beginning, they are next approached by the Mafia, who have heard that they are investigating Punch and Judy and want to know why, and who hired them. The Mafia use heavy handed tactics to indicate that they have a vested interest in the Screamers losing the Super Brawl and suggest that it might be better for the runner’s general well-being if they back off.
The next day Bubba’s is found dead and the runners are squarely in the frame, being the last people known to have seen him alive and, in the worst case, being seen to be chasing him across the Puyallup Barrens. From this point onwards the runners need to keep their heads down, which is easier said than done with the increased Lone Star presence due to the impending Super Brawl and the influx of Slashers fans to the sprawl.
By this time the Azzies have sent a new assassin, their top guy, named Kyle Morgan (who shows up in the earlier Mercurial adventure) and his associate, the Western Dragon Perianwyr and they have picked up the runners trail. Tailing them from a meet Kyle and some heavies approach the runners as they reach their doss and try to question them regarding what they know. Kyle intends to kill them but want’s to learn what they know first. Generally speaking a fight will break out and the runners should be overwhelmed so that they can be rescued. It’s worth pointing out that the dragon is only present in astral form here so it won’t intervene directly (unless a runner is foolish enough to go against it in the astral) but it will throw all of it’s spell pool towards providing Kyle with spell defence.
Just as things are going south Punch and Judy show up and rescue the party, driving Kyle off. They stick around long enough to answer a few questions and get a few answers regarding who is investigating them and why, before riding off into the night.
The runners then return to Baby Joe and let him know what they’ve found out. How this meeting goes down depends on what they have told the Mafia and what they told Punch and Judy but, best case scenario he asks for their help in making sure that Punch, Judy and himself are safe until the big game. In my case this didn’t happen as the runners had told Punch and Judy too much and so they got their pay and that was it. My runners did arrange for a VIP package for the game though, held in Seattle’s Stadium as one of the team was a big Urban Brawl fan and a Screamers supporter.
The big climax comes after this final meeting, when the runners see that Kyle Morgan has infiltrated the game and is gunning for Punch and Judy. The runner should feel compelled to help, regardless, as Punch and Judy saved their lives, and so there was a mad dash across the city to reach the area of the Barrens that the game was being held in. From there they have to infiltrate the field of play and neutralise Kyle and Perianwyr before they manage to take out Punch and Judy. This leads to an epic battle as any fight involving a dragon should.
It’s a solid adventure and the standard adventure tree format works well again here. It flows nicely and there are sufficient moments of action, stealth and etiquette to let all types of runners shine. The writing isn’t great and there are quite a few errors throughout the book with references to Screamers being incorrectly written as Slashers etc.
Part of the attraction to the adventure is that it’s certainly not timeline specific as only 2063 and 2064 have the winners of sporting events detailed in the State of the Art books. It’s nice that another aspect of the world is covered in more detail as well, I find it adds depth and it really helped my game that one of the players had Urban Brawl as a background skill. A Killing Glare does have the basic rules for Urban Brawl included in it but I’d also suggest getting hold of Shadowbeat if you want to run this, as it covers most of the cultural information for Shadowrun.