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Neal's Last Words


Neal's Last Words

by Byron "Neal" Massey

A Better Mousetrap

Summer is rapidly coming to a close here in the Northern Hemisphere, and in my town, that means rain. Lots of rain. The nice thing about all that rain is the guilt it removes. I can stay inside all day, goofing off and playing cards, feeling good about the lousy weather I am avoiding. Residents of Hawaii or San Deigo might not have that luxury.

I promised to show you the storyline for the expansion set I am working on, called "Dangerous Allies". Before I do, I'd like to update you on some exciting developments in regards to new cards.

Ryan Dancey posted something on the newsgroup about releasing Contracts in issues of the Duelist. He didn't promise to do it, he just said he'd look into it.

"A ... set of cards could be in your hands before Christmas. Or not."

A workable format for making physical fan cards has been established. TRC Chairman Argi Flack is working out the details that will put new, physical cards in your hands.

There are three designers working on expansion sets to be released in this format. Two of them are working together, and the third has not yet committed. We may be witnessing a whole new phenomenon in trading card games - fans designing and selling expansion sets based on abandoned products of established companies.

Three different sets of cards are being created as we speak, with plans for worldwide mail sales. A well-designed, well-playtested, interesting set of cards could be in your hands before Christmas. Or not. Stay tuned as details become available.

How will the WotC legal team react? Sadly, the more success a fan expansion experiences, the more likely it is to be shut down by greedy corporate lawyers. Any legal professionals with expertise in this area are enouraged to contact me.

Now, without further ado, here is the storyline for "Dangerous Allies".

Cyberspace is becoming increasingly dangerous. Top Runners break Corporate security at will, and Corporations occasionally find themselves insolvent after losing a particularly valuable asset. Corporate Wars rage with alarming frequency, and public faith in the stock market is at an all-time low. These raised stakes also affect Runners, who find themselves resorting to desperate measures in a race to liberate data before their rivals. Both elements realize that the entire balance of power is in danger, and that if the Corporate culture is destroyed, there will be nothing left for anyone.

The Militech Corporation is the first to suggest that a hegemony of Corporations is a possible solution. By pooling their security knowledge, it may be possible to thwart data pirates. Powerful programs for identifying intruders are soon developed. Stealing Corporate data becomes a life-or-death proposition, and many Runners are killed or forced into hiding.

Runners quickly adapt to this Corporate approach, and Top Runner's Conferences become the birthplace of Runner's Alliances. Some BBS groups also agree to share their skills, and profits, keeping up with the increased pace of Corporate security. Runners sometimes find themselves working for Corporations that are rivals of their targets, and Corporations support Runners who seek to liberate the agendas of competitors.

This teamwork, dealing, betrayal, and negotiation can create some very Dangerous Allies.

Here are a few sample card texts:

Deal with N.E.T.O (2)
Make a run. During the run, all icebreakers are at +2 strength. At the end of the run, remove an icebreaker from the game.

Sprawl Alliance (6)
Resource - Alliance
You may draw a card at the start of each run.
If a more than one Alliance is installed, place all but one Alliance in the Trash.

Spikes (1/3)
Ice - Sentry - Black Ice - AP - Firestarter
@ Do 1 Meat damage for each rezzed Wall installed inside Spikes. This damage cannot be prevented.

Dog Show (1)
Reveal as many Watchdog, Pit Bull or Hellhound ice as you choose. Gain (1) for each card you reveal.

Netwatch Symposium (1)
Place (6) from the bank on an installed card. Use these bits only to pay for traces made with that card.