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Monday Mashup #25: Chicago

Monday Mashup number 25 is late; I just noticed that I hadn’t posted it from last night. Ooops. Well, here you go anyhow.

Today’s ingredient is the musical Chicago. I’m assuming the Catherine-Zeta Jones version, but any version is good. It’s glitz, it’s glamour, it’s crime, it’s the desirability of fame. In particular that last. The musical aspect is certainly optional, and when I say “optional” I mean “I’ll be really impressed if anyone manages to work it in.”

Kitchen Stadium is open. Start your mashups.

I’m using Shadowrun as my other ingredient. Here’s the setup: the infamous shadowrunning team David’s Deviants signed a deal with ABCBS for a new reality show, American Shadowrunners. They carry cameras with them on every run, in exchange for a hefty fee and very good lawyers. Unsurprisingly, the show made a mint — in fact, sometimes the corps that the Deviants hit turn around and buy advertising. “Renraku. If we weren’t the best, they wouldn’t hire the Deviants to take us down.”

The PCs are a rival team who see the wave of the future, or at least the wave of the next 15 minutes. MSBC happily signs them for a competitive show. The critics dismiss it as a cheap knockoff, of course, but that’s part of the challenge.

The driving engine of the campaign is the rivalry between the two teams as much as the shadowruns themselves. Somewhere along the line, it’s going to turn out that David’s Deviants are doing staged runs — that’s easier and safer and just as lucrative. How much would Aztechnology pay to have the best shadowrunners in the world fail to penetrate their defenses on national television? How much would Renraku pay to have the PCs succeed at the same task?

Jail time is just another opportunity. Either network would set their team to breaking the other team loose as a freebie, since the publicity would be excellent.

And in the end, David’s Deviants and the PCs come together for a reunion tour, cause people might pay to see that.


  1. Rob Rob

    Excellent as always. It’s always interesting to me what elements of the mashee you decide to use and what you throw away. You’re right of course that Chicago is about glitz, glamour, the quest for fame. But if you described that Shadowrun game to me, I wouldn’t say “Oh, so it’s Shadowrun meets Chicago!”

    So unlike you I’m going to go obvious and superficial: For me, Chicago is about, you know, Chicago. And 1920s gun molls and vaudeville floozies, “oh yes oh yes oh yes they both reached for the gun the gun,” Queen Latifah vamping “When You’re Good To Mama”, and all that jazz.

    Which all adds up to one thing: Call of Cthulhu, baby.

    Velma and Roxie are still nightclub floozies, but they’re also duelling cultist PCs committing ritual murders for unspeakable eldritch gods. Richard Gere is, as I’ve always suspected, Nyarlathotep. And the musical numbers – which, in the movie version at least, are always presented as fantasy sequences – are fever dreams by which the PCs struggle to preserve their crumbling sanity. To prevent SAN loss from all the atrocities and forbidden knowledge they are accruing, the PCs must weave the tenebrous tentacles of the Elder Things into fanciful musical numbers and Bob Fosse dance sequences.

    Now then. Mashup #26, Brant’s wedding…

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