Enokh wrote: Knowing that they aren't bound by the standard "and now the heroes have to put a stop to it!" trope, I haven't even mapped out a large story-arc.
Even when my players are playing heroes I never know what they're going to do, I've never had a chain of adventures go as planned, so I stopped GMing that way. Basically what I tend to do is lay out the major players and what they're up to, then I just set things in motion and resolve the events from there.
For example in the game I'm running the artifact in the museum is being sought by another group (cultists) that the PCs haven't encountered yet. At the moment it looks like the cultists are going to get the artifact, which is kind of sad as I've put the exhibition in a city museum that has suffered terrible cutbacks in their funding, so security is pretty toast... well at least until the party's hacker on discovering that someone else hacked in to the museum's computer decided to infect the files regarding the exhibition's security plans (which the cultists already had) with a virus designed to destroy hard drives*.*Cinematic computer hacking rules are in play.
Some poor office schlub opened the file as part of their regular duties, and the resulting network chaos (punctuated by a flash animation of the Hamster Dance as performed by zombie pigs, the virus was named "Pig Flu") tipped the museum off that someone was screwing with their system. All this happened "behind the scenes" and the party found out about it in the morning newsfeed in reports about a new destructive virus going around the internet (the party's hacker made it wonderfully aggressive and destructive, but not very useful). The increased security isn't going to do much to the cultists plans, but it's already screwed with the PCs plans.
What I think is going to ultimately kill their mission is that they've been putting a lot of effort at covering their own tracks, but they're not doing much to detect anyone else's. Their plan is to wait until the art exhibition moves, then hijack the moving trucks. The cultists aren't going to wait that long, they've got another timetable to meet, and the party has done nothing to infiltrate the museums security camera network (with the exception of their playback-loop devices spliced in to the exterior cameras near the truck dock), nor have they done anything to plant their own devices in the museum to keep an eye on the artwork they intend to take. Remember the PCs know they have competition, the cultists are still largely unaware of the PCs (and were never hit by the virus the party's hacker so .. ahem.. 'cleverly' left behind).
The cultists are going to strike some night while the party is waiting for the exhibition to be packed up and the party is going to learn of the theft in the morning news feed, along with the vastly increased security presence (provided by a local Xe Service
s affiliate**) in the wake of the thefts. Of course they've already hired their own rigs and a warehouse to work with transferring items from the museum's rigs to their own trailers so they're a half-mil out in expenses on this job and they're going to miss the payout entirely.**I know that Blackwater is now Academi after being called Xe Services, I just think Xe Services is such a wonderfully cyberpunkish name.
So grand upshot is that while I was hoping to mess with the party's heads with the artifact, I'm not going to have that happen as the cultists are likely to get their hands on the artifact. Now someone's going to release some really bad juju on the world and that's the new campaign direction (assuming the campaign survives, the players aren't very good at thinking through the world I have set up so I'm probably going to have to abandon this campaign. It may just be Cthulhu eats my cyberpunk world, the end.)
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. Later, Garrus was eaten by a shark. It is believed that the Point has perished in the accident. Back to you Bob.