Welcome to the Data Haven

•December 2, 2008 • 13 Comments

Hello chummers.  ;)

My name is J, but I also answer to Insomniac.  This blog will soon be the home of all my Shadowrun stuff that I have scattered around the Net.  Primarily a place to grab run notes, I plan on reviewing sourcebooks, posting fan fiction and perhaps even commenting on the game itself.

If you’re not familiar with Shadowrun (in the P&P RPG style, rather than the video games), it is a near-future, dystopian, cybernetic future game where fantasy elements have been re-introduced to the world causing an interesting blend of magic and machine.  The storyline is in-depth and there are so many things going on at once that Game Masters should have no shortage of material.  However, if you find yourself short on material, hopefully some of the future posts on this blog will help with that.  :)

While I will occasionally pipe up like this, the bulk of my posts will likely be “in-character” as my grumpy, sleep-deprived sysop alter-ego, Insomniac.  He runs a board in the Seattle Matrix where shadowrunners can look for work.  He’s a no nonsense kind of guy, but he does welcome some discussion.  So if you’d like to comment on run notes, feel free to do so in character and become part of the dialogue.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  Hopefully, you’ll check back from time to time.

J.

>>Oi!  Who’s grumpy?  Anyways, I figured I’d step up and introduce myself.  The handle’s Insomniac and I run my own little corner of ShadowSea.  If you need work, I’m your guy…assuming legality ain’t a scruple you tend to have.  If you think the shadows might be the place for you, then loiter for a bit and see what’s around.  Who knows…maybe you’ll be the next best thing round here.  Or maybe you’ll end up as the next red stain on the asphalt.  Either way, these should be interestin’ times, omae.  Perhaps I’ll see ya round.
>> Insomniac
“The shadows never sleep, so why should I?”

Ghosts of the Past (Shadowrun)

•January 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This was the final run of the Convention season of 2014.

The runners are contacted by their fixer about a job. The employer is new to the fixer, but wants to meet the runners in person. The meet is at 10PM in the Plastic Jungles in Redmond. They recommend showing up ready to run, as they might have opposition arriving at the meet.

It is up to the GM as to whether the local gangs interfere in the runners getting to the meet (or possibly interfere during the meet). The roads out to the Plastic Jungles are only moderately kept and the local gangs will exploit that with roadblocks. If nothing else it will slow the team down as they try to navigate Redmond.

Scene 1 – A Man of Influence

The area around the Plastic Jungles is one of urban decay. The area has degenerated to where buildings rarely over much shelter from the elements anymore and those that do are often a hazard to reside in (yet the locals do, due to lack of options). Yet, set into this landscape are acres of support beams and tattered grey bioplastic tents that make up the Plastic Jungles. All sorts of exotic plants from an old greenhouse experiment grow here, as well as food stuffs, planted by the locals to support the squalor here and reduce starvation. Due to the importance of the Jungles, gang security is very high: one of the very few places in the Barrens where gangs work together to protect a common ground.

The gang is little more than a ragtag neighbourhood watch with barely serviceable sidearms and clubs made of whatever they could find. Seeing shadowrunners here is a novelty, but they will put on a brave face and move to protect their turf. Mentioning Mr. Johnson or offering the locals something (nuyen is useless out here) will help them gain access to the greenhouse.

Inside the greenhouse is a strange world. The air is fragrant with the mix of strange and exotic flora. The grey plastic over their heads is contrasted by the bright, vibrant shock of colour all around them from the flowers. Where the bulk of Redmond’s astral space is tainted by the lack of life out here, the manasphere within the greenhouse is lively.

Aside from a handful of local orks digging through planters at the outskirts, they see a man standing at the center of the greenhouse, inspecting several of the flowers. As the runners approach, he clips a few petals and leaves from the plants nearest him, wraps them in a piece of embroidered cloth and tucks them away in the pocket of his designer pants. If asked about it, he mentions that the petals of a specific species of orchid are worth quite a bit to the right buyers.

Once the runners have gathered, he faces them, lights a cigarette and studies them before speaking. “Yes, I believe you’ll do. Your fixer speaks well of you. Therefore, I have a task of some import I would ask of you. There is a gentleman that I desperately need to speak to, in order to get the answers to some rather complex questions. However, my efforts at being diplomatic have fallen on deaf ears and now I am being forced into more severe action. I require you to fetch this man and bring him to me. I require him to be alive and able to speak. I highly doubt he will come quietly. I cannot divulge the gentleman’s name until you have accepted the job, but I will be willing to pay you handsomely for your time. I am offering 3000¥ up front, with another 15,000¥ when you deliver him to me.”

Mr. Johnson is Glen Trenchland. He is a seasoned professor at MIT&T and also a member of the Black Lodge. He is masking his appearance with Masking Metamagic, Physical Mask and several physical tricks to disguise his body type. There should be no means for low level characters to discern his true identity. He chose the Plastic Jungles to obtain magical radicals, use the ambient mana here to obscure his aura and be removed from the Matrix to truly isolate himself for the meet.

Mr. Johnson will entertain negotiations on price (the Black Lodge considers the information they’re after priceless) and once the runners accept the job, he smiles.

Excellent. The man you are looking for is a researcher named Iryan Amiri. He had been doing research in Jordan up until recently. He suddenly quit his job and returned home to Seattle and has been a recluse ever since. He has proven difficult to reach. I should tell you that he is Awakened, so factor that into your strategy.”

Mr. Johnson is not overly forthcoming with information. He claims to not know what Mr. Amiri was researching (he does), or the details of what he was doing in Jordan (he knows). If asked whether other people would be after him, Mr. Johnson says he is unsure (a truth, finally) but it is possible his employers might be looking for him. He had been working a contract job in the Middle East, but Mr. Johnson is unsure who hired him (another lie).

Once you have Mr. Amiri, contact me through your fixer and I’ll arrange a drop off point. If you can also acquire his magical treatise, there could be a bonus in it for you.”

The runners won’t be able to start their legwork until they get closer to being out of Redmond and can reach the Matrix again.

Scene 2 – The Mysteries of Iryan Amiri

After the team’s meeting with Mr. Johnson, it will likely be apparent to the runners that Mr. Johnson wasn’t being totally forthcoming about what he knows about the man they’ve been hired to abduct. The basics on the man are fairly straightforward to acquire. He is a man of Arabic descent who has spent all of his years since graduation from university as an Arcanoarchaeologist for the Atlantean Foundation. His specialty was ancient Babylonian and Assyrian sites where the Atlanteans were looking for power sites tied to locations of significance to the Babylonians, Sumerians and Egyptians.

Details on recent events are harder to come by, as the Foundation is trying their best to keep things under wraps. Several of the guides working with the excavation teams have plied with money and begun talking. The leading rumour is that the Foundation was exploring the site at Petra when a displacement alchera appeared, revealing a chamber beyond the known boundaries of the site. Iryan stepped in to investigate and the alchera closed. He was missing for 15 minutes when the alchera reappeared long enough to spit him back into the temple and close again. He spent two days in a catatonic state but when he returned, he resigned with the AF, flew back to Seattle and has been missing ever since.

Investigating Iryan’s home shows that it has been overturned. If they stay to comb over what remains, they will find a team working with the Atlanteans still in the house who will try to ambush the team. The other team hasn’t learned much from the house, as it appears that Iryan didn’t spend any time here, but the house commlink contains a list of known associates. The Atlantean Foundation also has this information and is trying to track down Iryan as well.

Many of Iryan’s associates are resistant to talk to the runners as they’ve already been accosted by the corporation and most haven’t heard from him at all. The largest lead the team has comes from a former associate named Reece Alexander. Reece swears he hasn’t heard from Iryan, but he’s a terrible liar. When the runners press the matter, they hear a door being kicked in a loud voices in the background. When the team arrives, they see Reece being thrown into a car which then takes off through the city, using traffic and other AF cars to throw off the pursuit. If they’re able to stop the car and extract Reece, they can likely convince him that they are there to help Iryan.

Reece tells them of a cottage on the Northeastern edge of Snohomish. It’s in the middle of the forest, isolated and an ideal place for Iryan’s studies. Reece does volunteer that Iryan was not himself when he saw him last. There was no humor in Iryan anymore. He was obsessed with some discovery he had made in Jordan and wanted to be alone to study it.

Scene 3 – Unhealthy Obsession

With the directions they got from Reece, the runners can find Iryan’s woodland retreat, but as they head into the forest they can see things are already amiss. The air in the forest crackles with energy from the application of geomancy. The astral plane is starting to become visible and ethereal being seem to dart from tree to tree and the trees themselves seem to change locations at will.

Out in the woods are a Wuxing strike force who have heard about the events in Petra and have detected the significant shift in the dragon lines of the region. They want whatever knowledge Iryan as acquired for themselves.

Iryan has had some visions through divination that his life is in danger and has become paranoid. Despite his tradition (Islam), he has learned how to summon spirits and has aspected the property toward his faith. There are alchemical booby traps around the premises and spirits that blend in with the spectres that mill around the woods (Islam spirit types: Guardian, Air, Plant, Earth, Fire).

Between the astral maelstrom, the corporate thugs and Iryan himself, the situation should be chaotic, especially with having to take the Islamic mage alive and them finding his treatise in the astral hot spot that is the cottage. Iryan has a panic room above ground that he will retreat toward if people approach the building but the treatise he has written on what he witnessed in Petra is in the basement, which is a wide open space with papers, arcane symbols and debris from living in the space scattered around the space. There is a ward erected around the bookcase that holds the tome the characters will need to overpower to obtain it.

If any of the characters know Arabic and read Iryan’s treatise, he speaks of stepping into the ancient past, before the first rock had been carved in Petra and speaking with an powerful being that called itself Dushara. Identified as an ancient Arabic deity that predated most world religions, Dushara spoke of a hidden power deep within the water conduits of Petra. Only the ancients of the area could point the way and Iryan was developing a ritual to contact the old deities, in hopes of unearthing something from a time before recorded history.

>> So, what’s the deal with this archaeologist?  People have a hard on for what this guy knows… what makes him so special?
>> Blitz

>> Not sure.  He’s done a lot of research for the Atlantean Foundation in the Middle East, but he’s far from the foremost authority.  All of his findings are publicly available from the Foundation.  Makes no sense.
>> Robed Scholar

>> His most recent trip to Petra was undocumented and he quit his job on the spot.  He must have seen something he didn’t want the Foundation to have.
>> Havik

>> Or he’s out of his gourd.  Magic does funny things to people.
>> Reaper

So… this is 2015…

•January 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Just a quick post as a sort of  “state of the union” sort of thing…

2014 was a busy year and despite all the insanity going on, I did try to continue to keep Shadowrun alive in my local group, granted with a lot less frequency than I had done in the past.  My posting rate dropped significantly, but for those that have continued to check in here, I appreciate your loyalty.  I still have three or four more runs from 2014 to post, but I am hoping to find a more regular source of inspiration for this new year and return to a much more regular posting for runs or gaming related material.

If there is something you would like to see more of in this blog (aside from my bread and butter of posting my run material), please let me know.  I’m actually behind in my reading of Fifth Edition material by a considerable amount (I’m nearly finished Street Grimoire and then I have to read Shadow Spells, Aetherology, London Falling and Run Faster).  If it’s something people could be interested in reading, I could post my own reviews of the sourcebooks, but my reading has become horribly infrequent…

Or if there is something you’d like to see more of in the run notes in general… details I typically gloss over, due to power levels in my group often being different from other groups, etc, please let me know.  My goal is to keep my material easily adaptable to other people’s campaigns, but if something standalone is preferable, I am willing to include more detail.

In any case, if you have stuck with me this long, you have my sincere thanks and I hope to make a better go of maintaining this blog this year.  I plan to attend Gen Con in Indianapolis this year and ramp up my presence in the community, so here’s hoping 2015 rekindles my passion for Shadowrun to the raging inferno it once was.

Run fast, conserve ammo and never ever deal with a dragon.  Keep your heads down, chummers.

J.

Contagion (Shadowrun)

•December 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This was one of the two adventures I ran at the Fall Phantasm of 2014.  The maps I used at the time are missing, so feel free to use a standard hospital floorplan for the last scene of the adventure.

The runners are contacted by their fixer for a datasteal. The fixer will be conducting the meet at Dante’s Inferno at 9PM. He tells them that the job is from a trusted source and the pay is average.

Scene 1 – Getting the Details

Dante’s Inferno is packed, as usual and runners that show up too late for the meet may find themselves greasing the palms of the bouncer substantially to get in. Dropping the fixer’s name at the door will help speed up the process and they are told that the fixer is down on the third level.

Where the top floor is jammed with people, the lower levels give the runners space to move around. The third floor is Gluttony and the smell from the kitchen fills the air here. Underworld Lieutenants and corporate middle managers dot the floor, trying to impress anyone they can with their wealth and influence (even though it wasn’t substantial enough to go any further down). Their fixer is in the corner waiting for them when they arrive (if the runners are really early, he is conducting business with another team of runners).

Once the team has gathered, he leans forward and delivers the pitch. “All right guys, here’s the deal. My client is interested in anything Aztechnology learned during their conflict with Amazonia. We’ve all heard the rumours that those tree huggers in South America have some pretty exotic ways to die and the Aztecs didn’t succumb to them, which means that they have discovered antidotes for the myriad of toxins that breed in the rainforest. Mr. Johnson wants the medical test data for those cures. He doesn’t want a sample… he fears that any risk of accidental exposure in Seattle would be a nightmare, so he’s merely after the test data. The complication is that Mr. Johnson doesn’t know where the data is being kept. If the runners are willing to do the legwork and get the data, Mr. Johnson is willing to pay 6000¥ apiece.

Truth be told, Mr. Johnson doesn’t know for certain that the data even exists. But he is gambling that such information does exist and wants to ensure he is the one who retrieves these “breakthroughs” first.

Mr. Johnson had authorized the fixer to negotiate some on price, but wants to keep the price below 7500¥. If the runners take the job, the fixer doesn’t have much more for them to work with, but will avail him/herself if the runners need their assistance.

Scene 2 – Tracking the Source

With no real leads to work with, the runners have to start from the ground up. They know that the information Mr. Johnson wants comes from the Yucatan conflict. Searching for information may seem like a needle in a haystack. Whether the runners use contacts within Aztechnology, a deep Matrix dive or greasing a lot of palms, they can eventually unearth information from the conflict.

The Aztechnology forces hired several mercenaries who were veterans of the region and some even provided antidotes they had procured during the Cartel battles in Bogota, but there were several viruses that the Amazonian jungle seemed to use as a protection method in the face of the Aztec flamethrowers.

The disease most often faced by the soldiers came from Awakened Dieffenbachia plants. Long used by the indigenous peoples to poison their weapons, the sap of the Dieffenbachia plant is a skin irritant and if injected or consumed causes severe pain. While numerous species exist, all plants share a green and yellow marbling on the leaves.

The Awakened variety has orange marbling instead of yellow and as a defence mechanism, can emit a cloud of spores in the area near the trees. These spores contain the same toxic compounds, but in a much greater concentration. If inhaled or in contact with the skin, lesions will form on the areas exposed, and rotting of the flesh follows. If untreated, the spores continue to consume the body until death claims the victim.

Aztechnology was forced to address the situation when the trees seem to detect the approach of Aztec soldiers and the spores melted through protective garments. Defeating the Amazonian defenses is what Mr. Johnson is after.

With some background, the runners can learn that a doctor from the war was removed from the front lines and placed in a “mental health retreat” in Seattle for treatment with his PTSD. While he wasn’t a member of the research team, he administered treatments to the troops and knows who held the data.

Dr. Nicholas Ortega served with Aztechnology as a field doctor in the Yucatan Peninsula, where the company committed some of their worst ecological atrocities. He witnessed the innocent casualties, the the result of Mother Nature’s wrath and the aftermath of war firsthand. When Dr. Ortega threatened to quit the company, they sent him here, far from the war, but a place where Aztech could monitor him for signs of defection.

Scene 3 – The House of the Scarred

The “Tranquil Estate Rehabilitation Center” is a treatment facility for those battling stress-triggered disorders, but specializing in PTSD patients. The interior is open, spacious and decorated with a nearly spa-like feel and the air is lightly scented with incense. Anyone magically attuned can sense that geomancy has been performed in order to optimize the serenity of the space.

Security at the facility is practically invisible. The obvious presence of armed personnel could trigger an episode in some of the residents, so security is mostly passive. If some is suspected of being an intruder or otherwise unwelcome visitor, Knight Errant is notified and the residential wards are locked down to minimize the areas the intruder has access to. Once isolated, orderlies will urge the person to leave, but will fight if provoked.

Dr. Ortega is a high-maintenance patient: he is haunted by what he has witnessed, he knows Aztechnology is watching him closely and the strain of being policed has pushed him to the edge. He is highly medicated and checked on frequently by the staff for any signs of homicidal or suicidal actions.

Aztechnology has, of course, bugged his room. While the main intent is to ensure he isn’t meeting anyone for extraction, if they hear the man being interrogated about info from the war, they will move in (spirit first, soldiers soon behind). The Aztechnology soldiers don’t care about the mental well being of the other residents and will storm in, offer the runners the chance to surrender and open fire shortly thereafter, if they do anything but drop their weapons.

How the runners plan to get the information from Dr. Ortega is up to them, but with Aztech eavesdropping and the facility staff monitoring the doctor for signs of stress, they will have to conduct themselves carefully and keep their information source alive. They can offer to help disappear him, but that will bring Aztech in force.

Once they obtain the information, they learn that the medical subsidiary Medicarro holds the data from the front. The local offices in Tacoma should have a link to the database, where they can obtain the data.

Scene 4 – Health Hazard

The Medicarro facility is part clinic and part research facility. While companies such as DocWagon and Crashcart offer comprehensive care packages for everything from the common cold to resuscitation, Medicarro’s presence in Seattle is minor. Catering to corporate medical needs (especially those with standing contracts with Aztech), they perform less invasive procedures, cosmetic surgeries and preventative treatments for those who can pay the bill.

The low level of patient traffic makes Medicarro a great place to house a medical research station within its walls. Due to the wealthy clientele, security is substantial but subdued. The guards are well-dressed, wearing either armored business clothes or form-fitting body armor under layman’s clothes. There are no magical security on site, though the medical research division is heavily warded and mages will be dispatched the moment an alarm is raised.

Matrix Security is respectable. The security system is a standalone server that monitors all cameras, locks and motion detectors throughout the building. The public system for Medicarro is mostly advertising of medical packages they offer, but it also serves as an interactive map to find your way around the building, so long as you’re a patient or registered guest (registered guests will have background checks performed).

The security system, should a hacker try to seize control, has the following rating:

Medicarro Host – Matrix Architecture looks like old Spanish style, with stucco walls, terracotta ceiling tiles and sandy textured walls, with arched doors serving as connections between nodes. Those who run VR can even feel a warm afternoon breeze flow through the space at random intervals. Users appear as featureless doctors in white coats. Security appears as Conquistadors, and IC as Pikemen.

Rating 7 Host – Attack 8, Sleaze 7, Data Processing 9, Firewall 10

IC Available – Acid, Crash, Jammer, Killer, Patrol, Probe, Scramble, Track

The runners will need to move through the clinic to where the medical research ward is. When they find the door into the research ward, they quickly discover that the area is on lockdown. If a hacker successfully breached the defences of the host and gain access to the research ward cameras, they will see that the area is a ghost down and in a few places cameras are down. Dead bodies can be occasionally spotted sprawled on the ground.

If they override the lockdown and enter the research ward without protective gear, they are exposed to a spilled contagion. Just inside the door is a doctor slumped against the wall and when the runner realize that something has gone wrong it’s already to late. If they disturb the body, they find the body is very warm and a trickle of blood leaks from the eye socket. The runners resist the toxin as usual, but if not completely resisted, they are infected and are on borrowed time. As well as getting the data they came for, now they have to determine what they’re infected with and find the antidote before they fall prey to the disease they’ve contracted. They have now also unwittingly infected the hospital’s inhabitants. Security will learn of the lockdown quickly (immediately, if the runners haven’t suppressed the alarm signal) and seal off the building. If the runners enter the research ward, the security team will re-engage the quarantine and stand vigil, awaiting the runners escape attempt, while the antidote is administered to the residents.

Red Fever

Vector: Inhalation

Speed: 5 minutes

Penetration: -1

Power: 4

Effect: Disorientation, Nausea, Physical Damage

Red Fever is a tropical disease was discovered in the rainforests outside Caracas. A parasitic infection, the parasites are almost microscopic in size and latch onto the tongue, nasal passages and eyes of anyone that comes in contact with a larval cloud. They penetrate the epidermis into the blood, where they begin consuming red blood cells. The body’s natural defences generate a fever to try and burn out the intruders, but the parasites are resilient against heat and the body ultimately cooks itself from trying to fend off the attack. The cure for the infection is to inject themselves with a low-level dose of West Nile or some other blood-borne virus that will kill off the parasite and the body’s natural immune system can fight off the new problem.

Every 5 minutes the disease is in the system, the infected must make a Body test against the Strength of the disease and any residual damage is taken as physical damage. Each interval, the power increases by 1, as the parasites wreak havoc and spread.

>> Hunting down some disease created in the wilds of the Amazon is not exactly my idea of a good time…
>> Wraith

>> And what would you know of it?
>> Hunter

>> Did some time down there some time ago.  It was an insane place back then… things have had plenty of time to evolve since then.  I’ll keep my distance from anything birthed in that wilderness.
>> Wraith

Trojan Horse – A Wolf in the Henhouse (Shadowrun)

•November 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Scene 1 – Retribution

The mission opens not with a call from the fixer, but a Perception Check. It’s the middle of the night when Evo’s forces converge on their apartment/home. The margin of success on the Perception Check determines when the runner detects the intrusion.

3+ – The moment the Evo soldiers breach the front door.
2 – As the team moves through the middle of the apartment
1 – In the hallway outside the bedroom
0 – When their commlink rings.*

Glitch – When the bedroom door is thrown open and a flashbang is thrown into the room

The earlier the runners detect the intrusion, the better they can use their home ground advantage to either escape or ambush their attackers. As the Evo team nears the bedroom and incoming text message arrives from their latest Mr. Johnson (from “Marionettes”) that states “We’ve been hacked. Get out now and call me when you’re clear.”

Each team will be tailored to take on the threat they’ve been assigned (dealing with a mage will have a mage of their own, hackers will deal with a tech-light team, etc).

With the runners having either survived or fled, they call up Mr. Johnson. “Glad to hear you made it through Evo’s hit squads. We only recently detected the hack on our system here and the powers that be are extremely… upset that this technomancer thinks he can waltz around in our network. We have a contingency plan to take these bastards down and we’d like you to handle it. Come meet me to iron out the details and we’ll get even.”

Mr. Johnson is extremely angry at the current events and has a plan they were already planning on implementing to ascertain Evo’s plan. They are now going to have to compensate the runners for the inconvenience of their address being compromised.

If the runners are willing to hear out Mr. Johnson and seek revenge, he will meet them at the Barn Burner in Auburn at 8PM to discuss the details.

Scene 2 – Setting the Stage

The Barn Burner is a Southwestern style restaurant that still insists on real meat in their dishes, despite the higher price point given the later hour, the restaurant isn’t as busy as it might usually be and Mr. Johnson has reserved a large portion of the back right of the restaurant. At the table is Mr. Johnson and an Asian man who are engaged in quiet conversation.

Once the runners arrive, Mr. Johnson asks them if they’re at all hungry and will pay for whatever they order. Once the team has gathered, he will start into the current matter at hand.

Welcome. Glad you all made it. Ares extends their deepest regrets about what happened and we intend to compensate you for the difficulties. We have a plan of action to unearth this technomancer so we can deal with him directly. This gentleman here is Daniel Wills, a member of Knight Errant Intelligence division… or at least, that’s who he was. He’s been in our Europort office for the past year and for the last six months, he’s been studying Evo’s ever-growing presence in the Dutch port. As one of the main overseers of the Portoplex facility for Evo, Shimura Ito has broad powers in Europort and has access to Evo’s even broader network. Daniel has undergone extensive surgery and body modifications to look and sound like Ito and has studied the man closely. We need you to accompany Daniel to Europort and seamlessly insert him into Ito’s life. This means that the real Ito will need to disappear permanently. If you can extract any information from the man, it may be beneficial, but odds are, Evo have implanted countermeasures of some kind and it may simplify your job to silence him quickly.”

Daniel’s fingerprints have been altered to match Ito, but there is little we can do about his DNA. You will need to find any blood samples belonging to Ito and replace them with Daniel’s. We know the job is high risk and certain aspects of it are distasteful, but we are willing to pay you 15,000¥ apiece for the task at hand, plus cover all your travel expenses. On top of that, due to your living arrangements having been compromised, we are willing to pre-pay for a new residence for three months, in a location of your choosing. You just need to send us the bill. Are the terms acceptable?”

Mr. Johnson is not willing to budge further on the residence and it is to a maximum of a Middle Lifestyle. Negotiations can increase the payment by 500¥ per net hit.

If the runners sign on, Mr. Johnson thanks them and tells them to meet Daniel outside the Ares headquarters in the Downtown core and they’ll be taken by helicopter to a private charter out of Seattle over to Europort. Bring only gear they can easily carry for the trip.

Mr. Johnson (Brad Smyth)
Thresholds: Matrix (1), Corporate (2), Shadow Community (2)

1 – Mr. Johnson is Brad Smyth, a ten year employee of Ares.
2 – Mr. Johnson has built up a very positive reputation in the shadows as a good man to work for. In one instance where a runner team was double crossed by Ares, Mr. J logged onto Jackpoint and explained why the team had screwed up and told the other runner teams in the area to avoid making the same mistakes.
3 – Never married or had kids. Has had several dates, but seems to go out of his way to avoid attachments. Leading rumours are that he wants to avoid having another person being used as leverage against him.
4 – Has survived three assassination attempts and Ares watches him closely, as he is a strong shadow asset for the UCAS branch.

Daniel Wills
Thresholds: Matrix (1), Corporate (2), Law Enforcement (2)

1 – Daniel is a veteran of Knight Errant, who has been in Intelligence for seven years.
2 – Efficient and studious, Daniel is known for his precision and sense of duty to Ares. Expert in reconnaissance and a solid fighter.
3 – Married to his career and seems to spend every third month in a new city, often studying a new target or on the occasional deep cover assignment.
4 – Was recently spotted in Western Europe, but suddenly disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. Rumours are circulating that he may either be on another undercover assignment or one of his marks caught up with him.

Shimura Ito
Thresholds: Matrix (1), Corporate (2)

1 – Shimura Ito is a long-time employee of Evo Europe. Spent most of his career in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk.
2 – Ito has earned a reputation as a shrewd businessman and a keen insight on resource management. Was recently promoted to handle expanding operations in Western Europe.
3 – Currently working to break Ares and Saeder-Krupp’s stranglehold on Europort. His devotion to his job has cost him his marriage, but he has made considerable in roads into Portoplex to deliver Evo goods into Western Europe
4 – Due to his success rate, he has been assigned a security detail to protect him from attempts on his life. They are external resources, hired from Hamburg while Ito resolves so final negotiations with Zeta-ImpChem.

Scene 3 – Infiltration

Europort is a Corporate enclave in what remains of Rotterdam after the Black Tide brought death and disease to the area. The waterfront, referred to as Portoplex is nearly 100% automated, due the toxic level of pollution that still exists in the North Sea. The metahumans that service the area live in a bleak dormitory district just outside Portoplex and the east and southern sides of the city are ringed by corporate districts, run by the assorted corporations that make up the city’s council. Regulus forms the mediator portion of the council, but Saeder-Krupp and Ares are the two largest financial contributors. The Corporate district is centered around “De Kop van Zuid” and Evo has managed to push out some of ESUS and Maersk, to the dismay of the EU.

Shimura Ito lives in the corporate housing district of Evo in Europort. He almost never leaves corporate grounds, so the runners are either going to have to wait for one of those rare times where security will be ramped up to escort him off of controlled ground, or whether they will try to slip into the Evo-run portion of the city and conduct business under the company’s radar.

Ito has a security team that never leaves his side, to supplement the already present Evo security forces. These independent mercenaries have been hired to ensure Ito remains safe. The team consists of: a skilled human hacker, Troll Adept, and ork Mercenary, skilled in mixed weapon styles and a Dwarf shaman. While the runners can eliminate the security, if they can replace Ito and keep the security detail alive, it can add some legitimacy to the replaced employee (though Daniel or one of the runners may need to eliminate the mage).

If Ito does leave the safety of Evo’s compound, it’s for work. There will be corporate security escorting him the entire way and may draw more of a spectacle than the team wants.

Ito’s Itenerary for the first two days the runners are in Europort:

7:30-8:00 – Morning Commute through Evo compound
Works until Lunch
12:30 – Head to Oude Centraal for lunch with client (off Evo grounds)
1:30-6:00 – In the office
6-6:30 – Return Commute
6:30-7:30 – Dinner
8:00-9PM – Teleconference with Manhattan office
10:30PM – Sleep
7:30-8:00 Morning Commute through compound (same route)
9-1 – Director’s Meeting
1:30 – Late Lunch at local coffee shop
2:30-3:30 – Department Meeting
3:30-6PM – Work
6-6:30 – Return Commute
6:30-7:30 – Dinner
8:00-10PM – Football Match
10:30PM – Sleep

Ito’s office is a glorified cube farm, but he has a nice office where he organizes personnel on the Western European business front. Ito is fairly well liked and he fraternizes with the employees of his office, but there are a few employees that could be plied with cash.

If the runners choose to hit him at his home, there can also be the risk that his soon-to-be-ex-wife could come by unexpectedly to collect her things or fight for more money. She could blow a perfect operation by showing up at the wrong time…

Scene 4 – The Final Piece

To complete the illusion of the replacement, the team will need to swap any on-file blood samples Ito had for Evo. Being their biggest medical subsidiary, the blood samples are being handled by Crashcart, the local equivalent to DocWagon.

Crashcart’s offices are in the center of De Kop van Zuid, with access to all corporate sections and as a result is inundated with overlapping security forces from different corporations. However, the runners may be able to bargain with one of the other corps on the EARC to gain easier access to Crashcart.

The facility is a small corporate hospital. While it doesn’t have room for a lot of patients, it has state of the art equipment and high caliber doctors. Collateral damage here will be costly to all the corps, though it with hit Evo the hardest. Doing significant damage to the hospital may paint a target on the runners.

The hospital is a single floor with large patient wards, great amenities and plenty of security. The runners will need to find a way into cold storage in the emergency section of the hospital, find the right blood samples and complete the exchange.

With Ito dead, the blood samples swapped and Daniel in place (assuming the runners did nothing to have the Knight officer outed), Ares will charter a flight home and they will be paid, as well as be able to find a new place to live after Evo raided their last place.

>> Wait, so we have to whack a senior exec and then insert some poor schmuck into his place?  That’s risking angering multiple corps in one shot, if things go horribly wrong…
>> Malys

>> Not to mention doing all of this in one of the biggest corporate controlled cities in Europe.  It all be for nothing if this corporate stooge isn’t good at his job.
>> Havik

>> I get by just fine, Havik.
>> Black Knight

>> Well lookie who found their way onto ShadowSEA.  Any words of wisdom before the sysop crashes your ass?
>> Havik

>>Only this:  whoever takes this job… do your homework.  I’ve done mine.  Europort is a unique beast… act like a tourist and you’re already made.
>> Black Knight

Identity Crisis Part 2 – Eluding the Hunt (Shadowrun)

•July 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This was the second part of a two-part adventure I ran at Phantasm – Gamer’s Equinox in March 2014.  Without the first part, the opening scene of this run, might not make a ton of sense.

Scene 1 – After the Crash

The sun is shining on the Caribbean Sea as the runners float adrift on the ocean waves after the plane they were aboard was taken down by an anti-aircraft missile. The runners are injured and their mark, Casey Hubbard, while still alive, still nurses a broken leg, even after any magical healing available has been attempted. They had been attempting to get the man to Caracas to deliver him to Mr. Johnson, but at this point, their odds of making a timely delivery are starting to look bleak.

According to their commlinks’ GPS, the closest island is Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Whether they head for land or try to make it to Caracas on their own, it isn’t long before they hear motors inbound. A small fleet of boats converge on their location and judging by the slap-dash method they have been upgraded and armored, these are not government vessels. A group of Zobop pirates converge on them and surround them. If they attempt to use magic to conceal themselves, the magicians onboard the ship unravel the spells to reveal their location. The pirates primarily speak French, but one of the men barks orders at the runners in English that they need to throw their weapons overboard and surrender. One of the pirates still carries the missile launcher used to bring down their plane.

The runners have a tough decision to make: they are surrounded by hostile pirates who have magical support and several animated corpses. But remaining adrift is no way to complete their job. The runners will need to get aboard the pirate ships and commandeer one of them. They lack the fuel to reach the Caracas harbor, so they will need to return to Port-Au-Prince in order to secure transportation that will take them where they need to go.

The Pirates are Grunts with a professional rating of 4 with one Lieutenant per ship.

The runners find evidence on the ship that the Zobop were paid by Telestrian to watch for the plane and take it down of spotted.

Scene 2 – Voodoo Influence

The pirate boats are nearly out of fuel by the time the runners pull into Port-Au-Prince. Haiti never recovered from its ever-present third world status and that is obvious the moment the runners set foot on the island. Hovels have been erected in the shadows of buildings that were never rebuilt after the last natural disaster rolled through. The streets are degraded to the point where even bicycle travel is treacherous at best. However, crime is rampant here, which means the runners can acquire equipment and transportation with the proper application of funds.

Shortly after stepping off the pier, they are approached by a man with a facial tattoo of an ornate skull superimposed over his features. The crowd seems to part as he moves through over toward them.

A moment, please,” he says with a French accent. “I have a business proposition for you, ladies and gentlemen.”

He introduces himself as Francoise Dechaine, a man of some influence in Port-Au-Prince. He says that since they came into port aboard one of his boats, but they are not his people, he assumes that they are not men to be trifled with. “But neither am I…” he warns them.

He wants no interference from the runners on his turf and so he insists that they do business with him while in Haiti. While Francoise can get equipment the runners are after, he charges an exorbitant price for everything. He will also lend them a ship that will get them to Caracas, where one of his men will retrieve it and use it to bring merchandise back to Haiti.

Francoise is a self-serving and deviant man. The mark-up he charges is mainly because without his backing from the local voodoo priests he has pretty much killed off competition out of fear. As for the ship he plans to lend them, he doesn’t expect to get it back. It is barely seaworthy anymore and once they put into Caracas, he hopes the Olaya Cartel will kill them for pulling into harbor in a rival’s boat.

Once the runners are armed and have transportation (they could either steal a plane or bribe (substantially) a pilot to take them, if they don’t want to take the Zobop up on their offer. The local Mob, the Batistas, are the only real other power player in town. However, getting a flight to Caracas means that they will need to deal with backlash from the Zobop. The soldiers fight partially out of devotion and partially out of fear. They will attempt to draw blood, so they can bring a ritual sample back to their masters for whatever nightmares the Voodoo priests can concoct.

If the runners take the Zobop offer, the ship will limp into Caracas, but upon arriving, the ship will be firebombed and sank behind them, as they are attacked in the harbor by the local Cartel.

Whether they deal with the Zobop or the Olaya, the NPCs are Grunts of Rating 4. Either party will have magical support. The voodoo priests will use the Loa to bolster their soldiers strength, while the Olaya, will summon spirits of the Jungle to assault and outflank the runners.

Scene 3 – Offloading the Cargo

At this point, the runners are finally in Caracas. While they may need to conceal themselves from the Olaya Cartel, the Bio-Fine/Horizon building looms high over the city streets, making their objective easy to locate, despite the sprawling metropolis. When the runners contact Mr. Johnson, he is a little displeased that it took them so long to deliver their quarry, but asks them to come to the Bio-Fine tower to deliver the merchandise.

When they walk in the door, security converges on them and whisks them away from public view to an elevator just off the lobby. The elevator takes them up the tower, giving them a panoramic view of the city while taking them directly to an upper level suite where Mr. Johnson is waiting. He welcomes Casey and motions for him to come over to the desk, where Mr. Johnson plugs his terminal into Casey’s datajack, enters a lengthy encryption key and issues the safety that deactivates the dead-man’s trigger they installed in Casey’s headware.

As the data comes in, Mr. Johnson takes a phone call from his superiors. The data Casey is carrying is extremely sensitive and there are concerns that the runners may have been told information by Casey relevant to the data. Mr. Johnson preps credsticks to hand to the runners, but instead of credsticks, it labels the runners as hostile targets for building security. The moment the runners accept their payment the tinted windows overlooking the city become transparent and the bullet-resistant protective layer retracts. Security guards turn on the runners, the elevator goes into lockdown and drones drop down from the rooftop and spray the interior of the room. Mr. Johnson is marked as safe by the smartgun systems, but he will still seek cover from both security and the runners, if available.

With no payment forthcoming, the runners need to decide things quickly. If they want to find another buyer, the data Casey is carrying is now at least partially decrypted. Not enough that the runners can discern its content yet, but they can safely download it without killing Casey (though with bullets flying around, Casey is likely to be shot and killed anyways). They will also need to escape Bio-Fine. A hacker could potentially unlock the elevator, but there will be security waiting in the lobby. There is also a hidden door that leads to a concealed stairway. It is monitored by cameras.

Either way, the runners will have to try to find a way out that won’t get them shot and killed if they are to have any luck in finding a new buyer for the data. If they take the time to fully decrypt the data themselves, they will find that they are carrying evidence that Telestrian was trying to bury, outlining environmental violations, assassination orders and blackmail material that had been stolen by Aztechnology. Telestrian went to great expense to retrieve the information. They compartmentalized it, and had the masked file encrypted by a lead developer before they were to ship it off and have it destroyed. Before they could have the compressed file destroyed, Casey stumbled onto it, mistaking it for something else.

If they decrypt the file, the option to sell it is vastly reduced, as the runners are now aware of the truth and it marks them as targets to anyone who knows what they carry.

>> Wow, a run that went that far sideways… I’d be returning home (after finishing the job, of course… got my rep to maintain), tracking down Mr. J and carving my hazard pay bonus out of his ass.
>> Havik

>> Why go to all this trouble to avoid some bad press?  Barely seems worth it.
>> Varley

>> Telestrian isn’t as big as the Big Ten.  Word gets out that they were messing with the adults, and Telestrian will see themselves dismantled by much more influential players.  Sometimes, when you’re a small player with big plans, burying the truth deep is far better than trying to use PR in face of those who are better at it than you.
>> Kingpin

Identity Crisis Part 1 – Chasing No One (Shadowrun)

•July 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This was the first of a two-part Shadowrun story I told at Phantasm – Gamer’s Equinox back in March (yeah, I’m a little behind).  If you plan to adapt this hook to your group, be sure to consider both parts.

Scene 1 – Meeting with Judge

The runners are contacted by Judge for an escort job. The job includes some travel, for which they will be compensated, but as long as they can keep their mark safe, they will be fairly compensated. If they’d like to hear more, he will meet with them at Matchsticks Downtown for 9PM.

Trendy jazz clubs fill a selective niche in Seattle, which can make for a laid back place to conduct a meeting. The club is busy, but not in the shoulders-rubbing-together way of many nightclubs. The music was smooth and serene and the alcohol, while expensive, is the genuine article. Judge has a table near the back, where he is enjoying a rather large amount of food when the team arrives. Once everyone has assembled, he stops eating and settles into work.

“All right, thanks for coming guys. On paper, this job looks straightforward, but we know that those jobs can be the nasty ones. This particular Mr. Johnson is not one I’ve worked with in the past. With that out of the way, here are the particulars: Mr. Johnson works for Bio-Fine, a medical subsidiary of Horizon Corporation. There is a man in Seattle who appears to have some pretty heavy information on one of Bio-Fine’s competitors and they really want it. They want it badly enough, that they’re springing to pay for you guys to pick him up, get his ass on a plane and safely deliver him to Caracas so they can check if this data is legit. Your only job is to get him there alive. For this protection detail, they’re willing to pay you 12,000¥ apiece, which is substantially above the usual paygrade for work like this. So, what do you think?”

Judge has limited room to negotiate, but will allow for some, due to the suspicious pay level and deceptively easy task.

Once the runners are on board, Judge can divulge more specifics. “OK, so the man you’re looking for is a man named Casey Hubbard. He’s a former employee of Telestrian Industries and is looking for the fastest way out of the Pacific Northwest. You’ll find him holed up in Loveland. He’s gone off the grid to avoid being tracked, so you’ll need to look around for him in Loveland. Grab Hubbard and get him to the Federated Boeing airstrip in Auburn. Mr. Johnson set up a deal with Boeing to charter a private flight out of the city bound for Caracas. Deliver him to the Bio-Fine building in Caracas and you get paid.” The runners are handed a picture of a smiling elven man, surrounded by his wife and children. As per the usual with elves, he is thin, handsome and looks younger than his age (33).

Judge will answer any questions he can, but he doesn’t have any concrete information on Mr. Johnson and doesn’t know anything about the data Hubbard supposedly carries.

Casey Hubbard
Threshold – Matrix (3), Corporate (3)

1 – Casey Hubbard is a nobody within the Telestrian Corporation. A firm believer in the Elven superiority the government of the Tir preaches, he is a man who never strays from the company line.

2 – A family man and father of four, Casey recently vanished. His family is worried about him and Telestrian is doing everything in their power to bring him home

4 – Telestrian fears that Hubbard happened across some information he wasn’t supposed to see and is now hunting Hubbard down not only for the PR angle but to retrieve what Casey might have taken.

5 – The info Casey carries was the result of some black ops work that Telestrian really doesn’t want public.

Scene 2 – Finding Casey

Knowing that Casey is laying low in Loveland narrows the search considerably, however, Loveland is not the most accessible place in the Metroplex. It’s an area of Puyallup that is cut off from the bulk of the plex, where Knight Errant won’t go and the Gianelli family calls most of the shots. The runners will be lucky if they don’t fall prey to a random drive-by shooting or attempted stabbing in order for some desperate local to claim their belongings.

If the runners have any Mafia contacts, they could get put in touch with Donald Carmichael, the local boss for the Gianelli’s in Loveland. He lives like a tiny kingpin amongst the squalor, being a clean-shaven dwarf of broad shoulders and broader ego. He wears a suit and smokes a cigar, so finding him amongst the destitute masses should be straightforward. He will explain (for a fee) that Hubbard is not staying in any of his establishments and for an additional fee, he will show no particular interest in Hubbard. This info will prove helpful, since Gianelli owns a lot of Loveland and eliminates a lot of locations.

If the runners don’t contact the Gianellis, then they are searching the old fashioned way. With virtually no Matrix connectivity here, tracking down Hubbard in the city will involve, bribes, trades or violence to extract the information they require.

Eventually, they will find themselves at the “Fancy Slab”, a burgundy two-story stucco building set in the center of Loveland. The street is busy with foot traffic and biker gangs and the main clientele of the Slab appears to be prostitutes of questionable cleanliness looking to make a quick buck.

The owner and doorman of the establishment is an ork with enough old, clunky cyberware to make the runners wonder whether there was much flesh left in him. He takes an active disinterest in the runners when asked anything about Casey Hubbard. If forced or convinced to pay attention, he says that he may have someone matching Hubbard’s description staying at the hotel (his active disinterest is a survival mechanism so he doesn’t see too much). They don’t see much in the ways of new clientele, especially elves, so it sticks in his mind. He directs them to a bunk on the upper floor.

The Fancy Slab features sagging walls, awful wallpaper and a stench somewhere between mold and old sex. Half of the berths are powerless and half of those left are in dire need of a cleaning service. The bunk they were pointed to is registered to a Howard Casey… an unimaginative pseudonym for their mark. Casey is paranoid and won’t exactly open the door for the runners without some convincing (or they could hack the old lock and pull him out). Once they have Casey and explain they are there to extract him, he becomes more cooperative.

Casey is a shell of his former self. It is obvious he hasn’t slept much and he appears malnourished, as if he’s barely eaten in days. If asked about what he’s carrying, he tells them he’s not sure, but he thinks it’s some form of prototype, developed by a competitor. As part of his arrangement with Bio-Fine, his Data Lock has been encrypted with a key that Mr. Johnson has the cipher for. He won’t have access to the data he carries until he arrives in Caracas. Attempts to access it are designed to unleash Black IC on the carrier, so Casey is not about to let the runners access it.

With Casey found, the runners start to head for the Boeing airstrip, but a massive hole is blown in the wall of the Fancy Slab from a fired rocket launcher on the outside. Telestrian has tracked down Hubbard’s location and has hired the local Chapter of the Ancients to make sure he doesn’t get out of the building alive. There is one man with a rocket launcher, who is loading a new rocket, while several of the gangers torch the ground floor of the hotel. The Ancients will try to keep the runners pinned down in the hotel, while it burns to the ground.

GMs can use the Organized Crime NPCs from the core book in a pinch for the members of the Ancients. They are more than a go gang, but a powerful biker organization with access to plenty of resources and manpower. If runners are able to escape and capture a member of the Ancients, they can check the biker’s commlink and learn that they were paid by Telestrian to destroy the data.

With Casey recovered safely, the team will need to head for Auburn.

Scene 3 – Telestrian Pursuit

With Casey secured, the runners will want to leave Puyallup and escape the Ancients. Once they have taken enough losses, the bikers will decide it’s no longer worth the trouble and break off pursuit. However, their intervention bought Telestrian the time the required to get a team into Seattle.

The team is subtly trailed as they enter Tacoma and if they act overly paranoid/skittish they will assume they’ve been made and make a move, otherwise they will remain at a cautious distance, switching off between ground and drone surveillance as the team makes their way to the Federated Boeing compound. If the game is running a little short, a car chase can ensue, complete with drone and spirit support.

Upon arriving at Federated Boeing, the team is greeted with skepticism, but directed to the most remote hangar and airstrip on the compound. Outside the hangar is a small private jet, where the pilot is performing pre-flight checks. The fuel cart and baggage car are present nearby and a maintenance crew mills about the hangar. Unfortunately for the runners, these people are all Telestrian employees, save for the pilot who simply likes money too much to pass up a bribe.

As the runners leave the car and head to the plane, the Telestrian team, dressed as Boeing employees, launch their ambush. The team will need to protect Casey, while dealing with being attacked from all sides. The plane has been rigged with explosives they will need to deal with before they can leave the tarmac. Use Professional Rating 5 for the Telestrian soldiers.

If the runners can escape or defeat the Telestrian soldiers and get the plane off the ground, the flight path has already been laid in, taking the most direct route to Caracas while not crossing into Aztlan airspace. The trip takes them out over the Caribbean Sea and will take several hours to arrive. Once over the Caribbean, the plane is locked onto by a rocket and with no countermeasures on board, the missile slams into the side of the fuselage, tearing out a portion of the plane and killing the pilot. The autopilot automatically activates (unless one of the runners overrides it), but it quickly ascertains that the damage to the plane is too significant and informs the runners to brace for impact. If the runners wish to bail out, there are no parachutes, but there are life rafts they can use to break their fall if they choose to jump.

The session ends when the runners hit the water.

>> So, I’m getting paid a solid sum of cred to escort some poor wagemonkey out of Puyallup to South America?  Sounds like a lot of money for a babysitting job.  Who is this guy?
>> Forrester

>> Rumour is, some middle manager out of Portland.  Must have pissed off some influential elf or something.  Make sure your magic is up to snuff and you’ll be fine.
>> Basic

>> Not that simple, omae.  Those “influential elves” have some pretty long arms.  You think you’ll be safe once you’re away from the Tir?
>> Glasgow

Justice for Hire (Shadowrun)

•July 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The team is contacted by their fixer about a job from a Johnson they’ve work for before (Trojan Horse – Root of the Problem). He is an officer with Knight Errant and needs some covert work done. As per the last time they met with him, he would like to meet them at 9PM in the storeroom of the Bellevue Pour House.

Scene 1 – Back into the Dive

The Pour House hasn’t changed much since the last time the runners were here. The ring in the middle of the bar still has a pair of barely-clad, surgically-endowed women wrestling in a pool of cooking oil, while those gathered throw money at the women to try and coax them into a wardrobe malfunction. Moses, the ork barkeep, keeps his bar well stocked to give the establishment a redeeming quality. When asked about Mr. Johnson, he still staunchly refuses to let anyone loiter in his storeroom, but does tell them that he’ll offer them a discount on booze for being repeat “professional” customers.

As the meet time gets close, he will let the runners into the back room. With this becoming a more regular thing, a folding table and chairs have been set up in the back room. Mr. Johnson is already there waiting, wearing his police uniform as usual.

As per their last meeting, he looks at the runners with distaste, but makes no moves to go for his sidearm or commlink. “Thank you for coming. After the work you did for me in Hong Kong, I felt you were the team I could most likely trust with the matter at hand. There is a high profile murder investigation going on right now between a couple power players… the victim is the son of a Yakuza Shategashira (Lieutenant). One well liked by the Japanese community, with prospects to move up the ranks of the Shotozumi-rengo. Normally, this case would wrap itself up, either with a bloodbath between crime families or under the table extortion. However, the accused is an Ares executive, who is apparently wrapped up in an important project within the company. As a result, Ares is refusing to turn over the suspect and has demanded that Knight Errant make the problem go away.”

His distaste for the situation is apparent. “I’m not one to tow the company line. I don’t care who this guy is, or who he works for, justice needs to be done. Therefore, I want you to perform the investigation I’m not permitted to. Find out of this executive is guilty. If he is, deal with him as you deem fit. However, if evidence directs you elsewhere, document what you find and turn any gathered evidence over to me. If we can bring the suspect to trial, perhaps Ares will learn to loosen the leash a little. I’m offering you 7,500¥ for your assistance on this matter. Are you interested?”

Mr. Johnson is frustrated that he has to turn to runners to complete the murder investigation, but he fears that a retaliation from the Yakuza against a corporate citizen could spiral into something much larger. He’s willing to swallow his pride to see the matter resolved.

He will negotiate a little on price, but as far as he’s concerned, the job should be straightforward, if they don’t kick in the front doors of Ares. Once the runners are on-board, he hands over the casefile. It details several aspects of the case. The location of the murder, details uncovered thus far and names of the people involved. The victim is Yamana Taro and the lead suspect is an Ares executive by the name of Victor Walsh. He was found at the scene, with the victim’s blood on him and the murder weapon in his possession (though the knife used to kill Taro belonged to neither person). Before he could be questioned at any length, Ares swept in and sequestered him on a sealed compound for debriefing. The casefile contains holos, addresses for both the crime and where Walsh is holed up.

Mr. Johnson
Thresholds: Matrix (1), Corporate (2), Law Enforcement (2)

1 – Mr. Johnson is Lieutenant Chris Phillips, a six year veteran for Knight Errant.
2 – Lt. Phillips has an atypical view of law enforcement for an officer from Knight Errant. He cares less for the company’s bottom line and more for the pursuit of justice. His attitude has got him in trouble from the parent company on a couple of occasions, but the perceptions of the community have made him untouchable.
3 – Began working black bag operations two years ago, when a Yakuza boss got off the hook for crimes where evidence was overwhelming against him, but pressured the jury into a non-guilty verdict. Hired runners to “see justice done”. Knight Errant doesn’t condone his methods, but sees the work he does as good PR, so they give him a long leash.
4 – Rumour has it that he works with several underworld groups, but no one has managed to “buy” him yet.

Scene 2 – Digging Deeper

Armed with what little evidence the Knights dug up before the case was swept under the rug, the runners have a few avenues they can explore. They have the crime scene they can investigate, they can check out Victor Walsh’s home, or they can try and infiltrate the Ares Complex they’re keeping him at to try and talk to him directly.

Crime Scene

The crime scene has been taped off both physically and digitally. While pushing the physical tape aside is no major issue, the digital tape will loudly warn all active commlinks that the area has been sealed and that trespassing will alert Knight Errant. If the runners are willing to risk the response time, or can successfully shut down the tape, they can enter the building.

The crime scene is an abandoned factory. There is no logical reason that either the suspect or the victim would have for being in here, especially in the middle of the night. There are no active cameras in the building, but neighbouring buildings have cameras that have a view of the building. Those cameras show Walsh arriving first, about an hour before Yamana. If the runners go back far enough, they will see a homeless man enter the warehouse for a couple minutes before leaving again. A localized hack to the area could uncover the man’s commlink signature so the runners can trace the man down.

The man wasn’t homeless, but instead a low-level rat shaman and scavenger who goes by the nickname Fizzle (due to his mediocre magical ability).

Walsh’s Residence

Victor Walsh is a divorced man who lives alone in a nice house in an AA neighbourhood. The house is protected with a respectable and thorough alarm system. If the runners can gain access without drawing too much attention to themselves, they can sift through what’s left of the man’s life.

The man’s extensive electronic appliances betray his habits of late. He’s been watching a lot of late night TV, raiding the fridge at late hours and stocking up in high power stimulants (energy drinks, adrenaline shots and Long Haul). Victor had been keeping a journal, where he recorded hours of sleep and dreams he was having. His hours of sleep over the past three weeks have dwindled down to nothing and the dreams he was experiencing were vivid and terrifying. The dreams broke up his sleep and became so consistent, he gave up trying to sleep. Those times he did sleep due to exhaustion, the dreams told him the same story in the past week. If he went to some factory he had never seen before and “followed instructions”, the dreams would stop.

Going through Victor’s email reveals the company’s concerns over his declining job performance of late and before the sleep deprivation, he had been assigned to a top secret project. The company had nearly tripled his workload and had taken a blood sample for “routine testing” two days before the nightmares began.

Victor’s ritual sample never made it to the storage center and he’s been the recipient of Curse Rituals for the past several weeks. He got so delirious and desperate for relief, he ultimately followed the directions provided by his dreams and went to the factory.

Ares Complex

The Ares complex is a gated community that is heavily patrolled by Knight Errant. The houses are all identical copies of each other in a nauseating cookie-cutter manner. If the runners can outmaneuver the patrols and security net, they can go inside and talk directly with Walsh.

The man is haunted by his actions and three weeks of vivid nightmares. He seems unshaken by the runners appearing in his house, but more surprised that they’re there to ask questions, rather than put him to death. He tells them about the nightmares, his efforts to fend them off and avoid sleeping.

The day of the crime, he gave up trying to fight it. He took a cab, following the path he had seen in his dreams night after night and went into the factory. Inside there was nothing but a crate with a knife stuck in it. After waiting around for an hour, this Japanese guy walks in and starts asking him if he is the one with the goods. Victor asked if the Japanese guy had the cure to what ailed him. Neither seemed to know what the other was talking about and frustrations grew. Suddenly, Victor was overcome with rage, he snatched up the knife and threw himself at the man, stabbing him over and over again. After he got himself back under control, he recoiled from what he had done and blacked out. The cops found him collapsed in the warehouse beside the body, still clutching the knife.

If the runners mention the blood sample he donated (assuming they’d been to his residence), he tells them that he never heard about his test results. If pressed, he’ll tell them where the processing center is.

Viewing cameras in the area of the processing center, they see the sample being delivered, but a homeless man interrupts the man carrying the samples and after a brief conversation, the deliveryman hands the man the sample case. The homeless man shakes his hand and walks away, while the driver records that the delivery was successfully delivered.

This homeless man is Fizzle, as per the warehouse setup. The blood samples would give him ample ritual samples for sending the nightmares off to Victor.

If the runners gather enough evidence, they will likely want to track down the homeless man that keeps appearing and question him as to his motivations for manipulating Victor into murdering Yamana. Asking around in the vicinity of the processing center shows that the man is a transient named Fizzle.

Fizzle
Thresholds: Matrix (3), Street (2)

1 – Some guy that’s fairly new to Seattle, rumoured to be some kind of mage. No known address.
2 – Fizzle rolled into town about a year ago. Appears to be a roaming vagabond, squatting anywhere he can cheaply or for errands. A relatively low-powered rat shaman, he offers his talents to anyone willing to pay in magical trinkets, food or nuyen.
3 – Has been working with the Yakuza and Mafia in Seattle, assisting where magical talent is low. He specializes in subtle mental manipulations.
4 – His real name is Gabriel Oates. He is wanted in the Confederation for extortion and blackmail, as well as practising illegal magics.

Scene 3 – The Rat in the Gutter

The runners could use any number of techniques to track down Fizzle in the Shadows of the Downtown Core. Asking the squatter population, or any Underworld contact can point them into a direction. Rumours in the area mention how Fizzle has been showing increased prowess with his magic lately and demonstrating a few new tricks. There are mentions that he has found a tutor that is helping him better control his gifts.

As the runners converge on the area where Fizzle is rumoured to be squatting, the Yakuza have been doing their own research into who murdered one of their own and Fizzle’s involvement has been discovered.

The old warehouse is home to dozens of squatters, who have turned to the shaman for protection. They don’t interfere with the runners, but won’t sell out their protector either. When the runners track down Fizzle, his eyes are sunken and he looks haunted, as if he hasn’t been sleeping himself.

Assuming the runners don’t just shoot him dead, he is apologetic that Yamana was killed. He never wanted to be an accessory for murder, only weaken the Ares Exec’s resolve so that he’d pawn off some company secrets to the Yakuza. The idea was given to him by his tutor and he now fears that his tutor was more malevolent than anticipated.

Before he can explain more about his tutor, the Yakuza burst in, guns drawn and calling Fizzle out. Moments after the Yakuza burst in, the locals begin to scatter and Fizzle’s “tutor” enters. The shaman has been taught by a free spirit: a Wraith, a form of Shadow that feeds on death, pain and fear.

When the fight gets started, have every runner make a Composure(3) test. Any who fail are influenced by its Homicidal Rage. They no longer distinguish between friend and foe, innocent or hostile. If they kill a target while raging, the spirit can make a test to siphon off any unspent Karma and inflicts stun damage for every point stolen. The spirit strengthens itself with each body count, so the runners will hopefully recognize what’s going on, locate the spirit and destroy it before they become serial killers.

Between the collected evidence and any collected footage of the battle with the Shadow, they should have enough proof for Mr. Johnson in order to get paid.

>> Wait a sec… working with the cops?  Isn’t that sacrilege?
>> Blitz

>> Happens more than you might think.  Despite what you might think, some cops are actually after justice and when the bureaucracy interferes they go to where there is no red tape.
>> Errant Knight

>> I sneaked a peak at the casefile in question (don’t ask me how) and there’s definitely something up.  If you’re one of those do-gooder types, this might be right up your alley.
>> Matlock

 
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