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.


>>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?”


Clearing the Cobwebs

•December 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So, after the shutdown of my home group in August, I’ve been continuing to work on correcting the issues at hand.  On top of developing a Code of Conduct for the table to follow, I’ve continued to work on new material for Shadowrun and 7th Sea.  Some is for my business, some for future conventions and some for eventual home play.

Last week, I finally blew the dust off my dice and we played our first game of 7th Sea in a long while, as well as it being the first session of RPGs I’d run since the shutdown.  The game went really well and everyone had a good time, without fighting or anyone coming away upset.  Even my wife, who doesn’t game with me that often anymore, joined in and had a good time using her old Fate Witch for the first time in years.

A strong, positive return to the table has given me some hope that an eventual home campaign of Shadowrun will actually work.  That with some diligence and some guidelines, my players can work together and create an enjoyable experience for everyone at the table, myself included.  While I don’t claim that my group’s code of conduct will work for every group, I do think that having some restrictions in place ultimately will help shape a group into a working unit.  I was of the mindset that I shouldn’t limit my players’ creativity by imposing restrictions on concepts and such… but with such disparate and conflicting characters, there was no team coherency.  Being too laissez faire can be almost as destructive as restricting character options.

I hope that other groups that struggle with team in-fighting and player conflict can take something from my experiences to help their own table.

  • Granting your players the freedom to create interesting characters is key to getting them invested in the game… but boundaries are still required
  • Find players with compatible play styles.  I realize not everyone is as fortunate as I am for the number of eager players… but if a player is disrupting the game by derailing the style of game the majority (including the GM) want to play, it may be time to trim the group
  • The enjoyment of the GM is equal to the enjoyment of the players.  I ran games for years out of the “obligation” to entertain my friends, rather than the creative exercise I initially got into RPGs for.  GMs should enjoy the game as well!

I’m enjoying the creative process for the first time in what feels like a very long time and it boiled down to relieving some of the pressure I was putting on myself to produce, as well as lifting the dread of what social mess would arise at the table that night.  So, to my fellow GMs, whatever system you enjoy:  run your group with a firm hand (without being a tyrant), give your players freedom to explore your universe and together we will create new worlds to explore!

Game On!

Fallen Angel Part 2 – Power Outage (Shadowrun)

•November 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is the second run of the Fallen Angel campaign.  Unfortunately, this was the last part of the campaign that got run, due to player infighting and an ultimate shutdown of the group.  There is a Part #3 I developed, in anticipation of continuing, but I may post that as a standalone mission at some point.

A week after the runners encountered ghouls in the Barrens, their fixer is back on the line.  They tell them that they’re tenacious pursuit of resolution in the last job has garnered some attention and they’re being requested for some anti-corp work.  If they’re interested in the details, they can meet with the fixer at Penumbra at 9PM.

Scene 1 – Old Stomping Grounds

The shine may have come off Seattle’s longest running nightclub, but the Penumbra still ends up pulling a decent crowd of loyal attendees.  The outer space motif is still going strong and the crowd seems somewhat older than it used to be, but it is still one of the premiere runner hotspots in the city.

Sitting in a private booth is their fixer, awaiting their arrival.  Once the team has gathered, he plugs his commlink into the table and activates the white noise generator.  “All right, thanks for coming everyone. I have a client who’s looking for some sabotage to be done to their rival.  The rival in this case is Shiawase Amaterasu Solar. They’ve been working on a new product that I’ve been told is called ‘Project Zircon’.  The client is asking for the entire project to be wiped out: research data and its backups, physical prototypes… the works. On top of that, you’ve only got about a week before the project sees implementation in Wales, so the longer you wait, the more of the physical prototypes you will need to destroy.  Due to the time restrictions and the need for eradication of the project, Mr. Johnson is willing to offer up 7,500¥ apiece to see this taken care of. What do you guys think?”

Give the runners time to discuss what they’ve been told and negotiate on the price.  There is some room to maneuver, up to a max of 9,000¥. If the team gets greedy, the fixer can dismiss them for thinking they’re better than their rep shows.

Once the runners are on board, the fixer nods.  “Excellent. The Shiawase facility that’s doing the development is in rural Salish.  I’ll send you the details. Once the work is done, let me know and I’ll arrange the transfer.”

Shiawase Amaterasu Solar
Megacorporate Power Subsidiary

Possible Sources – Corporate Contacts, Environmentalists

1/2 – One of Shiawase’s ventures into renewable energy.  Not as popular as some of their other ventures, but still profitable.

2/4 – Unlike their other energy ventures, this one facilitated being out of the urban sprawl so the panels could actually see the sun.  Shiawase had to jump through a lot of hoops to get that one pushed through NAN policies.

5/8 – Amaterasu has been getting some competition for some major AA power companies for some lucrative space contracts, where satellites are looking for more efficient solar collection.  Project Zircon was developed to meet demands of the program.

7/10 – The project has many anonymous, wealthy contributors who are likely to get upset, if their investments don’t pan out.

The Shiawase facility is in an old hamlet once called Maple Falls, on the banks of the Nooksack River.  It’s roughly an hour and half north of Everett by car, northeast of the nation’s capital.

Scene 2 – Into the Woods

The drive toward the Amaterasu facility is almost picturesque compared to what the runners are used to.  The interstate that connects Seattle to Bellingham is not jammed solid with cars and once they leave the interstate for local highways that wind through the Salish-Shidhe Council, they find themselves driving through green fields and full trees, split up only by tribal lands and the occasional rest stop.  Many of the tribes in this area belong to the Cascade Crow tribe and they are decidedly anti-Anglo, so non-Native runners will need to be cautious.

The once sleepy town of Maple Falls has been taken over by Shiawase.  A hamlet of under 400 people, the old town has been re-purposed by the company for the employees and to the north of the wooded village is the actual complex.  At a glance, the town is still the wooded vacation spot it once was. However, under more scrutiny, visitors will see the signs of progress here, with Japanese signs, AR signage and the local chapel having been changed from Christian to Shinto.  Visitors are still welcome to stop in at the hotels and go hiking, but the area is monitored by Shiawase security, rather than Salish police.

Because the town is 100% Shiawase citizens, the runners can’t simply ask around town for intel on the complex without drawing unwanted attention.  Whether through contacts, interrogation or other means, the runners will need to try to gain intelligence on the complex and Project Zircon.

Project Zircon
Shiawase Energy Project

Possible Sources:  Shiawase Contacts, Energy Sector Contacts, Space Program Contacts

3/8 – Project Zircon is Shiawase’s entry into a solar power collection project, aimed at improving the efficiency of space station solar collectors.

6/12 – The name of the project comes from the use of one of the primary materials in the construction of the panels:  zirconium dibromide.

8/14 – ZrBr2 has been used in solar panels before, but the engineers at Amaterasu believe they’ve found a new bonding agent that will allow the panels to absorb more heat and make each panel more efficient.

Zirconium Dibromide
Refractive Compound

Possible Sources:  Chemists, Solar Panel Engineers

2/4 – Zirconium dibromide is a refractive powder compound, created artificially by exposing zirconium dioxide to positively charged bromide ions in a hot, pressurized environment.

4/7 – The powder is quite stable, has a very high melting point (over 3000 degrees Celsius) and is resistant to most alkalines, though ti will dissolve in hydrochloric or sulfuric acids after several days.

6/10 – A popular material for solar panels, the material refracts the sun’s light inside the panels, while the bonding agents that hold the powder in place, transfer the heat into usable power.  The strength of the bonding agent determine how much energy is lost from sunlight.

Matrix:  For being in rural Salish, the Matrix connection here is pretty solid thanks to Shiawase’s presence.  Any users here will gain access to the Salish grid, rather than the Shiawase grid. Jumping into the Corporate Grid is easy enough to here… if you’ve got the right credentials.

Nestled into the Shiawase Grid, Amaterasu Solar is very proud of two things:  being Japanese and being green. The Amaterasu host shows a Shinto temple nestled into a hill on the horizon, where the sun shining brightly in the sky highlights the temple’s decorative features.  The green fields surrounding the temple are covered in solar panels angled toward the sunlit temple. The area is warm and the scent of cherry blossoms is carried on the breeze. Each of the solar panels represents a site where they’ve got their technology installed.  The temple is the main system. The iconography are featureless humanoids in Shiawase uniforms. The IC appears as hollow suits of blue samurai armour.

Host Rating: 7
ASDF Ratings:  Attack 7, Sleaze 8, Data Processing 9, Firewall 10

Security Processing:  Patrol IC is running all the time.  One Security Spider online at all times.

Once the alarm is raised, IC activates in the following order:  Probe, Killer, Track, Black IC, Crash, Marker and Sparky. If an IC gets bricked, a new version of the IC is rebooted rather than moving to the next.  After 1D6 Combat Turns, a new Troubleshooter logs on.

Scene 3 – Under the Open Sky

The Amaterasu complex is an expansive, sprawling affair with two central buildings, a smaller out building and a large solar farm that powers the entire facility, the Shiawase-run town and some of the neighbouring tribal lands.  The complex gives off a faint hum of electricity and creates a Noise Rating of 1 over the entire property.

The two buildings handle both the creation of the polymers and ZrBr2, with the other building for administration and the pressing of the solar panels.  The solar farm area is very warm from the solar collection. The outer building houses extra facilities, like a cafeteria, main security office and a garage.

Chemical Manufacturing:

Panel Assembly:

Security here is in the form of Shiawase security personnel, drones as well as a spider team.  If the runners are detected by security and communications have not been disrupted, spiritual assistance can be requested, though there is no mage on site.  With the town being run by the corporation, reinforcements are not far away. Being removed from any major city, the company is free to pursue them a good ways after completing the job.

Scene 4 – Getting Paid…?

After eluding Shiawase’s forces and getting back to Seattle the runners can reach out to their fixer for the job’s completion.  The fixer will go offline for a while and when they come back, they are apologetic… they’ve been unable to raise Mr. Johnson. After a couple of hours of failed attempts, in order to mollify the runners, the fixer offers up Mr. Johnson’s last known location, so they can get their pay.

The location is a four-star hotel that Knight Errant has cordoned off.  If they are able to get answers from the police, they talk about an attack on the penthouse, but aren’t willing to cough up too much information.  For the runners to investigate, they’ll have to slip through the police network and make their way up to the upper floor of the hotel. Hacking into the police network, or eavesdropping while inside the hotel tells them that there are rogue hostile spirits on the upper level and the Knights are awaiting magical backup.

If the runners break in, they will find three powerful spirits stalking around the penthouse (fire, earth and water).  The security personnel are all dead and the body of Mr. Johnson (presumably) has been incinerated and infused to the living room table, leaving only a skeletal remain.  The runners will need to deal with the spirits before they can progress very far. All spirits are Force 6.

There is a slightly battered safe in the master bedroom that contains certified credsticks with the runners pay on it.  Once they’ve claimed their paycheque, word reaches Knight Errant that the spiritual problem has been dealt with, but now there are shadowrunners in the building.  The police are going to move in and the runners will need to slip away.

If the runners let the police deal with the spirit problem, the safe is confiscated by Knight Errant and their pay is lost.

>> That’s a lot of damage to inflict on one complex with extra security so close.  The risk isn’t worth the pay.
>> Wraith

>> You don’t know the half of it.
>> Orange Queen

>> Care to fill us in on that vague comment, Queenie?
>> Burn

>> I guess not…
>> Burn

My Poor Track Record

•November 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been a GameMaster for Shadowrun since 1999.  In the nearly 30 years I’ve been enjoying this system, there’s been one area where my track record has been less than exemplary:  campaigns.

I don’t know where things have gone wrong historically, but anything more than a handful of connected runs seems to go off the rails in short order.  The latest example of this is my recent Fallen Angel campaign from this summer.  Four sessions and two runs in, the campaign was dead in the water.  This newest campaign was called off by me, due to my players devolving into petty, squabbling children.  The players were dividing into factions, rage quitting and the characters didn’t work together… plus there were too many players on average.

For the first time in 15 years, all gaming ceased.  I simply needed to take a pause in games and take stock of repeated failures.  It took those closest to me to give me shake and make me realize that for years, I’d been a doormat to my players.  I let them run roughshod over me, exploiting my good nature and willingness to allow my players to explore creativity to build god-like characters, or lone wolves who didn’t play well with others.

I spoke with my players and aired my grievances once I took stock of where my issues were and responses were overall predictable.  Many thought there wasn’t a problem at all and others expressed sadness at the loss of their regular game night.  A very select few made efforts to fix the situation and even fewer realized at how angry the situation had made me.  I am incurably Canadian in my willingness to forgive and be non-confrontational… for me to be this angry, my long time player base should have recognized that I wasn’t taking well to having been taken advantage of for years.

The end result of the shutdown was the development of a game table code of conduct that I expect from all of my players going forward and a serious downsizing of my RPG table, based on my sporadic gaming interactions with them since the shutdown in August.  I’ve been creating material during the downtime for some of my other campaigns, like Demons of a Fallen God and my work with Heroes for Hire, but I do aim to get a new campaign started with selected players, stricter guidelines and an emphasis on stories.  And contrary to my old methods, I will stick up for what I want from an ongoing arc…  we’ll see if I can break the streak.

For those who would ask, this is what was developed for the Code of Conduct:

  • Wheaton’s Law:  Don’t Be a Dick.  Do I really need to elaborate here?
  • Respect All Players and Everyone’s Right to Have Fun.  Sometimes, your character will have their moment in the spotlight.  Sometimes they won’t. But hey, this is supposed to be a collaborative experience, right?  Minimize the use of phones, computers and other gadgets, so I don’t have to keep repeating things, all right?
  • Story Before Rules.  The style of game I wish to tell is focused on a story and rules will be bent periodically, in the interests of telling an exciting story.  Let’s not second guess my choices mid-game…
  • Respect for the GM.  I’ve put in a lot of effort into writing and running material for you.  Minimize metagaming and don’t deliberately derail the story that is being told… I’m trying to have a fun time as well.
  • Player Creative License.  Each player has put time and effort into their character and knows better than anyone else how their character will behave in a given circumstance.  Please be quiet on other players’ turns to give them a chance to decide what they choose to do with their character. Shouting down a choice or barking orders is not cool.
  • Working Team Dynamic.  There should be effort made to ensure characters will actually play nice with others in the party.  While some in-party disagreement can make for good storytelling, major ideology differences and other disruptive behaviour should be avoided, so the team works as a unit.
  • Timing is Important.  Whether playing an RPG or board game, think ahead to your coming turn, especially for games involving long turn actions.  In order to keep the story moving at a good pace, try not to dwell on your action for too long. Your character has mere seconds… taking forever could see your turn forfeit.  In order to eliminate in-game distractions, there will be intermissions given after 2 hours in RPGs and long-play board games to allow for bathroom trips and grabbing snacks, etc.  Try to minimize leaving the table outside of these intermissions.
  • Kicking Off.  Everyone has a busy life and looks forward to gaming.  To be respectful to everyone, try your best to be on time for a game.  Delaying the start of a game means less time to play, or the game running later into the evening.
  • Tell me the cool things your character is doing not about the cool things they’ve done.  Unless a character’s background is relevant to the plot of the current game, focus on the task at hand, rather than regaling us of old tales
  • Be inclusive.  Look for ways to enable other players to participate instead of looking for ways to block them out or control them.

Demons of a Fallen God Part 2 – Unraveled (Shadowrun)

•November 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is the second part of the Demons campaign and happens mere hours after the first part…

Scene 1 – Fractured becomes Shattered

The runners are awoken by their commlinks in the middle of the night.  The ringtone tells them it’s Jaeger calling. If they opt to ignore the call it’s at their own peril…

When they answer the call, they get a digital representation of their fixer.

“To all members of the Fractured:  we have been compromised. If you have received this message it means I have likely been killed or detained.  In either case, someone now knows of our safehouses and the members of our unit. Get your gear and get out quickly.”

After the message, there is a text addendum:  “Grab the hard drives you obtained and keep them safe.”

Jaeger wasn’t kidding about being compromised.  The local police are converging on the runners and if the runners take too long getting their gear, they will be stuck in a gun battle with local law enforcement

Ukraine Police

B4 A4 R4 S3 W3 L3 I4 C3  Init 8+1D6

Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 5, Social Limit 5

Armor 12

Skills: Pistols 4, Clubs 4, Intimidation 6, Perception 3, Running 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Local Crime 3, Law Enforcement 4

Qualities: Toughness

Ares Predator V (Pistol, Acc 5(7), 8P, SA, AP -1, 15(c), Smartgun)

Armor Jacket

Defiance Shocker (Taser, Acc 4, 11S(e), AP -5, SS, 4(m), Melee Attack)

Erika Elite

Stun Baton (Club, Acc 4, Reach 1, 9S(e), AP -5, 10 charges)

Jazz * 2

Optics – Contact Lens 2 (Image Link, Smartlink)

If the runners investigate Jaeger’s residence, they find it in flames and the victim of a bombing.  There are several bodies in the wreckage, if they manage to get any information from the emergency crews on site, but none have been identified as of yet.  Before any conclusive evidence surfaces, one of the people on site will recognize the runners from their dossiers and call for backup.

Matrix:  In the city of Kiev, there is a Noise modifier of 1 for any local nodes they might try to tap into in order to facilitate their escape.  The local law enforcement will attempt to block any ability they have to allow for their escape.

Scene 2 – A New Ally

Once the runners have secured the hard drives and eluded police, they get a call from an unknown number.  If a runner answers (or checks their messages after they leave one), they see a thin man of definite civilian upbringing on the other side.

“Hello.  You don’t know me, but Jaeger was a close friend of mine and I got his bulletin about the mercenary company being compromised.  I’ve been checking all the known places Jaeger has used in the past when the heat was on, but I haven’t been able to locate him.  I was really hoping it was a false alarm… that being said, you need safe place to lay low. My name is Emmerich and I’m a fixer in Hamburg.  While I know I’m not of Jaeger’s caliber, I would like to offer you safe haven here in Germany. Maybe between all of us, we can figure out what’s happened and maybe hit back at those that attacked your company.”

The runners will likely be very cautious and suspect of Emmerich, given the timing of his call and how much he knows about the current situation.  To his credit, he is being truthful… he was contacted by Jaeger’s broadcast and he is on the level about helping the runners by giving them safe haven.

If the runners take the time to do a quick Matrix check on Emmerich, he will be patient while they perform their due diligence.

If the runners agree to take him up on his offer, he nods.  “Excellent. I’m sending you the address of the safehouse you can use once you arrive in Hamburg.  Now, I understand that Jaeger had some really old computer hardware he was looking to tap into. He had asked me to try and locate hardware that was capable of reading it and I think I might have found it.  Since Jaeger isn’t able to hire you for this, perhaps you can acquire it on the way?”

If the runners agree, Emmerich continues, “All right, I found a former Renraku facility from within what was Anarchist Berlin that has the hardware you’ll need.  The corp pulled out when the wall went up, so you won’t need to deal with the corporation, but the anarchist factions used the site in their absence. Since the liberation of East Berlin, it’s unclear about the state of the site, so be cautious.  If you come across the E373 and M7 you can cross through Poland into the AGS. The A2 takes you through Berlin to Hamburg.”


German Fixer – Connection 4, Loyalty 1

Possible Sources – Shadowrunners, Underworld, Corporate Contacts

1/2 – Emmerich is a mid-range fixer stationed in Hamburg.  Only has a few teams under his belt, but has built a decent reputation.

2/4 – He has worked extensively with mercenary companies in the past, working as a middleman between many mercenary companies.

3/6 – Due to the competitive market in Hamburg, he has avoided scrutiny from authorities, or serious competition from other fixers.

Scene 3 – Leaving Home

If the runners decide to take Emmerich up on his offer of safe haven, they will need to get out of Ukraine and across Poland.  The GM can have them have to evade police searches as they cross the Ukraine, but once they get away from Kiev, the efforts of the local law enforcement drops of significantly.  The journey across Poland could also be complicated by the ongoing Liberation War, but the E373 is typically left alone by the army, unless they believe that the rebels are on the road (and even then, they will opt to avoid damaging national infrastructure.  If the runners play by regional laws and obey law enforcement, they shouldn’t have issues in Poland.

Continuing down the autobahn, the runners will eventually arrive in Berlin, where Emmerich has told them the hardware needed to access those hard drives.  The former Anarchist Berlin shows the disrepair of years of neglect by the inhabitants and signs of corporate presence have been defaced. When they find the abandoned Renraku facility, they find a building that has been so tagged by gang graffiti that the original color of the outer walls can’t be determined.  The windows have been smashed out and turned into makeshift gun ports. The gangs into the area have established a form of cease fire to deal with the bigger threat: corporate takeover. With the gangs unified in purpose, the corporate teams have yet to push into the area.

The gangs are very territorial and if the runners topple the gang currently holed up in the building, another gang will quickly sweep in to claim the territory.

The ground floor has been all but gutted by the gang turf wars and cannibalizing parts.  The upper reaches of the buildings still servers that are worse for wear, but have the working drives and power sources they need in different rooms.  They will need to harvest the drive and power supply while dealing with the local kingpins.

The building is without power, so once they find the hardware they need, they will need to remove the hardware from the facility without it getting damaged.  Once they’re away from Berlin they can head to Hamburg to the safehouse provided by Emmerich (or they can find their own, if they don’t trust him).

The hard drives, once connected to the old machines, can be accessed by the team’s decker and the disk appears to be full of random data.  A decker, after some time will recognize that the random data is a decryption cypher… but no idea as to what it decrypts. The only words recognizable on the disk are “Project Longevity” and “Fuchi”.

If the runners share this information with Emmerich, he plans on going through his contacts and seeing what he can dredge up.

Matrix:  This district of Berlin hasn’t been fully rebuilt by the corporations since the anarchist factions were driven out.  As a result, there isn’t any kind of Matrix infrastructure locally. Tapping into Berlin’s Matrix has a Noise of 2 (one for static, one for distance) and don’t provide much for the local area.  They might be able to locate local devices using an electronic warfare scan.

>> Anyone hear about this fire in Kiev?  Old school, supposedly full of guns and such, burned to the ground in what looks like a clandestine op?  Anyone know anything?
>> Salvo

>> Nothing in Jackpoint as of yet… Vory base of operations, maybe?  Sounds like their kind of deal.
>> Spin

>> Not a familiar location to me.  You should keep us out of your speculations, comrade.
>> Crazy Ivan

>> There have been a few recent seemingly unconnected hits in Eastern Europe recently.  A Proteus employee in the Czech Republic in a suspicious construction accident, a few Vory thugs got outed to the police in Hungary during a routine delivery and this explosion in Kiev… it may be coincidence, or it could be someone cleaning house.
>> Conspir-I-See

Fallen Angel Part 1 – Orientation (Shadowrun)

•August 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is the introductory adventure for the second of two ongoing Shadowrun campaigns.  This game is happening on a monthly basis on a regular schedule for a very large group.  As the story unfolds, all information on the story can be found posted here.

The runners are contacted by their fixer and told that they have an opportunity for some work with a fixer named Judge (if their fixer isn’t already Judge).  They are told to meet at Club Infinity for 8:30PM, in Private room #3.

Scene 1 – Getting Acquainted

Club Infinity is a modern club in the heart of Seattle’s Downtown.  The club uses the latest in AR technology, allowing users to project holograms of their favorite celebrities on to the dance floor to join them for a dance.  Each user can tailor the environment to be customized to their own preferences.

The private rooms in the back were originally added to the club to allow for more intimate parties, but also double as soundproofed booths for runners to conduct business deals.  Room #3 has been set up for a conference, with tables and chairs and a small with a modest assortment of food and drink arrayed on it. At 8:30 a holoprojector in the table’s center activates, presenting them with a large hologram of Judge.

“Hello everyone, I hope that everyone has arrived on time.  Unfortunately, I have not been as fortunate. Since I’m running a bit late due to the traffic in this lovely city, why don’t you all get acquainted?  If things go well, you’ll all be working together for the foreseeable future. I’ll be in as soon as I can.”

Give the players opportunity to introduce their characters and ask each other questions, so they’re made aware of each other’s skills and talents.

Once the team has handled introductions, Judge arrives and flashes a wide troll-like grin.  “My apologies for my tardiness. Shall we begin?”

Judge takes an open spot at the table and surveys the collected runners.  “First of all, if you haven’t worked with me before, I’m Judge. I’m a fixer for the metroplex and I sometimes dabble in jobs in the Salish Nation as well.  If you need work in the Pacific Northwest, I’m your man. That said, I have need of a team. I’ve got a needy Mr. Johnson looking for specialists for a retrieval job.  Specifically, the retrieval of their son.

“Mr. Johnson is a person with a spoiled brat of a kid, who recently had their expense account suspended for being an arrogant little shit.  Naturally, the kid took off, but historically, the son has returned within 24 hours after he realizes he’s not prepared for life outside the company umbrella.  This time though, he didn’t come back. So, Mr. J is offering 5,000¥ apiece for you to locate their son and drag their sorry ass home. Does this sound like something you can do?”

Judge doesn’t have too much room to negotiate, since this isn’t an exec their working with, but one of the rank and file employees of Universal Omnitech.  They’re getting paid out of the wayward son’s slush fund, but additional funds will come from the father’s bank account…

After any initial negotiations, Judge thanks them for taking the job and tells them the name of their target is Jordan Mayer.  He closes by telling them that they should likely get started right away.

Jordan Mayer
Wayward Spoiled Kid
Possible Sources – Corporate Connections, Educators
2/3 – Jordan Mayer is the 17 year-old son of Brian and Rose Mayer.  Middling education, schooled by Universal Omnitech. Lives in Bellevue.  Overall unremarkable.
4/6 – The kid is coasting through his education and living spoiled on his parents’ wageslave salaries as an only child.
6/8 – Has had a few reprimands for underage drinking and noise complaints from parties he’s attended with friends, but has not been involved in anything major.
8/10 – In digging into social media, there are pictures of Jordan partying with friends at Downfall, a basic watering hole in Touristville.

Universal Omnitech
Corporate Power Player
Possible Sources – Corporate Contacts, Fixers, Medical Contacts
1/2 – Universal Omnitech is a AA corporation that is a world leader in biotech and genetics.
2/4 – UO was once allied with Aztechnology, but the current president burned that bridge and has thus far resisted takeover attempts from Shiawase.
5/8 – The Mayers are not involved in the medical aspect of the company.  The father is in marketing and the mother works in logistics. Neither have access to any sensitive data within the company.

Matrix:  The host within Infinity is complex and state of the art, though security is light, given that it’s not a sensitive system, the only systems well protected are the programs that control the links to personal profiles of those in the club.  The private rooms are kept on separate systems to protect the privacy of those within.

Scene 2 – Connecting the Dots

Armed only with a name and a home address, the runners will need to locate Jordan using some old-fashioned legwork.  If a hacker attempts to trace the commlink by the kid’s commcode (which they can get without too much difficulty), the Threshold for the trace will be increased, as the signal is traced into the Redmond Barrens.  If the trace is successful, the commlink is in the Barrens beyond the edges of Touristville. If the hacker probes into the device, they can obtain Jordan’s contact list to locate his friends.

Whether through his commlink, or stopping by his school (or knocking on Mr. Johnson’s door and stopping at his home address… which may not be the best plan), the runners can find out from Jordan’s friends that after he got cut off by his parents, his buddies took him out for one last trip to Touristville.  Most got drunk off their faces and don’t exactly recall how the evening ended, but they recall fragments, of the night of drinking, fighting and gambling. They started their night at Downfall, moved on and woke up at home in their driveway after the autonav brought them home. Jordan wasn’t in the car, but they figured he likely walked it off when he woke up before them.

Touristville Dive Bar
ossible Sources – Gang Contacts (Redmond, Bellevue), Street Contacts

2/3 – It’s a crappy little bar out in Touristville.  Pretty clean by Redmond standards and the beer isn’t even that watered down.  A nicer establishment in Redmond.
4/6 – Downfall has remained the low-key nightspot it is because a few of its patrons are Awakened and they’re willing to accept a few free drinks to deal with people who disturb the peace.
7/10 – They’re not nearly as popular as Aces or Crusher 495 and they like it that way.  Since the other two are frequented by gangs, orks and trolls, those looking for a more peaceful night of drinking come here.  If people do a Touristville pub crawl, it usually starts here and ramps up to Banshee or Crusher. Only those wanting a fight go to Aces.

Scene 3 – Slumming It

To say that Touristville is the prettier side of the Barrens isn’t saying much.  The area is dingy, poorly lit and smells of urban decay. But the area has a nightlife and Knight Errant will actually come when called here.  As result, Touristville is a haven compared to the rest of Redmond. This is where the Redmond gangs play nice, so they are allowed to come back and where corporate kids from Bellevue come to slum it in a place that feels dangerous.

At the heart of this civilization is the bar district.  A stretch of mostly cleared road, where the various bars that make up most of Redmond’s economy are arrayed.  The heart of Touristville is around Crusher 495, much to the chagrin of racists throughout the Barrens. At night, Crusher is blasting neo-pagan metal and goblin rock into the streets, with the mosh pit spilling into the street.  During the day, the street shows the refuse from the party the night before, both human and otherwise, those who wake up on the curb the next morning are put in charge of the clean up.

In the outlying areas are the competition.  In the North are the turf of the Crimson Crush and their bar, Aces.  The area is heavily tagged and you can always tell when someone without the right colours has been by.  To the south are the easier bars, Downfall and Banshee. Downfall could almost be walked past without noticing it, as it’s set back from the street and does little in the ways of advertising.  Banshee is a run-down karaoke bar with a poor selection of beers and a sound system on its last legs.

The other buildings in the area are vastly pop-up shops, selling whatever the squatters there have unearthed.  What passes for district government is here, as are a few gathering places, like soup kitchens, but Touristville is only a few city blocks in size, before plunging into disarray and squalor.

If the runners spoke with Jordan’s friends, they know they started off at Downfall, but moved on.  Through the day, none of the locals recall Jordan by his description. At night, talking with the bartenders reveals a little more information, as they were mostly sober.

The bartender at Downfall remembers the group, as they rapidly escalated to being rowdy and disruptive and the locals evicted them from the bar.  Jordan and his friends skilled Banshee, as they couldn’t stand the idea of karaoke, so they headed for Crusher 495.

The patrons of Crusher laugh when they recall Jordan and his friends coming to the ork bar and trying to outdrink the locals.  Being absolutely plastered, he picked a fight with an ork, who easily bested the corporate kid.

Bloodied and drunk, Jordan was welcomed eagerly into a poker game and lost big.  The people that took all his money gave him an errand to do, but most people don’t know what the errand is.  Tracking his commlink points to the Barrens, not far from Touristville.

Matrix: The local grid in Touristville is dodgy at best.  Due to the inconsistent nature of the grid, there is a -2 Noise modifier for the area.

Scene 4 – Neighbourhood Watch

As Touristville slips behind them, the true Redmond takes form.  The buildings fall into a greater state of disrepair and the people become reclusive and suspicious.  Debris from the crumbling homes has been used to erect barricades, where enclaves of people have huddled together for protection.

Tracking the commlink signal, or following the directions provided by someone at the bar, they find an old apartment building with burnt out vehicles out front and piled brick around the front lobby.  Several orks have set up an outpost and tell the runners off, that this place is taken.

They will not take kindly to trespass and make a show of looking large and carrying a shoddy looking shotgun as a means to intimidate passersby.  If the runners want to get to the commlink, they’re going to have to fight their way through the enclave’s residents or offer up something in exchange.

The guy with the commlink is a former member of the Brain Eaters, an old Redmond techno-gang.  The walls of his apartment are covered in technology of the pre-WMI age and he is currently dismantling the commlink in order to try and jury rig a wireless transceiver with it.

If asked about how he came to possess the commlink, he tells them that he got it off the Crimson Crush, who traded it with him for services rendered.  If pressed as to where the Crimson Crush got it, he tells them that he overheard that some kid was gambling at the 495 with a few members of the gang and lost big.  They held the commlink as collateral until he did a task for them. They then traded it to him, since “he wasn’t going to need it any time soon”. He doesn’t know what task was given.

Scene 5 – Seeing Red

The turf of the Crimson Crush starts on the northern side of Touristville and spreads into the Barrens where their ork-centric numbers have are “protected” by the gang from organizations like Humanis.  To the same end, if the runners are vastly non-ork, they are unlikely to find a very warm welcome waiting for them.

Any orks in a human/elf/dwarf heavy party is likely to be called a “race-traitor” and the group will be set upon by the gang once they’re into their turf.  The gang will flee if they’re losing too many members, but the runners will need to beat down enough of their number in order to open a dialogue with the gang.

With orks laying in the street, the gang can finally be convinced to talk.  They will find out who was at 495 on the night in question and when questioned about the kid they “pranked”, they shrug and say noncommittally that they were asked to take a care package to an address to the east of Touristville.  Upon hearing the address, the person in charge they’re talking with gives them them crap for “feeding the creepers” to which the ganger merely replies “hey better them than us”. When pressed to clarify, the ganger tells them that the kid was sent to 162s turf.  The 162s are a ghoul gang, who the 2076 Olympics couldn’t even flush out. They are known organleggers and will hunt anyone they feel has something worth harvesting, eating the leftovers.

Scene 6 – Home of the Fleshmongers

The turf for the 162s is misleading in its tranquility.  Most of the non-ghoul population has fled or become food for the residents, while those that remain are in league with them, tricking wandering people into feeling that this is a safe haven, only to drug them and turn them in for a share of the Tanamous profits.

The western-most portion of the 162’s turf is a rare sight in Redmond:  new construction. During the Olympic games in 2076, a portion of Redmond just outside of Touristville was to be redesigned for the Olympic village, while other areas still were to be relocation centres for those displaced by the construction.  This building was never finished, as the ghouls picked off members of the construction crew. Knight Errant attempted to wipe out the ghoul population, but the ghouls knew the terrain infinitely better and evaded the patrols. The feral ghoul population was culled, but the more intelligent ones continued to pick off police and construction workers alike.  The cost got too high and the building was never finished.

It is now prime real estate for the squatters of the area.  An old man tells them to come inside and get off the street before they get spotted.  He offers them a place inside the building and offers them some food. Despite his friendly nature, he is anything but.  The food is laced with a powerful sedative and if any runners partake in it, he will contact the ghouls to let them know he has more for them… he laid the same trap for Jordan and is looking to capitalize on the runners as well.

He won’t put up much of a fight, if the runners resist the drug, or don’t eat it in the first place and he will tell them about his arrangement with the ghouls.  If he is allowed to make a call, several ghouls will come to his apartment to collect in short order.

The runners will need to stealth their way through the terrain or be fighting ghouls all the way through their turf.  Interrogating one of the ghouls can reveal the location of a butcher shop they use for “prepping” the bodies for harvest.

The butcher shop is thick with ghouls looking to get a piece of the latest catch.  The runners will need to break through and rescue Jordan from the organleggers before he gets carved up.

>> Oh fantastic… nothing like rescuing some corporate brat from his own idiocy.
>> Burn

>> Honestly, I don’t see the appeal of visiting Redmond.  What’s so great to visit some scummy bar in a destitute part of the city?
>> Glasgow

>> Spoken like a true elf.  Sometimes, the rich corporate kids need to feel badass by going to the “bad part of town” for a night.  It’s like a runner surviving on their rep.  Plus, it strokes their fragile egos to see those who have it worse than themselves.
>> Zug

>> Having spent more than my share of time in the Barrens, there are very few places outside of Touristville a young whelp should ever go… this kid is in for serious trouble if he strayed beyond the “safe” region…
>> Havik

Demons of a Fallen God Pt 1 – Buried Treasure (Shadowrun)

•July 27, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This is the introductory adventure for the first of two ongoing Shadowrun campaigns.  For this campaign, I have the distinct pleasure of running a game for an all-female player group.  As the story unfolds, all information on the story can be found posted here.

The team is rallied by Jaeger, the Fractured fixer, in regards to some work needing to be done for the company.  He asks the team to get together at the barracks to discuss the details at 20:00 (8pm).

Scene 1 – Assemble the Troops

The barracks for the Fractured are an old motel and bar that the mercenary company maintains, where many of the motel rooms have been converted into an armory, sleeping quarters and technological infrastructure for a rally point and basic needs for the outfit.

Jaeger is at the bar, nursing a drink when the team arrives.  He leaves the bottle of Russian vodka on the bar, if the runners want to help themselves and once everyone has gathered, Jaeger settles onto a bar stool and addresses the company.

“Good day, everyone.  I apologize for bringing everyone here on such short notice, but the matter I need resolved is a matter of some importance and immediacy.  Before signing on with the Fractured, I kept boltholes that contained the spoils of old jobs… things I couldn’t sell at the time because they were too hot, so I buried it until things cooled off.  However, in a couple of cases, I wasn’t able to return to collect the goods, due to not being welcome within the country any longer. I recently learned that one of my old storehouses is about to be knocked down and turned into a new corporate facility and I’m pretty sure I have some data there that is worthwhile to our company.

“Therefore, I’m asking you to go to Prague to retrieve two old data drives.  These are from well before the days of wireless tech, so you’re going to have to find the case they’re in and physically bring me the drives.  I don’t want any of the potential data falling into the hands of a corp, just in case anything on those drives is even remotely relevant. I can pay you each 6,000¥ for the trouble, or I can owe you one, if you don’t need the cash right away.”

Jaeger really doesn’t recall what is on those drives, but he’s not about to let his spoils fall back into the hands of corporations after he went to the trouble of stealing it from them in the first place.

Jaeger can negotiate some, but the money for this job is his own personal funds, so his flexibility is less than it might be normally.  Once the runners sign on, he provides the team with GPS coordinates for his old storage space and tells them that Proteus is the company breaking ground over his old squat.

“You should be able to access the area through some maintenance tunnels at Malo-Stranska Station.  Most of the area should be sealed off due to the Proteus development, but do try to keep a low profile so not to draw corporate attention.  With luck, you can find the drives and get them out of there before Proteus even knows they exist.”

Jaeger will set the team up with the method of transit into the Czech Republic that they want to use.

Matrix:  Should the team want to get a head start on legwork for the job, they will have some Noise modifiers to deal with.  While still in the Ukraine, they will need to jump from UkraiNet onto the Czech Grid, plus the Noise modifier is 9 or 10 (8 from distance between HQ and Prague and 1 or 2 for city inference, depending on where the team is at the time of the search).

Scene 2 – The Melting Pot

Prague is known as the Golden City of the Czech Republic.  A beacon of tolerance, education and culture. Overseen by the great dragon Schwartzkopf, the area is a beacon of prosperity and corporate moderation in the face of corporate dominated Germany to the west and the war ravaged areas of Eastern Europe to the southeast.  Racial tolerance in the city is some of the best in all of Europe and Charles University is one of the most advanced magical institutions in the world, thanks to Schwartzkopf himself lecturing on the subject in his true form.

Away from the classic architecture, in the western part of the downtown center is the corporate district.  Jammed together in towering skyscrapers, each trying to out-do the last, many of the more tolerant corporations have offices here:  Evo, Ares, Saeder Krupp and Aztechnology all have subsidiaries, as well as many AA corps, including Spinrad Industries and Proteus AG.

Like any city with a thriving corporate sector, the city is under heavy construction all over.  In order to maintain the appearance of the city, as much of the city overhaul is masked to not cloud the city’s history or cause significant traffic delays as possible.  Whether the runners drive around town or rely on the transit system, they will find several portions of the city inaccessible due to restoration or expansion.

The area around Malo-Stranska station is one of those areas.  Proteus has cleared out several older buildings that housed smaller business in order to expand their influence in the city.  When the foundation they wished to put in place interfered with the underground tunnel network that the metro used, the company paused to negotiate with the dragon on sealing off the old tunnels to allow the renovations to continue.  While the negotiations are underway, other areas of the construction continue to progress, but Proteus stands at the ready for when they get the green light.

The runners have a couple of ways to proceed:  infiltrate the Proteus construction site to where they are nearing Jaeger’s old bolthole and access it from there, or go in through the subway, access the tunnels and try and slip into Proteus from there.

In both areas, Proteus has guards on the ground (in the subway station, they are notified when the tunnels are entered, but have no jurisdiction beyond Proteus’ land claim).  The surveillance is more prevalent in the subway, but security is thicker in the compound to compensate for the lack of infrastructure.

If the runners can circumvent security in one way or another, they will find an old maintenance closet that has been retired due to newer infrastructure.  Behind one of the electrical panels, they find a makeshift room made from the interior of derelict server cases. A moldy old cot sits in one corner, as well as a few old sidearms with bullets for them.  While almost everything here appears undisturbed, the paydata they were sent to retrieve is not here.

Whether through hacking the nearby hosts, interrogating a soldier or some other viable investigation, they learn that one of the Proteus archaeologists that discovered the site had found the room, and made off with something inside for appraisal.  The runners will need to investigate to track the man down and where he went to fence the data.

Matrix:  The Czech Local Grid is sculpted to appear as a vast landscape, dotted with rivers, mountains and small villages.  At its center is a large 17th century citadel representing Prague.  Each village represents a city of the country, but the capital shows as a radiant city of gold.  Tourist areas outside of the cities can be found in the ways of small icons dotting the landscape.  Once accessed any of the cities appear as a large park area, ringed with assorted buildings according to their functions (shops, government, corporations not on their own grid, etc).

Prague Transportation Authority

The government host of Prague is rendered like a traditional public building from days past.  The walls and floors are marble and granite, large analog clocks loom overhead to tell the time in the city’s local time zone and a Czech flag hang prominently just above the eye level.  The air smells of musty old paper. The various branches of government each have a doorway off the main corridor. While entering the lobby is open access for all, many branches of government are not open for all to see.  Stepping into any of the branches except the tourism division requires at least a Mark. The transit authority is not the most dangerous node on the host and like many government systems, they would rather leave the intrepid hacker alive for questioning, rather than putting them to death.

Icons for files are rendered as old-style manilla folders, employees are rendered as humanoid clerks, with their profile image superimposed on their face and IC appear as faceless men in security guard uniforms.

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

Security Protocol – Patrol IC running at all times, Junior security officer on regular patrols

Once an alarm has been triggered, IC activates in this order: Probe, Scramble, Track, Jammer, Marker, Crash.  If an IC is crashed, the host will reboot the IC before moving on to the next stage. A security spider will log on after 3+1d6 combat rounds after the alarm is triggered.

Proteus AG

Being a AA corporation, Proteus has its field office well defended.  Using their standard iconography, the Proteus host gives a Jules Verne vibe to the node, with an underwater shining citadel with gleaming white structures, schools of colorful fish out every window and a feeling of expansive comfort and prosperity.  Every space feels grand in design; no tight quarters or narrow hallways and company slogans and ads are splashed over every available surface in the host’s atrium, should they enter that way. However, once the alarm has been raised, the host changes to be darker, more menacing.  The walls seem tighter, the water outside gets darker and more menacing and the temperature falls as the sunlight no longer seems to penetrate so deeply.

Icons for files or devices are rendered as technological parallels, taking on an old embellished nautical theme.  Employees are rendered as smiling versions of themselves, wearing Proteus uniforms. Probe IC appear as a middle aged gentleman with a pistol on his hip.  Once the alarm has triggered, they take on the form of Proteus security, or carnivorous aquatic life.

Host Rating 8
Standard Configuration – Attack 8, Data Processing 9, Sleaze 10, Firewall 11

Security Protocol – Patrol IC running at all times, 2 Junior security officer logged on at all times.

Once an alarm has been triggered, IC activates in this order: Probe, Track, Tar Baby, Marker, Shocker, Crash and Killer.  If an IC program is crashed, it will move to the next stage before reloading the crashed program. A security spider will log on after 1d6/2 combat rounds after the alarm is triggered.

Scene 3 – Bones of the Old

After some digging on the part of the runners, they learn that one of Proteus’ employees had found the bolthole in the subway and found the old drives.  However, the Proteus middle manager was uninterested in the ancient technology and so the opportunistic employee went in search of a buyer.

Armed with the name Otto Kohler, the team’s hacker (or a hired decker) can search the Czech grid for the man and hack his commlink to learn his destination (or merely run an active trace on the commcode and follow him).  Digging into the man’s commlink reveals both his destination (the Kutna Hora Ossuary) and who he is dealing with (a Vory fence).

The Bone Cathedral is 70 km east of Prague and was chosen due to its seemingly aberrant trait… spirits fear the place due to the bones of the dead seemingly being able to imprison spirits within its walls.  In order to prevent astral spying, the local Vory have taken a shine to the place, much to the chagrin of the clergy. Being in the center of a massive graveyard, people come and go all the time, both to visit the ancient site, but pay respects to the dead on what has been deemed holy earth.

When the runners enter the ossuary, the astral space here feels strange and, if the runners come at night, a faint astral glow seems to line the outer walls.  Spirits in the service of the team magicians will tell their summoners of their distaste for the place and ask politely if they could not be summoned within the site.  The transaction is in progress when they arrive, with Kohler and the fence kneeling before the cross amidst the bone “bells” and several armed Vory guards standing around the outside of the small space.  The bone walls, floor and chandelier create an eerie atmosphere that even the runners can feel and the air temperature is a few degrees cooler here. The ossuary has a handful of other worshipers, all waiting to have a chance to pray at the morbid altar.

Shooting up the ancient building will earn the runners notoriety in some circles, but the Vory have no issues bringing weapons to bear if the runners go to interfere.  Given the tight quarters of the ossuary itself, runners may opt to wait in the graveyard to ambush the Vory thugs as they exit the site, but the innocent citizenry at the site could panic if gunfire breaks out and the authorities will certainly be notified, putting the runners on the clock before the police arrive.

Once they retrieve the hard drives, they will need to flee the scene before the police or further Vory descend on them.  They will need to find a way to lose any pursuers they have and arrange a return to the Ukraine. Once they return to Kiev, Jaeger pays them what he promised, if they wanted the cash, or he will keep their favor in mind for the future.  He tells the runners to hang onto the hard drives until he can get a hold of the required hardware to extract the data.

Matrix:  With Kohler’s commlink being the primary focus of this scene, the runners will need to be on the Czech grid to locate his commlink.  Kohler is using an Erika Elite (DR 4), so breaching the firewall shouldn’t be too difficult and aside from alerting him that the device has been breached, there is no defense against intrusion.  Noise is 6 while inside Prague, dropping to 5 outside the city limits (5 from distance, 1 or 0 for wireless traffic).

Should the runners want to hack the Ossuary, the old medieval building only has minor Matrix infrastructure set up and mainly for tourists.  The PAN controlling the Ossuary consists of a DR 5 device that controls the ARO of the site (mostly historic billboards about the site and they are all within the chapel and graveyard, not in the Ossuary) and a DR 6 device that controls the environmental effects (heat or A/C in the chapel, lights etc).

Vory Thugs
B4 A5 R4 S4 W4 L3 I4 C3  Init 8+1D6

Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 5, Social Limit 6

Armor 9

Skills: Automatics 5, Blades 5, Intimidation 6, Perception 2, Pistols 4, Unarmed 6
Qualities: Toughness

HK-227 (SMG, Acc 5(7), 7P, SA/BF/FA, (1), 28(c), Stock, Smartgun, Integral Sound Suppressor)
Lined Coat (9)
Renraku Sensei Commlink
Optics – Contact Lens 2 (Image Link, Smartlink)

>> Gotta like it when you can do a job in a nice place like Prague, as opposed to some war-torn shithole.
>> Xia

>> War-torn shitholes have perks… you don’t need to worry about police showing up when you start shooting in a war zone.
>> Park

>> Your rules about when it’s OK to shoot people are interesting.
>> Squirrel

>> Oh God, when did they get here?
>> Xia

>> You can’t keep Squirrel out of anything for long.  We’ll just need to keep them contained until needed in Prague, or we also won’t be welcome back when this is done…
>> Park

A New High (Shadowrun)

•July 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The runners are contacted by the highest Loyalty underworld contact they have (Mafia/Yakuza/Triad/Vory).  If they don’t know any underworld contacts, their fixer will make that connection for them. The meet location will vary, depending on who the runners are meeting with.

Scene 1 – Paranoia Runs Rampant

Once a meet arrangement has been made, the runners find themselves being pat down, swept and astrally inspected before being allowed to even see Mr. Johnson.  Runners who try to circumvent these measures will be met with deadly force, if they persist on getting in without a search.

Once past the checkpoint, Mr. Johnson apologizes.  “I’m sorry for the heightened security, my friends… recent events have forced me to take some precautions.  A new drug is hitting the streets…normally, when new merchandise arrives we wait and see how it performs and then decide whether to get into the business or crush it.  However, this particular drug has motivated us to act quickly to stop its manufacture.”

“The new drug is a derivative of Guts they’re calling Elev8.  While Guts makes a person fearless, Elev8 also impedes the part of the brain that applies logic and general common sense.  Since this drug hit the streets a week ago, there has been three attempts to overthrow local bosses and five attempts to trigger turf wars with rival syndicates.  We’re not in the business of causing bloodbaths. If this drug continues to circulate, the problem won’t remain behind closed doors for long. I’m willing to pay you 10,000¥ a piece to investigate the manufacture of this drug and put a stop to it.”

Mr. Johnson is one of a few bosses in their organization that survived an assassination attempt by someone who thought they could do better, while under the influence of Elev8.  Rather than risk his position any further, Mr. Johnson wants this drug put to bed.

Mr. Johnson is willing to negotiate to some extent.  Once the runners have agreed to take the job, Mr. Johnson tells them that the man that tried to kill him was gunned down, but another would-be assassin of another boss was taken alive.  He can provide the runners with the location of where the man is being held, in case they’d like to question him. If the runners agree, he’ll give them a personal token they can show when they get to the BNSF Railyard (Burlington North and Santa Fe) train car where the man is being kept.

Matrix:  The Emerald City grid is not likely to be too far away, regardless of where the runners meetup with Mr. Johnson.  The host of the place they meet at will vary, but it is likely to be a low-to-mid range host with moderate defenses overall.

Scene 2 – Catching a Train

The BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Railyard is an old railyard, dating back to before the Awakening.  Much of the modern infrastructure is missing here, reducing the once great rail system to a shuttle service around the metroplex.  The old structures show their age, but everything is serviceable and trains run out of the yard on the regular.

It’s also the domain of the O’Malley family and the service lines hold several train cars that are in need of repair in some way shape or form.  Inside of an insulated refrigerator car is the man who wanted to move up the ranks. The guards outside will tell the runners to move along and that the service yard is off limits, but when they see the Johnson’s calling card, they let the runners pass and tell them to step into the fridge.

Inside is a bloodied man in a stained suit strung up from the ceiling by his wrists.  Upon seeing the runners, he immediately begins taunting them, daring them to take their best shot and bragging how he’s going to be the biggest man in all of Seattle.  Viewing his astral signature, a mage can see that he’s still running high on Elev8. Torture and intimidation don’t work, as the man is truly fearless. The runners can hang around until the drug runs out, cast a spell like Detox or do a Logic+Medicine (2) test to flush the drug out of his system before they can get any genuine answers.

As the drug is removed from his blood stream, the gravity of what he’s done will sink in, as will the pain of his recent “questioning”.  When pressed for where he got the drug, he’s quick to offer up his dealer and her usual haunt.

If the runners engage in torture during this scene, feel free to award them Notoriety at the story’s end.

Matrix:  The BNSF host showcases the glory days of the rail company, focusing on the history as one of the largest rail empires in the old United States.  A pristine version of the railyard spreads out before them, with old diesel orange engines stationed facing outwards towards the various geographical regions they deliver to.  Each train links to another part of the network, where as the storage yard details storage fees and with the correct password, details what is currently being held in the yard.

The iconography here shows users in BNSF coveralls and hardhats, while security appear as old time rail security guards.  IC manifests as humanoid constructs made out of railroad materials and move like jerky, stop-motion movie monsters. That said, they are still effective in curtailing intruding deckers.

Host Rating 7

Attack 7, Sleaze 8, Data Processing 10, Firewall 9

Patrol IC is online and running at all times.  When triggered, IC activates in the order: Probe, Killer, Acid, Marker, Catapult, Track, Jammer and Blaster.  Probe and Killer will always get rebooted if bricked, but will otherwise continue down the line. A security decker will log on after 1D6/2 (round up) rounds once an alarm is triggered.

Scene 3 – Rage Contagion

The mobster gave up his dealer, a Chinese woman named Lan Yin and said that she works out of a residential district near the docks.  When the runners arrive, they find the area under a Knight Errant lockdown. Drones circle the area and an AR cordon has been erected over a couple city blocks.  The local toughs, who normally play it low key, got their hands on a sample of Elev8 and they’re exploring all of their delusions of grandeur.

Some are locked into firefights with the police, others are duking it out with each other, others still are exploiting the locals and terrorizing the area.  Navigating the landscape will not be simple, with the police being jumpy and any local being a potential threat.

Lan Yin’s turf is the local pharmacy, where she is selling some less than prescription goods over the counter.  The pharmacy is being overturned by a gang of local goons, looking for another hit. The gangers will fight dirty and to the death.  Lan Yin is in the back room, nursing a gunshot wound and slowly dragging herself to the exit. The first runner through the door will be faced with a pistol shot that narrowly misses from the wounded pharmacist.

Once pacified, Yin tells the runners that her distributor was selling this new product that would make people “feel like God”.  She interpreted that as a new high, not as giving them a God-complex, so she sold a lot of it. With a new resentment for her distributor, she will easily tell them where to find the distribution center.  It’s a fastener warehouse on the northern edge of the neighbourhood.

Scene 4 – Spread the Wealth

The warehouse is a large concrete and metal building with vaulted ceilings and reinforced metal shelves that stretch to the rafters.  Workers are busily moving crates around using forklifts, getting large unmarked containers down from the highest levels and collecting them in the middle of the warehouse floor.

The distributor has been taken over by his clientele.  His dealers (save for Yin) were sampling the merchandise and they’ve decided to cut out the middleman and take over the business.  Some of the crates are filled with dead rivals, while others hold merchandise (not Elev8, but other street narcotics). If the runners make their presence known, the dealer and their crew will try to play it cool as they move towards cover and weapons.  Once they feel they’re in a good position, they will attack.

Other dealers may start filtering in to claim the warehouse as numbers trickle down, so the runners may continue to have new problems arrive.  The distributor is bunkered into a hidden room off of his command center. The command center features extensive computers wired together in a rat’s nest and several dead gangers.  Roof turrets are responsible for the death, controlled from the panic room.

Either the drug distributor himself or the computers can tell the runners about an abandoned pharmaceutical manufacturing building where the Elev8 was being created in.

Matrix:  The system of the distribution center is unsophisticated and has no bells or whistles.  A rudimentary cataloging system tracks the totals for each product (the drugs are not tracked here) and all orders are sorted in a queue for service.  The distributor has some Gen1 hardware he’s rigged up to house his real company data, but it isn’t wirelessly active and will require a hardline into the network.

Host Rating 5

Attack 5, Sleaze 6, Data Processing 8, Firewall 7

Patrol IC is online and running at all times.  When triggered, IC activates in the order: Probe, Killer, Acid, Marker, Catapult, Track, Jammer and Blaster.  Probe and Killer will always get rebooted if bricked, but will otherwise continue down the line. A security decker will log on after 1D6/2 (round up) rounds once an alarm is triggered.

Scene 5 – Cleaning up the Mess

The old pharma business is an old dilapidated structure, whose sign has faded with age, but the proud proclamation that they had been a subsidiary of Fuchi can still be made out.  The interior doesn’t look much better. Gang tags, garbage and a smell of squatters fills the building. Despite the evidence of recent inhabitants, none of the locals appear to be here anymore.  The scurry of rats is the only movement the team is aware of.

Astrally, the building has the normal amount of astral hazing for a squatter’s haunt, but it increases with a feeling of death as they near the building’s center.  They can detect one human life at the building’s heart, who exudes an aura of mild panic.

The middle rooms of the building are shrouded in plastic tarps.  Beyond the tarps are rooms that stink heavily of disinfectant. Flat surfaces have been cleared for working with chemicals and the old scientific equipment discarded with the building has been refurbished and put back to work.  Throughout the workspace, fresh blood has been splattered and the bodies of the workforce lay in still expanding pools of blood. The people here appear to be the local unemployed, put to work in packing pills.

Moving past the rooms of dead workers, they enter what appears to have been the packing area.  The last person left alive in this building is here, pouring gasoline over powder from broken pills.  He is heavily tattooed and wearing an armored vest rigged with explosives. If given the chance to speak, he speaks with a muddled Eastern European accent.  He will talk about the experiment being over and that the runners will never learn anything from the site.

His explosive vest has redundant safeties on it, as there are explosives set up all around the building.  If he hits the detonator, it doesn’t trigger just the vest, but will bring the building down as well. If the signal is jammed, all the explosives lose connection with each other and will detonate independently.  All runners inside the building are buried in rubble as the building comes down on them. If the vest explodes, any runners too close will need to resist damage normally.

Runners outside the explosion can rush into the blast site to rescue teammates, though Knight Errant will arrive very quickly.

End Part 1

Scene 6 – Digging Out

The destruction of the pharmaceutical building will draw a lot of attention, drawing in news drones, police and gawkers alike.  If any of the team were not in the building when it collapsed, they may opt to try and get their teammates out before there are too many onlookers.  Otherwise, the runners find themselves buried in rubble and have to claw their way out or, if badly injured, await rescue.

If the runners are still there when the police arrive, they will be looking at a lot of questions and suspicion.  If they manage to slip away before the police arrive, they may still have drones to contend with, as the media will want to be the ones who break the story and police drones will want to keep track of all suspects.

Runners will need to keep their faces concealed to avoid being captured on camera, unless they’re too badly injured to make their own escape.

(if runners are captured, it may require an extra scene, or a whole extra run to break them out)

Scene 7 – Tracking the Bomber

The man that blew himself up to conceal evidence is dead or in Knight Errant custody, depending on how the runners conducted themselves.  If the runners were able to capture the man’s likeness, they can conduct some legwork to find out who they were dealing with and where he’s been over the past few days.

The man is named Temel Reis and he is a Balkan extremist, who is wanted for several bombings throughout Greece, Turkey and the war-torn Balkans.  His ideology has shifted in recent years, from being strongly anti-Muslim. Originally targeting mosques and Muslim associated enterprises, he had learned that not all Muslims were the enemy, as many Christians were equally, if not more, power-hungry and corrupt.  His focus went from being anti religion to anti-power and he joined several radical anarchist groups in Eastern Europe.

The man in the blast was not Temel Reis, but rather a protege surgically modified to look like him.  Reis has decided to try to take down the corporations, as they are the pinnacle of rampant power and aims to work through like minded pawns.

Either via the Matrix or appropriate contacts, the runners can find evidence of Reis arriving in Seattle via private aircraft and visiting several locations around the city, the former pharmaceutical building included.  The main place Reis frequents is the local branch of Equity; an anarchist activist group. Not known for violence, Equity preaches an experiment in “controlled anarchy”… allowing the people equal say in how business is conducted, rather than advocating for the abolition of all power structures.

Other stops are places for acquiring the ingredients needed for the drug, or explosives.  The main places for the runners to investigate would be the private airstrip and the Equity building.

Scene 8 – Bypassing Customs

The private airstrip that Reis used to get into Seattle is owned by Sofia Volkov, a commercial real estate broker, potential Vory member and wealthy heiress to an Ukranian magnate.  The Bellevue estate is surrounded by a stonework wall and wrought iron fence. The service staff are moving around, doing their daily work, but all seem to be on edge.

If prompted with any force, the staff says that the entire estate has been taken hostage by Reis’ people.  The plane is being guarded, as all the Elev8 manufactured at the now-destroyed facility has been loaded on the plane and ready for distribution.  The runners may take it upon themselves to destroy the plane, or alert Knight Errant, but the staff tells them that Madame Volkov and her family will be put to death if anyone interferes with the plane or its contents.

The runners could potentially free Sofia and her staff if they’re particularly careful at which point Sofia will handle the situation in Ukraine with a couple of phone calls.  With the grounds back under control, the runners could make themselves a very powerful ally.

If the runners can get to Sofia, she tells them that Reis used her family in Ukraine as leverage to be allowed to land his plane in the city and once on the ground, his personal guard took over her home.  She vows to find out who Reis is working with and have them torn down for his transgressions.

Scene 9 – Equity in Treatment

The Equity building is a nondescript brown brick building that resembles an old community center than the base of operations for an anarchist organization.  Their logo, a group of people on equal footing with fists raised, looms over the door into the lobby. The door itself has a simple black equal sign on the door.

The interior is a modestly decorated lobby with simple AR overlaying the walls, outlining Equity’s mission statement:  the dissolution of monolithic corporations and bringing the world to a state of equal economic footing.

The man behind the counter is more than happy to try and recruit the runners.  He will start with small talk and then slowly introduce the group’s rhetoric into the conversation, talking about the average disparity between senior corporate officials and the those that do the actual work that keeps the corporate machine running.

The moment the runners start asking questions about Equity as a movement, the man’s words become more measured, stating that while they advocate for the equity in pay and rights, they would not advocate the use of violence to obtain their goals.  Why endanger those they aim to help? If asked about Temel Reis, the man says that he has no idea who that is.

Upon being shown the man’s face, the man will admit to recognizing the face, but not the name.  If asked what Reis was after, the man says he doesn’t know and that he met with the senior members of the organization.

While the runners busy themselves at the front desk, the senior members have keyed keywords into the security equipment at the front desk and if not disabled, they overhear the conversation the runners are having after Reis’ name is dropped.  In response to the inquiries, the president of Equity Seattle will attempt to sneak out the back door to avoid the thrashing he’s expecting.

If the runners are prepared for this, they can corner the man easily, otherwise, they may need to chase/follow him so they can talk to him about his meeting with Reis.  Under very little pressure, the man confesses that Reis came to him with a plan to bring the corporations down a peg and just needed some able bodied people to do the work.  Equity’s members tend to be those the corps have trodden on, so many unemployed members jumped at the chance to lash out at the companies that laid them off.

In hearing about the building explosion, the president worried about being implicated in the explosion and made plans to flee the country.  He volunteers that there is a second building where the drug is being made and he hopes they can save those people from a second explosion.

Scene 10 – Evening the Odds

The second building is an open warehouse that Reis’ men have taken over.  There are drones in the air on patrol around the outside of the building (MCT Fly-Spy) watching for anyone taking too great an interest in the building.  The interior has been set up with several rows of tables, covered in old scientific equipment where people are working hard at meeting quota while armed guards patrol the room behind them.

The runners will require a certain amount of finesse here.  The guards won’t hesitate to take hostages or shoot the civilians if they feel cornered.  The civilians will either run for any open doors or duck under the tables once bullets start to fly.

If the runners are already banged up from the explosion or taking out Reis’ plane, feel free to have a civilian lend assistance in the form of a distraction or breaking free from being taken hostage.

Either by interrogating one of the guards or plundering their commlink, the runners learn that Reis and his cohorts have ties to Black Crescent back in Constantinople, which is where the formula for making Elev8 originated.  But for now, the runners have flushed the Elev8 ring out of the city and can get paid by their contact.

>> Great another brain-bender hitting the streets.  Didn’t we just do this with Tempo?
>> Corsair

>> Ugh, that Tempo debacle… anyone know who’s behind this one?  KondOrchid and the Cartels got torn down huge after tempo.  You’d think people would learn…
>> Havik

>> This one isn’t spirit inhabitation at least.  This is just pure chemical imbalance.
>> Hel

>> And you would know this how, exactly?
>> Burn

>> The spirits have told me.  I don’t expect your dull mind to understand.
>> Hel

>> Uh guys, before you guys get banned, I’m curious… if all the big underworld boys want this product off the street, then who’s distributing it?
>> Glasgow