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?”

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Digital Disparity (#Shadowrun)

•April 16, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was the second of two runs I ran for the Spring Phantasm 2019.

The team is contacted by their fixer about a theft job that Mr. Johnson would like to have done.  The pay is respectable and the job is in the city at a downtown facility. If the runners are interested in hearing the details, their fixer will meet with them at Club Penumbra at 8PM.

Scene 1 – The Old Stomping Grounds

A favourite runner spot, Club Penumbra is only moderately busy and many of the patrons here are here for work, rather than to enjoy the club scene.  Only the runner wannabes and club regulars seem to be out tonight. What it lacks in activity is gained in terms of personal privacy.

The team’s fixer is found at his usual table in the back and greets them warmly as they arrive.  Once the team has gathered, the fixer offers to buy them a round (if they want anything) before getting down to business.

“All right, thanks for coming.  Mr. Johnson has approached me with a task that he feels should be simple, though I know that’s it’s rarely so straightforward.  What he’s asked for is an Evo facility here in the downtown area be broken into and a particular piece of tech stolen. The reason that he feels the job will be easy is that the facility has recently been sealed by the Corporate Court for failing a safety inspection.  None of my corporate sources know anything about this lockout though, so I’d advise caution. My concerns aside, Mr. Johnson is willing to pay each of you 8,000¥ for the retrieval. Interested?

The fixer’s concerns are genuine and he worries what he’s sending his team into.  Something about the lockout seems odd, but no one he’s spoken to knows anything about it.  As far as anyone in the Corporate side knows, all is well at Evo.

The fixer is willing to negotiate some, the max he will pay out being 10,000¥.  Once the runners are on board, he tells them the remainder. “Perfect. Mr. Johnson wants you to break into their R&D lab at 6th and Pike and gain access to their basement level clean room, where they’re working on navigational computers for interplanetary travel and steal unit XM-43928.  It should be roughly briefcase-sized. Once you have it, call me and I’ll set up the hand-off for you.”

They will try to answer any supplementary questions the runners might have, but doesn’t have a lot more information about the site in terms of expected resistance.

Evo R&D (6th and Pike)
Technological Construction Site
Possible Contacts:  Local Contacts, Corporate Contacts

3/5 – I don’t know anything about a lockdown… too many cars in the parking lot to say nobody’s home.

6/9 – Place has been awfully quiet of late.  Drones are still out on patrol, but I haven’t seen anyone come or go from the place in days.  Normally, that place is pretty busy.

8/11 – Rumour has it that they had been having some serious system issues that were hampering production and a few people did get hurt.  If the rumours have any truth to it, maybe they locked it down on the down low… which must have really stung with all the bad press around Evo these days.

Matrix:  The Emerald City grid is easily accessible from within the Penumbra.  If the runners go to jump into the Evo facility, they will need to hop into the Evo Grid first.

Scene 2 – Boots on the Ground

Only a half dozen blocks away from the famous Pike’s Place Farmer’s Market, the Evo complex is right in the thick of things in the Downtown area.  The area is busy at all times of day with businesses through the day and a busy night life after the sun goes down, which may complicate getting onto the grounds unseen.

The Evo building is an ergonomic-looking two storey building, drenched in AR and surrounded by a state-of-the-art transparent wall that broadcasts the latest from the corporation on all sides.  Drones busily sweep the perimeter and will aggressively pursue anything deemed suspicious.

Among the saturated AR, at the front door is an AR billboard that tells the visitor that the building is currently closed to all but Corporate Court executives, due to a violation of safety standards.  There are, however, several indications that not all is well.

  • The glass over the entire building is tinted as dark as it will go, which is not the night time practice (most buildings will show any non-core areas lit up to present an air of always being productive)
  • The glass on the doors appears to be cracked, as if someone had tried to smash their way out
  • The drones, while still running in a staggered rotation, show signs that maintenance hasn’t been occurring.  Some are showing issues in movement, others appear to have crashed on the grounds.
  • The security system is highly aggressive.  Even with a valid Evo set of credentials anyone entering the grounds will be fired upon.  There are no metahuman guards on patrol.

If the runners investigate the employees of the building, most have been sent home on paid leave while the lockout is in effect.  Those that aren’t home have been gone for days. Their homes are collecting dust and if they have spouses, they’ve been fed a line that their significant other had been selected to undertake a major project and would be sequestered until the project sees completion.  In one case, if the runners dig deep enough, the spouse died in a house fire from a “freak electrical accident” while they slept.

Matrix:  The runners have access to the Emerald City Grid but due to AR saturation and the prevalence of businesses at all hours, the area suffers a -2 Noise modifier.

Scene 3 – Atypical Response

Once the runners have found a way inside (likely by smashing in a window or a quick, impromptu hack) the inside of the building is a dissonant mess.  The employees have been cooped up in the building with minimal sleep, food and water and in some cases, highly medicated. The result is a mixed bag of unpredictable behaviour from the employees.  The two above-ground levels and the first basement level are full of highly medicated and slightly psychotic people.

Random Encounter table (2D6):

2 – A trigger-happy squad of security guards equal to the players in number

3 – A strung out scientist with a jury-rigged explosive.  GM decides if the bomb is even functional.

4 – A malfunctioning pop-down turret that fires at anything that moves

5 – A strung-out lab tech having an animated discussion with an inanimate object

6 – An exhausted employee, begging them for extraction.

7 – All clear.

8 – Maintenance drone, stuck in an endless loop of mundane tasks.

9 – A cluster of bullet-riddled bodies and no sign on the shooter.

10 – A security detail under orders to flag unknown people.  Equal to half the number of players.

11 – Security doors activate and seal the runners into the space while Neuro-Stun is piped in.

12 – A swarm of drones descend on the runners with assorted weapons/tools.

Once the runners gain access to the lowest levels of the building, proceed to Scene 4 to cover the exploration of the labs.

Matrix:  The Evo Host still works fine on the surface, but probing beneath the surface shows that the contagion isn’t just among the people.  The front page, espousing the virtues of Evo and their research, works fine. Under the finely-crafted veneer, the system is full of holes.  Whole nodes appear to be offline and the system’s IC is spotty at best. It appears the system is in a state of transition. Even the iconography doesn’t match.

The original imagery of the node was a Martian landscape with Gagarin Base on the horizon.  With the AIs loose in the system, the imagery has been modified in ways that are jarring and uncomfortable for those immersed in the system.  The horizon seems to scroll wrong as the user moves through the landscape and whole elements of the environment sill simply disappear from certain perspective points.  The cool air of the Martian surface is cold enough to be uncomfortable and the dusty air smells of ozone and sulfur. Beneath the main system the changes are far more significant, with any consistency in iconography gone out the window.  Users once had skins that matched their role, but now the default icons are sometimes visible, or the icons appear to melt into a string of numbers. IC, once old movie Martians with rayguns now appear as lumps of amorphous code. The system’s rating has degraded due to the deconstruction of key systems, but the system is still pretty tough.

Host Rating 8

Configuration:  Attack 10, Sleaze 9, Data Processing 8, Firewall 11

Security Procedure:  Patrol IC running at all times.  Security spiders were some of the first things the AI’s dealt with, so anything appearing as security could be one of the AIs in the system.  

Once the alarm sounds, IC is triggered in this order:  Black IC, Probe, Sparky, Marker, Blaster, Killer, Acid, Track, Binder and Crash.  If an IC is bricked, on the next round, that IC will be rebooted, rather than continuing on.  Emphasis here is to make sure the intruder is killed off quickly.

Scene 4 – Psychosis Incarnate

The lowest levels of the facility are a series of high tech labs, used in the creation of all sorts of cutting edge technology used in Evo’s space-faring endeavours.  However, all of these labs are highly compromised thanks to the presence of two AIs that are vying for control of the facility and its resources. Dead staff dot the halls and the labs, either run to collapse or killed for disobedience.

One of the AIs is a Metasapient calling itself Magellan.  Magellan was born from an infected navigational computer gained sentience.  It has heard word through the Matrix about the Monad Exodus to Mars and seeks to be with his brethren.  Using the technology in the lab, he aims to build himself a capsule that he can load himself into after he tells Evo that they can have their people back once he has been sent on his way.

The second AI is a Xenosapient that Magellan has labeled Obscuros.  Obscuros seems to understand English well enough, but its goal is unknown and seems unwilling or incapable of explaining it to anyone.  Having employees harvesting seemingly unrelated parts from systems and constructing some form of mechanical monolith in the midst of the labs.

The technicians on this floor busily hurry back and forth completing the orders they’re being given by a seemingly psychotic system.  Some are given contradictory orders as the two AIs compete for the limited physical resources in the labs. The engineers won’t stop to talk, as the building’s defenses remain trained on them at all times.  If they stop working for too long, they get a warning before they are shot dead. They’re all exhausted, only able to stop and eat when told, but they will plead with the runners (while at a brisk pace) to help them.

If either AI feels the runners are impeding the worker’s progress, they will be shot by the gun emplacements dotting the floor or other defense systems (door locks and gas, drones, etc).  The runners will be given instructions just like the other workers, but if they prove to be incompetent in their task, they will be cleared out.

The monolith is a monstrosity that is rapidly outgrowing its space (one wall has already been knocked down) and it is drawing a lot of power.  If Obscuros perceives the runners as interfering, the whole structure powers up like a Tesla coil and will try to fry the offending person (10P Damage, Disorientation).  The room is already dotted with dead technicians.

The satellite lab is in the lowest level and is where technicians are doing Magellan’s work.  Harvesting pieces from Evo’s existing projects, Magellan’s capsule (named after the Portuguese explorer’s flagship, Trinidad) is being built to remain powered long enough to reach Mars and endure a planetary landing.  The project the runners are after is here, yet to be harvested. Once the runners try to take it, Magellan will take offense and order every person to stop the runners from escaping.

Obscuros will interfere in Magellan’s plans, but can’t be counted on as an ally.  While in the satellite lab, the runners have only Magellan to deal with. The runners will need to keep the payload safe as they flee the facility.  Some of the engineers may try to follow the runners out, but Magellan will try to kneecap them to keep the skilled labour inside.

>> Anyone hear anything about this supposed lockdown at the Evo R&D downtown?
>> Breach

>> Not a peep.  Talked to a news colleague of mine and he had never heard of such a thing.  Dispatched a few CU3’s to get their nose in and the drones were shot down by the security drones on patrol.  News drones were in public airspace when they got shot down too.  Security around the building is pretty aggressive, if nothing else.
>> Zeyda

>> Nothing from my corporate contacts either.  So something must have gone sideways at the facility to have locked the doors without sending out word first.  What do they do there?
>> Reaper

>> Typical Evo stuff:  space, genetics and nanotech.
>> Zeyda

>> Wait, nanotech?  Aw hell…
>> Reaper

Faith in Blood (#Shadowrun)

•April 8, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was the first of two runs I ran for the Spring 2019 Phantasm Convention.

The runners are contacted by their fixer in regards to a rescue job.  If they’re interested in hearing the details, the Mr. Johnson will meet with them at the Alabaster Maiden at 9PM.

Scene 1 – Getting the Details

The Alabaster Maiden is a mage-friendly nightclub in Seattle, with a life-sized statue in the center of the club that is supposed to be the petrified remains of one of the first mages in the city.  The holographic light show is rivaled only by the local magicians showing off some of their best illusions. The presence of magicians in the nightclub makes it a very safe place from astral reconnaissance.

The team fixer is waiting for them in a back corner of the nightclub, who will activate some noise cancelling hardware to filter out the sounds of the nightclub.  Once everyone has gathered, he addresses the team.

“I’m glad everyone has been able to make it.  Mr. Johnson would like to talk with you all directly on this one, so without further delay…”  The fixer fires up a holo-projector which projects a humanoid image without facial or body details.

“Hello and good evening.  I have need of a team of freelancers to retrieve a missing person, last spotted in Bellevue.  We have reason to believe he has been abducted or otherwise coerced into entering the Barrens.  The missing person is the child of an employee and we wish to secure them for the peace of mind it will bring them.  Due to the lack of concrete intelligence and having to travel into the Barrens, we would like to offer you 8,000¥ apiece for your time.”

Mr. Johnson is actually Nicole Adams, the mother of the missing child.  She is an executive with Horizon and is finding that she isn’t able to concentrate on her duties with her son being absent.  The company agrees that her performance improvement is worth the investment and is subsidizing the run.

Mr. Johnson is willing to negotiate to some degree, but is hoping to keep the costs of the job down.  Once the runners have negotiated and agreed to the terms, Mr. Johnson is thankful to have them on board and gives them the last known location of the missing person and their name:  Tyler Adams. Once they have Tyler in custody, they are given a commcode to reach them to arrange delivery.

Tyler Adams
Wayward Corporate Son
Possible Contacts:  Corporate Contacts, Bloggers, Charity Workers

2/4 – Tyler Adams is the son of Rod and Nicole.  They are Horizon employees, but due to the unorthodox nature of the company hierarchy, their current ranking in the company is unknown.

4/7 – Nicole is a rising member of the company, where Rod is comfortable in his own position.  Both of them are involved in company relations.

6/9 – Tyler has built a reputation among his peers.  He spends a lot of time raising money for charity and runs a blog about altruistic humanitarian efforts.

8/11 – Though Horizon praises him for his humanitarian message, his messages are sometimes anti-corp and his more recent messages include more pro-metahuman, anti-1% sentiment and religious phrasing.

Matrix:  The Emerald City Grid is readily accessible in the Downtown core.  The Alabaster Maiden is a node off of the Seattle grid, that has an AR recreation of a mage casting an impressive looking spell before the skin turning slowly into stone, preserving a look of shock on the maiden’s face for all time.  Matrix users can’t do much to check out the building, aside from checking the acts coming to the club without punching through the outer defenses.

Scene 2 – Picking up the Trail

Heading to the last known location of Tyler Adams takes the runners to eastern Bellevue.  Some of the young man’s charitable organizations are there and many of them talk about seeing Tyler on the day of his disappearance.  

Many of them describe Tyler as being almost adversarial compared to his usual jovial self.  If pressed, some will cough up that he was grilling them on how donation money was being used.  Horizon was clamping down on how he was spending his money, as he was a citizen of their company and he wanted to ensure that he was seeing maximum return on his donations.  If he was displeased with where his money was going, he pulled his donation.

Some of the shunned organizations are bitter towards Tyler and others towards Horizon for enforcing the crackdown.  If pressed for further information, some mention Tyler’s drive for Redmond reclamation. Horizon views it as a good PR move (and opening the region to development by them) and is urging Tyler to look for organizations centered on building up Redmond again.  Some told him to focus his efforts in Touristville… the only “redeemable” part of the Barrens.

Those in Touristville remember seeing Tyler, but none are overly forthcoming without being plied with alcohol or cash, or getting a beatdown in a back alley.  They say that the “bleeding heart idealist” rejected the idea of putting money into Touristville because “people like it as it is”. After talking to some of the locals, he learned of a small enclave called Redemption, which, despite being warned to steer clear of, he wanted to check out anyways.

If asked as to why people recommended steering clear, many will say that many who go to Redemption never come back.  Not due to death or threats, but because they feel like they can make a difference there. Several gang members have gone into Redemption and even abandoned their brothers to remain.

Redemption, Redmond
Barrens Enclave
Possible Sources – Barrens Residents, Gangers, Christian Clergy

2/4 – A small pocket of Redmond; only a couple of square blocks worth.  It’s a place where the residents are working together to claim their own corner of the Barrens.  Religious themed.

5/8 – The enclave is centered around an old run-down church called “Our Lady of the Blessed Heart”.  The group seems a bit cult-y, but they don’t seem to be out to convert neighbours to their faith… only those that seek to join the enclave.

8/11 – Redemption was only founded recently, when a traveling priest arrived and started his own parish.  Since then, the people have rallied behind him and Redemption has not only resisted the gangs, but seems to be rebuilding.

Matrix:  All of this legwork has access to the Emerald City Grid, but Touristville is removed enough to suffer a -2 from noise due to the Matrix infrastructure here either being absent or antiquated.

Scene 3 – Enemy at the Gates

As the runners head towards Redemption, they are greeted as they get close by a grenade tossed from an upper floor window into the street.  In the chaos that follows, they are set upon by the Crimson Crush, who see the expansion of Redemption a threat to their turf and their membership.

Armed with automatic weapons and a small assortment of grenades, they will try to stop the runners from reaching the enclave for fear that they too will join the ranks of the enclave and push out beyond their current borders.

Ork Ganger

B7(8)  A4 R3 S6  W3 L2 I3 C3  Edge 2 Init = 6+1D6

PL8  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Meta Link, Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

If interrogated, they will tell the runners that they are wary of Redemption and its people, especially its founder, Father Levi Verbeek.  Several of their members went in to Redemption, with the intention to scare them off, only for those gangers to defect and join the colony.

Father Levi Verbeek
Traveling Priest
Possible Sources – Christian Clergy, Magical Contacts

2/4 – Small time preacher from Renton.  Parents were Dutch and hardcore Catholic.  Reputed to be a Christian Theurgist Mage.

5/8 – Went abroad for several years to be a missionary.  Spent a couple years in Jerusalem before doing mission work in Africa.  He had always been a laid back man of the faith and used missionary work to see the world.

8/11 – Came back from Africa in the past couple years a changed man, by the things he saw while on the African continent.  He takes his faith very seriously now and has been looking to bring the strength of his faith to needy people since.

Matrix:  The grid here is even weaker as they move further into the Barrens, with all Matrix actions suffering a -5 from Noise.

Scene 4 – Bastion of the Lord

The pocket of the Barrens known as Redemption doesn’t feel like Redmond.  Not only has the urban decay ceased, it’s actually being reversed. The houses that make up the area have been touched up and some are even starting to look respectable.  The area seems to be of two personalities. The people on the street are happy and cheerful, talking to the runners like their neighbourhood were in the heart of suburbia.  Then there are the former gangers, stood atop the roofs, watching for signs of trouble. They eye the runners with suspicion as they wander up the road.

The background count of the area is mild (1) and has an aura of positivity.  The area under this influence is slowly expanding outward, with the church set in the center of the area.  The church, Our Lady of the Blessed Heart, is warded against astral viewers which is likely to raise some concerns with the runners.  The residents of the area, show no ill effects but an Assensing (4) test shows a mild psychological dependency on an unknown stimulus.

Our Lady of the Blessed Heart is an old brick neighbourhood church that has been patched up from the urban decay that was prevalent in the Barrens.  It has three residents: Father Levi Verbeek, Brother Thomas and Sister Mary. Father Levi is a powerful blood mage and former Theurgist. Brother Thomas and Sister Mary are blood adepts.  While Levi has been doing his best not to succumb to the allures of power that comes from blood magic, Thomas and Mary are already addicted and not afraid to delve into the darkness of that power…

If the runners aim to confront the church, go to Scene 5.  However, if they aim to leave the area unmolested, they can search the district of Redemption for Tyler.  They can find him covered in paint and plaster in one of the homes the community is rebuilding. Seemingly unperturbed by leaving his future with Horizon behind, Tyler is busy patching up walls and repainting with the members of Redemption.  If the runners tell him his mother is concerned, he will smile and say that it completely slipped his mind and that he’ll call her up when his shift is done to let her know he’s safe and happy.

If the runners insist that he returns with them, he and the residents of the district sour on the runners’ presence and he insists that he intends to remain here and help in the rebuilding of Redmond.  If the runners try to remove Tyler, the community immediately becomes hostile and will try to stop the runners. Since these are innocent civilians, they act with mob mentality and no real skill.

Human Residents

B3  A3 R3  S3 W3 L2  I3 C2 Edge 2  Init = 6+1D6

PL4  ML4 SL5

Armor 0

Skills – Blades 3, Clubs 3, Intimidation 3, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Meta Link, Club (Acc 4, 6P, AP 0, Reach 1), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 4P)

Ork Converts

B7(8)  A4 R3 S6  W3 L2 I3 C3  Edge 2 Init = 6+1D6

PL8  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Meta Link, Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

Should the runners decide to watch a service, for the most part the sermon is what they would expect for a Christian service.  Levi is a charismatic speaker and is a strong leader. At the end of the service, he asks the people who’ve gathered who has given back the most since the last service.  The townspeople provide their nominations as to who has helped the community and when they have a clear winner, Father Levi rhymes off all the good they’ve done.

Brother Thomas and Sister Mary wheel out a large crucifix with straps on the arm sections.  Bloodstains adorn the wood where the hands rest and ruts have been carved to allow drainage.  The member of the parish who was nominated walks to the front and allows himself to be strapped to the cross.  In his hands are placed medallions of Isidore (Patron Saint of Manual Labourers) and Anastasia (Patron Saint of Martyrs), as he is secured.  Astrally aware runners can see an Alchemical spell of Resist Pain is applied as he grips the medallions.

Once secured, the medallions are removed and Father Levi draws a long, silvered blade.  The blade is an athame and he places the tip in the palm of the man’s hand. He drives the razor-sharp blade through the man’s hand like stigmata marks, repeating it on the other palm.  As the hand bleeds, Brother Thomas and Sister Mary collect the blood in cups resembling grails. Once filled up, the collectors pour the grails into a bowl, where Levi has been mixing herbs.  The Father mixes the blood with the herbs and using his two lead fingers, he draws a cross on the man’s forehead, muttering a prayer. At the prayer’s conclusion, the stigmata heal up. The man is released and the congregation helps him down and thanks him for his efforts.  Father Levi then tells them that their good fortunes will continue for a time longer. He dips his hands in the bowl of blood and gives them the sign of the cross, while casting a Mob Mood spell, motivating the people to work hard. Any runners in the congregation will need to resist the spell or have a strong compulsion to pitch in.

Scene 5 – Twisted Faith

If the runners opt to get involved in the community’s power structure and take down the blood mage, they will need to enter Our Lady of the Blessed Heart.

Father Levi is out in the main part of the church, where the Brother and Sister are in the back, by the collected blood of the residents.  Levi will know the runner’s intentions immediately via assensing and he will have his athame at the ready and will have notified the adepts.  Brother Thomas is powered up to be strong, and Sister Mary is ramped up on speed. They will drink some of the blood to kick in their Cannibalize Power.  They are similarly armed with blades and will do everything they can to get close to the runners and draw blood. If Levi is forced to, he will summon a blood spirit to assist himself.  His Blood Crystal arm will morph into whatever tools he requires in order to stay alive.

 

Father Levi Verbeek
Christian Theurgist Blood Mage

Father Levi is a man committed to his faith, however, the atrocities he witnessed in the genocidal conflicts in Africa changed him.  Some of the tribes there use blood rites to heal the fallen and he adapted their methods into a Christian way of thinking (“It is through the spilling of Christ’s blood we were all saved”).  He wears black and maroon Catholic style robes and his left arm is made of scarlet crystal. He lost his arm to tribal radicals and the local medicine man “repaired it”. He conceals it with gloves during normal services, but will use it freely in a fight.

B3  A5 R4  S3 W6 L4  I5 C5 Edge 4  Mag 8 Init = 9+1D6 (13+3D6)

PL5  ML7 SL7

Armor 8

Qualities – Crystal Arm

Skills – Spellcasting 9, Blades 9, Summoning 9, Leadership 10, Counterspelling 9, Intimidation 6, Assensing 8, Alchemy 9, Unarmed 4

Knowledge Skills – Theology 10, English N, Yoruba 4, Tribal Rites 6

Gear:  Form Fitting Body Armour (8), Meta Link, Athame Force 6 (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 4P)

Metamagics:  Sacrifice, Masking, Extended Masking, Quickening

Spells:  Mob Mood, Resist Pain (A), Physical Barrier (A), Increase Reflexes (Q), Boil Blood, Viscera Web, Stabilize (A), Heal (A), Foreboding

Force 7 Blood Spirit (Bound)

A disgusting creature resembling an emaciated human torso, with six arms that scamper like some demented insect.  The arms are all slashed up with cuts that cause a seemingly endless flow of blood to run down its “legs”. The head is a human head with eyeless sockets and an unhinged jaw filled with needle like teeth.  Two large angel wings made of muscle and sinew loom over its body, dripping gore as it travels. Composure(3) Test required.

B9  A9 R7  S9 W7 L6  I7 C7 Mag 7  Init = 14+2D6

PL11  ML9 SL9

Armor 14 (Hardened)

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Perception, Running, Unarmed

Powers:  Astral Form, Binding, Energy Drain (Essence, Touch, Physical Damage), Fear, Materialization

Optional Powers:  Natural Weapon (7P), Noxious Breath

Brother Thomas
Christian Blood Adept

Thomas met Levi as the priest traveled across the UCAS and was taken in by his religious teachings.  He became so engrossed by Levi’s tales of trial and hardship in Africa, he begged to be taught in the ways.  He fully bought into the “Blood of Christ” story and has embraced the insanity of blood magic. Wearing the same black and maroon motif as Levi, Thomas is a much larger person.  His powers lend to combat prowess and his ability to cannibalize the blood of others and convert it to raw power has tainted his aura. If the runners face off against the man, his teeth and lower jaw are stained in blood from consumption.

B5(6)  A5 R4 S5(9)  W4(5) L3 I5 C3  Edge 3 Mag 6 Init = 9+1D6 (10+2D6)

PL7  ML5 SL6

Armor 8(12)

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Unarmed 8, Blades 8, Gymnastics 8, Running 8, Swimming 6, Intimidation 8, Clubs 8, Perception 7

Knowledge Skills – Theology 8

Gear:  Form Fitting Body Armour (8), Meta Link, Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 6P(11P))

Metamagics:  Cannibalize, Predator Feast (can consume blood to either gain blood points or Regeneration)

Powers:  Strength Boost 4, Critical Strike (Blades), Increased Reflexes 1, Mystic Armor 4, Blind Fighting, Iron Will

Sister Mary
Christian Blood Adept

Mary was happened upon by Levi at an orphanage as he traveled through the Confederation.  A young elf girl, abandoned by her drug-addicted parents, she was taken in by the Father to become an instrument of the Lord and to help those less fortunate.  Unfortunately for her, she learned those lessons from a man who was a born-again blood mage. While Thomas succumbed to the allure of power, Mary was raised in it.  For her, this is simply the way power is harnessed. She wears a simple black and maroon habit with a coronet on her head, rather than a veil. In combat, she is often caked in blood from head to foot for the added armour.

B3  A7(11)  R4 S3 W5(6)  L3 I5 C5 Edge 3  Mag 6 Init = 9+1D6 (10+2D6)

PL5  ML6 SL7

Armor 8(15)

Qualities – Drug Tolerant, Revenant Adept

Skills – Unarmed 8, Blades 8, Gymnastics 8, Running 8, Arcana 6, Intimidation 8, Clubs 8, Perception 7

Knowledge Skills – Theology 8

Gear:  Form Fitting Body Armour (8), Meta Link, Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 4P(5P))

Metamagics:  Cannibalize, Divination

Powers:  Agility Boost 4, Critical Strike (Blades), Increased Reflexes 1, Mystic Armor 4, Rapid Healing, Iron Will, Blood Bath (Ritual – With 3 successes in place)

Once the priest and deacons have been defeated, the runners will need to escape town quickly, as the residents of Redemption will be upset by the death of their spiritual leaders and get violent.  Once the ritual bloodletting and the resulting magics are no longer a regular occurrence, the town of Redemption will fall into disarray, as people are no longer motivated to help out their neighbours.  Within weeks, the gangs overrun the area and the status quo for the Barrens is restored.

But, the runners get paid, so long as Tyler is returned alive and well…

>> Seems like a lot of cred to go into the bowels of the ‘plex.  What’s been going on out in Redmond lately?
>> Viper

>> Looking for the weekly body count?
>> Trash Panda

>> Saw the weirdest damned thing out there last week.  A nice part of Redmond.  No joke.  A community working to restore a residential burrow.  Even saw a guy painting up an honest-to-God white picket fence… very Stepford feel to the area though.
>> Ratt

>> Because Redmond needs more problems…
>> Slash

Demons of a Fallen God – Black Water Bandits (#Shadowrun)

•March 20, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The unit is contacted by Emmerich after roughly a week and a half off, regarding a Mr. Schmidt in needs of runners with a sense of urgency. Mr. Schmidt would like to meet the team at 9PM at Krangasse (Crane Alley) Taverne.

Scene 1 – Stepping Up

The Krangasse Taverne was so named due to its position on the edge of the corporate district of the city; cranes dot the horizon in a constant bid to upgrade, upscale and outdo their neighbours.  The interior is pretty standard fare for a German pub, in that the interior is a fusion of classic and modern decor with all types of German ales on tap and football on the trid. Most of the residents here are from two walks of life:  corporate or construction. While this dichotomy might strike people as odd, the two cultures seem to get along well in this environment. All just want to watch the game and drown their stress in beer.

Tucked away in the back are a series of small rooms, usually reserved for poker games and private parties.  In one of these rooms is Mr. Schmidt. He is a Caucasian human in a light grey suit with matching tie. Despite his professional demeanour, there are a couple of tells that betrays his nervousness (his pick at his fingernails while idle and his aura will tell any mage that he’s in a hurry to see this done).  As the runners enter, he puts on his salesman smile and once all runners have arrived, he motions to the chairs across the table and gets right to work.

“Guten Abend (Good Evening).  I have a matter of some urgency I would like to discuss with you.  The corporation I represent recently had a critical shipment stolen from them by terrorists in the city’s east side.  We cannot afford to lose the shipment, nor do we have jurisdiction to pursue it… which is where you come in. We are prepared to offer you 6,000¥ apiece to go into Wildost, locate our merchandise and return it to us.  A list of goods will be provided to you upon your acceptance of the task.”

Mr. Schmidt is being particularly vague for good reason.  The materials that were stolen are fundamental pieces of a nuclear reactor, including several used fuel rods.  The repercussions of these materials falling into criminal hands are dire and could spell a major downturn in the corporation’s status.

Mr. Schmidt can negotiate and is willing to, given how sensitive the information is that the runners will have access to.  Once they’ve settled on terms, Mr. Schmidt tells them that tools for handling depleted uranium, as well as two Type B drums of spent fuel rods were taken.  With the dangers of having lost radioactive material in Hamburg, the runners are tasked with retrieving it. The drums are very heavy, so if the runners need to move them, be sure to bring any required materials.

Mr. Schmidt
Corporate Recruiter – Connection 5, Loyalty 1
Possible Sources – Corporate Contacts, Shadowrunners

1/2 – Mr. Schmidt is Johannes Halbeck, a black ops recruiter for Ruhrmetall.

2/4 – Halbeck is the premiere shadowrunner recruiter for the AA Corp and is called upon when something must absolutely get done.  No nonsense and practical, he has a strong reputation in the shadows, only erasing shadowrunners who have screwed up severely.

4/10 – He has no family or strong ties to anyone, as he is acutely aware of the hazards of his role.  He has several vices that he uses to unwind, but if Ruhrmetall knows about them, they seem not to care.  Halbeck has considerable autonomy to contract out as needed, so long as he gets results.

Ruhrmetall AG
Heavy Industry Corporation
Possible Sources – Corporate (Heavy Industry, Energy)

1/2 – Ruhrmetall is a major player in Heavy Industry; big enough to be in Saeder Krupp’s own backyard and compete with the AAA giant.

2/4 – Ruhrmetall has voting stock in Transoceanic Mining and MET 200K, as well a place on the ruling council of the Prometheus Council that currently runs Proteus AG.  They even have their own Urban Brawl Team. Their European control is expansive and influential.

4/7 – With one of the largest standing forces on call for a AA Corporation, they have 5000 soldiers in the AGS alone, including magical and digital forces.  MET is also able to send reinforcements at a moment’s notice

7/11 – With the Corporate Court review pending, Ruhrmetall is in the top companies being considered for a seat on the council.  Lofwyr is not about to allow another Essen-based company to rise to the top…

Matrix:  The Hamburg Grid is state of the art and has nearly infinite bandwidth.  However, with all of this bandwidth, the local companies have been exploiting the crap out of it.  Getting this close to the downtown core seeing the runners getting bombarded with limitless AR spam unless they have a top notch spam filter.  Any Firewalls less than 5 suffer -3 Noise while in the area.

Scene 2 – Into the Wildost

After the runners have taken their leave of Herr Schmidt, they runners can head to the Eastern side of the city.  On the site of an old Polish refugee camp, a series of walkways and sunken concrete walkways is all that remains of this former valley.  Now a black moor of sludge and pollution, the Wildost consists of walkways of wood and sheet metal where boats are tied to a bazaar of black market goods.  All the goods here are common items, with the rare find for the intrepid shopper. Everything here is hot, so if the characters look to acquire goods here, be sure to note anything they purchase.

The pirates here are suspicious types and asking the wrong questions will see guns drawn quickly.  German pirates seem to know nothing about stolen nuclear parts (and wisely choose to stay out of that business) and direct them to the Eastern docks, where the Polish crews run out of.

The Polish docks are a noisy affair with people shouting to be heard over the competition, as they try to peddle their wares.  Weathered weapons of the Polish civil war seem to be one of the popular items on the market. Asking about nuclear fuel rods will see people roll their eyes and refer to Czarna Woda (Black Water), a local crew who has recently been heard boasting about the heist they pulled off.

As the runners are getting directions to where the Black Water dock, one of the crew has overheard all of this.  Taking off at a sprint and spraying the crowd with bullets, the Polish pirates are in motion. A quick radio out to the other crewmates sees people scattered around the docks running toward their respective craft.  The runners have their work cut out for them, trying to stop them all and they will jump aboard their boats and try to escape. Falling into the moor is inherently fatal to the pirates that fall in, as… something big, pulls them under, as they frantically try to escape the polluted waters.  They will need at least one pirate alive to interrogate.

Czarna Woda Pirates (human baseline)

B4 A4 R3 S4 W3 L3 I3 C3  Init 6+1D6

Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 4, Social Limit 5

Armor 9

Skills: Automatics 4, Blades 4, Intimidation 5, Perception 3, Pilot Watercraft 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Local Crime 3, Local Area Knowledge (Wildost) 4

Qualities: Toughness

Ceska Black Scorpion (M.Pistol, Acc 5, 6P, SA/BF, AP 0, 35(c), Folding Stock)

Armor Vest

Renraku Sensei

Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)

Combat Knife (Reach 0, 6P, AP -3, Acc 6)

Airboat Chassis (AirRanger Heavy from Rigger 5), modified With Weapon mounts and improved Handling.

Main Boat (Nightrunner from Rigger 5)

Sea Leech (from Howling Shadows)

Once the pirates are defeated, either via interrogation or (if no pirates survived the attack), the pirate hideout has a server that holds the financial transaction records that shows that the theft of RuhrMetall’s goods was an ordered hit, paid for by a Grüne Zellen (Green Cell) led by Liesel Wahl, an eco-terrorist who feels that the corporations still haven’t learned the lesson taught to us by the Black Tide.  The exchange has already occurred, but the server/pirate’s commlink has the GPS location of the delivery point.

Liesel Wahl
Corporate Recruiter – Connection 5
Possible Sources – Green Factions, Law Enforcement Contacts

1/2 – Liesel Wahl is an outspoken social activist, turned radical extremist.

2/4 – Ms. Wahl was an advocate for the cleaning up of the German coastline in the wake of the Black Tide, but was overruled by the governing council, in lieu of corporate interests.

4/10 – After being repeatedly blocked by the corporations and the coastal parts of the city still flooded with toxic sludge, she has vowed to show the AGS and corporations within Hamburg in particular, that the ecology of the city is more important than the bottom line.

Matrix:  The Hamburg Grid is state of the art and has nearly infinite bandwidth.  The Wildost part of the city is vastly removed from the city and regular data traffic.  The advantage of the isolated pocket in proximity to the city is the Noise reduction, resulting in a clean signal, this far removed from the spam zone of downtown.

Scene 3 – Street Racing (optional scene)

The portion of Hamburg the Green Cell has hold up in is within the flooded quarter of the city.  The runners will need to find a way to traverse these flooded streets without exposing themselves to the black water here.  The most likely option is via boat, though an air drop is also possible.

If the runners were fortunate enough to avoid the chase with the Czarna Woda, the GM can opt to have rival pirates chase the runners down through the flooded streets as they make their way to the target.  This could be a fun scene of weaving through ruined buildings, trying to shake off the tail they’ve picked up. The pirates will herd the team into a kill box where the enemy has snipers set up in a dead end, if given the opportunity.  Use the stats and vehicles from Scene 2 to represent the NPCs in this scene.

Matrix:  As the runners return into the city proper, the Matrix Noise increases, though the flooded portions of the city are less populous than the inland portions.  The Matrix here is devoid of oppressive signals and there are no modifiers, though there are more nodes cluttering up the landscape here.

Scene 4 – Under the Tide

The location provided to the runners is an abandoned office tower that appears to have not weathered the Black Tide with grace.  The mirrored glass is marred with water stains and drips of rusty water have scarred the exterior. Despite all outward appearances that the building is derelict, there is a gap in the glass on the building’s North side that leads to an interior chamber with boats tied to repurposed office equipment.

The upper floors of the building are abandoned and dilapidated.  There is little or no security on these levels, unless the runners make a loud entrance.  The “black pool” level is lightly guarded and is centered on guarding the one secured means to the submerged levels.  One of the stairwells serves as a conduit to the two lower levels that are now underwater. The first level down serves as a storage level and a barracks of sorts, while the lower level has been fortified, with a heavy wooden conference table and filing cabinets set up as a bunker and guards stationed behind them (ready for action if the runners have been noisy on their way in).  The conference room the table came from has been cleared and turned into a workshop, where the eco-terrorists are assembling their dirty bomb.

The bomb is nearly ready.  If gunfire erupts, the first round of combat sees the demolitions expert finish his work.  If it’s looking like they will lose the fight, Liesel will activate the bomb. It isn’t the planned location, but she aims to make her statement anyways.  If the bomb gets armed, they’ll need to either force the bomb maker to disarm it, or pass a Demolitions+Logic (3) test to dismantle the explosive. The room with the bomb has unshielded radioactive isotopes in it and every round the runners are in the room they will take radiation damage (3P damage, no armor allowed unless it has radiation shielding, net hits = rating of Nausea).

Terrorists (human baseline)

B4 A5 R4 S4 W4 L3 I4 C3  Init 8+1D6

Physical Limit 6, Mental Limit 5, Social Limit 6

Armor 6

Skills: Automatics 5, Blades 5, Intimidation 6, Perception 3, Pistols 4, Unarmed 6, Demolitions 5 (Bomb-Maker Only)

Knowledge:  History (Ecological Disasters) 4(6), Local Area Knowledge (Hamburg) 4, Radioactive Material 4

Qualities: Toughness

Colt Cobra TZ-120 (SMG, Acc 4(5), 7P, All, RC 2(3), AP 0, 32(c), Folding Stock, Top-mounted Laser Sight, Gas Vent II)

MCT EE Suit (Chemseal, Fire Resist 4, Radiation Shielding 6)

Renraku Sensei

Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)

Knife (Reach 0, 5P, AP -1, Acc 5)

Liesel Wahl

Liesel is a German-born human woman who has spent her entire life in proximity to the black waters of the Black Tide.  A mousy woman with brown hair and eyes and short in stature, she is easily lost in a crowd of her peers. She has studied the ecological disaster extensively over the years and despite being mundane, has studied enough magical theory that she believes the planet vomited up all the waste man had dumped into the North Sea over a century.  Taking her findings to numerous ecological commissions, she was hushed and sent away every time, the Corporate Court trying to stifle her research. Rather than continue her research independently, she became so frustrated with the exploitation of the environment that she radicalized her point of view and aims to “force” the Corporate Court into seeing her point of view.

B4 A5 R4 S3 W5 L3 I4 C4  Init 8+1D6

Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 5, Social Limit 7

Armor 6

Skills: Automatics 5, Blades 5, Perception 3, Pistols 4, Unarmed 6, Etiquette 5, Leadership 7, Negotiation 7

Knowledge:  History (Ecological Disasters) 5(7), Local Area Knowledge (Hamburg) 5, Radioactive Material 4, Magical Theory 3

Qualities: Blandness

Colt Cobra TZ-120 (SMG, Acc 4(5), 7P, All, RC 2(3), AP 0, 32(c), Folding Stock, Top-mounted Laser Sight, Gas Vent II)

MCT EE Suit (Chemseal, Fire Resist 4, Radiation Shielding 6)

Renraku Sensei

Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)

Knife (Reach 0, 5P, AP -1, Acc 5)

With the terrorists defeated, the runners will want to transmit the location of the disarmed bomb to Mr. Schmidt, so his people can reclaim their cargo safely.  With images of the rigged up explosive, Mr. Schmidt sheepishly offers up the mentioned payment and in exchange for the team’s silence on what might have been, he offers to advocate for them in corporate circles.

>> Anyone got any intel on the cargo truck that got hit the other day?  Think this might be related?
>> Spec

>> I’m pretty sure they’re one and the same… a friend of mine in Corp circles says that Ruhrmetall was shipping spent uranium to their disposal site when things got real loud.  Not exactly the kinda stuff you want in the wind.
>> Groundwire

>> Missing radioactive waste?  I guess I’d better knock Hamburg off my vacation list…
>> Noir

Between the Darkness and the Light (#Shadowrun)

•February 11, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This was going to be the third run of the Fallen Angel campaign before it was cancelled.  Instead I ran this one as a standalone run over two sessions.

The runners are contacted by Judge regarding a new job and asked to meet up with him at the Penumbra at his usual table for 7PM.

Scene 1 – Babysitting 101

The runners show up at the Penumbra not long after they open the doors for the night and the crowd size is still not at its maximum for the night when the runners are set to meet up with Judge.  After their sloppy work at Shiawase, he has been trying to find them new work, where their standing rep would be of less consequence.

When the team convenes, Judge looks them over, nods and says, “All right, it looks like we’re all here.  I’ve got a line on some work… it’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills. After the passing of Prop 23 and the Ork Underground becoming a recognized district of the city, whether Brackhaven likes it or not, he has to look after his people.  The old tunnels and buried shops that make up the Underground aren’t exactly the healthiest place in the city. So, as a token of faith, several old air purification units are getting brought up to code to help combat the risk of airborne infection in more remote areas of the Underground.  However, the residents don’t trust anyone to help them, so several groups are blocking the update, even though it’s to their benefit.

“Therefore, you’re being offered a job to protect the city employee doing the work from any threats that arise.  Hopefully, you spend the evening babysitting this person and nothing happens, but they don’t want to risk it. You’re being offered 5,000¥ apiece for an evening’s work.  Interested?”

Despite the job being easy on paper, there is a lot that can go wrong on this job.  Judge hasn’t done a deep dive on the person the runners are escorting and it’s a mistake that could come back to bite them in the end.

Judge can negotiate a little, though their history of not planning ahead will hold them back some.  Once they’ve agreed to take the job, Judge tells them that they are to escort a Rachel Foster to various areas around the downtown area.  She will meet them at the Big Rhino for 10PM tonight and she will tell them where they need to go in order to complete her task. Upon the third and final installation, she’ll call her superiors that the work is done and then Judge will receive the payment from the client.

Rachel Foster

Rachel is a human woman at 5’8” and carrying a few extra pounds on her frame.  Her hair is cut short, just above the shoulder and is dull brown in colour with grey roots starting to show.  When the runners encounter her, she’s wearing a public utility emblazoned set of coveralls and has two containers with her; her toolkit and the satchel carrying the replacement filters.  She is unarmed and is genuinely intimidated by the runners escorting her. She will gravitate toward any human runners over metahumans.

City Employee / Public Works
Possible Sources – City Contacts

1/2 – Rachel is a virtual nobody in the grand scheme of things.  A woman in her early forties, married with two children. She has worked for the city for six years.

2/4 – Her husband, William, works in city hall as a computer technician.  Their kids are in public school, ages 13 and 11. Both boys, Eric and Jonathan, are average students.

5/8 – Despite both adults working full time, the Fosters are struggling to pay the bills due to the rapidly rising cost of living in Seattle.  The fact that Rachel is putting in an extra shift at 10PM shows that she needs the money

9/12 – Analyzing her charitable donations and voting records, shows that Rachel and her family are Brackhaven supporters and donors to Humanis.

Scene 2 – Meeting at the Rhino

The Big Rhino is a boisterous place.  Recognized as one of the main entrances to the Ork Underground, it sees a lot of foot traffic from visitors and residents alike.  The Rhino specializes in foods catering to the ork and troll palette; large portions and heavily spiced. Brave runners can try to tackle one of the meals here, but ultimately they are here to meet up with Rachel Foster.

They find the human woman at a table on the outside of the restaurant interior.  She is cowering against the wall, looking annoyed at the loud, jovial laughter of a table of trolls nearby.  She visibly starts when the runners greet her loudly to get her attention over the noise. She speaks nervously, almost avoiding eye contact entirely.

“You’re here to escort me, right?  I really don’t know that this is necessary, but thank you.  Here’s a chip with the places I need to get to. I recommend we travel above ground and go down when needed.  I hear they don’t take kindly to my kind down there…”

The chip has three locations on it.  There is one not far from the Rhino, one to the North, toward Snohomish and another eastward toward Bellevue.

Rachel is eager to get to work and finish her extra shift as quickly as possible (as well as get away from all the orks and trolls here), but she’ll answer any preliminary questions the runners have.  There shouldn’t be any reason for combat here, unless the runners have a history with the citizens of the Underground.

Scene 3 – The Suspicious

The location closest to the Big Rhino is accessible through a service entrance off an office tower.  Rachel’s city clearance gives her access to the service accessway, but not the office tower as a whole.  The service corridors run along the outside of the building’s infrastructure. An old water-stained concrete stairwell leads down under the building into recently-repurposed tunnels that branch out away from the building.  After following old signage for a distance, the runners come out into a clearing filled with pipes, conduits and wires, serving as a hub for power and water to run through the city and into the Underground. Standing between the runners and the filtration system are a large group of ork gangers, wearing the colours of the Skraacha.  The local “neighbourhood watch” of the Ork Underground spread out and show off their assorted weapons, ranging from clubs to shotguns and bar the runner’s path.

“Ain’t nobody comin’ through here.  Rumour has it that someone’s been poisoning the orks under the city and we can’t afford for that to go on.  So, you can just turn around and take your business elsewhere. You’re not welcome here.”

In order to get paid, the runners will need to get that filter installed.  The runners might wonder if there is any validity to the Skraacha statements about someone poisoning the Underground and naturally Rachel denies everything.  A chemsniffer of Rachel’s gear reveals nothing.

The poison isn’t on the filter itself, but rather contained in the sealant used to secure the filter to the filtration system.  In the aerosolized container, the strain of VITAS being used is fully sealed against detection.

If the runners fight the orks, they will need to scare them off enough to allow Rachel access to the filtration panels.  The process involves opening up the housing, pulling the old filter out, popping in the new filter and then applying a sealant to the upper and lower junctions.  The strain of VITAS being used is stored toward the top of the can, so Rachel makes a point of sealing the lower junction first (past the filter). Any runner can attempt an Industrial Mechanic+Logic (3) to realize that the filters being replaced, while dirty are nowhere near ready for replacement.  If asked about it, Rachel rolls her eyes and says that after all of the public hoopla over the situation, the replacements are occurring on an accelerated cycle, despite the cost, to save face. The story is legitimate, so Assensing will not reveal any ill intent with the cover story.

Ork Ganger

B7(8)  A4 R3 S6  W3 L2 I3 C3  Edge 2 Init = 6+1D6

PL8  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Meta Link, Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

Matrix:  The Seattle Grid is harder to access under the streets of the city.  Due to the old infrastructure and abandoned nature of the area there is a Noise penalty of 4 for any Matrix actions in this part of the undercity.

Scene 4 – The Desperate

The northern location sees an old retail store left to decay in the presence of the surrounding corporate subsidiaries.  With a chain and padlock barring the door, Rachel has a key to unlock the padlock and allow them access into the derelict structure.  The building is in a state of advanced decay and collapse as they descend to the basement. A ladder has been placed in a section of collapsed floor, leading down into a series of abandoned tunnels under the building.

The urban decay doesn’t fade away once in the undercity.  The tunnels are in an advanced state of collapse and the runners will be forced to scurry through narrow spaces in order to reach the end point.

In a similar clearing to the one near the Rhino, the filtration system is sitting exposed to the air, with several pieces of the assembly missing.  Rachel is immediately panicked by the sabotaged filter and asks the runners to try and locate the pieces of the assembly.

As they explore the area, they find an area that has been better maintained and decorated by more “ornate” debris from around the tunnels.  In an old maintenance room, they find an old ork with cataracts in his eyes muttering to himself. Inside the room, ornate designs have been laid out on the walls, the floor and the meager furnishings.  The patterns are elaborate, especially for a man who’s mostly blind. The pieces of the filtration assembly have been included in the designs that adorn the room.

The old man is happy to have visitors, but suffers from dementia.  Sometimes, he refers to people by seemingly random names. He appears to talk to himself often and anyone who can see the astral plane can see a free spirit hovering over the old man’s shoulder, whispering in his ears.

The spirit is a relatively low force free air elemental, who feels protective of the sickly old ork.  The spirit has directed the man to decorating the space in a way that is pleasing for the both of them.  The spirit is willing to let the runners take the pieces they need, so long as they remain respectful and don’t threaten the old man.

Crazy Old Ork

B6  A4 R3  S5 W3 L2  I3 C3 Edge 2  Init = 6+1D6

PL7  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

Free Spirit of Man (Force 6)

Has all Powers plus the following:

Banishing Resistance, Personal Domain, Psychokinesis, Influence, Shielding (as per Grade 3), Fear

Once they have retrieved the pieces, Rachel can start reassembling the unit and installing the new filter.

Matrix:  Similar to Scene 3, the Noise for this buried portion of the city is 4.

Scene 5 – The Hungry

The Eastern location lies beneath the sewers.  The sewers are a disgusting mess of water-logged refuse and God knows what else and Rachel seems to step gingerly around all perceived messes toward a service tunnel that connects two major series of tunnels.  A rusted out ladder descending below the main level takes them down into a darkened series of corridors. Without flashlights, visibility is almost non-existent, even for those with low-light vision.

Exploring deeper into the darkened tunnels, the bodies of desiccated animals dot the area until they arrive in a large, disused holding tank.  The filtration assembly is set into one of the walls. However, the room is the den for several feral ghouls and a wendigo. They will attack en masse against the runners in a flash of flashlights and teeth.

Ghouls are Orks, so add 2 to Body and Strength

Wendigo Adept Powers:  Improved Reflexes 1 (1.5), Strength Boost 4 (1.0), Mystic Armor 4 (2.0), Cloak 2 (0.5), Pain Resistance 2 (1.0)

Wendigo Spells:  Improved Invisibility, Vampiric Stealth, Manabolt, Detect Ork, Mob Mood, Spirit Zapper

Assuming Rachel survives the attack, she will complete the repairs and the job will be complete.  Otherwise, one of the runners will need to make an Industrial Mechanic+Logic(3) test to install the hardware themselves.  Using Rachel’s commlink in some way, they can contact city hall and let them know the job is done.

Matrix:  Similar to Scene 3, the Noise for this buried portion of the city is 4.

Scene 6A – The Aftermath (Assuming the runners finish the job)

Once the filters are put in place and Rachel calls her boss, the runners get a call from Mr. Johnson.  He asks them to head for a local bus station in order to receive their payment and to bring Rachel with them.  The bus station is a busy hub of activity even at the wee hours of the morning and there are extensive cameras in the area.

As they arrive, Mr. Johnson will call them again and tell them to go to locker 34 and enter the combination 4912.  Inside the locker they find a backpack with credsticks amounting to the agreed upon sum. Mr. Johnson confirms that the amount is correct before requesting that the runners release Rachel and wait until she’s away before they take their leave.

Once Rachel has gotten into a prepaid cab, Mr. Johnson thanks them for their efforts and hangs up.

With the job complete, assuming the runners haven’t done anything to change the circumstances, the runners have not only given Mr. Johnson camera footage of what looks like a ransom drop, but when the VITAS outbreak kills several orks in the Underground, it gets traced back to the filters they helped Rachel plant.  Rumours direct the blame from Brackhaven over to Humanis members, but the shadow rumour mill points back to the team and Judge. The runners gain a point of Notoriety and Judge’s reputation takes a hit.

Scene 6B – The Confrontation (Assuming the runners learn of the plot and aim to stop it)

At some point along the way, the runners catch wind of the plan to infect the residents of the Underground and move to put a stop to it.

If confronted about it, Rachel feigns ignorance at first.  She folds right away under pressure and tells them that she wasn’t told the nature of the attack; only that she would be helping to “reassert human dominance in Seattle”.  If pressured to give a name, she gives them the name David Mussina.

Mussina’s ties to Humanis are well documented, though the policlub has done their best to publicly distance themselves from him, due to his “extreme views and methods”.  Unofficially, they support him as his methods get results that supports their agenda. If the runners follow up and storm Humanis, they find out from anyone they interrogate that Mussina has gone to ground.  When word of the attack’s failure reaches him, he destroys his commlink and disappears into the city.

If the runners care to pursue him, he can resurface later for them to track down and bring to justice.

David Mussina

David is a human man at 5’11” and an athletic build. A man in his prime (mid-thirties), he is an entitled man from a privileged upbringing.  He’s a financial planner by training and the money he has earned goes toward furthering his racist agenda. The polo shirts and slacks are the uniform for his form of hatred, being a bully in almost every aspect of his life.  He shows outright contempt and revulsion toward orks and trolls, while elves and dwarves elicit subtle barbs. While he does typically carry a sidearm, he’s only barely trained at the range and is not much threat.

Financial Planner / Humanis Extremist
Possible Sources – Bankers, Brokers, Hate Groups, Humanis

1/2 – David is an independent financial planner and bachelor.  He is very good at his job, but his clientele is evidently all human.

2/4 – An active member of Humanis, he donates generously to the idea of human supremacy, as he was forced out of his last corporate job by elves.  Striking out independently has worked very well for him in the end, but he only sees the arrogance.

5/8 – Living in the heart of Renton, he recruits from the white collar portion of the population, though he finds that Humanis’ views are harder to digest in the corporate sector.  Not gaining much traction, he has turned from passive protest to extreme action

9/12 – Keeping track of his clients’ portfolios, he knows about vacant homes and properties in the area, where he typically disappears to when the heat is on.

>> I hate escorting some civvy through the bowels of the city… they’re always ill-prepared and an unwanted liability.
>> Havik

>> Anyone feel there’s something off about this job?
>> Conspir-I-See

>> Want to know what feels off?  Trace the funding for your employer on this one and you’ll find where the stink comes from…
>> Uruk Hai

Demons of a Fallen God Part 3 – Dredging the Bottom (#Shadowrun)

•January 9, 2019 • 1 Comment

With the runners having fled Ukraine, the media is making a spectacle of the events in Kiev.  The runners are being blamed for the explosions and framed for the death of their fixer. Interpol has been called in on the hunt for these “terrorists”.  The shadows are much less one-sided on the issue, but there is enough debate about what’s going on that an air of mistrust is brewing. After a week of laying low, so far, there hasn’t been any signs of fallout.  Emmerich reaches out after a long silence and says he has a line on some work. The meet is tonight at 10:15 at Das Rattenloch, if they’re interested in what Mr. Johnson has to say. The options have been slim, due to the media slander against them, so he apologizes for the type of work.  He recommends “gutter chic” attire (essentially club wear for a dive)

Scene 1 – The Rat Hole

When the runners look up Das Rattenloch, the address they are given doesn’t conform to any actual building, but rather an area on the waterfront.  The water surrounding Hamburg is still heavily polluted in this area and the air is filled with a sickly tang of industrial chemical and human sewage.  The lights from the street, and the wharf lighting don’t reach down here as the stairs descend downward, closer and closer to the water’s edge, below the tide line.  Only an hour before, the entire area was under the thick, black sludge.

Upon getting to the edge of the access way, a water drainage pipe is visible with AR signage only, proclaiming that the Rathole is just ahead.  With only AR or low-light vision to guide them, they find a sealed metal door, black with sludge with rust around the edges. Banging on the door will hear the latch be released and the door open.  An ork with several obvious transhumanist cybernetic mods and an LED tattoo over his mouth nods in welcome as the tattoo forms a marquee welcoming them to the club.

The club is a series of connected tunnels, sealed off from the drainage system, with only the minimally required structural supports remaining.  The makeshift sound system, is wired haphazardly, dangling from the roof in various places, blasting whatever the most recent hacker has decided to pipe through the system (currently, that would be Fresnel Fuzz, a form of manipulation of white noise to create rhythm).  The room is crammed with bodies, gyrating to the music/noise in whatever way they feel is appropriate. The bar is an armored booth with bulletproof glass, where you interact with the menu and barkeep via AR. All the drinks are in unmarked clear bottles. Some look dangerous…

Asking at the bar for Mr. Johnson gets them thumbed to a corner of the bar.  In the corner furthest from where the entered is a human man picking his fingernails with a combat knife.  He is heavily tattooed, wearing combat boots (which are propped up on the table as they approach) and riding leathers.  When the runners walk up, he pulls his boots down and motions for them to sit (the chairs look less than comfortable). He speaks with a German accent, but his tattoos definitely reveal him to be Vory.

“Welcome.  Your fixer assures me you can get the task I require complete and yes, I’ve heard all the dirty rumours about you.  I don’t particularly care. I am smuggler by trade and normally, I don’t require outside intervention for getting my goods into Germany, but recently the corporations have been trying to assert their control of the city again, which is complicating a time-sensitive delivery.  Therefore, I need to secure alternate avenues.”

Mr. Johnson places a dossier on the table, topped with a picture of a grinning man in a suit.

“I have chosen this man:  Albrecht Wrangel. He runs a BMW facility in Emden, which could easily mask my merchandise among the amount of product he moves.  However, he is closely watched by his keepers and my associates can’t get close to him. So, your job is to find significant leverage against him that I can use to persuade him to agree to my plan.  Personal or professional, or any combination of the two… I don’t care. Give me the power to manipulate him and I will pay you 3000¥ apiece for your troubles.”

Naturally, he is low-balling the team, using their reputation against him.  A shrewd negotiator can bump up the price a little, but on paper, the job is pretty basic.

Once the runners agree, he nods and shakes the hand of whatever negotiator was working for the team.  “Great, here’s my commcode and call me when you’ve got something I can use.”

Mr. Johnson

Vory Smuggler – Connection 3, Loyalty 1

Possible Sources – Shadowrunners, Underworld, Smugglers

1/2 – Mr. Johnson is Erik Moser aka “Iron Ghost”.  He is a smuggler that runs the Baltic Sea, moving weapons and drugs throughout the Scandinavian Union, Germany and Northern France.  He has known ties to the Vory, but has burned bridges with the Russian Vor.

2/4 – Not a typical hiring party, but when the corporations are involved, he has numerous companies looking for him in regards to stolen property and can’t afford to be seen in the area.

4/10 – The Red Vory are none too happy with the Iron Ghost having stolen their Baltic weapons trade and are offering a small bounty on the smuggler.  So far the amount is small enough that no one takes the contract seriously, but if he continues to undermine the business out of St. Petersburg, he could find himself in dangerous waters.

Albrecht Wrangel

Factory Foreman – Connection 4, Loyalty 1

Possible Sources – Corporate (Heavy Industry), Charity Organizations (North German League)

1/2 – Albrecht is a man who rose from humble beginnings in Bremen in the ranks of BMW, starting off as an apprentice mechanic, but showing a head for business savvy.

2/4 – He has been heading the manufacturing division in Emden for the past 6 years and is a resident of Wilhemshaven.  He is a known philanthropist, giving to several German charities for rebuilding Northern German infrastructure and housing the homeless.

4/7 – Albrecht has been the proverbial playboy for many years, never settling down, but lately he has a girlfriend that has been lasting far longer than any previous relationships.  There is talk that he may finally have found the one person he can spend his life with.

7/11 – The numbers put out by Albrecht’s BMW plant are extremely impressive, cranking out more units than any other German facility, while producing a reduced environmental footprint.  Saeder-Krupp parades the numbers proudly, but many think the facility is doctoring their numbers.

Matrix:  The German grid is very comprehensive so Noise is almost not a factor save for areas with a lot of wireless traffic.  Luckily, the runners are likely avoiding major population centers to avoid being detected.

The grid for Das Rattenloch is as chaotic as the club itself.  Hackers pretty much have the ability to render the space as they wish, so it’s a dizzying array of hacker tags, overlapping themes but a distinct lack of Matrix security, leaving the system wide open for people to do as they wish.

Scene 2 – The Law Catches Up

As the runners are getting ready to head out to start digging up dirt on Albrecht Wrangel, any runners that have not wiped out their old commlinks find themselves being trailed by the local authorities.  Within Hamburg, the police will resort to simple tailing, but once outside the city, the runners will find themselves running into roadblocks and security checkpoints. If they continue to resist throwing away their commlinks and any other traceable hardware, the police will continue to track them down and depending on how the runners behave, the police will bring in bigger and bigger weapons to take down the runners.

Interpol 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)

Vehicles are BMW I8 Interceptors for chases and Dodge Goliaths for Roadblocks (see Rigger 5)

Scene 3 – Submerged Industry

Both of the towns of Emden and Wilhelmshaven are afloat by corporate will alone.  When the Black Tide hit Northern Germany, many of the northernmost towns were wiped off the map.  However, the manufacturing facilities in Emden and the port in Wilhelmshaven justified their salvation.  Saeder-Krupp in partnership with Proteus shored up the city limits, cleaned up after the disaster and returned the cities to their original glory, save for the North Sea now completely surrounding both cities.

The feel of the two cities are very different.  Emden definitely gives off a working-person’s vibe, with factories and manual labour being the primary focus for the city.  The housing is basic, but comfortable enough and the roads are extra wide to allow for the large number of trucks that roll through the city.  Wilhelmshaven, despite having a deep water port, is more of an executive’s town. The waterfront sees more cruise ships than freighters any more and as a result, the city is very clean looking, with more land per home and greater police presence.

Albrecht Wrangel lives in Wilhelmshaven and works in Emden, so his commute accounts for a chunk of every day.  On the surface, Albrecht looks like a boy scout. No back taxes, gambling debts or ties to organized crime. He’s a poster boy for Saeder-Krupp’s automotive division, as BMW has been turning out some very impressive numbers since he took the foreman role.  His girlfriend is from a well respected family in the AGS and he seems to dote on her hand and foot.

He spends a considerable chunk of his personal wealth on charities and digging into his life reveals little of note.  The runners will need to dig into his place of work to find the dirt they need for leverage against him.

The factory in Emden is large and impressive.  The robotics that fill the factory floor run day and night with minimal supervision, but security is always around to ensure the grounds remain secure.  The site maintains high safety standards and hasn’t had any incidents of note. The information the runners are looking for is locked away in a hidden node on their server.

In one of those “it’s always been done this way” processes, the waste from the manufacturing process that has been recycled so many times, the material is useless, many of the more hazardous materials are collected by the machines in an automated process and siphoned off into a bin that is loaded onto a truck and discarded.  These volumes are never recorded on the system, making the plant look more efficient and “green”.

The hidden subsystem contains the subroutine that powers the process as well as coordinates that are to be loaded into the truck that deposits the waste.

Even though there is no evidence that code was written by Albrecht, Mr. Johnson says he can use the data and wants photographic evidence of the dump site.

Matrix:  The area the runners are in is vastly Saeder-Krupp controlled and the local grid is very similar is structure and function to the S-K Corporate grid.  Once they need to gain access to the BMW Factory host, they step into something a little more unique.

BMW Factory Grid

The logo for the BMW grid is a BMW logo that immediately shifts and contorts robotically to allow the hacker to step into a BMW showroom.  The air smells of new car smell and the space is climate controlled to perfection, like a suitably air conditioned building in the middle of a warm summer day.  The sales staff are attractive men and women, standing off to the side, smiling without approaching to give a pressure-free environment to peruse the cars. The cars are all interactive, allowing the user to add or remove features from the displayed model, to show them what the color looks like, or whether they like the feel of the cabin.  Accessing the sales staff starts the ball rolling on making a purchase. Accessing the service department take them into an impossibly tidy garage, with a rugged looking mechanic greeting them, asking what the problem with the vehicle seems to be.

If the hacker finds his way into the manufacturing floor (easiest point of entry is through the vehicle customization interface), they are instead greeted with a much less sculpted interface that directs the build order of vehicles and the individual protocols of the robotics.

Icons for files in the main dealership are rendered as carbon contracts, while in the manufacturing system they are rendered as the ordered parts the robotics draw from.  Employees, while rarely logged in, use personnel ID pics over humanoid icons. IC appear as S-K officers, as there is no sense beating around the bush any more once a threat has been identified.

Host Rating 7

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

Security Protocol – Patrol IC running at all times, no onsite decker but one quickly logs in remotely at the first sign of trouble.

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.

Scene 4 – Historic Blasphemy

The coordinates in the software points to a small cape of land left over from the Black Tide between Emden and Wilhelmshaven.  The Earth is still poisoned from the Black Tide and the roads don’t provide any official exits from the highway, however there are gaps in the guardrails that a trained eye can pick out and leads down old ill-maintained roads from the small farming towns that used to dot the area.

The location is tied to the outskirts of Aurich, where most of the town was erased by the surging tide and the rest was left a toxic mess.  The dump site itself is the former site of Neuengamme, a sub-location of a Nazi concentration camp. The astral space here is tainted by both the site’s history and the poisons leeched into the Earth.  The only living things here are creatures scavenging for food and warped by the environment. The toxins have erased their fear of humans (or anything, really) and will attack anything they perceive as a threat.

Use the Flatworm Viper and Radhound from Howling Shadows.

The old buildings where many old barrels have been dumped serves as the Flatworm Viper nest, while the Radhounds walk the grounds, looking for food.

Once the runners get proof that BMW has been dumping their waste in the old concentration camp, Mr. Johnson will be satisfied and pay the runners what they were promised.

>> That’s a pittance to get paid for getting tangled up in the wyrm’s company.  Count me out of this one…
>> Wraith

>> It’s Hamburg… someone wanting to make a name for themselves will take it.  My question is why BMW?  There are other companies that ship out of Wilhelmshaven…
>> Czerna Woda

>> Maybe Mr. Johnson is being honest that BMW’s shipment is the only one big enough to conceal their shipment.  They’re definitely the largest name on the wharf.
>> Fulcrum

>> Mr. Johnson, honest?  If you believe that, I’ve got some voting stock in Saeder-Krupp I’m selling cheap…
>> Wraith

In the Name of the All-Mighty – Perilous Teachings (#Shadowrun)

•December 20, 2018 • 1 Comment

As a product of my first clients from Heroes for Hire, I have been running a campaign where the runners are all operatives for the Catholic Church, running out of Rome and Vatican City.  Thus far it has been a very interesting experiment and three sessions in, we’re all having a good time with it.  If the campaign interests you, feel free to follow along with the campaign (or any of my campaigns) on Obsidian Portal.

The team is contacted by Maria De Santis and asked to come to Babington’s Tea Room at Piazza di Spagna for 4PM to discuss a matter of immediate import.

Scene 1 – Tea in the Plaza

The sun is still high in the sky and warm in the tourist-cluttered square when the runners arrive.  Babington’s Tea Room has been established in the same location for over a century and the facade of the place has been faithfully maintained and preserved in that time.  The English-style tea room overlooks Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Plaza) and the base of the Spanish Steps. The throng of metahumanity that moves through the area is impressive, as they move between Trevi Fountain and other classic features of the city.

Maria De Santis is sitting at an outlying table, sipping a tea while people-watching the plaza.  As the runners approach, she motions for them to pull up a chair and asks if they would like some tea.  Once the entire team has arrived, Maria sets down her tea cup and leans in close.

“The Church has needs of your specific set of talents.  A danger lurks in the city that cannot go unchecked any longer.  While the sin and vice peddled in this city after dark is a travesty, we have gotten word that a coven of vampires has been discovered somewhere in our own backyard.  These demons have started a secret church to lure in the easily swayed and who knows what they might do if left to their own devices. Therefore, we require your team to track down this coven and eliminate them.  The team will be rewarded with 6000¥ apiece for their efforts.”

The Church is no stranger to runner ethics, so should the team renegotiate the terms, they will negotiate in good faith, but may try to sway the additional amount to be supplemented with goods instead of cash.

Once the team has settled on an amount, Maria nods in agreement.  She tells them to lean on their contacts to learn the location of this secret church and to contact her when they have exterminated the vampire threat.

Matrix:  The VaticaNet is a grid that permeates the Papal States and some of the other countries that make up the Italian Confederation.  The grid has been molded in the style of Ancient Roman architecture, though looming over top of the Roman roads that connect everything is a glowing crucifix atop St. Peter’s Basilica that reflects the Vatican itself.  The grid is potent within Rome, but some of the more touristy areas are slight spam zones, inflicting Noise 1 or 2 on any hackers in that area.

Scene 2 – The Dark Side of Rome

As the sun sets on Rome, a new side of the city emerges.  Though the light of Vatican City casts a glow over the night sky, the old cobbled streets of Rome house a night market of sin and vice.  The Mafia runs most of the illicit markets that creep out of the shadows and the streets are just as alive at night as they are during the day.

If the runners have contacts in the underbelly of the city, they are likely to bump into them in these illicit markets.  Otherwise, the runners will need to ask around for a secret Church. The unfortunate thing for the runners is that there are several within the city.  There are those that worship the old Roman Gods, underground Muslim Churches left over from the EuroWars and Satanic Churches operating right under the Vatican’s noses.

The first lead the runners get directs them to the large Trastevere neighbourhood on the west side of the Tiber River.  Their contact or bribed individual tells them of an underground cult, that says they worship Satan. Most Satanic Churches “aren’t that bad”, but these guys are “pretty scary”.

The old streets of this district wind through darkened roads and finding people who know about this underground church here shouldn’t be too difficult for those who know where to look.  If they can find someone who is willing to tell/show them where the church is, they find it under a local shop, with the basement converted into a makeshift chapel. This group has read every bit of “Satanic Lore” they can find, showcasing inverted crosses, pentagrams and any other sign of the occult, one can dream up.  The members wear black robes and the floor around the altar is stained in blood (chicken blood, mostly). All the members are disenfranchised with the Catholic Church, but that’s all they have in common. The Church is a non-threat, but the Vatican won’t worry about perceived Satanists being disbanded. This is not the Church they’ve been sent for.

In order to get the right lead, the runners can mention that it’s only open at night with vampires rumoured to be among the congregation.  With a good Charisma+Etiquette roll, they learn about a church in the area east of Esquilino, called Collatino. The area is low income housing primarily and just off the A24.

Matrix:  While most of the areas the runners will be going to may be off the tourist track, with the exception of Collatino, the Matrix is solid in the area.  Collatino, being removed from the center of Rome, suffers from a Noise of 1 due to the weaker Matrix infrastructure.

Scene 3 – Under Collatino

The district of Collatino is made up of several smaller neighbourhoods and the area has fallen into some disrepair in the decades since the fragmentation of the country.  Several refugees of the EuroWars fled here, seeing Rome as a safe haven from attack. As the poor, displaced masses arrived, Collatino was one of the few districts with affordable housing, due to the distance from the Vatican.  As the displaced masses gathered, cheaper housing was erected to take them in and Collatino’s population swelled from 50,000 to over 150,000. Now the district is overpopulated for the infrastructure, yet housing in Collatino is in high demand, due to the lower pricing.  With the Vatican imposing a restriction on building heights and historical preservation, Collatino is at a boiling over point.

In a busy district like Collatino, finding a Church is easy.  Many here are devout Catholics and everyone has “their church” they are happy to direct people to.  Those who keep regular hours don’t seem to know anything about the specific service they’re looking for.  It is the group of graveyard shift workers and those with bizarre schedules that start pointing the runners toward a Catholic Mass for the forgotten masses.

As they investigate, they learn that the ancient Roman sewer system is used as tunnels and shelter for many of the city’s homeless and that recently, many of the homeless have found an Underground Mass they can freely attend.  The homeless demographic is a perfect place for vampires to feed on and the runners will likely delve into the old stone tunnels to seek out the Church.

Being home to the less fortunate, they will defend their homes, such as they are from perceived threats.  The runners could also discover a pack of devil rats to contend with in a darkened section of tunnel.

They eventually find the church in a sandbagged and flushed out section of the old tunnels.  The area surrounding the “Church” is quiet and devoid of all but the basic of life.

Scene 4 – Church of the Damned?

The old tunnels have been blocked off from the usual flow to create a dry patch.  A series of side tunnels have been cleared for storage purposes, holding the mismatched chairs that serve as pews and the pulpit, but the striking part of the Church is that the services here appear to be for a Catholic mass.  Scripture adorns the walls in the form of Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

The services start at midnight and people trickle in from the area.  Many are day labourers, who can’t catch a regular service. A very small number of the parishioners are those infected with HMHVV.  A couple ghouls, a vampire and a gnawer. The priest himself shrouds himself in robes, but when the light in the room catches his features it reveals him to be a Nosferatu.  However, if the runners take time to interview those attending the service, they seem unbothered by the vampiric creatures they share the church with. The uninfected say that “they are just people who have been dealt a bad hand and deserve to worship as much as any of us”.  There are no reported disappearances among the congregation.

The vampiric members of the congregation will be very wary of any line of questioning and they band together for strength in numbers.  The priest will be very talkative and seems genuine in his belief in the Church. He explains that they were devout Roman Catholics before they were exposed to the Virus and they didn’t see a need to stop praying because of their affliction.  They swear that they feed on rats and other vermin from the sewers as much as they can, and use blood banks frequently. For those times where blood banks can’t suffice, they feed on the critically ill and dying and ensure that they mercifully end their prey’s life, rather than turning them into another of them.

The runners have a choice:  these creatures are very aware of their condition and are taking every precaution to minimize their impact on the local population.  Whether the runners believe them or not is another matter (they are being honest). Their other choice is to obey the Church and slay these creatures, despite them spreading the word of God and ending the suffering of the dying.

Vampire, Nosferatu, Gnawer and Ghoul Stats found in the SR5 Core book and Howling Shadows.

The runners will need to provide proof of kill, or something akin to it, especially if they choose to let the vampires escape.

>> This is tantamount to mass murder!  How can the Church condone executing a group because they’re sick?
>> Darwin

>> The immortal soul belongs to God, but these creatures can consume what rightfully belongs to Him.  They must be destroyed.
>> Remiel

>> So, you’re able to murder an entire group of people, go to confession and be absolved.  These people eat so they can survive and pray to the same forgiving God, but are irredeemable.  Interesting viewpoint there, Ms. Double Standard.
>> Red

>> Should you and I cross paths, demon, I’ll send you to Lucifer, so you can discuss the matter more fully.
>> Remiel

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!