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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A Game of Inches – Glory Days Buried (#Shadowrun)

•July 15, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The “Game of Inches” campaign is a long time goal of mine.  I am running a campaign with a small team of recurring characters with a long history together.  The interpersonal interactions between the characters are as much a part of the game as the shadowruns they pull off together.  Set in post-war Bogota, the dynamics of a city in lawlessness has shaped the way the campaign comes together and so far has been an exciting experiment.

Shepherd is contacted as the sun is setting on the city by Mrs. Right, asking him to pull his crew together and meet her at her establishment after sundown (7PM).

Scene 1 – A Den of Sin and Vice

La Mansion was once a ritzy hotel in Bogota’s north end.  The brown brick facade is stained black with the fires that tore through the city and the wrought iron in the windows, once decorative, was now rusting away.  The stone slabs that lead the way to the front doors are cracked and crumbling after years of punishment. Structurally, the building is sound and Mrs. Right does everything she can to maintain the interior, which is nicely furnished still, if somewhat dated.

Greeted at the desk by a gorgeous human woman wearing nothing but a thong (and questionably 18), she asks what services they would like this evening.  When told that Mrs. Right is expecting them, a brief moment of something else flickers across her face (fear? intimidation?) before she smiles and cheerfully asks them to follow her.

At the rear of the building, they are led to a large office where the buxom Mrs. Right is in a tailored suit for her satyr body, completing paperwork.  A plunging neckline shows off her cavernous cleavage, but her demeanour is purely professional. Once the runners are inside, she tells the young woman (apparently named Harmony) she could leave.  Once the young woman is gone and the door is closed, the cold business-like demeanour falls away and she smiles a tusky grin at Shepherd. “Shepherd, querido, how are you?”  She rounds the desk and gives the old ork a tight hug, telling him that he should book an appointment and relax a little while.

After some small talk, she sits back down behind the desk, leaning forward over her desk.  “I suppose we can catch up later. I asked you to come for business. It’s not much, but I hope you will ultimately be successful.  I need you to look for something for a client of mine. Before the war, there was a building in the old Central District called El Museo del Oro (The Museum of Gold).  It used to house the world’s largest collection of gold artifacts.  Since the war, every fleck of gold has been plundered from that old building… but they didn’t only house golden artifacts.  It was a museum, after all. My client is looking for something in particular: an ancient Incan idol that is rumoured to have been last seen in the Museum.  He believes that the basement level may still hold some secrets. The request is two-fold: one of you will wear a simrig harness for the duration of the job to film the expedition.  He is willing to pay each of you 2,000¥ for the search and he will triple the payout, if you can return with the idol. Interested?”

Mrs. Right is giving them all the information she has.  She trusts Shepherd and won’t make this work any harder than it needs to be by hiding intelligence.

She can negotiate the expedition pay, but the absolute max is still going to be 6000¥ for the recovery of the artifact.  Once the runners are on board, she provides them with a holopic of the idol (to scale… it will fit in a human hand) and the GPS location of the old museum, since street directions mean nothing in the central district anymore.

“I wish you all good hunting.  If you are able to recover the idol, bring it back here so I can provide proof to Senor Fernandez (the Spanish version of Mr. Johnson) that the article is genuine.  You can ask Harmony for the simrig… I leave it to you as to who will wear it. Though, I’m afraid it won’t fit a man of your stature…” she says, looking at Slaughterborn.

Matrix:  The North District has only scattered Matrix nodes that are up and running.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 2. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 2 – Treacherous Path (optional scene)

Traveling from Mrs. Right’s to the Central Zone takes the group through gang turf and one of the gangs they attempt to pass through takes offense to their trespass.  The team finds them in a high speed chase through the ruins of the area with an armored Comet (by armored, it refers to metal plating having been bolted to the sedan) and a squad of beat-up Buell Spartan motorcycles.

Bogota Gangers (human baseline)

B4 A4 R3 S4 W3 L2 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 Groundcraft 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Gang Turf 4, Local Area Knowledge (Zona Oeste) 4

Qualities: Toughness

Uzi IV (SMG, Acc 4(5), 7P, BF, RC (1), AP 0, 24(c), Folding Stock, Top-mounted Laser Sight)

Armor Vest

Meta Link

Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)

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

Mercury Comet from Rigger 5 has Additional Features: + Standard Armor Rating 5

Buell Spartan Motorcycles are from Rigger 5

Once the runners have ended pursuit, either by escaping into rival gang turf or defeating the attackers, they are clear until they reach the old Capitol region.

Scene 3 – Into the Wasteland

Set in the old Martires neighbourhood, just outside the old Capitol district sits what remains of El Museo del Oro.   The formerly three story building lays in ruins in the surrounding rotted streets.  The top two floors lay strewn around the building’s foundation, the victim of an Aztec shelling years ago.  The first floor is in disrepair, but shows signs of habitation in recent years.

The runners will need to investigate the ruin to find the way into the basement, but they are not alone.  Scrappers have set up shop in the museum, hoping to find some hidden cache of gold in the museum. They will guard their home with zealous fervor and they have rigged the old stairwell with traps (Smart Platforms and simple trapping-style traps) to prevent people from going downstairs.

Scrap Gangers (human baseline)

B4 A4 R3 S4 W3 L4 I5 C3  Init 6+1D6
Physical Limit 5, Mental Limit 6, Social Limit 5

Armor 9

Skills: Automatics 4, Gunnery 4, Intimidation 5, Perception 3, Armorer 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Gang Turf 4, Local Area Knowledge (Capitol Region) 4

Qualities: Toughness

Colt M23 (A.Rifle, Acc 4, 9P, All, RC 0, AP -2, 40(c))

Armor Vest

Renraku Sensei

Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)

Smart Firing Platform (Pilot 3, +5 RC, 6+4D6 Init)

With the scrappers dealt with, the team is free to enter the lowest level of the old museum.

Scene 4 – Buried Treasures

After their eyes adjust to the change in lighting, the room just off the stairs appears to be the bunkhouse for the former scrappers, though beyond this first room there is little sign of recent disturbance.  The floors here, once a nice polished wood, is now a water-stained black morass after over a decade of exposure to run-off, the open air and vegetation have pierced the old concrete walls, spreading like a spiderweb crack in various locations around the basement.

The lower level of the museum has become a nesting ground for a large family of Spider Beasts (Howling Shadows).  Typically non-aggressive, the colony here has swollen to an impressive number and food has become scarce as the scrappers no longer ventured beyond their bunkhouse.  As a result, the creatures have busily filled much of the basement in with their web. The rooms beyond the entrance are pitch black, so without a light source the runners are bound to stumble into a web.

The creatures are not duped by inanimate objects striking the web and when they detect prey, the colony mobilizes to paralyze and wrap up prey in web.

Towards the rear of the museum basement, the runners find a small hole, barely big enough for one of the beasts to scurry out of.  In this hollow is an old storeroom where items not yet on display had been kept. The room is full of webbing and features a Spider Beast egg sack, as well as a protective mother.  However, the runners can potentially make out three artifacts in the space:

  • The Incan idol they’re after
  • A stone slab written in Chibcha, a local tribal dialect (including the Sutagao and other tribes along the Bogota River)
  • A stone figurehead from a ceremonial staff from an unknown tribe

Once the team has liberated the idol (or decides they’re happy with the 2,000¥), they can return to Mrs. Right to receive their payment.  If they bring back the idol, she scans the idol with a piece of equipment and sends the data back to Senor Fernandez and after a brief pause, wires the team the 6,000¥ each.

>> I feel for the people of Bogota… even years after the Az-Am War, the city is still in tatters.  But you could not pay me enough to go back there.
>> Viper

>> Back?
>> Cheshire

>> May have done some work down there, but that was before the Battle of Bogota.  It was bad when I was there.  It’s worse now.  Plus the Azzies and I are not exactly on speaking terms… more like shoot-first terms.
>> Viper

>> The city has definitely seen better days, save for the area around El Dorado, where the Azzies rule over the area.  The idea of going under the surface of the city has no appeal to me whatsoever.  The things that want to avoid the daylight all lurk beneath the streets and I have no interest in that at all.
>> Firewatcher

An Opinion on Shadowrun: The Sixth World Beginner’s Box (#Shadowrun)

•June 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

So, next week will see the SR6 Beginner’s Box made available to the world at large during Origins.  As a demo agent for Catalyst, I have read through the rulebook of the Beginner’s Box and can weigh in on certain aspects of Sixth Edition.

Because I have a promo copy, I can’t give specific details from the book… but my thoughts about it may give some indication whether the newest edition is right for your group.

Setting and Theme

So, I’ve always loved the Shadowrun setting… it was one of those things that has kept me invested after GMing for 20 years.  Mercifully, the setting is still very much intact.  The writing style of the rules is very casual and even garnered some chuckles from me when a few characterful rules were written with a comedic bent.  The metaplot has been advanced to 2080, one of the Big Ten AAA corporations from 5th has fallen from grace and a new corporation has risen to the top 10 (in case you haven’t been keeping up with the plot).

Mechanics

The biggest changes in the new edition occur here.  While the base rolling mechanic is still the same as 5th Edition (Attribute + Skill, half 1’s = glitch, etc), there are some very significant changes to tests, especially in Combat.

Edge is a lot more fluid than in 5th Edition, where more Edge can be earned regularly, if you are tactical in combat situations.  Which is good because Edge now has a multitude of uses, many requiring multiple points for the better effects.  Tactical situations (augmentations, better gear, active illusions, etc) can provide bonuses to a fighter’s Attack or Defense Rating, which can augment your Edge before the bullets start to fly.

Character’s no longer necessarily get multiple passes in an Initiative order (which I’m personally a fan of) and it’s one Initiative value for the entire fight, rather than having to re-roll after each pass.  Augmentations and spells can allow a character to do more during their action, but figuring out who gets to act more than once or twice is no longer required.

Ranges are broken down into universal bands and weapons will have Attack Ratings based on what range the target is in (which is nice as a GM, so you don’t need to know how many meters away something is to check what range it falls into for each weapon type).

The Matrix still has some complexities to it, but determining what to roll has been vastly simplified.  Convergence from GOD isn’t quite as terrifying as it was, but tracking Overwatch is easier and deckers can be far more multifaceted in the skill department.

Magic has definitely been streamlined as well, with a reduction in skills and much less math for figuring out drain with the elimination of Limits, but mages are far less able to figure out their maximum “safe” force so they can cast infinitely… a problem with 5th Edition.  Mages will take Drain and they will need to be more cautious to not overexert themselves or risk blacking out in a crisis.

Contents

The Beginner’s Box comes with the rule book, a short guide to the setting (if you aren’t familiar with it already), an introductory adventure, a poster, gear cards for the items carried by the pre-made characters and four pre-made runners.

It’s not a bad little bundle.  The Quick-Start Rules (QSR) give you almost everything you need (I say ‘almost’ because I’m a stickler for the crunch of the game… more on that in a bit) to play the introductory scenario or another scenario of a GM’s design.  The poster provides some useful game aids and the gear cards can be handy reference elements for each player, rather than locating it on the character sheets.

Missing Elements

OK, I know that this is to whet the appetites of groups for the new Edition, rather than being comprehensive, so this is purely subjective on my part.

There are things from the main game I would have liked to have made it into the QSR, if for no other reason, than to see how they work mechanically.  On the characters that come in the Beginner’s Box there are Qualities and Contacts for the characters, but there is no mechanical basis for them in the QSR, so they exist solely as roleplay text.  Not having (at the very least) the Qualities on the characters explained in greater detail, it could leave new GMs victim to overpowered interpretations of what those names mean.  It’s less of an issue with Contacts, but I feel Qualities could have been better handled.

No character creation rules… it would be nice to know just how flexible the character creation rules are going to be.  Instead, we have four characters to pick from, each with their own niche to fill.  Being able to tweak the templates slightly to suit individual tastes could have been a nice touch.

No spirits, no technomancers, no adepts… with only four characters, there’s only so much ground they could cover, but I know a lot of my players would be disappointed in the lack of physads and summoning info in the book, as they are popular tools of the trade.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a huge fan of the pre-made scenarios and (as this site would show) write my own.  If you’re familiar with the look and feel of pre-made modules in 5th Ed, then the one that comes with the Beginner’s Box will feel very familiar.

TL;DR

Overall, I really like the Sixth World Beginner’s Box.  The mechanical streamlining should speed up games that are combat heavy, especially, while the feel and flavour of the setting is still present.  There are things I would have liked to see in the Box, but I know that it’s more to sate my curiousity than feeling that it hinders the viability of the intro package.

+ Simpler mechanics
+ Rich setting kept intact
+ Removal of Limits/Force
+ Similar to 5th for many aspects, to help with Edition transition
– Not all aspects of template characters are explained
– No character creation elements at all
– Fan favourite elements (summoning and adepts) missing
– Pre-made scenario sticking with the same format

The new Edition shows a lot of promise and if the core rulebook can continue to extend the core principles from the QSR throughout all elements of the Shadowrun mechanics, I think Sixth Edition will be fantastic for GMs to better manage the game and be less intimidating for new players to get involved.  If you’re a fan of the setting of Shadowrun but were always intimidated by the weight of the system, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor of the latest version and while there is still a hefty weight to the rules, the latest distilled version is the simplest to pick up to date.

In the Name of the All-Mighty – Underestimated Worth (#Shadowrun)

•May 27, 2019 • Leave a Comment

This is the second run in the Vatican Campaign.  This is the campaign that has been contracted through Heroes for Hire and has been progressing whenever the group is able to convene.  To see how the story has progressed thus far, check out the summary available on Obsidian Portal.

Sapphira is contacted by the Bishop and asked to meet with him in regards to “a matter of some urgency”.  He asks her to gather her team and meet him after his service the next morning, so he can go over the details.

Scene 1 – Man of the Cloth

The cathedral is a towering construct in white and gold.  The pews are packed with the faithful and the Bishop presides over his flock, spreading the gospel to inspire those gathered to be selfless.  It feels like another hour after the sermon wraps up before Veneto Calsconne is free.

As the last stragglers filter out of the cathedral, the Bishop ushers the runners up to the base of the cross that looms over the pulpit.  “I’m glad you were able to come. I recently came into some information during confession last week and while the man who confided it in me has been absolved of all sins, the object he referred to is of significance to the Vigilia Evangelica.  The man told me that he had recently sold an old piece of recovered cloth to a man named Reginaldo Nucci. The cloth is rumoured to have old writing on it and after the Vigilia “aggressively asked” some of Nucci’s men about it, they confirmed that the writing is not just old, but ancient.  It is of cultural enough significance that the Vigilia is authorizing 5,000¥ apiece in subsidy for you to retrieve the object from Signore Nucci’s residence in Sicily.”

Upon hearing the artifact is in Sicily, the runners will know that they are stealing the artifact from the Mob.  Nucci is a man of some influence, owning a nice estate home in Montelepre, a small town in the south of Palermo. It’s this estate the runners will need to gain access to.

The Bishop will offer up additional information on the object when asked, although there isn’t much.  He knows the object is over 2000 years old and is rather fragile, so the runners must take care to not be too rough with the artifact until the Evangelican scholars can decipher the text.  He also knows that Nucci is a bit of a collector and has his own private showroom in his home.

The Vigilia will get the runners into Sicily by whatever means they choose, as men/women of the cloth, in order to avoid La Cosa Nostra from looking too deeply into their arrival.

Reginaldo Nucci

La Cosa Nostra Sottocapo

Reginaldo is a young, rising star within La Familia.  Born into the family, his father had been an influential mover and shaker in Palermo, rising up from the ranks of a soldato to a politician representing the rural Sicilians.  His policies were controversial and was assassinated a couple years ago. Reginaldo was afforded many liberties in his youth and he has started up his own winery on his father’s land, which is doing well.  With elven looks, short black hair, grey tailored suits and a winning smile, he is a bit of playboy in the city and is popular in the nightlife of the capital. While he wears a cross around his neck, his conduct is hardly Christian.  He has continued his father’s legacy of collecting rare Sicilian goods and is well known in the shadows as a buyer for rare goods.

Possible Sources – Mafia Contacts, Sicilian Contacts

1/2 – Reginaldo is a local Mafia boss in Montelepre, a rural suburb of Palermo.  He got his station from his father’s legacy.

2/4 – He is forging his own path from his father.  Where his father was a talented politician, Reginaldo is making his name as a vintner.  Not as locally liked as his father, he is a bit of a playboy in the city.

5/8 – Word on the street is that Reginaldo is continuing his father’s hobby of collecting Sicilian artifacts.  The Mob is watching him closely to ensure that his purchases don’t get too extravagant and he pays his share.

7/10 – Reginaldo was born into the Mob and has a higher station than his age might dictate, a fact that many older members harbour quiet bitterness over.

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 – Palermo

Whether the runners fly into Falcone Borsellino Airport in Palermo, or opt to take a ship/car, they find the capital of Sicily as a thriving hub.  With a long history spanning Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman and Byzantine occupation, the architecture here is varied and unique to any major city in the Confederation.  With the Mafia in full control of the country, the nightlife and subsequent vice industry is booming here, but the abundance of cathedrals shows that the Church has also bunkered in in order to try to keep the crime under some degree of control.

Asking around the city, the name Reginaldo Nucci seems to be fairly well known.  A local politician, Albrico Nucci, was well respected in the area, but his policies to get better yields from the Sicilian farms was met with controversy and was assassinated a couple years ago.  Reginaldo is his son and he has opted against a life in politics and has instead converted his father’s lands to a winery. Masquerading as a man of wealth and sophistication, he has become a mover and shaker in the Palermo social scene.

Through the shadows of the city, they can learn a few things about Reginaldo:

  • Oversees the winery through the day, hitting nightclubs at night
  • Added new security features to the gallery in his estate
  • A playboy with a reputation for abusing the women he’s with
  • Other Mafioso are watching him for signs that he might become too much of a liability

Reginaldo has installed some new security features to his home, including internal cameras to the newly created wine cellar, faraday shielding to the gallery, as well as a retinal scanner to the doors leading into the room.

Piecing together the intel of Reginaldo’s schedule and habits can hopefully aid the runners in formulating a plan of attack for his estate.

Matrix:  The Sicilian Grid features some of the latest wireless tech in order to facilitate the latest in iconography and exploit select loopholes to suit the Mafia.  The grid resembles a scaled down version of the island. Mount Etna looms over the grid with an ever-present plume of smoke, with lush green fields sprawling out from the mountain’s base.  Buildings dot the coastline. The buildings lead to the city nearest urban center (often Palermo), while the features in the fields lead to tourism and wineries for the nation.

Scene 3 – Wine and Mobsters

The Nucci winery and estate in Montelepre is a sprawling plot of land outside of town with a manicured lawn, topiary and an expansive vineyard.  The property has two main buildings (winery and mansion) with smaller out buildings for maintaining the property.

There are two types of people that are on the property:  labourers (innocent bystanders who live in Montelepre) and mobsters.  On the grounds, the majority of people are labourers, working the fields to make a decent wage.  Mafioso patrol the vineyard as foremen with minimal arms. The winery are also where the vintners Reginaldo has hired work on the wine.  Soldatos protect sensitive areas of the winery and the mansion. The room with the artifacts is inside the mansion, guarded and locked with several security measures.

Depending on when the runners go in, Reginaldo will be in the winery during the day, in the city from dinner until just after midnight and then home with female company after that until the morning.

The runners will need to slip into the mansion and gain access to the vault to find the cloth.  Any hacker will recognize the problem once they gain access to the vault. All the items in the display cases are holographic representations of the objects, rather than the real deal.  On top of that, whether legitimate or not, a silent alarm is tripped when the vault door opens. Security is coming and they still don’t have the cloth.

The runners will need to find a high-ranking guard or Reginaldo himself to find out where the artifact is being held.  He tells them that Albrico/his father opened a trust company that caters to rural investors and the artifact is stored in the vault there, where it would be more secure.

Reginaldo Nucci – Mafia Playboy

Reginaldo is an elf of power and influence and he uses it for personal gain every chance he gets.  He’s never had to work a day in his life and it shows in his manicured appearance and sense of entitlement.  He commands respect from those who guard him, but if physically threatened, Reginaldo is ultimately fragile. He’ll use his charms to get himself out of whatever situation he can.  If words fail him, he ultimately becomes a sniveling coward.

B2  A4 R4  S2 W5 L3  I4 C7(8) Edge 4  Ess 5.68 Init = 8+1D6

PL4  ML5 SL9(11)

Armor 8

Qualities – Too Pretty to Hit, Made Man, Privileged Family Name, Addiction (Mild, eX), Did You Just Call Me Dumb?, Creature of Comfort

Skills – Acting Group 6(7), Athletics Group 4, Blades 3, Influence Group 7(8), Perception 5, Pistols 3

Augmentations – Datajack, Bio-Tattoo (Tribal Sleeve), Tailored Pheromones 1

Gear:  Beretta 201T Light Pistol (6P, Acc 6, SA/BF*, (1) RC, 21c), Erika Elite, Armante Suit (8), Switchblade (Acc 5, Reach 0, 3P, -1AP), 2 doses eX (+1 Cha, +1 Per, -1 Will, -1 Log)

Scene 4 – Albrico Financial Trust

In downtown Palermo is Albrico Financial Trust; a financial institution set up by the late Albrico to provide competitive interest rates to rural land developers to help farmers with their investments.  Naturally, being a Mafia establishment, the mob is skimming off of the farmer’s returns under the guise of service fees and shifty math that most farmers would fail to catch. Every employee in the bank is under the employ of Don Feretti (the current political leader of the country) and reports directly to Reginaldo and other Sottocapos in the area.

Despite being a criminal enterprise, the entire nation is run by the mob, so it will be no different than robbing a bank in terms of emergency response, although the police will shoot to kill, rather than attempt to arrest the would-be thieves.

Even the bank tellers could draw a weapon, so the runners really only need to worry about the bank patrons in terms of bystanders (if they go in during the day).

Security measures:

Guards (use the above stats)

Spider-controlled pop-out turrets

Armored Teller shutters

Greeters with sim-sense recorders

“Man-trap” entryways between main bank and vaults

Two-tier vault security, requiring two users to unlock.  Once the runners gain access to the vault, the vault is primarily a secured server that tracks the cash coming in and out of the bank (that isn’t on the books) and a series of safety deposit boxes.  One of these boxes is a deep, narrow locker that holds the cloth in an armored cylinder.  The alarm is likely sounding after the job is complete and the runners will need to escape before the Mafia has a chance to catch up to them.

>> Stealing from the Mafia in their own backyard?  You must have a death wish.
>> Havik

>> Not necessarily.  There’s a lot of organizational bloat in Sicily, as they have a country to run on top of their own goings on.  Something like a relatively small theft is going to rank pretty low on their priority list.
>> Chang

>> Unless they learn the significance of what they’ve lost.
>> Pedro

#Shadowrun: The Sixth World

•May 2, 2019 • Leave a Comment

So, Catalyst came out yesterday with the announcement that Sixth Edition is on the horizon.  By GenCon, the current edition will be done and we’ll be in the future of the game.  There are a couple of twitch streams and podcasts about some of the new features of the next edition, so I won’t get into the weeds.  But some highlights are:

  • Gone are Limits, Spell Forces, Explicit Weapon Ranges, AP and RC ratings, Marks
  • Edge is no longer just Luck, but tactical/situational advantage and Edge will get used and replenished much more often (use it or lose it each combat round), with a lot more options to choose between
  • Slimmed down Combat Engine to shorten the average fight time
  • Not an Anarchy re-skin… still pretty crunchy
  • Major Skill reduction and trimming a lot of the excess rules
  • Catalyst tried to keep book around 300 pages compared to the 450+ of SR5

From what I’ve heard and been told about SR6, it sounds net positive.  I will remain cautiously optimistic while I wait for the opportunity to read it for myself (Quick Start Rules are supposedly coming out mid-June).

Will the Data Haven transition to the new Edition?  Maybe…?  I still have plenty of material in the works for Shadowrun and other systems (I’m currently developing material for five different game systems, among that are three active Shadowrun campaigns).  If I get my hands on Sixth and my players and I really like it, we may transition my campaigns over.  Otherwise, I will keep SR5 alive, at least until the campaigns reach their eventual conclusion.

That said, I will at least acquire SR6 and review it once I get my hands on it and can digest it.  In the meantime, my campaigns continue to move along at our once-per-month pace and I am diligently working at cranking out material at a steady rate.  I’m also a backer for Shadowrun: Sprawl Ops and delivery is supposed to be happening soon, so I will share my thoughts on this big-box board game when I receive it.

Until the next run is ready to post, keep your heads down, chummers.

Demons of a Fallen God – Oil and Water (#Shadowrun)

•May 2, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Xia receives an automated response from an anonymous dropbox that she had created a while ago connected to her former DocWagon number.  Checking the voice box, Xia can hear the telltale sound of gunfire and after a brief pause, she hears a familiar voice say, “Seshia? It’s Alec Kristensen… I really need an assist here… I hope you can help…”

Alec Kristensen

DocWagon Field Medic – Connection 4, Loyalty 2

Alec is a human medic that Xia worked with a couple of times in the past.  Unlike many of Xia’s former coworkers, Alec understood Xia’s point of view of the corporate bureaucracy and was outspoken about the company’s hypocrisy.  While not willing or able to quit, he sided with Xia, despite the negative impact on his career. He’s a red-haired, green-eyed man with a muscled physique, with a tired expression after all these years.

Memory Check rather than Contact/Search roll

1/2 – Alec is a good medic with a checkered history with the administration at DocWagon.  While he still jumps through the company’s hoops, he supported her decision to criticize the company.

2/4 – When Xia was quitting the corporation, Alec and several other medics she had worked with were being transferred to other divisions outside CalFree, to keep her influence and dissent from spreading.

4/10 – Last she spoke with him, he spoke about a no-contact protocol being set up around her.  Whatever he needs, he’s willing to breach company policy.

Scene 1 – A Voice from the Past

Receiving a desperate call from a former coworker will hopefully spur Xia into action.  If she calls the number back, she catches Alec on a quick pick up. “Hello? Seshia, is that you?”

She can hear the code phrases of a team under fire in the backdrop and the sound of bullets ricocheting off of armour.  After quick pleasantries are exchanged, Alec gets down to brass tacks. “Listen, I know you left DocWagon under poor terms, but I could really use your help…assuming the rumours I’ve heard are true.  Please tell me you’re somewhere in Northern Europe…”

Assuming Xia is willing to confirm at least that much, Alec carries on.  “We’re well and truly fucked here, if you can’t help us out. We received a 661 (client flatline in international waters) and we were dispatched to collect and revive.  When we arrived, the location was a corporate oil platform in the North Sea. The corporation complied with our landing and we had to perform a hostile extraction. The hostiles used heavy ordinance to down our craft and we’re pinned down and taking fire.  DocWagon is refusing to send back up due to CrashCart making a jurisdiction claim to the platform, which leaves us hung out to dry with the client. We require an immediate extract without the corporate bullshit. I hope you understand… I’m willing to give your group the client’s retainer (30,000¥ to be divided up) and I will owe you one if you can get us out of here…”

Alec is between a rock and a hard place.  His team is running low on ammo, the client is stabilized but still dead weight and his team doesn’t agree with his decision to bring in outside help, despite their position.  The offer of giving up the retainer was not previously discussed with his team either.

If Xia agrees, Alec breathes a sigh of relief.  “Thank you, Seshia. Hope you can get your group here before we run out of ammo.  We’ve got the client guarded, but we’re pinned down on the helipad. I think those shooting at us are shadowrunners, rather than employees of the platform…”  Alec sends the GPS location of where they’re pinned down

Matrix:  The local Hamburg grid is available and pervasive in the area where the runners call home.  There are no modifiers to complicate the commcall.

Scene 2 – Getting out to Sea

Given the oil platform’s location, the runners have two choices on how to get to Alec’s location: by land or sea.  Each presents their own set of hurdles.

If the runners choose to go in by sea, the sea conditions will not make docking easy.  Waves can change the elevation the runners can gain purchase on the ladder that leads to the elevator, complicating an already treacherous climb.  The platform’s defenses have been taken over by a rival hacker and the platform’s anti-personnel guns will take a shot at them if they aren’t suppressed, jammed or destroyed.

If the runners choose to go in by air, the downed air ambulance is seen smoking from the deck.  There isn’t an easy place to touch down with the wreck in the way. The anti-air defenses and the rival sniper are going to make getting near the platform treacherous.

However the team proceeds, go to Scene 3 once the team has made it inside or topside.

Armed with a Colt M23 loaded with APDS (Acc 4(6), 9P, -6AP, All modes, 6RC, 200(bin)

Pulsar – Acc 5(7), 7S(e), -5AP, SA, RC 3, 4m

Matrix:  As the runners get out to open sea, the German grid will grow increasingly quiet until they near the rig itself.  As an island unto itself, the rig piggybacks onto the North German League’s grid. The signal repeater is not overly strong, conferring a -2 Noise modifier.  The grid out here is devoid of icons other than international calls, so locating the rig should be easy.

Northern Jewel Host

The Northern Jewel is a misleading name for a dingy, refurbished oil rig in the middle of the North Sea.  The host here has been stylized to reflect an idyllic view of the platform. A calm ocean with a perpetual sunrise silhouettes the pristine platform as seagulls circle and cry in the skies above.  The smell of seawater mingled with the smell of a two-stroke fuel lingering like a distant perfume clings to the system. Upon logging in, the user finds themself in the command center of the rig, overlooking the North Sea.  There is little that can be physically accessed from the log in node. Serving as a PR system, the room is plastered in the clean environmental record the rig has had since the Black Tide and the ecological clean up initiatives they’ve undertaken.  From here, the user can (with the right credentials) can access Operations (the control panel in front of them) or Administration (a smartboard on the wall behind them).

Icons depend on the host.  Within the Operations host, icons appear as clean versions of drilling equipment and users as roughnecks.  Within Administration, icons appear as manilla folders within filing cabinets and users as executives in suits.  In either host, IC is represented by black-clad security guards.

Operations Host –  Rating 10

Standard Configuration – Attack 10, Data Processing 13, Sleaze 11, Firewall 12

Security Protocol – Patrol IC running at all times.  Once an alarm has been triggered, IC activates in this order: Killer, Marker, Scramble, Acid, Jammer, Blaster, Binder, Crash, Sparky, Black IC.  If an IC is crashed, it will continue down the line before rebooting. If an alarm has been going for 4 turns or any IC gets bricked, two troubleshooters log in to kill the intruder.

Administration Host –  Rating 7

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

Security Protocol – Patrol IC running at all times, Security Spider patrolling at all times.

Once an alarm has been triggered, IC activates in this order: Killer, Probe, Bloodhound, Marker, Blaster, Binder, Black IC.  If an IC is crashed, the host will reboot the IC before moving on to the next stage. Two more Spiders will log in after 3 turns from when the alarm sounds.

Scene 3 – Saving the Day

Once the runners have gained access to the oil rig, they will have opposition coming at them from two separate angles.  The runners that are firing at the DocWagon team are not the most discriminate group and will fire at anyone that attempts to stop them from claiming their target (the client).  In addition, if the runners encounters any of the oil rig security, they will assume that the runners are with the hostile team and will open fire.

The rig has 6 decks, plus the surface level.  Each deck does have bunk rooms save for the uppermost deck.  The surface level has raised buildings with communication equipment and diagnostic gear.

Deck 1: Operations, Infirmary, Briefing Room, Store Room

Deck 2: Primary Mess, Main Security, Armory, Residences

Deck 3: Recreation Room, Primary Residences

Deck 4: Secondary Mess, Central Processing

Deck 5: Store, Arcade, Gym

Deck 6: Launch Bay, Morgue, Emergency Drilling Shut-off, Ballast Controls

Surface: Helipad, Oil Derrick, Piping and Oil processing machinery, Radio Room

The primary target for the team is on the helipad, but the other team has done anything they can to block off reinforcements.  There are five runners on the opposing team.

At the highest point on the platform is the team’s sniper.  He monitors the sky for signs of reinforcements and snaps off shots at the deck if one of the medics pokes their heads out.

In the Radio Room is the team’s decker.  Tapped into the platform’s system, he has control of the system’s defenses and is actively blocking as many signals as he can from getting out.

Set up in the infirmary is the team’s mage.  Using stimulants from the medical ward to mitigate drain, the mage is harrying the DocWagon team with spirits while mind controlling security to guard her.

The other two are bunked in just off the helipad, using cover to keep the medics pinned down.  One is a demolitions expert (he brought down the chopper) and has rigged a claymore by the elevator, so if anyone tries to follow them to the deck, the carriage gets vapourized by the blast.  The second is an adept, who is waiting for the head count to be lowered enough to rush in and finish the fight with a melee blade flurry. Her powers are built for being nimble and deadly.

If the runners are able to successfully evac the team or can eliminate the rival team, they will have rescued the DocWagon HRT.  Alec is relieved to see Xia, though the rest of the team is less than amused that a “traitor” to the company was contacted to pull them out.  Pointing out that DocWagon was going to leave them to die due to red tape will garner a mixed response, as will the disclosure that the client retainer paid for their rescue.

Even though Alec is likely to face backlash from this, he thanks them profusely for the rescue and tells them that he owes them one.

If the runners ask about the client, he’s an ecological engineer under the employ of Saeder-Krupp (Jost Lang) that the runners were attempting to extract, but the runners missed the part about the client being allergic to the sedative they used to pacify them…

>> Place is a total kill zone… nobody is worth that kind of risk.
>> Burn

>> And now we know why Burn has no friends…
>> Morph

>> He stood by me when no one else did.  Plus knowing a loyal medic is pretty handy.  Risky, sure… but some things are worth it.
>> Xia

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