The runners are contacted by their fixer about some work in the Seattle metroplex. A trusted associate of the fixer’s is looking for a team for a recovery job and would like to meet them at 9PM at a talismonger shop called “The Reliquary” in Tacoma’s commercial district.
Scene 1 – Eclectic Tastes
The Reliquary, on the surface, is a store specializing in knick knacks and magical-looking goods to sell to novices and enthusiasts. Beneath the outer skin is a fully functional talismonger shop with some quasi-legal goods for sale behind the counter. The proprietor is an old man, who dotes on his customers and gives off a grandfatherly vibe. His customers refer to him as Papa Pedro and his voice never seems to raise above a whisper, yet his voice carries in the shop.
If the runners show up before 9, he welcomes them with the same congenial attitude that he pays the other patrons, telling them that he’ll be with them in a moment. At 9 o’clock, he ushers the last patron out the front door and activates the ARO on the front door to flip the virtual sign over to “Closed”. With the customers gone, he politely asking the runners to follow him into the back. Once the shop is shut down and they gather into the back, the runners get a glimpse of the real moneymaker in The Reliquary. The store room is as cluttered as the storefront is organized. Fetishes, foci and reagents sit in bins, sorted by tradition and geography as to where they originated from.
Papa Pedro pulls a heavy black titanium ring from his finger and his age drops by 20 years, as he stands upright to his full height. His voice now carries a certain roughness, as he appraises the runners. “So, you guys are my crew, huh?” he asks, assensing the team to ensure honesty. Papa Pedro is a potent Chaos Mage and Enchanter, who’s street name is actually Raziel. Once he’s satisfied the runners are who they say they are, he starts into the job.
“All right, you guys have a rep for getting shit done, so I will trust you guys to complete a couple odd jobs I need done with some delicacy. A client of mine is putting together a rather powerful alchemical compound and he needs a couple very specific ingredients to make it work. One of the ingredients I own land where it can be acquired, but it’s remote and I am hopeful you can collect it without too much difficulty. The second and more important ingredient, I do not own, which is where your skills will be required. The first ingredient is basalt… it’s a form of lava rock, for those not up to date in their geology. I have purchased an area in Puyallup that is covered in lava flats. I will give you some tools to locate and extract the reagents. A decent sized piece of stone should cover my needs… maybe around a football in size.”
He looks to the team and sizes them up as he tells them the second half. “The critical ingredient is kept in a Wuxing run greenhouse in Everett. They keep several species of exotic plant life in the greenhouse, but what I’m after is the fruit of the Gomorrah Apple Tree. To ensure I have enough for the preparation, you should probably pick a couple decent sized specimens. If you find anything else of value in the greenhouse that you can take without contaminating my sample, I will pay you for any liberated goods. For my primary ask, I’m willing to pay you 30,000¥ to be divided amongst you.”
Raziel will be pretty up front with the team. While he won’t say who wants the alchemical reagents, he will tell them that it’s for a concoction called Lot’s Curse, which if the team looks it up, is a pretty nasty thing. He warns them that the fruit is extremely dangerous and should not be even slightly ingested.
Raziel will only negotiate a little on the outset. Once the team is on board, he nods in appreciation. “All right, let me set you up with some tools. Harvesting reagents with unprepared equipment makes the entire effort pointless. I’m giving you a couple prepared satchels for carrying the goods and tools for collecting. If any of the stuff is touched by anything with an aura, it’s pretty much rendered inert. I’ll give you picks and shovels for the basalt and pruning shears for the apples. I’ll also get you the latitude and longitude of my basalt flat. You shouldn’t have any issue finding good material there.”
If the runners lack a mage or anyone with astral sight, they can pressure Raziel for an astral dowsing tool, in a sense. It’s a long wand with the tip covered a bio-luminescent moss that glows in the presence of auras.
The Reliquary – Talismonger Shop
Relevant Contacts – Magical Groups, Talismongers, Talisleggers
1/1 – It’s a small retail shop in Tacoma that specializes in magical-looking trinkets to sell to magician wannabes.
2/3 – Run by an old guy known as Papa Pedro. Easy going old coot, who seems to know a little bit about everything on his shelves.
3/5 – The Reliquary is a front for a legitimate talismonger shop. Good quality stuff, if you know who to talk to. Papa Pedro isn’t owning up to who runs the side business.
4/7 – The talismonger shop is run by a guy called Raziel. He’s a cutthroat businessman, powerful mage and potential former runner.
5/9 – Papa Pedro and Raziel are one and the same, but one persona is a disguise for the other.
Papa Pedro/Raziel/Mr. Johnson
Relevant Contacts – Fixers, Shadowrunners, Talisleggers
1/1 – Papa Pedro runs a little curiousity store called The Reliquary.
2/3 – Raziel is a mage who worked the shadows for a couple years, but after a few too many close calls, he decided to get into the Enchanting business.
3/5 – He’s a straight shooter, but he is a Chaos Magician, so he can be a bit unpredictable at times.
4/6 – He has a keen sense of reagents and will only buy from talisleggers if it is of high quality. If you come across magical goods of a respectable quality, odds are, he would give you a fair price.
Scene 2 – Unwelcome Visitors
Raziel’s “property” in Puyallup is a wide open field of smoldering lava rock. Off the beaten path in the Barrens, the basalt flats are right in the main flow path of Mount Ranier. While the ground looks solid, a misstep can release a pocket of steam, or even plunge the runner into molten rock. The GM should make the journey perilous enough to make the runners worry about their safety. Whether they use assensing, a guide or even a long rod to prod the lava in their path, the runners will need a plan to get where they need to go.
To make matters worse, once they arrive at the coordinates, they find an armed entourage waiting. A rival talislegger heard about the rich deposits that were sitting unguarded in the Barrens and decided to help himself. Unfortunately for him, the day he opted to raid the place, Raziel came to collect.
The area is wide open terrain, with no appreciable cover. There are at least as many armed mercs as there are runners, the talislegger is a mage as well, who will defend his crew with Physical Barrier and Shape Earth, as well as summoning spirits. Their escape route, a cargo helicopter, hovers overhead, offering support fire and a potential extraction plan, if things start going wrong.
The mercs are Grunts of Professional Rating 4, led by the talislegger, a Hermetic calling himself Darwin. A beat-up looking Ares Dragon flies overhead, with a crew of six people, ready to haul cargo or man the door mounted machine guns if needed.
If the runners can best their opponents (unless the GM deems it, the runners should not be allowed to claim the Dragon), they can scan the area for the reagents. The area where the fight occurred has been rendered useless by the mana use and blood spilled, but in the outlying areas, there should still be usable reagents (plus, if they didn’t damage it, Darwin’s collected items could still be viable). When they have the required quantities, they need to return to the city proper in order to get the second ingredient.
Scene 3 – Mother Nature’s Wrath
The Wuxing compound Raziel mentioned is a bio-diversity research center set into a wooded area in Everett. It’s a nice way of saying they study and do research on animals of all types. Most of the security on the compound is done by biodrones, guard animals and a handful of trained guards. The main building is where all the research is done, but thankfully, the runners aren’t here for research (though they could break in to steal some in hopes of selling to the highest bidder).
At the center of the compound is an enormous greenhouse. The building is state of the art and climate controlled, so different districts of the building mimic geographical climates. As a result, the following plants can be harvested, if the runners can figure out how to properly do so (stats for these can be found in Parabotany):
Hag Bolete Mushrooms
There are also several species of orchid and tropical plant that could be potentially harvested as potential herbal reagents.
The main obstacle is that the plant life in the greenhouse is rather intolerant to visitors. Employees who are to enter the greenhouse are sprayed down with a tailored set of pheromones that repel the plant’s advances. If the runners can acquire these pheromones, their life will get easier. Plants will snare them, launch barbs, and scream as they walk by, alerting security and trying to consume them for sustenance. Between security and the wildlife, the runners will run a gauntlet to the back left corner of the greenhouse, where the area has been set to a sweltering hot African climate.
The Gomorrah Apple has more in common with a pomegranate than an apple. The tree stands almost as tall as the greenhouse and is in full bloom. The calcified body of a caretaker stands in a pensive stance beneath the canopy. If the runners go to harvest the fruit they will have to resist the Compulsion power from the tree (pg 30 in Parabotany) 12 dice vs. The character’s Will+Logic. Failing this test means the character approaches the tree, plucks a fruit and bites into it, unless restrained or stopped in some way. If they ingest the fruit, they take 6P damage every few minutes until they can acquire an antidote (which Wuxing has on site), as their body freezes in place. The tree’s roots rise up from underground and begin draining the Essence of the victim, turning them to salt as it does so.
If they successfully resist the tree’s influence, they must use the provided tools and bag to take a couple fruits and escape with them undamaged in order to get paid. The profit margin on Lot’s Curse will depend on team size, but there may be room to negotiate afterwards (the amount of apple they harvest can make three doses of Lot’s Curse… roughly 45,000¥ worth).
>> Wait, we’re getting paid to steal fruit? What is this, kindergarten?
>> Don’t underestimate this stuff. If it has magical properties, it’s worth a lot of money to someone.
>> I can second the not underestimating. Last time I was in one of these corporate greenhouses, every second plant was designed to kill you slowly. I realize there’s security applications for these things sometimes, but some of these plants are simply abominations. I’ve seen men get dragged down underground and heard them scream as they were devoured. The area around the trees was so tainted that we were powerless to go rescue the guy without being drawn in ourselves. If you ever want a sign that Mother Nature is pissed off, these Awakened plants are it.