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?”

Cast of Shadows – Firewall

•March 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This is the last piece of character background I have written presently for my coworkers’ characters.  While this character was one of the first concepts to be hammered out by my new coworkers, the character’s history and personality took a while to take full shape.  It was an interesting character, one I didn’t see very often: a troll hacker.  A metatype not known for their intelligence, using a skill set not typically associated with their race.  However, it was that strange contrast and the character’s personality that made the character endearing and a pleasure to witness in game.

+++decoding message+++

The space surrounding him was too perfect. Pristine white walls, modern furniture arranged in immoveable locations and art so evenly spaced that even a person with severe OCD would be at peace here.

It was one of the great equalizers here: perception was subjective. Your reality was shaped how you saw fit. Obviously this particular executive was a little exacting. Here, no one knew Firewall was a massive, lumbering troll. No one judged him by his genetics, but merely on his talents. The Matrix was better than reality in so many ways.

One thing his time on the grid had taught him, is that the more perfect the guise, the easier it was to find the flaws. Launching Baby Monitor, he tossed a small rotating screen into the upper corner of the room. Firewall checked his Overwatch Score to ensure he had time to finish the hack. Seeing that they hadn’t pinpointed him yet, he opened his Toolbox program.

“Find anything hiding here,” he instructed and out of the icon flew several will o wisps; tiny balls of flame, flitting around the node, lighting the perfect walls with a neon glow. One by one, the flames went out until one remained, hovering over the wall between two pieces of artwork. Firewall moved over to the area and placed his hand on the wall and the image dissolved revealing a cube of light recessed into the wall.

“Gotcha,” he said with a grin, pulling the data parcel free. The outer skin of the cube glowed hot as the code swirled over the surface, showing that the data within was encrypted. Plunging his digital hands into the packet’s skin, he began pulling out pieces and rearranging the icon, anticipating the patterns of the encryption algorithm.

“Access granted…” the node surrendered and the cube opened to reveal the paydata he was here to retrieve.

“Begin download.” The data pixelated and began to be absorbed by Firewall’s icon.

***

“Is everyone ready?” the corporate strike team captain asked over the radio. “The silent trace said the data is presently being downloaded somewhere on the premises. We go in, find the decker make an example of them and we’ll be home within the hour.”

“Do we really need five men to take down a computer geek?” one of the soldiers asked.

“Probably not, but there is the chance that they might have erected some form of defense while they finish the hack. We need to make sure they don’t get away with whatever they’re after. Milner, you take the emergency exit on the south side, Gibbons and Denta, you’re on the loading bay. Falkes, you’re up top. I’m take the main entrance. Keep comms open, but encrypted. Only use the radio if you absolutely need to. No sense giving this guy the heads up. All right, let’s move!”

The strike team fanned out to their assigned positions and the captain sent out a single tone over comms to signal the go ahead. All five men breached the abandoned warehouse simultaneously and swept the area, but found no evidence of any sort of defense. Huddled up against a stack of crates was a humanoid form, huddled up in blankets.

“You there! I want your hands where I can see them. Stand up!”

Firewall slipped his cyberdeck into an old frozen dinner box, raised his hands and stood to his full height. The soldiers all craned their necks to take the man once he was fully upright.

“Where’s the decker?” the captain ordered, stepping in closer with his gun trained on Firewall’s head.

“Ich werde sie in der Hälfte,” Firewall said with a dopey grin on his face. (I will break you in half)

“Shit, does anyone here speak German?” the captain asked. When everyone shook their heads that they didn’t, he scowled and spoke slowly to the massive troll. “What is your name?”

“Name? Gunther!” Firewall said with some enthusiasm and a broad tusky grin.

“Sonuva… all right, everyone fan out. There has to be a relay station here that’s allowing this hacker to get in remotely. Sever the network and his hack fails.”

As the strike team searched the room for a relay hub, Firewall watched the download status of his hack moving slowly but steadily across his field of view.

The captain sneered at the massive metahuman standing in front of him. “Where’s your hacker friend? He must have paid you to watch over the building, right?”

“Ich freue mich darauf zu klopfen Sie,” Firewall said with his dopey grin. (I look forward to pounding you)

The captain muttered under his breath. The progress was nearly complete… 97%.

“Captain, we’ve swept the area for electronics. There are no hubs installed anywhere.”

“How the hell is this guy hacking us? Have you swept the building with a thermal scan?”

98%…

“Yes sir. No one here except us and the troll.”

“None of these crates could be thermally insulated?”

“We don’t have time to search all of these…”

99%…

“Dammit troll, can’t you scrape up your meager mental potential to give up the decker’s location before we have to extract the information from you?”

100%…Download Complete

Firewall grinned in earnest in a malevolent glare that made the captain’s fellow guard take a step back. “You really think you can make me talk? You can barely grasp the obvious solution in the face of your own racism.”

The captain’s jaw dropped open for a minute and called out. “Shit! The troll’s the decker!”

Grabbing the captain by the collar, Firewall lifted the man up with one hand and drove his horned head down for a nasty headbutt. His reinforced skull shattered the man’s forehead, rendering the captain limp and unconscious. Hurling the soldier across the room, the ragdoll commanding officer landed on top of another soldier driving him to the ground.

As the strike team shook off their shock, Firewall reached between two crates and grabbed his trusted troll-reinforced sledgehammer. As the nearest guard went for his gun, Firewall let out a loud, guttural roar that froze the man in his tracks before the hammer came around in a baseball bat swing and connected with the side of his head. With a wet crunch, the soldier’s eyes rolled back in his head and collapsed to the ground.

Firewall felt the impact before he heard the gunshot. One of the strike team was overhead on a catwalk, snapping off shots. The rounds struck his armor jacket but failed to pierce the jacket to do any real damage. Reaching into the pile of blankets he had shrugged off earlier, Firewall came up with a shotgun raised it up and pulled the trigger. The deafening boom of the blast filled the space and the shot tore through the shooter’s shoulder. Reeling back, the soldier hit the railing behind him and with a second shot, Firewall blew the soldier back over the railing and spiraling to the concrete below.

Turning to the last guard standing, Firewall watched as an automatic clip changer swapped out the default ammunition for what he assumed would be armor piercing. Firewall was tough, but even his hide had limits. Snatching his cyberdeck, he dove over the nearest crates and took shelter as the soldier held down the trigger. Feeling the wood splintering overhead, Firewall mentally connected to his cyberdeck and dropped quickly into VR.

He only had a short period of time before his cover completely eroded under the hail of bullets. The green grid of the Emerald City spread out around him, but he quickly zeroed to his current location and launched his will o wisps to pinpoint the address for the shooter’s gun. The second his program isolated the device, he launched his Exploit program, which manifested as a crowbar in the old factory. Throwing himself at the weapon, he smashed through its defenses without concerning himself on whether he was detected.

The gun’s subsystems arrayed before him and he opened the smartlink system. “Assign -20% x-axis arc,” he ordered. He then opened the ammo feed system and inserted a manual command for issuing a purge command.

Jacking out, he tucked his cyberdeck into the small of his back, grabbed his sledgehammer and sprung from cover. He roared as he charged, sledgehammer gripped in one hand and held high. The corporate soldier brought his weapon up and squeezed the trigger. Thanks to Firewall’s corruption of the smartlink computer, the weapon fired too far to the left consistently when the crosshair was properly aligned. After several rounds had been expended and the raging troll was getting close, he opted to aim manually. Firewall reached his empty hand forward to interact with the hologram in his field of vision and swiped his manual trigger, which ejected the clip from the gun. As the clip clattered to the ground, he allowed the weapon to slip from his grip, as the wide swing from the sledgehammer came down.

Cast of Shadows – Gemini

•March 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Of all the characters that have been created at the office, Gemini is one of the oldest (around the same time as X3) and from a player I thought to be one of the least likely to play.  A manager who had never played anything “nerdy” in her life, she took to the game quite well.  Gemini’s evolution has only just begun and I’m interested to see how the character grows.  The character is a middle manager at Renraku that moonlights as a shadowrunner, she is a social adept with a proficiency for throwing weapons.  A refugee of Tir na nOg, her fair skinned beauty lowers her enemy’s defenses long enough for her to get what her team requires, or distract long enough for her to cripple an openly hostile target with ordinary objects.  Renraku is either unaware or uncaring of her extracurricular activities, at least for now…

+++decoding message+++

This was old news. The job had gone well. The paydata was obtained and despite all their careful planning, somehow they were detected. In defiance of the efforts of security, the runners had evaded death or capture and made away with their paycheque. When they contacted their employer, he was leaving it in the hands of a liaison, as he suddenly had pressing business to tend to.

It had been a setup, of course. The runners did their research and found out that Mr. Johnson had worked for the very company he hired them to hit. They had been hired to test out their security and die trying to get out. Instead, Mr. Johnson now found himself in the position of having to buy back his own data.

The methods being used were textbook. Gemini was sure she had read those exact procedures in Renraku’s manual. The standard process was to plug the leak (aka kill the team) or make the prospect of moving the data to get their money so unattractive that the runners would lay low and just wait for the heat to pass. Having escaped from the confines of Tir society, Gemini had never been one to behave the way she was expected.

Mr. Johnson, or as they now knew him as, Michael Bryant, worked for Universal Omnitech as a project manager, the very project he gambled with and that Gemini now had in her custody. Wearing the UniOmni logo, she walked toward the building with a scowl on her face. She hunched her posture, cast her eyes to the ground and concentrated on the image of a cleaning staff member her team had incapacitated two hours ago. She felt her cheekbones shift, the burn in her skin as it changed colour and her throat contort to change her vocal tone. By the time she reached the door, she appeared as a bored Latino woman rather than the fair skinned Irish woman she had been.

Swiping the “borrowed” security badge, she walked in the front door and nodded to the receptionist.

“Good morning, Alejandrina,” the receptionist said with a wave.

With her practiced accent, Gemini said “Morning…” before slinking off and making herself obscure. As she found the cleaning closet, she grabbed a few items and a janitorial cart as she connected her commlink.

“Everything in place?”

“I’ve got you covered,” Pascal, her hacker associate, assured her. “Cameras will black out when you reach the executive wing and I’ve sent you Bryant’s office location. As a heads up, he’s got guards with him. I guess his inability to kill you has him a bit nervous.”

“He should be. Nice work. I’ll be in touch again shortly.”

Pushing the cart down the hall, her eyes downcast, no one paid the lowly cleaning lady any mind as they slid by her, going about their daily work routine. She stopped periodically to wipe down a random empty desk, or if it looked like some cheery, morning person was about to strike up a conversation, she would pull out the portable vacuum and run it to drown out any attempt at conversation until they gave up. While she could mimic her appearance and copy her voice, Gemini didn’t know much about Alejandrina Lopez’s personal life, due to time constraints and if she started responding atypically, her cover could be blown.

After what felt like an agonizing pace, she arrived at the office block for the senior management. As she rummaged in the cart for the more portable goods in her kit. She heard the light on the camera overhead click as Pascal powered it down. With eyes off of her, she grabbed an aerosol can and a dust rag. Tucking the dust rag into a pocket to obscure the pens she had tucked away and she reached inside her coveralls to palm a dart from an inner pocket.

She walked over to Michael Bryant’s office where a guard was standing on duty. “Excuse me,” she said in her Latino accent, “I need to dust Mr. Bryant’s desk.”

“Not today, Alejandrina. He’s not taking any visitors.”

“Oh…” she said, offering an air of disappointment. “Maybe I should come back?”

“Give it a day or two. I’m sure whatever is bothering him will blow over by then.”

“OK.”

As Gemini turned to leave, she slid the dart in her hand from the heel of her palm to her fingertips. With a quick flick, the dart sailed across the hall, striking the guard in the chest. The look of shock quickly faded, as the drug took hold and he slumped to the floor. Putting on a winning smile, Gemini slid the door.

Michael Bryant’s office was large and decorated as per company regulation dictated. Despite its large amount of space, it was sparsely furnished. She strode into the middle of the space, as Michael looked up and the guards took on a protective posture.

“Hola senor. I have come to clean your desk.”

She heard the click of a weapon being cocked directly behind her and she froze.

“The cleaning staff in this building is never so brazen. Who the hell are you?”

Gemini smiled and let her re-sculpting slip away, her hair lightening back to blonde and skin becoming pale once more. When she spoke the Gaelic lilt was back that had been ingrained in her from her upbringing. “Is that more to your liking, Mr. Johnson?”

Michael shook his head and wagged his finger at her. “You know, Ms. Gemini, for someone as closely tied to Renraku as you are, one would think they would have whipped more caution into you.”

“They have certainly tried, Mr. Bryant,” she said. The man was resourceful, but not resourceful enough to have learned her real name yet, which meant she still had the advantage. “You’ll find I’m a tough one to break.”

“We will certainly test that, Gemini,” he said, the smile on his lips not reaching his eyes. “I’d be very interested to know where your associates are and where my data is. Anything to say for yourself before we start?”

She shrugged, looked over her shoulder at the soldier standing there his his sidearm leveled at her. “Give me your gun.”

Without the thinking, the soldier gripped the barrel, turned the butt of the weapon toward her, where she lightly took the weapon. “Thank you.”

She flicked her wrist and the aerosol can of dusting solution struck the guard in the skull, rupturing the can and sending the soldier to the floor. As the smile melted from Michael’s face, she ejected the clip with impossibly quick moves and tossed the weapon upward. With time seeming to slow, she looked toward the two guards standing over Mr. Johnson’s shoulders. With meticulous timing, she thumbed the catch that held each bullet in the clip. As the round sprung free of the clip, she caught the bullet and flicked it at one of the guards.

She alternated between the two guards, ejecting and throwing round after round, each throw nearly as deadly as if she had fired the gun, but quiet so not draw attention. The guards recoiled as each metal jacket ricocheted off their faces until both fell to the ground unconscious from the rain of blows.

The empty pistol fell back into her hands and as Mr. Johnson’s hands slid back across the surface of his desk she threw the gun at his fragile appendage. The gun struck the back of his hand, shattering bones and bounced off, landing on the plush carpet behind his desk. His mouth was open in a silent scream of agony and before he came to his senses, Gemini tossed aside the dust rag, grabbed a pen and hurled it, pinning his other hand to the desk.

As tears streamed down his face, he looked up at Gemini about ready to scream, when he spotted three other pens in her thin fingertips. “Let’s not make a sound, or I might have to find interesting locations to bury these, all right?”

Mr. Johnson shook his head that he understood, but his gaze fell to the pen that jutted out between his knuckles in his right hand.

“We both know you were going for a panic button. We also both know that you set my team up. I find both upsetting.”

Gemini sat down in a soft leather chair across from Michael with a pleasant smile on, as if they were old friends talking. She seemed oblivious to his pain and that he couldn’t avert his eyes from the pen in his hand.

“We jumped through your little hoops, tested your security and it failed. This is an opportunity to make further refinements, not to burn your reputation in the shadows to a tiny pile of ash. I will make you an offer, Mr. Bryant. One of those take-it-or-leave-it kind.”

Gemini reached into her jacket and she heard Michael’s breath hold in his throat. She smiled that the appropriate amount of fear was in place. She placed an optical chip on his desk.

“That is the data we stole. I will return it to you. In exchange, you never contact us again, you pay us double the original offer and we won’t tell everyone what an asshole you’ve been. You keep your rep, we are compensated for our inconvenience and nobody needs to be put to death. It’s the only offer you’re going to get. Decide quickly.”

Gemini sat across from him, rolling the pens sequentially across her fingers, his eyes transfixed on their movements. After several seconds, he spoke through gritted teeth. “Deal.”

“Great! I’ll take care of the transaction, seeing as you’re in a bit of a spot…”

Gemini plugged her commlink into Mr. Bryant’s and after a couple seconds, she heard Pascal’s voice in her ear. “We’ve got the money.” She pulled away, leaving the chip on the desk. “Remember, if I even smell one of your cronies nearby, I will be back and I won’t stop at your hands.”

Her features shifting back into those of Alejandrina, she smiled and spoke again in the Latino accent, “Adios, Mr. Johnson,” before heading to the door.

Cast of Shadows – Delta

•February 24, 2015 • 2 Comments

Continuing with the Cast of Shadows series, the next character I wrote a short back story for was a character named Delta.  The character was developed by a brand new gamer, who wanted a character strongly derived from the Jason Bourne books.  The character was a half Maori natural athlete and competent soldier, who grew up within the walls of Aztechnology.  When his father was murdered and his mother accused of being the prime suspect, he sought out his own answers, only to find the company who shielded him his entire life was now obstructing him at every turn.  Trusting his fate to his father’s Maori tribesman, they separated him from Aztech, trained him and offered him a new future in Seattle under the guidance of a Maori mentor named Aberdeen.  He uses the shadows as a means to dig up the information Aztech seemed content to bury.

+++decoding message+++

The streets of Seattle were bustling with a never ending flow of people as everyone single-mindedly milled about to reach their destination. In a form of social camouflage, Delta kept his head down, ballcap obscuring his eyes and head down. He clutched a parcel under his arm and wore a courier’s uniform, fading into the noise of the street.

He turned into a building off of the crowded sidewalk, where Horizon had an advertising company set up for their specific brand of consumer brainwashing. Tipping back his hat and donning his belt smile, he strode up to the receptionist desk.

“G’day miss,” he said. People always mistook his New Zealander accent as Australian, so might as well play up the role. “I have a package for a Mr. Fenten. Do I need his signature for this, or is it something you can help me with?”

The woman looked up in the direct of the accent and saw an attractive Elven man smiling back. “Oh! I-I’m sure I can help you, sir. Just sign here?”

“If you’d be so kind,” Delta said. He smiled broadly and made eye contact with the receptionist, but the moment her eyes shifted to the data pad, he scanned the area. His image link highlighted notable security features in the area, showing him panic buttons and cameras. The receptionist handed him back the pad and smiled. “There you go.”

“Great! Here’s the package…” Delta said, setting a box on the counter, a warm delicious smell wafting from the box.

“What is it? It smells fantastic!”

“Picked it up from the bakery on 5th… thinking it’s a pie. It sure was a hard delivery to make when the truck smelled so good,” Delta said with a smirk. “Hope you don’t mind me asking, but is there a restroom here? Been a busy morning.”

“Oh! Sure, just down the hall on the left.”

“Perfect, thanks!” Delta headed down the mentioned hallway. He had studied the floorplan of this place before coming and his true destination was directly across the hall from the washroom. As he saw the restrooms on the left, the maintenance room was on the right. Scanning for cameras, he confirmed he was in a blind spot. Pulling his autopicker from his uniform, he jammed it into the lock of the maintenance room and cranked the door open, slipping inside.

Looking around the closet, he found several cleaning compounds all marked as flammable. He smirked as he rearranged the bottles to improve coverage and placed several small explosive charges near the flammable bottles. The damage wouldn’t push beyond the closet, but it would certainly get people’s attention.

With his distraction detonation rigged up, he slipped back out of the closet and walked back to the reception desk. “Thanks, miss. I’ll see you later.”

“Sure… oh and , uh… here,” she said, handing a slip of paper.

“What’s this?”

“My number. In case you might like to grab a coffee sometime?”

Delta smiled again. “Sounds great. Call you later.”

Slipping the commcode into his pocket (hey, she was cute and if things went according to plan she would never know what he was about to do), he left the Horizon building and walked up the road a couple blocks to a local mall.

Wading his way through the crowd, he made his way toward one of the restrooms. Removing the ball cap from his head, he balled it up and deposited it in a garbage can before slipping into a men’s room. He stepped into a stall and began stripping out of his courier’s uniform, turning it inside out so that the logos were on the inside and the outside was a plain navy blue. Stepping out of the stall, he slouched slightly, letting his eyes droop, portraying a more fatigued persona. Making his way to the local DIY shop, he bought himself a small toolkit and an assortment of cheap tools.

He checked himself out in the mirror and felt his makeshift disguise would hold for as long as was needed. Navigating the horde in the mall once more, he stepped back out onto the busy street and walked back the way he came. He neared the Horizon building he had been in not long ago and turned into the housing complex across the street from it.

The man watching over the security counter looked up from his paper to see who had entered. “Can I help you?”

“Yeah, the management asked me to do some maintenance on the air conditioning unit before the weather gets too warm. Tune it up before it cuts out…”

The guard gave him an appraising look. “The management, huh?”

“You know? The Trinity Group? The guys who own the building?”

When the technician dropped the name of the company, the guard seemed to relax. “All right. The roof access is between 803 and 804.”

“Thanks,” Delta said in a bored monotone as the guard opened the door from a button under the desk. Once he was through the security door, Delta brought up his commlink, found Aberdeen’s contact information and clicked the connect icon.

Tena koe, Delta,” Aberdeen said in the traditional Maori greeting. “What can I help you with?”

Everything’s set. My gear in place?” he asked, stepping into an elevator, heading for the 8th floor.

Of course it is, my friend. Wouldn’t leave you high and dry.”

Excellent. Tell Mr. Johnson that I will be in contact this evening and he’ll need to uphold his end of the bargain.”

I will pass it on. Good hunting, Delta.”

Hei kona, Aberdeen.”

The door chimed and opened on the eighth floor and Delta made his way to the door between apartments 803 and 804. He looked up at the camera above the door and nodded. The door clicked as the security guard opened the door to the roof and the elf climbed the ladder to the roof slowly while carrying his tool kit.

Throwing back the hatch, he stepped out in to the sun and strode over to a ventilation duct. Opening his toolkit, Delta pulled out a screwdriver and began prying off the grate, while dialing a number on his commlink, disabling video on the call.

Horizon Advertising, how may I direct your call?” the receptionist that had given him her number cheerfully chimed.

Applying a voice filter, Delta didn’t look away from his task at hand. “The Megacorporate influence on society is a cancer. It must be purged from our city.”

The receptionist sighed. “Sir, I don’t know what…”

There are bombs in your building and if you don’t listen to our demands, everyone in that building will die.”

The vent popped away from its housing, revealing a burlap bag inside. Pulling the bag out, Delta opened it up to find his grapple gun with rope tightly secured and his Cavalier Arms Crockett, prepped and ready. Hoisting his sniper rifle, he couldn’t stifle the smile that crossed his lips as he felt its familiar weight.

Sir, we receive bomb threats all the time. Yours are just as hollow as all the rest.”

Is that so?” he said. Delta reached over to his commlink, pressed the disconnect button. Pushing the icons for the phone aside, he brought up his personal network, where a flashing icon reading “Detonate” was glowing. He sent the mental command to extend the bipod on his rifle as his finger pressed the detonate button.

A blast of stone and smoke erupted from the side of the Horizon building as he lay down prone at the building’s edge and took up position over the exit. Might have been a bigger explosion than was required, but he had to ensure people left the building.

As the Horizon building began to exit at a trickle, the corporate security team appeared, escorting people from the building and getting their people out. Finally, the mark appeared.

Morgan Forrester: advertising mogul on the rise and part time sleazeball. Slept with Mr. Johnson’s under age daughter. Mr. Johnson couldn’t afford to take on Horizon’s lawyers, but he could certainly afford making sure than would never touch an innocent girl again.

Turning on his smartlink, the targeting computer calculated the ballistic arc, accounting for the increased windspeeds between the buildings and the fluid nature of the milling crowd, Delta centered the crosshairs on the man’s forehead. He waited patiently and as the security team entered the building to search for the potential other threats or employees still inside, Delta squeezed the trigger.

He pulled back quickly, retracting the bipod. The screams from street level told him that the shot had been successful. Wrapping up the rifle, he grabbed his equipment, tossing the toolkit into the ductwork and pressing the grate back over the hole. Hefting his grapple gun, he fired it against the HVAC system and began scaling down the side of the building.

He lowered himself quickly, knowing that Horizon wouldn’t take long to establish where the shot came from. As soon as his feet touched down on the pavement, he tapped his catalyst stick to the rope, causing the rope to disappear to dust in seconds.

Walking down the alley, away from the chaos he created, Delta sent a message to Aberdeen.

Task complete. Will require security footage to disappear. Tell Mr. Johnson to watch the news and contact me with payment.”

Cast of Shadows – Xiadow Xiok Xiavez aka X3

•February 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Continuing from my last post, the second character I wrote a short about was the team’s cyber ninja, X3.  X3 had been created when I first attempted running Shadowrun at the office and his player was very pleased to be able to bring his character back under Fifth Edition.  In order to showcase the character for the new players, I wrote up this piece.  X3 is a Filipino runner, who was classically trained in the ninja arts by a now shattered clan, who opposed the occupation of the Philippines.  The islands now liberated, X3 seeks vengeance for the treatment of his countrymen at the hands of Mitsuhama and their exploitative policies.

+++decoding message+++

The scent of incense hung heavily in the air, as Carlos Chavez sat cross-legged in the middle off the tatami mat that made up the center of the space. This Shinto-styled shrine in Everett was one of the few places left in the city that felt tranquil and he could feel centered. Whether that would be true after today or not remained to be seen.

As he heard the heavy wooden doors open somewhere behind him, that portion of him known as Carlos slipped away to make room for X3; the shadowrunner. He remained where he sat, determined to enjoy the peace as long as it lasted.

Footsteps echoed behind him in the stone hallway until he heard the soft crunch of shoes on tatami. “What the hell? Who is this? I thought I told you to keep this place clear!”

So… he had come. Tariya Hideyoshi… self-important Yakuza thug, son to a Mitsuhama dynasty that traced back to the atrocities in the Philippines. X3 had done his homework and found this little kingpin left himself open during his meditations. With any luck, the man’s commlink would have something profitable and useful to his own ends on it.

“I…I don’t know, sir. Our men had the place surrounded to keep it clear for you.”

“Well you failed, as usual. Get rid of him, so I can relax.”

X3 listened as he heard people moving around him. His cyberears honed in on the sound of footsteps on the soft mat. Four bodyguards. More than he had anticipated, but still manageable.

“Uh sir, he’s armed…” X3 heard pistols being drawn from holsters and leveled in his direction.

Hideyoshi had venom dripping from his voice when he ordered, “Set your weapon on the floor and stand up slowly.”

Suppressing a smirk, the runner drew his machine pistol from its holster, placed it lightly on the mat and slowly rose to his feet.

“You have some stones coming to a Yakuza building with a weapon,” Hideyoshi said.

“Last I checked, this was a public building,” X3 said, finally breaking his silence.

“Who said you could talk back? Sato, teach this worm some manners.”

Hearing a pistol being cocked to his left, X3 grinned. His cybernetics kicked in and the world seemed to slow down. With a pre-programmed series of finger twitches, he activated his chameleon suit, pulling the hood down over his face with one head, while starting into a hand spring with the other.

As far as the Yakuza saw, one minute the man was there and in a blur of motion, suddenly he turned and vanished. They fired their weapons where the assassin had been standing only to hit nothing but air. X3 bounded up the wall braced his knees between two ceiling beams and hung upside down studying the Yakuza’s movements below.

“Where’d he go?” Sato said, panic creeping into his voice. “You think he’s a mage?”

Hideyoshi looked to one of his guards. Speaking in Japanese, he ordered, “Summon one of your spirits. The rest of you, make yourself useful… fill the place full of holes until something bleeds.”

Springing from his perch, X3 swung from the beams to a wall before bouncing off and securing himself above the now outed mage. Reaching down, he tightly gripped the mage’s head and wrenched it to the side, severing the mage’s spine before he could tap into the astral. With the rest fruitlessly firing into the walls, X3 let the mage drop to the floor, creeping across the mat lightly staying out of the firing arcs of the thugs destroying the temple.

“Kuso! The kannushi is down!”

Hideyoshi wheeled around to see the mage laying on the ground, eyes wide and head at an impossible angle. “Dammit! Find him!”

As the Yakuza were distracted by the death of their magical support, X3 moved in behind another soldier, clamped his hand over their throat to prevent them from crying out and wrenched him back as he brought his knee up. A long blade ejected upward from his shin, slipping between two of the man’s ribs. The man’s cry of agony stifled by X3’s grip, the blade retracted and the ninja went for the wakazashi at the Yakuza’s side. In a fluid motion, X3 hurled the short sword at the next thug, while rolling across the mat.

Hideyoshi and Sato turned in time to see one of their men go down in a silent spurt of blood from his mouth while another saw himself impaled and skewered to the wall by a wakazashi. Coming out of his roll, X3’s chameleon suit disengaged as he scooped up his machine pistol, raised the run and fired a burst in the skull of Sato.

With surprising agility, Hideyoshi moved in and kicked the pistol from X3’s grip. Taking up a ready position, X3 mimicked his opponent’s stance. Standard Hwarang-do posture, offensive style… not sloppy though. Has some training.

“I don’t know who you are, but no one messes with the Yakuza and lives,” Hideyoshi taunted.

“You’re right… you don’t know who I am. Your mistake.”

Hideyoshi opened with a feint, attempting to bring X3’s guard up, but the assassin didn’t take the bait, blocking the initial strike. Delivering a sharp blow to the Yakuza’s forearm, the man recoiled, realizing that his opponent had bone lacing and that each blow would be costly.

Launching into a kata, Hideyoshi launched into the fight with a back fist, a hook kick, a crescent kick and what should have been a flurry of blows. X3 was well versed in this style of fighting; MCT trained their soldiers in Hwarang-do and this guy lacked the brain power to improvise. X3 barely had to think when dodging the kicks and when Hideyoshi when to follow up with the punches, X3 side-stepped, wrist-locked the man and flipped him using the momentum of the strike against him. As the Yakuza man turned in the air, the assassin fired a kick of his own into the defenseless foe, hurling him to the mat and bouncing from the force of the strike.

Staggering to his feet, Hideyoshi looked at the ninja, his confidence faltering somewhat. X3 stared back unwavering, showing no signs of his plan of action. His opponent met X3’s eyes trying to get a read of any kind and his eyes briefly shifted to the wooden doors behind X3 that led to freedom.

X3 grinned behind his mask.

The Yakuza let out a battle cry and charged X3, launching into a flying kick. Knowing that it was a ploy to make X3 step aside to grant freedom, the ninja merely rolled back and sprang to his feet, so that Hideyoshi landed directly in front of him. As the Yakuza lieutenant landed, X3 launched in his own assault. To his credit, Hideyoshi did a respectable job of weathering the barrage. The entire time X3 attacked, the Yakuza was trying to find an opening where he could sidestep his attacker and escape.

Noticing his adversary’s desperation, X3 gave him his opening. Swinging in a wild attack, X3 presented an obvious gap and Hideyoshi went for it. Using his momentum from his misleading move, X3 spun around, sprang off a wall and came down fist first where Hideyoshi’s neck met his shoulder, crushing the collar bone and driving him to the floor.

On shaking legs, the Yakuza struggled to his feet. He clutched his crippled shoulder as tears streaked down his cheek from the pain. “Please… what do you want? What did I do?”

“What do I want? I want those that stole my family and friends from me. I want those who murdered my neighbors and sold their children in slavery to feel the same agony we felt. Your parents are two of those people. What did you do? The same thing we did. Nothing. But my job is to bring suffering to those who deserve it and you are a means to an end.”

Hideyoshi made one last attempt to defend himself with his one good arm, but his defenses were swatted aside and X3 delivered a series of quick blows as his forearm spurs extended. A blur of motion, he delivered critical blows: first the lungs to prevent him from calling for aid, the second to the abdomen to deliver the requisite amount of pain his bloodline was owed and the third a blow to the heart, granting a quick end, as he was not directly responsible for the sins of the past.

Hideyoshi’s eyes went wide as his life faded quickly. X3 guided him down to the kneeling position on the tatami giving him his final moments to find the serenity he sought when he first entered the temple.

“May your spirit find peace. For your family will have none.”

X3 reached down and unclipped the man’s commlink and accessed its memory. As he had hoped, there was information on it he could sell to rival syndicates, but there was information on Mitsuhama, his parents and their family life. He could begin scouting his planned targets in earnest. He would let them grieve over the death of their son before death would visit them again.

Cast of Shadows – Snaketoast

•February 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

When 5th Edition first came out, I blew the dust off an old idea… corrupt my coworkers with the idea of a free-flowing story they could control.  It was a surprisingly easy sell… a couple had played before and were eager to bring their 4th Edition characters back, while most had never played an RPG, or it had been so long, it was as good as new.  We sat down, drew up characters and prepped ourselves for our first game.  While I taught the mechanics of the game (keeping it high level, seeing as they weren’t gamers…yet), in order to paint the picture of what they were getting into, I wrote up stories starring their characters, to showcase the kinds of things they could do in game.  While they’re far from Pulitzer material, I figured I’d post the stories I wrote for people to read and (hopefully) enjoy.

The first character to be developed was the team mage with the nonsensical name of Snaketoast… a Quebecois mage whose family was torn apart by Cross Applied Technologies before the Crash of 64.  He strives to improve himself in order to dig into the now-defunct corporation to find those responsible and punish them.

+++decoding message+++

The rain came down in a slow, cold drizzle as the runner studied the front doorway beneath the large glowing centurion icon. It had taken some money and some time, but he had finally tracked down Gaston Fiore. It was part of a private contracting job, but when he learned that Gaston used to be an employee of CATCo back in Trois-Rivieres, it seemed an ideal opportunity to kill two birds.

Standing beneath the awning of a local coffee shop, Snaketoast was distracted from his recon momentarily by the barrista behind the counter. “Excuse me, sir? Your soykaf?”

“Ah, thanks,” he said with a smile. Sipping the closest thing to coffee he could afford, he pulled at the collar of his uniform. It had cost a sum of money, but he had convinced a local tailor to mock up a close facsimile to an Ares uniform. The knowledge of even wearing a corporate logo made his skin crawl, but it was a means to an end.

Taking a drag from his soykaf, he steeled himself against the elements and strode out into the rain. As he neared the Ares compound, he made out the sorry son of a bitch that was on guard duty and before acting, he switched his sight to the astral plane.

A world of colour and emotion super imposed itself over top of reality. The glow of the Earth was muted here, as all but a thin layer of topsoil and grass remained of nature, all of it paved over in concrete and glass. The building was thankfully free of magical protections and there were no signs of spirits on duty. A blessing to be sure. Luckily for him, Mr. Fiore was someone of low import. Turning his attentions to the front door guard, the man was only slightly augmented. Standard headware package. Fighting a cold and really resenting being out in the Seattle rain. His poor disposition would only serve Snaketoast better.

The mage began drawing mana from the local astral space, knitting together a spell as he began a purposeful walk to the front door. He focused on the guard, who had yet to notice his approach and thought “The next person to the door is a man of importance. Let him pass quickly.”

The tendrils of power wove their way into the guard’s mind and when Snaketoast reached the door, he scowled at the guard. “It’s fucking miserable out here. Open the door, will you?”

“Certainly, sir,” the guard said. Typing in the passcode, Snaketoast watched the code as it was entered and quickly stepped out of the rain into the sterile white hallway of the Ares building. He spotted the camera at the end of the hall and quickly stepped into a nearby office. Scanning the office, he found it vacant and using his commlink the workstation showed the employee was off for the day. Tossing his soycaf in the trash, he reached into his satchel, pulled out a handful of crystals and placed them in a symmetrical hexagon on the office floor. Standing in the middle of his makeshift circle, he began chanting softly, shifting his sight to the astral plane. The ambient mana of the room flowed through the crystals and coalesced over his head. After five minutes of concentration, the ball of energy overhead took the form of a serpentine spirit with an eye where the head should be.

“Yes?” his watcher spoke, the ‘s’ drawn out like the stereotypical snake.

“I am searching for a man. A human by the name of Gaston Fiore. Seek him out and report his location to me.”

“As you command.”

The watcher faded into the ether and the crystals used in the ritual shattered to dust with the ritual concluded. Not content to let his spirit do all the work, Snaketoast tapped into the astral once more, casting an Invisibility spell over himself. He watched as he faded from view. Satisfied, he pushed the astral signature of the spell to his focus and stepped out into the hall once more.

Walking lightly, he made his way down the hall. The camera would not see him, but it would not serve him to be heard by a patrolling guard. Thankfully for him, the building was busy. The main portion of the building was a large cube farm, with countless wageslaves slumped over their workstations, doing the megalithic company’s bidding for a handful of nuyen.

“Master, I have located your quarry,” the watcher reported, sending the mage direction by telepathy. Conference room past the cubicles… meeting was wrapping up. Perfect.

Making his way across the space, weaving his way carefully through the Ares citizens who were oblivious to the shadowrunner in their midst. He waited outside the conference room door for the managers to leave before slipping inside.

Gaston Fiore was a middle aged man of mediocre income, receding hairline and poor life choices. Snaketoast couldn’t judge the man for sleeping around on his wife, save for the fact that he was stupid enough to get caught and leave his wife access to his personal bank account, which she was now using to pay the runner. She had no prayer of winning anything in the divorce, going against a corporate lawyer, so she didn’t want him to have anything either. Petty, sure… but it pays the rent.

Gaston was all packed up and heading for the door, when he felt a hand on his shoulder and a gun barrel on the back of his neck.

“Speak and die. Understand?”

The manager nodded lightly, raising his hands in surrender.

“Lower your hands, dammit. Let’s not draw any attention, shall we? Keep your hand away from your commlink.”

As Gaston obeyed, Snaketoast pulled an optical chip from his pocket and slid it into the man’s commlink data port. His old hacker friend had cooked up a dataworm for him and within seconds, the worm weaved through the device’s firewall and began transferring the man’s assets to a separate bank account and noisily transferred company data out onto the Matrix, hopefully destroying the man’s reputation.

Having finished his primary objective, Snaketoast drew in the mana for a spell, glaring at the back of the man’s skull. Energy arced through his fingertips and drilled into the executive’s mind. Gaston’s eyes shot open and his jaw went slack as Snaketoast burrowed into the man’s memories. Going deeper and deeper, he looked for any signs of anything from Cross. The man hadn’t held much station, but even rumours were useful pieces at this point.

Flashes of images and conversations rolled through Snaketoast’s mind, as he shared the man’s memories of the old company from a decade before. He found nothing directly about his family, but rumours of the Serephim and a data breach that occurred that caused a stir within Cross itself. It could be a lead.

As the mage released his hold on the man’s mind, Gaston fell to his knees, coughing and retching from the violation. Without thinking, he sent the mental command to his commlink to raise the alarm. As the sirens went off, Snaketoast cursed under his breath and fired off a Stunbolt that dropped Gaston to the floor.

The door to the conference room locked down and the hiss of a gas release system filled the air. Snaketoast wove another spell and held his breath no longer feeling the need to exhale. Peering through the conference room window, he caught sight of a poor wageslave walking nearby, while the corpsec team was still prepping themselves. Unable to wait for a full hypnotic suggestion, he used Control Thoughts and commanded “Open the door.”

Without thinking about what he was doing, the wageslave walked over and pulled the door open. The gas washed out of the room, dropping the employee and sending the security forces scattering for their respirators.

Starting to feel the drain taking it’s toll, Snaketoast threw caution to the wind and ran from the room. Seeing the break in the gas, a couple of guards fought against the gas’s effects to bring a weapon up, but were forced to keep their heads down as the runner fired his pistol at the guards. Behind him, he heard the guard order “It’s a mage! Switch to ultrasound!”

His invisibility now useless, he dropped both the invisibility and oxygenate as he ran for the door. Knowing he would have to fight his way out, he called to the astral one last time, hoping it wouldn’t be enough to take him out.

As he rounded the last corner, a guard in heavy armour stood between him and the exit. The Ares soldier raised his assault rifle. “Lay down on the ground right now, or die.”

Snaketoast absently wiped the blood from his nose, paying the price for his last act and dropped heavily to his knees. As he lowered himself, he sent the mental command “Take him.”

Snaketoast sprinted toward the guard as the floor seemed to become fluid rising up into a vaguely humanoid form of concrete and marble tile. Two obsidian pits glared down expressionlessly on the guard as the spirit took full form and roared with the sound of stones grinding against one another.

“Aw fu-” the guard said as the spirit drove him through the door and charged outside, hurling the guard into the grounds. The guard the Snaketoast had previously convinced to allow him entry opened fire on the spirit. The bullets chipped against the stone body of the spirit and the spirit vanished in a spray of broken tile.

As Snaketoast crossed the threshold and back into the rain, he heard “Freeze!” beside him. The guard looked puzzled for a moment, as the hypnotic suggestion was still there, though vastly weakened. The hesitation cost him as the Earth spirit burst from the ground at the guards feet, swallowing him up in dirt and stone.

“Once I am free of the grounds, you are free to return to your home, spirit,” Snaketoast said. “You have my thanks.”

Running off of the Ares compound and fading into foot traffic, he opened a channel on his commlink. “Hello, Ms. Johnson? The job is complete. I am sending you a bank account number with your settlement in it. Please leave the amount of my pay in the account and our business is concluded. Enjoy being single.”

Not bad for a days work. The rent was paid, he could afford food and he knew that he now had to track down information on the Seraphim. Answers would come. He had to be patient.

Ghosts of the Past (Shadowrun)

•January 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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

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

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

Scene 1 – A Man of Influence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scene 2 – The Mysteries of Iryan Amiri

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

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

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

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

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

Scene 3 – Unhealthy Obsession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So… this is 2015…

•January 2, 2015 • 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

J.

 
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