This run was a complete experiment. This was the first Shadowrun my daughters helped me to design. While much of the information I used came from my older daughter, it was a family experiment and for the first time, I think my daughter sees the appeal of the hobby. Both of my kids are obsessed with Five Nights at Freddy’s. If you aren’t familiar with the franchise, feel free to click the link. After they babbled at length about the lore of the game series, I thought… “I could make a run of this…”
This is the result. My kids insisted on being around as the game was run. I’ve run the game three times now and each time, she listened in and waited with baited breath as the twists unfolded. Each time, despite different approaches by each group, the nervousness and panic the setting created and the end results brought a smile to her face. If you decide to give this run a try in your group, please let me know how it goes. It’s an ongoing experiment we’d be interested in the final outcome.
The runners are contacted by their fixer about a job with a very tight timeline and a new Mr. Johnson. If they’re willing to take a gamble, they can meet with their employer at 8PM at the Auburn Center.
Scene 1 – Desperate Times
The Auburn Center is an aging mall with none of the major chains maintaining significant presence, though a few smaller shops for Body+Tech, Microdeck and WeaponsWorld are here to cater to the less-well-to-do populace. The food court is half closed down, and what restaurants remain deal in low quality soy knock off food stuffs that can be prepared quickly and are cheap.
Mr. Johnson is with his wife and are talking in hushed tones at the most remote corner of the food court when the runners arrive. He is obviously nervous and judging by his attire, he’s never done this sort of thing before. His wife looks positively fearful of the runners as they arrive, but Mr. Johnson does his best to maintain what little composure he has.
“Err.. uh, hi. Th-thanks for coming. We’re at our wits end and we didn’t know what else to do. Our son has gone missing and the police have set his safety at a lower priority because we are not a wealthy family. We don’t know where else to turn… we, uh… we’re hoping you can help us… We can pay you… is… 3000¥ each enough?”
The runners may balk at the low price point, but hopefully they will have some degree of moral compass and want to help out a desperate family.
Mr. Johnson can do a little negotiations (each net hit is 250¥), but not much. He’s gutting their savings to try and get their son back as it is. Runners could look up their employer to find out where they work and possibly negotiate favors from them.
If the runners agree to take the job, the couple seems relieved and they provide their son’s (Michael Schmidt) commcode and whatever other information the runners feel they require to help in the search. Mr. Johnson hands them his commcode to contact them when they have answer on their son.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson (Thomas and Janet Schmidt)
Concerned Parents (NeoNet Employees)
Possible References – Construction Work, NeoNet, Matrix
1/2 – Tax paying citizens of the UCAS, one child (Michael), both currently under the employment of NeoNet.
3/5 – Thomas works for Visionary Design Works as a site surveyor and construction foreman. Janet is a secretary for a middle manager in VDW. They met when Thomas joined the company.
5/7 – Michael is a problem child, as the proverbial spoiled only child. Despite NeoNet granting him citizenship, the child makes a habit of leaving company grounds and skipping out on the corporate funded education he’s been granted.
6/8 – According to social media, Michael’s parents were about to pay to assign to have an escort assigned to their son and Mike found out. On any outlet Mike could find, he was telling his friends he was planning on running away. None took him seriously.
Scene 2 – Digging up the Trail
Using the commcode provided by Mr. Johnson, they can trace the commlink, which they find discarded in a trash can in a commercial district. However, they can pull up Mike’s friend list and find out more about the kid through the company he keeps. They learn that the kid is an avid gamer and is known for ditching school to go to Frontier Frankie’s to rack up more kills in Zombie Apocalypse.
Frontier Frankie’s is a new establishment that cropped up on the western edge of Auburn that features a toy store and factory, arcade, amusement park for young kids and a restaurant, selling cheap, crappy food. Greeting any who attend are Frontier Frankie and his pals; gaudy animatronics with several sample sound bites they greet people with. Viewing the place in AR overlays a dusty old west feel, complete with tumbleweeds and cacti, with each part of the establishment represented by an appropriate version (the restaurant appearing as a saloon, for example).
The characters around the themed restaurant are:
Frontier Frankie – An exaggerated person in frontiersmen clothing and a coonskin hat with a comical musket over one shoulder. He has a square jaw in a broad grin and vivid blue eyes and a tuft of blond hair from under his cap
Buckskin Brave – A smiling native American in traditional clothes and a bow at his side. His skin is darker and is broadly muscled. He has a comically large gap where one of his teeth should be and his hair goes half way down his back.
Wilbur the Wolf – Featuring a salt and pepper pelt of fur, this grinning wolf is snarky in attitude. Despite being one of the more menacing figures, he is a favourite of the kids and sells the most toys. His figures typically show him cleaning his teeth with one of his claws, while winking with one yellow eye open.
Barty Beaver – The joker of the crew, Barty liked to sneak up behind groups and slap his tail on the ground to try and startle them, letting out a hearty guffaw when he got a jump from someone. Typically seen with a goofy grin, featuring his prominent front teeth, waving vigorously.
Injun’ Kim (Retired) – Being short for Kimosabe, from old Lone Ranger fame, Native American groups protested the character as being a walking stereotype. With warpaint, a headband with feather and a tomahawk, this animatronic was retired and stored for parts, while being replaced by Buckskin Brave.
Looking around and talking to the regulars, or gaining access to camera feeds shows that Mike did skip school and come to the arcade. However, the camera system had a gap in the camera feed (going back a few days in the footage will show one of the cameras was re-positioned to create the blind spot) right where Mike went to play Zombie Apocalypse.
Talking to the arcade regulars, they do recall Mike being at the arcade and talking with one of the security guards. If asked what the guard and Mike were talking about they are met with shrugs or vague descriptions of a discussion about the game. No one recalls seeing them leave.
Careful monitoring of the camera feeds shows the security guard slipping into the arcade, but never leaving through any of the exits. However, there are instances moving through the back corridors where doors hung open longer than they should have. Going further back, they can get a clear look at the man’s face in the one camera he forgot about and didn’t turn away from.
Searching the Matrix for a hit on the man’s face yields several results. It becomes rapidly apparent that the man has burned through several IDs over the years, including the runner handle “Indigo”. His most recent alias is James Kendall and he has an address on the far side of Auburn.
Scene 3 – Diary of a Madman
Going to the address of James Kendall, at first everything seems normal. He lives on an apartment on the 5th floor of one of the nondescript blue collar housing buildings. The apartment is spartanly furnished and even what furniture is there is cheap and nondescript. The kitchen has very little food in it and what is present appears to be leftovers from Frontier Frankie’s.
The apartment looks barely lived in, until you go into the bedrooms. The master bedroom is a chaotic mess with a filthy bed that barely looks structurally sound and volumes of books strewn about the bed and any flat surface available. Anyone with magical theory or knowledge of Necromancy or Geomancy will recognize the books for what they are. Otherwise, the books don’t seem to make much sense, especially to the mundane. Buried in the clutter of the master bedroom is an optical chip that contains Vincent’s old journal, caked in mud. Most of it is innocuous, but the last three entries may be of interest to the runners. <hand them the diary printout – see below>
The second bedroom is dark and bare. The light has no bulb in it and in the middle of the room on the floor is a holo projector. Turning it on brings up a directory of files. Most are folders with names and they depict pictures of kids, taken by an amateur photographer. One folder is entitled Mike Schmidt, with pictures of the runner’s quarry dating over the past week. The other is titled Vincent Jessop.
The folder entitled Vincent Jessop fills the rooms with holographic projections of newspaper clippings, images of the man they’re after and connections that assemble a chronology of the man’s activities over the past 18 years. The story begins just before the original disappearance of a boy named Mitchell Warren. Vincent was suspected of being behind the disappearance (and judging by how closely the investigation was tracked, it appears to be correct) and he fled, cross much of North America, expanding his magical knowledge and laying low using multiple pseudonyms.
After years of silence, suddenly there are news clippings of children experiencing missing time in amusement parks and themed restaurants all around the UCAS and CAS, which after magical deconstructions revealed magical memory tampering. By then, he had moved on and adopted a new alias. Once he had offended several regions with his antics, he faded into the shadows as a work-for-hire mage known as Indigo.
Indigo earned a reputation as being powerful, but “giving off a bad vibe”, so after wearing out his welcome in Boston and New York, he returned to his old stomping grounds in Seattle. Returning home turned out to be the worst idea he had, as he entered a downward spiral of remorse and instability, which led to him going dark for about a year.
Then Mike Schmidt entered the picture.
Frontier Frankie’s had laid dormant for years, with the owner of the franchise stubbornly holding on to the business name and the land tied up in the business’s name for over a decade. The original owner passed away and the ownership of the franchise passed to the son. Seeing an opportunity, NeoNet swept in and offered money to the new owner in order to revive the franchise and snatch up the real estate.
Handing the contract off to their subsidiary Visionary Design Works, they began redesigning the Frontier Frankie’s, but with the bad publicity that killed the franchise before (the disappearance of Mitchell Warren), they opted to tear down the original location.
As the other articles toward the end indicate, the latest issues the press has been muzzled on telling is that each of the construction crews that have gone to survey the site have had injury or disappearance on the grounds. The last person to check out the site and escape without incident was Thomas Schmidt, Mike’s father. After his visit to the old Frankie’s, the pictures of Mike began.
Armed with the man’s itinerary, the runners are left to investigate the original location of Frontier Frankie’s.
Scene 4 – Haunted Funhouse
The original Frontier Frankie’s is a dilapidated structure, whose exposure to the acid rain that permeates the metroplex has done no favors to the building. The once bright colors are faded and bleached. A few vehicles belonging to Visionary Design Works are still in the parking lot, showing signs of plundering and sabotage.
The inside of the building stinks of dust and mold. Vandal graffiti stains the walls from people breaking in over the years and marking their presence. A smaller, more modest version of Frontier Frankie greets them in the entry way, the telltale grin and wave still prevalent, though the animatronic’s skin has decayed over the years, revealing the mechanical endoskelton underneath in places, giving the jovial figure a semi-skeletal appearance.
Indigo has used the Leeching ritual extensively within the building, so the manasphere within the building is messed up pretty bad. To any mage that would project and move through the building, the astral space feeling like trudging through mud, the air is cold and they feel short of breath. It translates to a -3 background count due to the astral plane not fully recovering.
The Main Attraction
The Toy Manufacturing Facility
These maps were done up by a friend, who was kept blind as to the theme or the reason as to why they were requested. Feel free to make the substitutions I made:
- Ignore most of the animatronics on the map, but use Pooky the Pig as Frontier Frankie, Okra Owl is Wilbur the Wolf, Boo Boo is Buckskin Brave and Walter is Betty Beaver. Injun Kim is in shambles in the Storage Room to start, but should get into the vents early on…
- Cool Charlie’s Corral becomes the Wolf’s Den and Boo Boo’s Saloon is rebranded Brave’s Saloon
- I had the building as L-shaped, with the rear entrance of the Storage Room exit into a small, rusted-out playground and a overgrown concrete path led to the double doors into the Reception area of the factory floor
- Remember the animatronics are being puppeted by spirits, which can possess astrally projected mages and corpses of dead construction workers as well…
The facility is deserted save for the abandoned animatronics. Evidence of the construction workers are around, with bloody drag marks being pulled into party rooms or up into the HVAC vents. Water damage is everywhere. Some of the party rooms have smeared blood on the walls that say “Release Us” and “Avenge Me”.
Once the runners are sufficiently deep enough into the building, bound spirits under the control of Indigo possess the animatronics and move in to attack the runners. Some will use Stealth as their optional power, others may use Trid Phantasm to fool the runners as to their direction of approach. Frankie, Buckskin Brave and Barty will opt for a direct approach, using illusions to get in close. They will freeze in place and evacuate the body if the runners look back, so that they will see that the animatronics have moved, but be unsure as to how.
Injun Kim, in his dilapidated state, scampers up into the ceiling vents and will attack from above. Wilbur the Wolf starts off in the Wolf’s Den, but once he wakes up, he gallops toward the runners at full speed tackling the nearest target and tearing into them with tooth and claw.
Toys in the toy store have had the Homonculus ritual performed on them and will pursue and dog the runners, trying to make them expend their ammunition. If the mage projects after the spirits have been unleashed, the mage’s body will be possessed and the spirit will attempt to lead the runners astray and into a trap.
Each of the spirits manifest on the astral plane as a child, one of whom appears as Mitchell Warren. Should the runners use banishing to break the connection between spirit and summoner, the spirit thanks them for freeing them and may help them in the battle against Indigo. If requested, the spirit will show them where to gain access to the safe room.
Beneath the toy store are a series of steam tunnels, long dormant and dusty that lead to a panic room. Inside is Indigo, hiding in the darkness of the room. Dressed in Light Military Armor (Run & Gun), painted up like a twisted mime, he activates a potent Lightning Aura spell and attacks the runners, while turning any spirits he has left on the runners, possessing anything or anyone convenient. If the runners are struggling and they freed a spirit, rather than blasting it, they can possess Indigo’s armor and work against the mage to buy the runners opportunity to kill the man.
Once Indigo is dead, they find a room in the back with a simple cot and stolen food. Mike Schmidt is whimpering, blindfolded and chained to the bed, but other than the psychological harm, is otherwise unhurt.
July 17, 2057 – Frontier Frankie’s in Auburn
First day on the site at Frontier Frankie’s here in Auburn. While they maintain their own security team, they had me join on as a consultant. Astral alignment, make people spend their money… the usual drill. Apparently, they’ve encountered enough trouble with people intruding and trying to mess up astral space in the spot that they’re even talking about paying me to erect a ward to keep out would-be saboteurs. Since wards require maintenance, it would be semi-regular work. Not a bad gig. If you can get past the cartoon character vibe of the place…
On a more personal note, I think my mentor has been messing with me again. I’ve never been very good with people. Oh sure, I get quite a few phone numbers and flirts from women (and a few men), but invariably I alienate them in some way, usually by talking about my tradition. Voodoo has such a bad rap, it rarely goes over well when people ask what type of magician I am. Never mind when I tell them that Erzulie is my guide, Loa of Love and Lust. I had always thought that worshipping a lover would endear me to others, but instead people perceive it with the same disdain they might if I told them I followed Ghede…
This man though… something about him captivates me. Erzulie has played this game with my heart before, but when this young man asked me about my magic and I told him I practiced Voodoo, there was no fear, no revulsion… merely fascination and adulation. I still have several more days of work ahead of me at Frankie’s and Mitchell (that’s his name) says that he’s in the back corner most days, playing Miracle Shooter 3. Maybe this time, fate will treat my heart more kindly than the past.
July 21, 2057
No! Nonononono… I don’t… I can’t…
Why?! I’m so sorry Mitchell…
I…I’ve continued to work at Frankie’s… my contract is nearly done. I continued to talk with Mitchell and the young man captivated me. Such a sharp mind… and funny! Such a well-developed sense of humor. And his laugh… I could listen to him talk for hours.
But… today was Saturday… party day, so the place was a fucking zoo. Mitchell was as annoyed with the abundance of rugrats in the place as I was. So, I offered him a private tour behind the scenes at Frankie’s… away from all the noise. I showed him where they service the animatronics, where food was prepared for the parties, especially the bakery. And I showed him my office.
I…I told him how I felt. At first he thought I might have been joking… but I explained to him that my mentor doesn’t fool around when it comes to matters of the heart and he suddenly got very nervous. He told me that he couldn’t be in a relationship because he was only 15… 15! He looked older than that, seemed older and wiser than someone his age should.
Erzulie has told me in the past that I have never been assertive enough when seeking companionship, so I pressed the issue. Mitchell cried out for help and I didn’t even think… I just cast a stunbolt to quiet him and he collapsed.
I stood over him dumbstruck for a moment… he looked so peaceful… Erzulie was talking in my ear. I couldn’t help myself… I just… I just…
After… I had to cover my tracks… all I wanted to do was alter his memory… give him a different version of events so he would be happy and we could go our separate ways. But… something… something went wrong. The spell… my concentration wavered, only for a second and… the spell got away from me. I… I…
Gods… why did this have to happen?
I’m recording this as I drive out to the woods. He deserves a proper burial, so Ghede can embrace him. I will bury this diary with him, so that when he is found, people will know the truth and justice will be delivered. I will hide myself away to pay penance. I must redeem myself in the eyes of the Loa and myself. I was weak and must be stronger. I only hope that when my judgement comes, I will be strong enough to accept it.
May 21, 2075
Mitchell… the world has failed you.
For years, I prayed. Atoned. Expected the avenging souls to descend upon me to make me pay for my mistake all those years ago.
Instead, you faded from memory. The memory of your sweet smile and joyful laugh faded into obscurity, forgotten by this dreary city and all who dwell within it. Your family moved on… even the glade in which I chose to bury you seemed to have been ignored by even the most gluttonous of corporations.
Everyone, except me…
Erzulie’s plan for me changed over the years. Leading me into one relationship after another… destined to fall in love, but never to attain it. There have been others… like you… never with the disastrous result we shared… and none have imprinted themselves on my mind as you did.
All of my prayers, all of my penance and all of my misdeeds… none of it has worked. So, I have returned to you… to seek forgiveness. I hope you can understand. I must take you back to where this all began, so we can both finally be at peace.
Indigo NPC Stats
Body – 3, Agility – 4, Reaction – 3, Strength – 3
Charisma – 5, Intuition – 4, Logic – 3, Willpower – 5
Essence – 6, Edge – 3, Magic – 6
Ritual Spellcasting 8
Unarmed Combat 5
Survival (Urban) 4 (6)
Spirits (Loa) 4(6)
Knight Errant Tactics 3
Frontier Frankie’s 4
Geomantic Principles 3
Spells & Rituals
Trid Phantasm, Stealth, Lightning Aura, Stunbolt, Alter Memory
Homonculus, Ward, Calling Soul, Grave Binding, Whisper of Bones, Leeching
Masking, Necromancy, Geomancy
Light Hardened Mil-Spec Armor (Armor 15)
Renraku Sensei Commlink w/ AR Gloves, Biometric Reader
Satchel of Necromantic components (the bones of Mitchell Warren)
>> Are you joking? Like I would work for so little…
>> Heartless as always, Burn. You mean to tell me you wouldn’t help out the desperate even once?
>> I tried it once. Damn near killed me.
>> Anyone notice anything odd going on in Auburn? Been in this city a long time and something’s not right… may have to check this one out.