The House Always Wins

The runners are contacted through their fixer for a meet in Everett at 7 PM.  The location for the meet is a private address and the runners are told to dress professionally.


When they get to 137 Cherry St., they find that the address they were provided is the site of an expansive garden with a large Shinto Temple at its center.  The garden houses numerous types of plants and flowers and most of the beds are protected by a layer of armored glass to protect them from would be vandals and the acidic weather of the plex.  As the runners arrive at the temple, a spirit materializes before them (one of four).  Each spirit appears as a geisha, with different features, depending on the type of spirit (Air has grey eyes and a translucent complexion, water has striking blue eyes and her kimono seems wet in appearance, plant has bright green eyes and her kimono gives off a floral bouquet, beast has yellow eyes and is adorned in animal skins).

“May I help you?” they ask.


If they respond with anything but the truth (they are there for Mr. Johnson) the spirit tells them that the temple is currently closed to prayer, but will be available shortly.  If they persist with the lies, the spirit will use her powers to “escort” them from the garden.


Inside, the spirits escort the runners into the center of the temple, where a Japanese man sits in a meditative stance in the center of a rock garden, shrouded in a heavy robe.  The outer edges of the garden are dotted with flowers and short trees, as well as decorative supports for the high ceilings.  The outer rim of the room is laid with a heavy tatami mat, where the runners are requested to wait, near a short table.


Once all runners have arrived, the man at the room’s center opens his eyes and scans the gathered runners.  Konnichiwa.  I hope these tranquil settings are as soothing to you as they are to me.  I hope you will join me for tea, as we discuss our business matters.”


The man seems to drift over the rock garden and settles gently on the mat, as one of the spirits removes his robes.  Beneath all the ceremony, you see a man with a short sleeved dress shirt and dress slacks.  His arms are heavily tattooed his hair is conservatively cut, but throwing off the entire business apparel is the presence of sandals on his feet.  Despite the odd fashion sense, he sits cross-legged before the table and begins pouring the green tea into the glasses that circle the table.


After taking a sip and a contented sigh, Mr. Johnson says, “I am sure there is little surprise that I am affiliated with the Yakuza.  Normally, my organization would not affiliate with gaijin and kawaruhito outsiders such as yourselves, but for this task, we would draw more attention than necessary.  The everyday irritant of the Mafia has stolen something precious from me:  A jade statuette in the form of a dragon.  Before those Italian bastards realize what they have, I require you to retrieve it.  The only issue I have is that I don’t know where they’re keeping it.  I leave that part to you.  For this service, I am willing to offer you 3000¥ now and 12000¥ more upon completion.  Interested?”


Sam Kazama is the Johnson, a powerful Shinto mage in the service of the oyabun.  Unfortunately, a recent Mafia raid saw his most powerful focus taken.  He needs to get it back, since it was a gift from the Watada family and would be a huge dishonor for it to fall into enemy hands.  If negotiated on price, he won’t budge much and any extra will be added to the final payment.


Once the runners have signed on, he places an optical chip on the table.  “From security footage and our own Matrix endeavors, we have a list of Mafioso who helped perform their attack on us.  Perhaps one of them can tell you who took my statue…”


Four of the names are for soldatos (Jim “The Fist” Drummond, Reggie “Two Barrels” Fortonni, Seamus O’Reilly and Luigi Torini), one is the lieutenant that orchestrated the raid (Barry “The General” Barman) and the last is a hacker (Elliot Page) who tried to shut down Yakuza security (with marginal success).


The soldato won’t really know anything, since they are just frontline grunts, but the lieutenant and the hacker know.  The lieutenant won’t give up without a fight, but the hacker is a coward.  If they can track him down (he frequents a lot of street corners, looking for companionship of the female persuasion) and catch him (he will run when he sees someone he doesn’t know looking for him), he’ll tell them anything so long as they don’t kill him.


Whether they beat down the lieutenant or catch the sniveling hacker, they will learn that the statuette is stored in a safety deposit box at the Emerald City Casino.  They don’t know the box number.


The Emerald City Casino is one of the Four Corners Casinos in downtown Everett.  It’s a small casino, especially compared to the ones in Vegas, but the squat one-story building sees a lot of foot traffic.  The exterior is overdone in glitz and neon, with a valet service that greets you at the front of the casino, as you circle the large fountain that dominates the front real estate.  The ARO for the casino shows holo-billboards, advertising the large jackpots that were paid out recently, the menu for the restaurants and the acts coming to the in-house nightclub.  Amongst the resources provided through the ARO (or their Matrix node) is a patron map of the casino:



Casino Main Level

1 – Game Floor.  There are no walls here, except along the right hand side.  It is all open, save for a few support pillars and bars staggered in regular intervals across the floor.  The edges of the floor are denoted, merely by the tile of the hallways giving way to the carpeted gaming area.  The right hand side of the gaming area is designated for the slot machines (roughly 200 machines), while the left side is for the gaming tables (3 Roulette, 3 Craps, 15 assorted card tables).  There is a raised circular area that houses the high-roller tables.

2 – Vincenzo’s.  Vincenzo’s is a high-end Italian restaurant that serves authentic Italian cuisine, in large quantities.  Its large serving size and food quality has made it a top restaurant in Everett, especially amongst orks and trolls.

3 – Conference Center.  This room is set up for Matrix vid-casting and can house up to 40 people.  The large “hollow square” table in the rooms center allows for a swivel camera, so the people at the far end of the conversation can see the person who is speaking, rather than overlooking a sea of people.

4 – Cashier Cages.  This booth houses two lovely ladies who will gladly take the money (or collateral) of any player wanting to get some chips for the game floor or cash out a player who has had a lucky night.

5 – Coat Room.  Anyone who lives in the city knows that Seattle’s weather leaves something to be desired.  Patrons who don’t want to lug around a coat all day can store their coats here, taking a ticket number corresponding to their hanger.

6 – Restrooms.  The rest rooms in the Casino are well stocked and kept in tidy condition.  They are ergonomically designed, with many parts of it adjustable to accommodate the larger metahumans.  The space is optimized to grant as much space as possible for patrons.

7 – Frenzy Nightclub.  The club may not be popular compared to the larger clubs like Dante’s Inferno, Infinity or the Helix, but Frenzy provides the average club-goer with enough of a psychotic blend of laser light show, luminescent drinks and neo-electronica music to have a steady following.  People of all types enter this club and features some of the best up-and-coming DJs in the Northern plex.  On Saturday nights they have a “Tusk after Dusk” night, where orks and trolls can come in and hear the best in Goblin Rock and Gang Thrash.  Due to the loud music most nights, no expense was spared in the soundproofing of the club, so not to offend those gambling not far away.

8 – Jack’s.  With the simple name of Jack’s, this bar and grill doesn’t really advertise its specialty.  What they do offer is Irish pub fare combined with an off-track betting establishment.  The place is usually packed with a different sort of gambler, but some do come for the food and to watch what ever sport is on the various networks (and maybe do some betting on those).

9 – Conference Rooms.  These rooms offer local businessmen a place to have a small conference (max 20 people per room) with associates before hitting the casino or the bar.  These room have retractable skylights (armored glass, covered by a mechanical door) to allow extra light in on those rare sunny days.


All numbers above 9 are in the private portion.  Gaining access requires a palm scan and registered RFID frequency.


10 – Elevators.  This extra large elevator is designed for bringing the cash carts down from the cashier cages.

11 – Guard Room.  Several mafia thugs sit in this room playing cards and watching the game, just in case some tries anything stupid (like going for the vault).  They can also be dispatched in case of problems on the casino floor.

12 – Sex Parlor.  Only the most special guests of the sottocapo can use these rooms.  This is where guests can spend the night in the casino with an attractive “companion” for the evening.  These guest suites are kept immaculate in case of a police inspection (though they usually get advance notice, thanks to a lot of dirty cops in the area).

13 – Storage Room.  The cleaning drones and extra house supplies are stored in this large closet.  They’re kept behind closed doors to keep items from being stolen by patrons.

14 – Conference Room.  This conference room is equipped with extensive security features, to facilitate the conducting of “family” business.

15 – Floor Boss’s Office.  While the casino is owned by Sottocapo James McClintock, he has a small team of floor bosses watch the day-to-day happenings of the casino.  This shared office is used by whichever floor boss is working that day.  Most are busy walking the floor and making contacts rather than sitting in here.

16 – Cafeteria.  A simple cafeteria that helps keeps the troops fed and content.  The area is mostly kitchen, since most of the employees eat at their station.

17 – Main Security.  The equipment and the majority of security are stationed here.  They are staffed by former runners and cops and have some training should they be called upon.

18 – Monitoring Station.  The copious numbers of cameras station around the casino all get routed to this room.  The on-site hackers watch for any problems in the building, while dispatching agent programs to monitor the Matrix for intrusion.

19 – Magical Resources.  This room is greatly empty, showing a large summoning circle from where the on-duty mage can summon a spirit to keep an eye on astrally active patrons and ensure they aren’t cheating.  There are usually a couple of spirits and one mage on duty at any time (one spirit to watch the floor, another for security purposes).

20 – Armory.  Locked down with only three people able to grant access (the sottocapo, the floor boss and the chief of security), while most security personnel use non-lethal means of pacification (to avoid complications with the authorities), there are a stash of the lethal variety in this closet.  From handguns, to sub-machineguns to shotguns, this closet is well stocked, should the Mafia ever need to defend the casino.



1 – Elevators.  This extra large elevator is designed for bringing the cash carts down from the cashier cages.

2 – Security Checkpoint.  Cash carts and their escorts are scanned for explosives, valid security RFID signatures and cybernetics.  Any would-be infiltrators are locked in until cleared by the scanners.

3 – McClintock’s Office.  While not at the casino often, Sottocapo McClintock has his own office here, in case of a major meeting with investors, or dealing with a personal interrogation.  James is a very hands-on man and deals with slights to his part of the pie personally.

4 – Security.  A group of security men are on watch down here.  While the security in the main portion of the casino is armed with non-lethal means, these ones are not.  If a hostile group gains access to the lower level, all bets are off.

5 – Interrogation Chamber.  The room looks like a small meeting area, but is devoid of anything comfortable to sit in.  The purpose of this room is simple.  Cause as much pain to the inhabitant as possible.  With no where comfortable to sit, this room can be used for the classic beat-down, to incessant and excessively-loud bad music being piped into the room.  Whatever they deem will work the best.

6 – Holding Room.  This miniature locker room stores all hard assets handed over as collateral.  Cash, car keys, jewelry…whatever patrons hand over is stored here until it is ultimately lost by the player.  Once the player cannot reclaim their item, it is moved from here into the vault.

7 – Offices.  When Mafia families converge to meet with McClintock, they need a place to store their items and conduct their everyday business until the meeting is complete.  These offices serve as a temporary base of operations for visiting Mafioso.

8 – Cafeteria.  Security and upper management need to eat and this is where they do it.  Equipped with trideo projectors and excellent Matrix dampening, business can be conducted here, even while enjoying a banquet.  The food here is just as good as at Vincenzo’s, as it’s prepared by a team of qualified chefs.

9 – Washrooms.  These washrooms are spacious and luxurious.  Designed for executives, but used primarily by security, these rooms don’t house many people at once, but show off a ridiculous level of opulence.

10 – Systems.  This room requires an RFID clearance to gain access to.  It holds a series of Matrix servers.  It not only runs the casino’s Matrix node, but tracks the win-loss ratio at each table, making sure the casino doesn’t lose too much money to lucky players.  Amongst the data is a database that tracks what is in each safety deposit box in the vault.  The jade statuette is in box 375.

11 – Conference Center.  This large board room rivals any corporate board room in its magnitude.  It has the latest gadgets to enable Matrix broadcasts, soundproofing and signal isolating construction.  Used for conducting family business, this room easily seats up to 40 Mafia and has enough holo-projectors to show a holographic image of a virtual guest in every chair.

12 – Vault.  This massive vault is sealed off by a heavy bank-style door (though a little out of date) that the runners will either try and crack or blast through (or a combination of both).  The locks are manual, so the door cannot be hacked.  There are a couple steps to getting the door open:  combination, retinal scan, simultaneous lock release.  If the runners can piece together the pieces they need, they can open it without explosives.  The Barrier Rating of the Vault door is 24 with a structure rating of 15, so a large charge will be required to make a big enough hole to gain entry. 


The threshold of the vault is rigged with several scanners.  Blasting it open will certainly set off an alarm, but there is still the chance of detection if the door is opened legally.  A valid RFID tag is required for every person entering the vault.  The vault is monitored for sound and an alarm will sound upon the sound of gunfire or an unrecognized voice print.  If the door has not been compromised, the vault door will shut the intruder inside and slowly funnel Neuro-stun into the vault.  If the runners don’t trip any of the security measures, they can find what they came for in box 375.  If they decide to plunder random safety deposit boxes, many will be empty.  In others they might find items, such as: car keys, property deeds, jewelry, credsticks, magical radicals or seemingly useless trinkets (stuff with no real value to anyone but the intended owner).


If the runners have alerted security in any way to their actions, have the Mafia chase them away from the casino, with lots of gun play.


>>So, anyone have any details on this statuette the J wants back so badly?



>>Ain’t it obvious?  It’s gotta be a magical focus or something.



>>That’s an understatement.  From what I’ve heard, it’s a high level Shinto power focus, that came from some potent Yak in Japan.  For the honor-bound Yaks, it’s irreplaceable.



>>Must be, if you’re going into the heart of the Mob to get it back…


~ by 1nsomniac on January 19, 2009.

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