The Scepter of Wuxing

One particular runner is contacted by the fixer to serve as point man for a series of runs.  It is up to that runner who will join him at any particular junction of the run.  The meeting takes place at midnight at a drainage pipe by Puget Sound, and only the point man is permitted to attend.  (It is probably better that the point man in this case be magically active)

The man is shady and actually rather creepy, but in the end he is a harmless minion of his master.  His master is a powerful wujen, and is hungry for power.  He has several servants, of which this is one.

“Greetings.  I am your Mr. Johnson.  You are to retrieve an artifact for my employer.  Unfortunately, this artifact has been broken up and scattered around the world as smaller magical relics.  I will pay you nuyen upon the retrieval of each piece, and you may divvy it up between your fellow mercenaries as you see fit.  You will be the only one I do business with.  Are you interested?”

If the runner states that he is, continue, if not…find someone who will say yes…

“Excellent.  Payment for each piece is 30,000¥, for a total of 150,000¥ once the entire artifact is retrieved.  I assume there are no problems with that figure.  The first item you must retrieve is in the Sioux Nation.”

The Orb of the Earth

“Recently a mysterious object matching the description of The Orb of the Earth was unburied deep within a mine shaft.  If the local archaeological society gets their mitts on it, it will disappear into paperwork and study.  You are to depart for the Sioux Nation immediately, and infiltrate the mine.  The Orb is still within it so far, but if the Natives get it out of the shaft, you may have difficulties tracking it.  I will pay you half up front for travel expenses.  Any questions?”

The Johnson will provide the runner with a drawing and verbal description of the Orb’s appearance.  It is a perfect sphere of pure marble, with an indentation on the bottom where the rod would be inserted.  Answer any questions you think are appropriate.

The runners will need a fake passport and plane tickets, or something similar to get to the mineshaft, which is at the heart of the Sioux Nation.  The mine should be a winding maze of ever-narrowing shafts.  The Orb is at the lowest level when the runners arrive, but a team of miners is bringing it up to the surface.  Be sure to have multiple elevators so the runners can’t simply wait at the one elevator for the miners to come up.  The miners are equipped with mining equipment and Panic Buttons.  If the Orb does make it to the surface, the runners will likely have to pursue the archaeological society’s car.  A group of guards should be waiting for the runners at the mouth of the mineshaft if any of the miners hit the Panic Button.  Give them Ultrasound goggles so Invisibility doesn’t provide an easy escape.

The Staff of the Forest

Upon receiving the Orb the Johnson is very pleased.

“You impress me.  Not an easy task.  I shall now pay you the final amount for the Orb. .  Now, your next two tasks will have your travel arrangements already made.  The Staff of the Forest is buried somewhere on the Isle of Tir na Nog.  Due to the sheer amount of forest on that island, it has laid undisturbed.  We have a copy of an unearthed legend that states where the Staff is buried.  Be sure to have navigational gear on you, as we wouldn’t want you to become lost in the woods of the Tir.”

The Johnson then provides the team with a description of the staff and the legend.  The staff is rigid and straight, made of some unknown form of wood.  The legend reads:

“From the shores of Limerick go,

East where the ancients grow.

Beyond the men of leaves,

Past the spiritual thieves.

Only then will you see the way,

To where The Staff of the Forest lay.”

The runners will have an appropriate number of plane tickets waiting for them at the airport.  They will have to declare any magical items (this is important), and they will be recorded on their ticket into the Tir.  The runners will have little trouble finding their way to Limerick, with the possible exception of Tir purists heckling them.  Once they find an ancient forest, the legend should start to unfold.  The men of leaves are, of course, Leshys.  They should be in a small pack and have traps all over their neck of the forest.  If the runners bypass the Leshys or defeat them, the next opponent is a Man-Of-The-Woods.  If they get past the MOTW, the last opponent should appear just as they arrive at a circle of enormous trees.  A Baba Yaga will appear and attack the runners with ferocity.  If they destroy the Baba Yaga, the shrine lays beneath an old stump at the center of the circle.  Inside there are numerous automated defenses (swinging axes, poison darts, and other Indiana Jones type stuff).  At the far end stands the Staff.  The staff sits on a stand at the center of the pentagram.  The pentagram has an astral signature, that is assenssed, the runner must make a Willpower(5) test against going insane from the raw arcane power contained within.  Regardless of the outcome of the Willpower test, the mage should pass out.  When they come to they remember nothing (unless of course their cheese has slid off their cracker from the assenssing).  Getting out of the forest should go off without a hitch unless your runners had unreal luck on the way in.

The last problem is the fact that the runners now carry a magical artifact they didn’t enter the country with, and the Tir officials won’t let it leave.  The runners will have to find a way to smuggle the staff onto the plane, or escape capture from Tir guards.

The Blade of Magma

“Again you impress me.  I had feared that I would require a different team of runners with each piece.  Here is your payment as promised .  Now for the third piece.  The third piece is buried deep inside a volcano on the Awakened island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.  A series of caves lead deep into the heart of the volcano.  I will provide you with transportation to Indonesia, a description of The Blade of Magma, and an artifact that I will need returned once the mission is complete.”

Once again, plane tickets will await the runners at SeaTac.  The blade is perfectly carved crescent-bladed axe made of an extremely hard metal and is almost unbearably hot to the touch.  The Johnson will not explain the use of the artifact he gives them, and only assures him that “They will need it, and know when to use it.”  GM’s Note:  It drops the temperature around the holder for a radius of 10 meters, so they can be near the lava without cooking themselves alive.

The team will land in Jakarta, and from there need to find a way to Sulawesi.  Since the Awakening, Sulawesi has become a dangerous place, and many people won’t bring a boat even remotely near the island.  The runners may have to hijack or steal one.

The boat should fall under attack by a Saltwater Sea Serpent.  If the boat survives the attack, they may land on Sulawesi.  If they choose to enter by a swamp so they can get closer to the summit of the mountain, have a small pack of Ghede Flies attack them (they’d be REAL hungry).  Have a few critters lurking in the jungle, like Awakened snakes or a Piasma.  In the caves leading into the volcano, there should be Sirens and a pack of Stonebinders.  Natural phenomenon should cause problems too, such as steam geysers and cave-ins.  A bridge of rock should stick out into the middle of the crater, and the blade is embedded in it.  Part way across a Force 10 Salamander emerges over the bridge and engages the team.  The final obstacle is to grab the axe and carry it out without burning themselves to a crisp on the hot metal blade.

The Bowl of the Ocean

Despite the fact that the Johnson is not (visibly) Awakened, he takes the blade from the runners with his bare hands.  His skin can be heard sizzling as he does so.

“Your next objective may be difficult to achieve, but I am confident that you are strong enough to complete this quest.  The Bowl of the Ocean has not seen the light of day in over 2000 years.  It resides in what remains of the city of Atlantis, at the bottom of the ocean.  The only way to retrieve it is to go on an astral quest to the wujen’s plane of water, and obtain it from the citadel.  Good luck.”

A team of all mages and shamans best does this run.

The following are the trials for each of the metaplaces of the Undines:

Place of Battle – (all magic runners – A powerful water elemental (Force 10), a good mix of mundane and Awakened – Kraken)

Place of Charisma – The runners appear in a small rural village, and they hear a rumour that a local river has began to flood and the village will be washed away.  They must use Charisma to convince the townsfolk to flee.

Place of Destiny – Anything the runners wished they had/hadn’t done in the past, they have a chance to relive the past and make the change happen.  This does not affect the real world.

Place of Fear – They stand in a room that is angled upwards.  The room slowly fills with water.  The higher ground is covered with something that they fear (spiders, darkness, etc).  They must face their fear, and walk through it, or drown.

Place of Knowledge – The runners are on a small island with no tools or weapons.  They have to gather enough raw materials to build a raft in half an hour, before the island volcano erupts.

Place of Magic – The Undines are under attack by a Force 10 salamander.  Any mages in the group must attempt to banish it before all the undines are destroyed.

Place of Spirits – A minimum Force 10 Undine attacks the group on a pier over Puget Sound.

Upon arriving at the Citadel, a large haze of mist speaks to the team, telling them their request has been granted, and to approach the central pool of the citadel.  As they arrive, the bowl morphs out of the pool and into the hands of the leader.

The Needle of Metal

“The final piece awaits.  My master will be very pleased once you have retrieved the final piece.  It awaits you in the city of Pittsburgh, in its old industrial district.  Here is the address and a description of its appearance.  Good luck.”

The runners are given a slip of paper with the address written on it, and a hand-drawn facsimile of the needle.  It is roughly a foot and a half long, and very thin.  It looks like it would easily break if enough pressure were applied.  Note:  If the runners catch the term Master, instead of employer, they may contemplate destroying the final piece.  It will not break, even in the hands of a maxxed out troll.

The runners will have to secure some form of travel arrangements to Pittsburgh.  Once there, the industrial district will have to be visited on foot, as no public transit or cabbie will take them there.  They should have to scuffle with some local gangers while there.  Once they make it to the address in question, they quickly learn that it is a scrap yard.  Any summoned spirits that are bound to any magic users will refuse to enter as the domain is toxic within. The sign above the door used to read “Welcome to Tom’s Junkyard”.  It now reads, “Stay out of Tom’s Junkyard”.

Mountains of scrap lay everywhere.  The needle is buried under the biggest one (of course).  Several toxic spirits should engage the runners as they search, but the biggest surprise comes when they get near the biggest pile.

All the scrap seems to glow with a strange aura, with no real attachment to anything nearby.  Once the runners near the scrap heap that contains the Needle, the scrap begins morphing into a 15’ tall humanoid form.  The toxic shaman inhabiting the scrap yard has an ally spirit and the entire junkyard is its body.  It will attack unrelenting until it is banished, or it’s body is totally disrupted.  If its body is only partially disrupted, it crawls back into the scrap and draws up a new body.  The Ally has the abilities of Telepathic Link, Sorcery, and Inhabiting.  It also has the Fling spell, which it uses to fire certain painful objects from its body, such as saw blades, drill bits, nails, etc.

If the Ally is destroyed, the shaman charges out into the junkyard, howling in anger and anguish over the destruction of his ally.  He will immediately attempt to destroy the runners.  He has a potency of 4, is flanked by two toxic city spirits of Force 6, and has the following spells:

Toxic Wave, Bullet Barrier, Wreck(Blade), Powerball, Mass Blindness, Hot Potato, Increase Reflexes(1), Poltergeist, Spell Wall.

The shaman will rely mainly on his defensive magic until the toxic spirits have been destroyed, and then he will use his Toxic Wave and Powerball spells to the fullest possible extent, even if it means he passes out.  The needle can be more easily found after the ally’s destruction, as the aura over the scrap heap begins to fade with its demise.

Epilogue

When the runners turn over the last piece, the Johnson is ecstatic.  He thanks the runner deeply and pays him for a job well done.  Depending on how charitable you feel, he may be so happy as to give the runners a bonus, on top of the 150,000¥ they have already collectively earned.  GM’s discretion, of course.  Sequel to follow, as the Scepter of Wuxing is not used for the betterment of mankind…

>> So, some creepy guy is paying a ton of cred to buzz all around the globe looking for seemingly innocuous doodads?  What’s the catch?
>> Preacher

>> Perhaps, they react with one another in some way?  Probably something to do with magic…weird runs like this are always about magic.
>> Djinn

>> Or they form one really potent object… anyone try and figure out what the relationship is?
>> Revenge

>> Some things are best left buried…
>> Orange Queen

>> Anything you want to tell us, Queenie?
>> Djinn

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~ by 1nsomniac on October 7, 2009.

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