A Twisted Prophecy

Author’s Note:  This run came out of the dark recesses of my mind.  Even I find this run disturbing, but the idea won’t leave my mind.  The villain in this is psychotic and his actions may be disturbing for some and probably best played by mature players.  You have been warned.

Preparing to Play

Over the past three weeks, several people across Everett have gone missing.  There seems to be little tying the victims together.  Some are young; some are old.  Men, women, street kids, corporate wageslaves…a little from each demographic.  Lone Star has been tight lipped about the series of events, but it’s believed that they don’t have enough information to act upon.  The runners get involved when a corporate Johnson goes looking for a missing employee…

Scenarios

Meeting the Employer

What’s Up, Chummer?

The team is contacted in their usual way, either through a fixer or an appropriate corporate contact.  The team is needed by a Johnson to do some investigative work.  Given that it is a sunny day, the Johnson wishes to meet the team face in a large park, right in the heart of Everett.  If the team doesn’t have a face, they’ll have to designate one character as the face for the meet.

The park is very busy with little kids and their parents.  The background noise is considerable.  The Johnson sits comfortably on a park bench, with a briefcase on the seat beside him.  When the face shows up, he removes the case to allow the runner to sit.

He tells them that one of their employees that live nearby went missing a day earlier, and they fear something has befallen a member of their family.  He is willing to pay the team 10,000¥ to cover the costs of their investigation, as well as padding their wallet.  He can be negotiated up to 15,000¥, and is willing to provide up to a third of the money up front.  If the Johnson pays money up front, the remainder of the payment will be in items available to the corp.

Tell it to them Straight

The park you’re meeting the Johnson in is bustling with activity.  You can barely see the playground for the kids, and a wall of concerned parents surrounds the fenced in enclosure.  People ride by on skates and bicycles with the frequency of the road not too far away.  A man that screams “conservative corp” sits on a bench not too far away.  A briefcase is set down beside him.

As you approach him, he seems not to notice you.

Once spoken to, he will look up at the person who spoke.  If he was addressed as Mr. Johnson, he will remove the briefcase and motion for the person to sit.

The man acts casual, as if he were talking to a coworker or an old friend.  “You are <fixer’s name>’s friend, yes?”

“A friend of mine has gone missing.  I would like you and your group to find him.  His name is Michael Shimoda.  Here is an image of him.”

The Johnson hands the runner a picture of the man, smiling during a barbeque party.

“He resides at 37 Birch St. here in Everett.  I would like you to report back to me in a few days, whether you have found him or not.  We can only wait for so long before we have to replace his position in the company.  Is there any other information you require?”

Answer any questions as best as possible.  The Johnson knows only surface information about the missing person.  He will not reveal what his job was within the company.  When the inevitable question of payment arises, the Johnson will say:

“I can pay you 10,000¥ for your team’s investigation.” If the team negotiates with the Johnson and succeeds, he will increase his price to 15,000¥, but a percentage of that will be in company merchandise and non-voting stock in the company.

Behind the Scenes

The Johnson works for Shiawase in Everett.  The corporation is concerned that the information Michael worked on might be leaked to another corp, and would like to retrieve Michael before he can do so.

Mr. Johnson

B: 2  Q: 2  S: 2  C: 4  I: 6  W: 5  E: 5.3  R: 4

Init: 4 + 1D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/3

Active Skills:  Computer 5, Etiquette(Corporate) 4(8), Negotiations 6

Knowledge Skills:  Corporate Finances 4, Corporate Politics 6, History 4, Psychology 8

Cyberware:  Datajack, 150 Mp Headware Memory

Looks like a normal Japanese sarariman.  He is dressed in conservative clothing appropriate to the season, carries a briefcase (which is empty, save for a credstick for transferring funds for an advance payment).  He acts as though he were talking to an old friend, though he loathes runners, as he doesn’t find them honorable (especially if they are metahuman), as per Shiawase’s Bushido-like ethic.

If the runners walk away and decide to investigate their missing man, they may have to ask around a little.

Michael Shimoda

Appropriate Contacts:  Matrix Search (TN 5), Street (TN 8), Corporate (TN 6)

Success            Results

0                         Sorry, no idea.

1                          He’s an employee of Shiawase.

2                          He worked in the Atomics division.

3                          He was in the middle of a major team project when he disappeared.

4                          Each team member was responsible for a certain facet within the project.  No one else on the team knew what the other was bringing to the table until each part was complete.

5                          The project is pretty hush-hush, but the deadline for submitting ideas is rapidly approaching, and they need Shimoda’s contribution before the deadline, or the project will lose funding.

Pushing the Envelope

The meet is fairly straightforward.  No other corps will attempt to eavesdrop (unless they are after the runners).

If people or an organization is hunting the PC’s, they might eavesdrop on the conversation and start looking for Michael as well, to see what the man is worth.  They can get underfoot, and make the investigation difficult, as well as pose a threat to the team.

Debugging

There is always a chance that the team will reject a run, for one reason or another.  Maybe because they hate Shiawase, get a bad vibe from the run, whatever.  If they turn the run down, their fixer can have another job ready for them…one that sounds very similar to this one.  Only this time, it’s a child that’s missing and a concerned parent is footing the bill.  But the amount she is willing to pay will be significantly less than the corporate man could offer.  Hopefully, then they will be motivated to help a parent find their child.

If the team goes to Shimoda’s place, go to “Is Anybody Home?”

If the team calls a Lone Star contact, go to “Talking to the Man”

Is Anybody Home?

What’s Up, Chummer?

After the meet, the team has very little information to work from.  The Johnson provided the team with an address of the missing person.  (If the team didn’t work for the corporate Johnson, and took the job from a worried parent, they won’t have to search for clues).  The house looks undisturbed.  The security system is not activated save for the camera over the front door.  The house looks as if someone had simply stepped out for a few days.  It is clean, save for accumulated dust.  The trideo unit is turned on with the volume muted.  Nothing seems out of the ordinary.  It will take scrutiny to establish what exactly has transpired.

Tell it to them Straight

The house looks very plain.  It is a small house in the middle of the street, which looks no different from its neighbours.  The lawn is well maintained, and there are obvious security measures in place.  The runners will find the front door unlocked.

Inside, the house looks clean save for a thin layer of dust.  The trid is on, but muted.  A partially eaten plate of food sits on the table, and a glass of sake is nearby, partially drunk.  Nothing else seems out of the ordinary.

Behind the Scenes

The team must search the house for clues.  There are no obvious hints as to where Mr. Shimoda went.  A Perception (5) test is required to search for anything out of the ordinary.

House Search

Success            Results

0                         Nothing seems out of the ordinary.

1                          There is no sign of forcible entry.  Nothing seems to have been stolen.  Security system was never tripped.

2                          Security system is set for “at Home”.  All security features are set for standby, except for the camera system, which is active.

3                          The camera has recorded a full chip of video and is awaiting a new chip to be loaded.

4                          There is a small pile of mail in a box just below the mail slot beside the front door.  One envelope in the box has no postage, no address information…just a blank, sealed envelope.

If the runners find the camera chip, it is likely they will want to review the footage recorded.  There is roughly 24 hours of footage on the chip.  It will take a while to skim through it.  A separate Perception (5) test will determine how effective they are at reviewing the footage (unless they are willing to sit and watch the whole thing in full).

Camera Footage

Success            Results

0                         A lot of coming and going, but nothing out of the ordinary.

1                          The clock on the feed says the time is 18:47.  Shimoda leaves his house with a woman and never returns.

2                          When Shimoda leaves, no words are spoken.  He opens the door, and after making brief eye contact, they both turn and leave the house.

3                           The woman returns at 10:34 the next day, without Shimoda, and drops an envelope in the mail slot beside the front door.

4                           The woman appears to shimmer occasionally and is somewhat translucent at times.

When/if the runners find the unmarked envelope and open it they will find a single slip of paper with one line hand written on it.

“Taken for granted”

Though they don’t know it yet, this slip forms part of a puzzle the team must piece together later on.

The team will likely want to know who this woman is.  They may have to ask around a bit to find out exactly who she is.

Mystery Woman

Appropriate Contacts:  Matrix Search (TN 5), Street (TN 8)

Success            Results

0                          Sorry, no idea.

1                           She has a familiar face, though I can’t recall where I’ve seen her before.

2                            She’s a simple housewife.  Fairly unremarkable.  Lives in Central Everett on Hillcrest Rd.

3                            I think she was on the trid for something…Her name is Maria Ruis.

4                             She was on the news a few days ago.  She went missing a few days before Shimoda.

Once the team has finished their research of the man’s home, they can run a few angles.  If they’ve gathered enough information, they can check out Mrs. Ruis’ home.  They can do additional Legwork as well.

Pushing the Envelope

This is not a place where combat would be common.  The neighbourhood is fairly nice, and there doesn’t seem to be a large gang presence here.  If the runners rolled into the neighbourhood looking suspicious, or with a lot of weapons, Lone Star may be called to investigate the possible Break and Enter, which could force the team to leave before they’re done investigating.

Debugging

There shouldn’t be many issues on this part, as it is a strict investigation of the man’s house.  If they do attract the attention of Lone Star, try to allow the players enough time to obtain the camera chip or the envelope, possibly both if they roll well enough on perception.  Lone Star will chase them, but hopefully the players can escape capture.  If the players try to shoot their way out of the house, all bets are off.

If the players took the job from a needy parent, they will explain that little Charlie Benton was taken right from the front lawn, and a slip of paper was left in his place.  It will be given to the team, reading:  “The souls of the young”.  Asking around will reveal the descriptions of a woman matching Maria Ruis.

If the team goes to Ruis’s place, go to “A Similar Tale”

If the team calls a Lone Star contact, go to “Talking to the Man”

A Similar Tale

What’s Up, Chummer?

If the team decides to investigate Maria Ruis’ house, they will find it in a low income housing area in Everett’s central area.  A mailbox on the front of her home has her name on it.  The mailbox is overfull of mail and pamphlets.

The neighbourhood has many gang markings, and Maria’s home looks poorly maintained.  Hanging from the front doorknob, is a safety marker for the local gang, the Conquistadors, a group of Hispanic kids trying to protect the neighbourhood from outside influences.  The house inside is unclean.  Maria doesn’t have much, but what she had was on display for anyone who came inside to see.  Since she has been missing for more than half a week, it’s worse than it likely would be.  Searching the house will be tricky, with the state of the house, and there is little of importance inside.  The contents of the mailbox are the important info.

Tell it to them Straight

The whole neighbourhood has seen better days, but Maria’s house looks the most worn of the houses on her street.  The grass is mostly dead, and the windows don’t look like they keep much outside.  The rusty mailbox outside the house is brimming with mail dropped off for the occupant.

Inside, the house is a disaster.  Flies buzz over a partially eaten meal.  The top of the stove seems to have burned from a pot of something cooking to a cinder, and then melting the pot.  The stove element is still turned on.  Loud Latin music plays through out the house from a portable stereo in a bedroom.  Maria apparently had a love affair with Spain, as gaudy Spanish decorations are all over the walls.  Though all records say that Maria never married, there are pictures of many children all over the house.  All pictures of Maria show a middle aged Hispanic woman.  She had little fashion sense and flirted with being obese.

Searching the house will reveal little, other than Maria did little house cleaning.  If the runners go through her mail, she seems to receive a lot of it.  Some are from nearby neighbours, and some are from official-looking institutions.  There is also an unmarked envelope, just as there was at Shimoda’s house.  Inside the envelope is a clipping with a single line on it.

“These are the terms”

Behind the Scenes

The team may open Maria’s mail to try and establish where she may have gone.  A Perception (5) test is required to pick out possibly relevant info from the scattered letters.

Maria’s Letters

Success            Results

0                          Nothing striking.

1                           Maria gets an unusual amount of hate mail.

2                           It would seem that many of Maria’s neighbours believe that she is responsible for “breeding the local criminal element”.

3                           A local Foster Parent group has revoked Maria’s right as a Foster Parent.

4                            Maria has raised over a dozen children abandoned by parents in the area.

5                            Many of those kids are now members of the Conquistadors.

While the runners are investigating, the Conquistadors will show up to find out who has stepped on their turf, and why they are going through Maria’s things.  This group’s leader is Sancho, one of the kids Maria raised, and he will be hard to persuade to back off, since he feels he is protecting his “mother’s” stuff.

Conquistadors

Appropriate Contacts:  Matrix Search (TN 5), Street (TN 6)

Success            Results

0                         Never heard of them.

1                           A small time gang in Everett with no meta bias.  Only admit Hispanics into their ranks.

2                           Their sole purpose is protection racket.  The gang members only speak Spanish to one another.

3                           There are roughly 25 gang members.

4                           Most of their members are very young.  Despite their young age, they extract a tax from the neighbourhood they protect.

5                           Nobody is entirely sure who the leader of the gang is.

Conquistador [Sancho]

B: 4[5]  Q: 4[5]  S: 3[4]  C: 2[4]  I: 3[5]  W: 3[5]  E: 6  R: 3[5]

Init: 3[5] + 1D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/3

Active Skills:  Clubs 4, Etiquette(Street) 2(6), Edged Weapons 4, Intimidation 4, [Leadership 4], Pistols 3, Brawling 3, Bike 3

Knowledge Skills:  Police Procedures 4, Smuggling Routes 3, Spanish History 2, Urban Brawl 3

The gangers wear jackets painted with the gang’s colors (red with orange) on both sleeves.  The gang is fairly new, but since most of the neighbourhood they protect are Hispanics, their membership is fairly steady, and half of the people living there have no issue with the gang.  Sancho is a handsome, young teenager with delusions of grandeur.  He leads his group of the Conquistadors with pride, and views his friends as descendants of the great Conquerors of the Old Spanish monarchy.  He is stubborn to withdraw in a situation he is losing, and cares deeply for Maria’s well being.  It has a lot to do with Maria being a mother figure, and the figurehead of the gang.  She gets a cut of the gang’s protection money in exchange for bringing in new members.  If he believes the team is out to destroy Maria and expose her connection to the gang, they will fight.  If he is persuaded that the group is attempting to learn why Maria disappeared, he offers his help and knowledge, both of which are meager.

If the runners get Sancho to talk, with either careful negotiation or by force, he will tell the team that he saw an old geezer come to the door and Maria followed him to a waiting car.  She never came back after meeting the old man.  The old man drove a beat up brown Americar.  Lone Star came by a day or two later to investigate, but the cops since have said nothing.

Pushing the Envelope

Depending on the runners’ appearance, the gangers may simply assume the team are robbers and try to forcefully evict the team, without bothering to ask why they are there.  The six gangers have limited skill and range between the ages of 15 to 17.

Debugging

If Sancho and his crew run away, or are killed before giving up information, the team can acquire similar information from a neighbour of Maria’s.

If the team contacts Lone Star, go to “Talking to the Man”

Use the Legwork section, if possible, to direct the players.  (The cops have a lot of the missing pieces).

Talking to the Man

What’s Up, Chummer?

Hopefully, at least one member of the team will have a contact within Lone Star.  Their contact can put the team in touch with Officer Bill Hackney, the officer heading up the investigation into the kidnappings.  The runners will have to sweet talk the officer to have him reveal information about the cases.  He will become a little more open about info, if the runners show the officer the slips of paper they have accumulated from the crime scenes.  He will show the runners five other slips, as well as the names and locations of all ten disappearances.  Hopefully, with this last bit of information, the team can go about putting together the last of the clues.

Tell it to them Straight

If the runners have a contact within the Star, they can have a meeting pre-arranged with the officer in charge.  If not, they will have to negotiate with the officer to have him reveal anything to the team.

He will not reveal much unless the team provides the officer with info of his or her own.  He will be especially interested in the slips of paper with one line on it.  He reveals that he has five similar slips and proposes a trade of info.

Behind the Scenes

There are two principle pieces of info that Officer Hackney will reveal.  The other five slips of paper and the victim’s names with locations.

The slips read:

“By most since birth”

“Parts yet unseen”

“The wisdom of the old”

“To many on this Earth”

“To which the pact was sold”

This will give the team 7 slips, provided they have found the slips at Shimoda’s and Ruis’ places.  Hackney will give them 10 victims, leaving the team to find the last 3 slips.

Seymour Richards – Age 73, Occupation – Homeless, Slip 2

Linda Wright – Age 27, Occupation – Secretary, Slip 5

Christopher Matthews – Age 31, Occupation – Construction Worker, Slip 4

Sarah Lindsey – Age 35, Occupation – Nurse, Slip 8

Henry Kelton – Age 56, Occupation – Accountant, Slip 9 (slip not found)

Geoffrey Kinkaid – Age 43, Occupation – Geologist, Slip 6

Erin Halsey – Age 18, Occupation – Student, Slip 10 (slip not found)

Maria Ruis – Age 48, Occupation – Welfare Recipient, Slip 3

Charles Benton – Age 7, Occupation – Student, Slip 1 (slip not found)

Michael Shimoda – Age 31, Occupation – Shiawase Wageslave, Slip 7

Though the runners do not know the order, the slips combine in a specific order to spell out the prophecy the kidnapper is trying to accomplish.  So here is the full prophecy in order.

1          The souls of the young                                    C. Benton

2          The wisdom of the old                                    S. Richards

3          These are the terms                                         M. Ruis

4          To which the pact was sold                            C. Matthews

5          Parts yet unseen                                              L. Wright

6          To many on this Earth                                     G. Kinkaid

7          Taken for granted                                           M. Shimoda

8          By most since birth                                         S. Lindsey

9          Only by sacrifice, for and unto me                 H. Kelton

10        Shall I receive God’s gift of Immortality       E. Halsey

If the addresses are obtained and placed on a map of Everett, it looks like:

1[2]                                                                  10[7]

8[3]                  4[8]

9[1]                                                                                                                  6[6]

5[9]                  3[4]

7[10]                                                                2[5]

(Crudely drawn…Should be in the shape of the symbol for infinity).  The first number is the order of disappearance.  The second number is the order of the slips in the prophecy.

Officer Bill Hackney

B: 4  Q: 4  S: 4  C: 2[4]  I: 5  W: 4  E: 5  R: 4

Init: 4 + 2D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/2

Combat Pool: 6

Cyberware:  Smartlink, Boosted Reflexes 1

Active Skills:  Clubs 4, Etiquette(Street)(Corporate) 2(4)(4), Pistols 4, Shotguns 4, Car 3, Athletics 3, Karate 3

Knowledge Skills:  Police Procedures 4, Gang Identification 3, Ork Underground 2, Offensive Driving 3

Bill is an ork who has served with the Star for several years, and is finally in a position to be the primary investigator for certain cases.  Unfortunately, this case is being troublesome, and there are many watchful eyes from the public, waiting to see what he’ll come up with.  He will welcome help from anybody at this point, including outside sources, as the number of people missing continues to increase.

The team has a few choices.  They can go about trying to gather the last of the clues to assemble the full prophecy, or if they assembled the map and connected the dots, they may decide to investigate the point where the lines meet in the middle, assuming that it’s important (they’d be correct in the assumption).

Pushing the Envelope

Obviously, if the runners have a police record, there may be trouble with them just walking into a police station.  Also, if the team waltzes in, looking like runners, they can be grabbed on suspicion regarding a recent case where other runners were involved.

Debugging

The biggest roadblock is getting Hackney to meet the runners at all, if they don’t have a friend within the organization.  If the runners seem to be running in circles, and need to meet the Star, have one of their contacts suggest the cops as a possible lead.  They have all the cards, and the runners need to get a look at their hand.  If they try to walk into the police station with weapons, it’s their lives on the line.  They had better have a good alibi, as the metal detectors at the station will detect any conventional weapons they carry.

If the team connects the dots on the map and heads for the center of the symbol go to “Slaying the Prophet”

If the team goes about filling in the last so many pieces, go to “Grabbing the Last Pieces”

Grabbing the Last Pieces

What’s Up, Chummer?

The remaining three lines from the prophecy were never retrieved from the crime scenes.  Charlie Benton’s slip is in the hands of his desperate mother, who withheld the info.  The other two were not delivered the same way as the other 8, and the runners will have to go to the crime scenes to find them.

Tell it to them Straight

The easiest of the three clues to obtain is the slip delivered to the Benton residence.  If questioned about a blank envelope with a slip of paper, Charlie’s mother will relinquish the slip.  She didn’t hand it over to the police, since she thought it might have been a cryptic clue or ransom demand, and she was going to hire a private investigator to look for her son.

Henry Kelton’s residence is in a high-class district of Everett, and a private security company patrols the streets.  If the team can fast-talk their way inside the community, they will find Kelton’s house unlocked and undisturbed from the day he disappeared.  A thin layer of dust has settled on almost everything.  With a successful Perception(6) Test while searching the house, the team will find a phrase written on Kelton’s chest of drawers.

“Only by sacrifice, for and unto me”

The phrase was written with some chemical that resisted dust build up, making it visible as dust settled.

Erin Halsey’s residence is that of a student’s.  It is unkempt, with books and clothes all over the floor and other flat surfaces.  When the runners walk in to her room at the local residence, the room’s lights are off.  They will likely turn on the lights to conduct their search.  They won’t find much of interest in her room until they turn the lights off.  On the ceiling, the phrase emerges, spiraling inward toward the light as they read.

“Shall I receive God’s gift of Immortality”

At the center of the verbal spiral is the infinity symbol, centered on the light fixture.

Behind the Scenes

Hopefully, the runners will figure out the poem that constitutes the prophecy the madman is pursuing.  Even if they get lines in the wrong order, they should be able to get the gist of the message.

1          The souls of the young                                    C. Benton

2          The wisdom of the old                                    S. Richards

3          These are the terms                                         M. Ruis

4          To which the pact was sold                            C. Matthews

5          Parts yet unseen                                              L. Wright

6          To many on this Earth                                     G. Kinkaid

7          Taken for granted                                           M. Shimoda

8          By most since birth                                         S. Lindsey

9          Only by sacrifice, for and unto me                 H. Kelton

10        Shall I receive God’s gift of Immortality       E. Halsey

If the runners couldn’t figure it out before, if they get the order of the lines correct, and connect the kidnapping locations in order of the clues, they will find the pattern of kidnappings make out the infinity symbol on the Map of Everett.

1[2]                                                                  10[7]

8[3]                  4[8]

9[1]                                                                                                                  6[6]

5[9]                  3[4]

7[10]                                                                2[5]

(Crudely drawn…Should be in the shape of the symbol for infinity).  The first number is the order of disappearance.  The second number is the order of the slips in the prophecy.

There is only one course of action remaining when the team assembles the prophecy…find the man doing the kidnapping.  The subtle hint on the ceiling of the residence should lead the runners to the point on the map of Everett that the infinite line crosses.

Pushing the Envelope

There could be any number of things that happen as the team goes from place to place trying to piece together the poem.  They could run into problems at the Kelton residence, have campus security detain the team as they try to access Halsey’s dorm, gangs try to collect tolls, as they pass through jurisdictions…Ultimately, it up to the GM to decide what they want their players to go up against.

Debugging

If the team took the job from Mrs. Benton, they will have to gain entry into Shimoda’s place to obtain the slip of paper there.  The GM can throw a wrench into the gears by having Shiawase contract a different team willing to accept the offer the runners refused.  They will either have to do without that clue, or go looking for the new investigators.

Slaying the Prophet

What’s Up, Chummer?

The runners, after deducing the map’s pattern and perhaps learning the symbolism behind it, will check the point on the map where the lines cross.  The focal point is 88 Garden St, the Residence of Richard Reed.  Richard was a magical doctor at the nearby hospital in Everett when he was diagnosed with a wasting disease that will eventually take his life.  Though the disease was non-communicable, he was released to set patients minds at ease, which left Richard resentful.  This bit of history doesn’t explain his possible involvement in the kidnappings (yet), but it may raise enough questions for the team to investigate.

The house is unlocked and there doesn’t appear to be any form of security on the house.  The house layout is simple, but a new maglock has been installed on the door into the basement.  It requires card verification, and the card to open it is in the living room, where the good doctor has set up a fun house style illusion for anyone who takes the card.  The furniture appears to move around, as do doorways out of the room.  It may require a strong roll, a runner outside the influence of the spell, or a mage disrupting the spell to get past the simplistic defense of the card.

The basement smells of sewage, and is littered with water stained boxes.  The boxes are labeled as being from his former work establishment, and they all contained various types of medical supplies.  Chemicals, syringes and scalpels mainly.

One of the stacks of boxes is molded to a hatch to conceal a ladder descending into the sewer system beneath the house.  The sewer tunnel has a thin river of waste running through it, toward the main system.  If the runners go the opposite direction from the flow, the trail of sewage slowly runs down to minimal amounts and they come across a door.  It reads “Maintenance” on the door plaque, but a large infinity has been scrawled on the door in blood beneath it.

Beyond the doorway is a grisly scene.  What may have served as a tool room or break room for workers in the sewers has been transformed into a weird bunk room/kitchen.  A fridge and stove sit against a wall, wired into the power grid.  A pot of stew sits on the stove.  The stew is made of human body parts and internal organs.  The fridge holds further dissections, each type of body part separated and “prepared” for cooking.

An adjoining chamber reveals a cot with a mutilated female corpse.  There are signs that the killer has engaged in sexual activity with the corpse fairly recently.  Another doorway confronts the runners.

Beyond the door are the sewers, in a similar tunnel to the last.  As they progress down the tunnel, the sewage gets deeper and deeper.  The runners will occasionally find more bodies as they progress.  All ten kidnapping victims are found at various stages throughout the tunnel, badly mutilated and dissected, though some are sitting in flowing sewage, and the rats have begun ravaging the bodies.

At the end of the tunnel is a very large holding tank, where sewage sits until it can be processed.  A walkway encircles the tank, as well as two walkways across the tank.

Dr. Reed hovers over the cesspool using a Levitation Spell, as well as sustaining an Armor spell.  Both are being sustained by foci around his neck.  He will do his best to kill the runners, but with perseverance, he will end up plunging to his death into the black water of the holding tanks.

Tell it to them Straight

The house at 88 Garden St. is a simple two-story townhouse.  The paint on the outside of the house is weather-beaten and chipped.  The runners will find the front door unlocked.

When they find the card key, the room will constantly change shape and no item will remain in the same place for long.  The illusion is powerful, and any runner trying to see through it will require three 8’s on an Intelligence test to overcome the illusion.  The players can try to bypass the Maglock, of course.  The lock is level 6.

If you want, have the players roll Willpower to enter the sewers with the potency of the stench.

Describe the Maintenance room as grisly as you wish.  It is supposed to jar the players as to the brutality and psychotic nature of a demented man.

When the team finally find Reed, he is already set to combat the runners.  He laughs constantly at failed attempts to bring him down, and constantly spouts out the text of the prophecy, but says little else.

Behind the Scenes

Here is the layout of Richard’s house.  Descriptions of the rooms follow:

Legend

Richard’s Townhouse

1 – Kitchen.  Countertops line the left and back walls of the kitchen, save for breaks for the Stove and Refrigerator.  The cupboards are clean, but there is a strangely low level of food being stored.

2 – Washroom.  The bathroom is well maintained, save for the sink and the linens nearby, which are badly stained.  They appear to be bloodstains.

3 – Living Room.  The living room is spacious and very open concept.  A gas fireplace is set into the island wall in the back right corner.  There is a fairly nice trid unit and a nice sofa and loveseat set.  The coffee table between the trid and couch is littered with medical journals and magazines.  The keycard to open the basement door is on here, but it is the trigger to set off the illusion trap.  There is also a desk near the entrance to the kitchen and a throw rug covering the exposed flooring.

4 – Foyer Closet.  There are only a handful of jackets in the closet, and most of them look moth-eaten.  Some clothes look well maintained, while others look like relics.

5 – Master Bedroom.  The room takes up the entire back portion of the townhouse.  The bed looks like it hasn’t been made in a long time, and clothes are just strewn about the room, though the chest of drawers is there to hold a lot of it.  The closet in the rear right corner is devoid of any clothes.

6 – Bedrooms.  These two rooms have boxes in them.  There are no furnishings of any kind in the room.  The boxes are full of degrees from Medical School and Magical training, as well as personal photos and other sentimental items.

7 – Bathroom.  The room is very clean, save for a layer of dust from a lack of disruption.  It would appear that the bathtub, sink, or toiletries have not been used for some time.

8 – Linens.  The linen closet holds extra sheets, towels, and extra toiletries.  None have been disturbed for a while, and the spiders have made themselves at home here.

Once into the sewers, the journey is fairly simplistic:

Legend

Sewer System

1 – Maintenance Room.  See blow-up at right for layout.

2 – Cot.  The remaining body of Erin Halsey lies on the cot.  It appears that the killer has been practicing necrophilia on her body.

3 – Stove.  A pot of stew sits on the stove.  It is apparent the stew is made up from ground up internal organs and smells rather rancid, even over the stench of the sewers.

4 – Countertop.  Various knives and meat processing equipment is stored on this shelf.  The countertop is badly stained and smells of rotting flesh.

5 – Fridge.  The fridge is stuffed full of body parts, separated by organ.  Most are stored as if to be preserved for an extended period.

6 – Table.  The table has seating for 4, but only one has been used recently.  A greasy looking bowl still sits at the table.  The bowl looks as if blood has dried to the surface, uniting the spoon set inside it with it.  It looks as though it once held some of the nauseating stew in it.

7 – Holding Tank.  This large room is filled with the black sewage, waiting to be processed and returned into the city’s water.  The room is cluttered with rats and Dr. Richard Reed awaits the runners in here, confident in his ability to stop them and “consume their souls”.  There are alternate exits to both the left and right of the tank.

Dr. Richard Reed

B: 2  Q: 2  S: 2  C: 4  I: 5  W: 6  E: 6  R: 3

Init: 3 + 1D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/2

Combat Pool: 6

Spells:  Levitation 5, Armor 6, Powerball 5, Heal 5, Control Pack 4, Control Thoughts 4, Trid Phantasm 4, Cure Disease 5, Mask 4

Metamagical Powers:  Masking

Active Skills:  Sorcery 6, Conjuring 4, Etiquette(Magical) 3(5), Biotech 6, Edged Weapons 2, Negotiations 3

Knowledge Skills:  Surgical Procedure 4, Biotech Background 3, Biology 5, Chemistry 3

Richard used to be a respected doctor until he became afflicted with his disease.  Patients had heard about the doctor’s bizarre malady and refused to be treated by him, for fear of protracting his disease.  Though the staff at the hospital knew the disease was a genetic defect, and not communicable, they released him for PR.

Richard has made several efforts to cure himself, or find a cure for the disease, and he has managed to slow it, but his body is slowly but surely wasting away to nothing.  He refuses to lose to the disease, and it has now become a crusade for him.  When he decided to pick up his crusade, he left his sanity behind.  He is now a firm believer that he can consume the souls of others to prolong the life of his own, and it is a matter of time before he unlocks the key that will allow him to sustain himself indefinitely.  The man is dressed in bloodstained jeans and a t-shirt.  He wears a Secure Longcoat over his thin frame to disguise his sickly appearance, but also as defense mechanism for himself.

Devil rats infest the sewers and Richard won’t hesitate to use Control Pack to have them serve as a distraction to the runners.

There are alternate exits from the holding tanks, once Richard is defeated, so the runners won’t have to exit the way they entered if they would rather not pass through the kitchen again.

Pushing the Envelope

To add another element for the runners, Lone Star may have pieced things together at their end as well, and will converge on Richard’s house.  The team will have to contend with Richard, the psycho mage, ahead of them, and a Lone Star team behind them.  Of course, to add extra power to Richard, he can easily be altered to be Toxic as well as insane, adding the ability of summoning Toxic spirits and Potency to his list of powers.  If the run is taking place after or during the events set out in “Year of the Comet”, it may be possible that a group of shedim will inhabit Dr. Reed’s victims, and try to assault the runners whilst they fight the doctor.

Debugging

What if the runners find the corpse of Michael Shimoda, and quickly turn around without engaging Richard to collect their payment?

Two possibilities:

The mysterious disappearances continue occurring, repeating the infinity pattern, 90 degrees from the last pattern.  One of the disappearances ends up being one of the team’s contacts.  When their search for their lost friend turns up a slip of paper, repeating one of the lines from the prophecy, hopefully they will return to the sewers to seek out and avenge their (now deceased) contact.

The other is to railroad your players, which I don’t like doing.  Have something occur that prevents the runners from returning the way they came.  It forces them to fight the mage, and end the psychotic killing spree.

Picking Up The Pieces

It’s a Wrap

If the players have been dancing with Lone Star the whole way through, the police may have a lot of questions if the runners are seen in the area of the sewer where the bodies are located.  The Johnson may be very displeased that the runners didn’t return with Shimoda alive, and think they are directly responsible in some way for the wageslave’s death.  Since the project in question will fail without Shimoda, the Johnson may arrange to have the team removed in the not too distant future.  Plus, there is always the chance of a copycat killer picking up where Reed left off.

Awarding Karma

Award Karma according to merit of the character’s actions.  There are some bonuses the players can receive:

+1 to the player(s) that discovers the map pattern

+2 to all players if all pieces of the prophecy are gathered

+3 if the players track down and defeat Dr. Reed

Legwork

Here is a compilation of the legwork that may be applicable to the runner’s search.

Michael Shimoda

Appropriate Contacts:  Matrix Search (TN 5), Street (TN 8), Corporate (TN 6)

Success            Results

0                          Sorry, no idea.

1                           He’s an employee of Shiawase.

2                           He worked in the Atomics division.

3                           He was in the middle of a major team project when he disappeared.

4                           Each team member was responsible for a certain facet within the project.  No one else on the team knew what the other was bringing to the table until each part was complete.

5                           The project is pretty hush-hush, but the deadline for submitting ideas is rapidly approaching, and they need Shimoda’s contribution before the deadline, or the project will lose funding.

House Search (Shimoda) [TN 5]

Success            Results

0                         Nothing seems out of the ordinary.

1                           There is no sign of forcible entry.  Nothing seems to have been stolen.  Security system was never tripped.

2                           Security system is set for “at Home”.  All security features are set for standby, except for the camera system, which is active.

3                           The camera has recorded a full chip of video and is awaiting a new chip to be loaded.

4                           There is a small pile of mail in a box just below the mail slot beside the front door.  One envelope in the box has no postage, no address information…just a blank, sealed envelope.

If the runners find the camera chip, it is likely they will want to review the footage recorded.  There is roughly 24 hours of footage on the chip.  It will take a while to skim through it.  A separate Perception (5) test will determine how effective they are at reviewing the footage (unless they are willing to sit and watch the whole thing in full).

Camera Footage

Success            Results

0                         A lot of coming and going, but nothing out of the ordinary.

1                          The clock on the feed says the time is 18:47.  Shimoda leaves his house with a woman and never returns.

2                          When Shimoda leaves, no words are spoken.  He opens the door, and after making brief eye contact, they both turn and leave the house.

3                           The woman returns at 10:34 the next day, without Shimoda, and drops an envelope in the mail slot beside the front door.

4                           The woman appears to shimmer occasionally and is somewhat translucent at times.

When/if the runners find the unmarked envelope and open it they will find a single slip of paper with one line hand written on it.

“Taken for granted”

Though they don’t know it yet, this slip forms part of a puzzle the team must piece together later on.

The team will likely want to know who this woman is.  They may have to ask around a bit to find out exactly who she is.

Mystery Woman

Appropriate Contacts:  Matrix Search (TN 5), Street (TN 8)

Success            Results

0                         Sorry, no idea.

1                          She has a familiar face, though I can’t recall where I’ve seen her before.

2                           She’s a simple housewife.  Fairly unremarkable.  Lives in Central Everett on Hillcrest Rd.

3                            I think she was on the trid for something…Her name is Maria Ruis.

4                            She was on the news a few days ago.  She went missing a few days before Shimoda.

Maria’s Letters

Success            Results

0                         Nothing striking.

1                          Maria gets an unusual amount of hate mail.

2                          It would seem that many of Maria’s neighbours believe that she is responsible for “breeding the local criminal element”.

3                          A local Foster Parent group has revoked Maria’s right as a Foster Parent.

4                          Maria has raised over a dozen children abandoned by parents in the area.

5                          Many of those kids are now members of the Conquistadors.

Conquistadors

Appropriate Contacts:  Matrix Search (TN 5), Street (TN 6)

Success            Results

0                         Never heard of them.

1                          A small time gang in Everett with no meta bias.  Only admit Hispanics into their ranks.

2                          Their sole purpose is protection racket.  The gang members only speak Spanish to one another.

3                          There are roughly 25 gang members.

4                          Most of their members are very young.  Despite their young age, they extract a tax from the neighbourhood they protect.

5                          Nobody is entirely sure who the leader of the gang is.

Order of Kidnappings

Seymour Richards – Age 73, Occupation – Homeless, Slip 2

Linda Wright – Age 27, Occupation – Secretary, Slip 5

Christopher Matthews – Age 31, Occupation – Construction Worker, Slip 4

Sarah Lindsey – Age 35, Occupation – Nurse, Slip 8

Henry Kelton – Age 56, Occupation – Accountant, Slip 9 (slip not found)

Geoffrey Kinkaid – Age 43, Occupation – Geologist, Slip 6

Erin Halsey – Age 18, Occupation – Student, Slip 10 (slip not found)

Maria Ruis – Age 48, Occupation – Welfare Recipient, Slip 3

Charles Benton – Age 7, Occupation – Student, Slip 1 (slip not found)

Michael Shimoda – Age 31, Occupation – Shiawase Wageslave, Slip 7

The Prophecy

1          The souls of the young                                    C. Benton

2          The wisdom of the old                                    S. Richards

3          These are the terms                                         M. Ruis

4          To which the pact was sold                            C. Matthews

5          Parts yet unseen                                              L. Wright

6          To many on this Earth                                     G. Kinkaid

7          Taken for granted                                           M. Shimoda

8          By most since birth                                         S. Lindsey

9          Only by sacrifice, for and unto me                 H. Kelton

10        Shall I receive God’s gift of Immortality       E. Halsey

If the addresses are obtained and placed on a map of Everett, it looks like:

1[2]                                                                  10[7]

8[3]                  4[8]

9[1]                                                                                                                  6[6]

5[9]                  3[4]

7[10]                                                                2[5]

(Crudely drawn…Should be in the shape of the symbol for infinity).  The first number is the order of disappearance.  The second number is the order of the slips in the prophecy.

Cast of Shadows

Mr. Johnson

B: 2  Q: 2  S: 2  C: 4  I: 6  W: 5  E: 5.3  R: 4

Init: 4 + 1D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/3

Active Skills:  Computer 5, Etiquette(Corporate) 4(8), Negotiations 6

Knowledge Skills:  Corporate Finances 4, Corporate Politics 6, History 4, Psychology 8

Cyberware:  Datajack, 150 Mp Headware Memory

Looks like a normal Japanese sarariman.  He is dressed in conservative clothing appropriate to the season, carries a briefcase (which is empty, save for a credstick for transferring funds for an advance payment).  He acts as though he were talking to an old friend, though he loathes runners, as he doesn’t find them honorable (especially if they are metahuman), as per Shiawase’s Bushido-like ethic.

Conquistador [Sancho]

B: 4[5]  Q: 4[5]  S: 3[4]  C: 2[4]  I: 3[5]  W: 3[5]  E: 6  R: 3[5]

Init: 3[5] + 1D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/3

Active Skills:  Clubs 4, Etiquette(Street) 2(6), Edged Weapons 4, Intimidation 4, [Leadership 4], Pistols 3, Brawling 3, Bike 3

Knowledge Skills:  Police Procedures 4, Smuggling Routes 3, Spanish History 2, Urban Brawl 3

The gangers wear jackets painted with the gang’s colors (red with orange) on both sleeves.  The gang is fairly new, but since most of the neighbourhood they protect are Hispanics, their membership is fairly steady, and half of the people living there have no issue with the gang.  Sancho is a handsome, young teenager with delusions of grandeur.  He leads his group of the Conquistadors with pride, and views his friends as descendants of the great Conquerors of the Old Spanish monarchy.  He is stubborn to withdraw in a situation he is losing, and cares deeply for Maria’s well being.  It has a lot to do with Maria being a mother figure, and the figurehead of the gang.  She gets a cut of the gang’s protection money in exchange for bringing in new members.  If he believes the team is out to destroy Maria and expose her connection to the gang, they will fight.  If he is persuaded that the group is attempting to learn why Maria disappeared, he offers his help and knowledge, both of which are meager.

Officer Bill Hackney

B: 4  Q: 4  S: 4  C: 2[4]  I: 5  W: 4  E: 5  R: 4

Init: 4 + 2D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/2

Combat Pool: 6

Cyberware:  Smartlink, Boosted Reflexes 1

Active Skills:  Clubs 4, Etiquette(Street)(Corporate) 2(4)(4), Pistols 4, Shotguns 4, Car 3, Athletics 3, Karate 3

Knowledge Skills:  Police Procedures 4, Gang Identification 3, Ork Underground 2, Offensive Driving 3

Bill is an ork who has served with the Star for several years, and is finally in a position to be the primary investigator for certain cases.  Unfortunately, this case is being troublesome, and there are many watchful eyes from the public, waiting to see what he’ll come up with.  He will welcome help from anybody at this point, including outside sources, as the number of people missing continues to increase.

Dr. Richard Reed

B: 2  Q: 2  S: 2  C: 4  I: 5  W: 6  E: 6  R: 3

Init: 3 + 1D6

Karma Pool/Professional Rating:  2/2

Combat Pool: 6

Spells:  Levitation 5, Armor 6, Powerball 5, Heal 5, Control Pack 4, Control Thoughts 4, Trid Phantasm 4, Cure Disease 5, Mask 4

Metamagical Powers:  Masking

Active Skills:  Sorcery 6, Conjuring 4, Etiquette(Magical) 3(5), Biotech 6, Edged Weapons 2, Negotiations 3

Knowledge Skills:  Surgical Procedure 4, Biotech Background 3, Biology 5, Chemistry 3

Richard used to be a respected doctor until he became afflicted with his disease.  Patients had heard about the doctor’s bizarre malady and refused to be treated by him, for fear of protracting his disease.  Though the staff at the hospital knew the disease was a genetic defect, and not communicable, they released him for PR.

Richard has made several efforts to cure himself, or find a cure for the disease, and he has managed to slow it, but his body is slowly but surely wasting away to nothing.  He refuses to lose to the disease, and it has now become a crusade for him.  When he decided to pick up his crusade, he left his sanity behind.  He is now a firm believer that he can consume the souls of others to prolong the life of his own, and it is a matter of time before he unlocks the key that will allow him to sustain himself indefinitely.  The man is dressed in bloodstained jeans and a t-shirt.  He wears a Secure Longcoat over his thin frame to disguise his sickly appearance, but also as defense mechanism for himself.

Devil rats infest the sewers and Richard won’t hesitate to use Control Pack to have them serve as a distraction to the runners.

>> Oh joy…another “find the missing corporate lackey” job.
>> Basher

>> There may be more to it than that.  The Star is taking an interest in this and they typically don’t get wrapped up in AAA Corp Affairs.
>> Scanner

>> There’s been a rash of unexplained disappearances in the plex.  Think it’s related?
>> TinMan

>> Soon the prophecy will be complete.  No one can halt its course.
>> Anonymous174

>> Hoo boy, we’ve got a nutter.  I thought you had your psycho filter on here, chief.
>> Slasher

>> I do.  When I find out who this joker is, I will make sure his insanity doesn’t go unpunished.
>> Insomniac
“The shadows never sleep, so why should I?”

Advertisements

~ by 1nsomniac on October 14, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: