Questionable Faith

The runners are contacted through their usual channels and are offered a job. The pay is good, but the team is looking at an extraction and perhaps a little legwork. If interested, they are to meet at the Mercer Island Country Club at 9PM.

Mercer Island is an ambassador island for the NAN and as such, security is heightened against non-Natives. Magical security is slightly higher than in other parts of the plex, so mages on the team may be scrutinized harder than normal (especially hermetics). The Country Club sits over looking Pioneer Park in the island’s interior. The tennis courts are dormant and the grounds strangely quiet as the team arrives. Almost unseen are the Native guards and concealed security measures in place all around the grounds. Despite these precautions, the team is allowed inside and escorted to the lounge.

Inside are several games tables, trideo units and a darkened bar. Dark wood covers the floor and a slightly lighter wood covers the wall, along with several taxidermy tokens and animal skins, carefully prepared by Native Sioux that run the establishment. Sitting at the center table is Mr. Johnson, a balding, overweight Caucasian man in a navy blue suit. He looks slightly disheveled and tightly grasps a beer in his hand. By the look of the table top, it isn’t his first one.

Despite the amount of alcohol he might have consumed, the Johnson seems fairly levelheaded and mutes the football game he was watching as the team arrives.

“(Ladies and) Gentlemen, I’m glad you were able to make it. What I need from you is straightforward…my son has gone missing and I need you to bring him back here. I’m worried about his state of mind. After an accident a few years ago, my son, who was a decent mage, lost his gift almost entirely and he slipped into a bad depression. The pain killers he became dependant on reduced his power even further. Being an executive, I was able to get him into the company in security up until the accident, but there were still opportunities in the company. Instead, he said he want to “find his own way” and left. He’s been away for months now and I haven’t heard any correspondence from him. I want to know what he’s been up to and be able to have a talk with the boy.
“I am willing to pay you 50,000¥ to find him and bring him back to me. Is that acceptable?”

The man is genuinely concerned about his son and can be negotiated up a little bit. This isn’t a corporate sponsored run, but a personal crusade.

The man hands over a dossier on his son. He has his son’s SIN, address and a holopic. The picture shows the exec and his son on a fishing trip, each holding up impressive looking fish. The son’s entire left arm is cybernetic and the side of his face marred. Judging by his right side, the man was likely attractive and muscular before the accident. The SIN shows the man’s name as Peter Walsh.

The exec will answer as many questions about his son as possible, but will avoid anything about himself. He is aware that the runners will already be able to learn about him through his son, but is going to try and minimize information provided.

Mr. Johnson is Andrew Walsh, a mid-level executive for Ares in Seattle. He is not overly noteworthy in any way, in terms of his involvement within the corp.

The address Mr. Johnson provided did belong to Peter three months ago, but it has since been sold to a dwarven family. The house is a small semi-detached house in Renton. The family that resides there will react according to the runner’s appearance and demeanor. If an ork, troll or heavily cybered person comes to the door, they may end up reaching for a PanicButton if the runners don’t move quickly to disarm the situation. If the runners convince/coerce the family into allowing them to search the home, a Perception test will be required to find a dusty box in the attic belonging to Peter. Most of it are personal affects, which mage-heavy groups may choose to use for a ritual link. Any attempts at ritual sorcery will find the link weak and actively blocked, but localized to Seattle.

Amongst the personal affects, is the same photo as the holopic they received from the Johnson. On the back is a date from a nearly a year ago and the caption reads “Moses Lake”. Moses Lake is a small town in Eastern Salish, nestled on the bank of a small lake, known for its prime hunting and fishing grounds.

Using information on Peter’s SIN, they are able to track recent financial activity to Moses Lake. The team will need to cross the border into Salish to find their way to the town. The city looks bigger than it really is, after the mass exodus of non-Natives after the Ghost Dance, though some of the white man have been allowed back to keep tourism afloat in the town.

Following the paper trail, the runners can find a small “resort” that last rented out a small lakeside cabin out to Peter Walsh. No one currently occupied the lodge, so the runners are able to acquire the key with a small bribe.

Inside, the runners find that Peter seemed to have left many of his belongings behind when he left the lodge, perhaps with the intent to return. A search of the lodge reveals various magical supplies (astral background shows no recent activity), a diary and a pamphlet. The diary documents Peter’s attempts to regain his lost magical potency through vigorous training and possible attempts at initiation. The last entry was made about a month before the sale of his house. The pamphlet belongs to an organization called “The Sons of the Awakening”, a small charity organization in Seattle that promises to aid those who have “burned out” to regain their lost power. The pamphlet gives contact numbers and the address for the organization.

The Sons of the Awakening have a small little building to greet potential new members. A pleasant young woman greets them and tells the runners all the great charity work the SOA do around the city and the membership restrictions (no mages or adepts, only mundanes and burnouts). If asked why no magicians are allowed, she politely tells them, “It reminds our members of what they’ve lost, or never had and it slows the process”. She explains (vaguely) about the Book of Gaf, teaching us that in a bygone era, everyone had some form of magical potential. It is up to us to find our own Throne of the Soul and tap into our unrealized potentials. All the while that she is babbling out propaganda, make a secret Willpower test to see if the runners are buying into her magically enhanced spiel. If the runners would like to join, they are given an address in order to participate in the first step… swearing an oath of brotherhood and secrecy to the SOA.

At this point, the runners (especially mages) should be feeling a little wary about this society (unless they failed to resist the Influence). Interrogation of the woman can yield a few answers, though they will have to prevent her from reaching for the PanicButton. She is a low level mage (a student of Gaf) and will make some attempt to defend herself, if she is attacked.

The Sons of the Awakening are actually the Seattle front for the Aleph Society (see Threats 2), a dangerous magical cult, using blood magic and spirit pacts to grant magical power to those that have lost it.

If the runners go to the first initiatory meeting, they will be in a room with a small number of others, either desperate mundanes or burnt out mages, seeking an easy fix to all their problems. Any magician’s on the team can oversee as one of these betrayed people swears their oath. It is the first of initiatory rite and as they swear loyalty, the Aleph mages present cast high powered Influence spells on those speaking the oath. Any runner that swears this oath may become a puppet of the SOA (likely become a NPC, or a mentally scarred PC). Capturing one of these mages can get answers with sufficient interrogation (freeing those about to enslave themselves should earn the players some extra karma, even though the NPCs involved may resent the PCs for ruining their chances for entry.

Through interrogation or some heavy Matrix legwork, the runners may learn of the final rite’s location. This is the building where SOA initiates go to discover the “Throne of the Soul” and regain their power. The single story office building looks fairly generic, but what is under it is where the seat of power lies. Exploring the offices won’t likely reveal much. There are posters on the wall and pamphlets all around the front desk. The offices look generic and static, as if they are only for show (they are). The one thing the runners may find (if they aren’t taking the guided tour) is the back of the office has been converted into a form of medical bay. In the break room is a sliding panel concealed behind the refrigerator. It is a staircase down, below the building.

Beneath is a large amphitheatre style room, with heavy stone walls, decorative tapestries of the SOA logo and seating for up to 60 people. At the rooms center is a large pedestal with circular indentations around its perimeter, with small channels to a central pool. All of the indentations, the pool and the channels are stained with blood and any magically Awakened character can feel an aural taint to the room.

Eight mundane members of the SOA cut themselves and pour blood into the indentations to fuel the Spirit Pact between a burnout and Gaf. Once tapped into Gaf’s Potency, the burnouts have an enormous well of power to tap into and often appear more powerful than they really are. The illusion of power…

The room beyond the amphitheatre is a bunk chamber, where several of the more dangerous burnouts live. Since no one was scheduled to be in the sacrifice room, they quickly emerge (including Peter) and attack the runners in an attempt to force them out. Some use their cybernetic gifts, while others use their “restored” power. Many have been so indoctrinated that they will fight to the death. The runners will have to be careful not to kill Peter in the engagement.

The team will have to drag Peter (unconscious or otherwise incapacitated) back to Mercer Island and get him through the Magical security (his aura has been badly tainted by blood sacrifices and the Natives will not take kindly to his presence) and deliver him to the country club.

Mr. Johnson will be surprised at his son’s state (if the runners warn him of Peter’s “state of mind”, he will be upset, but will speed along the proceedings so he can make some phone calls to undo what Peter has done to himself) but pay the team, so long as Peter is alive and relatively unharmed.

Maps:

1 – Summoning Circle. See following map for detail. The surrounding circle is for the summoners to make the ritual summoning for Gaf, while eight others pour blood into the pedestal.
2 – Seating. 30 per side (though they have never needed that many yet)
3 – Stairs to Seating area
4 – Bunk Area. Filled with angry burnouts…

As a game aid, I have included a copy of the “Sons of the Awakening” advertisement pamphlet. It is a tri-fold pamphlet. Simply print, fold (in the Z shape) in the gaps between columns, trim excess margins and hand out to your players when they find the pamphlet.

>> Aw, a father-son reunion… doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy… *barfing noise*
>> Sinic

>> I dread these jobs.  Likely the reason they haven’t spoke in a while is because one got sick of the other and one party will be none too happy with being reunited.  Makes for a difficult paycheck.
>> Slasher

>> The lost sheep has come home.
>> Aleph

>> Okay there, Plato.  Please do the world a favor and slide back under your rock, thank you.
>> Reaper

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~ by 1nsomniac on October 21, 2009.

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