On the Graves of Old Monsters (Shadowrun)

I ran this particular run for Phantasm in the Fall of 2017.  I treated the main adversaries as if they were Horrors of old, but if you don’t treat the Earthdawn universe as if it were connected, feel free to create your own spirits to serve as the main threat.

Scene 1 – Meeting Mr. Johnson

The runners are contacted by their fixer and offered a job where the location of meet is wherever is convenient for them, as Mr. Johnson wishes to have a digital meeting as opposed to meeting them in person.  They are told to log into a custom node that the fixer will provide to them for 8PM.

Give the runners enough time to gather together in the case of Computer Illiterate characters who cringe at the idea of logging into a Matrix system.

Wherever the runners log in from, when the log into the custom node provided to them by their fixer, they find themselves in a dank and dark dungeon.  The coding for the node seems somewhat incomplete, as while there are effects such as the cold air and the stink of mildew and rot, the textures seem off and details such as what lies beyond the windows are incomplete or generic.

At 8 o’clock on the dot an icon morphs out of the shadows, looming over them in the figure of the grim reaper.  The skull face looks over the assembled runners and nods.  A heavily distorted voice says, “Good.  I’m glad you were able to come.  I have need of capable people who can complete a task for me and your team came highly recommended.”

“There is a new corporate structure currently being built in Auburn that my colleagues would like to see halted.  However, the means I would like to see it halted has been…inconvenienced of late.  What I require is two-fold.  First, you must rescue an associate of mine from his captors… she has the knowledge required to disrupt the construction.  Once you have liberated her, you must protect her while she sets up the disruption.  Once the second task is complete and you have escaped, contact us to receive payment.  Questions?”

Mr. Johnson is with the Brotherhood of Darkness, a magical society that uses dark magics against darker foes.  The site the corporate building is being built on is the former site of the Frontier Frankie’s the runners dealt with before.  The manasphere there is already a mess, and they aim to amplify that substantially, to slow the construction to a crawl.

When the inevitable question of payment arises, he offers the runners 6500¥ each for the job.  He will negotiate some on the price, but won’t go over 9,000¥.  Once the runners agree to the terms, Mr. Johnson’s icon nods.

“Very well.  Your first task is to liberate a friend from the address I’m sending you.  The person you’re after is Kayleigh Alexander… she’s a ne’er do well like yourselves, but she has some knowledge we asked her to acquire that will help with the main objective of the mission.  Once you’ve freed her, you’ll go to this next address and sabotage the construction there with her assistance.  Is there anything else?”

Mr. Johnson will give them as much information as he is comfortable doing.  He will not reveal his affiliations (and if he detects that the runners are trying to ascertain information about him, the call will be immediately terminated), nor will he clarify anything pertaining to what Kayleigh Alexander was doing to get arrested.

Once the runners have had their questions answered, Mr. Johnson hands them the address of where Kayleigh is being held and a commcode to reach him at once they’ve liberated her.

Kayleigh Alexander
Black Mage / Criminal
Possible Sources – Shadowrunners, Magical Societies

1/2 – Kayleigh Alexander is a registered UCAS citizen as a magical consultant on paper.  However, the far-too-perfect history is a good sign that her SIN is a solid fake.

2/4 – Ran the shadows as Lore for many years before retiring into freelancing.  Her magic had been focused on misdirection rather than overt combat and ran with several teams before retiring.

4/7 – Having done extensive initiation over the years, her most recent efforts seem to be theft jobs.  Many of her recent targets have been museums and corporate sponsored archaeological digs.  No one has seen her fence the items she steals, which leads people to believe she is hoarding these relics for something.

7/11 – She is stealing what she steals as she’s on a retainer from some hidden organization.  She needs to make rent somehow and sitting on dusty artifacts won’t pay the bills.

Scene 2 – Military Resistance

The address given to the runners is the corner of Coolidge Avenue and Adams Street in Fort Lewis… the location of the Fort Lewis Stockades.  The strategy the runners choose to employ will likely depend greatly on the knowledge that she isn’t being held by a corporation, but rather the UCAS military.

Being a military prison and dealing with a known, potent mage, Kayleigh has been thrown into a deep dark hole to be forgotten.  Most prisoners get put to work keeping the Interstate (I-5) serviced, but mages can’t be trusted outside of their warded cages.  The runners will need to figure out a way into the stockade to free Kayleigh.

The mages are kept underground, magemasked and cuffed, the entire area warded, as well as each cell to prevent magical collusion.  

Leave the options open as to how the runners gain access to the building and how they get down to the high security detention area.  If the runners can successfully free Kayleigh, she will be a bit jumpy at first after being magemasked for a long while.  Once they get her on an even keel, she tells them that before she can leave she needs to get the object that was confiscated from her when she was arrested.  The artifact holds the power she would need to execute the ritual.

Once they retrieve the artifact (a battered chunk of stone with undecipherable writing) they will need to break out with countless UCAS soldiers converging on their position.

Scene 3 – Grave Underestimation

After freeing Kayleigh and escaping capture from the UCAS Army, the runners are likely to place a call to Mr. Johnson to let him know about the successful rescue of his preferred mage.  He congratulates them on a job well done and tells them to swing by a cemetery on Reid Road to get the final piece of the puzzle before heading on to the address in Auburn.

The cemetery is a relatively new one, with orderly headstones and plaques in tight, organized rows, designed in direct response to the shedim threat, where only ash is interred, rather than actual bodies.

Kayleigh seems to know exactly where she’s headed, walking toward a wall of plaques where memorials are set up for loved ones where remains weren’t to be buried at all.  She searches amongsts the many plaques until she comes to one labelled “Emmett Quill”.  Planting her palm against the plaque she does a hard twist with her wrist and the plaque pops off revealing a hidden compartment.  Reaching in, she pulls out a rolled up piece of paper.  As she grabs the paper, the cemetery fills with the beams of flashlights and several soldiers surround the area, demanding the surrender of both the scroll and the artifact.  Kayleigh staunchly refuses and if the runners stand with her, they will be stuck in a firefight with well-equipped soldiers.

These soldiers are from Wuxing, as the ritual written down on the scroll Kayleigh carries was locked away by the corporation years before but it was recently stolen by Kayleigh’s benefactors, the Brotherhood of Darkness.  Since the theft, Wuxing has been tracking it down, trying to locate it before it is put to use.  They recently located the transporter of the scroll and tortured where it was hidden from the man, but they didn’t know exactly where on the grounds.  So they’ve been staking it out, waiting for the pick up.

If the runners successfully make a Perception+Intuition(4) test upon arriving at the cemetery, they might get a hint that something is off before the ambush.  Wuxing’s men will relentlessly pursue the runners so long as they have the scroll.

Scene 4 – Unleashing the Darkness

Once they have eluded their hunters, when they head to Mr. Johnson’s address, if any runners have previously done “One Night at Frankie’s”, they find themselves at the old address, which has thankfully been torn down at last.  The foundation has been dug out and the supports for the building that will now stand here have been erected.  Kayleigh tells the runners that she needs to get to the center of the foundation and set up the ritual.  They will need to make sure site security doesn’t interfere with the ritual once it begins.

Kayleigh has Efficient Ritual and Geomancy, so she attunes the space first and the ritual will take roughly three hours to complete once it begins.  Between Neo-Net and Wuxing, the runners should be challenged in keeping Kayleigh from being attacked.

If the ritual is disrupted, the magical backlash will mutilate Kayleigh’s body, but the materials will still be usable.  The runners will need to decide if one of them will take over the casting or abort.  If the ritual completes, the artifact shatters and orbs of darkness whirl around the building’s infrastructure.  One of them strikes Kayleigh in the chest and a dark haze fills the building’s foundation.  The runners hear screaming before squelching and the sound of concrete being torn apart.  The remaining orbs scatter around the construction site and take on humanoid forms, wielding large swords of obsidian.  They study the runners with curiousity and make no moves at first.

If the runners do nothing, they walk over to construction equipment and study it for a time before merging with them, amongst the same dark haze as the building foundation.  If the runners attack, the Knights will defend themselves, attempting to slay the runners and use their bodies as vessels.

The spirit that killed Kayleigh emerges from the ground as a blend of concrete, rebar and flesh.  The other Knights that merged will be made of whatever they touched.  If a runner or Wuxing soldier was unfortunate enough to be touched, the Knight becomes a demonic being resembling whomever they touched.

Much like bug spirits, these things die once their chosen vessel has been disrupted.  Being magical abominations, any spirits the runners summon are quite eager to destroy these creatures.  After the battle, not only is the site in ruin, but the background count is horribly corrupted.

After the spirits are destroyed, when the runners call up Mr. Johnson, he expresses sorrow about Kayleigh’s death and confusion about how the ritual went down.  In order to “buy the runner’s discretion”, he offers an additional 2,000¥ without prompting.

>> Now see… this is more my speed.  Blowing up corporate territory is what I do best.
>> Burn

>> If only it were so simple.  Look at the area’s history.  There’s more at play here than simply knocking down some building supports.
>> Arktik

>> Plus take a close look at the hired help.  She’s not exactly a lone wolf either.  She has her own allegiances that tells anyone willing to look that something
>> Heretic

~ by 1nsomniac on October 6, 2017.

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