Hostile Nature (Shadowrun)

This was an adventure I ran at the Phantasm: Spring Equinox Convention in 2018.

The runners are contacted through their usual channels in regards to a data plant and steal.  If they’re willing to hear out Mr. Johnson, they would like to meet with them at the Seattle Aquarium at 8PM.

Scene 1 – Beneath the Waves

The Seattle Aquarium sits on the water’s edge of the Downtown area.  The area doesn’t see much traffic outside of tourists and aquatic life enthusiasts, which helps with the privacy required for a meeting.  One of the viewing domes has been sectioned off by aquarium personnel, but when they ask where to find Mr. Johnson, they are allowed entrance to the closed off section.

The room is a half-sphere, with the waters of Puget Sound are all around them.  Normally, the aquarium does a solid job of keeping the waters around the aquarium clear, but today the water is marred with a potent algae bloom and the mutated wildlife that frequents the Sound are parading in front of the glass, gobbling up the thick soup.

Guards stand on either side of the entrance to the bubble and a woman stands with her arms behind her back, scowling at the greenish-brown water.  “It’s truly amazing how much damage we’ve done to the ecosystem, isn’t it?”

Whether one of the runners responds or not, she turns to face them, revealing an attractive, elven face with several tattoos on her cheekbones, earlobes and on the left side of her neck.  “I’m glad you came on limited notice. I have need of your team’s skills. Evo maintains a security animal training facility within the city limits. While they claim that everything is above board, we’ve obtained word that they’re conducting inhumane experiments on their animals.  No corporate business inspector is going to find anything, so we want your team to go into the facility, plug this optical chip (while holding up a chip) into one of their machines, so we can monitor their experiments and then steal a list of anything they’ve done in that building that violates ethical guidelines, so that we can expose them for what they’re doing.  If you can pull it off, we’re willing to pay your team 10,000¥ apiece.”

Ms. Johnson is Ava Doyle, an operative from the ALF (Awakened Liberation Front), a green activist group that works to free awakened life forms from “enslavement” by the corporations.  She wants to know about the number of creatures being experimented on. The ALF has an additional agenda that they have not told her about…

If the runners agree to the terms (she is open to some limited negotiations), she smiles and nods.  “Thank you for doing the right thing. The Evo facility we’d like you to dig up intelligence on is on McNeill Island in Outremer.  The chip will continue to harvest data on their operations and send us intelligence on the regular that we can act on. But we also want to know what research they’re conducting on the creatures on the regular, which will likely require you to gain access to their R&D machine, which my people feel will be behind a faraday cage.”

“We’ll know when the chip has been plugged in, but we’ll arrange delivery once you have the clandestine project data.”

She will do her best to answer any further questions the runners might have, but she has been purposefully been kept in the dark in a few key areas.

Ms. Johnson / Ava Doyle
Eco-Activist & Public Face of the ALF
Possible Sources – Corporate Connections, Fixers, Green Activist Groups

1/2 – She’s one good-looking woman… shame about the tattoos.  Her name is Ava Doyle and she’s one of those outspoken tree-hugger types.

2/4 – I hear she’s with GreenPeace.  She’s got some weight behind her and has organized several rather poignant rallies over the past couple years.

4/7 – Ava is a little more outspoken than a simple GreenPeace advocate.  She’s actually a member of the ALF. Whenever one of her peaceful little rallies fails to generate enough interest, the company she picketed tends to have some form of “accident”.

7/11 – Threatening families of geneticists, property destruction and engineered accidents haven’t delivered the message yet.  Word is that the ALF are stepping up their agenda… and soon.

McNeill Island
Private Island in Seattle City Limits
Possible Sources – Corporate Connections, Fixers, Municipal Government

1/2 – McNeill Island?  It’s a little spit of land off the coast in Puget Sound.  One the Metroplex’s largest prisons is on the island.

2/4 – The island opened its doors to private development, in recent years.  A few housing developments have been built on the island but buyers have been scarce, due to the prison’s presence.

4/7 – More recently, the land on McNeill was snatched up by a couple corporations:  Ares and Evo. They’ve developed the land to support the prison system, “in the interests of protecting the residents of McNeill Island”.

7/11 – The Ares compound on the island is little more than a better-armed precinct that supplements prison security.  The Evo compound is a research complex, developing treatments for inmates with mental disorders, as well as a small guard animal training site, for use at the prison.

Matrix:  The Seattle grid is open and available to anyone within the Aquarium with no appreciable Noise.  The host for the Aquarium is low defense, unless they intend to get into the security system or the environmental controls for the livestock.  Most of the functions direct the user to each exhibit and allow you to locate registered users anywhere in the building.

Scene 2 – An Island of Murderers and Thieves

McNeill isn’t a large island.  There are two official ways onto the island.  There are two sets of docks: the one Knight Errant controls and uses for prisoner transfers and the private marina of the island’s residents.  The beaches of the island are patrolled on the regular by Knight Errant to try and prevent illegal access onto the island.

The western side of the island is dominated by corporate buildings and the large city prison.  The area is heavily patrolled by drones, metahumans and guard dogs, being dotted by chainlink fences, razorwire and checkpoints.  The eastern part of the island is made up of private residences, buffered inland by forest with activate-on-demand security measures for detaining escaped convicts.

The runners will need to keep a low profile here, to avoid tripping security for as long as possible.  The heaviest concentration of forces is (naturally) at the prison. The Evo compound is a large two story building that does nothing to hide its affiliations.  The grounds are heavily guarded by drones, and guard pairs of one metahuman and one guard dog. Biodrones dot the perimeter, offering reconnaissance rather than offensive security.  If the runners fail to notice the biodrones, the interior will be alerted to the runners presence and they will set up a trap.

This scene is abstract.  The runners main goal here will be getting onto the island and into the Evo compound undetected.  However, the island outside the residential district is crawling with Knight Errant. Do not make it easy for the runners to gain access…

The Evo compound grounds should have spirits on patrol and the building warded to keep out snoops.  

Matrix:  Thanks to a relay station being installed in the residential district, the Emerald City grid is accessible here with no Noise.  There are two hosts here that the runners will likely take note of. The first belongs to the prison… while the job shouldn’t take them there, if they wish to create a diversion by prison break or something, use the following:

Seattle Prison

Host Rating 10
Attack 12, Sleaze 11, Data Processing 10, Firewall 13

Patrol IC and two spiders in the system at all times.

The system will play nice in the public areas, where visitors can speak with inmates and such, but upon accessing systems not available to outsiders, the system immediately scans the user for authenticity and if the scan fails, it launches Black IC as well as Sparky and Acid.  If an intruder is detected in an area they should not access, they will not hesitate to kill the decker.

The node is rendered as a clean lobby in the public district, but the restricted area is a wide, never ending cellblock.

The other noteworthy system would be Evo themselves.  From the outside, they can only see the public face of the complex.  While it’s not designed for public tours, they still have put up a believable facade for people to believe they’re just a medical research facility.

Evo Research Building

Host Rating 8
Attack 9, Sleaze 10, Data Processing 8, Firewall 11

Patrol IC and two spiders in the system at all times.

The system is a clean, clinical looking area, looking as it does on the average trideo pharmaceutical commercial.  A smiling woman walks around the space, giving visitors a tour of all their popular brands and talking about forthcoming research.  The research server is not available from here, but a decker might be able to find items like delivery schedules for supplies, or a list of personnel.

Upon a decker being detected, the IC activates in the order:  Probe, Scramble, Killer, Binder, Acid, Blaster, Marker and Sparky.  If an IC is crashed, it will continue down the order, rather than rebooting the fallen icon.  Two additional spiders will login (3+1D6) Combat Turns after the alarm sounds.

Scene 3 – Little Shop of Horrors

Once inside the lab, the environment they see will depend on how they approached the center.  If no alarms have sounded, the lab is busy with technicians bustling to their assorted work stations.  The receptionist will be surprised to see anyone walking in, as they are not a place for walk-in visitors.  They have visual records of all planned visitors and they do not submit to surprise inspections. If the runners play a traditional plot for gaining access, they will be led into an area where they’ll be sealed in and detained for questioning.

If alarms have sounded, they’ll find the area devoid of metahuman presence.  Once the majority (if not all) of the team is inside, armored shutters will seal them in and warn them that the authorities have been dispatched.  That they should lay down their weapons and surrender. The personnel have been locked down in the labs, to keep them safe from the terrorists breaking into the building (also sealing in their most sensitive pharmaceutical knowledge).

In either case, on the surface, the lab is exactly what it sounds like on paper: a pharmaceutical research lab and animal training facility.  The computers in the building indicate that the research is all above board and all the ethical standards are being strictly adhered to. While runners may have ethical issues with animal testing, the animals here have been certified as being treated with as much respect as possible when being used for laboratory testing.

Loading the chip provided by Ms. Johnson into any of the machines will work, although a lab terminal is preferable.  On top of broadcasting information back to the ALF on the shipment of animals in or out of the facility, it also opens a backdoor for a team of ALF deckers to infiltrate the system.

Once the runners gain access to the lower level, concealed in the 120 block of offices, the Faraday seal on the lower labs is sealed, allowing both the runners and the ALF team into the system.  The secured elevator will likely require a decker’s touch to get moving, but once they’re in the lower level, many of the security measures assume that they have the required clearance.

The lower level is a myriad of genetics labs, surgical bays and heavily reinforced kennels.  Down here is where they conduct their research into the domesticating of paranormal animals and the creation of chimerics.  There are two levels of horror, where disfigured and monstrous creatures are designed, tamed and sold, unless they prove unstable, in which case they are destroyed and fed to the more successful specimens.  On the upper monstrosity lab, there is a door that is locked unless the building suffers a catastrophic failure, in which case it unlocks and the people can use the escape hatch to climb to safety, in a remote corner of the training pen.

It’s while the runners explore these labs that the ALF team makes an unscheduled interruption.  They hack into the security system and unlock all the pens, while releasing an ultrasonic tone throughout the labs, to cause the animals discomfort.  The deckers make a proclamation that “mother nature will take vengeance for the sins they’ve committed here” before killing the power. The runners will need to battle their way through the darkness, while being hunted by rampant creatures before trying to give the authorities the slip.

I found the floorplan for a modern two story research building to represent the pharmaceutical lab on the upper level and my own layout for the underground portions.  Use a building scope that is suitable to your own group.

I used several guard creatures from sourcebooks to reflect the animals being experimented on.  I used Dogs, Hellhounds and Basilisks from the SR5 Core book, as well as Fenrir Wolves, Junkyard Dogs and SkySpy biodrones from Howling Shadows.  Two modified animals of my own creation are below, but feel free to make nastier creations for your own group. 


Using the statline for a basic house cat (Howling Shadows), they also feature several genetic modifications, designed to prevent home invaders from stealing anything of value.  Should testing prove successful, these cats could find their way into homes of key executives that aren’t “dog people”.

Genetic Modifications:  Improved Intuition (+50%), Biotoxin Alteration (Anesthetic (6S Inhalation)), Wall Climbing

Urban Infiltrators

Using the basic statline for a Raccoon (Howling Shadows), this creature has been modified to serve as reconnaissance in urban environments.  Genetic modifications and augmentations allow the animal to better elude capture all while tracking its quarry with all the animal’s usual cunning.

Genetic Modifications:  Defensive Secretion (-1 to all tests after contact), Natural Weapon (Claws, 2P, AP -1)

Augmentations:  TRACES (Recognizes threats, weapons and knows to seek cover:  +2 to Melee and defense tests), Orientation Goad (allows the creature to be crudely “steered”), Cybereyes Rating 1 (Image Link, Camera, Low Light, Vision Enhancement 2)

>> I hate working in Outremer.  My rigger isn’t solid with a boat and those islands are locked up tight.  Be prepared for heavy resistance.
>> Havik

>> Not to mention there’s a prison out there, so Knight Errant’s presence is already ramped up.  Non-stealthy teams won’t have far to travel after they’ve been arrested…
>> Sentry

>> Seems like a lot of work to do some tree-hugging, hippie shit.  What’s the catch here?
>> Burn

>> I think there is more to the agenda here than trying to give Evo a slap on the wrist.  But isn’t there always?
>> Dakota

~ by 1nsomniac on June 1, 2018.

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