In the Name of the All-Mighty – Perilous Teachings (#Shadowrun)

As a product of my first clients from Heroes for Hire, I have been running a campaign where the runners are all operatives for the Catholic Church, running out of Rome and Vatican City.  Thus far it has been a very interesting experiment and three sessions in, we’re all having a good time with it.  If the campaign interests you, feel free to follow along with the campaign (or any of my campaigns) on Obsidian Portal.

The team is contacted by Maria De Santis and asked to come to Babington’s Tea Room at Piazza di Spagna for 4PM to discuss a matter of immediate import.

Scene 1 – Tea in the Plaza

The sun is still high in the sky and warm in the tourist-cluttered square when the runners arrive.  Babington’s Tea Room has been established in the same location for over a century and the facade of the place has been faithfully maintained and preserved in that time.  The English-style tea room overlooks Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Plaza) and the base of the Spanish Steps. The throng of metahumanity that moves through the area is impressive, as they move between Trevi Fountain and other classic features of the city.

Maria De Santis is sitting at an outlying table, sipping a tea while people-watching the plaza.  As the runners approach, she motions for them to pull up a chair and asks if they would like some tea.  Once the entire team has arrived, Maria sets down her tea cup and leans in close.

“The Church has needs of your specific set of talents.  A danger lurks in the city that cannot go unchecked any longer.  While the sin and vice peddled in this city after dark is a travesty, we have gotten word that a coven of vampires has been discovered somewhere in our own backyard.  These demons have started a secret church to lure in the easily swayed and who knows what they might do if left to their own devices. Therefore, we require your team to track down this coven and eliminate them.  The team will be rewarded with 6000¥ apiece for their efforts.”

The Church is no stranger to runner ethics, so should the team renegotiate the terms, they will negotiate in good faith, but may try to sway the additional amount to be supplemented with goods instead of cash.

Once the team has settled on an amount, Maria nods in agreement.  She tells them to lean on their contacts to learn the location of this secret church and to contact her when they have exterminated the vampire threat.

Matrix:  The VaticaNet is a grid that permeates the Papal States and some of the other countries that make up the Italian Confederation.  The grid has been molded in the style of Ancient Roman architecture, though looming over top of the Roman roads that connect everything is a glowing crucifix atop St. Peter’s Basilica that reflects the Vatican itself.  The grid is potent within Rome, but some of the more touristy areas are slight spam zones, inflicting Noise 1 or 2 on any hackers in that area.

Scene 2 – The Dark Side of Rome

As the sun sets on Rome, a new side of the city emerges.  Though the light of Vatican City casts a glow over the night sky, the old cobbled streets of Rome house a night market of sin and vice.  The Mafia runs most of the illicit markets that creep out of the shadows and the streets are just as alive at night as they are during the day.

If the runners have contacts in the underbelly of the city, they are likely to bump into them in these illicit markets.  Otherwise, the runners will need to ask around for a secret Church. The unfortunate thing for the runners is that there are several within the city.  There are those that worship the old Roman Gods, underground Muslim Churches left over from the EuroWars and Satanic Churches operating right under the Vatican’s noses.

The first lead the runners get directs them to the large Trastevere neighbourhood on the west side of the Tiber River.  Their contact or bribed individual tells them of an underground cult, that says they worship Satan. Most Satanic Churches “aren’t that bad”, but these guys are “pretty scary”.

The old streets of this district wind through darkened roads and finding people who know about this underground church here shouldn’t be too difficult for those who know where to look.  If they can find someone who is willing to tell/show them where the church is, they find it under a local shop, with the basement converted into a makeshift chapel. This group has read every bit of “Satanic Lore” they can find, showcasing inverted crosses, pentagrams and any other sign of the occult, one can dream up.  The members wear black robes and the floor around the altar is stained in blood (chicken blood, mostly). All the members are disenfranchised with the Catholic Church, but that’s all they have in common. The Church is a non-threat, but the Vatican won’t worry about perceived Satanists being disbanded. This is not the Church they’ve been sent for.

In order to get the right lead, the runners can mention that it’s only open at night with vampires rumoured to be among the congregation.  With a good Charisma+Etiquette roll, they learn about a church in the area east of Esquilino, called Collatino. The area is low income housing primarily and just off the A24.

Matrix:  While most of the areas the runners will be going to may be off the tourist track, with the exception of Collatino, the Matrix is solid in the area.  Collatino, being removed from the center of Rome, suffers from a Noise of 1 due to the weaker Matrix infrastructure.

Scene 3 – Under Collatino

The district of Collatino is made up of several smaller neighbourhoods and the area has fallen into some disrepair in the decades since the fragmentation of the country.  Several refugees of the EuroWars fled here, seeing Rome as a safe haven from attack. As the poor, displaced masses arrived, Collatino was one of the few districts with affordable housing, due to the distance from the Vatican.  As the displaced masses gathered, cheaper housing was erected to take them in and Collatino’s population swelled from 50,000 to over 150,000. Now the district is overpopulated for the infrastructure, yet housing in Collatino is in high demand, due to the lower pricing.  With the Vatican imposing a restriction on building heights and historical preservation, Collatino is at a boiling over point.

In a busy district like Collatino, finding a Church is easy.  Many here are devout Catholics and everyone has “their church” they are happy to direct people to.  Those who keep regular hours don’t seem to know anything about the specific service they’re looking for.  It is the group of graveyard shift workers and those with bizarre schedules that start pointing the runners toward a Catholic Mass for the forgotten masses.

As they investigate, they learn that the ancient Roman sewer system is used as tunnels and shelter for many of the city’s homeless and that recently, many of the homeless have found an Underground Mass they can freely attend.  The homeless demographic is a perfect place for vampires to feed on and the runners will likely delve into the old stone tunnels to seek out the Church.

Being home to the less fortunate, they will defend their homes, such as they are from perceived threats.  The runners could also discover a pack of devil rats to contend with in a darkened section of tunnel.

They eventually find the church in a sandbagged and flushed out section of the old tunnels.  The area surrounding the “Church” is quiet and devoid of all but the basic of life.

Scene 4 – Church of the Damned?

The old tunnels have been blocked off from the usual flow to create a dry patch.  A series of side tunnels have been cleared for storage purposes, holding the mismatched chairs that serve as pews and the pulpit, but the striking part of the Church is that the services here appear to be for a Catholic mass.  Scripture adorns the walls in the form of Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

The services start at midnight and people trickle in from the area.  Many are day labourers, who can’t catch a regular service. A very small number of the parishioners are those infected with HMHVV.  A couple ghouls, a vampire and a gnawer. The priest himself shrouds himself in robes, but when the light in the room catches his features it reveals him to be a Nosferatu.  However, if the runners take time to interview those attending the service, they seem unbothered by the vampiric creatures they share the church with. The uninfected say that “they are just people who have been dealt a bad hand and deserve to worship as much as any of us”.  There are no reported disappearances among the congregation.

The vampiric members of the congregation will be very wary of any line of questioning and they band together for strength in numbers.  The priest will be very talkative and seems genuine in his belief in the Church. He explains that they were devout Roman Catholics before they were exposed to the Virus and they didn’t see a need to stop praying because of their affliction.  They swear that they feed on rats and other vermin from the sewers as much as they can, and use blood banks frequently. For those times where blood banks can’t suffice, they feed on the critically ill and dying and ensure that they mercifully end their prey’s life, rather than turning them into another of them.

The runners have a choice:  these creatures are very aware of their condition and are taking every precaution to minimize their impact on the local population.  Whether the runners believe them or not is another matter (they are being honest). Their other choice is to obey the Church and slay these creatures, despite them spreading the word of God and ending the suffering of the dying.

Vampire, Nosferatu, Gnawer and Ghoul Stats found in the SR5 Core book and Howling Shadows.

The runners will need to provide proof of kill, or something akin to it, especially if they choose to let the vampires escape.

>> This is tantamount to mass murder!  How can the Church condone executing a group because they’re sick?
>> Darwin

>> The immortal soul belongs to God, but these creatures can consume what rightfully belongs to Him.  They must be destroyed.
>> Remiel

>> So, you’re able to murder an entire group of people, go to confession and be absolved.  These people eat so they can survive and pray to the same forgiving God, but are irredeemable.  Interesting viewpoint there, Ms. Double Standard.
>> Red

>> Should you and I cross paths, demon, I’ll send you to Lucifer, so you can discuss the matter more fully.
>> Remiel

~ by 1nsomniac on December 20, 2018.

One Response to “In the Name of the All-Mighty – Perilous Teachings (#Shadowrun)”

  1. […] via In the Name of the All-Mighty – Perilous Teachings (#Shadowrun) — The Data Haven […]

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