Faith in Blood (#Shadowrun)

This was the first of two runs I ran for the Spring 2019 Phantasm Convention.

The runners are contacted by their fixer in regards to a rescue job.  If they’re interested in hearing the details, the Mr. Johnson will meet with them at the Alabaster Maiden at 9PM.

Scene 1 – Getting the Details

The Alabaster Maiden is a mage-friendly nightclub in Seattle, with a life-sized statue in the center of the club that is supposed to be the petrified remains of one of the first mages in the city.  The holographic light show is rivaled only by the local magicians showing off some of their best illusions. The presence of magicians in the nightclub makes it a very safe place from astral reconnaissance.

The team fixer is waiting for them in a back corner of the nightclub, who will activate some noise cancelling hardware to filter out the sounds of the nightclub.  Once everyone has gathered, he addresses the team.

“I’m glad everyone has been able to make it.  Mr. Johnson would like to talk with you all directly on this one, so without further delay…”  The fixer fires up a holo-projector which projects a humanoid image without facial or body details.

“Hello and good evening.  I have need of a team of freelancers to retrieve a missing person, last spotted in Bellevue.  We have reason to believe he has been abducted or otherwise coerced into entering the Barrens.  The missing person is the child of an employee and we wish to secure them for the peace of mind it will bring them.  Due to the lack of concrete intelligence and having to travel into the Barrens, we would like to offer you 8,000¥ apiece for your time.”

Mr. Johnson is actually Nicole Adams, the mother of the missing child.  She is an executive with Horizon and is finding that she isn’t able to concentrate on her duties with her son being absent.  The company agrees that her performance improvement is worth the investment and is subsidizing the run.

Mr. Johnson is willing to negotiate to some degree, but is hoping to keep the costs of the job down.  Once the runners have negotiated and agreed to the terms, Mr. Johnson is thankful to have them on board and gives them the last known location of the missing person and their name:  Tyler Adams. Once they have Tyler in custody, they are given a commcode to reach them to arrange delivery.

Tyler Adams
Wayward Corporate Son
Possible Contacts:  Corporate Contacts, Bloggers, Charity Workers

2/4 – Tyler Adams is the son of Rod and Nicole.  They are Horizon employees, but due to the unorthodox nature of the company hierarchy, their current ranking in the company is unknown.

4/7 – Nicole is a rising member of the company, where Rod is comfortable in his own position.  Both of them are involved in company relations.

6/9 – Tyler has built a reputation among his peers.  He spends a lot of time raising money for charity and runs a blog about altruistic humanitarian efforts.

8/11 – Though Horizon praises him for his humanitarian message, his messages are sometimes anti-corp and his more recent messages include more pro-metahuman, anti-1% sentiment and religious phrasing.

Matrix:  The Emerald City Grid is readily accessible in the Downtown core.  The Alabaster Maiden is a node off of the Seattle grid, that has an AR recreation of a mage casting an impressive looking spell before the skin turning slowly into stone, preserving a look of shock on the maiden’s face for all time.  Matrix users can’t do much to check out the building, aside from checking the acts coming to the club without punching through the outer defenses.

Scene 2 – Picking up the Trail

Heading to the last known location of Tyler Adams takes the runners to eastern Bellevue.  Some of the young man’s charitable organizations are there and many of them talk about seeing Tyler on the day of his disappearance.  

Many of them describe Tyler as being almost adversarial compared to his usual jovial self.  If pressed, some will cough up that he was grilling them on how donation money was being used.  Horizon was clamping down on how he was spending his money, as he was a citizen of their company and he wanted to ensure that he was seeing maximum return on his donations.  If he was displeased with where his money was going, he pulled his donation.

Some of the shunned organizations are bitter towards Tyler and others towards Horizon for enforcing the crackdown.  If pressed for further information, some mention Tyler’s drive for Redmond reclamation. Horizon views it as a good PR move (and opening the region to development by them) and is urging Tyler to look for organizations centered on building up Redmond again.  Some told him to focus his efforts in Touristville… the only “redeemable” part of the Barrens.

Those in Touristville remember seeing Tyler, but none are overly forthcoming without being plied with alcohol or cash, or getting a beatdown in a back alley.  They say that the “bleeding heart idealist” rejected the idea of putting money into Touristville because “people like it as it is”. After talking to some of the locals, he learned of a small enclave called Redemption, which, despite being warned to steer clear of, he wanted to check out anyways.

If asked as to why people recommended steering clear, many will say that many who go to Redemption never come back.  Not due to death or threats, but because they feel like they can make a difference there. Several gang members have gone into Redemption and even abandoned their brothers to remain.

Redemption, Redmond
Barrens Enclave
Possible Sources – Barrens Residents, Gangers, Christian Clergy

2/4 – A small pocket of Redmond; only a couple of square blocks worth.  It’s a place where the residents are working together to claim their own corner of the Barrens.  Religious themed.

5/8 – The enclave is centered around an old run-down church called “Our Lady of the Blessed Heart”.  The group seems a bit cult-y, but they don’t seem to be out to convert neighbours to their faith… only those that seek to join the enclave.

8/11 – Redemption was only founded recently, when a traveling priest arrived and started his own parish.  Since then, the people have rallied behind him and Redemption has not only resisted the gangs, but seems to be rebuilding.

Matrix:  All of this legwork has access to the Emerald City Grid, but Touristville is removed enough to suffer a -2 from noise due to the Matrix infrastructure here either being absent or antiquated.

Scene 3 – Enemy at the Gates

As the runners head towards Redemption, they are greeted as they get close by a grenade tossed from an upper floor window into the street.  In the chaos that follows, they are set upon by the Crimson Crush, who see the expansion of Redemption a threat to their turf and their membership.

Armed with automatic weapons and a small assortment of grenades, they will try to stop the runners from reaching the enclave for fear that they too will join the ranks of the enclave and push out beyond their current borders.

Ork Ganger

B7(8)  A4 R3 S6  W3 L2 I3 C3  Edge 2 Init = 6+1D6

PL8  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Meta Link, Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

If interrogated, they will tell the runners that they are wary of Redemption and its people, especially its founder, Father Levi Verbeek.  Several of their members went in to Redemption, with the intention to scare them off, only for those gangers to defect and join the colony.

Father Levi Verbeek
Traveling Priest
Possible Sources – Christian Clergy, Magical Contacts

2/4 – Small time preacher from Renton.  Parents were Dutch and hardcore Catholic.  Reputed to be a Christian Theurgist Mage.

5/8 – Went abroad for several years to be a missionary.  Spent a couple years in Jerusalem before doing mission work in Africa.  He had always been a laid back man of the faith and used missionary work to see the world.

8/11 – Came back from Africa in the past couple years a changed man, by the things he saw while on the African continent.  He takes his faith very seriously now and has been looking to bring the strength of his faith to needy people since.

Matrix:  The grid here is even weaker as they move further into the Barrens, with all Matrix actions suffering a -5 from Noise.

Scene 4 – Bastion of the Lord

The pocket of the Barrens known as Redemption doesn’t feel like Redmond.  Not only has the urban decay ceased, it’s actually being reversed. The houses that make up the area have been touched up and some are even starting to look respectable.  The area seems to be of two personalities. The people on the street are happy and cheerful, talking to the runners like their neighbourhood were in the heart of suburbia.  Then there are the former gangers, stood atop the roofs, watching for signs of trouble. They eye the runners with suspicion as they wander up the road.

The background count of the area is mild (1) and has an aura of positivity.  The area under this influence is slowly expanding outward, with the church set in the center of the area.  The church, Our Lady of the Blessed Heart, is warded against astral viewers which is likely to raise some concerns with the runners.  The residents of the area, show no ill effects but an Assensing (4) test shows a mild psychological dependency on an unknown stimulus.

Our Lady of the Blessed Heart is an old brick neighbourhood church that has been patched up from the urban decay that was prevalent in the Barrens.  It has three residents: Father Levi Verbeek, Brother Thomas and Sister Mary. Father Levi is a powerful blood mage and former Theurgist. Brother Thomas and Sister Mary are blood adepts.  While Levi has been doing his best not to succumb to the allures of power that comes from blood magic, Thomas and Mary are already addicted and not afraid to delve into the darkness of that power…

If the runners aim to confront the church, go to Scene 5.  However, if they aim to leave the area unmolested, they can search the district of Redemption for Tyler.  They can find him covered in paint and plaster in one of the homes the community is rebuilding. Seemingly unperturbed by leaving his future with Horizon behind, Tyler is busy patching up walls and repainting with the members of Redemption.  If the runners tell him his mother is concerned, he will smile and say that it completely slipped his mind and that he’ll call her up when his shift is done to let her know he’s safe and happy.

If the runners insist that he returns with them, he and the residents of the district sour on the runners’ presence and he insists that he intends to remain here and help in the rebuilding of Redmond.  If the runners try to remove Tyler, the community immediately becomes hostile and will try to stop the runners. Since these are innocent civilians, they act with mob mentality and no real skill.

Human Residents

B3  A3 R3  S3 W3 L2  I3 C2 Edge 2  Init = 6+1D6

PL4  ML4 SL5

Armor 0

Skills – Blades 3, Clubs 3, Intimidation 3, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Meta Link, Club (Acc 4, 6P, AP 0, Reach 1), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 4P)

Ork Converts

B7(8)  A4 R3 S6  W3 L2 I3 C3  Edge 2 Init = 6+1D6

PL8  ML4 SL5

Armor 9

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Blades 4, Clubs 4, Etiquette (Street) 3(5), Intimidation 4, Pistols 4, Unarmed 3

Gear:  Armoured Vest (9), Meta Link, Browning Ultra-Power (Acc 5(6), 8P, AP -1, 2RC, 10c), Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 7P)

Should the runners decide to watch a service, for the most part the sermon is what they would expect for a Christian service.  Levi is a charismatic speaker and is a strong leader. At the end of the service, he asks the people who’ve gathered who has given back the most since the last service.  The townspeople provide their nominations as to who has helped the community and when they have a clear winner, Father Levi rhymes off all the good they’ve done.

Brother Thomas and Sister Mary wheel out a large crucifix with straps on the arm sections.  Bloodstains adorn the wood where the hands rest and ruts have been carved to allow drainage.  The member of the parish who was nominated walks to the front and allows himself to be strapped to the cross.  In his hands are placed medallions of Isidore (Patron Saint of Manual Labourers) and Anastasia (Patron Saint of Martyrs), as he is secured.  Astrally aware runners can see an Alchemical spell of Resist Pain is applied as he grips the medallions.

Once secured, the medallions are removed and Father Levi draws a long, silvered blade.  The blade is an athame and he places the tip in the palm of the man’s hand. He drives the razor-sharp blade through the man’s hand like stigmata marks, repeating it on the other palm.  As the hand bleeds, Brother Thomas and Sister Mary collect the blood in cups resembling grails. Once filled up, the collectors pour the grails into a bowl, where Levi has been mixing herbs.  The Father mixes the blood with the herbs and using his two lead fingers, he draws a cross on the man’s forehead, muttering a prayer. At the prayer’s conclusion, the stigmata heal up. The man is released and the congregation helps him down and thanks him for his efforts.  Father Levi then tells them that their good fortunes will continue for a time longer. He dips his hands in the bowl of blood and gives them the sign of the cross, while casting a Mob Mood spell, motivating the people to work hard. Any runners in the congregation will need to resist the spell or have a strong compulsion to pitch in.

Scene 5 – Twisted Faith

If the runners opt to get involved in the community’s power structure and take down the blood mage, they will need to enter Our Lady of the Blessed Heart.

Father Levi is out in the main part of the church, where the Brother and Sister are in the back, by the collected blood of the residents.  Levi will know the runner’s intentions immediately via assensing and he will have his athame at the ready and will have notified the adepts.  Brother Thomas is powered up to be strong, and Sister Mary is ramped up on speed. They will drink some of the blood to kick in their Cannibalize Power.  They are similarly armed with blades and will do everything they can to get close to the runners and draw blood. If Levi is forced to, he will summon a blood spirit to assist himself.  His Blood Crystal arm will morph into whatever tools he requires in order to stay alive.

 

Father Levi Verbeek
Christian Theurgist Blood Mage

Father Levi is a man committed to his faith, however, the atrocities he witnessed in the genocidal conflicts in Africa changed him.  Some of the tribes there use blood rites to heal the fallen and he adapted their methods into a Christian way of thinking (“It is through the spilling of Christ’s blood we were all saved”).  He wears black and maroon Catholic style robes and his left arm is made of scarlet crystal. He lost his arm to tribal radicals and the local medicine man “repaired it”. He conceals it with gloves during normal services, but will use it freely in a fight.

B3  A5 R4  S3 W6 L4  I5 C5 Edge 4  Mag 8 Init = 9+1D6 (13+3D6)

PL5  ML7 SL7

Armor 8

Qualities – Crystal Arm

Skills – Spellcasting 9, Blades 9, Summoning 9, Leadership 10, Counterspelling 9, Intimidation 6, Assensing 8, Alchemy 9, Unarmed 4

Knowledge Skills – Theology 10, English N, Yoruba 4, Tribal Rites 6

Gear:  Form Fitting Body Armour (8), Meta Link, Athame Force 6 (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 4P)

Metamagics:  Sacrifice, Masking, Extended Masking, Quickening

Spells:  Mob Mood, Resist Pain (A), Physical Barrier (A), Increase Reflexes (Q), Boil Blood, Viscera Web, Stabilize (A), Heal (A), Foreboding

Force 7 Blood Spirit (Bound)

A disgusting creature resembling an emaciated human torso, with six arms that scamper like some demented insect.  The arms are all slashed up with cuts that cause a seemingly endless flow of blood to run down its “legs”. The head is a human head with eyeless sockets and an unhinged jaw filled with needle like teeth.  Two large angel wings made of muscle and sinew loom over its body, dripping gore as it travels. Composure(3) Test required.

B9  A9 R7  S9 W7 L6  I7 C7 Mag 7  Init = 14+2D6

PL11  ML9 SL9

Armor 14 (Hardened)

Skills:  Assensing, Astral Combat, Perception, Running, Unarmed

Powers:  Astral Form, Binding, Energy Drain (Essence, Touch, Physical Damage), Fear, Materialization

Optional Powers:  Natural Weapon (7P), Noxious Breath

Brother Thomas
Christian Blood Adept

Thomas met Levi as the priest traveled across the UCAS and was taken in by his religious teachings.  He became so engrossed by Levi’s tales of trial and hardship in Africa, he begged to be taught in the ways.  He fully bought into the “Blood of Christ” story and has embraced the insanity of blood magic. Wearing the same black and maroon motif as Levi, Thomas is a much larger person.  His powers lend to combat prowess and his ability to cannibalize the blood of others and convert it to raw power has tainted his aura. If the runners face off against the man, his teeth and lower jaw are stained in blood from consumption.

B5(6)  A5 R4 S5(9)  W4(5) L3 I5 C3  Edge 3 Mag 6 Init = 9+1D6 (10+2D6)

PL7  ML5 SL6

Armor 8(12)

Qualities – Toughness

Skills – Unarmed 8, Blades 8, Gymnastics 8, Running 8, Swimming 6, Intimidation 8, Clubs 8, Perception 7

Knowledge Skills – Theology 8

Gear:  Form Fitting Body Armour (8), Meta Link, Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 6P(11P))

Metamagics:  Cannibalize, Predator Feast (can consume blood to either gain blood points or Regeneration)

Powers:  Strength Boost 4, Critical Strike (Blades), Increased Reflexes 1, Mystic Armor 4, Blind Fighting, Iron Will

Sister Mary
Christian Blood Adept

Mary was happened upon by Levi at an orphanage as he traveled through the Confederation.  A young elf girl, abandoned by her drug-addicted parents, she was taken in by the Father to become an instrument of the Lord and to help those less fortunate.  Unfortunately for her, she learned those lessons from a man who was a born-again blood mage. While Thomas succumbed to the allure of power, Mary was raised in it.  For her, this is simply the way power is harnessed. She wears a simple black and maroon habit with a coronet on her head, rather than a veil. In combat, she is often caked in blood from head to foot for the added armour.

B3  A7(11)  R4 S3 W5(6)  L3 I5 C5 Edge 3  Mag 6 Init = 9+1D6 (10+2D6)

PL5  ML6 SL7

Armor 8(15)

Qualities – Drug Tolerant, Revenant Adept

Skills – Unarmed 8, Blades 8, Gymnastics 8, Running 8, Arcana 6, Intimidation 8, Clubs 8, Perception 7

Knowledge Skills – Theology 8

Gear:  Form Fitting Body Armour (8), Meta Link, Knife (Reach 0, Acc 5, AP -1, 4P(5P))

Metamagics:  Cannibalize, Divination

Powers:  Agility Boost 4, Critical Strike (Blades), Increased Reflexes 1, Mystic Armor 4, Rapid Healing, Iron Will, Blood Bath (Ritual – With 3 successes in place)

Once the priest and deacons have been defeated, the runners will need to escape town quickly, as the residents of Redemption will be upset by the death of their spiritual leaders and get violent.  Once the ritual bloodletting and the resulting magics are no longer a regular occurrence, the town of Redemption will fall into disarray, as people are no longer motivated to help out their neighbours.  Within weeks, the gangs overrun the area and the status quo for the Barrens is restored.

But, the runners get paid, so long as Tyler is returned alive and well…

>> Seems like a lot of cred to go into the bowels of the ‘plex.  What’s been going on out in Redmond lately?
>> Viper

>> Looking for the weekly body count?
>> Trash Panda

>> Saw the weirdest damned thing out there last week.  A nice part of Redmond.  No joke.  A community working to restore a residential burrow.  Even saw a guy painting up an honest-to-God white picket fence… very Stepford feel to the area though.
>> Ratt

>> Because Redmond needs more problems…
>> Slash

~ by 1nsomniac on April 8, 2019.

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