In the Name of the All-Mighty – Dead End Job (#Shadowrun)

This is part 3 of the campaign I’m running through Heroes for Hire, where the runners are in service of the Roman Catholic Church.  The players have completed some pretty impressive challenges to date and this adventure was no different.

After some time off back in Rome, the unit is summoned to the Vatican Library (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana) by Rapture’s friend Aurelio.  Whenever they can get the group together, they can go to the library and have him summoned. He’s always there…

Scene 1 – Ageless Knowledge

The Vatican Library is immense and is one of the oldest repositories of knowledge left on the planet.  The Classical architecture shows the vestiges of countless eras from the Renaissance forward and houses a few hundred thousand tomes, some dating back to the days of ancient Rome.

When the runners arrive and mention Aurelio, they are led into a soundproofed room and asked to wait.  After a long wait, the ancient librarian hobbles into the room, sweat beading on his forehead. “My apologies…” he says, “you managed to arrive whilst I was deep in the vaults.  So good of you to come.”

After lowering himself into a chair, he turns to the group.  His eyes are bright, despite the seemingly frail state of his body and he scans the group for a moment before getting to business.  “It has been brought to my attention that a long-maintained relic that has destined for these hallowed halls has been denied to the Church by its previous owner.  However, I don’t foresee anyone to stand in your way if you were to claim it for the Church. We’re authorized to pay you 5,000¥ apiece for the safe retrieval of the artifact.  Is this satisfactory?”

Aurelio can negotiate some, but given how black and white the task is, the price won’t move much if the team tries to negotiate.

Once the team is on board, Aurelio smiles broadly.  “Glad to hear it. The old Scaliger family was one of the most influential in Lombardia for hundreds of years.  They owned or influenced much of the history of Verona, which may complicate your search some. The Scaligers were very focused on their legacy and they recorded all major events in their family, going back to the 14th century.  Being very wealthy, they acquired many artifacts over the centuries and some of the artifacts that passed through their family’s hands are of interest to the Church. Find the Scaliger Almanac and bring it back here. We have a plane fueled and ready for your journey into Lombardia.  Good hunting.”

Scaliger Family

Lombardian Historians

Possible Sources – Lombardian Contacts, Historian Contacts

1/2 – The Scaliger’s are one of the longest lines to exist in Verona.  Starting off as merchants, they moved up into political prominence centuries ago.

2/4 – The Scaliger family is well-respected overall (in modern times… they were driven from power in the 14th century).  They are known philanthropists and have always done what they can to keep their home prosperous.

5/8 – Verona recently had a day of mourning, as the last of the male Scaliger line died a couple weeks ago.  The last male in the family was sterile and wasn’t able to pass on the line.

7/10 – The family owned a lot of land in Verona and a lot of the estate is being sold off, though a handful of places are being signed over to the government or the two remaining Scaliger women  (Alessia Benedetti and Vanessa Palmieri) to be preserved as historical sites.

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 – Troubled Skies

The runners are taken to a private airstrip, where a jet awaits them.  The plane is well equipped and is taking them on a direct flight to Verona.

What the team is unaware of is that the crew of the flight has been replaced by a team of assassins, who aim to kill the runners and crash the plane into the Alps.

As the team nears their destination, the crew of the plane will try to poison the team before jumping out and allowing the plane to crash into the Alps.  As the other team is readying themselves for the attack, Draco gets a call from the Sylvestrian Order.

The monks there tell him that his niece had gone into a bout of hysterics, saying to call Draco and warn him that he is in mortal peril… that she’s been repeating that over and over again.

Shortly after the phone call, the assassins try to subtly spike the team’s drinks and barring that, will dart the team (starting with the mage).  With the runners on alert from Draco, with luck the team will suffer minimal casualties before the fight breaks out. If guns get employed aboard the plane, there is a risk of explosive decompression within the plane’s cabin.

As the fight breaks out, the pilot will rig the autopilot to aim for the mountains before an onboard virus cripples key systems on the plane.  He will then flee the cockpit and with a parachute on his back, he will jettison the passenger compartment door. If the runners aren’t hanging on to something, they will need to make a Strength+Body (4) test to avoid being sucked out of the plane.

If the runners remain on board, they will need to try and get the plane onto the ground safely in Verona (or bail out).  Otherwise, the team is likely going to need Remiel’s magic to guide them to the ground safely.

If the runners are able to extract any information or biometrics from their attackers during the fight, they find out that the team that tried to kill them is out of France, but not able to determine who hired them.

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 in this part of the Confederation. The plane has a decent firewall, but if the runners can get into the cockpit, they can try to plug in for trying to destroy the virus in the plane’s system and/or guiding the plane down.

Scene 3 – Home of Scaliger

The city of Verona is picturesque with blend of cultures, spanning over 2000 years of history.  From the Roman Empire, Byzantine, Gothic and modern influences the city is an architectural melting pot.  A favoured setting of Shakespeare, being used in two separate plays, the city has a booming tourism business and the city caters heavily to those who come to take in the sights the city has to offer.

To the runners, the city sports a large number of businesses, streets and public buildings that bear the Scaliger name.  In some parts of the city, signs are still up regarding the recent day of mourning. Many have been defaced, as the family history has either been thrown into question on their legitimacy or the actions of the former Lords of Verona in ancient history seems to be reason enough to mistrust the family.

Separating myth, history and hyperbole from fact may prove to be a challenge as the team searches the city for clues as to what is happening with the family estate.  The team will hear all sorts of rumours regarding the family and possibly even a comment about the Church making off with the family’s fortune. As they strip away the lies surrounding the family, they will learn that the family were all interred at the Santa Maria Antica Roman Catholic Church, where the family crypt is.  They will also learn that the Church was being made into a historical site and that the last Scaliger was looking to have his family’s legacy buried with his ancestors.

Santa Maria Antica

Ancient Church

Possible Sources – Theologist Contacts, Historian Contacts

1/2 – The Santa Maria Antica church was built in the late 12th century after an earthquake earlier in that century destroyed the previous church.  It served as the Scaliger’s private chapel during their reign in the 14th century.

2/4 – The Scaliger family cemetery and tomb is beside the Church.

5/8 – With the last of the Scaliger line being gone, the city has decided to make the old Church a historic landmark for the city, with a commemorative plaque for the Scaliger family.

7/10 – Many who attended the internment of Vincenzo Scaliger have said that the felt the tomb was cursed, as a palpable chill seemed to cling to the walls of the ancient crypt.

Scene 4 – Death Rising

The site of Santa Maria Antica site is an old Romanesque-style church that is rather modest compared to what the runners are used to in Rome, but is an impressive sight all the same.  The stone building is an ancient building with vaulted arch ceilings and old wooden pews. Outside the main building is a towering stone monument to the Scaliger family. Many of the old stone tombs are empty and the family crypt is actually beneath the monument.  Having recently had a new member added, the entrance is much easier to locate than it might have otherwise been.

The crypt is a cold, stone hollow with no lighting, so hopefully, the runners have brought something with them.  Many of the Scaligers were buried in hollows in the wall, but the most powerful ones were buried in stone sarcophagi.  The most recent member of the family, Vincenzo, took the time to bury himself in a modern sarcophagus of plasteel and metals that bear more in common with Egyptians than Lombardy.

The Scaliger Almanacs were buried with Vincenzo. However, once the runners pry open the sarcophagus, all of the corpses, both ancient and modern, rise up and attack the runners as shedim have claimed the dead here.

The shedim in the crypt are Force 4 and are found in the Street Grimoire (SR5).

After the first round of fighting, the runners hear a rocket inbound and the Scaliger memorial is destroyed and buries them inside the tomb, plunging the group into total darkness (unless they have a light source with them.

The source of the rocket attack is unknown… for now.

Assuming the runners defeat the shedim and retrieve the almanac, when they get back to Rome the scholars there say that while it was interesting from a historical standpoint, there is little of note for the Church to act on.

>> Ah, Verona… beautiful city.  Not exactly a runner haven, though.
>> Jaeger

>> Says you.  You just need to know where to look.
>> Made Man

>> Lots of old noble money in Lombardia that’s just ripe for the taking.  The old families still squabble there, but now they’re just more subtle about it.
>> Servitor

>> A lot more international traffic through those parts these days.  Lots of European factions hide out in the mountains of the area.  It has made Verona quite a hot spot for finding mercenaries of all stripes.
>> Fenix

~ by 1nsomniac on July 26, 2019.

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