A Game of Inches – Ongoing Casualties (#Shadowrun)

This was the third installment of our Bogota campaign and the last piece run using the 5th Edition rule set.  My players were kind enough to convert the campaign over, so I could familiarize myself with the new rules (as a Catalyst Demo Agent, I need to learn the latest version).  I had to develop stats for canon events that never had full stat lines developed, but please don’t take my rulings as official.

After some down time, the runners are huddled in their hideaways and when Slaughterborn is out running errands, a young child comes barreling out of a side street, bumps into the massive minotaur and looking up at the towering runner, the kid quickly turns and darts down the road.

The next time Slaughterborn checks his pockets, he finds a slip of paper in his pocket, directing him to an abandoned school in the Northern District.  Whether Slaughterborn calls in support or not is up to him.

Scene 1 – Back to School

The school that Slaughterborn was directed to was once a prestigious establishment for high school kids.  Today the once open air, red brick school is a shattered ruin. Liceo Hermano Miguel La Salle (Hermano Miguel La Salle Lyceum) appears to have taken a shell years ago and since then the school has fallen into disrepair, with overgrowth slowly creeping in through the old brick work.

In one of the large lecture halls, Slaughterborn sees a scarred teenager leaning against the old teacher’s desk at the front of the classroom.  The kid has obviously seen a few things in his few years and doesn’t seem phased by the enormous minotaur entering the room. “Hola. I see you got my message…”

The teenager seems a little more nervous if the entire party comes along, but will press ahead, despite being outnumbered by trained killers.

“So, I’m speaking on behalf of Los Enaños… as Aesop can tell you, we have eyes over a lot of this city.  However, there is an area of this city, not far from here, that has become a no-go area. Someone in this city is regularly murdering children and it needs to stop.  We don’t have much, but we’re willing to offer you 5000¥ (total) for you to investigate and put an end to the violence in the area.

Senor Fernandez represents a band of child pickpockets… they don’t have much to offer.  They can add favors owed, but in terms of cash, they really don’t have much they can pay.  The run should award extra karma in lieu of financial reward.

If the team takes the job, the teenager seems to visibly relax.  “On behalf of my group, thank you. Our people keep going missing in the old Capitol District.  One of the gangs there has a vendetta against us and we need to know why and have it stopped.”

Senor Fernandez doesn’t have a lot of additional information, since going to the area is very dangerous.  Trying to look up anything on their Fernandez yields nothing: he is a war orphan and any records of him either don’t exist or were wiped out in the war.  All members of the Runts are ghosts in the population.

Matrix:  The North District has only scattered Matrix nodes that are up and running.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 2. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 2 – Fallen District

Directed to the Capital region, the runners are faced with a bleak reminder of what happened to this city over the past 25 years.  What was once considered the international hub of the city is now a crater-filled landscape, where even the most minor of structures in the area shows the scars of battle.  The old parliament building is visible, still blackened by old fires caused by an “accidental” Aztlan bombing.

In the loss of a civilian government, the void here was filled with gangs, eager to claim a piece of the region when lawlessness set in.  Wars once waged with modern weapons, but so many of those weapons have fallen into disrepair now, that classical weapons are favoured here now.

There are four gangs that dominate the region:

  • The Jade Rat Tribe
  • The Conquistadors
  • The Night Watch
  • The Blue Demons

The Jade Rats are the smallest of the four and are a scrapper gang, scouring the ruins for anything of use.  Like the animal they’re named after, they will often back down in a fight, but if forced into a fight, they fight like madmen to protect their turf.  The gang’s color is green and led by a dwarf woman named Maria Lopez.

The Conquistadors are a mostly ork gang with a love of fighting.  Picking a classical name was their leader’s choice to describe their use of scrap metal to augment their armour.  Always looking to expand their turf, they brag about how much ground they control, but much of what they claim is theirs is open wasteland of the Central District.  Their color is yellow led by a burly ork named Ramiro Guzman.

The Night Watch are a band surrounded in a mythology they have created.  Locals speak of vampires and ghouls that steal away residents that don’t pay the protection racket in the night.  The membership does have two ghouls in it, but there are no vampires. The hearsay about the gang keeps the protection money flowing in and stops other gangs from testing their borders too often.  Their color is a deep purple, led by a pale, lanky human named Isidoro Chavez.

The Blue Demons never seem to die.  They have survived four attempts to wipe them out and each time, they come back stronger than before.  Despite the name, they see themselves as a neighbourhood watch of sorts, looking out for the residents.  They bankroll themselves by doing business with the Cartels… depending who you ask, they work with either the Olaya or Masaya Cartel.  Their color is blue and their leader is a human named Joel Medina.

Each gang will interact with the runners differently.  When asked about the Runts, the story is often the same:  they have no issue with the kids. Sure, they’re annoying, but hey… kid has to eat and if they get good enough, the gang could recruit them in time.  If asked, they will often direct the runners to one of the other gangs (usually the Conquistadors) as the potential murderers.

As they poll the gangs, it becomes apparent that the gangs did not (knowingly) start killing the child gang and there are reports of people in their ranks going missing as well.  It is often passed off as a victim of a border skirmish. Each gang has similar reports and it points the runners to an area near where the four gangs’ borders meet. Nobody wants to claim the area (so naturally, the Conquistadors have) around the old train station, Bogota La Sabana Railway Station.

Bogota La Sabana Railway Station (Bogota Savannah Railway Station)

Former Main Railway Hub

Possible Sources – Long Time Bogota Residents, Cartel Contacts

1/2 – Built originally in the early 20th century, the Savannah Railway was centered out of this central neo-classical style building.  It serviced most of the main burroughs of the city for much of the 20th and 21st century.

2/4 – After countless delays, in the 21st century the city began excavating the area under the city to run subway tunnels throughout Bogota.  The Awakening, the Crash of 29 and several severe governmental shifts added further delays to this project. The subway project was abandoned in the mid-30’s.

4/7 – The building is currently a blasted ruin, almost leveled by the Aztec bombings in the 40’s.  Several skirmishes happened in the area over the Battle of Bogota.

6/10 – In the years since the war, the building is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of fallen soldiers.  Stories of men being driven mad or outright disappearing are common in the surrounding area.  

Matrix:  The Central District has no Matrix nodes that are remotely reliable.  The sporadic signal confers a Noise of 2. Anyone with Matrix here is on the public grid, but SolNet can be accessed.  The ABC is a member of SolNet, the Aztlan Grid, represented by a spinning Aztec calendar stone. While on SolNet, the AzGrid icon looms in the sky overhead like a jade gargoyle.  Non-Aztec citizens will have a harder time accessing anything of import here.

Scene 3 – Hub of the Old World

The Bogota La Sabana Station once upon a time ago must have been an impressive building to look at.  English-style architecture at the heart of a Spanish colony, full of columns, stone slab floors and an airy feeling.  Now, only small pieces of the once-grand building remains; the upper floor is entirely gone, leaving only stairwells to indicate that the building used to be taller.  The tracks long ago had the rails themselves looted for the metal, leaving only rotting railway ties behind to indicate the former presence of a rail system.

The area around the old railway station is a ghost town.  The usual squatters one associates with the old central area are nowhere to be found and the area is strangely quiet.  Evidence of gun battles from years before dot every wall and car left to rot in the streets.

As the runners near the building, the residents attack.  Consisting of gangers and feral dogs, the runners may notice something off with the group attacking them:  the gangers all wear conflicting colours, they all have a wide-eyed, bloodshot glare on their faces and there are children in their ranks.

Berserk Gangers (human baseline)

B5 A5 R3 S5 W4 L1 I2 C2  Init 5+2D6

Physical Limit 6, Mental Limit 3, Social Limit 5

Armor 9

Skills: Automatics 4, Blades 4, Intimidation 5, Perception 3, Pilot Groundcraft 4, Unarmed 4

Knowledge:  Gang Turf 4, Local Area Knowledge (Zona Centrico) 4

Qualities: Toughness

Uzi IV (SMG, Acc 4(5), 7P, BF, RC (1), AP 0, 24(c), Folding Stock, Top-mounted Laser Sight)

Armor Vest
Meta Link
Knucks (Reach 0, 5P, Acc 5)
Knife (Reach 0, 5P, AP -1, Acc 5)

The gangers are mindless attackers and even though they carry guns, they are unlikely to use them, opting to try to tear opponents apart with their bare hands.

Dogs have stats in the SR5 Core Rule Book.  The dogs that have been exposed to Blue-227 can add one to all physical attributes, except Reaction and all mental attributes drop by one, except Will which improves by 1.

The NPCs are completely immune to all Social tests and will fight to the death.

Once removed from combat, they are free to explore the building.  The surface level of the building shows nothing except for the wanton destruction of the berserk people that had been lingering here.  If they opt to explore into the lower levels where the original subway tunnel was dug, they will find the old tunnels flooded with old rain water.  While the water is stagnant in places, the locals had, at some point in the past added an agitator to the pool to circulate the water. This seems to have served as a reservoir for the local population.

A Perception Test (3) reveals the source of the problem:  an undetonated shell sits lodged in the ceiling over the track.  Over the years, rainwater has eroded the shell casing and now the payload is leaking into the reservoir.  Originally supposed to detonate mid-air, the canister contains Blue-227. Any who have been exposed to the drug will need to pass a Composure roll, to not react to the substance (depending on how that character might respond).  There are also some local plant life growing, using the tainted water as a water source. If anyone opts to claim these plants, they can be refined for Alchemy, if they know what they’re doing (see Dragonblood Vines).

The runners have their answer as to why the kids kept going missing… either killed by the madmen who drank the water, or going mad themselves.  They now have to decide what to do with the tainted water supply. Many of the locals depend on it as a water source, but allowing it to remain could result in local violence continuing.  Do they risk exposure, to remove the shell or bury it all in rubble?

Blue-227

Vector:  Contact, Inhalation

Speed:  1 Combat Turn

Penetration:  -2

Power:  14

Effect: Disorientation, Berserk, Pain Resistance.

This is the prototype anti-dragon weapon Aztechnology designed to take down Sirrurg.  While it was only supposed to affect a dragon’s metabolism, when it was used in Bogota it caused the people exposed to it to fly into a blind rage that was dubbed “Blood Fever”.  The user loses all sense of friend or foe and will blindly attack anyone nearby. They feel no pain and will fight to the death until the drug wears off. The drug lasts (Power-Body) days before it runs its course, at which point the user takes 9S Damage.  They are overcome by lethargy and remorse, though memories of their actions are spotty at best.

Dragonblood Vines

These are indigenous jungle vines that have absorbed water tainted with Blue-227.  The vine’s growth is slightly accelerated and while they were already a clinging plant, they have become more aggressive in engulfing whatever surface they cling to.  They are not hazardous to contact, but is toxic if eaten. The metabolized water amplifies the magical compounds in the weaponized compound and causes arrhythmia, palpitations or a heart attack if eaten in great enough quantity.  However, if refined through alchemy, it can make an Advanced Alchemical Compound called Dragon’s Fire.

Dragon’s Fire:

Trigger:  Contact

Effect:  The user benefits from the equivalent of the Berserk Adept Power (pg 169, SG)

Aftereffect:  The user suffers (Potency * 0.5)S DV, Fatigued and Stunned side effects. (pg 220, SG)

Required Reagent:  Refined Dragonblood vines from Bogota

In any case, the runners can get paid.  The Karma reward should reflect the tough choice the team made to protect the locals.

>> Missing people?  In a war zone?  Say it isn’t so… c’mon, this just screams of a setup…
>> Skeptik

>> The war ended four years ago.  People continuing to disappear after the bombs stopped falling would be bad for Aztlan.  The UN would be back in a big way, so I bet the Azzies are just trying to cover their own asses.
>> Revenge

>> I mean, couldn’t it be possible that those that survived the war are just trying to get by and are looking out for their own?  Why does there always have to be some other motive?
>> Vista

>> You live in the Sixth World, right?  There is always someone else behind it all.
>> Conspir-I-See

~ by 1nsomniac on January 9, 2020.

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