Shadows Over Las Vegas – The Past Comes Back (#Shadowrun)

This was the fifth entry in the Las Vegas campaign.

The team is contacted by Brick-Base.  He asks them to meet him in the alley behind The VIP Room that evening at 10PM.  If asked for details on the job, he says that the job is investigation and destruction based.

Scene 1 – Quick and Dirty

The VIP Room is a second-rate dance club just off of Fremont Street, with cheap beer and dollar slots for those who had already spent most of their money on the Strip.  It’s also where Brick-Base works his day job as a bouncer: a role no one in the city would question why a troll worked the Downtown area.

Right around the 10PM mark, Brick-Base takes his break and steps into the back alley.  After lighting up a cigar and taking a heavy pull off of the massive Cuban clamped in his jaw, he turns to the assembled team and whether all are present or not, he gets down to business.

“I don’t get much time for my break, so let’s get down to it.  I got a call this evening from a Mr. Johnson who has a task they claim is urgent.  They’ve received some intel about some dicey magic rituals going on outside the city limits in the Mojave.  They want you to investigate the site, look for signs of magic use and, if you find any, destroy the site to prevent any further magical contamination.  Due to the risk of going to the Mojave and the short timeframe, Mr. Johnson is offering 15,000¥ apiece.  Are you interested?”

While Brick-Base doesn’t know this, the job is a setup.  Mr. Johnson has authorized Brick-Base to negotiate with no upper limit on the pay, so long as the team agrees to the terms.

Once the team is on board, Brick-Base will provide the team with GPS coordinates of the site in question.  “Legwork will be difficult on this job… the site is caught up in the weird magic out there… even satellite imagery is unreliable.  Best of luck out there.”

Matrix:  The primary network they access is PuebNet, represented by a dreamcatcher rimmed by idols from each of the tribes that make up the nation.  The iconography here is simple, a vast prairie with rolling hills and deserts, each landscape varying slightly depending on the city you log in from.  For Vegas, the prairie is split by bright lights, a long road and large stacks of poker chips.  The old Welcome to Paradise sign standing prominently over everything.  The area around Fremont Street is on the fringe of the spam zone surrounding the Strip.  The area has a Noise modifier of 4.

Scene 2 – Into the Desert

The Mojave has sprawled in the past decade, making it much larger and the dominant feature South of the city.  Barriers have been erected along the sides of I-15S to prevent the blowing sands from burying one of the main arteries and or out of the city.  However, once the runners have driven an hour and half outside of Las Vegas, they arrive in a small desert town called Baker, that has been all but erased by the desert wind.  Turning North on the old Death Valley Road can only get them so far before the road is too buried in red-yellow sand for vehicles to proceed.  The rest of the journey Northward will have to be on foot.  Blowing sand makes the journey difficult to see more than a couple meters away.

As they near the structure that corresponds to the GPS coordinates they were given, they see an animal trot out of the blowing sand.  The animal seems unperturbed by the whirling sand and as it sets its eyes on the runners, they hear a voice in their head.

“Travelers… you do not belong here.  Return to your caves of metal and stone.  You are not of the desert.”

If the runners do not heed the spirit’s warning, it declares:  “Very well.  If you will not leave my dominion, I shall force you out.”  It de-materializes and summons creatures of the desert to push the runners out.

Deathrattle, Nova Scorpion and Coyote from Running Wild

Free Beast Spirit (Force 6)

Extra Skill: Sorcery

Chosen Optional Powers:  Concealment, Venom

Free Spirit Abilities:  Vessel Trading (Force * 2 vs Int + Will), Banishing Resistance

Once they have bested the free beast spirit, they are free to enter the building, which is labeled as the Hopi’sinom Kiho (Hopi Tribal Heritage Center).

Scene 3 – Rival Faith

The Hopi Tribal Heritage Center is a sandstone building decorated in tribal artwork and imagery, devoted to their relationship with the Mojave and the surrounding lands.  However, the building appears dormant, as sand has built up against the side of the building and a single car sits in the parking lot, seemingly forgotten save for a blind, designed to try and keep the bulk of the sand out of the car’s inner workings.

Inside the building is equally deserted, though the building looks more like a tourist trap, with information on the history of the Hopi people, cheap tribal-looking merchandise and vials of desert sand for people to “carry the spirit of the Hopi people with them”.

The basement looks a little different, as it is not set up for tourists, but more to serve as a community center for indigenous peoples.  A large ritual circle has been erected in the middle of the main room and the back room is warded (a magical lodge).  Inside the lodge is an elderly Hopi man, reading a book of folklore.  He seems both delighted and shocked to see someone in the building.

“Hello!  Tatam!  Is there something I can help you find?”

If asked about the circle in the main room (in case it hasn’t already been assensed), he tells them that it is used for telling tales of their people and not magic.  The magical lodge he resides in is used by their membership to help them reach out to their ancestors.  Hopefully, they will learn that he is just a kindly old man and they’ve been duped.

In the main room, smoke grenades are thrown in and the basement begins to fill with thermal smoke.  A group of radical Christian thugs, led by a zealot of a hitman enter the room and begin to hunt for any “redskins” as well as Parallel, as per their contract.

Zealots are low level thugs, used to bolster their numbers

The Apostle

Christian-Themed Assassin

B6(8)  A5(7)  R6(10)[11]  S6(8)  W4(6)  L3  I5(7)  C3  Edge 4  Ess 0.04

Init 11+1D6 (18+5D6), PL 8(13), ML 5(7), SL 4(5)

Qualities:  Toughness, Guts, Exceptional Reaction, Tough as Nails 2, Addiction (Severe, Jazz), Code of Honor (Religious Doctrine), Prejudice (Radical, Non-Christians)

Skills:  Acting 4, Athletics 3, Close Combat 5, Firearms 3, Perception 4 (6), Sneaking 5, Demolitions 4, Throwing Weapons 5, Pilot Groundcraft 4, Gunnery 3, Archery 5

Augmentations (all Alpha Grade):  Reaction Enhancers 3, Wired Reflexes 2, Aluminum Bone Lacing, Cybereyes 4 ( Low-Light, Smartlink, Vision Enhancement 2, Flare Compensation, Vision Mag, Thermographic), Ultrasound Sensor 6, Cerebellum Booster 2, Adrenaline Pump, Cortex Bomb (Area)

Gear:  Light Security Armour with Helmet (18) [Shock Weave, ChemSeal, Chem Protect 3, gas Mask Skinlink], Commlink Rating 6, Grapple Gun, 1 dose of Jazz
Weapons: Unarmed (Acc 8(13), 10P, Reach 0, AP 0), Ares One Monosword (Blade, Acc 5, 11P, Reach 1, AP -3)

Heavy Crossbow (Archery, Acc 5(7), 10P, AP -3, SA, RC 0, Ammo 4m, Added Smartlink), 50 Barbed Bolts, 50 Incendiary Bolts

The cybernetic monster of man may explode, but it’s possible his commlink survives, to tell them of a contract on their collective lives.  On being set up for an ambush, the runners will want to likely reach out to Brick-Base.  Upon following up, their fixer tells them that the employer’s credit was no good (transaction originally looked like it went through, but they just discovered that the cred was forged) and they have since ghosted.  Brick-Base provides them with commcode that called him with the job.  If Blue Screen backtraces the call, it points them in the direction of Boulder City.

Scene 4 – Tracking Down the Deadbeat

The area that the signal draws them to is just a couple blocks from where Parallel grew up.  The building is an old Christian Church that has fallen into disrepair with the return of the Native American shamanism to the area.  Our Lady of the Sacred Word is an old chapel that has been spray painted by a few teenagers in recent years.  The signal that the runners traced is still active inside.

When they step inside, they find the desecrated interior filled with gang tags, empty bottles of booze and spent condoms.  The large Christ on the Cross at the head of the Church has been tagged with a swirly moustache and a pirate eye patch, as well as several anti-corp and anti-government slogans on the walls.  At the prayer rail is a single man, an empty bottle at his side and when he hears the runners approaching, he rises to his feet on unsteady legs.  He has an Ares Predator V in his hand, held in a sloppy grip.

“So… you survived.”  When he turns around, Parallel recognizes him as Michael Baker, the father of one of the people that he accidentally killed when his magic wasn’t controlled.  “Came to exact your revenge on me, have you?  Maybe do what you should have back then, hellspawn?”

He motions around to the Church and the state of it.  “Do you see what you and those like you have done?  You have sent this entire society into a pit of depravity.  Even the Pope… the man seen as most holy, condones your kind.  Now this is the state of the Lord’s work… so please.  Kill me… take your petty revenge and allow me to have a hope of seeing my son again.”

He stands arms wide, expecting to be cut down in cold blood.  If the runners don’t kill him, he will try to antagonize them with insults and shooting at them.  If they don’t kill him, he will later commit suicide, rather than carrying on.

>> You couldn’t pay me to go into the Mojave… too much there trying to kill you.
>> Havik

>> You’re a shadowrunner… we always have things trying to kill us. What is so special about the desert compared to drones, spirits and dragons trying to murder us?
>> Overture

>> Predictability. I know corpsec will shoot me dead, that a mage will burn me alive or a dragon will eat me. The desert will just make you disappear and kill you for sport.
>> Havik

>> You speak like the desert has a mind of its own.
>> Overture

>> Well spotted.
>> Havik

~ by 1nsomniac on June 3, 2021.

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