Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Summary
a short-ish summary

December 2070

The Rat’s Nest is raided by Knight Errant / Hard Corps and partly destroyed, most of the Scrappers are arrested. After a sniper shoots five Hard Corps men the next morning, the Nest is evacuated. While it’s almost empty, the Picas move in.

During the time out of the Nest, the Scrappers are let go again by the police who had nothing much to charge them with. Neil finds out that he is Awakened when he summons a spirit by accident and meets Glitzy, who agrees to teach him. They begin a relationship.

The Nest is retaken from the Picas who no longer exist as a gang after that. A short while later, people get stuck in a UV host modelled after the Warsaw Ghetto and only just manage to escape.

January 2071
Glitzy and Maggie run a con on a businessman. Because Glitzy is too honest for her own good, she afterwards arranges for the man to work as a Johnson. 10k go missing from the Nest’s finances and it seems that someone has managed to program people to give the money away and not remember it afterwards. So far, it’s not known how or who. Rusty starts working as a runner for Glitzy.

February 2071
Roger Kowalski and Babsie open up a detective agency and immediately get in trouble with, presumably, the Yakuza.

March 2071
Babsie works her own first case and meets Fog, Zach, Jet and Stanley. Tempo slowly grows into a problem for the Nest and Neil loses Whistler when he tries to find a way to get rid of the addiction. After a run on the Maria Magdalene Sanatorium, fifty girls take refuge in the Nest. Fog, Zach, Jet, Stanley and Rusty have really pissed off a lot of important people and have a runner team searching for them. One of the girls, Fairy Fay, is a drake and hides out at Glitzy’s for now.

April 2071
The Rat’s Nest find out who stole all that money: Gen Wong, a rat shaman. Cornered, he fights and is killed by Neil. Lao Jia, his rat spirit, frees herself and moves in at the Nest. Zach is brought onto the UV Host and barely survives it. Fog hooks up with a witch, Kiki, and is currently wanted for killing a cop.

May 2071
Fog, Jet, Stanley, Zach and the Working Girls make a successful run on a chocolate factory and steal a ton of chocolate, but find out that it’s fake, grown from engineered algae. While hiding out at an abandoned chemical plant, they survive an attack by the Rusted Stilettos.

June 2071
Glitzy brokers a deal for the chocolate with the Stone family in Boston. A million for the ton, delivered to Boston. Fog, Stanley, Zoé, Jet and Nebraska go on a roadtrip and against all odds actually deliver the chocolate. Tyrell Agency investigates a series of arsons at talismonger shops.

July 2071
The group starts cleaning up a fertilizer plant near Glow City and goes on a metaquest to get rid of two toxic spirits. They succeed, but everyone pays a price for it. After that, they spend time preparing for the raid on the Rusted Stilettos headquarter in Glow City to free Rook.

August 2071
Frettchen gets a job at the clinic. The Stilettos raid goes ahead and Rook is successfully brought back from Glow City. At the Nest, the Celavies raid the hackers, destroy the Nest’s matrix and arrest Cobble. Ningbo, the reason for the raid, has already left, taking the Nest’s server with him and warning no-one. Neil and Glitzy become parents of twins.Lao, Pablo, Nebraska and Ruckus go undercover into the Renraku Archology to free Cobble because the Recyclers are preparing for a strike and cannot have Aislyn Bauer vulnerable to blackmail. Apart from Cobble, they bring back Sam, a vodoo mage.

September 2071
Bort starts teaching Nebraska because she now wants to be a rigger. Stanley is freed from the magical parasite and the resulting depression he picked up in July at the fertilizer plant.

October 2071
Kiki and Fog break up, Kiki vanishes soon after that. Fog, Sam, Zach, Stanley and Nebraska go on a run for the Draco Foundation to clean up a nuclear lighthouse in the Bering Sea.

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Adventure Log Timeline – use this to read it all in order

September 2071

August 2071

July 2071

June 2071

May 2071

April 2071

March 2071

February 2071

January 2071

December 2070

November 2070

April 2054

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Private Puggles
Masayuki's Log

There is no such thing as a milk run – that may be a cliché, but one you ignore at your own risk. When I looked over our job offers, I could see so many problems with each one of them. Holding people hostage for an undetermined length of time – that one was an instant no. Capturing a road train that had already been taken over by another runner team – not without a rigger on the team.

And then there was Private Puggles. 14k for kidnapping a pug. Only an idiot would assume that this would be as easy as the description made it sound, but we needed the money and it was the best of the three. No immediate problems came up when I asked for some more details, so we accepted. After some legwork we knew that Private Puggles belonged to Mr. Jameson, the most boring person imaginable who works for a data processing firm. He goes to work from nine to five and then takes Private Puggles for a walk. At ten in the evening, he goes to bed. That’s it, no private life or hobbies that we could see. The pug has a dog sitter who takes him for a walk in the morning.

We decided to steal the pug while he got taken for his walk in Squak Mountain because for long stretches, no-one else would be around. The dog sitter wasn’t much of a problem after a dose of narcoject and neither was Private Puggles – Lazy Dragon had conjured up a spirit who made him levitate. I had no intention of chasing a pug through the woods. While Ran kept an eye on the dogsitter, Lazy Dragon and I delivered the pug to our employer. A witch living on a dingy houseboat in Everett who seemed pleased to get her hands on the dog.

We went out for dinner and talked a bit afterwards at the apartment when someone rang the doorbell. Mr. Jameson had somehow found us and very calmly stated that we had his dog. I asked him in so he could convince himself that we did not, in fact, have the dog. Lazy Dragon took one look at him and informed me that we had messed with a free spirit. Which is in general a spectacularly bad idea.

I don’t see any reason to stay loyal to an employer who keep such crucial details about a job to herself, so I readily agreed to exchange 15k for the address of the witch who seemed to have some kind of history with Mr Jameson. Plus I handed him the 14k to give back to her. We agreed to mutually forget that we had met and we got paid after Jameson had called his bank to arrange overdrawing his account.

He was on his way out of the door when he turned back and said that someone has kidnapped his pug and maybe we could help? I told him that I had no idea who would do such a thing, but that for 25k, we would be happy to try and get the dog back. In the end, we agreed on 20k and Jameson’s help if or better when the witch would try to mess with us. I don’t know if this was the most intelligent course of action, but the money is too good to turn down. Or rather the jewels, because Mr Jameson and I made a pact and he more or less conjured up jewels from thin air. And yes, they do last and will not vanish at sunset.

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Night on Fire
Masayuki's Log

We’ve been laying low for the last couple of days at a motel in Snohomish, but we need money, so I started looking for work in our area of expertise. There were a couple of jobs to chose from, but one stood out as paying rather well and involving only sabotage. Mr. Johnson required us to let a shipping container vanish before it could be unloaded. I got the impression that the freight was either drugs or weapons, but I didn’t require to know for sure for the job.

In light of recent events, we also looked for magical support. From a short list of candidates, we picked a young woman who is only just starting her shadow career. She calls herself Lazy Dragon and is a conjurer. She also is blind, but on the whole, that seems to be not much of a problem with astral sight. Ran and Seiji acquired some HE grenades and weapons from one of our caches. Well. Not our caches anymore. No matter. I did a quick retcon of the pier where the Chance Whore was going to berth, almost got into trouble with the security guard, but he wasn’t about to make his job any harder and just let me have a visitor pass.

After the ship arrived, the crew left and only six mercenaries were left guarding the ship. Ran sabotaged the lights and we made quick work of the men. Lazy Dragon’s support came in very handy, first with overpowering their mage and then with opening the container. I had not thought to buy a maglock sequencer, so we made to with a cutting torch and a fire spirit. Between the spirit and a couple of HE grenades, the contents of the container did not stand much of a chance and by the time the ammunition started to explode, we were well on our way off the ship and out of the port. DocWagon kindly supplied us with a diversion.

LazyDragon was a bit too excited for my taste by the whole run and by the fact that we are ninjas. But she did well and I would definitely take her along on other runs in the future. I told her that being a ninja is just a job like any other … not exactly the truth, but it’s better not to feed that kind of enthusiasm.

We have rented an apartment in Renton now, not a part of the city where the Yakuza has a strong presence. There is a good-sized Asian community here, Koreans and Vietnamese mainly, so we will not stand out that much. It’s surprisingly hard to get used to living together like this, under these circumstances and nerves are a bit frayed. But I trust that we will adapt and make the best of our new life. I feel very much responsible for Ran and Seiji. They are capable and can look after themselves, I’m not questioning that and I trust them. Still. They look to me for guidance and I feel the pressure of it like I rarely did before.

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Danny's
Colm O'Higgins' Log

There’s been talk all over town about some data the Yakuza is chasing. No word about what’s it exactly, but they’re very eager to get their hands no it.

I was delighted to see the data walk right up to me – I have no idea how Father O’Malley got involved in this and I’m not going to ask. But he offered to trade the chip for fake SINs, free travel to the NAN and some spending money for himself and his friends. Plus, his debts will be voided. We can do that, even though they’re not the most inconspicuous group. Apart from Father O’Malley, there’s Marshall Grant (and won’t some of my guys love THAT), a Japanese girl who was the one who got their hands on the data and a ghoul. Well. We’re famous for offering equal opportunities and he seems pretty mellow for a ghoul.

Since I’m buying a pig in a sack – it’s not like I can check all the data for its worth – I asked them to clean up Danny’s Bar and Grill for me. Danny’s not moving on this and I’m not so hot on sending in my own people. Danny’s is bad luck these days. They should be able to handle themselves. Father O’Malley used to hunt vampires. And if they can’t .. well, I haven’t lost all that much. The data would be nice to have, but much of it is up to eighteen months old and I don’t know how useful it still is.

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Insurance

Slicer’s busy chopping vegetables in the kitchen
So that was kinda weird. I’m still trying to find out what happened back in Afghanistan and Chuck told me that the widow of Lieutenant Baker was living in Boston. Doing pretty well for the wife of a soldier who’s only MIA. The benefits are not all that generous even when you’re KIA and since she’s not some heiress or shit, this is suspicious.

Rusty was flying over to Boston anyway with Líng, so Frettchen and I tagged along. I don’t know what Rusty’s doing, but he needed to get Firefox into a hospital. So Frettchen waltzes in, demanding that they do an artificial insemination for her. On her. Whatever. With that guy he points at himself she just picked up on the street because, damn, he’s strong and stuff and what more does a woman need? While everyone is staring at her in complete shock and people are trying to explain that no, she doesn’t get to do a handjob on me even if things WERE so easy, I hook up with one of their copy machines and get Firefox into the system. No-one thinks about building a firewall for a copy machine, right?

I don’t know if this worked out, none of my fucking business. Frettchen and I had called Baker’s wife and she was really happy to meet one of the boys. Talked a lot about her husband and she had tons of photos and shit. She told me that her money comes from a sort of insurance deal her husband had. Like fuck. If she knows anything, she’s a world-class actress. I mean, she kinda knows that deals like that don’t exist, but she doesn’t want to think about it. I get the feeling that she’s happier with the money and her husband’s memory that she’d be with the actual man. Can’t say I blame her, he was a cold bastard.

We went out of there with a bottle of scotch and the name of some general. Next trip will be to Washington, if I can figure out a way to reach the man. Can’t call him up to just chat. And I don’t give a flying fuck for my chances if anyone finds out that I got nosy. Anyway, we shared the bottle with a couple of homeless vets we met on the way back to the hotel and that was a pretty good end to the day.

He reaches out to turn off the recording and the last thing heard is Frettchen yelling from the next room if Slicer knows where they can buy a grand piano and some rocket fuel for cheap.

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A Grave Matter
Father Phil's diary

Today, a rather strange man came by the church. He introduced himself as Dr. Munroe, apparently he works at the clinic in Snohomish, the one with the soup kitchen. He also told me that he is a shaman, but for that I have to take his word, of course.

He wished to tell me that a friend of his sent a spirit to our cemetery. If his story is to be believed, the spirit was banished from the Arcology, has lost most of its powers and now has to spend seven weeks at the cemetery before the banishment loses its power. The spirit is not exactly friendly, but as Dr. Munroe assured me, too weak to be more than a nuisance at worst. And there is a chance that it will learn to behave itself while it’s here, that the positive atmosphere of the cemetery will have an effect on it. If the spirit proves to be too much trouble, Dr. Munroe promised that another solution could be found.

I am not sure whether I believe any of this. I still haven’t ruled out the possibility that this is some kind of con or that the good doctor simply is a few sandwiches short of a picknick. He seemed to honestly believe every word he said. Maybe we could ask Mr. Ryder to take a look around the cemetery? I would like to know for sure. If this all really is true and the spirit does not harm anyone, I am inclined to let it stay.

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Ninja for hire
Masayuki's Log

I knew this day would come, sooner or later. Maybe I should have left on my own terms, but loyalty is a hard habit to break. I do have much to be grateful for and it always counted more than the snide remarks or outright contempt.

I’m not completely sure that this was a setup, but even if it wasn’t, I do know that my career, if not my life, would be over if I went back. It wasn’t an easy job in any case: bring back a sleeper assassin who had gone rogue. Without knowing she is an assassin. I don’t know the details – and that was the first warning sign – but it seems she had been arrested by a federal Marshall, had escaped custody, had been picked up by a priest and a ghoul and all three of them were not working with the Marshall again.

It took me ages to get a trace, our mages are all busy with the Tempo war and here was the next warning sign – if this was so important, why did we not get magical support even though the priest is a mage, too? My people are excellent at what they do, but magic is always a problem.

What I did get were the codewords to activate the sleeper and to make her defend herself against anyone who is not Yakuza. That should have worked in our favour. Finding our targets was not much of a problem with the magical trace and we got to them just when they were trying to get into their cars.

I activated the sleeper and gave orders to kill or at least knock out the priest. Our orders were to bring the sleeper back, the others were not important. Two minutes later, two of my people were dead, two unconscious and the rest of us broke off the attack. There was no way we could win that fight. Not with the sleeper working against us. I don’t know if those people managed to break her programming or if this was deliberate on the part of my principals, but I suspect the latter.

Ran, Seiji, Yugo and I got away. Yugo went back to fulfill his code of honour, but the rest of us decided that we would like to live a bit longer, if possible. Which remains to be seen.

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The Halls Without Lights

And so, the smugglers led the company into the prison. A place with bright candles that shed no warmth and walls that forbid any sun and daylight from the prisoners who lived here.
Unnerving mirages and eerie music dulled their senses, clawing into ears, eyes and minds.
Still, countless souls tried to hold on to a semblance of life and thus the first thing the company saw was another marketplace.
Time was not their ally, so they made haste, but with haste came commotion, when the Sage and the Girl of Too Many Words picked fights with the bandits ruling various floors of the massive prison.
Some were bribed, some were decisively pummeled and it was easy to see that the company’s journey upwards would be a long one.
At least, they had a clear direction, since theSpirit followedCobble’s tracks with a keen nose and by reading the prison’s memories.
She also found the home of an Unseen Man, who was part of their reforged deal. He expected a package, and they would deliver it. An underling of this reclusive wizard told the Spirit they’d even meet up with them several stories below their own, to spare them some trouble.
This was good news, however, the Girl of Too Many Words became sadder with every floor the company ventured through:
She couldn’t bear the injustice brought upon the common folk by bandit lords and their brutish enforcers.
The Girl of Too Many Words wanted to give them a taste of their own medicine, balance things out through violence, if necessary.
A sentiment the Spirit understood all too well.
Oh, how she tried to leave the avenger behind, but the memories of violence and cruelties unpunished seeping through the thick stone made it a difficult endeavor for the fallen guardian.
This place yearned for a vengeful spirit like her, someone who settled the scores for those who could not.
The Spirit promised her friend The Dog, however. She promised to find balance.
She heeded the call of the Girl of Too Many Words, but there was no blood spilled.
At night, she visited the Bandit Lord with promises of pain and suffering, should he choose to keep bleeding out his subordinates.
Promises he took very serious, for spirits are known to keep their word.
And so, the next morning started with smiles.

This didn’t last, however.
The stairs lead them to a dark place, halls without light, where outcasts, even among the criminals, were sent on their last journey.
With one of those outcasts, a Crestfallen Man accused of murder, the company braved the gloom resonating with atrocities of the past.
The Spirit objected, but the others did not want to leave a fellow man behind.
It didn’t take long until the sinister whispers of these lightless halls clawed into the company’s mind.
They hissed of treachery and distrust, fleeting phantoms feeding dark thoughts.
To the Spirit, however, they offered temptations of might and former glory, the solace of embracing the sweet poison that made her so much more powerful than in her chosen place caught between the things she was and wanted to be again.
For now, she could resist.
They were whispers, nothing more. Lures laid out by ravenous shadows skulking the corridors.
The company made it through the day, but they needed rest.
Weighed down by sorrow and carefully planted fear, they found some respite under the barrier the Spirit summoned for shelter.
The shadows of past atrocities grew impatient, angry, banged at the protective magic until it collapsed.
But the company was already on its way again.
Whatever hope the Spirit had, it fell apart with the will of her companions. She stretched herself too thin by trying to protect them, and thus she, too started to believe the hall’s lies.
She lead them astray, disappeared and decided it was time to let the halls have their prey.
She was better off alone, anyway, right?
These people were holding her back.
Paranoia among the Girl of Too Many Words, the Troubled Sage and the Disgraced Bandit had been sown and now it was time to reap violence.
The Sage lay in ambush, the Girl tried to escape, ready and eager to shoot her way out of this.
The Bandit, used to a life of combat and hardship, did not take chances when the Crestfallen Man crossed his path in desperate fury.
The flailing murderer was no match for him and with a gnashing crack and the spray of crimson blood, his cursed iron arm ended the Crestfallen Man’s life.
The Halls Without Light got what they craved.
But their hunger was not yet satiated.
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The Price of Stolen Lights

The Spirit knew her companions were either lost in the halls or eager to kill each other.
And until she left that dark place, she was gleefully happy about that.
As soon, however, as the dark haze lifted upon reaching the tunnel leading out of the dreadful walls.
It dawned on the Spirit how the shadows had used and manipulated her. Now, her rage was focused again, condensed to the familiar deadly calm.
The Spirit dived back into the Halls without Light, did her best to guide, trick or threaten her companions towards the exit.
But seeing them return to safety was not all she had in mind. The now Deeply Troubled Sage cowered behind a steel door that was just as unhinged as he was, while theDiscgraced Bandit was not so subtly threatening him; theGirl of Too Many Words, for the first time on this journey, had no words to say, instead she tried to comprehend what just happened.
Sadly, no one had their wits about them to acknowledge this temporary blessing.

The Spirit, however, did not lose time.
Though the Unlikely Company was free of the Hall’s grasp, the shadows were still lurking down there.
They would claim more lives, they would wait there for the companions to return, at the very least.
No, no… This spirit was no woman for deeds half done.
With one thought, she was back in the Halls Without Light and read their very memories.
They were the memories of a disturbed place of grief and violence, where death reaped so gruesome plentiful, even she was staggered for a moment, when the memories of the prison resonated through her.
Focusing only on these halls, though, brought her the enlightenment she was looking for,
The shadows were nothing but meek scavengers, following in the wake of something, someone else…
He seemed like a man of science… A Doomstruck Alchemist from the Eastern Island, a spirit very much like she was. Unlike her, though, he has never been called upon. He was born free, a child of the death and despair ravaging the Fallen God’s pyramid years ago.
And he continued spreading death and despair, feeding off them and growing stronger, for he knew nothing else.
But just as any other spirit anchored to this world, his bond had been sealed by his true name.
And within the memories of these walls, there was also the memory of the name’s whereabouts…

You see, it is hard to call or even vanquish a free spirit. Their ties to our world are strong. Binding a free spirit is a feat worthy of legends.
But… It is possible, and no one knows this better than the spirits themselves.
What our fallen guardian also knew, was that no spirit could call another spirit, or bind them. It was an agreement old as the stars.
True names, though… They are more powerful than any agreement.
The moment she touched the twisted metal arm hidden in the Doomstruck Alchemist’s lair and saw his very nature, his name, engraved on it, he instantly knew of her.
It was too late though.
The Spirit summoned him, breaching the old contract, to save her companions and everyone ever passing these halls.
Holding is true name, he had to comply in silent rage and hatred.
Seeing the Alchemist, the Spirit realized he was much stronger than she was. This was his domain and she was weakened by her own choices.
What fool she had been!
Seeing the Doomstruck Alchemist, the fresh memories of so many dead with no one to speak for them,and all the crimes unpunished made her realize that, no matter what she had been telling herself, no matter what she promised: This place cried out for an avenger.
And its cries for one would no longer echo unheard.
Fueled by the poison she no longer refused she threw her very essence against the Alchemist, subduing and chaining him to her will.
He resisted, of course, almost breaking free, but both spirits were of equal rage and determination and so her will clawed into him once again. Pale and bleeding ephemeral blood into her binding circle, chanting and cursing, the Spirit had the Doomstruck Alchemist in shackles.
For a heartbeat, she realized what heinous act she just committed, something she’d never forgive herself; she wasn’t done with him yet, though.
Anyone strong enough can vanquish a spirit.
Words carefully chosen, for some say, you can never truly kill a spirit, other than undertaking a journey to the spirit realms and slay him there.
The fallen guardian knew this was not true.
There is another way. A painful and atrocious way, reserved for only the most callous and vile of summoners.
The spirit cast a simple, little spell, a harmless cantrip for communication.. And told the Alchemist, bound to servitude, to sustain it with his own essence.
He understood.
In helpless anger, he complied.
The fallen guardian sneered and sat down, took her time to talk to the Alchemist.
She was neither curious, nor particularly gloating. She did not care for his motives. She let him tell his story, assuring him, that these were his final hours.
That the dead would have their vengeance and were no longer without a voice.
That he would fade into oblivion forever.
That he would pay the ultimate price for every light he had snuffed out or stolen.
The Doomstruck Alchemist’s anger turned into disbelief.
After the first hour, when he felt his essence fading under unimaginable pain, disbelief turned into utter horror, as he began to understand that the Spirit was not enacting a lesson, but an execution.
He bargained, threw insults, tried to break his chains in desperation and eventually collapsed, sobbing. Stripped off all of his power, a mere thread was barely keeping the Alchemist’s pale, pitiful apparition in existence. Then, the tearing and boring into his aura suddenly stopped.
The avenger enjoyed her work. A bit too much, perhaps.
But she also remembered the precious gift of second chances.
She was free to choose, and so she chose.
The Spirit banished her prisoner with the last service he owed her to a graveyard. A place of death, but also of healing.
She knew, this one would never feel gratitude towards her.
But in his pitiful state, he was no longer a hazard.
Maybe he would learn… If not, at least he learned to fear the consequences of his deeds.
With the rush of poison flaking off of her like dry, dead skin, the Spirit returned from the Halls without Lights.
There was little solace in knowing that they were a safer place now.
Beaten, guilt-ridden, her anger barely contained, she returned to the prison to see how her companions had been faring…

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