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.

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Masterpost
all adventure logs

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

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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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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The City Beneath the City

Our fellowship ventured forth from the troubled bubble kingdom in a carriage, driven by alocal lawman. He was the beloved of the Girl of Too Many Words. His features were deformed and the curse of the corpse-eaters coursed through his veins, but she loved him nonetheless.
Though, for all her words, she didn’t have many for him, when they parted as they reached their destination. Perhaps, where too many words flow, more important thoughts wander astray.
The Walls of the underground city stood for centuries, forsaken, almost forgotten. First they became a sanctuary for those hunted and shunned, then, the city beneath the city became their home.
The tunnels and passageways of the orks and trolls ran wide and the people of the underground knew them. Some lead to dangerous places, like the temple of the dead god where the company needed to go.
But first they had to strike a deal with crafty scoundrels who would bring them safely inside the prison.
The Sage would take care of the bargain itself, meeting with those who’d crave the unlikely company’s coin in exchange for their shadowy expertise.
Meanwhile, the rest of them would find entertainment and relieve in this wondrous place. The Disgraced Bandit and the Girl of Too Many Words set out for drinks and dancing and the Spirit enjoyed the bountiful supply of food the street market had to offer.
She was careless, as riches had little value to her, and sticky hands took whatever money she brought with her.
Unable to pay the owner of a fine mushroom parlor, she offered to repay him in service in his kitchen and he agreed. Little did he know that the trivial task of chopping and slicing vegetables brought great joy to a sad spirit like her and was rewarding to in its own right. Then again, how would he know, if a spirit looked as human as she did? Some of the residents able to look behind the veil recognized what creature happily helped the fortunate cook and people were as spooked as they were intrigued.
And the mushroom kitchen had a peculiarly busy day.

The Girl and the Bandit, after an exhausting evening of dancing, were ready to meet up with the Sage and picked up the spirit after she finished working and a small incident involving too bold urchins and a pocket full of roaches. This stirred up some unwanted attention, but is was nothing bothersome.
The Sage informed them, that the smugglers would agree to guide the company, but a price had yet to be negotiated.
The good news turned into troubles, when the Girl of Too Many Words decided to play a game of mirages with the locals.
Without their consent and without considering it impolite.
The answer to her transgression followed swiftly and with force. The Bandit and the Spirit got between her and the angry pair of orks soon enough.
But the now Slightly Troubled Sage had to explain to their smuggling kinsmen, why she found it funny to insult the orks in their very home and why they shouldn’t double their initial price.
With wisdom and dwindling patience, he reforged the deal so the journey and our story would not come to an abrupt end.
The smugglers of the Underground City would guide the Unlikely Company through the maze and into the Prison.

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Ghost Story
Neil's Journal

I promised you a story about Lao. She’s been living at the Nest for some months now and it goes surprisingly well. She made friends with a little girl, Dandan, and found her family – Dandan had been living on her own since her parents had been killed in the Barrens not far from the Nest. Her grandparents were overjoyed to get her back and only slightly disturbed by the fact that she now has a rat spirit as her special guardian.

I think this chance meeting gave Lao the push she needed onto the road back to the spirit she used to be. There’s still much that can go wrong, she has been a toxic spirit for a very long time. But even though she could easily get her power from suffering and hate, she tries not to. She told me she had been a protector once and she wants to be one again.

I invited her over for dinner because I wanted to talk and see if there was anything I could do. Food is definitely a way to get her attention, she really enjoys this particular perk of having an actual body. She worries about the copy of her true name we have squirrelled away as insurance. And she offered me a pact: the copy will be bound to me, no-one else will be able to use it and no new copies can be made from this particular one. In exchange, I will not age any more.

I did not think that I’d be offered something close to eternal life when I got up that morning. I also would not have thought that Lao would trust me that much. If I die, the copy can be used by anyone again, so I’m not painting a target on my back, too. I decided to accept her offer, for the next seven years. To seal it, we will go on a metaquest. Not strictly necessary, but I think it’s a good way to strengthen the bond we seem to have developed.

She also told me that the Nest has a rat king, a former ally of Gen Wong. We need to get rid of him and I probably won’t be open to negotiations this time. He’s already controlling some people, although to a much lesser extent that Gen did, and of course the rats and the devil rats. Lao can help with that particular problem.

I couldn’t take her word for this, though, not when I need to decide whether to kill someone or not. So she allowed me access to her psychometry and to her memories. I got what I wanted and I also got a very good look at her past. Hundred of years of hate and pains and despair, all delivered right into my brain in the space of a couple of minutes.

And then I did it again because I thought I had gotten a very quick look at Lao’s death or at least at a time when she wasn’t toxic. In a way, it really was her death, although it seems she has always been a spirit. But I got to see the aftermath of the death of the shaman who was her, I don’t know, master or partner, who was kind to her in any case. He died fighting insect spirits and that should tell you just how old Lao really is. After that, she was called upon by another shaman and he was the one who asked her to kill, to avenge the deaths of the villagers she had protected for so long.

I dream about her memories and when things get quiet, I can still feel the pain that is part of her existence now. It will pass, at least for me.

I have selfish reasons to help her, of course. As a toxic spirit, she is a danger to the Nest. But I also have come to like her. I’d call her a friend, even, as strange as that sounds. And if I can do anything to help her, I will. The metaquest will be a trip into her past as well, we will try to recover the aura of the focus her shaman carried and use it to seal our pact. Maybe we can uncover some more memories of her life before she became toxic as well.

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The Unlikely Company

Some stories are harder to believe than others.
This part of a certain story is most likely going to be one of those.
Our tale begins in the far western region of a vast country. There, at the shores of the ocean, a city stood and it was a city of contrast: bright and shining, yet dirty and dangerous; diverse, yet isolated, a playground for greed and villainy, strewn with small beacons of compassion and redemption, gleaming through the struggle of so many.
Within its limits was a small community of people. They didn’t have much, but they were, for the most part, content. Life here was tough, so they became tough as well. Their home was a place of rust and abandoned things. Things discarded and forgotten, but brought back to light and purpose by the Junk People and their Queen.
And among them lived aspirit.
She was a guardian once, but her story is one of rage and sadness. Now, the poison ran deep within her, for the protector had fallen and became an avenger.
However, in a twist of fate, she shattered her shackles and with her new found freedom and the trust of a new friend, the spirit saw that there was yet hope.
With his help, she tried to remember what is was like to be a protector of the living again, instead of a vengeful voice of the dead.
She found solace in her new home, a glimpse of the happiness she once knew, even.
But one day, something threatened the peace of the people’s delicate bubble kingdom.
Balance, ever so fragile in this place had been upset, first by men without true faces, who took away the most precious thing from the Queen of the Junk People: a little stone, more precious than any jewel, for it was her son, Cobble.
Bound by fear for the life of her son, she could do nothing against the greedy vultures, swooping in to drive her people from the Fields of Abandoned Things.
There was unrest, turmoil.
The spirit couldn’t bear to see her home descent into chaos and suffering, she had seen too much of that. She had tied her fate to this soil and so, free as she was, she offered her help to retrieve the Queen’s son.
And she was not alone in her will to restore balance to her home.
The task ahead was dangerous, something a light heart surely could not bear, yet still, an unlikely company had gathered:
ensemble.jpg
A Girl of too Many Words from the uncivilised lands of the Midwest, clad in a cloak of mirrors.
A Disgraced Bandit, cursed with a jaw and an arm of iron who sought to regain glory and respect after his clan banished him.
And the leader of this band of brave souls, a Troubled Sage of the Junk People, honorbound by a deep friendship to the Queen.
Well, actually, he wasn’t that troubled yet, but given the company he was in and the way that was ahead this was soon to change…
These four had to go to the temple of a dead machine god, a temple that became a prison. First for the god, then for people.
This is where they would find the Queen’s son.
First, though, they had to find a way in.
And this way, led through a city, underneath a city

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Spam and Trash

Two weeks. I’m terrified, to be honest. Not so much of actually being a father, but of everything that may happen to the twins. Probably normal, but it doesn’t help when you’re living a barely legal life.

Case in point: the Celavies raided the hackers. They were after Ningbo who didn’t bother to tell anyone even though he knew. Knew early enough to take the server and run. Fuck him. Instead, they got Cobble and they took down the Nest’s matrix. We need to come up with a way to get it back and quick, peoples’ lives depend on this. Right now, we’re getting swamped by spammers and malware, everything the sleazy side of the Matrix can throw at us. Firefox and the pixies help to keep a minimum of order. The hackers and Zach are working hard to solve the problem.

We’ve decided to go legal-ish this time. And that includes a visit to the Draco Foundation because someone needs to set up a legit business for us so we can get business rates from NeoNet – that way, the Nest can actually pay for its Matrix. The clinic’s been earning more money lately, we can go down with our rates a bit, so the people won’t need to pay that much more rent. The Draco Foundation agreed to the deal and the price is one run from Fog, to be specified at a later time, and a month of my time, spent in Boston at their labs.

I cannot say that I feel terribly comfortable knowing that they have their eye on me. But they were civil enough and they get what they want without twisting my arm, so I hope I won’t get blackmailed into something more. I didn’t plan on becoming an authority on ghouls, but it seems I am. The Foundation is welcome to my data and the little research I did.

Ningbo won’t show his face at the Nest again if he’s smart and he’s out of the committee, too. Faye will speak for the hackers in future and I think it will serve them much better than being represented by Ningbo. Zach will probably become much more involved with them now. And the Recyclers got their second vote on the committee even though they need to vote amongst themselves to decide who it’ll be. If it weren’t for Cobble, I’d say everybody won.

Cobble is being kept in the ACHE and I think the Celavies would have tried to disappear him. I had a slightly unpleasant talk with the Celavie who was leading the raid and who did his best to convince me that he knows everything worth knowing about us. I doubt it, but I won’t underestimate them either. Anyway, the lieutenant who represented the Knights didn’t like the Celavie much and gave me everything we needed to keep track of Cobble. We need to get him out as soon as possible, for his own good and for that of the Nest.

Another corp, Green Earth Solutions, is trying to shoulder into the recycling business and if they do, they will put most of the recyclers out of work. It would mean the death of the Nest, we couldn’t make a living any longer. So there will be war, in a way. We need to get the dirt on that company. The Recyclers will probably go on strike to draw attention to the whole situation and to fight for better wages, that has been long coming and it’s been organized for quite some time now. But the first battle will be to get Cobbles out of the ACHE – otherwise Aislyn will be open to blackmail.

It sounds like a joke: a union man, a cyberork, a street girl and a toxic spirit walk into a bar. But this is our team for the job. At least no-one in their right mind would suspect them of anything like this. Pablo is a solid choice, Ruckus seems like one, Nebraska is, well, Nebraska and Lao … Lao has come a long way since she freed herself, but that’s a another story.

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The Song of Bob

The Song of Bob (Rocky Road to Teganshire)

In our crammy home we sat , round the red and hungry fire,
and the Magenta said, let’s go to Teganshire,
Which was not a bad idea,we said and went along
Shoved her off the pier, so she could sing her song,
Then soon the ship it sailed, off our lands we bailed,
Through the misty veil, to vanquish ugly monsters,
And find a piece of land, for us and our friends,
We’re gonna find the Teganshire!

But this’s the song of Bob!
We liked Bob but really scared him, yes,
We scared him way too much!

We found the Teganshire, after hours in a bright place,
Met Fynn there in ire, worry in his face,
We tried to calm him down, talked of our journey,
Of goals of our own, but all he had to say,
Was how we were too bold, should do as we were told,
Go back through the cold, where monsters waited.
We fiercely disagreed, we’d rather hit the street,
See what fate we’d meet in search for Teganshire!

But this’s the song of Bob!
We liked Bob but really scared him, yes,
We scared him way too much!

We hopped into the lights, because they were shining,
And gone was our ride, so with mighty smarts and wit,
With Fynn’s scooter we took flight, rode the vast and mighty grid,
Never reached the promised land, but then we met him,
Sitting in his car, travelling near and far, for other carbies,
Thought he drove alone, then showed us our new home,
A place where we could roam, so free and happy,
And so we stayed with Bob, that dull but friendly slob,
None of us did sob so far away from Teganshire!

But this’s the song of Bob!
We liked Bob but really scared him, yes,
We scared him way too much!

We wanted to be his friends, did his chores so nicely,
Thought that it made sense, but he’s staying icy,
Let’s talk to him instead, I said and showed myself,
and in person we had met, so he would see himself,
that we’re here to stay, go with him all the way,
With work and songs we’d pay, if he only let us,
But he’d had none of it, chased us of his grid,
I got to admit, it was more fun than Teganshire!

And this’s the song of Bob!
We liked Bob but really scared him, yes,
We scared him way too much!

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Crossroads
Rook's Log

Fog’s made good on his promise to come and get me. I didn’t believe him and I can hardly believe it now. He got the Scavvies together and some of the people he got to know in the last couple of months and they raised hell at the Stilettos’ headquarters.

Jerry woke me up, he had heard strange voices and the next thing we know, someone comes barging into my room. Jerry attacked him, went down and I tried to shoot the guy because this deep in Glow City, you don’t wait to ask questions. I missed and I recognized Fog.

I shot at him again, aiming for the head and only his quick reflexes saved him. I wanted him dead in that moment. He’s the reason why I’m in this mess, why I had to make a deal with the Stilettos and with the other Crow to keep alive. I’d be better off without him, nothing to be gained by trusting him again.

But I was dying, too. Still am. Glow City is not kind to anyone’s health and I knew that I’d be dead in a year if I stayed. So, yeah, there was something to be gained by trusting Fog after all, even if it was only until we’re out of Glow City. There was no time to celebrate our reunion and I just grabbed my bag from under the bed and we ran, shooting our way of of there. The Stilettos were not letting me go that easily, they wanted to keep their precious shaman. In the end, we made it out and Fog’s people blew up half of the compound, including the steam engine. That one’s going to mess up the area even more, it ran with spent reactor fuel.

Fog brought me to the Rat’s Nest, of all places. It’s different than I had heard and not a bad place to live. The people there have made me feel welcome, for the most part, I’m getting treatment for the leukemia and, well, there’s hope, I guess.

But still, I made a deal with the other Crow and he won’t back out of it easily. Even if I wanted out and I’m not sure I do. I did well with him, all things considered. Yes, Fog came for me and that is a huge case for loyalty and all the things I used to believe in. But maybe everybody’s falling for the same lies, I taught them well after all.

I don’t know. I just don’t know what to believe and it’s tearing me apart. I’m this close to just walking away from it all, but that wouldn’t exactly solve anything.

I did talk to thetoxic spirit who lives in the Nest and if that doesn’t tell you how weird this place is, nothing will. Apparently, she freed herself a while back, right after trying to kill Neil who’s pretty much the leader the Nest doesn’t officially have. He negotiated a peace with her and they seem on pretty comfortable terms. Seeing this, I think I know what drew Fog to this place.

Lao is the only person who knows how I feel. Fog tries, but he doesn’t like to talk or even think about the chance that I’ll either die or turn toxic and how high that chance actually is. But I need to talk about this, it doesn’t go away by ignoring it. You know you have a problem when you need a toxic spirit to remind you that there’s good in the world.

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Piece of Mind
Slicer's Log

Slicer’s on guard duty at the Nest checkpoint. The log gets interrupted a lot when he either waves cars or bikes through, gives them a more thorough look or in a few cases turns them back

It’s been bugging me these last twenty years that I can’t really remember what happened to me and It back in Afghanistan. Not much, but I couldn’t give it a rest. Comes to fuck things up for me at the worst possible moments – I get flashbacks and blackouts for reasons I never figured out. There’s this one crossing in the Barrens that I can’t drive through, not without shaking and sweating. Roses smell like fear and death to me. And those are just the ones I finally pieced together. There are a lot more.

With Frettchen, I guess I feel safe enough to follow up on this. Or maybe I’m just pissed at whoever did this. Something happened and my whole unit was wiped out, except It and myself. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t hostiles. Fuck, I sound like some conspiracy nut. Anyway, we went to a veteran’s meetup and there I came across a third survivor, someone I had known to be killed. He was not MIA like the rest of the troop, but KIA. Yet here he was. Couldn’t remember a thing, except something about a doctor and our lieutenant. Can’t say that it rings a bell, but it’s better than nothing.

We also got to know a guy named Chuck (Chuck Norris, I kid you not) who has agreed to do some snooping for me. I set him up for a date with Kerry in return. He says that the files have been tampered with, ages ago, and someone did a pretty good job. But what’s not there can sometimes tell you as much as what is. Frettchen and me will go to Boston next, to see Lieutenant Baker’s widow, who gets paid a lot of money for someone with a husband who is only missing.

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