Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Damage Done
Neil's Journal
December 7th 2070
I felt marginally more friendly towards the world in general after about eight hours of sleep and some food. Rusty told me that he had shown Maggie around the Rat’s Nest and that she’d be working to support herself. We even managed to arrange some sort of day care for Daniel.
Not that this matters now. The Rat’s Nest has taken a hard hit, we’re struggling to survive, just so Ares/Knight Errant can feel good about themselves.

We were woken by the sound of helicopters and, I kid you not, Ride of the Valkyries. A couple of choppers flew over the Rat’s Nest at low altitude and dropped CS gas canisters on us. People panicked and started to run, trying to take cover. I managed to close the door of the clinic before too much of the gas could get in and just to be on the safe side, I put Rivet, who’s still unconscious, under the oxygen tent.

Across the street, the kids from the school were all over the place and I helped Miss Patterson to get them all safely inside. By that time, Knight Errant was already moving in with Citymasters, water cannons and troops in full riot gear. We did not know what hit us. Apart from the Knight Errant troops, there were Hard Corps troops, who moved off into the side streets. And let’s not forget the news reporter and camera team who were there to report on the crackdown on this center of crime.

Not many of our people really fought, but those who did went down hard. I saw one Scrapper take a shot at a helicopter with his crossbow and he got gunned down, at least only with gel ammo, but bad enough. I took him back to the clinic, trying to talk people into surrendering quietly on the way.

It didn’t take long for Knight Errant to kick the door of the clinic down (not that it wasn’t open anyway). I was ordered to take off my white coat, which I did, and to let them move Rivet out, which I did not, I wasn’t about to let those thugs move a comatose patient. My refusal earned me a stun baton to the leg, so that was the end of that. I found myself out in the street where I knelt in the freezing mud along with rest of our people.

They brought out Whistler, who didn’t resist and seemed fine so far, he was put in line next to me. A short while after that, I saw them bring Maggie, Liz and Rusty, who had been mercilessly beaten. I had no problems diagnosing the broken leg and probably internal bleeding from across the street. The cops told the reporter that they had caught Rusty while he was raping Liz. The screams of pain and fear from the side streets made it clear that they were discovering many more such scenes. The Hard Corps guys were obviously there for the dirty work.

The clinic was dubbed a drug lab for the camera and fire bombed. The same went for the school. Sorry, for the BTL lab. Miss Patterson was arrested by a Copyright Infringement and Patent Violation unit and by arrested I mean dragged from the building by her hair and slammed into the doors of the Black Maria face first.

Nearly all the members of the Scrappers were arrested as well. They also arrested a couple of people picked at random for being rat shamans. I know everybody they picked and none of them have ever shown any signs of being Awakened. One of the people chosen was Whistler. I lost it when they hauled him away. I simply jumped one of the cops and managed to knock him down, but they didn’t have much trouble overpowering me. I think I got hit by a stun baton again, my legs gave out in any case. After that, they had the chance to demonstrate one of their new weapons for the camera, a Pain Inducer. I have never been in such pain in my life and I would rather face a gun than that thing again. I have no idea how long they used it on me, it felt like an eternity, I was screaming and writhing on the ground. When they finally did stop, I was in no condition to get up, let alone fight. Which didn’t keep them from using it on me again.

I think I blacked out a bit after that, purely from exhaustion. The hell of the Pain Inducer is that you just don’t lose consciousness. I’m told that the reporter called it humane. Professional torturers will love it, I’m sure. Anyway, what was left of our people were then getting medical care, provided by Ares. After hours in the freezing cold, we all needed it, but that didn’t make any of us feel better about it.

When night fell, they left, leaving ten of the Hard Corps guys to secure the area. Yeah, right. One of the doctors asked me if he could be of any help. I slapped him, I just couldn’t help myself. We did get some medical supplies, but that’s just a pittance, especially considering the state people are in after the Hard Corps cops worked them over. Almost everybody has been beaten and many of the women were raped. Oh, and they left Rivet on the side walk, I guess they saw no sense in wasting money on him.

We got to work to make at least a few containers habitable again so that we would survive the night. We crammed as many people as possible into the pub, the bath house of the Viets and a few other places. Splash got the recycler to work again, even though it was badly damaged, so we could replicate blankets and clothes from the scrappy stuff Ares left us with.

During the night, the Hard Corps guys actually knocked on the door of the bath house and wanted to come in because they were cold. I told them that if they came in, people would lynch them, machine pistols or not. They backed down and left. Take a guess what they did to keep warm. They set fire to a couple of containers. The fire destroyed a big part of what was left of the Rat’s Nest, but nothing we can do about it now.

At least we survived the night and we can get to work on rebuilding. Saphira outdid herself and managed to get us supplies that will help with keeping our people alive. As much as I cursed it, the Rat’s Nest is my home and it breaks my heart to see it like this. I lost many friends yesterday and I have no idea when, if at all, we are going to see them again. And Whistler. Damn it, that kid who just walked in from the street a couple of years ago. I feel about him just as I imagine I would feel about my own child. Not knowing where he is and what will happen to him hurts. It hurts.
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Sick of It All
Neil's Journal
December 5th 2070
The fight was about as brutal as I thought it would be. We came there expecting some backyard fighting match, but the Spikes had turned it into a free for all-carnival and a lot of money was changing hands.
Blaster and Rivet actually won. Not easily, but they did and I doubt that their two opponents will do much fighting in the near future, or at all, depending on the skill of the shaman who was called in for help. I don’t think it was a good idea to take the Spikes’ cuts, though, that was asking for trouble. We left as soon and as gracefully as possible.

Rivet’s been badly hurt and just about managed to hold himself up until we were a fair distance from the Spikes’ turf. He’s in a coma and will be for a few more days. I cannot say whether there will be any lasting damage, from the head wound in particular, only time will tell.

So that was last night. Oh, I’m also now the owner of Rivet’s winnings he got from betting on himself. I guess the clinic will get some new equipment, not to mention Kerry will get a new weapon. Which is something pretty much everybody will appreciate, since she won’t shut up about not having one.

I’ve been leaving Whistler alone for the last few days, but I ad to decide what to do with Maggie and I needed to know what exactly happened when he was captured by the Picas. That was not a conversation I was looking forward to. He told me that Maggie had beaten and tortured him. Beaten, yes. Tortured, as he told it: no. I’ve seen his injuries and no-one did anything like that to him. He wouldn’t talk to me any further and I didn’t want to accuse him of lying just yet, so I went to talk to Maggie.

I’m sorry to say that her version of the events scanned much better with the facts. I probably wouldn’t be much more thankful than Whistler, but she did save his life. She says he already had a gun to his head when she got the Picas to keep him alive, to try and get information from him and of course for banter. She also says that he dissed her in front of the gang and that she beat him with a baseball bat for that. After this, he talked. I can’t say I blame him. Whistler blames himself plenty, though. He finally told me the truth when I confronted him again. He needs to come to terms with that by himself, I cannot help him with that. I can just say that I don’t give a fuck what he told the Picas and that I’m glad he came out of this alive.

Rusty, the Scrapper who guarded Maggie’s container came by to tell me that he was up for another shift and I told him that Growler and I had decided to let Maggie run free if she wants to. He seemed on the verge of saying something and I was already tired of having to drag the truth out of people. When he refused to tell me what had happened, I slammed him into the wall. Not my proudest moment. Rusty did tell me that some of the Scrappers had taken revenge on Maggie for the whole Pica fiasco and that he stopped them. So yeah, I just roughed up the only halfway decent guy who actually did see something wrong with what happened. Go me. I’m sick to death of this whole place. I can’t believe I actually had so much naivety left to believe that she would be left alone.
I need to sleep, I haven’t had more than two hours at a time for days. The Rat’s Nest can go fuck itself for now.
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Hostage to Ice Cream
Neil's Journal
December 4th 2070

I got a call that one of the Picas was standing in front of the gates, asking to speak to someone in charge. That person was me, everybody else was not around. Seems to me I’m doing a lot of this leader crap lately. I should ask for a pay rise. Oh wait, I don’t get payed.

The Pica officially declared war between the Scrappers and the Picas, no surprise there. Then he offered to trade Whistler for Kerry’s automatic weapon, plus Maggie’s stuff or at least the part that belongs to the gang. I told him I had to ask Kerry about the gun, but other than that the trade was fine with me. We agreed to meet an hour later.

Kerry was very much not in favor of giving away her gun and I had to promise to get her a new one as quickly as possible. Ammo was not included in the deal, so she stripped the gun. Rivet and a couple of other orks accompanied me and I have to say if I do have to walk into such a situation, having an ork with a giant crossbow watching my back definitely makes me feel better.

The agreed meeting place was the Iceman, a guy short a few sandwiches of a picnic who sells ice from an armored car. He went postal when we arrived, but that’s normal for him. If you can’t face down a shotgun to buy your ice, then the Iceman is not for you.

Shortly before the Picas arrived, Splash called me and actually asked me to bring her some vanilla icecream back. With sprinkles. WTF? What is it with people and ice cream? Says the guy with the 15 packages of the stuff in his freezer and no idea how they got there.

Anyway, the trade went down without problems, no-one tried to shoot anyone. Whistler had obviously been badly beaten, he was barely able to walk. The Picas had also drugged him, probably to make him easier to control. Rivet picked him up and we drove back to the Rat’s Nest.

Back at the clinic, I got to work on Whistler, neutralizing the heroin he had been injected with. There were a few broken ribs, a broken ulna and if I had to guess, I’d say someone had worked him over with a baseball bat. At least he still had all his organs.

Maggie saw him and called something over, making Whistler freak out completely, I had my hands full calming him down. So I already have a pretty good idea that she was at least involved. For Whistler’s sake, I arranged for Maggie to move into another container down the road, I don’t want her here with him.

Rivet asked me if I could supply him with an antidote to Kamikaze. The Hellhounds and the Scrappers had a run-in with the Spikes. Instead of an all-out gang war there will be a duel between two fighters of the Spikes and Rivet and Blaster. He’s hoping that the Kamikaze will give him an extra edge. I also agreed to come with them, for on-site first aid, in exchange for a gun for Kerry.
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Retreat
Neil's Journal

We retreat into one of the houses for cover and to give us some time to deal with Slicer’s injuries. It becomes fairly obvious that the ganger girl we have captured was no run of the mill street brat, she has clearly had some education and her possessions were just a bit too high class, starting with her commlink and ending with her trode net. Her manners are pure street, however. Oh, and she has a terrier-ish mongrel that follows her around, but he keeps his distance after I aimed a kick at him.

We still cannot raise any of the other groups, but things are getting in motion there. Twitch and Splash leave their rooftop and manage to escape the Picas before they can ambush them. Rivet’s and Liz’s group are still holed up in an apartment, with Liz trying to get Gilette stable enough to move him.

Rivet decides to check on the Picas and meets a couple of them downstairs. Here’s a tip: if you spray an ork with gasoline and set him on fire, you better be damn sure that you run faster than a burning ork. The sight of Rivet, stampeding down the street on fire with one of the Picas held by the scruff of the neck is certainly impressive enough to clear the coast for a few minutes. Particularly since he survives surprisingly unscathed.

The group uses their chance to get on their bikes and drive towards the Rat’s Nest, but not without another shoot out. With Picas on both sides of the narrow street, Rivet takes a few of them out by spinning his bike and a few more are taken out by friendly fire. They make it through and head for the Rat’s Nest. Gargle had been hit and passes out on the way, so Rivet drives back and simply scoops him up, without even slowing down.

Twitch and Splash have arrived at our hiding place in the meantime and we decide to make a break for it as well. With Slicer taped securely to the bike (not my favourite method of transporting patients, let me tell you), we drive out into the alley. The Picas have taken a few squatters as hostages and are forcing them to walk towards us, hiding behind the adults. That keeps us from firing at them, but it’s an obstacle for them as well and we manage to get to the main street, if you can call it that. We’re ambushed by the same Picas as Rivet’s group, unfortunately for them Kerry is still in possession of her automatic weapon and makes quick work of them.

Back at the Rat’s Nest, the alarm goes up – there’s a good chance the Picas will come for us. With the clinic’s equipment, it takes a few hours, but Slicer and Gargle will be able to walk out of here tomorrow. Maggie, the ganger girl, is unconscious after coming down from whatever high she was on. I make sure the baby is healthy. Well, as healthy as any baby can be under these circumstances. We’ll deal with her tomorrow, her commlink and her stuff goes to Splash. The terrier actually kept up with us, he’s now outside, snarfing down Jasper’s food. Jasper seems more puzzled than anything else by the yipping ball of fur, so I’m fairly confident that he won’t eat him while I sleep.

December 1st 2070
Weeelll, more than two hours sleep would have been nice. But we don’t do nice here and Splash came by with Maggie’s cracked commlink. The data on it is something the Picas will want back for sure, their complete finances and business transactions. They make a surprising amount of money, dealing with drugs, weapons and apparently bioware as well.
That doesn’t bode well for Whistler. We know that the Picas have at least his bike and I still haven’t been able to reach him, so I tend to believe Maggie who told me that he has been captured.

Not like she was all that eager to talk, but in exchange for her dog, with her diary cracked and with Blaster and Rivet playing very effective bad cops to my good one, she got a lot more talk-active. The last straw was the baby. It’s not the first baby I delivered here, but the one I worry most about. He seems healthy, but I’m sure that Maggie’s drug use will have at least some effect on him later. At least he won’t be sold for spare parts, which is what would have happened to him if Maggie had stayed with the Picas. She had clearly hoped that we would take the baby from her but once she held him, there was no going back for her. Not to mention that the Picas would probably just kill her now that she has been staying with us, however involuntarily.

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Honeypot
Neil's Journal
I said I had a baaad feeling about this whole gang raid thing. Man, I was so right.

Whistler had found out a few useful things about the kiddie gang, like the location of their headquarters. Apart from Splash, Blaster, Kerry, Liz and me, we took a couple of gangers. Whistler would serve as scout. Gargle had a bone to pick with the Picas anyway and as far as the others were concerned, anything for a decent fight. This is especially true for the orcs and so we set out on motorcycles to the sound of Rivet playing war songs on his bagpipes. Yes, that was about as conspicuous as it sounds, but I didn’t kid myself that this was going to be a surprise attack anyway.

Splash stayed behind at some distance from the warehouse that the Picas use as headquarters, to set up a drone that would gather additional information for us. By that time, we had already been spotted. I decided to split up, to approach from two sides and from about then, things went downhill fast.

The group that went straight ahead had its way cut off and we heard shots. Blaster, Kerry, the two orcs Rip and Slicer and me went around and promptly lost our way, maps are just not very reliable here. By that time, we had already lost contact with Whistler, but I tried to tell myself that this was the fault of the at best spotty Matrix connection.

Splash assembled a map, but it took her a few minutes. During that time, we discovered the burning bus that had been dragged into the street and that cut off the first group’s way back. To get to them, we would have to take a detour.

Rip took off after one of the Picas who shot at us (not that he hit anyone) and dove after the kid through a basement window, where he got stuck. By the time Blaster and Slicer had pulled him out, the kid had already emptied his gun into Rip’s face and this time, he had aimed much better. I doubt that Rip would have survived that, the steel bar that rammed into his body when he was pulled out only killed him more quickly. Blaster tossed a stick of dynamite into the basement, so we can probably assume that there were casualties on both sides.

Splash managed to open a connection to Liz and she told me that they had been attacked and forced into a building about 100 meters from us. All of them except Gilette were unharmed, but Liz warned us of a trap. No surprise there.

By the time we had rounded the corner, we could hear a young girl’s screams from a small alley. One of the Picas, a girl of about 13 years and highly pregnant, was lying on the ground, covered in blood. Here’s why it sometimes sucks to be a doctor: this screamed TRAP!, but there was no way I was just ignoring the chance that she really was hurt.

Kerry offered to come as well to give me cover, but Slicer was having none of that and insisted on driving into the alley with his motorcycle. What seemed to be just a big puddle turned out to be a hole deep enough to swallow both the bike and Slicer and the situation was not improved by the pipebomb thrown out of a window right into the hole.

With Kerry giving us cover, Blaster and I managed to pull Slicer out of the whole. He actually survived the explosion, but he needs some serious medical attention. The girl was still screaming and I inched closer, my gun drawn. When I squatted down beside her, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and was just quick enough to shoot two Picas, killing one of them. I had my back turned on the girl and that was an almost fatal mistake, she pulled a gun and shot me in the back twice.

The armor coat caught the brunt of it, but it was still enough to knock the breath out of me. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing, though, and I managed to take the gun from her, putting her in a stranglehold until she passed out. I would have loved to keep her under with a tranq patch, but who knows what drugs she took, she clearly was on something. Meanwhile, Blaster knocked out the Pica I hadn’t killed.
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Mazel Tov (Neil's Journal)

I got a few hours of sleep and a wakeup call at 6am: Kimba, one of our cyber prostitutes, had been plugged in overnight and they couldn’t wake her. I’m frankly crap at anything involving the Matrix, so I needed help. Our local hackers were almost all out on business, except Splash and Han Solo and once we had kicked the door to his container down, it turned out Han didn’t look much better than Kimba.

We brought Han and Kimba to the clinic and plugged in to find out what went wrong with them. We got help from Caidian, who hangs around with the hackers and managed to trace Kimba and Han. What we found was…sick. Take a look, if you want. You’ve been warned.

FYI, the hippogrif is Splash, Neon Man is Caidian, Michelin Man Blaster and the dragon tank is a program of Splash’s.

A room resembling a cross between an emergency room and a night club, with a stage where a band of surgical instruments plays Klezmer, Nippon sytle. Across the room, two people are having sex on a huge bed that looks like an autopsy table, while a masked surgeon is performing brain surgery on them. He removes slips of paper from their open heads and puts in new ones, while directing their movements with strings, like puppets.

Entering the room are a huge hippogriff, a stick figure with a lab coat and a medical bag and another figure, shining in neon colours, along with something that looks like the lovechild of a dragon and a tank. They are met by a masked geisha and the hippogriff produces invitation cards, which the geisha accepts with a smile, a bow and a cheery Masel Tov!

For a moment, they just stand and stare at the scene, then Neon Man produces a machine gun and shoots at the surgeon, missing completely. The surgeon turns, showing his face to be a Kabuki Guy Fawkes, but he continues his surgery, ignoring the intruders – who have been joined by Michelin Man.

Lab Coat Man moves over to the bed and starts to cut through the strings attached to the pair. Menawhile, the hippogriff and the tank dragon attack the surgeon, while Michelin Man gets into a fight with the surgical instruments who have turned on the group…all the while still playing Klezmer.

The surgeon is very much unimpressed, but he does flinch when Michelin Man grabs a clarinet from the band and starts first to play counter to the rhythm of the band and then to play into the surgeon’s ear. Neon Man gets attacked by more surgical instruments and disappears, while the surgeon is apparently done and begins to close the heads of the pair on the bed.

The continuing attacks on the surgeon by the hippogriff and the tank dragon finally show an effect: the surgeon’s shape grows grotesquely distorted until he is sucked out of the room.

Lab Coat man opens up the heads of the pair again and starts to sift through the paper, removing the notes the surgeon put in and restoring the original contents of their heads.

end sim

Brain surgery is not my strong suit, but both Kimba and Han Solo woke up and seemed fine. They didn’t remember anything except meeting online and a very pleasant feeling. Kimba had a strong craving for vanilla icecream, though, and Han said that he had some words stuck in his head in a language he didn’t know. On a whim, I said vanilla ice cream in Japanese and they both flinched, the word was enough to cause a reaction. So I either missed something or the black ice program had already made changes that are beyond repair. We’re thinking that it was an attempt at brainwashing them, who knows for what purpose.

And speaking of missed something: Faye`s meat puppet program was activated remotely while we were busy operating. She grabbed a syringe and would have injected me with it if Blaster, who had gone offline already, hadn’t grabbed her. She claims she cannot remember anything and I believe her. The syringe was filled with a stimulant and it would have been unpleasant, but not lethal, so that seems like a fairly desperate attempt…considering that there are much nastier things here to use.

The committee decided to upgrade Matrix security as much as possible and to keep everyone off the Matrix for tonight. We still have the code that the ice tried to implant into Kimba and Han, but none of use can make any sense of it. A psychology softskill would help and I can get my hands on one, but it will take a few days. Which is actually a good thing because we need some time to get our hands on that kind of money. Kerry suggested a raid on the gang that has been making trouble around here anyway (the ones that Blaster encountered), that would kill two birds with one stone. Although I can’t say I feel very confident about being a part of this. It’s not that I can’t hold my own in a fight, but this is different, planning it like that.

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First Day
Neil's Journal
November 28th 2070
It’s raining, but at least the power’s up and it’s reasonably warm inside. I heard that our newest arrival was willing to sell the ambulance she came in. It cost me less than I planned and Monkeywrench gave me a good deal on turning my van into a much less conspicuous ambulance. The supplies will come in handy as well, of course. Especially since Liz hasn’t been able to get any drugs I would be willing to use, presenting me with a bag full of who knows what kind of pills.

And speaking of Liz, I’m not sure how much longer that will last. She’s good, there’s no question about that, but what use is the best nurse if she’s too drunk and high to stand up when I need her?

Anyway. Apart from Splash (Ambulance Girl), there has been one other new arrival – not here to stay, though. Blaster, a ganger, who seems to be Kerry’s latest boyfriend…after making the facts of life forcibly clear to another member of his gang (my first patient that night). Kerry did the same for Liz, who’s sometimes a bit too frank for her own good and who obviously didn’t listen to me when I told her not to use her shock hand when it’s wet. Two more patients, but they were only knocked out.

The bar fight later on was much more productive. Blaster handled himself well against one of our local trolls, so that should bring him at least some respect if he decides to stick around. No-one was seriously hurt, although it would have been nice if Liz had been in a condition to do more than giggle drunkenly at the patients (I threw her out).

Ah crap, the power’s out. I guess I’m going to bed and I’m hoping for a quiet night, if warm is too much to ask. But what else is new.
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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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