Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

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.

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

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.

Spam and Trash

Two weeks. I’m te rrified, 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.

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!

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.

Two for Joy

[Start Audio]
[no time stamp]

If my body wouldn’t tell me otherwise, I’d still think this isn’t real, just another dream.
Things didn’t go smooth, but that was to be expected when going up against the Stilettos. But they came out much worse than we did. Their compound is reduced to rubble and radioactive dust, half a dozen packs of explosives made sure of that.Their supplies are gone, so are their rides, weapons and fuel. We really wrecked their shit and they will probably never know who or what hit them.
I never could’ve done this alone, though. They all did a fucking good job. Ela’s just born for this, not necessary scavenging, you know, but she has the guts to take bullets and the magic to make it out alive. Breathing fire is just another bonus. Nebraska pulled her weight, I knew she would, but as determined, brave and fast as she is…this was too much for her head. What happened scarred her, I can feel it. It struck me when Scab pointed out that she probably was too young for a stunt like that after all. I feel bad ‘cause I didn’t even consider that to be a problem… but yeah, suppose we don’t all grow up in a borderline warzone and shrug death and carnage off like that. The feedback I got from our link was tainted by regret and fear and she almost gave in to old habits just to numb the pain riding on those impressions. It’ll haunt her for some time, but those ghosts pass on. Been in those boots myself.
Zach and Firefox did a fine job too, good, flexible thinking and they got us two rides from the compound when things went way more haywire than we’d expected. Zach almost overdosed on Stims when the backup teams ran into trouble and Rod had his usual streak of bad luck he, yet again, survived through sheer tenacity.
A lot of lights went out this night, though. And three of those belonged to good people. I’ll make sure they won’t be forgotten, but that is business for next day.
Right now, I need to take care of the living.
In tonight’s confusing black sea of chaos and destruction, I’m happy to have this little island where my friends are alive and relatively well.
Where my partner sits next to me, finally free from the hell I got her into.
We’re still a fierce and gallant duo, six months separation couldn’t take that away. But it’ll get rough. It’ll get complicated. Things changed.
We, ourselves, probably did too.
I’m not an idiot. Not always. Things won’t just pop back to normal now that we’re reunited again.
Told her flat out that she could leave, if she wanted to. I wouldn’t force or push her, give her any white knight crap or light-side peptalk.
I promised I would stop her she goes full on toxic, I owe her that much.
But she stayed and I will do whatever I can to fix this. If I can fix this…
That other crow will still be whispering until we shut him up. This could easily turn into a fucking mess of a paranoid mind game.
Rook’s a trickster and she knows me better than anyone else does. Will it be her, or that twisted bird talking?
Whenever my partner looks at me me, will she see ‘That asshole who did this to me’?
Or frankly, will we get around and just trust each other?
Seems tough, right?
Well, so are we… I won’t let this break us.

[End Audio]

Cast Away
Magenta's Bloomings

It’s so cold. The fog is lurking just a few blocks outside. There are monsters in the darkness. No, really. We’ve seen them! They are waiting to get us.

I’m so weak I hardly can move. And there is rain, hard rain like cold knifes coming from everywhere. They don’t fall like the water from the ponds at Glitzy’s Earth. They just come out of nowhere, they stick into our skin and leave marks in our flesh. Like bites of eye big mosquitos.

My best friend Firefox has rescued me. After our crash. I don’t know what happened, but we were hit I think and our scout operation at Glow City tumbled down. I could see the ground come closer so fast. Firefox was screaming, I tried to fly but there was no place to unfold my wings.

Then I blacked out. Something was broken. My leg hurt and Firefox managed to pull me out of the wreck of her vessel, a herring gull or something. I can’t remember the name. It’s so hard to concentrate here, with the noise. This damn noise that is crackling all day and all night. She has patched me up, my leg still hurts but she managed to fix the broken link between knee actuator and foot actuator. She said she took a fork from a dead driver tree, which she found just outside in one of the ancient nodes around us, that mostly are dead.

At the second day I recovered barely enough to help her build a sort of tent. It’s more makeshift than anything. We tried to summon a porta, but no success. We tried to yell into the lines. But they’re all dead. Dead and hurting.

It was all okay when we were up in the air. But now on the ground we suffer. Saw a gray old piece of code outside. It’s called svchost.exe Firefox said and that’s some very old, very dangerous code. Must lure in one of the ancient nodes, she said. The earth around here stinks. It was blind and didn’t see us. But I know it was sniffing in our direction. Then it shuffed away.

I’m scared! I don’t dare to play my fiddle to sing the song of light and fog. I’m too weak for it anyway. There’s so much hurting rain! It slits through the roof of our tent sometimes and hurts. Firefox has some scars but she’s so brave. She smiles and tells stories at night.

Don’t know how long we have been here. Feels like weeks. I was asleep most of the time.

Does anybody know? Tomorrow I will try to stand up. Firefox said she’s healing my leg. But I can see she’s weak too and is getting weaker. We have to move! Hurts!

I pray to the photons that I’ll see my tribe again!

The Ghosts of Glow City

[Start Audio]
[no time stamp]

This is it.
Could be my last recording.
But no…No more delays or doubts.
It’ll be tough. We’ll be a tiny spark spiraling down into darkness, but one thing I can promise: we’ll burn bright and fiercely.
I’m still humbled and a little in awe… It’s hard for me to comprehend why I deserve such loyalty. I’m not a leader or a great commander or anything… Just a guy who tries to keep his people alive and well. Perhaps that’s the trick. Lead by example and all that.
For my first inspirational speech this went far better than I expected.
Maybe they know that they owe it to Rook and the old man, know that both would’ve done the same for them, maybe it’s their hate for the muties. Guess in Scab’s case, that’s the hook.
Or maybe Satelite Day is still fresh enough in their minds to know that there’s a time when you have to strike back, lash out.
I know all their faces and most of their names, but more importantly, I know that we’re all Zoners.
Each of us is a survivor. Hitting hard and being even harder to take down.
But we’re all out there on our own.
We’re no gang, no tribe, have no real community.
I understand that none of us is obligated to the other and I went into this gathering in Screech’s old joint, knowing that this wasn’t their fight.
Promised them, no matter where they’d put their chips, this would be a safe haven, a place to recover and get supplies, no strings attached.
Still, half of them are with me on this, and so are Nebraska, Ela and Zach. Glitzy’s been a hell of a boon in terms of logistics and Spirits, even Zach’s digital friend sees something in me and volunteered to be my scout for this.
They all see something that makes them think we can pull this off together and with this bold excuse for a plan.
I’m proud to earn that much trust and I won’t fail to deliver.
We’ll hit the muties where it hurts and we’ll get my partner outta there.
The best shot for people like us was always to stay invisible, haunting the scorched ruins and make it back home to the world of the living by dawn.
Tonight, we’ll show them that there are ghosts in Glow City.
We’ll remind the Stilettos that these ruins are not theirs. Never were.

[End Audio]

Music for Evenings

[Recording Session, Session ID SEA#0008]

The camera sits on top of a wooden handrail and after some exposure adjustments focuses on Frettchen, sitting on a porch that has seen better days. Bright curtains of sunlight fall through the holes in a decaying awning and brawling dust particles, stopped and reflected in flaring patches by the elf’s bare chrome legs.
She has specks of paint on her face and hands, her hair is a tousled mess of green, but she smiles and absently strums on an old electric guitar.
“Good morning, Miss Aidee. Would you… like to put on some pants before we start the session?”, her shrink greets Frettchen.
“Huh? Oh, hey Doc. bootin’ fast toda. Nah, I mean, it’s not as if these get cold or anything, right?”, she answers, flicking against the metal legs with a soft ‘Ping’. Both, she and the doctor take some notes, the old fashioned way, on paper. She looks up first. “What’s a good rhyme for Flak?”, she asks and the psychiatrist ponders.
“How about…”, he starts but gets interrupted.
“No, wait, I got it…”
She scribbles down more notes on the worn out paper, takes one more look at it, then hammers away with some simple chords.
“Like slag, we’re a little bit of everything,
like flak, we’re a little bit of everything,
Can’t count the shots, just make them count,
We’ll yell it out with every single round,
But yell it out, before it kills you now,
take my word, it may sound absurd,
we’re both fucked up and iiiit works!"
Frettchen grimaces and puts the guitar away, gently resting it against the wall. “Whaddaya think, Doc?”
The projection stares at her for a few seconds. “Well, it’s good to see that you have picked up a hobby.”
“Hey, fuck you, I’ve made music for decades… Sorry, language, I know…”
Reassessing the quality of what he just heard, the doctor seems bewildered. “Really? That is… surprising.” He takes down some more notes.
“I’m a drummer, okay? Anyway, it’s a lovesong… For my husband. Look what he did to me… Turned me into a friggin songwriter!”, she sighs, happiness carried by her breath. “He got us this house here, you know? A few patches here and there, some furniture and it’ll be pretty comfy. We had a house like this before, but for some reason it burned down…”
“Do you consider settling down in Seattle?”
“Yeah… I mean, that’s what he asked too. Was a weird moment, with all the possibilities speeding through my head and all the implications. Thing is, usually I’d be terrified to get bored after a few months. A year, tops. But with him? Can’t even imagine a lack of fun. Life has rarely been so good and exciting!”
The doctor puts his notepad away and takes off his glasses, cleaning them with the sleeve of his tweed jacket. “I am very glad to hear that, Miss Aidee. Frankly, ever since you chose to go to Seattle, your condition has vastly improved, give or take a few complications, but we will iron those out in time. My most honest, sincere advice: keep that man close and do not let go off him ever again. I have the feeling he will keep the both of us reasonably sane.”
“Heh, maybe you’re right… Oh, speaking of which… My car tried to kill me! She’s some sort of fuckin’ nanotech, I think and really came at me a few days ago.”, Frettchen says casually and pats a few new dents on her armored limbs. “We talked it out, though. She really is a vindictive bitch…”
“Doesn’t that… Worry you? I hope my advice was not the cause for your… Inconvenience.” In the distance, the sound of a motorcycle draws closer.
“Nah, I screwed that one up myself, wasn’t your fault!”
She waves at someone behind the camera and shouts “Awww, my hero!” with a happy smirk on her face. “Sorry, Doc, Gotta run, there comes my handsome husband with bagels!”


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