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, ZoƩ, 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.

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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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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!

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Buy now, pay forever
Neil's Journals

I’m tempted to name the new wing of the clinic after Fog. He’s not a regular patient himself, his adept powers see to that, but people in his company end up with us very often. Fog runs into danger in the knowledge or hope that he can handle anything life throws at him and most times, he’s been right. The thing is, people follow him. He inspires loyalty and even though (or maybe because) he doesn’t realize it, he’s a natural born leader. And most people are far less equipped to deal with the stuff Fog takes on. So they get hurt. But they still follow him next time because they see Fog going all in for them and doing his best to protect them. And Fog’s best is usually very good indeed.

This time, Fog’s project was to clean up the fertilizer plant where John lives. He got some money from the Draco Foundation for this and it would have been hard work, but nothing out of the ordinary. Except for the two toxic spirits. So they decided to go on a metaquest and either kill the smaller of the two spirits or turn him. They had his spirit formula or so they thought and would deal with the more powerful spirit later.

Turn out that the spirit formula was for the powerful one. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but in the end they did turn the weaker spirit and killed the powerful one, but not without paying a price. Magic is never for free. Nebraska is at the clinic right now, she suffered a SURGE effect and has patches of snake skin all over her body. As far as I can tell, it’s harmless, but I doubt the reaction of other people will be. She’s taken it pretty well, Nebraska has a talent for bouncing back even from the worst things.

Stanley suffers from a compulsion to wash his hands. Not exactly a problem at work, but when you live on a garbage dump, it’s hard to feel clean at the best of times. Zach has a phobia to water. Showering or even drinking is almost impossible. He solved the drinking problem by using a straw. It hasn’t rain so far, but in Seattle, that’s only a question of time. Jet seems to have some kind of allergy, but we haven’t yet pinned down what causes it.

Fog came out of all this clean. It might be that the price he’s paying is that the others pay for him. He also made a deal with a spirit on the meta plane, who took the form of Baba Yaga. Even if you don’t believe that she is Baba Yaga, the form she chose should make you wary. Fog angered her and a day or so after they all came back from the quest, she cursed him with uncontrollable psychometry – as soon as he touched anyone, he got flashbacks to all the bad things that happened to those people. Not a good thing to have even at the best of times and worse when you are planning on sneaking into Glow City to free your partner. Especially when the plan might involve a lot of hand to hand combat. He made another deal with Baba Yaga and now he owes her seven services. At least he got her to agree to certain terms that should prevent the worst, but, well, deals with spirits are always something to be nervous about. Especially with a spirit you know nothing about except that she’s very powerful.

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Illusions
Rook's Log

I dreamt about Fog. The dream felt so real that, waking up, I was for a moment confused why he wasn’t here. I cannot shake him, however much I want to.

I had almost managed to forget him because hoping that he’d come for me was poison. Then he pops up a couple of weeks ago and leaves me with his voice, telling me that he’s got me. That he won’t leave me behind.

Well.
I’m still here.

I’m not falling for this partner-bullshit anymore. I don’t know why I ever believed it. It’s a comfortable lie, I guess. But when it really counts, I’m on my own. Fog just hasn’t figured it out yet, but he will, sooner or later. He’s always been good at surviving and relying on others is not how you do it. I know that now.

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Water, Water Everywhere
a view from a scrying glass

the bowl has misted over again and the hands give it an angry shake, with some mumbled curses in Russian

The group wakes up in a cave, covered in black, oily slime. Next to them are two more persons in the grip of the dream eaters they encountered before. The rest of the cave is covered in slime, animal and human bones, trash, some old wooden chests and stinking mud. There seems to be no way out except for murky water at one end of the cave. For some reason, Rook is still with them.

The first oder of business is killing the dreameaters. It turns out that they don’t deal well with decapitation. The two men they had captured don’t wake up, though, and one of them simply disappears. Zach rifles through the trash and the chests and finds a cornucopia covered in green slime. He instantly feels sick when he touches it, but the light in the cave gets a tiny bit brighter and there’s a breath of fresh air. Everyone but Fog who touches the horn has that sick feeling.

He decides to clean the horn in the water and the water gets a bit cleaner around it, too, but he gets a nosebleed. Also, it seem sthat the cornucopia can swallow enormous amounts of water. When he takes it out of the water again, it’s empty and they find that someone mad enough to do it, like Nebraska, can stick their arm right inside up to the shoulder.

They decide to try and touch the toxic spirit with the cornucopia since it seems to clean up the cave. Right on cue, the spirit appears and while Zach plunges the horn into the water, it attacks Fog with a wave and tries to drown him. Zach disappears suddenly and the horn falls into the water, but Nebraska dives after it and catches it before it’s gone, gets caught herself by Fog, who gets pulled above water by Rook. She tells him to let go, to get the cornucopia and run. Stanley grabs the horn just in time before Nebraska disappears, too and hands it to Fog. All the time, the spirit does its best to drown them or get them to let go of the horn. And all the time, the cave looks brighter and cleaner.

For a minute, Fog follows Rooks advice and gets away from the spirit. But he gives the horn back to Stanley and then to Jet who both rapidly collapse and disappear. By now, the cave and the water are clean and the spirit is only a shadow of its former self. Fog is now all alone, Rook is gone too. He takes the cornucopia, runs up to the spirit and starts bashing it over the head. The fight doesn’t last long before the spirit dissolves into a puddle of water. Fog has a moment to breathe and to wonder how he will get back, before he too disappears.

the hand touches the surface of the water in the bowl and destroys the image of the empty cave

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Breakout
a view from a scrying glass

Fog wakes up again strapped to the bed, in a lot of pain and heavily drugged. He loses track of time, but when he’s fully awake for the next time, his ribs hurt much less, so he probably was kept unconscious for quite some time. This time, he’s in a wheelchair and again strapped down,Dr Munroe does not want to risk another escape. The good doctor tells him as much and shows him what happened according to the CCTV cameras: Fog escapes from his room and everything happens like he remembers it, but he never reaches the roof. Instead four attendants tackle him and only stop punching and kicking when he’s unconscious.

Rook is brought in and she’s livid that Fog again involved her. She was this close to getting out of the hospital but that’s now off the table. Fog tries to tell her that everything they imagined is real and that he won’t leave her. All this does is make Rook snap, she jumps Fog. The attendants grab her and she gets a beating much harder that necessary to be to subdue her. After Rook’s been taken away, Dr Munroe warns Fog that everything he does will have consequences for Rook.

The others drive in the rough direction the spell is telling Zach to go and after some time, enter a huge forest that is not normally there. The road takes them to an enormous hospital that none of them have ever seen. They ask for Fog and between them, they can come up with his first name, a description and the first letter of his last name. That’s enough to get them an appointment with Dr Munroe, after two hours of waiting. He tells them that Fog has been at the hospital for the last six year and that he won’t get out in the foreseeable future. They try to tell a convincing lie that would allow them to at least see Fog, but fail miserably.

Zach asks if they can write a Get Well-card and Dr Munroe agrees to deliver it, if Fog’s condition allows it. So Zach goes off to the gift shop and choses a card and a candy bar. Since an attendant is following him around to make sure he doesn’t get lost, he ducks into the restroom to cast an illusion spell on the file that he saw on Dr Munroe’s desk. The first spell fizzes out, the next one works, just not like he wanted it to. The file turns into a pumpkin with an audible pop

This at least does something to lighten the tense mood in the doctor’s office – Stanley had tried to pull his narcoject pistol on Dr Munroe, who spotted the movement and has his finger on the alarm button under his desk. No-one acknowledges that they are at a standoff and the tone stays civil, if a bit frosty. The arrival of the pumpkin is a welcome distraction. Jet picks it up and Dr Munroe is confused enough to take his hand off the button. Both Nebraska and Stanley take the chance to jump him. After a short scuffle, they overpower him and take him hostage. He agrees, after a reluctant pistol whipping by Stanley, to take them to Fog. The attendants who’ve been alerted keep their distance at Dr Munroe’s orders to solve this as peacefully as possible.

Fog, meanwhile, has a chat with Crow. His mentor spirit warns him about Rook, he says it’s not exactly a good idea to get her involved. He also helps Fog to free himself, but will not or cannot open the door. A commotion outside gets Fog’s attention and he spots Zach walking towards Dr Munroe’s office. Zach also spots Fog, but doesn’t want to give it away to the attendant still following him around. The others arrive and get Fog out of the room. The first thing he does is punch Dr Munroe as hard as he can, breaking his nose and almost knocking the man out. The others, especially Jet, are pretty uncomfortable with that and with taking the doctor hostage in general, after all he looks and sounds perfectly like Neil. They recognize that he’s their ticket out of here, though.

Despite Crow’s warning, Fog makes a short detour to get Rook. She’s pissed and it takes some convincing, but in the end she comes along. It’s her best shot at getting out of the hospital, she knows that. They make it out of the building without further problems, apparently no-one wants to risk the life of their boss. Before they get into the car, Rook turns round and with a few well-aimed punches and kicks she takes Dr Munroe down. He may or may not be dead, at least he doesn’t move and no-one takes the time to check.

About half-way through the forest, thick fog starts to fill the car. They stop, but cannot open door or windows and the fog rises quickly until they are swallowed by it.

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Cuckoo's Nest
a view from a scrying glass

the hand shakes the bowl that has filled with white fog and after a bit, the water turns clear again and shows pictures

The group wakes up at Christopher‘s lodge, but Fog is missing. Christopher is badly hurt, he tells them that Fog attacked him and has run off. Zach tracks Fog’s commlink, he seems to be on his way to the chemical plant. Christopher has already called for an ambulance and Stanley patches him up, after that they leave to look for Fog.

Fog wakes up strapped to a hospital bed. He gets takes to see his phychiatrist, Dr Munroe, who explains that he has been at the hospital for the past six years, suffering from delusions. Apparently he had a setback and again believes that he’s an adept and a scavenger in Glow City, a believe they had worked hard to get rid of. Fog plays along, especially after Dr Munroe tells him that Rook is also a patient an the hospital. The way he tells it, Fog has involved her in his delusions, but she is now cured.

The attendants take Fog back to his room. Since he learned that escape from such an illusion is possibly by dying when the dream eaters caught them earlier, he looks for a good way to die, but first he wants to see Rook. The room is not helpful, but when he gets dinner, Fog simply swallows his spoon. The attendants, according to plan, come in to help him and after a brawl he can make it out of the door. The doors are locked, but hitting the fire alarm helps with that. He makes a run for the common room and gets tackled by several attendants. It’s a close call, but he makes it and gets to Rook.

She isn’t exactly pleased to see him and only asks why he always gets himself into so much trouble. Since it’s clear that she’s not coming, Fog makes his way up on the roof. He hesitates before jumping, but he has no way of telling if this is really an illusion. He takes the chance and has just enough time to regret it before he hits the ground and dies.

Zach has come up with a plan: he is going to use one of the spells he gleaned from Baba Yaga’s spellbooks to locate Fog. Actually he is going borrow Fog’s eyes and then he’s going to track the first unusual or unique thing he seems. They have also figured out that they are in an illusion because Redmond is totally empty of people. Also, they cannot read anything. So they drive to Kiki’s and Zach works his magic. He seems only a white ceiling, but someone with a watch reaches across Fog field of vision to fiddle with the IV and Zach decides to track the watch. He also prepare two more of each spell. The spell tells him the rough direction and they drive off, towards Snohomish.

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Grendel
a view from a scrying glass

The group makes their way down towards the shore and enter a small copse of trees. One after the other, they simply sit down and close their eyes, seem to fall asleep. From the treetops, freakishly slender creatures with oily black skin climb down and begin to cover them with cobwebs. After a while, Stanley wakes up, then Nebraska, Jet and then Fog, all fairly distressed and even more when they discover that they have been put in a cocoon. At least they woke up soon enough that the threads are easily broken. The creatures have hidden again, just out of sight. Zach is still asleep and Fog uses Jet’s pocket dragon to get the cobwebs off of him. Zach wakes up screaming and Nebraska, who has been barely keeping it together, runs off deeper into the woods. They catch up with her on a clearing and for the first time, they spot the creatures, hiding behind the trees. Fog makes it clear that the creatures are to leave them alone, on pain of pain and they seem to understand. At least, they let the group go.

They have come up with a plan: Fog will try to talk to Ytong. He thinks that the spirit might be able to find his way back, since he wasn’t born a toxic spirit. To make it extra convincing, they need another one of Baba Yaga’s apples. So they use the mirror to call on her, a call she answers using a bowl filled with water. It takes some negotiations but in the end Baba Yaga agrees to give them an apple and even bring it round in exchange for some of Stanley’s future memories. He allows her to chose whatever she likes, as long as it is not more than one day and one night. As insurance in case they all die, she takes some memories from them all and promises that they will get them back if they should survive the quest. Zach loses the memory of his sister, Nebraska of Eric, Stanley of his best friend and Fog of Kiki.

At the village with the longhouse, they meet a couple of people who are only too glad to tell them about their woes. A monster comes every night and kills anyone unwise enough to leave the house. The group promises to help, after all this is what they came for and the people of the village agree, although they do ask if they are sure.

At dusk, everyone goes inside and the group is left alone to wait. Fog gives the apple to Nebraska and asks her to make sure that Ytong eats it. Zach goes into hysterics because he does not want to put his life into Nebraska’s hands, but there’s no going back. An awful stench announces Ytong’s arrival. Fog actually gets him to listen and Nebraska actually throws the apple right into his mouth. For a moment, he dissolves into sludge, deluging the group. When he takes shape again, he seems if not convinced, then at least willing to give them a chance. He asks what they are going to do about ‘her’, pointing at the spirit formula Fog holds. The group has a ‘oh crap’-moment and Ytong vanishes, he is not going to get into this fight for them.

A thick, white fog rises from the lake quickly coming up to their knees. They climb on top of the longhouse, which now looks as if it has been abandoned for decades, in fact the whole village looks like that. There is no way out for them and all they can do is wait for the fog to rise until it swallows them.

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Witches and Kings
a view from a scrying glass

After some time, the wolf arrives at the hut and knocks on the door. He seems a bit taken aback when Fog opens the door, but he’s friendly enough. The talk is not as helful as the group would have liked, though. The wolf does what wolves in fairy tales do, that’s why he wants to eat the pigs. It seems that the story keeps repeating itself and the wolf only has very foggy memories of it all. Eventually he wanders off.

So the group decides to make the deal with the witch after all. They follow the pigs’ directions and eventually arrive at a cottage standing on a chicken leg. They knock and the door opens, but no-one is home. Fog insist that they close the door and wait outside. It doesn’t take long for the witch to arrive in a mortar she steers along with a pestle. She looks somewhere between fourty and one hundred years old, with long, bony hands and long white hair. But she’s quite amiable, asks the group into her cottage and she’s interested in making a deal.

When no-one volunteers to be her maid for an indefinite time, she asks them to bring her an apple tree that has been stolen from her by a greedy king. They get directions to the castle and strict orders not to eat the apples. Apparently, they show future and past. The group promises not to touch them and sets out.

The castle is surrounded by a moat and a high wall, but they get in fairly quietly and without major problems. There is one guard, but they can knock him out and put Nebraska‘s re-filling bottle of wine next to him to make it look like he’s drunk on the job. In the garden, Zach steps on a rake, almost knocking himself out. The apple tree is easy to find, the apples glow in the dark, and they dig it up, hide it in a sack. Unfortunately, the tree starts screaming as soon as they try to leave.

They get attacked by huge toads with sharp teeth and divebombed by birds who shoot their metal feathers like arrows. With a desperate scramble, they make it over the wall and through the moat, kill some of the toads and run for it into the woods. Once they are sure no-one is following them, they unwrap the tree. It’s not broken, but two apples have fallen off. Fog and Jet pick them up and suddenly get an almost unresistable urge to eat them. Nebraska kicks Jet so hard he drops his apple, but Fog bites into his and keels over instantly.

A second later, he comes round again. The apple showed him the future, like he asked it to, and he saw a lake and a longhouse, form the view of someone who is really pissed at the people in the longhouse. As divinations go, this is unhelpful, but at least they know what to expect.

They bring the tree back to Baba Yaga and Fog tells her that he ate one apple. She takes that in stride, only says that she hopes it was worth it. She even invites them to stay for breakfast, which they accept. Fog asks her if he can have another apple and after some haggling, she accepts a night of lovemaking as payment. The others stay at the hut while Baba Yaga takes Fog with her in the mortar. They have some time to rest, Zach snoops around the hut and finds some spell books he reads.

After a day and a night, Baba Yaga returns with Fog, who look a bit the worse for wear. He did get his apple for his troubles. She already knows that Zach read her books and while she doesn’t curse him outright, she is not pleased. When they ask Baba Yaga about the spirit they are seeking, she tells that they they will probably all die if they go there. On that cheery note, they part company, after she gave them the grout for the pigs. The pigs give them a map for the mountains and the group follows the path.

Fog, after the things the second apple showed him, thinks that they cannot make Ytong see sense. He’s probably too far gone for that. Still, they decide to give him a chance, but if that doesn’t work, they will do their best to kill him. The mountains take two days to cross, then they see a lake in the distance. The landscape is quite beautiful … unless one turns around too quickly. Zach is the first to find out that everything take a little while to find its shape. A tree looks like it’s been slapped together from rough pixels and shaps until it senses someone looking at it, then it gets its normal shape. This is true for the whole landscape.

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