Mission 25 – Done Deal – Part 2

Written by: ???          Played on: 11 Dec 2010
PREVIOUS: Mission 25 – Done Deal – Part 1
NEXT: Shadowrun: Denver – Campaign Conclusion

The doctor, prodded by his contact, began sending out feelers to determine who might be interested in such an artifact. We could have told him exactly who it should be delivered to, but he was determined to be too unstable to be trusted with that information. It was equally likely he could have acted out to ensure the Dragon Stone was never delivered to its intended target.

Those feelers brought a lot of attention down on the team very quickly. To ensure no one team got the upper hand, we sent out a few “anonymous tips” to organizations we knew would have an active interest in aquiring the stone.

The team made a round of calls to several of their contacts asking inocuous questions about “Draconic Memory Stones which of course they’ve never heard of before or seen and most certainly don’t have in their possession even though word on the street is that Lin Yao recently had one and the team may have been unnaturally close to her death… but they haven’t seen one.”

Besides Dean Costello, who they eventually decided to sell the stone to, they called Zhang Wong, whom they met in Mission 08 – Chasing the Dragon, and is a representative of the Yakuza. They also recieved a call from Tabby, their sometimes fixer who had heard rumor they were the last ones near Lin Yao when she died.

I suspected that either Tabby or Dean would be the ones they eventually decided to sell the stone to, so I placed the both of them in two very familiar locations. Dean wanted to meet them in the Hub at the Tower of Babel, a place the team had been to in Mission 18 – A Very Bad Day. Tabby wanted to meet them in the 5×5, one of their favorite hang out spots which they first encountered in Mission 06 – The Flip Side.

Both places were ones the players had enjoyed going to in the past. It was also highly likely that whichever place they chose would be uterly destroyed in the next few hours. If you can’t destroy something the player’s love, then what’s the fun? The contacts chosen were also the ones most likely to split their loyaltis and force them to make difficult decisions, which is also plenty of fun.

Evenutally, the team decided to sell the stone to Dean Costello of the Casquilho Mafia Family in exchange for 20,000¥ a piece, new identities and a free ride out of Denver. This was probably the best deal they could get on such short notice, but it was a fraction of what the stone was worth to those who could appreciate its value.

The team agreed to meet their contact at the Tower of Babel in the Hub, only a few blocks from the ZDF Headquarters. Before the deal could conclude, the other factions began arriving. Zhang Wong arrived with a small army of Yakuza thugs at his back to attempt to return the Dragon Stone to Yakuza control. The local fixer Tabby arrived with a heavily armed contingent from Saeder-Krupp. Even the Vory arrived, led by the psycho Irina Klavikova who eventually tipped the stand off into a four way, all out gunfight.

The team met Irina Klavikova only briefly as their Johnson in Mission 13 – Take-Out Service.

The security footage from the Tower of Babel is truely a sight to behold. It is unfortunate that so few people will ever get to see it. Gunfire raged across the entirety of the floor with the team, Dean and his enforcers caught in the middle. The team tried desperately to find a way out or to side with one of the heavier armed groups but the chaos of battle complicated matters.

Given the massive scale of the combat at hand, 44 individuals counting the team and important NPCs as well as the filler characters, I ran this combat much different than typical rules. Considering the amount of gunfire being traded in the confined spaces, I stopped letting rolls be made for dodging.

The player characters were only allowed to take one combat action each turn. Unless they were specifically involved with a particular individual or targeting a specific lead NPC, they simply chose to target a group and rolled. Any hits they got were placed on one of the NPC’s hit point tracker.

Each NPC team got a single turn, where I rolled a bulk of dice to represent their combined damage output. That damage was then applied across members of the other groups and the player characters who did get to roll to resist the damage.

My intent, and I believe I made a good call in this matter, was to drastically speed up the combat scenario. Pressuring the players to quickly make decision and act, along with speeding up each turn, drasticly increased the pace of combat and made it feel much more chaotic (which it was, with 44 individuals and five different groups shooting it out in a confined space).

My players never actually took much damage, but they did play like they were in great danger. When one player later admitted he was no longer taking notes on the scene because he was too caught up in the story and the tension, I took that as a sign of success.

Dean arranged for helicopter pickup on the roof just as the first ZDF patrols arrived on the ground floor. Blasting their way out, they hit the stairs and headed up to the roof as the first small squad of ZDF entered the gunfight. The Yakuza was knocked out of the fight early; they made the mistake of bringing small caliber weapons to the fight.

The helicoptor on the roof was an on the fly, but carefully considered decision. At one point I told the team they could see at least one chopper inbound out the large front windows, but I had not decided if it would be a ZDF chopper or one called in by one of the groups there.

When most of the team members had indicated that they were attempting to escape via the ground floor with Tabby and her heavily armed troopers, I had Dean tell Marius that it was his chopper inbound and that it would pick them up on the roof. It forced them into another scenario where they had to decide between going with the heavily armed troops they had just joined, or try to rejoin the group they had just left who had an established escape route in mind.

Both choices were perfectly acceptable ones and I had plans for either decision. The group decided the ZDF was probably right outside by now, a notion which I seized on by introducing a ZDF squad to the fight right as the team entered the stairs. They ended up on the roof for the grand finale.

On the roof, the team took cover with the Casquilho enforcers and engaged the organizations as they came at them. The troll killed the Russian, Irina, with a shot through the throat. Tabby’s team was eliminated, though the team still felt enough pity for her to let her leave. Unfortunately for her, the ZDF patrol coming up right behind her was not feeling so forgiving and gunned her down from behind.

Besides the gun slingers dispatching officer after officer, the mages focused their spells on the approaching ZDF choppers. At one point, the Dwarf was nearly engulfed in lightning which he then channeled into a distant chopper which drove it out of the sky and crashing into the city below, it appears his magical ability has progressed even further than we anticipated.

I knew I had piled the pressure on high enough when Clint pulled this move. As the ZDF choppers were closing in, one of the players half jokingly mentoined burning Edge to survive this encounter. Permanently burning a point of Edge, the character’s “Luck” attribute, lets the player automatically roll a critical success on any test, but they can never get that attribute back, even by leveling up the skill.

Clint chose to burn a point to max cast his lightning bolt spell. The moment was suitably epic as he downed a single ZDF combat helecopter at great range by himself to protect their incoming rescue chopper.

The team did their best to hold off a superior force while the helicopter came in to land. It is a testement to their skill and perseverence that they held them off as long as they did. I truely believe they would have escaped off that roof alive had fate not intervened.

As the helecopter came in for landing, the Great Dragon Ghostwalker arrived on the scene, intent on securing his Draconic Memory Stone. He crashed through the chopper as it came to land, destroying it easily, then came to a stop on the building top itself. Security footage from the rooftop is not sufficient to show the full scale of the team’s prediciment and a shot that could be appreciated had to be extracted from security footage in neighboring buildings; even I was somewhat awed. The dragon dwarfed even the large building from its perch, his long tail wrapped nearly around the building and at times I wondered if the floors could even support his weight.

The team wisely surrendered then. Dean was dispatched by the ZDF along with the remainder of his enforcers. The team, our test subjects, however, was allowed to live provided they surrender. As predicted, the Dragon’s sense of honor dictated his actions and he allowed the team to not only live, but to walk free once they willingly surrendered the Dragon Stone.

Prior to releasing the players, they were forced to undergo a grueling interrogation on the building top, surrounded by ZDF troopers and a Great Western Dragon.

Col. Benjamin, the ZDF commander and father of a ZDF officer the team had killed in Mission 22 – Backlash, was at the forefront of the negotiation with the team and very hostile to the idea that they should be allowed to leave the building alive. At the very least he would rather have seen them in ZDF custody with long prison terms ahead of them.

After several minutes of the team stating their case, they were begrudgingly allowed to leave. Col. Benjamin did give the stipulation that they were required to vacate Denver in four days time or be shot on sight by ZDF. Of course, the situation would see to it that they were removed forcibly before hand, but the players didn’t know that then.

After years invested in aquiring the Dragon Stone and millions of nuyen in research to understand and make our modifications to it, Ghostwalker is once agin in posession of his memory stone. The subjects are worth what we have paid to get to them simply for the service of delivering the stone into the great dragon’s claws with deniability as to its origins.

I am told the explosion that vaporized most of the council tower eliminated nearly every member of the ruling government body and could be seen from any place in Denver. As occurred with the death of Dunkelzahn, a great rift opened up in its place.

With the threat of Ghostwalker eliminated, the project can move forward with our subjects.

Their service to our cause is about to be elevated from greatness into legend. If only they could appreciate their importance.

PREVIOUS: Mission 25 – Done Deal – Part 1
NEXT: Shadowrun: Denver – Campaign Conclusion

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