Seattle Mission 01: Reboot

Written by: Marius           Played on: 09 Jul 2011
PREVIOUS: New Character Bio – Chekhov
NEXT: Mission 02 – An Old Friend, An Old Favor

As I groggily open my eyes, I see that I am seated in a large overstuffed chair and, to my surprise, I am unbound. I seem to be in the same clothing that I was in a few days, or possibly weeks, since I was drugged. As I look around I see the rest of the team, on various positions around the room. Bear is seated in the chair next to me, Wheeler is lying on the floor, Jade is half laying down on one couch with a human next to her, Cho and a female elf are on the opposite couch, and there is an Orc who is just now standing up. Bear and I exchange greetings as the rest of the team begins to announce that they are ok.

As Bear starts questioning the Orc, I see about rousing the Elf. She does not move when I shake her; I feel for a pulse but find none below her cold skin. Based on her temperature, I presume she has been dead at least two hours. “She is dead,” I say aloud. I can hear Bear asking the Orc to remain here. I turn towards him and ask him his name. “Chekov” he says in a think Russian accent. “Chekov, do you have any knowledge of how you came to be in this hotel room?” The large Russian Orc shakes his head in the negative. “What was your last memory?” He hesitates, so I interject by telling him our last memory was of hanging out in a bar, and being drugged. He says he was given a needle. Jade chimes in by saying she was hit with a needle as well. Wheeler tells us about the darts in the Splatter Bar.

While this is going, on I strip the elf corpse of her weapons. She had a Street-Line Special, and two magazines. I give myself a pat down and discover that I too am armed, my wrist holstered light pistol is still in it’s place and the spare mag I keep in my coat pocket is also still in place. Combined I know have 18 rounds of live ammo, and 6 stun rounds.

I power up my commlink. I begin thinking that if I was not searched well enough to discover the pistol that perhaps I have only been out a few hours. This means we still need to get the fuck out of Denver.

Continuing to check myself over, I find that underneath the sleeves of my armored duster, I’ve got a number of new tattoos. They twist and move on the surface of my skin, almost like flame. Checking with the others, they have them too, some on their arms, some we find, after checking eachother over, have them along their spine. Bear mentions something about their aura.

The core plot of this second campaign is stolen hand over fist from the core element of an old D&D game I played when I was young, the Gold Box AD&D Curse of the Azure Bonds. Obviously there was significant adaptation required to fit it into the Shadowrun universe and customizing it to our own story, the characters and my players, but the core of the game’s story was the party being knocked out and waking up with mysterious tattoos that hold great power. This first episode was written as a direct ode to the introductory portion of that game, but beyond this adventure the only similarity to the plot of Curse of the Azure Bonds is in the tattoos and their sway over the party.

Wheeler’s commlink must have been the first to boot up, mine was taking forever. He announces, “Guys, we are in Seattle!” As we all walk toward the window and look out, I realize this does not look like… Anywhere. This could be Denver, Seattle, New York… Completely non-descript. A lot of people though. My thoughts are interrupted, “And it’s been almost 18 months since we were all drugged.” Everyone sort of looks shocked.

“I think we need to get the fuck out of this hotel room” Cho says. At this point it occurs to me that she has been saying that for several minutes. The team agrees, we go.

“Shit,” Wheeler exclaims, “My account is light by about 40 thousand”. Checking my own balance, I see an even 10K. The others report the same. For Bear, this is quite the payday.

This was a decision I struggled with. To be fair, the party had earned their money legitimately, but I also wanted to bring them back onto an even playing field with the game as they had gotten rather rich over the last campaign and also to put them in the position where they would have to be careful with their money for awhile. This, along with incorporating more of the rules we glossed over in the first campaign while we were still learning the rules, has resulted in a much more tense, gritty campaign that I rather like.

To compensate them for the loss, though, I did take the party’s money and “spent” it on cyber or bioware upgrades that they received while they were “out.” Each player recieved a card detailing a new piece, upgrade piece, or mysterious new piece of gear (in the case of the casters) that had appeared during their year out of action.

As we wander onto the street, I notice that this area is thick with metahumans. Additionaly, the traditional humans don’t seem to be bothered by this. My commlink buzzes, indicating new messages. I see about 30 from Dee, a bunch at first, then the slowly falter off as the weeks after our capture tick by; the last one was about a year ago. I don’t listen too them, but rather call him. I use a scrambler program.

“Hello,” Dee says as he answers his comm.

“Detritus”? I ask.

He pauses. “.. Marius?” We exchange excited hellos and then I try to explain where I have been the last 18 months. Dee is very excited. I end up telling him I’ll talk to him later and cut him off mid conversation.

The reason for the crowd becomes apparent, a parade, as a local highschool marching band strolls along. The crowd surges as a politician enters view in a convertible black sedan. I decide we should leave, I don’t like this. As we are trying to force our way through the crowd we all notice a man staring at Wheeler. He has glowing red eyes and is wearing a biker jacket. He points towards the politician, a man I will later learn is Felix Grey.

I turn around, as does most of the team. I’m a little distracted by a burning sensation in my arm, but Felix Grey catches my attention as he shouts from his car, “There they are, kill them!”. As his thugs reach for poorly concealed bulges, we spring into action and draw guns first. I don’t know why we did not just hit the deck, or run, but something compelled me to shoot, and shoot first. Wheeler and I each raise iron and take out a guard. Jade stands between us and pops Felix in the chest, at least it looked that way.

This was a situation where I did a big no-no, on purpose. I took control of the characters away from the players. They indicated that they wanted to run and I sprang on them their tattoo’s true power; the ability to control their actions. To their credit, they rolled with it very well, which was nice considering my delivery was a little rough around the edges.

By the time that initial action had been taken, whatever had come over me was done. I turned to run, so did Jade and Wheeler. Bear and Chekov cast physical barriers to cover our escape. The crowds are all fleeing, and we are running right through them. Jade begins casting people aside, and we follow through the hole she is carving.

We are making a direct line towards a nearby shopping mall, figuring the large crowds will make a good place to evade capture.

As we duck into an alley, a doorway opens and an elf motions for us to follow. We do so. We follow this elf, who says his name is Pip, through many tunnels until we pop out in a parking garage.

The team is introduced to an old elf with a beard, he is guarded by an angry looking dwarf holding a shotgun. The elf introduces himself as Zultat. We explain what went down, Zultat listens. He is able to explain that one of the symbols on our arms is the symbol of the Fire Knives gang. They recently accepted a contract to kill Felix Greely. Manuel Calivara is the Fire Knife leader.

This scene is 100% ripped straight from Curse of the Azure bonds (minus the individual names) including the name of the gang trying to kill the politician. The Fire Knives are a straight reference/tribute to the game.

Our education is interrupted by an SUV roaring into the under ground parking structure. As we turn to look, several grenades go off, killing many of the metahumans lurking around the structure.

As Fire Knives pour into the parking structure the metahumans and our team move to available cover and return fire. There are casualties on both sides, I kill one Fire Knife with several well placed shots. Zutal shoots a mana bolt and tells us to run. Bear lights a guy on fire and then begins to drag Cho away. Our Russian comrade places a physical barrier to cover our escape.

As we make our way down into the sewers, Pips corpse falls on me. I manage to keep my grip on the metal ladder. When we get to the bottom I take his weapon, ammo, and body armor.

We wander for a while. I am near the back when Jade stumbles onto some Fire Knives in the sewer. Gunfire ensues and I sprint toward the action. I round the bend just after Bear. I see one dead on the ground, one wrestling with Cho, and a man is being stabbed by invisible knives, probably the work of Bear. A mage shoots acid and our Ruskie literally transforms onto a grizzly and mauls him. I shoot another mage, and Bear shoots a guy with a manabolt while his blades are inside the guy, while still invisible. It was scary to see.

In unusual fashion, Cho has captured somebody alive. In usual fashion he won’t stop screaming. The grizzly morphs back into human form. The screaming subsides a little.

Bear manages to beat out of him that the man in charge is named Mani, and that he may have up to eight others with him. After a few more shots to the face, he also spills that the man in the crowd before was Mani.

We go through the door the Fire Knives were guarding, within a few moments we locate a room with Mani in it, along with six other Fire Knives. They have Filix. He is still alive.

In an attempt to catch him by surprise, Bear casts petrifying on Mani. The spell has no effect. Mani yells “Seize them!”

Bear yells, “Balls!” in reply and recasts. Mani is frozen solid.

This was the first time I’ve gotten to see Bear’s Petrify spell in action, a spell he picked up near the end of the last campaign. It is ridiculously overpowered and also has thrown a considerable monkey wrench into how I expected this and some future scenes to go down. Gotta love player ingenuity.

I engage the henchmen by popping one of their skulls open with a single shot. Chekov moves into place as Bear’s meat shield.

Cho is shot, but manages to dodge lightning from a mage. A few more go down. Chekov takes off into combat, staying between Bear and the bad guys. I am next to Bear when I see him get winged with a shot from behind, turning I see a mage and a Fire Knife or three; I can’t quite tell. I move in front of Bear, dodging lightning in the process. I execute the mage with a headshot, two of the Fire Knives run after I shoot a second guy. Chekov, in Grizzly form, rushes past me in pursuit. I hear screaming from outside the door.

Returning, Chekov heals Felix and we explain to him that we mean him no harm and that we weren’t in our right minds when he was attacked.

I take Felix outside with Cho, the others interrogate Mani. There is a lot of screaming. As the others walk out they have again frozen Mani in stone.

As we break to the surface we turn Mani over to the cops, and Felix tells them we are cool.

We all decide to go apartment hunting, and try and find out who the fuck did this to us. Chekov seems like a cool guy. I decide to allow him to live…

… For now.

We find a new place, deciding to all move into one place and split the rent. A few days later, after getting in contact with some of our trusted friends and family, there’s a burning sensation in my arm. Different than before, slightly more painful almost. Looking down at my arm, I see one of the tattoos, the Fire Knife symbol, burning itself from my skin.

Later that evening, Cho spots a news story that she sends to everyone else. It reports that, earlier that day, a prisoner transport was involved in a collision with a small tanker truck. Investigators blamed faulty shock absorbers and operator negligence. The resulting explosion killed the tanker driver, three Knight Errant officers and six prisoners being transported; including the recently arrested Manuel “Manny” Calavera.

I added the last scene in after the players had decided to allow Manny to live and be turned over to the cops as his death was important in this case. So that the players fully understood what they were up against, they had to see that Manny’s death (and by extension the deaths of other unknown individuals) would result in them being freed of one of their bonds. I do appreciate the players decision to allow him to live, but sometimes a man just has to die.

PREVIOUS: New Character Bio – Chekhov
NEXT: Mission 02 – An Old Friend, An Old Favor

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