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Houston GM

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Houston GM last won the day on April 29 2015

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  1. Cosmetic Transform: dirty chimney to clean chimney
  2. Given that clerics had Raise Dead and Resurrection spells, I would say that the D&D systems only killed off low level characters. The higher level you were, the more opportunities you had to reverse dying.
  3. Answering your questions: 1. The North Hollywood shootout provides a good example of a real-world response. The two bank robbers had body armor and fully automatic weapons. The police found it nearly impossible to hurt them. Afterward, police cars were more heavily armored and police patrol cars were equipped with weapons/ammo that could penetrate body armor. 2. The logical response would be for the police to be given equipment that would allow them to handle many of these incidents. There would also be public support for creating a second team, specifically for incidents like this. Unless the local heroes have thwarted these kind of incidents in the past, the public (in general) will give them a pass. 3. The number of people killed is going to depend entirely on the powerset and the location. Give someone 60 PRE and let him set off a massive fear-based PRE attack.... You'll have hundreds of people trampled as everyone tries to stampede out the constricted exits. You don't even need superpowers. Give someone a motorcycle and a butane torch when the Santa Ana winds are blowing. By the time someone figures out where the fires are coming from, you could have a rapidly moving, uncontrolled wall of flame 100 miles long. The most dangerous threats don't come from someone going berserk. They come from someone with a plan.
  4. Additional U.S. superhero teams mentioned in assorted timelines.... Golden Age: Defenders, Defenders of Justice, Freedom Battalion, Liberty Corps, Liberty League Silver Age: Minutemen, The Circle Bronze Age: Ameriforce One, Gold Coast Guardians, The Rangers Iron Age: Bayou Brigade, California Patrol, Freedom Guard 3rd Millennium: Hero Corps, The Bay Guardians, Peacekeepers (it's not clear whether the Peacekeepers are a U.S. team) I will point out that not all of the timelines can be (current) canon.
  5. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step / Gomi No ShuShu: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization; secretly controlled by insect sprits SIN: System ID Number; a combination of a social security number, driver's license, passport and debit card number Universal Brotherhood - Getting Out of Dodge Eye Spy: "These raids are just going to get harder and harder until the UB mops the floor with us." Audacity Jane: "If they're smart, they'll reinforce the Seattle chapterhouses with additional guards from outside the area." Happy Jack: "I certainly hope they do." Eye Spy: "Do you have a death wish?" Happy Jack: "No. I plan to start hitting chapterhouses in other cities." Eye Spy: "How are we going to get our gear to other cities? Border guards and airport security tend to be really picky about those things." Happy Jack: "We're going to get another vehicle. One more suited for hopping around the country." Eye Spy: "YES!! We can finally get a helicopter." Happy Jack: "I found something that's better. A blimp." Eye Spy: "A blimp? It will take us forever to get anyplace." Happy Jack: "These aren't your grandparents' Goodyear blimps. Cruising speed around 180 kmph. Top speed double that. They're harder to spot with radar or IR than anything short of a stealth glider. They're used by executives to get around cities and between cities, so everyone will assume we're rich and important. They also have enough range to get across the continent without refueling." Audacity Jane: "They may be hard to spot with electronics, but they're really easy to spot with a Mark I eyeball." Happy Jack: "I know. That's why I want to put LED panels on it. When we're cruising around cities at night, we can disguise ourselves as an advert-blimp. Nobody pays attention to those, and nobody expects one to spit out an infiltration team." Audacity Jane: "You've got to be kidding. Your way to hide a blimp is to cover it in brightly lit advertisements?" Eye Spy: "So where are we going to hit the UB next?" No-Step: "California Free State would be a logical next stop. It's close. The UB was founded there, so they have a large presence." Happy Jack: "That's the main reason I want to hit them somewhere else. I'm guessing they can follow the same trail of logic." Dent: "So you're going to come up with an illogical way of choosing targets?" Since the team was supporting their attacks on the UB chapterhouses by smuggling, the actual targets were chosen by which countries had inflated/deflated prices for certain goods. Byte Force: "Where are we going first?" Happy Jack: "Confederate American States." No-Step: "Should I even bother asking what is overpriced there?" Happy Jack: "Anything electronic. There's a huge tariff in order to 'protect' the nearly nonexistent domestic electronics industry. It artificially inflates the prices." No-Step: "And what goods are available at cheap prices?" Happy Jack: "Guns and ammo." No-Step: "Are the Confederates deliberately trying to live up to the stereotypes?" The team was understandably paranoid about the UB catching up with them when they sold living flesh form insect spirits to the biotech megacorps: Each of the megacorps had employees that were UB members. Some of those members were human form insect spirits capable of masking their true nature. The human form insect spirits would act in the best interest of the hive/queen. Even the non-possessed UB members might be persuaded to act in the UB's interest, instead of their corp's interest. No-Step: "Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the UB will attack us when we attempt to hand over the live flesh form?" Happy Jack: "It's highly likely. That's why we're not going to be there." No-Step: "So who is going to the meet in our place?" Happy Jack: "Nobody. We'll talk to the buyer on the phone, they'll deposit the money in a numbered account, and we'll get the flesh form there some other way." Byte Force: "We can always send the flesh form by robocab." Eye Spy: "We could steal a car and program the autopilot." Dent: "I could mind control a courier into delivering it." Audacity Jane: "Candygram." Byte Force had been busy inventing new toys to use against the UB.... Byte Force: "This is pretty straightforward. I found a heat-resistant insecticide to coat flechettes with. If I'm right, you might be able to kill true form insect spirits with them." Audacity Jane: "And if you're wrong?" Byte Force: (shrugging) "Then it's like shooting an elephant with a BB gun. It's not going to hurt the elephant, but it might make it mad." Audacity Jane: "And the only way to know whether you're right or wrong is for me to risk my life testing it...." No-Step: "That's the joy of the scientific method." Byte Force: "I figured out a way to make the UB's building unusable ... and it's not covered by their insurance." Audacity Jane: "A nuclear warhead?" Byte Force: "Stink bombs. I made some gas and paint grenades filled with putrescine, cadaverine, skatole and butryc acid." No-Step: "So it smells like dead bodies and ... what else?" Byte Force: "It smells like rotting meat, feces and vomit." Dent: "That should cut the attendance at their meetings." Eye Spy: (turning slightly green) "Crap. I think I'm going to get sick just thinking about it." Happy Jack: "Well ... stop thinking about it." Eye Spy: "..." Happy Jack: "And just to set the ground rules for Byte Force's super-stinker ... if anyone ever uses that on a building that I'm in, or one that I need to go into, I will kill them myself." Audacity Jane: "Is that stink bomb really going to be effective? Some insects really like those smells." Byte Force: "But normal people don't. That's who I want to drive away from the building." Dent: "If any of the UB members don't seem completely grossed out by the smell, you'll know they're insect possessed." The team performed reconnaissance on the the target UB building in the normal manner. They abducted one of the UB members who also worked there as a janitor. Dent: (after performing Mind Probe) "This seems wrong. The inner sanctum is on the top floor, not the basement or ground floor like normal." No-Step: "Some insects prefer to live above ground or higher up." Happy Jack: "Bees, wasps..." Eye Spy: "I suppose butterflies would be a bit too much to hope for." After killing the queen and capturing a live flesh form insect spirit, it was time to sell it. Gomi No ShuShu: "My hunters captured a live specimen in Oklahoma City. Where would you like them to deliver it?" Shiawase procurement specialist: "I thought you were going to deliver one in Seattle." Gomi No ShuShu: "That's the challenge with live specimens. You have to acquire them where you can find them." (pause) "Shiawase has some large facilities in Oklahoma City. Your local people can handle the pick-up." Shiawase procurement specialist: "They're not experts in handling paranormal animals." Gomi No ShuShu: "The specimen will be heavily sedated, securely bound and muzzled. They will only need sufficient skills to pick up and carry dead weight." Shiawase procurement specialist: "..." The Shiawase procurement specialist seemed slightly surprised that Gomi No ShuShu requested that the payment be wired to a numbered account, rather than given in the usual certified credsticks. Gomi No ShuShu: "Oh ... one more thing." (pause) "You may want to bring additional security personnel to the Shiawase procurement specialist: "Why?" Gomi No ShuShu: "I believe a number of Shiawase employees are involved with the former owner of the specimen. Therefore, I'm a bit concerned that there may be a security leak on your end." Shiawase procurement specialist: (sounding slightly angry) "Which Shiawase employees?" Gomi No ShuShu: (cheerfully) "I would be happy to discuss the sale of that information ... right after we complete the delivery of the specimen and the wire transfer of funds." After the call was complete.... Dent: "I guess we'll be able to tell if he's connected to the UB if he refuses to pay us." Happy Jack: "If he's working for the UB, then he's definitely going to pay us." Audacity Jane: "Why? They're not dumb enough to pay to get their bug back." Happy Jack: "It's the oldest trick in the book for tracking down who is behind a crime. Follow the money. He'll pay us just to see who collects the money." Audacity Jane: "So we will get paid. We just won't be able to get our money back without getting killed." Happy Jack: "Sure we can. We'll just have to launder it first." In order to transport the flesh form insect spirit to the Shiawase procurement specialist (without having to go themselves), they loaded it into a robocab and sent it on its way. Dent: "I thought robocabs required a SIN to use." Byte Force: "We paid with a certified credstick, then used a SIN to activate the cab." Dent: "Whose SIN did you use?" Byte Force: "I borrowed a dummy SIN from the morgue." Audacity Jane: "If you needed a dummy's SIN, you could have just borrowed Dent's." Eye Spy: "I don't understand. Doesn't the system check to make sure the person's not dead?" Audacity Jane: "Or audit afterward to make sure nobody is using the dead person's SIN?" Byte Force: "A dummy SIN is used to process a Jon Doe through the morgue. First they have to activate the SIN in order to process the John Doe through the morgue. After they've finished activating his SIN and processing him through the morgue, they then process his death certificate and deactivate the SIN." No-Step: "Your tax dollars at work." Audacity Jane: "That would be more disturbing if we actually paid taxes." Byte Force: "The system only performs a cursory SIN check if you're doing a legal purchase. As long as you have the money, the SIN check is a rubber stamp." Happy Jack: "If Shiawase or the UB tries to backtrack where the cab came from, the cab records will lead back to this spot..." Audacity Jane: "... chosen for the lack of security cameras ..." Happy Jack: "... and the money trail will lead back to a dead SINless guy. I'm absolutely positive he won't rat us out." No-Step called the procurement specialist one more time.... No- Step: "The specimen is en route. Let your people know that it will be arriving in a robocab." Shiawase procurement specialist: "You squeezed into a robocab with a dangerous paranormal animal?" No- Step: "Of course not. The specimen is in the robocab. I'm not getting within miles of the delivery site." Shiawase procurement specialist: "..." No- Step: "I told you that Shiawase might have a security leak. I'm not risking my life on the belief that you plugged it. I can complete the rest of our business from this end of the phone."
  6. If that's the module I'm thinking of, that's a lot better than going through the pitch-black portal.
  7. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization; secretly controlled by insect spirits The Octagon: the UB's large, iconic chapterhouse in Seattle Universal Brotherhood - What's worse than a real attack? Eye Spy: "I wish we could just drop a bomb on the Octagon and be done with it." Happy Jack: "Figuratively speaking, I'd like to do just that." Audacity Jane: "I'm on board ... except for that figurative part." Happy Jack: "The UB has to be expecting another attack. And Lone Star has to be expecting another attack on the UB too. Let's show them what they expect." No-Step: "Make them overreact to a perceived threat? What does that get us?" Audacity Jane: "A Lone Star SWAT team running headfirst into a pack of flesh form insect spirits...." Byte Force: "Jane, do you think you could get onto the Octagon's roof and get something into their ventilation system intake?" Audacity Jane: "Probably. What did you have in mind?" Byte Force: "Mercaptans." Eye Spy: "That sounds too large and aquatic to fit in a ventilation system." Byte Force: "It's a gas. In low doses its non-toxic." Audacity Jane: "You want to use a much larger dose." Byte Force: "No. I'm going to use it to make them think there's a dangerous amount of a different gas in the building ... natural gas." Happy Jack: "Jane, when you're putting the mercaptans in the vents, can you drop some noisemakers down in there too?" Audacity Jane: "Sure." Byte Force: "That's not going to start a fire. Mercaptans, by themselves, aren't flammable." Happy Jack: "I'm not trying to start a fire. But when Lone Star and the fire department arrive on the scene, I want them to be convinced that somebody's shooting inside." No-Step: "They're not going to go charging into an active shooter situation." Happy Jack: "If they think there's an active shooter on site, they're not going to leave until they do a room-to-room sweep of the building. If there's a gas leak, the fire department's not going to leave until there's a room-to-room sweep of the building." Dent: "You want them to find the hive." Eye Spy: "Knowing our luck, they'll have enough clout to keep them from entering the building." Happy Jack: "They may be able to hide the hive, but they won't be able to hide the cover-up." Byte Force: "I'm going to monitor Lone Star and the fire department. If the UB manages to keep them out of their hive, they're going to have to pull some major strings." Dent: "Thank you for telling us what we already know, Captain Obvious." Byte Force: "And if we know who the UB has their hooks in, those may be their human form insect spirits." Audacity Jane: "You're so sweet. You're getting me a hit list for my birthday." When it was time to start the "incident" at the Octagon, Byte Force triggered a couple bursts of autofire and a few shotgun blasts, then followed it up by releasing one of the canisters of mercaptans. Dent: "That was kind of pathetic for gunfire. Didn't Jane put a lot of noisemakers in the vents?" Byte Force: "I'm saving most of them for later." Audacity Jane: "What are you expecting later?" Happy Jack: "A bigger audience." Byte Force: "I have a cell phone line set up. It's going to track back to the Octagon." Lone Star operator: "Lone Star emergency line. Please state the nature of your emergency." Happy Jack: "Hello?" (muffled gunfire could be heard sporadically in the background) "Can you send some police?" Lone Star operator: "What is your name and location?" Happy Jack: "I'm Toby." (a young girl could be heard in the background) "I'm in the Octagon." Lone Star operator: "What's happening, Toby?" Happy Jack / Toby: "There's a bunch of shooting and people yelling." (pause) "And I heard some people scream, but that's stopped now." Lone Star operator: "There's a report of a gas leak at the Octagon. Do you smell gas?" Toby: "It smells funny, but not like somebody farted." Lone Star operator: "..." Happy Jack had "Toby" stay on the line for a dozen minutes or so until the cell phone's "battery died". No-Step: "Is there any reason you dropped so many specific details?" Happy Jack: "Lone Star is going to want to find Toby and his little sister. If they can't find him, they're going to want to search the room with the black and gold doors ... that's the Inner Chamber where the queens live." Eye Spy: "How do you know that?" Happy Jack: "In the background material that the investigative reporters put together. The one reporter described the doors when he raided the Octagon with some Shadowrunners." Eye Spy: "You actually read the background material [the GM] gave us?" The UB personnel were trying to keep Lone Star from entering the Octagon.... Eye Spy: "They're saying that the attackers already fled the building." Byte Force triggered the noisemakers to fire a several more shotgun blasts and a few SMG bursts. Eye Spy: "They now look like they just swallowed a shoe." Later, the UB tried a new tactic. The team heard some additional gunshots (that they hadn't caused) followed by... Eye Spy: "They're saying that the security guards killed all of the attackers ... and ... Drek! They're bringing out some dead bodies. Where did they get those?" Audacity Jane: "That's brilliantly ruthless. They must have killed some of their own members to get the corpses." Happy Jack: "That plays into our hands." Dent: "How?" Happy Jack: "Instead of appearing to be the sympathetic victims of outside persecution, they now look like they're killing themselves with internal strife." Byte Force: "Let's see if we can inspire a repeat performance." (triggered more noisemaker shotgun blasts) Finally, Galen Walker, a human form insect spirit and the nominal leader of the UB, put in an appearance.... No-Step: "He's staying next to the building, inside the magickal ward." Dent: "He's worried about us sending more spirits to kill him." Audacity Jane: "He's got the right idea, but he's worried about the wrong thing...." Jane fired her sniper rifle, and Byte Force simultaneously triggered the remaining noisemakers. Therefore, the sounds of gunfire erupted from the Octagon almost at the same moment that Galen Walker's head blew open. No-Step: "Congratulations Jane. I think that's going to be the most played video segment on national news this evening." Byte Force: "I managed to unscramble the Lone Star transmissions. In one of the transmissions, the Lone Star chief is telling the SWAT captain on the scene that the crisis has been completely resolved ... several minutes before Jane turned Galen's brain into a fine red mist." Happy Jack: "Let's sell both the encrypted and decrypted versions of that transmission to Ares Global Entertainment. After that, we can anonymously send them to the other networks and let them know that Ares already has them." No-Step: "I'm sure you have some terribly clever reason for doing that, but would you care to explain it to the rest of us?" Happy Jack: "Ares owns Knight Errant. Knight Errant competes with Lone Star for municipal police contracts. Therefore, Ares will pay good money to make Lone Star look incompetent." Dent: "Why aren't we selling it to the rest of them?" Happy Jack: "It's not worth as much. But by telling them Ares already has it, that means they'll broadcast quickly in order to scoop them." Dent: "Can't we prove that Lone Star is being controlled by the UB?" Happy Jack: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." Dent: "What?" Happy Jack: "The radio transmission only proves the chief royally fragged up. It doesn't prove that he was influenced by the UB." Eye Spy: "So he gets away with it." Happy Jack: "Not exactly. His 'incompetence' could cost Lone Star hundreds of millions of nuyen. They won't be forgiving about that." Eye Spy: "But he still gets away without people knowing what really happened." Happy Jack: "It's the best way to guarantee he gets creamed. If he's accused of being corrupted by the UB, he can always defend himself by saying he made a mistake. If he's accused of incompetence, what's he going to do? Excuse his decision by claiming he was corrupt?" Anonymous tip to the media: The attackers killed by the Universal Brotherhood security guards all appear to be Universal Brotherhood members. [attachment: Universal Brotherhood Seattle membership list] This violence bears a striking resemblance to the fighting between the Universal Brotherhood chapterhouses in Gilroy, CFS and San Martin, CFS, in which the San Martin chapterhouse was completely destroyed. No-Step: "Did anyone actually prove that the violence in CFS was due to a conflict between the chapterhouses? I thought the dead reporters just speculated that was what happened." Happy Jack: "You're worried about proof? I intend to make the UB waste resources keeping some hungry young reporters from digging through the evidence." No-Step: "Don't you think the UB will just kill them too?" Happy Jack: "If a bunch of hungry young reporters start dying while investigating the same story, that's going to look like a cover-up. The media loves to report on those." Eye Spy: "Won't the UB eventually track these anonymous tips back to us?" Byte Force: "I've been leaving some indications that Detective Bambra is the source. They won't even begin looking for us until they kill him." Audacity Jane: "Aww ... you're actually making me start to like the scapegoat."
  8. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step / Gomi No ShuShu: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization; secretly controlled by insect sprits Universal Brotherhood - The Saga Continues For their next attack, the team chose the Universal Brotherhood chapterhouse in Auburn, which was controlled by termite spirits. Audacity Jane: "When we attack the Auburn chapterhouse, let's break into one of the top floors." Eye Spy: "Why? Isn't the hive in the basement?" Audacity Jane: "We can take the elevator straight to the basement ... and nobody will expect us to break into the third or fourth floor when everything important is in the basement." No-Step: "There's a difference between 'nobody will expect it' and 'it's a good idea'." Byte Force: "I don't want to use cell phone jammers for this attack. If UB security is smart, they'll be listening for those by now and use them to trigger alarms." Audacity Jane: "That's going to put us on a really tight timetable. Lone Star has a much better response rate in Auburn than Redmond." Byte Force: "Don't worry about that. I have another way to slow them down." Eye Spy: "Any time one of you says 'don't worry about that,' you make the rest of us worry more." Byte Force: "Lone Star is going to get bombarded with several 'officer down' and 'officer needs assistance' calls at the same time you enter the chapterhouse. I think those will take priority over any calls from the UB." Audacity Jane: "I can override the elevator controls, so nobody can use it but us. But that won't stop the UB guards from coming down the stairs behind us." Happy Jack: "That's easy. We can use a paint grenade to slow down the reinforcements." Audacity Jane: "How is a paint grenade going to do that?" Byte Force: "I've taken the paint out of several of them and replaced it with lubricant." Dent: "Won't that make them get downstairs even faster?" As the team battled the flesh form and true form termite spirits in the basement... Dent: "This building can't be worth very much ... it's infested with termites." After killing the queen, Jack put a few flesh forms into body bags and dragged them into the elevator. No-Step, on the other hand, hid a few noisemakers around the basement. Dent: "Is that your idea of helping?" No-Step: "If we fire these off after we take the elevator back to the third floor, the remaining guards will be too busy storming the basement to look for us there." After the raid, the Universal Brotherhood was forced to perform more spin control. The team, on the other hand was perfectly willing to provide anonymous tips to investigative reporters. Anonymous tip: The Universal Brotherhood blamed the first attack on a homeless, mentally disturbed troll. They're blaming the second attack on a hate group. However, the Universal Brotherhood's security guards at both chapterhouses were taken out by narcojet darts and neurostun gas. That seems rather sophisticated for a homeless troll, and it seems like a soft touch for a hate group. Anonymous tip: Have you checked out the ammo that the Universal Brotherhood security guards use? Their machine pistols are loaded with armor piercing discarding sabot rounds. How does a non-profit charity group get the legal clearance to use those? In order to get the megacorps in on the action, it was time to start selling flesh forms to the megacorps "procurement specialists." Happy Jack: "No-Step, you get to adopt a new identity and sell the flesh forms to the corps." No-Step: "Why am I getting this job?" Happy Jack: "Most of the megacorps who deal in biotech are Japanese owned. Those guys are notoriously biased against metahumans. You can disguise yourself as an overweight human. I'm three meters tall. I can only disguise myself as another troll." No-Step adopted the alternate identity of Gomi No ShuShu, human, American-born, of Japanese descent. Gomi No ShuShu: (to a prospective client) "I understand you're generally in the market for biological samples. Would you be in the market for samples of a previously unknown paranormal animal?" Yamametsu procurement specialist: "First, you would need to persuade me that you had discovered a paranormal species that we're not already in possession of." Gomi No ShuShu: (showing the buyer a picture of the flesh form insect spirit) "This is what my associates killed. We believe that it's a paranormal species, rather than genetic engineered. However, I suspect you would be interested in it either way." Yamametsu procurement specialist: "Does it have anything that would make it commercially valuable?" Gomi No ShuShu: "Security applications. It was being used to guard the sensitive areas in a building." Yamametsu procurement specialist: "What size sample did your people get?" Gomi No ShuShu: "Two nearly-complete bodies. And they've been kept refrigerated." Yamametsu procurement specialist: "Nearly complete?" Gomi No ShuShu: "There's a few bullet holes in each." Yamametsu procurement specialist: "I can't authorize a very large payment, since this could still turn out to be worthless." Gomi No ShuShu: "My associates said they would accept a modest payment for these preliminary samples." Yamametsu procurement specialist: "Preliminary samples...?" Gomi No ShuShu: "They're confident that you'll want to purchase a live sample later, and they intend to charge a much higher price for that." Yamametsu procurement specialist: "They have a live sample?" Gomi No ShuShu: "They know where to get one." Afterwards... Happy Jack: "Good work No-Step. Now you just need to sell some to MCT, Renraku and Shiawase." (long pause) "And you also need to sell the mostly-human flesh forms to Saeder Krupp." No-Step: "Nobody is going to think that the mostly-human ones are paranormal animals." Happy Jack: "Of course not. That's why you're selling them as examples of a new form of bioware." Dent: "That's risky. Ripping off Saeder Krupp is a good way to get on Lofwyr's bad side." Happy Jack: "Lofwyr's been around at least since the 4th Age. I'm going to bet he knows exactly what a flesh form is. This is my way of sending him a message." Dent: "If he ever sees it." Happy Jack: "Lofwyr's the micromanager from hell. He'll find out about it." Unsurprisingly, a couple weeks after Saeder Krupp bought the specimens (for 5,000 nuyen apiece), No-Step / Gomi No ShuShu received a voice mail from a Saeder Krupp fixer. Byte Force set up an untraceable call. Han Brackhaus of Saeder Krupp: "I am willing to pay 10,000 nuyen to learn where you acquired the specimens you sold us." Gomi No ShuShu: "Let me discuss your offer with my associate." No-Step put Brackhaus on hold and had a quick discussion with Happy Jack. Gomi No ShuShu: "My associate tells me that if all you want is the location of those three specimens, he will provide it for free ... and he will refund 10,000 nuyen of the 15,000 nuyen deposit you paid me." Hans Brackhaus: "That's a ... surprising offer." Gomi No ShuShu: "However, if you want to know every location where he personally encountered 'specimens' like that, he will keep the deposit and require an additional 35,000 nuyen. If you want you want his list of suspected locations, it will cost 250,000." Hans Brackhaus: "Why would I consider paying that much for suspected locations?" Gomi No ShuShu: "Based on his sampling, he says that he's 95% confident that over 50% of them have specimens at that location." Hans Brackhaus: "That's still a large amount of money for 'suspected' locations." Gomi No ShuShu: "It's a large number of suspected locations." Hans Brackhaus: (long pause) "How large?" Gomi No ShuShu: "A three digit number." Hans Brackhaus: "I ... I'll need to get back in touch."
  9. Actually, if I'm running a campaign and someone wants to abduct Clark Kent (without understanding who he really is), then the bad guy uses something simpler than a hypodermic under the edge of a restroom stall. He's more likely to point a gun at him, club him unconscious, put him in a sleeper hold, or roofie his drink (depending on which would most appeal to the bad guy). As Lord Liaden (and others) have pointed out, our job is to create a compelling story. As a GM, either I can move the story forward by having Superman actually captured (in which case the bad guys come loaded for Superman), or I can move it forwards by having the bad guys come loaded for Clark Kent ... and have them fail miserably. Either option moves the plot forwards. In both cases I'm choosing an option based upon my GM knowledge: what reasonably could/would work on the hero, or what would reasonably work on a normal human, but would be nearly certain to fail when used on the hero. From a story-telling perspective, the more important question is "Why does someone want to capture Clark Kent?" If there's no reason for the bad guy to take interest in Clark Kent, then he's not going to be targeted. If there's a pressing reason for him to be targeted (like he's acting as bait), then it's far more likely to happen.
  10. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Jonathan Bridges / Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Danial Simpson (NPC): a pudgy, middle-aged junior exec at Renraku; was given his position by his father-in-law Victoria Delling (NPC): Danial Simpson's mistress; went missing after receiving a unique necklace called Blood Detective Bambra (NPC): a private investigator hired by Danial Simpson's wife to find evidence of Danial Simpson's affair Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization; secretly controlled by insect spirits HMHVV: Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus Missing Blood, part 9 - Aftermath The raid on the Universal Brotherhood's Redmond chapterhouse was successful. The team had recovered the missing necklace, Blood. They had found the missing girl, Victoria Delling, and had put her out of her (insect possessed) misery. And the Redmond chapterhouse was being investigated for a HMHVV outbreak ... which would be a seriously nasty thing ... except when compared to their actual activities. Byte Force: (posting to a Humanis Policlub forum under the handle 'VampireHater') "You won't believe what those bleeding-heart metahuman-loving slags at the Universal Brotherhood are doing. They're helping HMHVV infected monsters like loup-garou, dour and nosferatu by hiding them in their chapterhouses. Not only are those idiots going to get themselves killed, they're going to get a bunch of decent humans sucked dry because they think those monsters have 'rights'. Anything that believes that people are food has rights. The right to DIE!!!!!" Eye Spy: (reading what Byte Force had posted) "If Humanis tries to tangle with the UB, they're going to get slaughtered." Audacity Jane: "Awww ... you're breaking my heart." Then there was Judy, the human form fly spirit captured in the raid. Dent: "I don't want to read that thing's mind. It could drive me insane." Happy Jack: "I thought shamans could take control of spirits. You could just compel her to tell us what we want to know." Dent: "In order to take control a spirit, I have to wrest control away from the summoner." Happy Jack: "The summoner ... you mean that thing I killed in the basement last night? I don't think it will be putting up much of a struggle." Dent: "Um ... this could be easier than I originally thought." The afternoon after the raid, No-Step disguised himself as Detective Bambra in order to update Mrs. Simpson on his investigation into her husband's affair. In order to cover for the flaws in his disguise, he made himself look bruised and swolen. Mrs. Simpson: "What happened to you?" No-Step / Detective Bambra: "Your husband's mistress ... some of her friends objected to my investigation." Mrs. Simpson: "Do you have evidence that I can use this time?" No-Step / Detective Bambra: "Absolutely. I used the bug you planted to pull a message off your husband's answering machine." No-Step showed Mrs. Simpson the vidphone message Victoria Delling had left for Danial thanking him for the necklace ... while wearing the very distinctive necklace, Blood. No-Step / Detective Bambra: "I think I was able to erase the message before your husband saw it. He'll be completely surprised when you show it to him." Mrs. Simpson: "I'm going to play it for him right after he gives me that whore's necklace." No-Step / Detective Bambra: "About that ..." (handing her a box) "... I was able to get to the necklace before he was." Mrs. Simpson: "Thank you sooo much. I think I'm going to give him divorce papers as an anniversary present." (eyes flashing with anger) "I want to see how he tries to weasel out of all of this." Jonathan Bridges, on the other hand, had to apologize to Danial for failing to recover the necklace. Danial Simpson: "Did you get it?" Jonathan Bridges: "I'm afraid our investigation hit a dead end. I believe we found Ms. Delling's body, but we would need a DNA test to confirm that." Danial Simpson: "She's ... she's dead?" Jonathan Bridges: "Someone tried to dispose of her body by feeding it to the ghouls. That's why I'm not 100% certain that it was her." Danial Simpson: "And there was no sign of the necklace?" Jonathan Bridges: "It's a rough neighborhood. If anyone knew she had it, they may have killed her for it." Danial looked aghast. Jonathan Bridges: "We snooped around at the local fences, but any competent fence would be smart enough to just try to sell the stones, which are far harder to trace." No-Step: (after Jonathan/Jack had returned from talking to Danial) "Do you have any idea what you've just done?!?" Happy Jack: "Yep." No-Step: "He's going to think his wife murdered Victoria!" Happy Jack: "I certainly hope he's smart enough to reach that conclusion. I practically drew him a map." No-Step: "He's probably going to murder her!" Happy Jack: "And if he does, he's no longer going to be a junior exec at Renraku. He'll be a convict ... and safely out of the reach of the UB." No-Step: "You're setting him up in order to ... save him?" Happy Jack: "Nah. I'm setting him up in order to frag with the UB." Hours later the leader of the UB, Galen Walker, gave a press conference in front of the Octagon, the largest UB chapterhouse in Seattle. Byte Force slipped a list of questions onto a couple reporters' PDAs. Dent used his Influence spell to ensure they would ask the questions at the press conference. Galen Walker: "... According to what we have learned from the Lone Star officers who investigated the tragedy at our Redmond chapterhouse, the attacker was a homeless troll, probably suffering from some form of mental illness. Contrary to initial reports, there is no indication this troll suffered from HMHVV. He was the chapterhouse's soup kitchen, receiving dinner when the attack began. Despite yesterday's tragedy, the Universal Brotherhood remains dedicated to helping the poor." reporter #1: "Was this incident in any way related to the murder of Madame Ulishia four days ago?" Galen Walker: "Who?" reporter #1: "She was a member of the Redmond chapterhouse who was murdered in her home. Are you saying that there's no connection?" Galen Walker: "Not that I'm aware of." reporter #2: "Is there any connection to the murder of Christine Simpson? She was murdered just over an hour ago at the Glass Onion." Galen Walker: "I'm afraid that this is the first that I've heard of this. She was a member?" reporter #2: "No. Her husband was a brand new member of the Octogon chapterhouse. He's the one who murdered her in front of a crowd of witnesses." Galen Walker: "I'm not sure why you believe that there's a connection between these unrelated...." reporter #1: "What about the attempted murder of Patrick Bambra at his office four days ago? The five men who tried to kill him were all members of the Universal Brotherhood." Galen Walker: "I'm not sure where you're getting this information...." reporter #1: "Do you need to confirm that they were Universal Brotherhood members? I have their names." reporter #2: "Is this level of violence normal for the Universal Brotherhood?" And that's when Dent and No-Step's swarm of watchers came in for the attack. As a spirit-possessed human form, Galen Walker could see them coming. He made the extremely sensible decision to flee for the safety of the chapterhouse's magickal ward. Audacity Jane: "Do you want me to pop him?" Happy Jack: "Hold your fire. Right now, it looks like he ran away from some tough questions. If you kill him, it will look like he ran away from an attack." No-Step: "He did run away from an attack." Happy Jack: "An attack that none of the reporters or cameras could see. Let him be the one to try to sell that excuse to the media."
  11. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization Judy (NPC): a human form insect spirit; almost impossible to distinguish from a normal human, even when assenced astrally, and therefore extremely dangerous HMHVV: Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus; different strains cause people to become vampires, banshees, wendigo, etc. Missing Blood, part 8 - Cover This Up The team had destroyed/neutralized the fly spirits in the UB Redmond chapterhouse and drugged unconscious all the normal humans. This gave them several minutes of free reign to do whatever they wanted (including Byte Force pilfering from the UB accounts). Dent: "I'm going to kill the spirit possessing Judy." Audacity Jane: "Wait ... there's no hive mind left for it to connect with, right?" Dent: "Yeah. So?" Audacity Jane: "So we have a prisoner to interrogate." Dent: "I don't think you can torture a bug." Eye Spy: "Cats do it all the time." As Jane started raiding the vault for the Blood necklace, Jack pulled out several body bags and stuffed the flesh form fly corpses into them. No-Step: "That's revolting. Why would you want to take those?" Happy Jack: "We're going to sell them to megacorps." No-Step: "That's your idea of making a profit from this?" Happy Jack: "It's also my idea of creating something that's too big to cover up." In the fly "queen's" room, the team found three cocoons with humans in the middle of mutating into flesh form fly spirits. After No-Step killed the possessing spirits, Happy Jack eviscerated the mutated bodies, then dragged the bodies up the stairs, through the lobby and onto the sidewalk. Dent: "Doesn't the UB control Lone Star? As soon as the cops show up, they'll just cover this up." Happy Jack: (grinning) "Then we'll just have to make sure that they're the last ones called." Byte Force: "I have the voice masks queued up and the cell phones we stole from the building. Are we ready to make some calls?" Happy Jack: "Yep. Make me sound like a little old lady." DocWagon operator: "Thank you for calling DocWagon. May I have your account number." little old lady Happy Jack: "Hello? I'm calling about one of your employees..." DocWagon operator: "Are you making a complaint? If so, I'll need your account number." little old lady Happy Jack: "No ... there's a man lying on the sidewalk. I think he's wearing a DocWagon uniform." DocWagon operator: (alarmed) "Is someone attacking a DocWagon employee?" little old lady Happy Jack: "No ... there was a gunshot ... so I waited a minute before looking out the window..." After the call... Dent: "You 'waited a minute before looking out the window'?" Happy Jack: "Nobody in Redmond looks out the window immediately after a gunshot. Not unless they're looking to get hit by the subsequent gunshots." Happy Jack and Byte Force followed up with a call to the CDC (pretending to be a DocWagon paramedic) reporting a suspected new strain of HMHVV infection, and then called Shiawase Environmental hazmat cleanup (pretending to be a CDC physician). Happy Jack: "Let's get several blocks down the street and get some telephoto pictures of the bodies and the ensuing chaos." Eye Spy: "I can get better pictures from above." Happy Jack: "I don't want them to realize you were above them. I want them to think we're a nosy bystander." Eye Spy: "It looks like all of the party guests have arrived." Byte Force: "I have the little old lady voice queued again. Ready for the next round of phone calls?" MegaMedia operator: "MegaMedia News. How may I help you?" little old lady Happy Jack: "Hello? Why aren't you showing the men in spacesuits on the news?" MegaMedia operator: "The men in space suits? I don't ..." little old lady Happy Jack: "I can see a bunch of men in space suits in the street a block from my apartment" (pause) "and there's a DocWagon ambulance ... and a Shiawase truck...." MegaMedia operator: "What are the men in space suits doing?" little old lady Happy Jack: "I can't tell." (pause) "The space suits have letters on them ... C ... D ... C." MegaMedia operator: "CDC ... Wait! What?!?" little old lady Happy Jack: "I thought NASA owned all of the space ships ... no ... wait ... they sold them to Ares." Later.... No-Step: "Aren't you handing the UB its cover-up on a silver platter? They can just claim there was a biohazard scare." Happy Jack: "Do you want to visit a building where there was a biohazard scare?"
  12. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization Judy (NPC): a human form insect spirit; almost impossible to distinguish from a normal human, even when assenced astrally, and therefore extremely dangerous Missing Blood, part 7 - Orkin Man The Universal Brotherhood was secretly being controlled by insect spirits. The team had decided to start by taking out the UB's Redmond chapterhouse. The assault: Unfortunately, Judy hadn't been eliminated before the assault. Therefore, she was a primary target during the assault, second only to the queen. Happy Jack: "I'm going to go in the front door before walking around to the soup kitchen." Audacity Jane: "Why? So you can run the risk of blowing your cover?" Judy: (as Happy Jack walked in) "Is there something I can help you with?" homeless Happy Jack: "Uh ... somebody said there was food here..." (looking around) "um ... sorry ... I guess they were wrong..." Judy: "You're in the right place. Just the wrong door. If you go out the door and follow the wall along that way, you'll see the entrance to the soup kitchen." Happy Jack: (subvocalizing over the radio link as he walked around the building) "The front half of the building is one large room. The elevator is accessed from that room, and both fire stairwells, and the stairs to the basement. Judy is sitting at the information desk. There are two guards, and about four other people." Audacity Jane: "I'm impressed. You actually got some useful recon out of that." Dent: "I'm less impressed. He mostly learned that the alarm is going to go off when you're halfway through clearing the ground floor." Jack and Jane went into the soup kitchen and picked a spot at an empty table. Jane stayed back at the table while Jack went to where they were serving the food. As the only troll in the place, he drew a lot of attention ... particularly from the security guards. homeless Happy Jack: (speaking a little too loudly) "Scuse me. Do you have bigger bowls than these?" Jane used her silenced narcojet pistol to drop the two guards. homeless Happy Jack: "Hey! They just fell down." Jane used her narcojet pistol to drop the two UB volunteers who were serving food. homeless Happy Jack: "Hey! You just fell down too." In the confusion, Jane dropped everyone else in the room. Audacity Jane: (to Jack) "Thanks for helping." Happy Jack: "You're welcome." Audacity Jane: "I was being sarcastic." Happy Jack: "I was being a distraction." Audacity Jane: "You didn't do anything except make inane comments ... loudly." Happy Jack: "Which managed to distract them." Jack and Jane worked their way through the building to the front room. Happy Jack: (holding out his hand to Jane) "When I open the door, roll these into the middle of the room." Audacity Jane: "What are these?" Happy Jack: "NeuroStun grenades." Audacity Jane: "Why do they have Nerps labels on them?" Happy Jack: "What do you do when a grenade rolls into the middle of the room?" Audacity Jane: "Dive for cover or throw it back." Happy Jack: "And what do you do when a can of Nerps rolls into the middle of the room?" Audacity Jane: (long pause) "From now on, I'm gonna dive for cover or throw it back." Several things happened almost simultaneously: Byte Force severed the building's commline and started jamming cellular frequencies; Dent and No-Step unleashed their swarm of watcher spirits against the building's magickal ward; and Jane rolled the gas grenades into the front room. As Jack and Jane waited in the hall for the NeuroStun gas to disperse, Jack pulled two small Spyder drones out of his backpack. No-Step: (over the radio link) "The first spirits have reacted to our attack. They're fly spirits." Audacity Jane: "That's appropriate." Eye Spy: "Appropriate?" Audacity Jane: "Your drones will be covering the lobby while we're in the basement." (pause) "So we'll be using your Spyders to catch some flies." Jack entered the fly "queen's" chamber and assumed a wide-legged combat stance. Jane dropped to the floor and fired bursts from her silenced submachine gun between his legs, killing several flesh-form fly spirits. Happy Jack: "Be very, very careful when you pull stunts like that." Audacity Jane: "Seriously? You're not that well endowed."
  13. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Madame Ulishia (NPC): a fortune teller; had been possessed by an insect spirit and slain by ant spirits Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization Missing Blood, part 6 - The Best Laid Plans The Universal Brotherhood was secretly being controlled by insect spirits. The team had decided to start by taking out the UB's Redmond chapterhouse. Planning the assault: Byte Force: "The UB doesn't have any security systems that connect to the Matrix ... or any other security systems for that matter. I can run a simultaneous assault against their system in order to get at their money, but that's about the extent of it." Dent: "That's an extremely valuable contribution." Byte Force: "It might also be a deadly one. If one of their members is connected in the banking business, they could tie that money to us." Happy Jack: "That's what money laundering is for. We may give up most of the money, but it becomes nearly impossible to track the money to us." No-Step: "If they have a person inside the bank, they could find the money launderer as easily as they could find us. I'm sure they'd be willing to torture information out of him." Happy Jack: "That's why I intend to launder the money through the Yakuza. If the UB wants to tangle with the Yaks in order to get to us, I'm willing to let them start a war." Audacity Jane: (to Dent and No-Step) "Are you sending in spirits like you did when we went after Euphoria?" Dent: "We can't send in city spirits. It's a hearth spirit domain." No-Step: "I don't want to summon a hearth spirit in there. We'd get something worse than that abomination you summoned at Madame Ulishia's." Dent: "And there's a ward around the building, which would keep watcher spirits out." Happy Jack: "Does it keep them out forever, or do they have to break through it?" Dent: "They have to break through it ... which is going to alert whomever put it up." Audacity Jane: "That's fine. If they're busy defending the ward against your spirits, then they're not protecting the targets inside from me." Happy Jack: "I think we need to brainstorm different tricks and tactics to use against them." Audacity Jane: "We do that for every job." Happy Jack: "Yes ... but this time is different. According to the investigative reporters, there are over 400 chapterhouses. That means we'll be hitting the UB more than once." Byte Force: "You think they'll learn our habits." Dent: "Wait ... Is this all we're going to do from now on? We could spend years fighting them without wiping them out." Happy Jack: "Consider that incentive to brainstorm some alternate ways to bring them down." Dent: "..." Byte Force: "I combed through the UB's membership roles for the Redmond chapterhouse. I think they have about 16 security guards per shift. Ex-gang members and ex-street samurai wannabes. No serious muscle." No-Step: "What about human form insect spirits?" Byte Force: "That's the good news. Other than Madame Ulishia, they only have one other human form in this chapterhouse. Her name is Judy. She works at the information desk in front." Audacity Jane: "I think Judy is about to become the victim of random street violence." Happy Jack: "Or become a casualty of a fatal workplace accident." Audacity Jane: "So are we sneaking in through one of the upper floors?" Happy Jack: "I'd rather go in through the soup kitchen." Audacity Jane: "Any excuse for you to play dress up." Happy Jack: "The homeless carry a lot of crap around with them. That means we can sneak a lot of gear in while looking just like everyone else." Dent: "But you only get to pull that trick once. After that they'll install security scanners and put more security in the soup kitchens." Happy Jack: "Yep. Even a basic scanner will set them back 15,000 nuyen. Multiply it by 400 chapterhouses. That's a nice little hit to their cash flow." No-Step: "That's not much compared to how much nuyen they're pulling in." Happy Jack: "A few million nuyen here, a few million there ... pretty soon it starts adding up to some real money."
  14. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Danial Simpson (NPC): a pudgy, middle-aged junior exec at Renraku Victoria Delling (NPC): the missing girl with the missing gift Detective Bambra (NPC): a private investigator Madame Ulishia (NPC): a fortune teller; had been possessed by an insect spirit and slain by ant spirits Universal Brotherhood ("UB"): a charitable fringe religious organization Missing Blood, part 5 - Tying it Together The Universal Brotherhood had tried to kill Detective Bambra. Detective Bambra had been hired to find evidence of Danial Simpson's affair. Danial Simpson had an affair with Victoria Delling, until she disappeared with an expensive necklace. Victoria Delling had regularly visited Madame Ulishia, who had encouraged Victoria to do whatever caused her to disappear. Madame Ulishia was actually possessed by an insect spirit (but not an ant spirit) and had been killed by people possessed by ant spirits. No-Step: "We need to figure out how this all fits together." Eye Spy: "At the moment, I'd like to know how any of this fits together." Byte Force: "I'm going to take a run against the Universal Brotherhood's network. Is there anything specific you think I should look for?" Happy Jack: "Any references to Bambra, any references to Victoria Delling, any references to Danial Simpson, any references to Madame Ulishia, or any references that would indicate insect spirits." Byte Force: "You think all of those are tied to the Universal Brotherhood?" Happy Jack: "No. But this is more like the 'shotgun' method of evidence gathering. Put enough stuff in the air, and you might get a hit." Audacity Jane: "That technique works as poorly for evidence as it does for marksmanship." Happy Jack: "If you think it works poorly for hitting a target, then you're not using a big enough shotgun." Some time later, Byte Force completed his run on the UB's system. The most important information was an eight page exposé on the Universal Brotherhood, plus eighty pages of background notes. The summarized exposé and notes: The Universal Brotherhood was controlled by insect spirits, or more accurately, the queens. These insect spirits included ant spirits, fly spirits, termite spirits, wasp spirits, and possibly others. The UB had over 35,000 members (counting both normal people and insect-possessed people), over one hundred million nuyen in annual cash flow, and was growing rapidly. The majority of UB members were normal people who were ignorant of the organization's true nature. Unwitting members were duped into becoming voluntary hosts for insect spirits. Through its members, the UB had influence in almost every major corporation and other powerful group, including Lone Star. The reporters who wrote the exposé had been killed. The UB had successfully prevented the story from being released, covered up the crime and the exposé, and even found and blown up a local Shadowland hub to keep this secret. The other information discovered: Victoria Delling was a member of the UB, and was undergoing the process of "initiation" (possession). The missing necklace was being stored in a vault in the UB's Redmond chapterhouse. Madame Ulishia had been an initiated member and a recruiter for the UB. Hours after hiring the team to find the necklace, Danial Simpson had attended his first UB meeting. Eye Spy: "We are so screwed." Audacity Jane: (grimly) "As soon as the Universal Brotherhood realizes we have this information, they're going to come after us with everything they have." Happy Jack: "So far they don't know we have the information. They don't even suspect we have it. From this point forward, we're now under black-ops rules. No trails lead back to us." Byte Force: "But there will be a trail leading back to us." Happy Jack: "How? Were you spotted in their system?" Byte Force: "No. The necklace. Blood. After we give it back to Danial, someone at the UB will eventually realize that his wife's necklace is the same as the one that used to be in their possession. They can trace the necklace to Danial. They can trace Danial to Noggin. They can trace Noggin to you...." Happy Jack: "That trail only exists if Simpson gets his necklace back. At this point, I'm in favor of returning the 2,000 nuyen advance. It's certainly not worth 6,000 nuyen to connect ourselves back to this mess." Dent: "If we're not getting the necklace back, what are we doing?" No-Step: "We have to go public with this information." Byte Force: "That didn't turn out that well for the two reporters." Happy Jack: "This whole report sounds like a crackpot conspiracy theory. The only reason it sounds plausible to us is because of that whole Euphoria affair ... and because of the possessed guys who attacked Ulishia." Eye Spy: "So you're saying that people won't believe us if we tell the truth. What's your solution? Lie to them?" Happy Jack: "Let's convince people the UB is lying to them." Audacity Jane: "I'm not seeing the difference." Happy Jack: "Just wait." No-Step: "I hate it when you give that answer." GM: Not as much as I do. No-Step: "We need to warn Danial Simpson somehow." Audacity Jane: "Why should we risk ourselves to warn him?" No-Step: "If we don't, the UB will get control over a Renraku executive." Happy Jack: "There's an easier way to solve that problem. Can you fake being Detective Bambra well enough to fool Mrs. Simpson?" No-Step: "I only have a few pictures to work off of, and that's generally not enough." (pause) "But if I look like I've been beaten up, with some bruises on my face and some swelling, I should be able to pass." Happy Jack: "Perfect. Pretend to be Bambra, give Mrs. Simpson the disk of Victoria's vidphone message, she divorces Danial, and her father fires Danial. The UB may still have a hold of him, but he'll no longer be a junior exec." Byte Force: "I think we need to start by hitting the Redmond chapterhouse." Dent: "Why there?" Byte Force: "The necklace is being stored there." Happy Jack: "We're not returning it to Danial." Byte Force: "I know, but if No-Step, posing as the detective, returns it to Mrs. Simpson, they will follow the trail back to him, not us." Audacity Jane: "Since they're already trying to kill him, they could end up shooting him before they get the chance to interrogate him." Happy Jack: "Even if they do interrogate him, they won't get much out of him besides screams and pleas for mercy." No-Step: "I realize the strategic value of pinning our actions on somebody else, but I can't just let someone be horribly tortured by insect spirits in order to save ourselves." Happy Jack: "I'll make you a deal. If we get a lead on Bambra, we'll make sure that doesn't happen to him." (looking around at the rest of the group) "If we can find Bambra without leaving any evidence that leads back to us, does everyone agree that's a reasonable compromise." Audacity Jane: "Sure. Lone Star will find his corpse in a back alley. The UB's search for us will hit a literal dead end." Happy Jack: "I was going to suggest slipping him enough money so he could lead them on a wild goose chase across the continent ... but your suggestion works just as well."
  15. The shadowrunners were an ork/troll group. Against stereotype, they specialized in stealth, subtlety, bluff, illusion, deception and misdirection. Cast of characters: Dent: ork, rat shaman No-Step: ork, snake shaman, healer Byte Force: ork, decker, chemist Eye Spy: ork, rigger, drones, paramedic Audacity Jane: ork, combat, stealth, security systems Jonathan Bridges / Happy Jack: troll, combat, disguise, negotiator Danial Simpson (NPC): a pudgy, middle-aged junior exec at Renraku Victoria Delling (NPC): the missing girl with the missing gift Madame Ulishia (NPC): a fortune teller that Victoria had regularly visited Missing Blood, part 4 - Miss Fortune Teller Danial Simpson had hired the team to find a missing necklace (called "Blood"). The necklace was in the possession of his missing mistress (Victoria Delling). Madame Ulishia had sent the team chasing a red herring, even though she clearly knew more about Victoria's disappearance. Since it was the middle of the night, the team decided to confront her immediately. No-Step: "I think we're rushing into this. We don't have any idea what kind of defensive preparations she could have." Happy Jack: "Assume she's a shaman. What kind of defenses would she have?" No-Step: "She'll have a hearth spirit. Maybe a weak watcher." Dent: "Maybe an ally spirit." Happy Jack: "And if she's a hermetic mage?" Dent: "She'll have one or more elemental spirits instead of a hearth spirit. The rest will be the same." Happy Jack: "Gee. It took you a whole 10 seconds to figure out her magickal defenses." The team planned to do a careful recon before entering ... but as they approached the door they heard a cry of pain and breaking glass from inside. Audacity Jane: (quietly over the radio link) "The front door is ajar. The latch is broken." (pause) "Frag. Do we go in blind?" Happy Jack: "No." Happy Jack casually strolled in front of the big picture window in the front of Madame Ulishia's shop/home and looked in. Dent: "The blinds are closed, Genius." Happy Jack: "And I have thermographic vision." Happy Jack: "Two people down on the floor. A third is crouched over one of them." Audacity Jane: "The two on the floor ... alive?" Happy Jack: "They're warm ... so either alive or recently alive." No-Step's watcher spirit started making a racket in the back room. Happy Jack: "Number three just charged into the back. The other two didn't twitch." Jane eased open the front door, stepped inside, and came face-to-face with a fourth person ... who was coming out of the other back room. Audacity Jane: "Oops?" The people in Madame Ulishia's had large, weird teeth ... and they preferred unarmed combat over using weapons. Audacity Jane: (retreating back into the street) "What are they? Some type of vampire? Physical adepts?" Dent: "Oh **** me! They're possessed by ant spirits!" Happy Jack: (smacking one with the haft of his naginata) "Didn't anyone tell you ... don't bring an ant to a troll fight." Dent and No-Step's city spirits killed the ant spirits. Unlike the ant-possessed humans they had encountered previously (here and here), these could pass for humans with weird cyberware/bioware. Dent summoned a hearth spirit inside Madame Ulishia's, which immediately caused some consternation. Eye Spy: "What the **** is that?" No-Step: "Your spirit looks like The Fly decided to dress up like Carnac the Great." Dent: "I think my conjuration is bugged." The hearth spirit was somewhat recalcitrant, but eventually helped Dent by locating a clue (a handwritten journal). Dent: "Whoever wrote this journal talks about her queen and her host's body. I think it was written by an insect spirit possessing someone's body." Byte Force: "What was Madame Ulishia doing with an ant spirit's journal?" Dent: (astrally inspecting Madame Ulishia's corpse) "I think she was possessed by spirit. Not an ant spirit, but something similar." No-Step: "That's impossible. I saw her astral form earlier. She was a normal human." Audacity Jane: (examining the corpse) "And I don't see any insect-like mutations." Dent: "Some spirits can mask their auras and look human. Maybe Ulishia was one of those?" This revelation started driving the normally paranoid shadowrunners to new heights of paranoia. Dent: "We don't have any way to detect someone like Ulishia." No-Step: "They could replace someone we know, and we might not be able to tell." Eye Spy: "Maybe they already have!" Dent: "Maybe we can invent a spell to detect them?" Happy Jack: "Use brute force." Audacity Jane: "You mean, 'Kill them all and let the gods sort them out'?" Happy Jack: "Not exactly." (pause) "Normal people can't be attacked from the astral, and mages and shamans can only be attacked from the astral when they're astrally assencing or projecting, right?" Dent: "That's the only way they can be directly attacked. There are still ways to indirectly attack them." Happy Jack: "Okay. And spirits are always present on the astral, even when they're physically manifesting, right? They can't avoid being in the astral?" No-Step: "That's correct." Happy Jack: "So you can attack a normal person astrally. If they're really a normal person, there's no effect. If they fall over dead, you know that they're actually possessed by something." Dent and No-Step thought this over. Happy Jack: "And if you warn a mage or shaman about what you're about to do, and then they fall over dead, then you know they were either possessed by something, or they're too dumb to live." The team had also taken custody of three catatonic ex-hosts of ant spirits. Audacity Jane: "I don't think these guys are worth much. Organ-leggers don't have a market for mutated parts." Happy Jack: "Let's keep them alive for a little while anyway." Dent: "That's dangerous. The other ant spirits may be able to track these bodies down." Happy Jack: "Really? That could be helpful." Dent: "How is that helpful?" Happy Jack: "We can stow them in a safehouse and use them as bait." Eye Spy: "We could put tracking devices on them." Audacity Jane: "I could rig booby traps." No-Step: "I think 'safehouse' may be a bit of a misnomer under these circumstances."
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