Shadowrun: Richmond, Virginia, CAS

A View From Outside
The gang gets their bearings on Nantale's compound

What was once a safari lodge for tourists became Nantale’s showplace, a venue to entertain guests and ply them with whatever vice, legal or otherwise, to get them to pull out their credsticks. While the design was open, with long buildings facing the road with plenty of darkened glass windows, the security discreetly kept watch over the place, almost invisible. Invisible to the untrained eye. The servants at the pool in the rear of the grounds dressed smartly in white suits carried trays and drinks for those being entertained. And concealed pistols. The valets managing the vehicles of visitors dressed similarly, also carrying weapons. In their station were HK-227 submachine guns, easily available. Supervisors dressed in black tuxedoes, very likely a light body armor concealing the difficult to conceal heavy pistols or machine pistols. Zee could see the PAN’s (Personal Area Network) of the supervisors… and the smartlinks and some cyberware. Not to mention the almost ubiquitous wireless cameras and sensors scattered evenly around the vast grounds. As Kane noted a magically active supervisor in the front of the building, Sunder observed one out by the pool. Astrally, four low grade air spirits patrolled lazily.

From the crew’s vantage point, the compound’s garage was closest. Inside were the cars and limousines of the guests, as well as several all terrain Land Rovers. Siege could see that many of the guest vehicles were customized, often with armor. The Land Rovers, though, would appear as any commonly seen one on the road in the more developed world, except the rigger knew they had been carefully rebuilt to appear normal, though the chassis was a dead giveaway. Two mechanics appeared to be working on some more mundane maintenance, but even they were armed with light pistols. Five drones silently meandered through the area, barely noticeable unless someone was looking, and indeed the crew was.

Just past the garages was the main building, the main entrance lavishly decorated in a style implying an African tone, just updated to appear modern and trendy. The armed valets chatted with each other since no vehicles needed moving. While they seemed casual and friendly, something Nantale herself wanted in terms of appearance, their supervisors were vigilant, scanning constantly and moving through a distinct pattern, even if intended to look random. Random could leave areas missed and unobserved. Well planned, heavily trained paths made sure everything was seen regularly.

The main building’s pitched roof included five “decorative” cupolas about three meters in diameter. Nantale knows, as the crew does, that they are in fact five, heavy anti-aircraft gun turrets, each incapable of reaching the grounds immediately by the building, but could reach the road. Ten concrete well caps disguised the turrets used to defend the grounds immediately around the builds themselves, each positioned precisely to ensure at least two such turrets could fire on targets near the building. In addition to the twin heavy machine guns, each turret could fire rockets capable of destroying lightly armored vehicles.

“What the fuck,” Kane says blandly. “Really? This is the showplace and not your main facility?”

“Must have something to do with a lack of piasmas,” Dana says wryly.

“Oh hey,” Kirah interjects, “I found one of the snipers that Nantale’s peeled grape told us about. Wait…” Kirah peers through her scope, adjusting its focus. “What the hell…” Kirah’s voice trails off.

“Network just went down,” Zee answers. “I guess someone’s doing us a favor?”

Klaxons suddenly wail bringing everyone, armed servants, supervisors, valets pulling submachine guns,… everyone. At the pool, guests were pulled from the patio covered by the servant/security guards to the relative safety of the main building.

“That’s a dead sniper on the far side of the compound,” Kirah says, revising her previous statement.

Sunder winces as he sees the mage in the front and the one out back almost simultaneously lose their brain matter out of the side of their head. Followed by the crack of two rifles, the sound of which coming from each respective side of the building. “Uh, so much for those guys,” Sunder says.

“Aw, its on now!” Katai shouts. “Let’s get down in the middle of that shit!” The big troll pulls up his Panther Assault Cannon. “Ole Betsy here wants to get herself some!”

Kane grabs Nantale’s throat throwing her to the ground, then stomps on her chest, pinning her. “Friends of yours?” he snarls.

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Another round of on the spot Karma
Who doesn't want karma?

In the “get Nantale” plan’s execution, some points of note:

  • Zee gets 1 karma for enduring a new found phobia of Piasmas. Sunder welcomes you to the club!
  • Kirah gets 1 karma for risking literal life and limb to get a Piasma to chew on the end of her barrel, putting one of the beasts down for good.
  • Sunder and Kane each get 1 karma for the “open a portal and let gravity do my killing” maneuver. Okay, Kane probably didn’t kill his opponents, but it’s the thought that counts.
  • Dana gets 1 karma for proving, once again, that a monowhip is a tool for virtually any occasion, including melee with a really big, scary, cyber/awakened bear.
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Spot karma awards

For his part, albeit potentially unintentional, in devising the plan to move the mines around causing mayhem in the compound’s guards, Kane gains 1 karma.

For releasing a Katai on an unsuspecting traffic jam, Kane gains 1 karma.

For driving “casual” past the rebel ambush on the government troops after securing less than ideal truck transport, i.e.: no rigger controls, Siege gains 1 karma.

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Daxi District, Taiwan
A family reunion

In the crowded backyard of a modest family home, the Liāu family gathered from the eldest matron of 95 years old to her youngest great, great grand daughter of merely 3 months of age. The family transformed the home into a welcoming destination, with friends coming to pay their respects and provide well wishes. The reunion had been going on for several hours now, and any feelings of woe or stress had dissipated in the jovial interactions of family tied tightly together. In the abundance of food and drink, everyone cherished this one time when they could all sit in the company of one another.

The front door of the house and side gate of the backyard fence were wide open, a heavy planter at each filled with blooming flowers providing a fragrance reminding everyone of spring and rebirth. Howls of laughter and the constant murmur of overlapping conversations filled the darkening twilight, while the lanterns and street lights beat back the night. The reunion would go on all night were it the will of the Liāu family.

But it was not.

A finely dressed Ork came to call this evening, tapping his Ares Predator heavy pistol against the glass of the open front door. As the Ork extended his spurs, a young boy yelled in fright, dropping his toy to the ground. Everything seemed to quiet instantly, the festivities cut short…


Bodies littered the backyard, some having received deadly wounds on the front of their bodies in the meaningless attempt to stop or, at least, slow the assailant so that others may get away. Many others received single, fatal wounds. Perhaps an effort to spare them the pain of deadly wounds reaching their end slowly. Perhaps simply to be efficient. None would know why. The only surviving witness, and last of the Liāu family, a three month old orphan from a family that simply ceased to exist. An orphan crawling over the slick, bloodied remains seeking fruitlessly comfort from the loneliness.

A note remained, affixed by a knife stabbed through the middle of the fine parchment into the body of a young father:

wéi nǐ de zuì fù kuǎn… “payment for your sins”

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Karma Awards! Yay!

Everyone gets 15 karma each. Don’t forget to add in any spot awards you may have received, noted in prior posts.

I’m increasing karma awards because of the large and numerous costs in karma given 5th edition.

Also, everyone can get their spent edge back.

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Game Master's Amusement Awards

For thinking about needing money in bribe useful amounts, Kirah gets 1 karma. After all, Kempala, Uganda is one of the most corrupt places on Earth.

For channeling his inner Han Solo and conning the government forces to end their alarm, using only his charisma, Siege gets 1 karma.

Welcome Brother Jimmy, seeker of party entertainment and eater of popcorn!

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Decisions, Decisions...

It was late at night, the rain heard softly outside. Dr. Margaret Talley, Katherine Parker, and Dr. Bob Chamberlain sat around the conference room table. Lit by only the single overhead light above the table, the shadows engulfed the corners of the room. The trio had been working for days on how to solve a problem. A problem that may indeed be the key to victory or, if not solved, perhaps defeat.

Maggie pinched her nose and closed her eyes. “Once again, I think we have to consider-”

“Making monsters?!” Bob shouts, though the volume seems to diminish in the darkness.

“Not monsters, damn it! Listen to me. Please?” Maggie demands. Bob nods.

“We know that the damage is so extensive for some of them that strict replacement of parts would effectively make them… inhuman. We know that magic can be used to extend-”

“That would kill them and they’d never, NEVER, be the same or maybe even human at all!” Bob interrupts forcefully.

Maggie slams her fist on the table, standing up from her chair. “AND, if we do nothing, they’re going to be laying in bed hooked to machines. What kind of fucking life is that! Is that what you want Bob? A bunch of barely living body parts on a gurney?”

Bob starts his rebuttal, but Katherine raises her hand at him. In her soft, melodious voice, Katherine says, “Bob. Let her finish.” Bob acquiesces, leaning back in his chair, outstretching his arm, palm up indicating Maggie has the floor.

“There is a way,” Maggie explains, her voice returning to normal. “If we use the Book of Golems to teach us how to augment their physical bodies, I feel confident that they would maintain a shred of humanity. Enough to be productive and in control of their lives. It’s a risk, but they have very few choices here.” Bob rolls his eyes. “Look, the research using the book as a basis would take time to perfect, but it has a good chance of success. And yes, we’re not at all sure if it will work at all. And yes, we might end up with something entirely unexpected.”

“Not to mention, dangerous,” Bob interjects.

“And yes, dangerous,” Maggie says in agreement. “We could very well be creating something quite awful. An abomination. But, if it works, they truly could live out a productive life.”

The room becomes quiet, each glancing at each other.

“I know,” Katherine says at last, “that I am not too far away from being an academic myself, but I believe there is a more pressing matter to which we are not attending. Pragmatically, we do not have the personnel with the needed skill sets. Maggie’s path would be a way to meet the goal. Use the people we have, who are quite experienced, and provide them a way to productively help in the work ahead.”

“I don’t like it,” Bob replies. “If Grummish were here, I think we’d be figuring out how to get this done. At the moment, he doesn’t care about the means, so long as the ends are met.”

“Well,” Katherine adds, “it is your decision to make Bob. Neither Maggie or myself have authority here. I believe Maggie is presenting a viable solution, but you have the final call in Al-… um, Grummish’s, absence.”

Bob sits motionless, though his eyes shows a man in deep thought. “I’m going to hell for this one. For sure. Nothing like breaking all the laws of nature by unnaturally extending a dead man’s life by turning him into something else.”

“Then it is agreed?” Maggie asks. Bob nods his head. Quiet returns to the room, but is quickly and abruptly ended when the conference room door is kicked in, and the Maiden enters. She always makes an impression, certainly as an anachronism with her old armor and sword. Even her modern helmet charades in the guise of a Norseman’s helmet of old.

“Who say gate stay closed?!” shouts the Maiden who strides across the room to Bob. “What coward make choice?!”

“It’s for our safety-” Bob answers.

“Keep must open for… um… peasant,” answers the Maiden in her very broken English.

“The gate stays closed,” says Bob firmly.

“You reagent, no king. You open gate NOW,” demands the Maiden, the scowl across her ugly visage having a decidedly intimidating expression.

Bob stands, crossing his arms. “The gate stays closed! This is not open for discussion!”

In one fluid motion, the Maiden draws her crooked sword, bringing it close to Bob’s neck. “Open NOW,” snarls the Maiden. Bob stands awestruck.

Katherine smirks and reclines in her chair, bringing her hands together, finger tips to finger tips.

“Alright, alright,” Bob stammers holding his hands up. “Open the damn gate then!”

“Well, Maggie,” Katherine says coyly, “perhaps you should have opened your argument like the Maiden. Certainly works for her.”

“No be coward Bob,” the Maiden says in a commanding voice. She puts her sword away, spins on her heel, and walks out the door, slamming it behind her.

“Hell,” Bob says, almost to himself, “why am I even here?”

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Game Master's Spot Karma Awards
Yes, some worthy things happened...

So, from the parts of last week that I found most amusing:
Zee the Folk Hero tried to help the downtrodden populous of Metro City. For being “good” in a game that is designed to be morally ambiguous and for causing some annoyance to the local Triads, Zee earns 2 karma.
Kane the Vengeful: successfully generated a reason for getting into the tower to find the Jonathan Swift’s data vault and managed to get out to tell the tale. Kane earns 2 karma.

Brother Jimmy in Hilsa? Another trip to Nepal? Chen Ming-Hua, the dragon in the guise of Jonathan? Loretta Anguish in the Tir? Who exactly is on this Council, aside from apparently Vestrivan? Nantale Mukasa the arms dealer with a home in Murchison Falls Game Park, but apparently spends her time in a compound in the capital city of Kampala? And wasn’t the Maiden’s work in Kampala? And exactly what did Jonathan/Ming mean when he referred to Grendalfly as the killer of Grendal? Since when is she Beowulf?

More and more questions…

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Foreboding

It had been a long day of fruitless effort and nonsensical violence. Siege came all the way out to Hong Kong with this menagerie of mayhem still unsure of what was going on and exactly what the upside of being here was. He had been attacked with a biological weapon, came uncomfortably close to a home-grown biological weapon (I mean, who exactly keeps something like that in their basement?), hid in the giant bus/RV when a dragon attacked for no apparent reason, and all of this quiet threat from some ancient dragon vampire… thing. And, oh, there was that torture dungeon in Cuba where whole bodies went in and remnants came out. And a couple of those remnants had the parts of the others digesting in their guts. And the change of scenery didn’t help as the vicious duo of Dana and Kirah decimated a bunch of gangers… who must have been Triads… becoming folk heroes in Hong Kong’s version of the Barrens. Sunder and Kane seemed very level headed, which is not surprising for mages, and Zee… the bow girl… not sure which way she goes.

In all of the events of the past few weeks, seeing a voice message from Hit-N-Run back in Seattle would be a welcome change of pace, and Siege needed a bit of stability. Siege tells his phone to replay his message and a small trideo picture of Hit-N-Run appeared above the device, a pair of welding goggles resting on top of her head and grease covered face.

“Hey Soldier Boy! How’s things. Haven’t heard from you in a while, and well, figured you might’ve gone and died on me. And if you have, I’m finding you in Hell and going to kick your ass! You better not have died on me!

“Look, I know you left for the CAS again on some job or another a bit back and I had a decker friend do a bit of digging to check on you. Just going through the normal data… nothing sensitive… when to our surprise there’s some traffic camera video that caught just a barest snip of a profile on you. Most folks ain’t going to see that, but then, you were the Soldier Boy, right? The Army might find you, if they were looking, and I hope to Hell they ain’t, I asked to have the footage ‘lost’ if you know what I mean.

“Now, that same decker knows of some others seen in the video. There’s three, in particular, who hadn’t been seen for a while, but recently has returned. Some call them the Triumvirate. Corny, I know, right? They’ve got bounties, legal and otherwise, which, by itself don’t mean a thing. Hell, my ex has a bounty on me. But these cats are bad news and the only sure thing is that people die around them. People working against them and those working with them. And how they remain above the law is a mystery a bunch of folks would like to solve. There are literally hundreds of dead behind each one of them, and that’s just the reported stuff.

“If you need something, a way out, or some help, keep me posted. You ain’t getting geeked if I can stop it. Watch your back and I’ll keep an eye on you… just in case. And call every once in a while!”

The image fades, showing the file folder hovering above the phone.

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An Unsual Phone Call
Sunder makes a friend

Sunder sat in the rather spartan, trash bin of a hotel room just outside of Hong Kong. The day had been an enormous waste of time, with viruses frying their decker for hire’s brain and finding that the data found could not be recovered. On top of that, the girls once again got into trouble. The loud kind of trouble that left eight Triad gang members dead, with a ninth taken down by himself. Someone was going to miss them, but not the cheering crowds who saw Sunder’s female associates easily wipe out their oppressors. But, the team was no closer to figuring out who Johnathan Swift was and his connection to Vestrivan the dragon. Troubled by his thoughts, Sunder almost didn’t answer his phone when it beckoned him. This caller did not provide video, just audio.

Nǐ hǎo Mr. Sunder,” the soft, male voice said in a thick accent. “My name is Delun. You are quite difficult to reach and we almost thought we would not be able to speak with you. There was some unfortunate events in Metro City that we should discuss.”

“Uh-huh,” answered Sunder blandly. “Go on.”

“It was unfortunate that our street patrol began an altercation with your associates. They are there to keep the peace. To maintain order. Sometimes, they are… guò dù rè xīn… how you say,… over zealous? They knew nothing of you and assumed they could treat you with disrespect, and died for their poor choice. It is not our wish to maintain such a violent relationship with you. We would lose too many resources. Resources we would commit should we not reach an agreement. Many are seeking you even here, given the large sum of money offered legally for your capture and perhaps death. Rest assured, we wish you no harm, but will ensure you pay in blood should the violence escalate.”

“With that bit of unpleasant conversation out of the way, surely you are here on business. The shop owner told us as much, though he did not have any detailed knowledge of your purpose. Unfortunately, his health was very poor and died before all of our questions were answered. Perhaps I can help you. To expedite your travel home. That may suit both of our purposes. So tell me, how can I help you?”


Add comments here for your call with Delun. Delun will respond also in the comments for this post.

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