In need for a quick one-shot session, or something to use in the middle of the long campaign? Look here for adventures and adventure ideas.
THEY SHOOT WILD HORSES
by Michael Mulvihill
They Shoot Wild Horses is a Shadowrun, Third Edition scenario that hints at the dangerous times that evolve out of the events in Year of the Comet.
The year is 2061. Halley’s Comet has returned to remind the myopic people of the Awakened world that there are things outside of what megacorporation makes the biggest profit. The media has proclaimed 2061 the Year of the Comet and sees the comet as a blessing – something to take peoples’ minds off of the sewer that is their daily lives. Others see the heavenly messenger as the harbinger of bad times. The end of all bad times.
But the comet isn’t the only event occurring in 2061; the year marks the 50th anniversary of the Awakening of magic. Shamans and magicians have seen their ranks swell with charlatans, con men, and hucksters duping both the mundane and the magical alike with “remedies,” trinkets and protection “pills” to ward off the next “awakening.”
This only obscures those who are really preparing for what the next stage of awakening might bring…
The only constant in the practice of magic is that no one practices it the same way. Under the shadow of Halley’s Comet and the knowledge that 2061 is the 50th anniversary of the Awakening, magic has come to the forefront of the media. But the normal, established groups and schools aren’t spectacular enough any more. The spotlight has fallen on those considered outsiders by the magical status quo. One group that has managed to keep itself away from public scrutiny is the Purity Brigade.
The Purity Brigade was only rumored to exist. Spoken about only in tones reserved for saints or angels, this group of women was said to be so chaste and noble that they really couldn’t exist in the jaded and despoiled times of the 2060s. Yet rumors persisted on the Matrix, especially in the nodes and hosts of Magicknet – the foremost gathering place of magic – that they were out there. The Purity Brigade was rumored to be almost anything, but the most common theme was a group of shamans devoted to the Unicorn.
Equina Cadamus is the leader of the Purity Brigade. She has kept the group away form the forces that would rip it apart – the media, the corps, the charlatans, the shadows – anything that could devour the group and its mission. The members rarely see each other, but once a year they get together for the sharing of rituals and information. These meetings are wild, magical, sexual and forbidden to outsiders.
That was, until Equina received a vid-chip. The chip, labeled “Who do you answer to,” showed, in graphic detail, the slaughter of another unique shaman group-Oak shamans involved in a ritual gathering. The message was clear: continue with your gathering and you will die.
Equina knows, however, that the ritual must take place. Unicorn must know her servants are willing to risk themselves to worship her. It also means that Equina must reveal her secrets to outsiders. Those outsiders are the player characters.
SETTING UP THE SCENARIO
This scenario can be used in conjunction with a larger magical campaign, within the events presented in Year of the Comet or as just a side offering; a one-shot adventure to run between campaigns. The scenario uses all of the rules for Shadowrun, Third Edition and advanced rulebooks such as Magic in the Shadows, Cannon Companion and Man and Machine. Other advanced Shadowrun rulebooks and source material such as New Seattle, Shadowrun Companion and Shadowrun Third Edition Gamemasters Screen and Critters Sourcebook may come in handy.
WHAT’S UP CHUMMER
The player characters are hired by Equina Cadamus, the leader a group of Unicorn shaman called the Purity Brigade, to protect them from an unspecified threat. This threat seems to spring from a group that despises what they consider to be different and even wrong practices of magic. The Purity Brigade was sent a vidchip that shows the slaughter of another group, with the warning that they are next.
The shaman hires the runners to secure and guard them as they perform their ritual.
TELL IT TO THEM STRAIGHT
This should be read aloud to a runner with either a talismonger as a contact or one who belongs to a magical group. If no one in the group has either contact, use the standard means of contacting runners.
It’s pretty rare for your talismonger (or someone from the magical group) to contact you. You usually have to contact them.
The text message was pretty simple: My shop at 1 am, bring friends. A friend of a friend needs help.
Once the team arrives at the shop, read the following aloud:
You can’t tell if anything is out of place. The street is quiet and calm. The shop looks normal, but then again you aren’t sure what the shop is supposed to look like at 1 am. The windows are dark, but then they are in the daylight, too. The only way to get answers is to knock on the door.
Once the runners have sat down, read the following aloud:
The talismonger leaves the main room and comes back with a vidchip player and monitor. Following the talismonger is a human woman who seems to light up the room. She stands tall and stately and almost seems to shy away from such a group of people as shadowrunners.
She is a vision of white: dressed all in white leather, her bright white hair is braided and nearly touches the floor, and her skin is a deep bronze…it even looks like it’s a real tan!
The woman begins: “My name is Equina Cadamus. Please watch this chip. I will answer all your questions after it is finished.”
After the runners have viewed the chip, read the following aloud:
Equina says, “As you have seen, these maniacs have targeted me and my group. We are not equipped to combat such lunatics. We need outside help. I want to hire you to protect our ritual. It begins at sundown tomorrow night. If you are interested, you will find payment on this credstick of 25,000¥ now and that much again after the job is finished.”
It’s a meet in which the player characters are told that they will be expected to run combat interference. The gamemaster’s description of the events on the vidchip should be disturbing enough to convince the characters they should help.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The scenario unfolds simply. Once the player characters accept the job, it’s just a matter of bullets, spells and survival.
This should be simple. The point is to get the information out there and let the player characters react to it. The talismonger shop should be warded and even have a few low-Rating spirits on duty. If one of the player characters is familiar with the shop, he or she should notice that the protection level is a bit tougher than normal.
Equina Cadamus is a unicorn shaman initiated at Grade 7. She is not Masking her aura when she meets the player characters. She wants them to know exactly how powerful she is. She will address the most pure person in the group, to the complete exclusion of all others. This means the gamemaster will have to make a judgment call on the history of the shadowrunners up until now: those who have the highest regard of their fellow beings, who have helped more than harmed and who still have a feeling of hope or of innocence will draw her attention. If there is no one who fits that description, or multiple people who fit the bill, then she will address the runner with the highest Essence.
She will actively shun those with Essence less than 2.
B Q S C I W E M R
5 5 5 6 6 6 6 13 5
Dice Pools: Astral Combat 9, Combat 8, Spell 8
Karma Pool/Professional Rating: 8/3
Active Skills: Aura Reading 9, Centering (Chanting) 6, Edged Weapons 4 (Knives 6), Conjuring 9, Enchantment 6, Sorcery 8, Stealth 6, Sambo 6, plus any others the gamemaster considers important
Knowledge Skills: Ecological Groups 8, English 5, Environmental Causes 8, Greek 6, Magical Background 8, Magical Groups 5, plus any others the gamemaster considers important
Spells: Analyze Truth 6, Death Touch 4, Clean Earth 5, Eyes Of The Pack 6, Stun Ball 6, Shape Earth 5, Shape Change 6, plus seven Health spells and seven Illusion spells chosen by the gamemaster
Metamagic: (Initiate Grade 7) Anchoring, Centering, Cleansing, Divining, Masking, Reflecting, Shielding
Weapons: Cougar Long Blade Knife [6M]
Armor: Leather clothes [0/2]
Gear: As needed by gamemaster
She will explain that her magical group is called the Purity Brigade. Some player characters may have heard of the group. Her organization is dedicated to helping to free nature, specifically the environment, from the destruction of man. The Target Number for such knowledge is 9.
|0||I think they are a band … from the Tir.|
|1||Sounds vaguely like one of those new religious movements.|
|2||Sounds made-up. Is it an ad campaign by one of the megacorps?|
|3||I’ve heard of them, just rumors and innuendo,though-I’m not really sure they exist.|
|4||If they do exist, they operate outside of standard groups. They have their own agenda, their own motives.|
|5||They are a magical group whose cause is the environment. Could be anyone, but this one is very secretive-that’s for sure.|
|6+||Unicorn shamans. That seems to be the odds on favorite to be behind the Purity Brigade.|
What the player characters watch is a first-person account of the wholesale slaughter of a group of Oak shamans. The angle of the feed make it seem as if it was filmed with a cybereye camera or very small mounted camera on the barrel of a gun (p. 35, Cannon Companion).
The rituals the shaman are performing are simple: seed planting, chanting, and basic magical rituals, nothing odd or different. Any shaman can see they are basically there to bring the group closer together and possibly go on an astral quest. The shamans seem harmless, but stoic and strong in their faith.
The opening of the vid has the “camera” breaking through shrub cover, to see the Oak shamans planting and chanting. The cameraman makes a grunting noise and someone off camera laughs.
The gamemaster can take over and describe in detail the following events.
- Voices off camera: laughing and ridiculing the “magic” the “freaks” are attempting. Some saying which ones they’ll take out. Others saying they will show them real and pure magic.
- The sound of weapons readying and even (softly) the sound of magic being prepped.
- The initial explosion of guns and magic against the defenseless shaman.
The first-person camera following it all.
- Some shamans trying to fight back, mostly with magic, some with spirits.
The gamemaster should tailor the level of violence and the visuals associated with it to fit the nature of his or her group. The bottom line is that the vid is seriously painful to watch.
The group that attacked is in nondescript clothing, and all their faces are covered. They never use any names and they seem to know of the powers and weaknesses of the shamans firsthand. It is important to note that the attackers seem to include shamans and mages.
The video ends with the warning: “You are next. When we are finished, the mana will be pure.”
Equina’s deal is simple: Use any means necessary to protect the shamans from the maniacs in the video during their ritual. There are two caveats.
The first is that the player characters must allow her to use the Alter Memory spell in order to erase the memory of the ritual’s location from the runners’ minds.
Secondly, they cannot do anything that would harm the earth or the local wildlife, thus: no massive explosions, no missiles or grenades.
She doesn’t have time for negotiations, so she will give them players all the money they want to do the job. The base is 25,000¥ up front and 25,000¥ after the ceremony. She will go up as high as 100,000¥ up front and 250,000¥ if they survive.
The ritual begins at sundown later that same day. It will last until dawn. The player characters are to meet her at the talismonger’s shop at 2 pm and she will guide them to the location.
If the player characters still balk at the use of the mind altering spell, then Equina will require some DNA for ritual tracking/spellcasting. The player characters may choose which is more damaging.
Assuming all goes well in the twelve hours since the meet, the runners should be geared up and ready to go. Equina meets them at the shop. She will ask them to pile into the back of her van. The van itself is warded. The ritual site is in the very northern and western edge of Snohomish, along the Salish-Shidhe boarder. The entire trip takes just over an hour.
The site itself looks like a family farm, surrounded by a four-foot-high wall. The wall is made from stone and looks handmade.
The homestead is small and simple. It seems to be a working farm with seven separate buildings: the farmhouse, the stables, the barn, two rather large sheds, a greenhouse, and a barracks-type building. The player characters are led to the barracks.
Equina asks them to not leave the building until they are called. If the player characters protest that they need to get a better scope of the area for defensive positioning, she explains that the windows in this building can see the entire area and the player characters can make their plans from here.
The gamemaster can furnish a map of the area. It is a square farm, with the far corner containing a grove. The grove is overgrown with trees and bushes. That is where the ritual will take place.
The homestead buildings are all located opposite the grove. In between are various patches of planted crops in various stages of growth. If the players watch for any length of time, they will see various “wild” animals in the farm area, including deer, wolves and bears. They all seem mundane. The gamemaster can toss in a paranormal creature if he so chooses.
There are no horses to be seen, though the stable looks to be in use.
If a magic-capable character decides to check out the astral, the first thing she notices is the purity of the astral space. It’s like pure oxygen or crystal-clear water. There is no man-made corruption here at all. The player character may actually feel as if his or her presence is making the area “muddy.” The player character can find fifteen other shamans in the compound. Most are preparing for the evening.
One of the sheds serves as a Force 12 lodge that is masked to look mundane. The main house contains a magical library.
Any successes on an Aura Reading Test will reveal that most of the people are nervous, excited, sexually aroused and impatient for the festivities. Only Equina has a level of fear. It is obvious she has not spread the full information of the security team or of the consequences if the runners’ fail to the rest of the shamans.
The player characters can set up any way they want. The only request by Equina is that they do not enter the center of the sacred grove unless they must. It is a holy spot and many of them are not pure enough to enter there.
Once the team sets up… the ritual can begin.
The women all enter the grove in silk gauze robes. There are eight women in all, led by Equina. They enter the grove and begin chanting in Greek. Equina pours wine into chalices, lights some herbs and begins dancing. From the stables come eight pure white unicorns. If a magician goes astral, it can be seen that these are eight male shaman, shapechanged into unicorns. In their mind, unicorns are normal animals and so they have no problem making this spell work.
Once in the grove, the unicorns and the women begin rituals that the more prudish might consider obscene. Before long, the women begin to shapechange into unicorns also, and an animalistic lust fills the grove. The exact details can be left to the imagination of the players.
The shamans are of all races. Use Equina’s statistics with modifiers for race (p. 56, Shadowrun, Third Edition). She is the highest initiated shaman; the rest are between Grades 1 and 5.
Once the women shamans have shapechanged, the hit begins.
There will be a number of attackers equal to the twice the numbers of runners. The attackers are well trained and well equipped. They do not want to wipe this place off the face of the earth, and so prefer a more stealthy approach. They will not use vehicles or large-scale combat devices (missiles, rockets, mortars, etc.)
They will attempt to come over the wall nearest the grove. They will use spirits and spells to help them.
The will wait until they are all in position inside the wall but outside the grove to attack.
The gamemaster can use any pre-generated character type for this attack: the Street Samurai, Mercenary and Combat Mage from the SR3 sample characters section are good choices.
Combat can proceed as a normal Shadowrun conflict, with a few exceptions. The grove is aspected for Illusion and Health spells. Both those clasess of spells gain an extra die when cast within the grove. Combat spells actually lose a die when cast here. When conjuring a forest spirit, the shaman gets an extra die for both the Conjuring and Drain Test.
It will take 10 Combat Rounds for the Unicorn shaman to break off their ritual frenzy. That time is reduced by 1 round for each box of damage they take.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
If the gamemaster wants to ramp things up, Unicorn may grant Equina (or any number of shamans) the power of the Unicorn. For a brief moment, she isn’t just shapechanged, but is an actual unicorn with all of its paranormal powers. Players and attackers can be surprised by critters both regular and paranormal finding their way into the firefight.
The gamemaster also can allow forest spirits to manifest of their own accord. These spirits will protect the grove.
This a straight-up firefight and the player characters may end up dying. It’s the price of running the shadows.
PICKING UP THE PIECES
If all the Unicorn shaman are killed, the attackers will take off over the wall.
The attackers will not pull out, even if the tide turns against them. They will fight to the death or even kill themselves if it proves useless to continue. The player characters will not anticipate this extreme behavior; it will catch them by surprise.
If unmasked, the attackers look like regular metahumans, at least one of all races. There are more Native Americans than anything else, but no tribe affiliation is obvious. They look like any other shadowop team.
One of the attackers will have either a cybereye camera or a camera on the barrel of his gun.
Equina (or one of the other surviving members) will pay the runners. It will be on a single black credstick. They will then be subjected to the Alter Memory spell to remove the location of the site from their minds-but they will remember the ritual and the firefight quite clearly.
Neither the player characters nor the Unicorn shamans will know exactly who or what the attackers represented, but they will hear from them again. This group will make its appearance in Threats 2.
YEAR OF THE COMET ADVENTURE IDEAS
The following adventure ideas represent just a few of the idea for Year of the Comet based adventures.
Lost Little Girl
The runners are hired by Miriam Summers, a wealthy Bellevue resident whose teenage daughter went missing in mid-September of 2061. Unknown to Miriam, her daughter Alyson underwent SURGE while walking home from school, expressing lustrous scales on her arms and face. In pain and terrified, Alyson attempted to run home, but ran afoul of a racist group of neighborhood toughs first. Driven away, Alyson fled, encountering fear and revulsion everywhere she turned.
Alyson is now staying with a group known as The Lost Journeyman, a comet cult located in Renton. The Journeymen were the first people to comfort and protect Alyson on the streets, bringing her to their communal building for her own “safety.” Since the, they have indoctrinated her into the cult’s beliefs-that metahuman life was spawned by the comet, and that it has now arrived to pick them up and carry them along on its journey through the heavens. In order to pay the “toll” for this cometary ride, the Journeymen must pay “Lazarus,” the nosferatu who leads the cult and who has turned the journeyman into his vampiric pawns.
In order to retrieve Alyson, the runners will have to magically locate her or trace her path through the city. They may be confused by her drastically altered appearance. When they find her, she will be on the verge of becoming a pawn herself. Lazarus and the Journeymen will not let her go without a fight.
The runners are hired by an eccentric “magician” who plans to conduct a secret, unusual ritual of some sort. The magician requires (or at least he thinks he does) “comet dust” to use in the ritual, and he thinks some can be retrieved from a small meteorite that just fell in an out of the way location of the gamemaster’s choice.
When the runners hike into the backwater and hostile area to find the meteor, they run afoul of critters and competitors. But the real find comes when they run across a corporate prospecting squad that has just discovered a small vein of orichalcum. If the corporate men discover the runners, they will suspect them of being claim-jumpers and will attempt to kill them. The runners, on the other hand, should be tempted to raid the mining site-the rewards of bringing back orichalcum are far higher than the magician’s pay.
Shortly after the disaster in Japan, Imperial Marine officer Shoji Takeuchi (who is based in San Francisco) employs the runners to travel to Japan and look for his father, Kazuhiro Takeuchi. Shoji fears that Kazuhiro was lost in the eruption, and asks the runners to rescue him if necessary.
The runners will have to sneak past Imperial military forces into the disaster area to look for Kazuhiro. The conditions will be difficult, and the runners may be injured by collapsing buildings, fires and other conditions. They will also come across many others in need of help-forcing them to choose between humanitarian aid and the mission at hand. Eventually, they will find Kazuhiro alive and well.
Kazuhiro will be glad to hear of his son, but he will also be angry at the recent news of Saito’s refusal to return-Shoji is one of the officers who stayed behind with Saito. As a traditionalist who believes the Emperor must be obeyed, Kazuhiro will attempt to hire the runners to kidnap Shoji and bring him back to Japan.
If the runners agree, they will find the situation in the Bay Area drastically different. Metahuman characters will be in danger of being rounded up by Saito’s forces. Shoji himself may be difficult to locate, as he will be on the front lines, directing Saito’s capture of Sacramento. Extracting him from the hostile military situation will be a challenge.
Tired of the media blackout, trid-snoop Lordes Granato will ask a team of shadowrunners to bodyguard her on a mission to the Yucatán where she can interview the rebels and get a direct view of what’s going on. Lordes will ask the runners to arrange for her and two camera operators to be smuggled in to the Yucatán, past the Aztlan blockade. Eventually they will arrive at the meeting point Lordes has arranged with the Yucatán rebels, where they will be taken to an underground tunnel complex. The rebels may not trust the runners and will demand that they be relieved of weapons and blindfolded.
In the complex, Lordes will conduct an interview with a rebel leader. In the midst of it, the Azzies will launch an attack on the village and complex. The runners will need to escape from a collapsing tunnel network, devastating bombardment and vicious chemical attack. In the process, a tunnel collapse will separate them from Lordes, who will end up being captured by the Aztlan military.
The runners may opt to bail out of the situation or attempt a rescue. Lordes will be taken to a nearby Azzie base, where she and other prisoners will soon be the victims of a toxic shaman’s blood magic if the runners do not act quickly. Even if they succeed in defeating the shaman, toxic spirits and other Aztlan troops, they will still need to escape the country. The rebels will encourage them to stay, offering to pay them as mercenaries as necessary.
THE FAMILY JEWEL
The Family Jewel is a short adventure for Shadowrun, Third Edition, intended for use as a one-shot introduction for new players. As it involves some of the intrigues of the great dragons as described in the upcoming Survival of the Fittest campaign, this adventure also makes a great starting point for a new game, and only minor changes will be necessary to use it in an ongoing game.
Preparing To Play
This adventure takes place in Japan, where fear of and prejudice toward metahumans–orks and trolls in particular–is the norm. The makeup of the team of runners suggested for use takes this into account. Suggested sample characters from SR3 are the Adept, Face, Street Mage, Street Samurai, Tech-Wiz, and Weapons Specialist. Other characters can be used, but should be converted to be human first. In addition, all characters should have their primary language skill changed to Japanese.
In 2057, the newly elected President of the United Canadian and American States, the great dragon Dunkelzahn, died. His death stunned the world, but even more stunning to his fellow great dragons was the fact that he left a will. Dragon custom states that a dead dragon’s hoard goes to whoever can take and keep it. Now, five years later, the world’s most powerful great dragons have agreed to perform a proper Rite of Succession amongst themselves, using their agents and proxies to prove their superiority.
One of the most minor players in this great game is Masaru, an eastern great dragon who has long backed the rebels who wish independence from the Empire of Japan. This often puts him directly at odds with Ryumyo, another eastern great dragon who holds most of Japan to be his through his shadowy use of influence. Masaru is a relatively young great dragon, and has amassed neither the power nor the knowledge that his fellows have. He is quite aware that he has little chance of advancing himself through the Rite of Succession, and has chosen instead to make a two-pronged move that will embarrass Ryumyo and help him understand the ways of his own kind better.
This is where the runners come in. Hired by an agent of Masaru’s in Japan, their job is to steal the Utsuro Sapphire, a family heirloom that is in reality a draconic memory crystal, used by dragons to store information. The Utsuro Sapphire holds only basic information, and so has been left where it is by Ryumyo (though he is aware of it and keeps an eye on it), but Masaru thinks it may hold knowledge he does not possess.
A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
What’s Up, Chummer?
In this scenario, the runners meet up with their Meisho-san (literally Mr. Name–the Japanese version of Mr. Johnson), Yoshitaka Fujima, and are offered the job. Yoshitaka is clean-cut and very professional, and meets them in a private room at Club Bodaiju, a quiet place where writers and poets often meet. His manners are impeccable, and the only thing that seems off about him is that his accent is slightly off. A Perception (8) test will reveal that his accent is Filipino, and that he tries hard to hide it.
Tell It To Them Straight
You receive a call from your fixer. He has recommended you to some friends of his, and a job offer has come up, despite your inexperience. He suggests that you go to Club Bodaiju at 9:00 P.M. this evening and ask for the private room of a Meisho-san, where the job will be explained, and to leave obvious weapons at home or outside.
Upon arriving at the club, you are shown to a small room where a sharply-dressed man awaits.
“Ah, welcome. I am Meisho, and a mutual friend convinced me that you might be right for a job I need done. I offer ten thousand nuyen per person, with half up front, if you agree. The task is somewhat time-sensitive, and must be completed within three days. Agreed?
When the players agree to take the job, read the following out loud:
“Excellent. The task is simple–I want a gemstone stolen from its owner and given to me. It is the Utsuro Sapphire, a family heirloom of the Okitsu family and currently part of the jewelry collection of Okitsu Terao’s wife Nami. The sapphire is unique in that it appears to be hollow, but has no other flaws. It should be with Nami’s other jewels in her bedroom, and the pair are both out of town for the next three days. They live on the 34th floor of the Maru-ichi building here in Tokyo. After you retrieve the gem, contact me through our mutual friend and we will complete the transaction. Any questions?
This should be easy–Yoshitaka is an experienced professional, and a good way to give tips to new players (all such tips will be couched in apologetic phrases, such as “I am sure you would do such-and-such anyway, but…” and the like).
Behind The Scenes
Yoshitaka is an indirect agent of Masaru–he works for people who work for Masaru, and has no idea of his connection to the dragon. He also has no idea why the gem is required, only that it is. Surprisingly, he also has no plans to backstab or screw the characters, just to do his job.
Pushing The Envelope
For more excitement, a raid by police on the establishment (it is a hotbed of political thought the Emperor disapproves of) while the characters and Yoshitaka are there could easily sow confusion.
The only real problem here is if the players refuse the deal. If so, the adventure is over. Remind ornery players of this, and if they still choose not to take the job then this one-shot game will end.
HIT ‘EM WHERE THEY LIVE
What’s Up, Chummer?
In this second scenario, the runners come up with, prepare for, and then execute a plan to steal the sapphire. They have up to three days to spend checking on things, and a decker can find out quite a bit in that time. The Maru-ichi matrix system is fairly weak, with a rating of Easy Orange and system ratings 4/10/10/10/10/6.
Tell It To Them Straight
You’ve done all the preparing you can, and now it’s time to make your move. The adrenaline is rushing–time to earn your pay!
First we sneak, then we fight. This should give most of the runners a chance to strut their stuff, no matter their specialty.
Behind The Scenes
The Okitsu home is one of four on the 34th floor, and is located in the southwestern part of the area. Nameplates outside of the other three apartments read Konoye, Harada, and Saionji, and the target apartment bears a similar Okitsu tag. The front doors have a rating 5 maglock, and are protected by a camera. These precautions can be shot up, which will make noise and draw security, shut off onsite by someone with an Electronics skill, or controlled by a decker with access to the host.
A building security guard walks the halls every ten minutes, and entry to the floor is allowed only through an elevator or by getting onto the balcony of an apartment somehow and then entering that apartment (balcony doors have a rating 4 keypad lock–thee Okitsu door’s number is 25712571).
Getting onto the apartment floor requires some creativity on the part of the players–allow any reasonably intelligent attempt to succeed. Once inside the apartment, it is easy to find the sapphire. Any character who assenses it will notice that it has a slight enchantment of an unidentifiable type on it–this is because it is a memory crystal.
After the runners find the sapphire, a squad of four security guards exits from the elevator–one of the other residents reported something strange, and they have been sent to check it out. They will attack the runners on sight and call for back-up–the characters now have a very limited time to make their escape, as another squad will emerge from the elevator every ten combat turns until a total of 20 have arrived. These guards use gel rounds, and any captured runners will be turned over to the police. The best way out is via the balcony, but if all of the guards are defeated somehow the runners are free to walk out the front door. Note that the guards all arrive using the elevator, which can be controlled from the Matrix, but don’t point this out–let the players think of it.
Pushing The Envelope
Making one out of every eight guards a mage with bound elementals will turn up the heat for stronger characters, as will extra alarms and security systems inside the apartment. Switching the rounds the guards use from gel to regular or flechette will knock things up a notch as well.
There are two main problems that can occur here. First, the runners may be noisy breaking in, attracting security, or even fail entirely to get into the apartment, much less get the gem. If this happens, so be it. Some runs fail–it happens.
The second problem involves escaping. Players may forget about the balcony or simply think they lack the gear to escape that way. Keep in mind that every floor above the first has a balcony and they are all layered, so that a careful runner can let himself drop to the balcony below and either break into the new apartment or keep dropping until he reaches the ground. Have the runner make an Athletics (4) Test for every five floors descended this way. Those who fall take D Physical damage, with a power equal to the number of floors from their falling point to the ground.
PICKING UP THE PIECES
If the runners have made it out safely with the sapphire and deliver it, they will have made a friend in Masaru and an enemy in Ryumyo. This can be a great beginning to a campaign, if you want something more than a one-shot game.
If you plan to continue using these characters, award individual Karma according to the rules in SR3. Award Karma to each team member based on the following achievements:
|Surviving the run||1 point|
|Getting the sapphire||1 point|
|Escaping without being arrested||1 point|
CAST OF SHADOWS
The only statistics really needed for this adventure are those of the Maru-ichi security guards.
Maru-ichi Security Guards
These guys are pretty well-trained but should be no match for seasoned runners in small doses. They use gel rounds to keep damage to the building and its inhabitants to a minimum, and turn over anyone they catch to the police, though they have been known to kill orks and trolls from time to time.
B Q S C I W E M R
4 4 4 2 3 5 6 - 3
Dice Pools: Combat 5
Karma Pool/ Professional Rating: 1/2
Active Skills: Car 4, Etiquette 2 (Police 3), Pistols 5, Unarmed Combat 4
Knowledge Skills: Japanese Law 3, Security Procedures 3
Martial Arts: Brawling 4 (Herding, Vicious Blow)
Weapons: Ares Predator [HP, SA, 7M stun, 15 (c) with 2 extra clips (both gel), laser sight]
Range (TN): 0-5 (3), 6-20 (4), 21-40 (5), 41-60 (8)
Armor: Light security armor [6/4]
Gear: Flashlight, plasteel restraints, transceiver (Rating 5)