Run or Serve

The World has Moved On...
Four worlds have passed

After a small team of heroes failed in their fight against Acererak, the Second World ended. The archlich completed his quest and collected the divine power of the gods he slew. His form became that of a god, and he ruled over the world for thousands of years. With the Pantheon dead and no one to oppose him, Acererak grew lazy as the millennia turned by. He failed to notice the shattered body of Amoth, healing itself bit by bit, fueled by anger and a thirst for justice. Amoth rose from the depths of the Pit and slew the God-Emperor Acererak with his ancestral spear, but the battle took its toll on Amoth as well. The Third World ended when Amoth took his last breath. The Fourth World was marked by the exodus of magic, and the magical races soon followed. Without the powers of the gods, clerics lost all power, and magic became feared and hated by the humans who were left behind. The Fifth World was utterly devoid of magic, and the denizens of this fetid time were forced to rely on mechanical and industrial prowess to survive. Machines supplanted the forces of magic until 2011 AD, when the Sixth World began. Dragons returned, elves and dwarves were born, and people found they could harness the power of magic. 64 years later, the Sixth World has changed the course of history forever. Only scholars know of worlds before the Fifth, but a select few… specialists, most of them… know of the times when mages and dragons were everyday occurrences, when enchanted swords were more than the stuff of legend, and when all of this wonder existed in a world unmarred by pollution and corporate greed. These dreamers are the most dangerous people of all.

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Gathering the Team
Preparations

Waver was contacted by an academic Mr. Johnson to assemble a small team of capable Shadowrunners. The target was a Second World tomb, the location only recently discovered. Several dossiers were given to the mage, who quickly set about finding the people listed inside. First, he visited a large mansion and attempted to speak with the Bull, who opted to instead put a hole in his own door rather than speak. Waver then visited New York City, one of the smaller sprawls, to meet with the Danger and Fujimora. They were in the process of wiring a warehouse with explosives, and the pair quickly disposed of the police team that arrived to apprehend them. The three then drove to Texas to free Bellatrix Nox from the State Prison. Fujimora also killed the head secretary in the process, though Waver brought the prison door back to Seattle in order to replace the Bull’s. The Bull was much more willing to talk with a full team of experienced Runners at his (new) door, so he and the Mystery agreed to come along as well.

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Dungeon Crawl
The OZ

The runners negotiated their payment from the Johnson and received the coordinates of the Second World tomb. They departed quickly to avoid Fuji’s prejudiced actions, and drove to the state of New York. Once there, they found a large cave opening. A man stood in front and identified himself as ‘Watcher’. He claimed to be from Shiawase, sent by the Johnson to help the runners. The runners accepted him and entered the cave. A long hallway, pockmarked with dangerous holes, greeted them. At the end of the hall, a small door led to the right and a crack in the wall to the left. The crack disintegrated whatever was placed in it, and the door led to another door. That final door opened into a room of four more doors, each one slightly different. The handles were electric, hot, cold, and diseased. The ‘diseased’ door led to long hallway leading up. A spirit was sent up, then a skull, then finally Ordo and Carlos went up while Peter held a tether. All, to the casual observer, appeared to flatten out and stop moving. By their perceptions, they found themselves in a white expanse with a statue and painting of an angel. The ‘hot’ door contained a small iron box which once had a golden artifact within. The ‘cold’ door led to another door and oasis, the pool being infested by some sort of tentacular horror. However, he was saved by Waver’s foray into the ‘electric’ room. The room had three identical chests. When the middle chest was opened, Carlos and Ordo appeared. The leftmost chest contained Fuji, a severed black tentacle, and several cubic meters of water. The final chest was full of emeralds, all real. This final room led to a large cavern of rough hewn stone, the back wall being covered in what looked like circuitry. Waver determined that it was not new, but actually created millennia ago. Through the small corridor, a devil rat greeted the runners. Carlos’s cat spirit tried to kill it, but Fuji and Watcher killed it before it could act. The rat was guarding a large door, locked for ages. After Ryder picked the lock, the runners could see the artifact they had come to obtain. A large sword laid on a bier, with the inscription of OZ within the hilt. When Carlos picked it up, the sword glowed blue and he felt ancient magical energy flow through his body. Water began to flood into the room, causing the team to rush out of the small dungeon.

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Johnny and Margaret
And deliver us from evil...

Having brought the OZ back to a disappointed Mr. Johnson (he was expecting some sort of golden jewelry), the runners earned a week off. Another Johnson contacted them soon after, however, impressed by their effectiveness as a team. He sent them to save his son, Johnny Junior, from the bad influences he was associating with. The runners checked out the club he frequented, and saw a long line of waiting people. Flashing wealth at the bouncer, Ryder, Watcher, and Peter managed to get inside unmolested while Waver snuck in invisibly. The whole club was filled with booze, and everyone was packing. Carefully, Peter and Watcher made their way over to a large curtain and snuck through while Ryder chatted up the locals. Behind the curtain was a strip club, and Johnny’s friends were seated in a shadowy corner, causing a bit of a ruckus. Ryder and Waver passed through the curtain to join the group, and Ryder and Watcher began to attempt to seduce the group. Johnny was pointed out, and the runners made a mental note not to kill him. Securing a location at a nearby hotel, Waver, Peter, and the Bull set about trapping it for the group. Driving over, Ryder separated Johnny from the group while Watcher led the others to a private room. After subtly disarming them, Watcher knocked out the girl in time for the Bull to rip the heads off the other two guys. Meanwhile, Ryder had Johnny in a compromising position while the Mystery disabled his gun. He offered novacoke as ransom, and was carted off to his father.

After three weeks off, the runners were contacted by a distraught father. He had been sent a distress signal from his daughter, Margaret, wherein she told him part of the address of her location. 717 Evergreen… either Way or Terrace, both were valid addresses. The runners went to both locations and found a penthouse apartment belonging to a celebrity mage named Sumayya Ali at the former, and a warehouse belonging to Saeder-Krupp at the latter. Ryder broke a window at the warehouse before escaping, putting the guards at high alert. At the penthouse, Peter was invited up to Ali’s room to entertain her and her friend. While they were busy, the Bull went to look for a box he had heard was shipped up there a few days ago. He couldn’t find it, and called the other team in for help. Ryder and Waver helped distract the girls while Waver helped the Bull search. The eventually found a crate full of psyche, a powerful magic-enhancing stimulant, hidden in Ali’s study. Convinced by now that Margaret isn’t there, the team returned to the warehouse. Watcher set up a sniping position while Peter stayed in the car. Two guards were posted outside the door, and one of them was sniped. The Bull charged the other one, roaring as he did so. The doors burst open, and eight more guards streamed out into a combat formation. One walked up to the Bull and pushed a long claw through his face as the rest of the guards opened fire on him. Watcher immediately sniped the freak, saving the Bull from another hit. The Bull hefted his machine gun and wasted the rest of the unit in one sweep. However, this hail of bullets not only devastated the guards but also the crates inside. With lethal force, the Bull accidentally toppled a large tower of said crates, and it was discovered that each crate had a small girl inside. The total death count neared 300. Entering the warehouse, the rest of the group cleared the rest of the crates of their contents. Near the back of the warehouse, they found a large machine. The crates closer to the machine were filled with psyche, and Hermann surmised with Waver’s help that the machine transferred the astral auras of the children into psyche. The group is enraged.

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Ghoultown
Racist!

Setting out on their own to calm down the raging beast, Waver, Watcher, and the Bull were stopped on a street corner by a shady Johnson. He offered 8000 nuyen up front to exterminate a local community of ghouls. Passing through a border crossing, Waver gave his SIN and license and was allowed through to Tir Tairngire. Upon arrival at the community, they found the neighboring human village had been put to the torch. Questioning the elder ghoul proved worthless, so Waver tracked a slight astral signature from the starting point of the blaze and traced it back to a single astrally-active ghoul. The ghoul roughed him up and got him to spit out a stuttering confession. While Waver and the Bull debated over the correct way to dispose of the criminal, Watcher lost patience with the situation and shot the ghoul in the head. They delivered the body to the elder ghoul, who thanked them and directed them towards the quickest way back to Seattle.

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Bug City
The Ant Prophecy

The runners were called before the Corporate Court to be tasked with bringing a deed from Chicago back to Seattle. The deed was for Saeder-Krupp to legally inhabit an irradiated area near Tir Tairngire, and it was located within the Great Library. They were also given a time limit of 24 hours. Making short time to Bug City, the runners soon found themselves tailed by a small biker gang. It was led by Jerry Sandski, an academic who had lost his family. He offered to lead them to the library, but his path was blocked by a large Roach Spirit. He and Ryder together made short work of it, and his gang used explosives to detonate the body. It let out a death scream as Ryder shot it up, though, and the scuttling swarm could be heard rising behind the group.

Once they made it to the library, they found the doors were locked. With the swarm fast approaching, Jerry suggested running into the sewers to escape. Ant Spirits followed them down, and Waver attempted to slow them with a fireball. However, as he didn’t want to look at them, he thrust his hand backwards to attempt to hit them. He felt a burning sensation in a his hand, and flailed it around to try and stop it. Finally giving in and looking at his hand, he found a charred stump. He’d lost his right hand. Meanwhile, the Ant swarm was speaking to the running group, saying things like “Run, fools… run,” and “You can’t escape. You can’t escape your destiny. He will awake.”

At the end of the sewer was a door to the library basement, and the whole group made it through in time to shut the door on the swarm. Making their way upstairs, and dropping prodigious amounts of plastic explosive along the way, the runners found the great hall of the library. Searching in the ‘deed’ section of the library proved fruitful, and Waver and Ryder found the deed at the same time. What they failed to notice, however, was the Spider Spirit on the ceiling. It grabbed Peter by the head and pulled him upwards. Watcher heard his panicked shots and killed the Spirit before Peter got too close. The group heard the door splinter downstairs, heralding the arrival of the Ants, and decided to get out of there. Running through the hall and bursting through the entrance, the runners were happily surprised to see a Corporate Court helicopter waiting for them. Getting onboard, the relieved group flew high into the sky. Jerry blew the explosives he’d placed, in an attempt to kill the Bugs still within the library. Out of the wreckage, however, rose a massive Mantis Spirit.

Within seconds, the Mantis brought down the helicopter. Jerry and Ryder managed to get a few bursts of machine gun fire in, and Watcher hit the Bug with an enchanted sniper bullet that caused a Fireball spell to go off. The helicopter began a controlled descent as soon as it was clear it wouldn’t be able to make it, but the Mantis crushed it and pushed it to the ground. The Mantis used this break in the fight to heal itself. The mounted machine guns, and gunners, were crushed beneath the metal. Ryder escaped easily, but Jerry was stuck. Watcher pulled out his rocket launcher and hit the Mantis full on, causing it to sway before dying. Waver ran to the car and sprayed a stream of acid at the Spirit, ultimately killing it. Watcher pulled Jerry out of the helicopter and ran to the car, letting everyone get away before the Mantis fell. The impact caused a shockwave that shook the city, but the runners made it back to Seattle without too much more trouble. Meeting with the Corporate Court with two hours left, they were simultaneously praised and admonished for finding the deed, but failing to save the Court-ordered chopper. They were still paid handsomely, and Jerry was given a job at Saeder-Krupp.

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Loose Ends
Tying them up...

The group visited the warehouse to check up on the machine. Waver fast-talked his way past the police guards and saw that they were already dismantling it. He told them to send the pieces to Jerry, and instructed him to split up the pieces in several dumps. Later, on the way to kill Sumayya Ali, each member of the team received a message titles “Watch this. Now.” from an anonymous sender. The video enclosed showed Fuji and Ordo’s execution, with the words ‘This is for Bug City’. Purple light rose from their bodies and shot off-screen. Upon arrival at Ali’s apartment, the runners took out their anger on her by cutting off her head and blowing it to pieces. Hermann traced the message to an @tir.com address, but nothing more specific than that could be found.

Two weeks later, FastJack contacted the Mystery. Data about weapons research is being deleted from the Matrix, and the decker has upgraded the whole team’s commlinks to decks (temporarily). Waver took the initiative and called Shiawase and Saeder-Krupp to talk about it. Jerry told him about Building 7C, the radiation testing building, where money is being poured in with little to no benefit being seen. Shiawase also told him about money going into Matrix research with no visible benefit. Infiltrating 7C, Waver found a ton of dirty bombs, and a large basement. He is puzzled as to the purpose, and how all of this fits together. And purple light has enveloped every member of the team, absorbed by their bodies.

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The Red Queen
Saving DeeCee

The runners felt immensely powerful after absorbing the light, and Peter quickly cracked the encryption on the email address. It was sent from S3ERV33O@tir.com, which was found to be REDQUEEN@tir.com. Ryder recognized this title as her mother’s, and they set off to find her. Upon entering the Tir Tairngire office where Llewellyn Kortos was supposed to work, Ryder name-dropped her mother. Guards streamed in and were summarily taken care of by the seasoned killers. The group quickly found Kortos’s room upstairs, and she explained everything with the help of General LeMont. She shared her visions with Ryder, and explained they had sent a nuclear device to DeeCee in order to pre-emptively stop a rift from opening up there. The runners, suitably surprised, set about trying to stop this. They called in the help of Merlock Madigan, who loaned them an Odin Mech. With his help, they intercepted the missile and flew back in a few minutes. Kortos was furious with them, and tricked them into entering a gas chamber. The runners are unconscious now, in the clutches of Kortos and LeMont.

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Two Weeks Later
Repercussions

The runners were tortured in turn by Marcus and Kortos. Ryder wore a mask of needles, Waver lost his unnatural hand once more, Watcher broke down in tears, and the Bull was agonized by the elves. During the interrogation, Marcus let slip the name of the nuke: the Tribomb.

During their two weeks of incarceration, however, things have changed outside. The UCAS has tracked the missile back to Tir Tairngire and declared war. In response, the elves have sent stormtroopers to take Seattle. The Corporate Court is angered over the loss of profit war brings (except Ares, they’re loving it). Tir na nOg has also declared war under General LeMont, but it’s a much smaller threat than the mainland enemy.

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Escape from Tir Tairngire
Nyarlathotep

The Bull woke in a white room. Ryder, Peter, Waver, and Watcher were all unconscious around him, and each slowly woke as he searched for a way out. Waver projected himself outside to try and find the group’s stolen gear. He killed two enemy mages on the way, and discovered both the location of the gear and the keycode to unlock his cell. Appearing before the cell’s guards, he tried to convince them that the runners had escaped. The guard didn’t believe the story, and Waver killed him. The other guard, fearing for his life, unlocked the door. Running through the complex, Watcher used the dead guard’s pistol to kill the mages’ partners, and the group reclaimed their loot. They ran down to the lobby and killed the receptionist (who was blocking the exit) before escaping. Gunfire followed them, but they made it to their vehicles in time. They passed through the border crossing with ease, and the purple light restored Ryder’s sight.
Upon entering Seattle, the group received a message telling them to head to the Corporate Court immediately. During the drive, they decided to confirm the run with FastJack and receive their payment. They relayed the information they learned to him in the Matrix, and he seemed pleased. Then his form glitched out and became a monstrous humanoid. He revealed himself as the Crawling Chaos, and Waver remembered an old story he had read that used that name. The Crawling Chaos was a moniker for Nyarlathotep, one of the more powerful entities in the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. Nyarlathotep explained much and more about the Horrors, and alluded to a force even more powerful than them.
Arriving at the Corporate Court, the runners were let in without a wait. The Court looked the same, except a blue-skinned man sat in Saeder-Krupp’s chair. Ryder instead saw a dragon where the man sat, and Waver recognized him as a dracoform. He set the runners upon the Red Queen, bidding them to kill her and LeMont. He told them she was holed up with the powerful families of Tir na nOg, and changed her location often. The runners left quickly to follow out his commands.

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