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'Sokay. Peg appreciates the advice anyway.
And, whoa, was yesterday's session busy.

Let's see... first off, a couple corrections.

"Beekovar" turns out to be "Bikavèr", Hungarian for "bull's blood".

During the fight in the warehouse, mentioned up in the middle of the big summary above, it wasn't Esbeth who was hors de combat, and it wasn't from wounds. Valentine got paralyzed by the barghest's howl right at the start and ended up just standing frozen in the middle of the fight.

Oh, and somewhere along the line -- I still can't remember where -- we encountered a Blackberry Cat named Carl who attached himself to Esbeth. Esbeth's player seems to have bailed on the campaign, so Carl has re-attached himself to Bikavèr, who is the only magical in the party who isn't some variety of dog person.

So, that said, the session started a couple days after the last full session, to allow for Lukas' magical training and casting. The group got back together and returned to the crypt where we had the unfortunate encounter with the goblins. Judging from the fact that we ran into no further goblins, and saw no new evidence of them, I think we must have wiped out the only band of them in the catacombs.

Anyway, with Wolfgang scouting ahead, we proceeded deeper into the tunnels. Some distance in we found a pressure plate trap in the floor, but it was only three feet wide and after a few minutes looking to see if we had anything we could jam it with, we just decided to jump over it, which we all did with ease.

And a few hundred feet down the tunnel, Wolfgang warned us of a dead end with a lair of sorts in it -- ghouls. We approached carefully, but Bikavèr was spotted by one stationed as a lookout, and then it was just a matter of blowing the hell out of them. It took only one combat turn; the last few ghouls escaped by diving down a hole they'd camouflaged with a mound of garbage, leaving us with eight dead ghouls from which to get "tokens" (ears, for some reason) to prove our kills to the local government.

Ylva, annoyed that the rest got away, lobbed a fire bolt down the escape hole and apparently set something on fire, as smoke started coming out of the hole and just kept getting thicker and smellier as we took the tokens and left the catacombs.

One of Bikavèr's contacts did the actual redemption of the tokens for us, and we all got invited to her place for breakfast the next morning, which was a massive Hungarian spread. Turns out she's the wife of a Saeder-Krup "specialist" -- read "loyal corporate runner" -- and has some major contacts of her own in the corp.

Anyway, later in the day, Ylva gets a call from one of her contacts, who's turned up some info on her father. According to the very short document that was couriered to her, her father took a team into neighboring Westphalia (an independent Catholic theocracy) to find an abandoned corp lab there -- some kind of agri-business. That was about six months ago, and no one's heard from them since.

Meanwhile, Bikavèr's other contacts let us know that while it hasn't hit the media, missing children have been a slowly growing problem in the area over the last year, and that probably means the traffickers we took out the week before were only part of a bigger operation. They also tell us to back off on the traffickers for the moment. Information on them is now in the hands of Saeder-Krupp security (S-K basically being the government in the area for all practical purposes); if S-K hasn't gone after them in a month, we can take another shot at them. (And someone in S-K security is probably covering for them, which adds its own complications.)

In anticipation of a trip to Westphalia, Yuroichi bought a Renault-Fiat Eurovan (camping package). Valentine, who is as much a rigger as a decker, needs a week to put rigging gear in it (and beef it up a little). While she does that, Lukas hits up Oskar for Increased Reflexes 3. Oskar only has Increased Reflexes 2, so Lukas spends the week designing his own version of IR3; when he's done he casts and Quickens it on himself.

During that same week, Ylva, Yuroichi and Bikavèr follow up on a lead about a nest of Barghests outside of the urban zone. They spend a day or so hunting, and finally find the nest about an hour before sunset (useful, as Barghests are nocturnal). Ylva and Yuroichi take up sniping positions, Bikavèr gets close to the cave in which the nest is located, and Ylva lobs a fire bolt into the cave to drive the Barghests out. Turns out there are three, and two sniper shots and one killing hands strike later, they're calling in an autopiloted rental van so they can get the bodies back to Bikavèr's fixer. Bikavèr negotiates 40K nuyen per Barghest plus an exchange of favors with the fixer. And that's where things ended.
I have to say this is a very different change on a group of runners. I have not seen anyone play little kids before in the game. I did start a character out at the age of 14 and a elf. I have been playing her though 3 different versions of the game. Right now getting ready to play her in 5th this next month and have to write up her back story which is very long since i started her in 1st ed about 1990 or so when i was in freshman year of high school. She is elven adept mage decker combo. She can only cast spells and has a lot of stuff that she has done and gotten over the years. I think she is about 17 right now in the game world and have to figure out how to explain where she has been for 15 plus years since the game is now in 2080 i think and the last notes i have are 2056.
And we were supposed to have the next session yesterday, but Peg has the flu, so it's been rescheduled for the 1st.
And we had the session on the 1st, except Helen, Attila, and Tiffany (Yuroichi's player) all showed up an hour and a half late. And when Helen volunteered to go get dinner, she came back with a flat tire, and the game ended up suspended while a AAA repair guy failed to break the wheel free so he could change it to the donut, and then while we waited for a tow truck to come to take her car to a local tire place so they could use their equipment to break the wheel free. Basically all that happened was that Lukas quickened Increased Reflexes on Ylva, and we got on the road to Westphalia. The only real excitement was all of us under 16 piling out of the car to cross the border illegally about a kilometer off the Autobahn while Yuroichi had to go through the legitimate border crossing. (This is necessary because Westphalia is a theocratic state that doesn't like metahumans or shamans and would deny us entry. Yuroichi is the only non-shamanic pure-strain human among us.) She crossed without raising suspicions, and we got across with no problems despite the patrols and the mine field.
Oh, I forgot to mention, at the beginning of that last session Bikavèr had the karma to get to grade 1 initiation, and Lukas is still without enough karma to either bond his new weapon focus or to initiate further.

Next session is the 26th. Hopefully more will get done.

EDIT: Corrected date for wrong game.
The game just finished a little while ago. I'll transcribe my write-up of the events some time in the next day or two. I will say, with the increased Body score, Lukas can now tank some pretty hefty attacks even when forgetting to use his combat pool...
Yeah, I know it's been more than a couple of days.  Sorry.

Anyway, at the end of the last session, Yoruichi met up with us at the side of the road about a mile past the border, and we all piled into the Eurovan and started our cheery jaunt across the oppressive theocratic dystopia of Westphalia to our destination, Messern Biochemie -- an abandoned agricorp complex a few kilometers northwest of Paderborn.  The highway we're on is not heavily used -- in fact, we see no other cars at all.  

We're not moving for even half an hour before Yoruichi has to hit the brakes as over a dozen near-pony-sized dog-things run across the road in front of us, dragging something limp and suspiciously man-sized.  It takes only a moment for us to realize that it's a pack of schwarzer bluthunds (AKA bogies to English-speaking runners).  We note that there are two apparent Alphas among them, judging by sheer size.

Naturally we get out, because we're socially-conscious individuals who do not like the idea of, well, bogies to begin with, as they are unpleasant beasts.  Five (including one of the Alphas) keep going across and then off the road with their limp, man-sized package in tow, while the remaining ten (including the other Alpha) stop and face us, intent on us not doing anything about their fun.  To discourage us, the Alpha with the rear guard howls, which causes a fear effect if you didn't follow the link above.  Yoruichi fails to resist and dives back into the van, cowering in the footwell under the steering wheel.  She's joined by Ylva's wolf Skadi, who also failed.  Lukas' familiar Wolfgang also fails and retreats to the Astral Plane.

Naturally the troll is the fastest of us, so Bikavèr right off the bat chases after the five who've left the road, running past two of the bogies to do so.  This gives them attacks of opportunity on him, also known as "committing suicide" because he automatically counterattacks both -- he kills one and seriously wounds the other.

Benefiting greatly from the Increased Reflexes 3 she now has quickened on her, Ylva acts next and picks off two with her hunting rifle.  Lukas stunbolts another.

A bogie then attacks Bikavèr and dies by counterattack.  Lukas is attacked by two more, but between his armor and his magically-improved Body tanks both attacks, taking not a scratch, and kills one of them with a counterattack, using the unbound knife focus which he is carrying.  Another bogie tries to get Valentine, but bounces off her armor.

Bikavèr catches up with the five off the road and kills the other Alpha.  The seriously injured bogie he left in his wake starts running (limping?) away.  Ylva kills the Alpha facing the rest of the group, and then takes out the bogie still standing by Lukas.  Lukas then kills the fleeing bogie with his slingshot.  Oh, and somewhere in there Valentine ganked the one that attacked her.

Oh, and Bikavèr kills the other four bogies off in the brush at the side of the road with aggravating casualness and an outrageous degree of overkill.  <grin>

All in all, not bad for a single combat round.

Oh, and when all the bad doggies are gone, Yoruichi comes out from under the steering wheel, Skadi emerges from the blankets she buried herself under, and Wolfgang sheepishly returns from Astral Space.

Being good citizens, we drag the dead bogies off the road.  While doing so, we notice that they're branded under the chin with a design that looks like crossed swords with a fiery halo around the intersection.

Bikavèr comes out of the brush carrying a seriously wounded orc -- who in addition to bogie bites appears to have been tortured for quite a while.  We decide to keep him, having always wanted a wounded orc, and put him in the back of the van.  Once we're back on the road, Lukas cast a Treat on him to take care of the most recent of his wounds, and cleans him up with a Makeover.  Then we dig through one of our medkits and set him up with a glucose drip.

When he wakes up a bit later, we learn his name (which I forgot to write down), and that he was a migrant construction worker who stupidly tried to do a job in metahuman-hostile Westphalia.  He got caught by the Himmelsrecken, the Westphalian secret church police, whose symbol oddly enough turns out to be a pair of crossed swords with a halo.  Apparently, after interrogating him they've been indulging in the fine Christian pastime of torturing a prisoner, leaving him far the worse for wear.

Not long after that, we pass by the only other traffic we encounter on this highway -- a Himmelsrecken troop carrier, heading toward where we had our little disagreement with the bogies. We unanimously decide to change our route and take some smaller backroads instead.

When we get close to our objective, we set the orc up in a cheap motel with Wolfgang in one of his human forms watching over him.  Then we head to Messern Biochemie to see what we can find out about Ylva's dad.  However, before we can even get close Valentine spots a lot of security systems in place on the road to the complex, and convinces us to be very cautious.  She launches her Condor balloon-drone and surveys the complex from above.

Surprise, surprise, the complex is not abandoned.  Someone with a fair amount of equipment, men, and training has moved in and taken the place over.  And that someone is (even greater surprise) the Himmelsrecken.  Valentine generates a map using the drone's data; going over the map and what other info Valentine's drone has been able to gather, we get a good sense of at least some of their defenses, and determine that the building that used to be a "Welcome Center" is probably the HQ for base security.  We have some discussion about this, and being the bunch of impulsive kids experienced professionals bunch of impulsive kids that we are, we decide we're going to try to get into the "Welcome Center"; our goal is to see if we can access the systems within it and subvert at least some of the defenses to make it easier to get into the main building(s) of the complex.

Bikavèr follows the fence around about a quarter of the way counterclockwise and simply jumps it to see if he can -- just after a large earth elemental rolls through on a patrol.  He jumps back out and gets Valentine with the intent of jumping back in while carrying her, and stealthing them both to the "Welcome Center".  To improve their odds, Lukas summons a Force 6 field spirit to provide Concealment to them as they head to the Welcome Center and as they stand at the door trying to get in.  The spirit is worth every penny as it manages to keep the earth elemental from spotting the pair when it rolls through again.  After it passes Valentine cracks the keypad and gets them inside, but warns us that it was on an a separate doors-only system.  They take their security seriously here.

And that was where we ended for the night.

A few quotes from the session for your amusement:

(right after Yoruichi hid in the van)
"Why do we work with a teenager again?"
"Because she has a car and can drive."

Helen:  "You're like the sixth-graders from Hell!"
Peggy:  "I'm a fourth-grader."

"Does Bikavèr count as full cover?"
"If he keeps his knees together."
We had a session yesterday, and I have a page and a half of hand-written notes on what happened, and probably no time to enter them today. But soon.
Okay, I finally have a few minutes to sit down with my notes.

So the game picked up where we left off, with Bikavèr and Valentine huddled around the now-unlocked door in one end of the "Welcome" building, with the field spirit still concealing them. From their vantage point outside the fence, Lukas, Ylva and Yuroichi spot a pack of some kind of canine creatures -- maybe hellhounds, maybe more bogies, we can't tell -- coming from the east. We let Bikavèr and Valentine know, and when we do, Valentine suggests that the rest of us join them because she doesn't think that she can disable the complex's defenses to let us through from where they are.

So when the guard dog-things go past, Bikavèr comes back to the fence to get Lukas, Ylva and Yuroichi inside. Ylva briefly considers taking up a sniper nest in a tree, but we (the players) point out to Peggy that if she does that, she'll miss all the action. So Ylva doesn't do that.

Bikavèr carries Lukas, Ylva and Yuroichi over the fence one at a time, coming dangerously close to faceplanting while carrying Ylva and all her gear. Together we all stealth over to the "Welcome" building -- barely so, for Lukas. Before we step into the building and out of the domain of the field spirit, Lukas gives it one last task -- to use its Accident power to give us a way out under the fence where we came in, by collapsing the ground or something to give us wiggle space big enough for Bikavèr to get through.

While he does that, the others realize they can hear heavy vehicles on the other side of the main "factory" building in the center of the complex.

We enter, and find ourselves at one end of a hallway running the length of the building, with a plassteel security booth about halfway down on the left; fortunately the angle is such that we just see the sheen of the window facing onto the hall, but not the guard inside. We hear people sparring through a door to our immediate left, and what sounds like idle conversation drifting out of a door ahead on the right.

While Lukas calls up a Force 6 hearth spirit to Conceal us here, Ylva goes astral and scouts the building, finding three areas that are warded and about a dozen adults scattered throughout the unwarded areas, including a few sleeping in a barracks while two more are taking showers.

She returns to her body and gives us the rundown. With her info, we make our way through the building, knocking out (mostly) the security staff, relying on a combination of Stealth, speed and Force 6 Concealment to cover us. (Anyone who got knocked out was also ziptied and gagged.) Ylva, Yuroichi and Bikavèr rapidly take out the sleepers and the folks in the little gym -- with two fatalities, including a naked guy in a shower who thought it was a good idea to try to rush a nine-year-old with a rifle trained on him when she surprised him and told him "Freeze!"

Lukas has the spirit Alienate the guard in the booth. (For those who don't know the system, Alienation effectively turns its target invisible, inaudible and intangible so they can have no affect on the world around them. It's not perfect -- a difficult roll on the right skill or attribute will let them get through it momentarily -- but for our needs, which is to keep him from sounding the alarm for a few minutes, it's perfect.)

When we get down to the booth we discover that it's across the hall from the building's computer room, which has the usual big glass window facing out onto the hallway. (This, as it turns out, is one of the warded areas.) As we approach, Valentine botches her stealth and one of the two techs in the glass room notices a little Elf girl where she most definitely should not be. He rushes out into the hall to confront her, and Bikavèr sucker-punches him while Ylva props the door open.

The other tech notices this and goes to hit the big red panic button on his console, but before he can, Yuroichi flash-steps to his side and knifes him.

Valentine plugs into the computers while Lukas keeps an Astral eye on the Alienated security guy. Bikavèr, Yuroichi and Ylva continue through the building taking out the rest of the staff on duty, aided by the surprise factor inherent in an invading force of heavily-armed schoolchildren suddenly appearing out of thin air in the middle of the night inside the security station. When they finish, all that's left is the last two warded areas, both of which are behind some heavy doors.

Meanwhile, Lukas notices that the guard in the booth is trying to hit his panic button. Because he does have a remote chance of success, Lukas goes out into the hall to make faces at him through the plassteel wall of the security booth in an effort to distract him. "Don't bother," Valentine says, "I've got control of the building systems and his button isn't going to do anything." She then tells us that one of the last two warded areas are an armory and its own dedicated guard booth, and maybe we'd like to raid it?

Indeed we do, so all of us (other than Valentine) pop the door to the hallway to the guard post, inside which is a guy whose evening is suddenly a lot more interesting than he ever expected it to be. Ylva drops her guns out of his sight and then walks up to his plassteel window. "Have you seen my daddy?" she asks with big innocent eyes and honeyed tones.

The guard blink-blinks. "Who are you? What's your name?"

Her eyes get bigger and her lip quivers. "We were camping nearby and he went away and didn't come back..."

Innocent blonde nine-year-olds looking for their daddies are not in the Himmelsrecken guard instruction book, and combined with the rest of us piling into the little hallway, this guy fails his Keep Cool Under Pressure roll and starts freaking. He tries to get into the armory behind him while yammering on a walkie-talkie. "It's jammed," Valentine assures us over our private link. "In fact, I've screwed with their jamming so we're the only ones with working comms right now." She then takes over the building P.A. in the booth and says, "You should let us in. It'll hurt less that way."

Bikavèr starts punching the passteel, starring and cracking it on his first hit. "You might want to stand back and cover your eyes," Valentine says over the P.A. just before Bikavèr's second hit shatters the plassteel, and the guard is utterly boggled at its destruction. Bikavèr steps through the shattered wall, looms over the guard, and bellows "KNEEL!"

Ylva scampers after him and walks up to the guard. "So you really don't know where my daddy is?" she asks.

Faced with the overwhelming power brought to bear by this group of children, the guard makes his Common Sense roll and gives up. Bikavèr briefly interrogates him -- we find out his name is Gunther and he's little more than a rent-a-cop. He has seen some interesting things around here, like prisoners that go into the main building and never come back out, and that they're using lots of chemicals, including stuff we figure out from his description is DMSO. Bikavèr then offers him twice his current pay and pick of the stuff in the armory if he'll come to work for us.

This naturally makes the rest of us go, "What?" And while we discuss this, Valentine warns of a shift change coming in an hour. She also pulls Ylva aside and lets her know that she's found a record of Ylva's father and the group he was leading getting captured by the Himmelsrecken when they witnessed the delivery of a truck full of chemicals to the complex. But she needs access to the commander's computer -- currently turned off and behind a locked door in the last warded area -- to get more.

While Gunther is under guard, Bikavèr breaks down the door to the commander's office and gets the computer turned on. The next half hour is spent ransacking the armory and loading all the goodies we can get onto a wheeled cart we found inside, while Valentine ransacks the commander's computer. When she's done she takes Ylva aside and tells her that she thinks Ylva's father is almost certainly dead. She's learned that the Himmelsrecken have been researching the mechanism of goblinization so they can figure out how to reverse it. Apparently one of the things they've learned is how to trigger goblinization, and Ylva's father probably became one of the test subjects -- who never survive the testing.

Ylva is not happy, but we have more important concerns right now -- like getting out of this complex and then out of Westphalia. We beat feet, dragging half the armory and Gunther the guard along with us as Valentine remotes our van to drive up almost to the complex gates. One of the last things she does before she jacks out of the security systems is set the complex defenses to let us out while opening fire on everything but us, including (of course) the Himmelsrecken forces.

Lukas conjures his most powerful spirit yet -- a Force 8 field spirit -- to Conceal us and the van, and because of the power of the spirit takes physical damage from the drain he doesn't reduce; he wipes a trickle of blood from under his nose. Under its protection and while the complex is in chaos behind us, we throw everything into the van and leap in, except for Bikavèr and Ylva (the latter with her Barrett) who climb onto the top of the van. (So she can shoot anything that gets through the Force 8 Concealment, while he keeps her from falling off.)

We book for the motel where we left Wolfgang and Roksa the construction orc, warning Wolfgang that we're there and to be ready to literally jump into the van when we get there in, like, five minutes. We get there, and a little negotiation with the spirit adds them to the Concealment. (The spirit seems amused at us for some reason.) They pile in the massively-overfull van and we're off to an abandoned/blocked border crossing, very fast, with Bikavèr and Ylva holding on for dear life to the roof.

It's like a hundred miles to Berlin, we have a full van, half a Himmelsrecken armory, it's dark out, and we're wearing tactical gear. If I had thought to actually say this, followed by "Hit it", I would have been far cleverer than I actually was at that point.

Anyway, as we race down the highways and side roads in the dark of the early morning hours, there are all kinds of Westphalian police and military vehicles going past us and critters flying over us, and none of them notice us. We pull off the main road and find ourselves at the blocked and shut-down border crossing -- with a minefield and a concrete barrier between us and (relative) safety.

Ylva summons a Force 1 spirit -- and spends some Karma for rerolls to get seven services out of it. She directs it to use its Accident power to disable six mines in a "lane" for us to reach the concrete wall -- and for its last service to tell us how many mines are left in the lane and where they are. It comes back and tells us there are only two mines left between us and the wall and vanishes back into astral space.

Valentine very very very carefully navigates the van over those last two mines until we're right by the wall. Then Bikavèr gets out and does his wrecking ball impression. (Those physical adept Automatic Successes are seriously OP.) It takes him several more blows to break down the barrier than it took to break the plassteel back at the complex, and just as he finishes, the Field Spirit lets Lukas know that a fire elemental, set to watch the border crossing, is setting fire to the woods around us. And then it attacks.

Lukas tries to Banish it, since he had so much luck with those toxic spirits only a few weeks earlier, but it's a Force 10 spirit and he doesn't do more than distract it long enough for Bikavèr to attack it astrally. As usual with Bikavèr and non-inanimate targets, one hit and it's destroyed.

Bikavèr gets back on the van and we cross back into our native land at something like 3 or 4 AM. As we drive back to the sprawl, Lukas has a conversation with the Field Spirit, who is quite interested in us. Bikavèr and Ylva join the conversation when the spirit observes that we seem ... unusual for non-Astral creatures in its experience.

At 8 AM we're in Lünen, on our way to Dortmund, and we rent a second van (from the same service that Bikavèr, Ylva and Yuroichi used a couple weeks earlier) to relieve the overloading/overcrowding of the Eurovan. We redistribute the contents, inventorying our take as we do so, and the continue on the way home. After those of us who wanted some of the gear took it (Lukas took a grenade launcher and a mix of ammo), Bikavèr took the remainder to his contact Magda to fence it.

Magda is very maternal toward Bikavèr -- she wants to know what we were doing in Westphalia and why. He explains to her satisfaction, then negotiates 55K nuyen in cash and 35K nuyen in trade credit for the stuff from the armory.

The 55K plus money from Yuroichi outright buys the warehouse we were going to get. We talk Gunther into being our security guy, and hire Roksa to do the remodeling we're going to need; Yuroichi also covers their salaries and materials for the remodel until we get another influx of cash.

And that's where we left off, except for the spending of Karma.

EDIT: And I forgot the quotes from this session:

Helen: (to Ylva) So you're hoping this is another stupid guard?
Tiffany (Yuroichi): It's worked well so far.

Gunther: (about how the Himmelsrecken are just as scary as Bikavèr) They do sick stuff like that, too.
Bikavèr: Yeah, but I'm only eight years old.

Me: We're the kind of thing trained professionals don't expect!

Field spirit: Aren't you all young for humans?
Lukas: I've been told I'm a prodigy.
Field spirit: And the others?
Lukas: They're just weird.
Judging by the fact that this thread has about 15 to 20 times more views than any other thread on the subboard, I'll guess that people are reading it. It'd be nice to know what you're thinking, though... I've mentioned this thread to the other players and they're curious, too...

Just a bit of info: Magda is Zoltan's mentor... our fixer is Katarina. Wink
I stand corrected.

Oh, I should probably also note, for those wondering why Lukas is so worked up over a weapon focus, that Helen uses a house rule that weapon foci are also power foci. So Lukas has, with the cumulative Karma from the last few sessions, finally bonded a Rating 3 focus that he can also use as a magic weapon.
... What I am thinking is that I am so far out of the loop now that all I can do is get enjoyment and bogglement from reading the feats of others Sad
I didn't play 2nd edition, so I'm not familiar with the Alienate spell, but gods I could have wished for it on several runs.
(02-26-2019, 05:01 PM)Star Ranger4 Wrote: [ -> ]...  What I am thinking is that I am so far out of the loop now that all I can do is get enjoyment and bogglement from reading the feats of others Sad

What he said. It's been over a year since I rolled dice in fun.
Well, we had a session yesterday, but unfortunately I didn't take any notes this time. Tiffany has a sore throat so the session was actually going to get canceled, but Attila, Peg and I talked Helen into a low-key, "let's catch up our character sheets and do maintenance stuff" kind of session. (And Tiffany will also get this when she's feeling better.) Which was why I didn't take notes at first -- then it mutated into outright roleplaying after an hour or so and it didn't occur to me to start taking notes until well into the evening. So all of the following is from memory. Since Attila and Helen are on the board, even if they're mostly lurkers, if I get anything wrong I'm sure they'll post corrections.

We started, as I said, with maintenance stuff, the biggest part of which was figuring out where we were on the calendar. While Helen had had a firm start date in late spring 2055 for the beginning of the campaign, we've been going through a year of gaming saying things like, "on the next Saturday X" and "after a week, Y", and actually had no idea what the current date really was. We sat down with a browser open to a copy of the 2055 calendar and this thread, and worked it out on almost a day-by-day basis, and basically, as of the end of last night's session, it's something like the 20th of June. Which I just realized means that shortly Lukas isn't going to have to worry about school for a two and a half months... cool.

We all also had something like 25 Karma banked up, plus what we got at the start of yesterday for the previous session, so we were also applying that. I'd already marked down the bonding cost for the Rank 3 weapon/power focus that I've had for months now. I started the game with an unbound Power Focus 2 as part of my initial purchase of equipment; I gave it to Ylva since I got the knife, and Peg spent 10 points right away to bond that.

Anyway, since Helen was dealing with each of the three of us separately, what happened is that three separate one-on-one games evolved out of the individual maintenance sessions. At one point they all intersected -- you'll know that when we come to it -- then diverged again.

So let's get started. Basically we took off from a little after the point where the last session ended -- we were in our part of Northrhine-Ruhr (not Berlin as I've been saying for over a year), or at least close enough to it that we could break off and head back to our lives.

The portion of the last game where Bikavèr sold off our "salvage" from the Himmelsrecken was really part of his storyline, strictly speaking, but Helen picked up with him some time after the sale. Attila, if you're reading this, can you please flesh out what Bikavèr did? Because it's the part I remember the least about since I was busy studying my character sheet and planning my changes while you were doing it. What I recall is Bikavèr heading back to Magda's place and picking up some equipment; he also initiated to Grade 3, if I recall correctly. And dammit, I'm drawing a blank -- I know you did more than that before the afternoon of 19 June, Attila, but I can't remember what. I can't even recall what new Phys Ad abilities you bought with the magic point you got from your initiation.

Ylva arranged to have Valentine send the information about her father to her uncle (with whom she's staying in Germany) through multiple anonymous redirects. This resulted in the two of them heading back to Sweden for several days for a memorial service -- during which time Ylva reported in to her grandfather, who is the closest thing to a "handler" that she has. In addition to the service itself, she spent time in the wild with him, reconnecting with her roots and communing with Wolf.

When she got back from Sweden, she too initiated -- to Grade 1, performing an Astral Quest ordeal to reduce the cost. Because Helen wasn't prepared to run it as a roleplaying exercise, she let me guide Peggy through the process using alternate "pure die rolls" method. Ylva was roaming the metaplanes looking for Wolf for quite a while before reaching the Citadel -- the destination of all Astral Quests -- on her very last legs before passing out from the strain.

Oh, and she spent two of her last three Karma on raising her Charisma from 1 to 2, doubling the awesome impact of her personality on the people and spirits around her -- and coincidentally making it possible for her to summon spirits whose Force rank is actually half her Charisma (and thus no longer have to take outrageous drain to summon anything at all).

Lukas went right back home late in the morning, found his father was in their apartment, and assured him that he'd had lots of fun at the sleepover with his friends. Father Veidt, as always more or less oblivious to his son except to note that he's, like, there and alive, absently approved, ruffled his hair, and went back to the office to do some overtime.

After Dad left, Lukas was thinking about Ylva and how weak she was at conjuring, and decided to try his hand at using his Enchanting skill to design a spirit focus (for Field spirits) for himself. If it worked, he'd make one for her to help her conjure Forest spirits. So he spends the next four days working up a formula for a Force 3 Field spirit focus.

Meanwhile Wednesday at school, Lukas gets called to the principal's office. Confused at what's going on (because to the best of his knowledge he hasn't done anything to merit an unexpected summons), he of course goes there. The principal informs him that congratulations are in order -- Lukas has won one of the academic prizes for which he was nominated, awarded by Saeder-Krupp to outstanding students in the corp school system. And the award ceremony is today, right after school, and a shuttle will be picking him up and bringing him to the office of his father's boss, Werner Taube, where he'll receive the award.

Alarm bells ringing like crazy in his head, Lukas thanks the principal and ducks into the boys' room on his way back to class. He rings up Bikavèr on his cell phone and tells him something fishy is going on. Bikavèr, being the world's most confident 8-year-old, reassures him that if the rest of the group don't hear from him by the end of the day, they'll break him out of wherever Saeder-Krupp has him.

Well, after school, Lukas takes the shuttle, and while it does take him to the building where his father (and his father's boss) works, when he's led upstairs they go right past Herr Taube's office and to a conference room, where he's told to enter alone. Wishing desperately that he could have gotten away with bringing his knife focus to class, Lukas does so.

Inside is a single well-dressed man, who introduces himself as (forgot his first name) Erdsblut, a very highly-placed officer in the Saeder-Krupp security forces. And he wants to talk to Lukas about the international incident they almost caused over the weekend. He pops up a snippet of S-K surveillance video of the fight with the fire elemental at the border. Basically it boils down to wanting to know why we were in Westphalia, what we did there, and why we had a member of the Himmelsrecken with us on our way out. He emphasizes that while S-K doesn't really like Westphalia, we need to be on good terms with them (among other reasons because they're the breadbasket of the region).

Lukas is torn between his recently-acquired runner paranoia and his impulsive nature; he hems and haws a bit, and finally comes out with an abbreviated summary -- friend looking for father, which led accidentally to the Himmelsrecken, and hiring Gunther away from them, and that the Himmelsrecken are trying to figure out how to reverse goblinization. I got the impression that Erdsblut's kind of like a parent who has to take a child to task for something the parent actually thinks is kind of cool and amusing, but has to be a hardass about it anyway. He wants to meet with the group as a whole, and also interview Gunther in-depth. But other than that, he assures Lukas that we're really not in trouble, but should be aware that now that S-K knows about us, they're going to keep an eye on what we're up to. He gives Lukas a phone number and says if it ever pops up on one of our phones, we're to answer it immediately. And he'll be in contact soon to arrange the meet.

He shoos Lukas out, and Lukas heads home. When he gets there, he calls Bikavèr to forestall a raid on the megacorp and runs down what happened. He also contacts everyone else, and texts the phone number to everyone along with the warning that if it shows up, it's to be answered, no questions.

Bikavèr talks to Gunther about S-K Security wanting to interview him. Gunther has one main concern -- he has an elderly grandmother in a nursing home in Westphalia and is worried that the Himmelsrecken will use her to get back at him for his defection. Bikavèr being Bikavèr, he takes that number he just got for Erdsblut and calls him up and basically asks him to move Gunther's grandma into a local facility. Surprisingly, Erdsblut agrees.

A day or two later, Lukas' phone rings and Erdsblut's number appears on the caller ID. Interestingly, it's actually him, not a secretary or flunky, and he arranges to meet us all (including Yoruichi -- puppeted by Attila for the scene -- and Gunther) at a mall food court on Saturday afternoon. We meet up outside the mall and stroll on in. We find Erdsblut in jeans and polo shirt by himself at a table in the food court, drinking a strawberry shake. I won't go into detail, but basically, the meeting is amicable. He buys us lunch, confirms that Gunther's grandmother has been moved to a facility that is both good and affordable at his salary, then makes an appointment to meet with him later. He repeats that S-K Security is going to keep an eye on us, but we're free to do what we want, as long as we don't cause another international incident. Ylva speaks up at this point and tells him that the matter is very personal for her, and IIRC, she flat out said she's going back in to find and retrieve her father's remains. (I know she expressed that intent a couple times during the session, and I think one of those times was this meeting.)

All in all it was a friendly meeting. He bids us a good day, and strolls out, slurping the last bit of his shake before dropping it in the trash and disappearing into the crowd.

Anyway, after that, only two things of note happened before the end of the session. Lukas put two of his remaining Karma toward his enchanting skill. Then he took his new formula and a virgin telesma (the specially-prepared item to be enchanted, in Shadowrun parlance -- in this case a hand-selected and -shaped fieldstone) and spent four more days doing the actual enchanting, at the end of which he spent the necessary Karma to finish the process. So now he has a working Force 3 field spirit focus.

While he was doing that, Bikavèr had talked Ylva into getting cultured Tailored Pheromones, to boost her Charisma. This, however, costs about four times as much as she has handy, so the two of them went ghoul hunting again. They travel to a location the proper name of which I missed, which is massively overbuilt and has almost no natural area left. It, or the section they went to, has the nickname "Zombietown". I missed most of their travel, but they eventually found a nest of 11. They surprised the entire nest; Bikavèr attacked and killed three, and Ylva dropped a Stunblast in the middle of them. Between her new power focus and her Initiation grade, she had a 9-meter radius of effect, which actually covered the entire chamber they were in, and then some. She maxed her successes, they failed their rolls to resist, and she knocked all the survivors out. They then waltzed through and cut throats (and ears for the bounty). With a better choice of middleman than we've had before, they get the entire bounty, 110,000 nuyen.

And that was it for the night.
(03-31-2019, 04:23 PM)Bob Schroeck Wrote: [ -> ]The portion of the last game where Bikavèr sold off our "salvage" from the Himmelsrecken was really part of his storyline, strictly speaking, but Helen picked up with him some time after the sale.  Attila, if you're reading this, can you please flesh out what Bikavèr did?  Because it's the part I remember the least about since I was busy studying my character sheet and planning my changes while you were doing it.  What I recall is Bikavèr heading back to Magda's place and picking up some equipment; he also initiated to Grade 3, if I recall correctly.  And dammit, I'm drawing a blank -- I know you did more than that before the afternoon of 19 June, Attila, but I can't remember what.  I can't even recall what new Phys Ad abilities you bought with the magic point you got from your initiation.

I went back to our fence KATARINA, not Magda (STOP THAT!) She's my MENTOR, not our fixer lol & I picked up some custom weapons made for me, along with a nice amount of clips, ammo & a custom dual kydex/spectra weave shoulder rig made to house said custom weapons.  For my third grade initiation I purchased 4  improved ability stealth dice... ya the troll has to be ghost lmao.
Thanks. I knew I had something wrong because of my inattention.
^ Null perspiration. You nailed most of it from memory... don't be so hard on yourself heh. Wink
So to my surprise, Helen picked up Peggy after work last night and they went out to a local park for an hour or so to roleplay Ylva's return to Sweden in a bit more detail before swinging by Starbucks and indulging their addictions for this strange matcha concoction that Helen came up with and hooked Peggy on.

Anyway, from what Peggy told me, Ylva communed with -- and spent quite a while being comforted by -- Wolf. She had a full debriefing with her grandfather, who has given her a list of people to whom Valentine is to forward all the information about Ylva's father's death. And Grandfather, it now turns out, is making plans to get her father's remains out of Westphalia, so apparently we're not on the verge of running the border again as I thought we would be.

A detailed roleplay of the memorial service/funeral for Ylva's father is apparently coming, although I don't know when.
.... In the words of many who follow Chris Dee's Cat tales... This Can't end well, Bob.
Well. Not for the Himmelsrecken, at least. But then, I personally was kind of hoping for that.
The next session will be held on the 11th. And I have no idea where things are going.
Now I do. <grin>

Okay, before I get started on this, let me add a couple things I found in my notes yesterday. Herr Erdblut's first name turns out to be Kristian. The custom weapons Attila mentioned in one of his posts above were pistols for Yoruichi. And I missed a quote from the last session:

"We're not on an op! We're going to the mall!"

Anyway, because Helen had a work-related function to attend in the evening yesterday, we had a session that was a few hours shorter than usual, but we still got a fair bit done. Let's see...

At the very start I was handed a sheet of graph paper with the outline of the warehouse we bought on it, and told to start laying out the interior. Helen gave me the impression this was going to be important later in the session, so I got right to work on it, and kept at it for about half the session.

As I started on this, Bikavèr (with Yoruichi as driver) took Ylva to get started on her new bioware. With his contact Katarina acting as intermediary (and a short-term loan from Yoruichi), she paid for cultured Tailored Pheromones/2 and had the initial genetic samples taken for the culturing.

Meanwhile, Lukas is at the warehouse starting to set up his enchanting shop and the group medicine lodge when Gunther the guard tells him there are guys in suits wanting to talk to "the boss", and mentions they've been around before. Realizing that they must be one of the local groups like the Yakuza who run protection schemes, but not sure what what to do about them, he sends Gunther out to stall them and calls Bikavèr and the rest for advice and a consensus on what to do.

Bikavèr fortunately knows something about the groups operating in the area where we have our warehouse. There are two he says are actually okay to pay off, because they aren't (entirely) extortion schemes but actually do protect their "customers" in extreme circumstances. One is a Yakuza group called the Kesagiri; the other is an elven gang called the Ancients. If either of those approach us, I learn, we deal with them. If one of the smaller and less reputable gangs tries to strong-arm us, I'm to say we're already "protected" by one of them and then sign up with them ASAP. Bikavèr also tells him to leave the phone on and he'll offer advice based on what he hears.

Lukas asks Wolfgang to take point in his "corp human" form and they troop out to the little "lobby" they left in place behind the front doors of the warehouse, and step outside. There six elves there, dressed in tailored suits -- the Ancients. I can't remember all the discussion, but it quickly becomes obvious that at least some of the elves are magically active and have caught on to the fact that Wolfgang is a spirit and the real "boss" is Lukas. The leader of the group (a Mr. Andovar) seems to be privately amused that the "new business" that seemed to be establishing itself on their turf is in fact a rather more extreme case of a gang of kids building a fort, albeit some fairly capable kids who have grown-up employees.

We get down to negotiations, and before they're done with, Bikavèr, Ylva and Yoruichi get back from their errand and join in. We settle on 3000 nuyen a month for genuine protection -- which means Ancient reinforcements if we're actually attacked on their turf -- plus a pledge to help out if they call on us for aid (in which case they'll waive the monthly "fee" whole or in part that month, depending on how much we did for them). We're appointed a regular contact with the Ancients -- Mr. Tristan, who is one of the six Ancients present. He stays behind when the others leave to take the first payment and to thrash out the details of the agreements. This he does with Bikavèr and Yoruichi... Lukas is a bit too impulsive to allow easy access to group money, after all.

Once Mr. Tristan departs, the need for more money has become obvious to all of us. I was distracted, working on the warehouse floorplan again, so I missed the details, but by the time I look up, we've apparently heard about a "need a team now" call that just went out -- a small swarm of wyrd mantises (apparently escaped from a facility that had been illegally breeding them) had attacked a farm to the east of the Ruhr metroplex. The local security forces are unable to deal with them so they need "specialists". We take the job, pile into the the van, and take off.

When we get there, Yoruichi makes the initial contact with the forces on-site while Bikavèr, Ylva and Lukas wait in the van. The locals agree to our terms, and the rest of us pile out of the van. The looks on their faces when they realize that the 16-year-old they just negotiated with is the oldest member of the team is priceless. "Kids?" one says.

"Hobbits!" Lukas shouts back over his shoulder.

"Should've told them you were dwarves," Yoruichi mutters.

Anyway, Bikavèr scouts around the edges of the farm and determines that there had to have been eight or nine mantises, and they split in five different directions when they finished with the farm. Having studied our Scooby-doo thoroughly, we naturally split the party. Bikavèr followed a pair heading toward a nearby town. Ylva and Lukas went after a single bug, and Yoruichi and Valentine did the same.

So. Bikavèr catches up to the two, and the subsequent combat is monotonously like every other Bikavèr combat: spy opposition, punch opposition, gather opposition's corpse for bounty. Yoruichi is surprised by the one she and Valentine are pursuing -- it drops out of a tree on her. It tries to bite her and inject its venom but fails. Yoruichi and it exchange blows, and then Valentine shoots it dead.

Before he and Ylva follow their target, Lukas summons a F4 storm spirit and gets enough services for him to instruct it to follow and conceal them, and to zap anything that attacks them a couple times. He, Ylva and the spirit track down their target, which because everyone's been rolling really well on tracking and perception they notice trying to use its camouflage abilities to hide in a bush. Ylva perforates it neatly with her rifle. They bag it and head off to back up Bikavèr, who's found and punched to death another by the time they reach him.

Valentine and Yoruichi find another mantis and Yoruichi blows it away neatly.

On their way to back up Bikavèr, Lukas and Ylva spot another in a tree, ready to play drop bear. Lukas wins the initiative this time and gets off a stun missile that leaves the bug reeling just before Ylva gently nudges it off its branch with a rifle bullet.

And before we actually catch up to him Bikavèr encounters the largest of the mantises and kills it with boring ease.

So we drag all the mantis bodies back to the local cops to register our bounties. The cops are like, "You just went into the woods ten minutes ago!" I remember that one of us (not me) made some kind of smug one-liner in response, but I didn't write it down and I can't remember what it was. But it did prompt a little discussion about snappy dialogue where I noted that Lukas did not put points into "Bond One-Liner".

Anyway, we then began trying to backtrack the mantises to wherever they came from. In an amusing bit, all of us with tracking made successful rolls, and as Helen put it, as one raised our arms, pointed, and said in unison, "That way."

So we went that way.

Some minutes from the farm we find a point where the group we just took out and another group of mantises split off from each other. We decide to follow the other group, and not much farther in we find three mantises disassembling some deer. Valentine, Yoruichi and Lukas leave these three in the capable hands of Bikavèr and Ylva, and return to the original trail to continue tracking the mantises back to their origin.

Between them, Bikavèr and Ylva easily deal with the mantises; he takes the three bodies back to the local cops for more bounty, while Ylva hurries to catch up with the rest of us.

The rest of us, it so happens, stumbles upon a wild minotaur, which spots them and charges. Yoruichi pulls a fancy acrobatic stunt to pull an oblivious Valentine out of the way (she was intent on her smartphone, checking on her "boss"/owner), and gets both of them well to one side.

Meanwhile, Lukas is apparently frozen, staring at the minotaur as it charges, but at the last moment actually vaults over the beast, turning a handstand on its muzzle and landing lightly behind it.

Yoruichi golfclaps, and yells, "Don't do that again!" Unfortunately this gets the creature's attention and it charges the two of them. Amazingly, it misses, and Yoruichi gets an attack of opportunity as it passes. She lashes out with an unarmed attack that, incredibly, inflicts serious stun on it, then draws one of her new pistols and fires a three-round burst at it from behind as it tries to check its momentum and turn around. She rolls well, it doesn't, and she inflicts 15D(eadly) damage on it, killing it.

Its body plows to a halt in the underbrush practically at Ylva's feet as she catches up to us.

Wild minotaurs are man-eaters and have a big bounty on them, so we're still discussing how to get it back to the local cops to cash in when Bikavèr finally rejoins us.

And that was the end of the session.
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