Skanda Biologicals is one of the world's premier producers of Awakened Biological Systems. Now, the party has been asked to penetrate their fortress, and destroy their research. But, can they find the force of will to do so?
This is a Shadowrun Setting Specific Plot / Dungeon, as originally intended to be run. As always, cyberpunk or magical elements may be removed or masqued at will for your own game.
The runners are contacted by a fixer who has used their services relatively regularly - This fixer should have a solid rep with the runners, and vice versa. He has a meet with a new Johnson for them. That is, someone new wishes to buy their services. Should they take this meeting, they will be given the address and a time-slot at an upscale restaurant, an Italian steakhouse.
Upon arrival, the maitre'd of the steakhouse will, indeed, verify their reservation, but not before he takes the time to insult any elves that happen to be among the PCs. "Daisy-eaters" is among the most gentle of the epithets he is likely to use, though they will focus on the "traditional" elven dietary habits.
When seated, Mr. Johnson will appear roughly a minute after the party has had enough time to start to get nervous about the meet going sour. He is a tall, and imposing gentleman, of eastern European descent, sporting no obvious cyberware. He does, however, to those who are able to look, radiate magic, though it will be difficult in the extreme to determine the nature of it. He is well disciplined, and well masked. He is powerful, that much is obvious, but is is uncertain exactly what he is. Not even his accent is much clue, for it will bear only the faintest traces. A particularly talented ear may determine the accent to be Magyar.
He will explain that Skanda Biologicals has begun to walk down a research path that he and his compatriots do not particularly care to have them complete, and that he would like the results of their research eliminated. For this, he will pay them the sum of 30,000 nuyen - A princely amount. He explains to them that Skanda will have buttressed their security with paranormals, but that he has full confidence in their ability to handle the job. Few real details will be forthcoming from him, however.
Skanda's primary R&D facility is set up in a relatively decent area of the city, and the surrounding area is mostly mixed commercial and residential area, of varying individual security. Police can be expected to respond to a disturbance in the area within 6 minutes, and openly carrying firepower will probably count as a disturbance, if reported. The building itself is very large in footprint, and surrounded by a fence and over twenty meters of 'green space' between the fence and walls, a raw display of wealth in the tightly packed city. There is, however, a reason for this.
"Challenge 1 - The Guardians"
On-site security begins at the fence. The yard is rigged with a variety of motion sensors and infrared cameras, the eyes and ears of the security rigger, and wired as he is, he is able to see and hear through these far more effectively and attentively than any joe at a simple bank of security cameras. Should he take note of late night intruders on the grounds, they will be ordered to display their security pass, or face the consequences. Should they not be able to display these passes, refuse to display them, or not match the ids on file, he will unleash the first line of defense: The hounds. Specifically, seven hell hounds. Well engineered, trained, and appropriately drugged, the hell hounds are a hundred kilos of pure, lupine muscle and pack instincts, with a six meter jet of raw flame to add to their punch. They're hungry, and the drugs in their system prevent them from feeling pain or fear. Runners attempting to cross the green space will find it an interesting time. The roof, meanwhile, is covered by the simple expedient of heavy machine gun turrets mounted atop the HVAC equipment.
Similar, retractable, turrets also cover both the front lobby and the loading docks, and the rigger is capable of aiming and firing all of them simultaneously, with the assistance of the building automatic systems. Throughout the building, he is also capable of deploying a handful of well armed and armored drone units. Finally, on site magical security is provided by a free spirit, who has a personal stake in several of the companies research projects. A creature of quicksilver and shadow, with the ability to duck into the astral and return at will, he will be difficult to pin down and defeat, though he is unlikely to show himself in the first stages of the run.
"Challenge 2 - The Vaults"
In order to complete their mission, the runners will need to first enter the company vaults, in order to destroy the hard copy of the data, as well as to obtain the required equipment to pass the third challenge - clean room suits. Entering the proprietary knowledge vaults, however, will take one of a few things; The PCs may use central security to generate the necessary RFID card for the maglock system, and add one of the PCs to the list of permitted retinal patterns, they may attempt to hack the system open at the door, which is extremely difficult, they may attempt social engineering before the run in order to obtain the RFID card and even ocular pattern of a person with proper access, or if all else fails, shaped charges will turn the trick... and qualify as a police disturbance, if they haven't already been summoned as backup by the rigger after the death or evasion of the hell hounds.
A general smash and burn of the offline data storage area will do the trick. The runners may attempt to decode the filing system and steal other media, or limit destruction to just the required media, but this will take time that they do not have. A side trip to the main server room may be required.
"Challenge 3 - Entering the Clean Room"
Entering the clean room is a simple matter, if the runners have had the foresight to grab chem suits from storage. One runner must remain outside to operate the airlock, while the others enter into the 'lock, with the suits on. There is a two minute timer on the doors of the airlock, where each door may only be opened in sequence two minutes after the close of the opposite door, during which the airlock is filled with first a variety of noxious chemicals designed to kill biologicals, then secondly, a 'rinse' cycle of acetone, followed by a quick, heated blow dry. While this is no particular problem for a properly suited individual, an unsuited individual will probably be severely chemical burned, and possibly blinded by the procedure. Furthermore, any caseless ammunition exposed to the process - spare clips, revolvers - will be ruined by the process, and will not fire, and jam the weapon until such time as the goop is cleaned from the gun.
"Challenge 4 - The Warrior"
Having entered the main laboratory space, the runners will be confronted with a broad array of dead chimeras and other engineered creatures, however, one is alive, and will be able to slip his bonds and fight with the party. It is, or rather was, a human being. Now, he bears so many bio- implants that he has forgotten that humanity. He fights like a savage predator would, a flurry of powerful limbs and and swift strikes, using the shadows and stealth to the best of his ability. He is also quite hungry, and is likely to take a chunk out of the runners if not dealt with quickly. Victorious, it will be a simple matter for the runners to enter the sample containment area.
"Challenge 5 - "We're here to kill that?"
By now, all on site data has been summarily disposed of, all that's left is to destroy the experiment. Thanks to the Johnson, the runners should be prepared to destroy whatever's in a particular cage number. That cage is in the back of the chimera storage area, and rather than the pet-store like stacks that the others are stowed in, this is one of three glass-walled partitions that are, quite clearly, set up to be children's bedrooms and play rooms, and only one is occupied, by what seems to be a sleeping, five year old girl. Her only sin? That would seem to be slit eyes, and a few small patches of scales at a joint or two. If her room is entered, she will most likely awaken, and have a brief moment of panicked terror, before she looks at the runner team with wide, open eyes, and asks in a trembling voice, "Mama said someone would come to take me away from the bad men. Is it you?" Options exist.
The runners can execute her, as the contract calls for. This will result in the runner team hired to break the girl out the next night being reassigned for vengance. They may attempt to kidnap her, and either provide succor, or sell her to the highest bidder - She is a half-dragon, and having her to exploit her power when she matures is worth a pretty penny. Any runners who keep her, however, will have to deal with the corporation who wants her back and their agents, in addition to the dragon who wants her dead. In any case, escaping the building is only the beginning of their problems...
In association with Johnn Four, and all the fine folks subscribed to his Roleplaying Tips Weekly mailing list at, we bring you our first collaborative Quest.
Room One: Entrance and Guardian - There needs to be a reason why your dungeon hasn’t been plundered or why your adventurers are the ones for the job.
Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge - A trial that cannot be solved by steel alone.
Room Three: Trick or Setback - Build tension through tricks and setbacks and give them a double-dose of gameplay such as more combat or another roleplaying challenge.
Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict - The final combat or conflict of the dungeon.
Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist - The dungeon is complete but what is it about this dungeon that made it different or memorable. What kind of mystery have they discovered, what kind of reward have they won, and what kind of information have they recovered?
Submissions to the quest will each earn an extra 15XP can be inputted on the site as normal or can be emailed to Johnn at roleplayingtips.com.
Prizes for this quest include a D&D Icons Gargantuan Black dragon from Legend Games, MyInfo Personal Reference Software licenses from Milenix Software, DCC #46 Book of Treasure Maps – DCC #$7 Tears of the Genie - #50 Vault of the Iron Overlord from Goodman Games, and 1 on 1 Adventures #5 Vale of the Sepulcher - #6 Shroud of Olindor - #7 Eyes of the Dragon - #8 Blood Brothers - Advanced Adventures #3 Curse of the Witch Head from Expeditious Retreat Press. Winners for these prizes will be chose randomly so every submission has an equal chance of winning. Also, all the quest submissions will be combined and edited with what the folks at Roleplaying Tips come up with and they all will be offered back to the community.
------------ Strolen's Citadel Quest, Five Room Dungeon was an awesome collaborative success. The total amount of quest submissions between Johnn's Roleplaying Tips and the Citadel was a whopping 87 Five Room Dungeons! The winners of this set were chosen randomly so congratulations to all. But here are those that won a gift from the sponsors: Gillian Wiseman Tyler Turner Nik Palmer Daniel Burrage Uri Lifshitz Clayton Blanchard Jean-Christophe Pelletier Jason Kemp Pirate Queen Wulfhere Valadaar Thewizard63. Congratulations to Everybody!!!
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? Responses (6)
A fine example of how the format can work in a non-fantasy genre, with a nice mix of combat and problem solving.
Nice little twist at the end. I like the that it presents the PCs with a knotty little moral problem.
3½ for a fairly conventional dungeon crawl
+½ for for the moral problem at the end
What Dragon Lord said! Dungeons seems to work well with cyberpunk.
An excellent 'dungeon', well detailed and logical, if a little cold.
Reading this a second time, and re-evaluating my vote.
I like the presentation, and while it doesn't blow the doors off with something unexpected, it is well done. The half-dragon little girl can be replaced easily with any sort of mcguffin and this is the template of how a shadowrun against a hard target should go.
i have run a good bit of shadowrun in my life as a gamer, and IMO it is the second hardest setting to write for. There are so many angles in shadowrun, do they infilitrate, do they breakin, do they bust in, do they stealth in, do they double cross the boss, each other and so, this is fairly thoughtful explanation of breakin