An adventure for Shadowrun

This is the conversion adventure for SR2 to SR3, providing the convenient excuse for radiation accidents.


The EcoNet group in the government of Tír na nÓg is paranoid about toxic shamans. They are usually in the habit of letting governments know about toxic activity they’ve detected and letting the governments take care of things, but Cal Free State is another matter. The government there is nearly powerless outside the Central Valley. TerraFirst! radicals working with a toxic shaman or two are taking a polluted zone— in the foothills of the Santa Lucia range, down the Arroyo Seco from Soledad (see p.227 in our Britannica atlas) and turning it into a no man’s land as they harass the local corporations. (The whole area from Salinas to Atascadero suffers from varying degrees of poison, but this is one of the worst parts.)

The EcoNet group want to hire the runners to capture as many of the TerraFirst! people as possible to see if they can be rehabilitated; the toxic shaman they can capture or kill as they see fit, but rehabilitating those people is beyond the scope of their power. The pay is 500,000¥ plus “reasonable” logistical support (smuggling them and materials in, obtaining any tools that they can’t pick up locally).

The opposition are thirteen TerraFirst! radicals with Boosted Reflexes 3 (+2+2d6), smartlink I’s, and cybereyes with low-light, thermographic, flare comp, and electronic magnification 3, B6 I5 security armor with +1B +2I helmets, M22A2 assault rifles (40-round clips, thump guns) from SSC p50. They have plenty of grenades and shaped charges for their terror work. They’re using an old cabin as a base of operations; the next one over is the toxic lodge full of drums of waste the shaman brought back. They have Land Rover, a Gaz-Willys Nomad, and a Ford-Canada Bison for transport, and have to go pretty far afield to fill up the water tank and filters in order to have anything decent to drink or wash in. They’re all a little psycho; if they didn’t start out that way, hanging around a toxic shaman did it to ’em.

There are also some toxic critters in the area. The toxic saber-toothed cat has Blindness and Venom powers, the toxic piasma has Noxious Breath and Corrosive Secretions, the toxic new boar has Compulsion (stand there while I wallop you) and Corrosive Saliva, and the toxic harpy has Fear and Dismissal. Cats should be very offended at this discovery; it flies in the face of everything he knows about evolution. They aren’t coordinated with the terrorists, but they’re trouble wandering around, and if the shaman gets wind of trouble, he can send one to terrorize someone.

The toxic Wolf shaman is a grade 3 initiate but only has magic 7 due to exposure to toxic waste. B4 Q5 S3 I6 C3 W6 M7, spell locks of increase initiative +3d6 and personal combat sense +4 dice. He gets +2 dice on detections and combat spells, and, when wounded, has to roll Willpower vs TN 3 + wound mods, each success subtracting 1 turn from 3 turns of berserking. He has Urban Renewal, Ram, Power Bolt, and Powerball at Force 6, Ignite, Detect Life, and Analyze Chemical at Force 5, Levitate Person at Force 3, and several spells that get bonuses from the background count: Acid Cloud (combat, M acid damage, area, F/2+1D), Acid Missile (combat, M acid damage, F/2+1S), Acid Splash (manip, M acid damage, F/2+1S), Acid Bomb (manip, M acid damage, area, F/2+1D), and Influence Toxic Critter, all at Force 6.

The background count there is usually 4, and it’s 5 in the toxic lodge. This means +4 to all assensing TN’s, +4 to TN’s for healing spells, and -4 to TN's for toxic spells.

Note that Toxic Earth Spirits are B F+4, Q F-2 ×2, S F+4, C 1, I F, W F, E FA, R F+3/F+8, attacks (F+1)S with +1 reach plus corrosive secretions, and Toxic Water Spirits are B F+2, Q F ×2, S F, C 1, I F, W F, E FA, R F+6/F+11, Attack (F+2)D stun. Good thing the shaman can only get one each at Force 7. (The background count makes it easy to get lots of services, though.)

The Big Boss is actually a Toxic Free Spirit, Force 7, Spirit Energy 3, which puts its effective Force at 10 for combat and 13 when at the heart of its domain, since it has Aura Masking, Personal Domain, and Possession powers. It may “borrow” one of the terrorists at some point, or attempt to possess one of the PC’s.

Once the TerraFirst! cadre is taken out, several mages (shamans?) from Ireland will arrive to perform a big-time healing ritual that will require killing the Free Spirit whose domain this is; the team will then go into Paul’s “Lensman” quest. The woman who hires the team will arrange a healthy bonus for the astral quest.

Unfortunately, the Irish magicians (followers of the Path of the Steward) don’t have much experience working with tectonically active areas; it produces unusual energy flows. The ritual will cause a moderately powerful earthquake, not enough to be disastrous, and a lot of the cleansing/regrowth energy will go wild, creating an area a number of miles across that is completely overgrown. (The radiation accidents for the team will merely be a side effect.) The team will come to consciousness caught up in the branches of trees, in the middles of thickets, or otherwise inconvenienced by the sudden Lush Growth Bomb effect. With the aid of the local nature spirits, Cats’ Magic Forklift spell, and Barry’s Smashing Blow, it should be possible to extricate everyone and get out, but the corps nearby are not going to be happy...

Hopefully, Johnny will have the chance to record everything; later, watching the footage, people can make Perception tests against TN 9 to realize that a bird appeared out of nowhere in full view of the camera.

Radiation Accidents

The characters who want radiation accidents will get them; those that don’t will get nifty benefits for roleplaying.


Gargoyle will pick up Lightfoot in his talons— Willpower to stage down the damage, like casting a spell with Physical drain— and soar over the city, and do a Socratic interrogation to make him look at patterns in the city lights. This will let Lightfoot start a Complementary Skill for reading cities from above— it can help with group psychology, etiquette rolls, and anything else appropriate to figuring out the patterns.


Rikki will become a young spirit-mongoose— something like a guardian angel— being shown the ropes by a bigger spirit-mongoose, first watching a physical mongoose kill a cobra sneaking into a family’s house, then moving on to the family themselves. This older spirit-mongoose will show him how to see the snakes that people can carry in their hearts, and how you have to influence people to kill the snakes on their own, a harder job than going after them directly. This will start a Complementary Skill for psychology, etiquette, and anything else appropriate to seeing and helping people’s inner problems.


Lori would like Dreme to go from Piercing Gaze to Astral Sight, now that she’s seen how seldom she uses Piercing Gaze. Since this is a major reorientation for the character’s attitude toward magic, we should have a similarly drastic event.

Dreme will meet Whisper, the old physad who taught dancing and hand-to-hand combat from the Nomad tribe; the context will be a lesson she “missed” by breaking apart from them (or having the tribe break apart). The teacher will begin talking about dance as a metaphor for larger processes in the universe, from the cosmos to the atom, and how the pulse of life is part of it all. (Work up the spiel.)

He will then lead Dreme and the other students on stepping stones down a small stream, pointing out that they don’t need to look at the physical world if they can pick up the rhythm of the universe itself. By dancing along from rock to rock without looking, a new level of awareness will open up, until Dreme can see the astral world, lit by the omnipresent life of the physical plane.


Dan will be getting the biggest one: something to bring him in on the world of magic. (The excuse is that he would’ve been an Adept, but the magic wasn’t high enough; this “spike” event created by the ritual is enough to activate it, at which point his totem takes an interest.)

Dan will be contacted by his totem: Teddy Bear, the Urban Bear, the Healer and Comforter. His vision will be that of waking up in the bed after getting shot up in the line of duty for Lone Star, when he realized they’d put cyberware in him; the deviation from memory is the presence of all his teddy bears— and they’re talking about him as if he’s asleep. If asked, they will maintain they’ve always been alive like this, and that he just stopped noticing it. The Sherlock Holmes bear can provide precise diagnoses of his condition, and the Winston Churchill bear will talk about responsibilities. Snuffles (the classic Gund) will be very agitated about how much they hurt Dan, and (after suitable introduction) will start reaching into him— it’s a very peculiar fuzzy sensation— and pulling things out. Dan will keep the mnemonic enhancer (1.2BI) and cerebral booster (0.8BI) at the behest of Sherlock; Snuffles will pop out the cybereyes and the vision enhancements he has will become Adept powers. The muscle augmentation (1.2BI) and enhanced articulation (0.6BI) will definitely go, and the bioware eyes (0.5BI) and synaptic accelerator (0.3BI) will be absorbed. Dan will have a choice on the Orientation System (0.5E), the Math SPU-4 (0.25E), the Smartlink II (0.5E), and the omnijack (0.25E).

When all is said and done, Dan will be a biowared and possibly cybered Shamanic Physical Adept following the totem of Teddy Bear. He may end up with anything from 4 points of powers (if he just keeps the neural bioware) to 2 (if he keeps the 1.5E of cyberware); if I’m reading the rules on geasa for shamanic physads right, that means you multiply the value by 4/3 to see what he really gets, so if he’s got 3 magic points left, he’ll have 4 points worth of powers. The absolute minimum Adept Powers will be his vision mods and half a magic point sunk into a version of Empathic Sense called Wellness Sense, which will act like Empathic Sense but will help him diagnose injuries and mental traumas. The next one up will be Increased Reflexes level 1, then extra dice on his abilities to replace the missing Enhanced Articulation.

Once everything is taken care of, he gets a hug from the Big Bear and wakes up.

When he wakes up, he will find that his “rejected” cyberware has slipped out of his body and into his clothing— the muscle augmentation is the worst part, since it’s a lot of fine goretex fibers that have suddenly disassociated from his muscles.


Violet’s personal quest is to become the perfect teacher; this requires becoming a perfect example for her students. She will be introduced to a Free Spirit that understands such ideals, and can teach her about the niceties of calligraphy and poetry and flower arrangement as well as tutor her in Martial Arts. Need to brush up on Buddhist philosophy— the spirit will not advocate that she become a Buddhist, but it will simply offer advice from such a perspective.

Her vision will be of entering a Taoist/Buddhist type monastery on a high mountaintop, with cold, clear air and clouds shrouding most of the land below. The abbot will greet her and introduce her to some of the monks and nuns that are ready to go out into the world to learn the practical applications of their studies— bringing one out, of course, requires donating karma to get them out of the metaplanes.


Talk with Sean about Fieran’s goals and ideals. Since he doesn’t have any big long-term plans, this may take the form of a mentor-power having a chat with him.


Ari is interested in secrets, and is a Cat shaman. There ought to be something we can come up with...


If Patricia gets dragged in, she will run into a Trickster archetype manifesting as her “uncle” Dafydd, one of the more loony individuals in the Family and the one who got teaching duty when Patty and Theora were fourteen. (She“ll remember that Theora had a crush on him when she was that age.) She will be about 15, and with him on a trip to Sacramento. The scene will be in a park there, where Dafydd is eating popcorn and talking with her about becoming a fixer. Since what she wants is to be a good fixer, that means she’ll need some good contacts— is she sure she wants to play with the big guys who play for keeps? Remember, “here be dragons...”

The big hint about this doppelganger for her “uncle” will be the fact that before she wakes up, he vanishes swiftly, like a shaft of sunlight when a cloud crosses the sun.


Barry will relate how he ran into a human woman, nine and a half feet tall and proportioned as if simply scaled up and vaguely Mediterranean in coloring, in his house of memory, and how she led him silently into the basement, which opens into a cavern system and an underground lake.


Cats will have a vision of being a student in a lecture hall at MIT&T while an older version of himself stands at the lightboards lecturing on the nature of karma and the analogy to general relativity, and how heavy karma distributions attract other heavy karma distributions.


As an NPC, Theora will just get to talk about her encounter afterward. She will be approached by the Crone, an aspect of the Triple Goddess and an icon of Wisdom. They’ll spend some time talking about the state of the universe, the path that humankind will follow now that they can take their evolution into their own hands, and so on. Theora will explain her beliefs about humanity-enhancing and humanity-corrupting cyberware; she has so much of the stuff she could never possibly become anything magical, and does not want to lose it because it fits in nicely with her current chosen place in the universe.

She will become an Information Magnet, somewhat like Weirdness Magnet or Trouble Magnet, but more of an Edge: information relating to her interests will show up improbably often, sparking occasional runs involving human evolution, new humanity-enhancing cyberware, and other such bizarre things. The party will be involved in runs caused by this particular Magnetism— Theora wants to be involved in the decision-making process for human evolution, so some of the runs will just happen to go their way...


Johnny’s vision will be of driving a big convertible with tailfins through a Middle American town in the 1950’s— a car that talks by modulating the roar of its engine. They’ll go to a drive-in restaurant with roller-skating waitresses for burgers, drive past a drive-in movie theater and a Lover’s Lane, and indulge in the great American freedom of the big car. The Car and Johnny will talk at length about how cool it is to be driving down the open road and how much fun it is to make and modify high-performance vehicles.

Johnny is quite attached to his cyberware, though, and is basically uninterested in becoming a Car shaman at that price. Since Car finds him worthy, he will be given a chance to feed some karma to a spirit and bring it out of the Metaplane of Man, Free but not very powerful (yet). He will have an enhanced ability to donate karma to this spirit and this spirit only.

Johnny will be able to summon the spirit to Inhabit a low-rider vehicle— a bright-red convertible with tailfins, hydraulic jacks, and an ubermodified engine. The spirit in the car will be able to drive itself (though it’s a lot faster when it has gas), will give bonuses to vehicle work performed when it’s present (a reverse Accident power), has the Movement power, and has a version of the Materialize Wealth power that allows it to convert any random stuffers into really tasty take-out food, as long as you eat it in the car. When it’s controlling the radio, it can use a soundtrack as a limited form of divination.