Let's play Shadowrun Returns: Iniciando el Hackeo!


Hi everyone!

So I’ve been replaying Shadowrun Returns this past week and having a great time. I also play a homebrew version of the tabletop rpg and the DM jokingly said my Decker was pretty much a colorswapped Sombra with a buzzcut.

He was right.

And so I had the idea for this LP: playing Sombra from Overwatch as a Shadowrun character. I’ll try to stay in character as much as possible and only add my own comments when I feel it’s absolutely necessary.

Trigger Warnings: This game features fight scenes, midly gorey descriptions of dead bodies, body horror, emotional and medical abuse, drugs, brainwashing, etc… It’s not really graphic (the graphisms are pretty simple, the text is the worst offender) but I will tag each potentially triggering parts and add a short resume of the major plot points afterward so you can just skip them and not miss anything important. Tell me if you have any specific triggers I didn’t think of?

Table of Contents:


  • Shadowrun Returns was developped by Harebrained Schemes LLC and was released on Jul 25, 2013.
  • Portrait illustration by my friend Hollowedskin, used with their permission.
  • Special thanks to Toipu for helping me figure out how to make custom portraits. Computers are scary.

Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy reading my LP. English isn’t my mothertongue so don’t be afraid to hmu if you spot any spelling mistakes. :wink:


Trigger warning: mentions of alcohol abuse.

Let’s get started. Paperwork is such a pain…

I love how these forms never get bored with making me state the obvious.

Hm, that won’t do.

Mucho mejor…

Initiating the hack!

Computer broken, bank account empty, all my contacts MIA or dead… Must be monday.

What kind of dumbass would…

Vale. That dumbass.

Shouldn’t have given you my comm code, cabrón. ¿Qué tal?

I wonder where you are right now. I bet you hit a big payday and you’re living high on the hog somewhere. Some of us are born winners and some of us are… me.

Hey, you remember that Renraku run when things went to hell and we lost Dowd? Or that makeshift saloon on the docks afterward? I really had your back that night didn’t I?

[Dowd. That’s a name you haven’t heard in a long time…]

Late for another appointment, Sangoma?

Sarcasm doesn’t suit you. Let’s wait another five.

Do you ever stop whining? I get it. Now take a pill and relax.

Sure, Sombra, sure. Whatever you say.

[He shakes his head.] That run went sideways nine ways to Sunday. Now the Fixer is late.

Smell funny to you?

Hell yeah, it smells funny! Look at where he set the meeting. This was supposed to be a public place.

Cut the drek, Sam. We both know why Dowd went down and it wasn’t the Fixer or some other paranoid chip-dream of yours.

[Sam smiles a toothy smile] I’ve been waiting for this all night. New Larry has something he want to say, don’tcha Larry? Go ahead, spill it.

You were sloppy.

[He laughs.] Sloppy? You think I was sloppy? You’ve been twitchy all day, son. Look at your hands - they’re shaking.

You’ve been drinking on the job, Sam?

On a run? No. Not a drop. Not today, not ever.

[New Larry checks is watch. Licks his lips. Looks over your shoulder at the darkness. He’s looking for someone and it’s not the Fixer.] Okay I see where this is going. You chummers are damaged. I’m out.

Did you keep us here long enough, Larry?

[He stops and a smile slowly appears on his face.] Looks that way. Sorry, Sombra. I kinda like you. I just like money better.

We’ve got incoming!

[New Larry relaxes and throws you a drek-eating grin.] Looks like my new Renraku friends are finally here. They’re gonna take that hard drive off your corpse… buddy.

We should choose our friends more carefully, Sombra.

Ah! If you start having standards, you won’t hang out with poor little old me anymore. Buy you a drink after this?

You’ll owe me several.

You got it.

[New Larry is the first one to eat the dust. You made sure of this. Funny how having a big mouth never made anyone bulletproof.]

[The fight seems to draw out for hours. The Renraku Strike Team is organized, trained, heavily weaponized. And they brought a mage and a shaman with them. You had a close brush with a fireball. Your coat is done for, no way to save it. You’re not sure you’ll ever be able to get rid of the smell of smoke either.]

[But you’ve made it. All three of you.]

Part of the Life, Sam. You know that.

You were born for this gig, Sombra. Me… not so much. I think I’m gonna hang it up - find a nice brothel somewhere. Stay drunk until I croak.


What about you?

Me? I do this. It’s the only life I know.

Well, you’re a dumbass.

Takes one to know one.

I’ll drink to you when you’re dead! Aw, who am I kidding? I’m not gonna outlast you. Guess you can drink to me.

I will. Pinkie swear.

Well, that’s not depressing or pathetic at all.

So, I set up a dead man’s switch to send you this call. I got a hundred thousand nuyen insurance policy, payable when you find who creased me. Alive with a conviction or in a body bag with justification - either works.

After three years of radio silence, there you are, asking me to murder someone from beyond the grave. You sure know how to make a girl feel special, Sam.

Contact my law firm - Rogers, Mengert & McCain - when the job is done. They’ll know what to do. [He turns to his left.] Chet?

[Sam straightens up. Talks seriously. First time.] Look, Sombra… I’ve led a drek life and I probably left a drek corpse. I’ve hurt people… hurt myself… I don’t know. Maybe I just want the last word. Maybe I just want someone to give a crap that I sucked air for awhile. What do you say?

A thousand nuyen buys a lot of drinks.

And I did promise to drink to you when you’re dead.

Hope you just said yes.

Well… Seattle can’t be any worse than this. I’ll see you soon, cabrón. Wait for me.

1 Like

Noice! Going to love reading this.

Both your english and spanish seem impeccable so far. :ok_hand:
It’s going to be interesting to read this, since I really like role-playing games like Shadowrun, but I’m terrible at staying in character.

Also, I sure hope that the reveal of what the Emerald City Ripper is up to gets a big old :tw:.

@Enrel: I hope you do!

@Vanderlyle: my spanish is absolutely awful but I have some leftovers knowledge from high school and I have a native speaker friend that said she’d help :smiley:

And yeah you can bet on that! That was a disturbing and nasty surprise when I first played it, don’t want anyone to be caught off guard. The Universal Brotherhood and the Insect Spirits will get the same treatment.

1 Like

Loving Sombra’s characterization in this! Sombra as a Decker makes a lot of sense, and I’m looking forward to the shenanigans that may ensue because of this choice, as well as the type of build/stats that you’ll choose later! Can’t wait for an update :smile:

@Sithisis I knew I was forgetting something. Here are Sombra’s stats rn:

Not great or anything, but we can work on that. I’ll go with a decking/dodging build mainlyn since I’m trying to stick to the character’s original gameplay. Maybe some throwing because grenades are basically the same as translocators, am I right? :smirk:

1 Like

Too bad you can’t create extra characters to act as companions, or you could have companions like street samurai Genji, rigger Torbjörn, or maybe even physical adept Doomfist.

@Vanderlyle I knooooooow that would have been amazing! My previous run was as Elf Mage Lucio, I wish I could include him to the team.

What a great game. Looking forward to following the LP. I just wish playing a Decker wasn’t such a very much recommended choice for Returns, but it is the best archetype to go with seeing there are things only MC Decker can do.

@UnderscoreDasher: it really is a very good game. I love the writing and the characters are super engaging and the gameplay is easy to understand and fun.

I agree for the decker thing. I have tried to played a purely mage build with no cyberware at all, but you actually miss out on so much this way that it’s not really worth it. I also kinda wish you had more non-lethal options to solve conflicts (charisma and etiquettes are barely useful). At least there’s always the tabletop game to do that. :wink:

Trigger warnings: mentions of alcohol abuse, the scene is set in a morgue so dead bodies are present and described, blood mention.

I take it back, this is worse, frag Seattle.

[The smell of death and decomposition wash over you only slightly masked by the minty fake-fresh of industrial grade antiseptic.]

Sorry, didn’t expect any visitors at this hour. And some asshole at corporate took my receptionist. What can I do for you, ma’am?

Ma’am? Been a while since anyone called me that.

Are you the coroner?

I’m John Dresden, the Organ Grinders Branch Manager here. So yeah, that makes me this franchise area’s coroner, too. And you are?

Sombra. I’m here about Sam Watts.

[His grin fades.] And what makes you think I know anything about that?

No more “ma’am”, huh? See, Sam had a locator chip embedded in his skull. I simply followed it here.

Not that I needed it to track him down. I suppose he didn’t want to take any chance.

I see. Well, you’re right, he’s here. Not too many people know about the murder yet, though… the press haven’t caught wind of it yet, what with it being all the way out here in the Barrens.

So who told you he was dead?

Sam’s digital ghost. Spooky, I know. When his heart stopped, I got sent a recorded message asking me to bring whoever geeked him to justice.

Guess he had a hunch.

[The dwarf raises his eyebrows, a smile wiping the suspicion from his face.] A dead man’s switch, eh? Fascinating.

You’re easily impressed.

I was working on him earlier. He’s over here.

Ripper, huh? I guess the classics never go out of style.

[He sighs.] Not my title. That’s what the Seattle press insists on calling the killer. All I know is that like the original Jack, our Ripper knows how to handle a scalpel. But his one’s even more twisted… he or she always removes an internal organ from the victim.

Delicious. A trophy hunter. What was it?

Watts’ liver was cleanly cut out.

How about the other lucky contestants?

The first victim’s heart was missing, and the third had the spleen removed.

[With a sigh, Dresden leaves the room to go entertain his new “guest”.]

I’m here about the new Ripper vic, Sam Watts.

[You decide not to intrude on their conversation yet and turn to Sam, or what’s left of him.]

¿Me extrañaste, cabrón? Told you I’d be there soon.

…You look like drek.

[Next to Sam are several plastic envelopes containing the evidence found on his body. You can examine evidence through the bag without spoiling it.]

Let’s get started. You didn’t strike me as the type to hold onto business cards for no reason…

[Moving things around, you can make out that it’s a card from a place called “The Seamstresses Union”. There is something handwritten on the back, but blood has made it illegible.]

Considering you still wore that ratty shirt, I’m guessing that wasn’t for a makeover.

[The fabric used to be purple, years ago. Several of the buttons are missing, and blood has thoroughly soaked it. The bag sloshes a bit in your hand. You notice and handwritten note sticking out from the front pocket.]

Jessica? Did you get yourself a girlfriend?

If that’s some jealousy-driven “crime of passion” soap opera bulldrek, I’m bringing your ass back from hell just to strangle you myself.

[There’s a standard cheap unsecured credstick in the last bag. No way of knowing what’s on it without slotting it.]

Hey Sam, you won’t need that anymore, will you?

[You slot the credstick into your PDA. 300¥ is added to your account.]

Let’s see this as a small advance on your bill. Be good, cabrón.

…Don’t worry. I’ll find the bastard.

Now this new Ripper vic, Watts… name’s familiar. Didn’t his mother kill herself a while back?

[The coroner frowns.] So you insisted at the time.

[He chortles.] C’mon, she offed herself. I had it on very good authority.

Now let’s go, Dresden - give me something to work with here. This Ripper case is my ticket to a Lieutenant’s badge.

I’ve already posted everything I know. The killer stuns the targets with a combination of drugs and magic, then removes a single organ while they’re still alive. The perpetrator is most likely right-handed, with a slim hand that knows its way around a scalpel. Has a decent understanding of human and metahuman anatomy, too.

So… I’m looking for a wacked out surgeon?

Not necessarily. I don’t know any surgeon who still use scalpels, anymore. These days it’s all done with computer-controlled lasers. Could be anyone from a military field surgeon to an antique medicine aficionado.

You’re no damn help, dwarf.

[The Lone Star detective finally notices you. You note his superhuman powers of observation.]

I’m new in town. You’re the welcoming committee?

If you’re new in town, then let me be the first to tell you that I run the show. If you get in my way, you’ll end up back here on a slab.

Threats. How quaint.

[He looks back at the dwarf.] Dresden, get me more. I am putting someone in a cell or a box THIS week and claiming my promotion!

[He stomps away, making a point of making a point of slamming the doors as hard as possible.]

[Dresden looks amused.] Do you always make friends that easily?

I’m great at dinner parties, too.

[He cocks his head to one side.] Be straight with me.

No can do.

… You really gonna work for the dead man?

Sam saved my hide, three years ago. I don’t like debts.

What can I do to help you?

I need some infos. Who’s holding McKlusky’s leash?

I don’t know, but someone with some major pull has been looking out for McKlusky’s career. And wallet.

Can’t say I see the appeal, he’s not exactly sugar baby material. What was that he said about Sam’s mother?

The official report is that she committed suicide about a year ago.

Aren’t you the “official” in that sentence?

My name’s on the report, but my actual findings left some… doubts. I can’t say that it wasn’t suicide, but there were unusual bruises on her upper arms, and she didn’t use her dominant hand to pull the trigger. I was told to drop it, so I dropped it.

Gotcha. What are organs worth these days?

A whole healthy body can be worth a bunch of nuyen, but individual organs? Not worth as much anymore, what will all the synth and cyber stuff on the market these days.

And considering Sam’s old drinking habits, I don’t see his liver being that valuable anyway.

Organ Grinders only deals in the recently deceased. That being said, there’s plenty of other chop shops that aren’t as picky - and they don’t care where the bodies come from, either.

You said something about scalpels, earlier?

Doctors still learn how to use them in their first year of medical school - as do coroners - but neither profession uses them much anymore. It’s possible some of the slimier chop shops still use scalpels, I suppose, but I wouldn’t know where to look.

Sam was carrying a Seamstresses Union business card. Hear of it?

It’s a nearby club in the Barrens that attracts lowlifes. You’d probably like it.


I meant I’m not really the going-out type. Always too much to be done around here. Plus, the dead are just easier to get along with.

Can relate. I just need to know one more thing. Where was Sam geeked?

Yeah sure, I’ll do that. And after, I’ll stick my fist in Sam’s gut to make him do a little muppet dance. Do you know where the murder site is or not?

[Dresden says nothing. A sly smile plays across his face as he turns back to his work, whistling a tune.]

Urgh. Alright.


[The cold storage drawer opens to reveal the fully clothed body of a man, arms folded across his chest. In addition to sporting some of the brightest orange hair you’ve even see, the body seems to be in very good condition…]


Trigger Warning: blood and guts mention, but that part is pretty tame, mostly exposition dialogue.

I told John to wake me up at six in the morning. Is it six yet? It doesn’t feel like six yet.

Do I look like a damn alarm clock?!?

Give me a break, chummer. Haven’t had my soykaf yet.

[He chuckles.] Well, so much for a good night’s sleep. On the plus side, I noticed you haven’t killed me yet, so… that’s good. If you aren’t after me, then what’s your story?

Oh, don’t apologize for scaring the drek out of me, it’s fine. What’s a little heart attack between friends, right?

Tell that to Dresden, he thinks he’s pretty funny. You’re not the first person he’s pulled this one on. Makes for some rough mornings on my end.

[You sigh. It’s too early for this drek.] I’m looking into the death of Sam Watts. Our dear coroner over there seems to think you can help me out.

Sam, eh? Glad somebody cares. We used to drink together every now and then, over at the Union. Decent enough guy. Always in trouble over something or other though…

Sounds about right.

[Jake yells towards the other side of the room.] John! Is this lady cool?

Yeah, she’s on the level. Working for Sam, believe it or not… some sort of dead man’s switch. I though you could help her out. Maybe even stop moping around the shop all day…

Thanks for volunteering me. [He pauses. Might be sizing you up, but it’s hard to tell behind those shades.] Alright then. The name’s Jake. And you are…?

Call me Sombra.

[He winces.] Damn. Maybe I need some soykaf after all. John, could you grab me a cup?

Get your own damn cup! My hands are dirty anyway. Now what’s wrong with this intestine… [You hear a loud squelching sound as Dresden continues his work.]

Thanks John, you’re a real pal. Anyway, there’s a big fat corp bounty on my head. Like I said, my last job didn’t exactly go according to plan. Out in the alley a few Halloweeners got the jump on us. Damn gangers thought they could turn a quick profit off of my head. [Jake smiles, and you get the impression that didn’t work out so well for the gangers.]

Sam stumbled off during the fight, though, and that’s the last I saw of him. Until he turned up here, dead on arrival. Reminds me of my last stay in this place.

You’ve done this before?

It’s a long story. I end up in the morgue more often than the average guy.

Yeah Jake here’s a regular. Should’ve started a rewards card, Jake - a few more visits and you’d get a free night’s stay.

[Jake laughs.] I’ll hold you to that, John. Anyway, they found Sam’s body less than a block away from the Union, missing liver and all.

What d’ya say?

It’s nice to have someone watching your back out there. It’s less nice to end up with a knife in said back.

I get it. Gotta be careful in this trade. I’m not one to go back on a deal though, John can vouch for that. Plus, you know where I’m hiding out, right? Doesn’t leave me a lot of room to sell you out.

You had me at “decent supplies”. Alright, I’m in. Punching gangers is basically community service, anyway.

Great. I’ve been hiding out here ever since that run-in with those Halloweeners. Whiny bunch of gangers, but this stretch of the Barrens is their turf. Hell, I’m surprised you even made it to this morgue in one piece without packing some heat.

I can be discreet when I feel like it.

[He yells over his shoulder.] Very funny Jake. You can sleep in the dumpsters tomorrow.

So, you need a weapon?

Happen to have an SMG in one of those pockets?

Spray and pray? Fair enough. Take this. It’s a little beat up, but it works.

Hey, I don’t diss your fashion choices, so leave my aim alone.

Before we head out, tell me more about these gangers?

Well, they’re one of the nastier gangs in town. Their symbol is a flaming Jack O’Lantern, but you wouldn’t like they version of Trick-or-Treating very much. Around here they’re led by a troll named John Paul. He’s got all the Halloweeners in the Barrens looking for me. We take him out, maybe I can breathe a bit easier.

So, ready for an evening out on the town?

If you’re buying…

Hey, I’ve already provided the party favors!

Hey, mind if I borrow a few of these medkits?

Considering you’ve already pocketed them, I can hardly say no, can I?

Consider them a compensation for giving me a heart attack earlier. Hasta luego, chummer.

Yeah, yeah. [He waves a bloodied glove without looking up from his work.] You kids be good while you’re out there.

Now here’s some Fun Facts which can be interesting if you don’t know Shadowrun:

Jake here is not some random NPC. He was actually the protagonist of the old Shadowrun videgame for SNES. In that game, he wakes up in a morgue (see a recurring theme, yet?) with a headache and his memory wiped out. The plot starts with him trying to puzzle the events back and discovering who wants him dead and why.Shadowrun Returns takes place about 4 years later iirc? Also the SNES game was published in 1993 so seeing Jake again 21 years later and teaming up with him was pretty fucking awesome!

I won’t say much more about it because it doesn’t have a lot of relevance to the plot, but you can watch a good LP of the SNES game here.

So that’s the end of the Fun Fact Corner and of the Dead Man’s Switch chapter!


Trigger warning: some mildly gory descriptions, some violence, mentions of drug abuse, Sombra being a jerk.

At least, the weather is nice.

[Neither the rain nor the icy wind let up as you make your way down the street.]

[You ignore the man huddled under the bus stop, rolling your eyes when he tries to stop you to ask you about the bus timetable. Either he’s some idiotic tourist trying to sprawl and rub elbows with “real street thugs”, or he’s bait and six of his friends are waiting patiently in some dark corner to mug you.]

[Either way, you don’t have time for that drek.]

[The safe is almost invisible under all the garbage that’s been piled up around it. You probably wouldn’t have even noticed it if Armitage hadn’t told you were to look. You kick trash bags away until you dig out the MagCard reader on the front.]

[Armitage hands you his MagCard. With a hiss, the safe opens to reveal a collection of gear that is a perfect match for your skills.]

Help yourself, it’s on the house.

Ah! Don’t mind if I do.

Seriously. Frag Seattle.

[The fight is both short and brutal. You don’t know what these two gutterpunks expected when they tried to jump you while you had an SMG nestled comfortably between your hands. Apparently not to be turned into minced meat. That’s what they got anyway.]

[You’re generous like that.]

So, welcome to the Barrens. Guess I’ll need to find a new spot to hide my gear.

So I shouldn’t invest in real estate around here?

Only by the hour. Hey, you’ve seen where I stay the night.

Now that you’ve got some gear… Let’s go deal with those Halloweeners.

You can handle yourself in a fight, are you sure you even need my help?

No matter how good your aim is, better have someone watch your back.

Fair enough. Smashing Pumpkins time, then?

[As you try to cross the streets, a man taps you on the shoulder. He appears well-mannered, but nervous.]

Excuse me ma’am. I don’t know you… but you look like you can handle yourself in a fight, and we need some help.

What now?

If it’s on my way, I’ll consider it. Maybe.

Oh… thank you! It’s just down the street, ma’am. Please, our livelihoods depend on this market.

[He chuckles.] That is definitely not on our way.

I have a bad sense of orientation. Shut up, Armitage. And stop smirking.

But we barely have anything left!

Not my problem. Pay up by morning or else.

[ I’m guessing there’s no chance we can take care of this quietly, is there?

Eh? Who the hell are you?

None of your business. Why don’t you go frag yourself and spare me the bother to dust you?

I knew you were just lookin’ to cause static.

How wonderful, genius in action!

Dash, ice this lady!

[His bat connects with your gut and he runs. You try to shake the nausea off. Armitage aims and doesn’t miss: “Dash” hits the ground with a gross squelching noise. You manage to catch your breath long enough to shoot the runaway in the back.]

Don’t move. [Magic tingles along your skin as he heals the damage. He crosses his arms and watch you get up on your feet.]


Are you always this… friendly?

Eh. I might have deserved that one.

[The old lady walks up to you, trying not to step on the blood as she does so.]

I cannot thank you enough. I hate to see such bloodshed… but those men would not take no for an answer. We simply want to make our way in the world.

The shopkeeper holds out a few nuyen.] Please… it’s the least we can do.

Gracias, abuelita, but keep it. I don’t think you can afford me.


Just some Halloweeners, stirrin’ up trouble again. [She points to the south.] They rode in this morning on those fancy bikes. Setup camp in the old street market. They’ve been marching up and down the street all day, shaking down anyone that wanders past.

Typical. Well… odds are, those are the guys we’re after.

Anything else you can tell us?

Hmm. Well… their leader’s a big ol’ troll named John Paul. Real piece of work, even for a ‘weener.


Sounds like it’s time for me to get friendly again. You might want to clear out before we get the party started.

[She looks you over, then nods.] Don’t need to worry about me, I know how to lay low. They’re a tough bunch, though… don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Thanks for the heads up, chummer.

[Just as you pass the woman, Jake freeze on his tracks and cocks his head to the side. Kinda reminds you of a dog that heard a suspicious sound.]

I need to check on something real quick.

Alright, alright. I thought you were in a hurry?

What’s your story?

Nothing. No story. Nothing, just le-leave me alone. I didn’t see anything, I swear.

What didn’t you see?

Nothing. I didn’t see anything. I… I… I just need my fix. But I can’t get it because of the big pumpkin heads!

You’re seeing giant pumpkin heads, eh?

Yes! The pumpkins down the street… They kill everyone who looks at them funny.

Calm down. I’m Jake. What’s your name?

My name… is… my name is Vlad.

Vlad, those are some nice tattoos. Are you a shaman?

[The word ‘shaman’ strikes a cord. He seems to shake off some of the mental cobwebs.] Yes… yes, I am a shaman.

I though so. Vlad, what did you see?

See. Yes. I saw something. The other night I saw a spirit so dark, so ALIEN, that… [Vlad trails off, and shudders.]

Where did you see this spirit?

Just across the stree from the Seamstresses Union.

I’m done here. Good luck with that sanity thing.

It’s gone now Vlad. It’s not going to kill you. You’re safe.

Th-thank you. I think you’re right. I feel better now. More whole. Now… I think I need some sleep.

Bleeding heart.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. And stop smirking.

We’re just gonna be friendly, chummer.

This is one of the two that got away. If I hadn’t missed my shot, these idiots would have given up and moved on by now.

We all make mistakes.

Wait a minute… you’re rolling with Jake? Bad idea, chummer. The Halloweeners are collecting that bounty. And killing you? Well, that’ll be a nice bonus.

You talk too much, pendejo.

[A blast of magic explodes a centimeter away from your face: they have a mage. You take cover behind a barrel and start shooting. Armitage runs, scraps of wood flying as crates explode around him, and rolls to safety behind a stall. Bullets whistle through the air, making your ears ring. You shuffle through your bag. A manic smile spreads your lips when your fingers finally close around exactly the thing you were looking for.]

Hey, cara de pejo, catch!

[The mage blinks as the grenade falls right next to her feet. It only takes a heartbeat for the information to reach her brain, but still too slow: one down, two to go. Now deprived from any magical support, the two sentries are no match for Armitage. He gets up, reloads, and brushes the dust from his pants. He seems pretty unfazed. Hard to tell, with those shades.]

Watch it with the explosive, chummer, I think you blew my left eardrum.

Yeah well, it’s not a real party without some fireworks.I should introduce you to an acquaintance of mine, someday. He has a knack for it.

[He chuckles.] No, thank you, I’m good.

You’re dead, Jake! Dead!

[The troll barrels through the market, face twisted in a furious snarl.]

This ends now, asshole.

[As impressive as John Paul looks, all hulking muscle and tusks, he’s… actually not that tough. One of your bullets catch him in the thigh and he collapses.]

What do you think, Armitage? I don’t care either way, your call.

[He smirks.] Hey, I’m already at “shoot on sight” status with these guys. Killing John Paul means one less ‘weener to shoot me in the back while I’m buying smokes. Hell - they’ll be doing the same to you as soon as there’s profit in it.

Sorry, chummer, you heard the boss.

Oh, drek.

[John Paul doesn’t seem to have a lot of fight left in him. Even if you didn’t shoot him any more, the blood loss would have done the job. It’s a mercy kill, really. He hits the ground again, this time for good.]

Well, that was a fun friendly workout.

Time for me to hold my end of the bargain. Follow me.

Sorry friend… I think this is where our paths diverge. Thanks again for your help with those Halloweeners. Here’s your payment - they don’t take nuyen where I’m going, and you look like you could use the funds.

You didn’t really need my help, did you? Was Dresden this worried that he got me a nanny?

[He smirks, neither confirming or denying your theory.] You seem like you can take care of yourself.

[He takes a step, then tilts his head back.] Hey, one more thing. When you’re done checking out your pal’s crime scene, pop in to the Seamstresses Union. It’s just down the street. You need gear, information, or just a damned stiff drink, that’s the place to be. Best dive this side of Chicago. I used that place as a base of operation for years, back in the day. Make the right friends there and I’m sure you’ll get to the bottom of this Ripper business.

Well - nice knowin’ ya.

Likewise, Jake. Give me a call when you’re in the clear.

[Jake nods, turns, and disappears into shadowy depths of the Redmond Barrens.]

[Time to get to work.]

The Fun Fact Corner is back! Sorta.

So here’s the thing: Jake Armitage, being the protagonist of the previous video game, has a bit of a “legendary character” thing going on. At the end of the game, he can pretty much endure machine guns shooting at him with no damage, got his skin metal plated, and can use some fairly powerful magic (in Shadowrun, magic and technology don’t mix well: to upgrade yourself with cyberware, you have to sacrifice part of your magic and there’s not take back). So as a Shaman, and a decker and one hell of a gunslinger, Jake is supposedly very unusual and incredibly powerful. He kinda singlehandedly killed a dragon?

But here, in game, these are his stats:

Which are good, but not really legend worthy. Especially since he’s supposed to be a shaman, but only has regular spellcasting abilities. If your DM introduced him in a campaign, as mine did, it was probably as a background character living his own adventures away from your eyes and sometimes crossing your path. But it was never as a sidekick or a companion.

My guess is that the video game developpers wanted to include him but the only way for that to happen without breaking the story (why would he need YOU, a beginner, to help him with some gutterpunks?) was to diminish his abilities a whole lot. So to concile both his original legendary status AND the events in Shadowrun Returns, I decided to ignore his stat and consider that he’s basically babysitting us through the Barrens as a favour to Dresden and that he’s only using the Halloweeners excuse so the playing character won’t feel insulted and refuse his help.

Another theory I read was that Jake got so many cyberware implanted (you kinda get a lot, in the SNES game) that Dog, his Mentor Spirit, got fed up and abandoned him, leaving him with his abilities way reduced. Kinda like a candle burning at both ends will light stronger but burn out really fast. It’s interesting but considering how loyal Dog is, I don’t really buy it? And there’s no real hint at that ingame either so… Jake the Babysitter it is, at least in that LP.

So that’s the end of the Fun Fact Corner which I should probably rename “Sugar rants about lore stuff despite not being an expert at all”.

I keep tellin’ ya… I need to get my stuff from the alley or I’m gonna die in the cold tonight.

[The officer sighs.] And I’ve been trying to explain to you that this is an official Lone Star investigation and I can’t let anyone in here.

Hey… I got rights!

Look, you SINless garbage. I’ve got a job to do. Find a new blanket, or I’ll find a reason to use my stun baton.

Putos cerdos.

Typical. I hate all you pigs!

[The cop’s hand twitch around his baton and the old man prudently steps back. Time to shine.]

Hello officer, how are you doing?

[He looks in your direction.] Now what?

The coroner sent me over.

Doesn’t mean jack to me. Unless someone radios me with an update, my orders are that nobody gets in.

I understand. Have a good one.

Know anything about the murder that took place here?

[He squints at you, suspicious.] You a copper? Or… working for some corp?

Ah! Do I look like a copper? Nah, I’m as SINless as you. Mind answering a few questions?

Hey… What makes you think I’m SINless?

Har! Just messin’ with ya. ‘Course I’m SINless. System I-dee number, my ass. What kinda questions ya got?

You live in this alley?

Sure… for the last coupl’a month I been sleeping there. But I spend my days out doing odd jobs for the street merchants, or panhandling tourists over near the Seamstresses Union.

So, did you see the murder?

Nope - and I can’t say I’m sorry I missed it. I was hauling crates for Mrs. James up at th’ market. Can’t carry as many as I used to… so it took awhile. Got back here in time to see a coupl’a tourists puking all over my home turf. By then, that jerkface in the uniform had already set up shop in my alley.

Anything else happened that night?

Hmm. Well… you know, earlier in the night I saw a big ‘n ugly troll in green hospital scrubs snoopin’ around the block. He bought some donuts and two cups of soykaf off’a Dan over there. Seemed nervous, and he did everythin’ with his left hand because his right was all screwed up with some cyberware.

Interesting. Care to elaborate on the troll’s cyberware?

Well… it was big, and I think it must’ve had some hospital attachments because I saw some needles. It was a lot like one I saw back in ‘44, when I got captured by elves. They did all sorts of experiments on me, let me tell you. Never trusted one of them cyber-people.

That’s all I needed to know, thanks.

See ya around.

You must be Dan? The old man other there recommended you.

That’s me. What can I get you, chummer?

A soykaf, please. Say, did you see the murder in the alley across the way?

Nope… I was closed when it happened. But hey, it’s the Barrens - a black-alley killing’s nothing new around here. The only reason the cops are making a big deal ‘bout this Ripper business is that some of the victims are REAL people… You know, folks with SINs.

The old guy mentioned a troll wearing scrubs, sold him some donuts last night?

Maybe. What’s it to you? I sell a lot of donuts, to a lot of people. I know how Lone Star profiles metahumans. I tell’em about a troll that bought donuts from me right before a murder, they’ll haul him in just to see if anyone will pay the bail. Not today, my friend.

I can understand that.

I’ll see you around, chummer. Great soykaf.


I’m closed. Come back tomorrow.

Won’t take long. You’ve got a great view of that alley across the street… Don’t suppose you saw the murder that happened there?

[She grunts.] Sure… I was closing up when I heard a series of explosions from behind the Union. Couple seconds later, this guy comes out, runs across the street. Didn’t get a good look at him. Then all the lights in the alley exploded all of a sudden. Things got pretty quiet after that.


Uh huh. No problem.

[You lean against the wall for a moment, chewing on your new clues. The hospital scrubs the troll wore seem to fit with the Ripper’s use of scalpels. But trolls don’t generally have slim hands and Dresden also said the Ripper was probably right handed. So either the troll was just some poor sod that wandered in the Barrens at the wrong time… Or the Ripper isn’t a single person. The old man had said he had ordered two coffees, hadn’t he? The latter sounds the most believable, the troll and another person working together. But why? Were the kills random?]

[You try to concentrate, but something Dresden said clings to the back of your mind, disturbing your concentration and making your gut twist unpleasantly.]

The killer stuns the targets with a combination of drugs and magic, then removes a single organ while they’re still alive.

[Was Sam still conscious? How long did he wait in that alley until he died? Nobody came to check on him, nobody helped. Alone in the dark. A drek death after a drek life.]

[You straighten your back and buy from Dan a jelly donut and a second soykaf, to go this time. You need more clues and to get more clues, you need to check the crime scene.]

Long night, eh? You looked cold, so I picked up a donut and some soykaf for you.

Hey… thanks! [The officer’s face lights up as he takes a sip. He seems pretty trusting, for an officer of the law.] You know… when my dad was a cop… this was back when cops actually worked for the government… he said folks would buy him coffee all the time. But I ain’t seen it ‘till now.

How touching.

Yeah, I miss him. So what can I do for you?

I’m working for the dead man. Hired me postmortem to help find his killer. The coroner pointed me to the crime scene, can I come into the alley and look around a bit?

Your client is the chalk line? That’s messed up woman, but I respect it, ok, but don’t mess anything up. Not that anyone would likely notice because the forensics aren’t coming back.

Thank you, you are an honor to your profession, officer Kuprik.

You’re welcome.


[The worklight is new. You can see that all of the alley’s normal lights have been ruined. Upon closer inspection, it seems that they’ve all imploded - as if some force shattered them all at the same time.]

A combination of drugs and magic, hm? Guess I’ve found the magic.

[Amidst the shards of glass from the broken lights, you find a small piece of glass which looks like the bottom of a test tube.]

How careless. [You pocket it discreetly.]

[As you shuffle the bundle of cloth to the side, a printed receipt falls out from beneath the folds of the blanket. It’s a bar tab receipt from the Seamstresses Union, dated two days ago at 3:02 AM - right around the coroner’s reported time of death. The customer: Sam Watts.]

[The server’s name is listed as Coyote.]

I’m gonna have to have a little talk with them, I suppose…

I believe that’s yours, chummer?

My stuff! Mighty decent of ya… don’t see that kinda thing too often out here.

Don’t get used to it, me and the pigs just don’t really see eye to eye.

Still. Thanks.

I do need a drink, after being so friendly all night…

Trigger warning: drinking and mentions of alcoholism.

smile I can see why Sam liked this place so much.

flirt Something dirty in a clean glass, please. I think I earned it.

Cherry Oooh, a hard-case - I like that. Okay, “Hard Case”, I’ll get you something stiff.

[She starts to turn away, when a man with the face of a survivor and the zeal of a convert tugs at her arm - hard. It’s clear the two have history. They try to keep their voices low but the intensity of their conversation makes them easy to overhear.]

Cherry I think plenty, Shane! I’m getting a Ph-freaking-d from UW in neuroprosthetics, studying under Ojemanns! And how am I paying for it? Bartending. Tips. There are faster ways for a Barrens girl to earn that kind of scratch but I’m not taking ‘em. So what do you want from me?

Shane I want what you want. A better life. A better world for everyone. The Universal Brotherhood can give you that…

Cherry I’ve heard all this before.

Shane This isn’t some trick to get us back together. Things are different now. I’m different now. The Brotherhood…

Cherry [Cherry Bomb’s pretty face is hard, armored in lipstick and low expectations.] The Universal Brotherhood is for other people, Shane. Rich Bellevue types, who can afford their membership fees and “voluntary donations”.

Shane This isn’t about money. It’s about binding the world together in brotherhood. Come with me. Attend a Discovery Meeting. Get to the core of who you are. I heard Lynn Telestrian give a talk last night called “The New Family of the Sixth World”…

Cherry I’ve got a family right here, Shane. They’re drunks and lowlifes and whores and I’d choose them over any of your Brotherhood members. Now buzz. I need to get back to work. [With body language that leaves no question that the conversation is over, Cherry Bomb turns her back on him.]

[Dejected, he leaves, head hanging low. She offers you an apologetic smile.]

Cherry Sorry, I got interrupted.

flirt Boyfriend find religion?

Cherry [Her pretty eyes narrow.] Something like that. Here’s your order.

[Cherry Bomb sets down your drink in front of you. You have no idea what it is, but the smell is enough to make your eyes water.]

sad [You raise your glass to your face. The amber liquid swirls under the neons.] Let’s make good on that promise.

flirt ¡Salud, cabrón!

[You empty your glass in one swing and almost choke. Cherry Bomb wasn’t lying when she said it was stiff. You manage to will the alcohol down. You still have no idea what it was, though it tasted better than it smelled. Which was, admittedly, a low bar.]

Cherry You’ve got a look that says you’re not just here for the entertainment. Are you a badge?

sarcasm You know the answer to that one.

neutral I have a few questions.That guy earlier, he said Coyote’s missing, is that true?

Cherry [She looks worried.] Yes. I think she’s… away on business.

sarcasm Business, huh? Is she a shaman? With a name like “Coyote”…

Cherry [She laughs.] No. She shot a coyote once, thinking it was a shaman who double-crossed her. We’ve been calling her Coyote ever since.

Cherry [Her face falls.] She’s been missing for a couple of days, now. Some people think the Ripper got her, but I know her. Coyote can take care of herself.

neutral Ever hear the name Sam Watts?

Cherry [She nods.] Sam was a regular customer and a regular pain in the ass for as long as I’ve been here. Talked a big game but he was always broke. As soon as he got any money in his pocket, it went straight to his head - chips, drugs, or booze. Coyote had a soft spot for him, though.

neutral Did you see him at all on the night he died?

Cherry No, that was Coyote’s shift.

thinking Wonderful, my only lead is missing…

Cherry Mrs. Kubota runs this place, she might be able to tell you more. She’s in the backroom. You can’t miss her.

neutral Wiz, talk to you later.

Cherry Nil sweat.

PNJ Your reps don’t merit it.

sarcasm Funny place for the architect to put a wall.

Kluwe Load bearing, too. You have business here?

neutral I’m looking into Sam Watts’ death. Knew him?

Kluwe Sure, everyone here knew Sam. Shame to lose a part of the family. [There’s a sharpness in Kluwe’s eyes, the look of a man who has seen much and earned wisdom at a young age.]

neutral You ever have to toss Sam out on his ass?

Kluwe Encouraged to call it a night, I’d say. Sam was a drunk, but he usually wasn’t a violent one.

neutral Usually? What about the night he died?

Kluwe He was a bit agitated. Didn’t catch the specifics. Might have been over a woman. Thought I was going to have to show him out, but I had to deal with a couple of rival go-gangers posturing for one of the working girls upstairs. Jake helped Sam out instead.

neutral Thanks for the help.

Kluwe No problem.

Sorry for the delay, health and life stuff piled up! Just a short update today, more to come asap.

neutral Yeah, first time. Just getting a look at the place and meeting the locals.

johnny Well enjoy yourself. This looks like your type of place. I’m just sweeping up a bit.

sarcasm Say, that’s an interesting earpiece you have right there…

[He whistles as he sweeps the floor, pretending he didn’t hear you. Your turn your attention back to the rest of the room. It doesn’t take you long to find the woman you were looking for. Or rather, you think it’s her. She looks the part, at least.]

Kubota Are you enjoying the Seamstresses Union? There should be plenty for a woman like you to enjoy. Or is this business?

neutral Sadly, business. For now.

Kubota I suspected as much when you walked in, omae! What business do you have with me?

neutral Same as everyone else: I need information.

Kubota [She eyes you suspiciously.] Of course you are. Knowledge is power, neh?

sarcasm So I’ve been told.

Kubota So ka. And why should I help you?

sarcasm Because I asked nicely?

Kubota … [She quirks an eyebrow at you.]

neutral Worth trying. Sam Watts, I’m looking for his killer. Jake told me you might help.

Kubota [Her face brightens - amused.] Ah! So, you are the “little insurance policy” he would go on about when he was drunk. His avenging angel who would strike back for him from beyond the grave.

eyeroll Avenging angel… For fuck’s sake, Sam.

Kubota [Her smile widens slightly.] What do you want to know?

flirt Before we talk turkey, why is this place called the Seamstresses Union? I don’t see much sewing happening here.

Kubota During the gold rush years, there was a census, and the politicians wanted as high a number as possible to gain power and revenue. To bolster their numbers, they decided to include all the “working girls” - of which there were many - to the rolls. However, given the times, they could not list the girl’s true occupation so they entered them all as “seamstresses”.

neutral Thanks for enlightening me. Now, back to business: how well did you know Sam?

Kubota He clung to this place like it was his lifeline and we treated him as a part of the family, even if none of us truly liked him - except Coyote.

disgust Harsh.

Kubota I am simply being honest. They say to never speak ill of the dead, but sugarcoating the truth never helped anyone in my experience.

neutral Did you see him, the night he died?

Kubota He was here, quite inebriated, as he often was. Coyote was working bar that night and she informed me that Sam was getting rowdy and belligerent with other customers. When I requested he leave, he refused.
My bouncer, Mr. Kluwe, was off dealing with another issue so I requested that Jake escort Sam out the back door to the alley. That was the last I saw of either of them.

neutral Alright… I need to talk to Coyote. Mind telling me where she went?

Kubota [Her face darkens.] Would that I could. I have not seen her in two days.

thinking ¡Chin!

Kubota She is a smart woman, and quite dangerous, but I fear for her.

neutral I appreciate the help.

[Even your playpen lock was harder to crack than this panel. The door opens with a low whine and you step in the bedroom. You don’t think that’s Coyote’s. Nothing of interest catch your eye, except…]

sarcasm Oooh, you sure look suspicious, Señor Sleep Bear! What are you hiding?

flirt Remember kids, drugs are bad.

[The other room is as uninteresting as the other. Maybe even less so, since it’s bearfree. The last one though…]

[The whole place reeks of cold tobacco and it looks like Coyote keeps her clothes in boxes on the floor. Every flat surface around the couch is littered with action movies and cigarettes butts. Your own flat will never look “nice” by any standards, but in comparison, it seems… tidy. You find a diary on Coyote’s bed, several papers sticking out of it. The first one is a receipt for a gun. You read the diary entry written on the back.]

eyeroll He sure sounds like a catch.

boredom Now that’s kinda pathetic, girl.

[The second paper has a hand-written poem on it. The writing is different so you assume it’s Paco’s. Let’s just say that he should stick to guns and motorcycles and leave the poetry to others.]

PNJ Sometimes it seems like Paco reads my mind, or my diary. Maybe he does the latter. I wouldn’t be surprised. HI PACO!

eyeroll It’s probably ironic coming from me, but that’s not okay.

PNJ Ever since last week, he hasn’t mentioned the Cutters once. He leaves the apartment with a “See you in a few hours, babe,” and returns without further comment. I don’t know if it’s really going to help for us to avoid the subject in conversation completely. But I have felt better without our constant arguing about it.

PNJ The last two nights, I’ve come home from work to Paco waiting up for me, slouching on the old dumpster couch with a novel four inches from his face. I imagine that as I turn the key in the door he perks up and makes himself look especially studious for when I get the door open. He seems superficially surprised to see me, but I love this little act.

[You finally find a receipt and an old photograph stuck between the pages. The picture show a young girl with caramel skin and dark brown hair. She has a snake wrapped around her arm and she’s smiling. The back of the photograph has “Shadow” scrawled on it.]

[The receipt it the Collect On Delivery kind, for a special order: 5 pounds of zebra meat from Maury’s Meat Emporium, located near Pike Place Market.]

sarcasm Paleo diet, uh?

[The last paper of any interest you find is for a wall safe, installed near the bathroom door. Set to a combination of 342436.]

eyeroll What is the point of having a secret safe if you leave the code laying around?

neutral Fichetti Frag Grenade? Nada mal. Let’s see this as compensation for making me read Paco’s god awful poetry.

sarcasm Now, onto the main course.

[The crack easily unhashes the password, “trustno1” and you are transferred to the desktop.]

eyeroll Again, this is probably ironic coming from me but Coyote, you and I are going to have a serious discussion about passwords and security as soon as I find you.

neutral Let’s see where you could have run off to. Agenda…

hacking Three days ago: Meet with Delilah about gig.

neutral And she went missing the next day?

hacking Today: Meet Paco for date at Pike Place Market. Due in 30 minutes.

neutral Maybe I can call him rather than run there?

hacking [Coyote’s contact list has exactly one entry: Paco. There is no commlink number or other contact information for him available.]

eyeroll Drek. Of course. That’s the least useful list of contacts I’ve even seen. History…

[A quick scan of her recent researches shows that Coyote has been reading a great deal about hellhounds. It also suggests more than a casual interests in vintage action figures.]

thinking I probably won’t get anything more out of that steaming piece of crap of a computer…

neutral Mrs. Kubota?

Kubota How can I help you?

neutral You know Paco? Coyote has a date with him at Pike Place Market in the next half hour.

Kubota If you would go down there, it might bring me peace of mind. I’ll call a cab for you - it should be able to get you there in time. Gambatte Kudasai. Good luck.


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