Saturday Seed ~ 39 (Shadowrun)

This week’s seed is being planted for Shadowrun and is even smaller a seed than I usually plant, but as the possible directions for it to go are so varied and expansive, I hope that you will forgive me.

The seed:

The runners come across a chemical which has some effectiveness as a weight loss enhancer, but has serious side-effects affecting only Magicians. Ingestion of the product dramatically increases the effect of Drain on the body, leaving the mage exhausted and disoriented. Additionally, while affected by the substance, use of magic sparks significant use of stored energy. Continued use with unrestrained magic use will trigger rapid weight loss, followed eventually by the body’s self-consumption; cannibalizing itself to meet its vastly increased energy needs. The chemical breaks down quickly in the body, leaving few traces that would normally be looked for in an examination behind.

The use of the seed might be to help a group bridge the gap from simple runners to either anti-mage entrepreneurs, or pro-mage crusaders.

Planting the seed:

In order to get the most mileage out of the idea, an amount of the chemical in pill form, as well as the formula for its manufacture should be obtained by the runners. It is not necessary for that to occur at the same time, but for less-experienced groups getting them together might be necessary to turn thoughts to the idea that they, or someone else, may want to produce, and market this product.

One way to introduce the pill might be to foreshadow its existence by having rumors circulate about mages who apparently died of starvation while force-feeding themselves. At first, after just one or two cases popular thinking would indicate that they must have been cursed, but when a few more unconnected mages turn up dead in different parts of the sprawl, those with their fingers on what goes on in the shadows begin to suspect something else… especially when the few official investigations turn up nothing.

Another might be that when digging around for military or police development projects, either in response to research into the pill, or as another form of foreshadowing being slipped into a different story, a grant given to an undisclosed group to find non-lethal solutions for negating spell-casting ability turns up.

With hints of something strange which can cause the death of mages lurking in the background of your setting, you might have the group come across a destroyed lab, not unlike one of the million street drug labs scattered across the sprawl. The place, part of an abandoned warehouse, has been hit by heavy weapons fire recently and everyone inside is dead. Perhaps this occurred during an unrelated street battle the PC group itself is involved with, or perhaps some other reason can compel them to investigate the scene, such as it occurring in their turf, or one of their contacts failed to show up for a meeting and can be tracked to the neighbourhood.

In the wreckage, the crew can find the remains of the producers (street level drug cookers, not corporate scientists), a supply of the drug, the emaciated remains of a few naked humans in cages… some of them bearing tattooing or other marks of magery, and either all or part of the formula. Evidence indicates someone may have escaped the wreckage, but the trail goes cold not far from the warehouse.

An alternate route to go is to have their fixer get them involved with the product to help him translate it into profit, by going on a run to steal the formula – if they can uncover who has it.

A Detail:

The hit on the warehouse will have been by the group which developed the drug, and is now trying to cover its tracks in the wake of a sudden negative shift in the attitude of its government sponsor. While they still hope to perfect and weaponize the product, they currently want to expunge all traces of it from the streets.

What’s going on:

This seed is really of such a potentially large size – determining what is going on, is best left to you. Were it my campaign, I suspect that I would pin the runners between the original government department which commissioned the project and wants to cover its tracks, a lodge of mages gunning for revenge, a whole slew of corporate and shadowy interests trying to get their own hands on the goods, the lead investigator looking into the deaths related to the drug, and of course the group which actually invented it.


What will you do with it?



2 Responses to “Saturday Seed ~ 39 (Shadowrun)”
  1. 1nsomniac says:

    An interesting idea… I may develop something along these lines. Combined with the Ghost Cartels campaign, this could lead to unique ideas (what happens to a body that cannibalizes itself when channeling mana, when you introduce spiritual possession…?)

    I have quite a few mages in my group…this could be a nice way to make them sweat a little, if this stuff was weaponized (control hostile mages by making spellcasting fatal)…

    • Runeslinger says:

      That sounds *very* good~
      Off the top of my head I can think of two approaches I might like to explore in story design:
      1. What happens to those who are killed by burning themselves out and starving to death on the substance and who happen to have been possessed while that was taking place.
      2. What happens to those who are dying and receive an offer of assistance and power from the entity which happens to be possessing them at the time of their misfortune.

      However the mages come to be dealt the substance, I think this substance can really eat at the heart of what they are and what makes them tick.

      I am glad you liked the idea, and thanks very much for sharing how you plan to use it!

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