Edge City

"Sudden Death" June 3, 2011
Resolving Numerous Issues

Last session, we dealt with the imprisoned Chauncy clan members and the gun evidence, the “volume 13” problem, the Commissioner Treadwell problem, the Chan family leadership shakeout finale, the Shadowrunner problem, the Bellchek underworld succession problem, the “insufficient backup requested” part of the skaven problem, Dante’s fence sitting problem (squarely in the Ghost camp, complete with costume workup), the cannibalistic werewolf problem, and Clarissa and Evans’ wedding.

Also, we ended up with Alex Felton as police commissioner, and interested in befriending the Chauncy clan. And Clarissa is now haunted, or maybe having nightmares. The characters spent some relaxing time pursuing various personal interests, also considering when and how best to attack the skaven. We concluded an hour early (so this was in 4 hours).

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The Story So Far (Werewolf Civil War)
In Which the Situation is Summarized

The heroes of the city are thoroughly off balance.

The Gray Ghost, defender of the city committed to creatively protecting the culture and safety of those residing there, is at wits end. A quiet civil war between two factions of a werewolf clan erupted onto the public scene with a series of dramatic gunfights culminating in the destruction of a city block through focused terrorism against a hard target.

The two factions are the Shadow Runners and the Templar, both within the Chauncy clan. The “Templar” are so named for following Templeton. Their focus is on keeping a low profile, continuing in the service industry and factory work mostly, with a loose connection to a shamanistic cairn on their property. They congregate at Old Man Marcher’s Place, a house at the edge of civilization backed up on the national park wilderness.

The Shadowrunners focus on using their violent abilities to get involved in organized crime, parlaying their talents into real wealth and power in the city. They want to get paid, they want to be feared and respected, and they want to give orders instead of taking them.

Leadership of both factions was once the Chauncy council, lycanthropes that could achieve the most violent form of transformation. When the split, the Templar were led by Templeton, assisted by his apprentice Jade Wolf/Jeremiah Mann/Michael Walks Alone, who is now called “Wanderer.”

The Shadowrunner council had three members; the leader Kevin, his violent bestial killer Hank, and a tough front-line warrior, Lulu.

Kevin could not negotiate with Templeton, so he opened negotiations with the one who would be called Wanderer. The negotiation ended poorly, and Wanderer’s bodyguard and close friend Biff was shot with silver and killed.

Wanderer called the clan together and told them Biff was murdered by the Shadowrunners, but cautioned them to take no action. They disregarded his advice, and one of Biff’s good friends led an assault masterminded by another of the Templar council, Jerrica.

The attack was devastating and brutal, destroying much of the Shadowrunner strength. Delighted, Jerrica and others of a violent persuasion in the Templar faction continue to hunt Shadowrunners who are caught out in vulnerable positions. Meanwhile, Templeton resigned, discouraged, leaving Wanderer in charge. Wanderer staged another clan meeting, this time telling the clan they were to be heroes, do their part, defend the cairn and the city, and sacrifice for the greater good; while the Shadowrunner leaders must be defeated, healing would follow, and they should not be indiscriminately violent. He then set himself on fire three times, burning off his former titles of “Jeremiah Mann” (in that identity, wanted by the police for murdering cops), “Michael Walks Alone” (A name Templeton gave him), and “Jade Wolf” (because he can no longer function as a vigilante with the Gray Ghost, as he is a killer enabling furthering killing.)

Eventually he adopted the identity of “Wanderer” under pressure from his friends, who wanted to know what to call him. Jeremiah Mann’s fortune was left to his protoge shaman, the guardian of the cairn, Morris Pennywise.

As this was going on, a vengeful Hank took his group and brutally assaulted Wanderer’s assistant shaman Alecia, hospitalizing her and infecting her with lycanthropy. When Wanderer did not face him, he repeated and escalated the challenge by brutalizing young Morris as well.

After addressing the clan, Wanderer took the Alchemist, Isis, and Anubis (knowing the Gray Ghost would be involved) and confronted Hank in his lair in an abandoned arcology. They fought, and as Wanderer knocked Hank down, Alchemist restrained him in the metal flooring. As Wanderer struggled with whether to kill him or not, the Gray Ghost shot the Wanderer and Hank with a drug that forced them into their human forms, disoriented. The Alchemist helped the Gray Ghost take Hank to the Mausoleum, out of the Wanderer’s reach.

It appears the main strength of the Shadowrunner effort has been defeated. However, some complications remain.

Mother Wolf is the totem spirit of the cairn that the Wanderer is charged with protecting. She required him to kill the three members of the Shadowrunner council, as a wandering umbral shaman Stormcrow prophecied that one of them would be responsible for severing the cairn’s connection.

Lulu was likely killed in the assault on Mumford Block that killed many of the clan members and triggered Templeton’s resignation. Hank was defeated and captured by the Gray Ghost. And the Alchemist told the Wanderer that the Gray Ghost has Hank, the leader, in custody. It appears that the Wanderer cannot satisfy Mother Wolf without killing two werewolves that are in the care of the Gray Ghost, who forbids killing in the city.

Also, the surviving Shadowrunners (numbering about 30 warriors) are under the supervision of a woman named Willa Bellchek. She is involved in organized crime, part of a syndicate that just imploded, and she stands to inherit their empire. The alliance could be worrisome.

The Gray Ghost was nearly killed by a werewolf working with the Templar. He would have been killed without the timely intervention of a costumed madman named Painkiller, Gil Franklin, who is traditionally the Gray Ghost’s arch nemesis. Franklin also delivered Kevin to the Gray Ghost, along with the drugs that force the werewolves back into human form, disoriented. This strange turn of events seems to show Painkiller as a more helpful ally than the Wanderer and his mass-murdering clan.

A great ally of the clan, Paul Evans (The Alchemist) has been disheartened by the actions of the clan. This is more difficult for him as they are his adopted family, and he is seriously dating one of their members, Clarissa. Will the clan lose their powerful ally over this burst of violence and mayhem? Will Evans lose people he has grown emotionally close to and protected? What if the Alchemist must choose between the Gray Ghost and the Chauncy clan?

The clan’s historian was murdered, along with many others who were not direct participants in the conflict. How will the clan see themselves? What identity can unite them? How can they deal with the rift between the Shadowrunners and Templar when both sides appear bloody-handed and uncompromisingly vicious?

As the violence has spiked, police have arrested a dozen members of the Chauncy clan, after searching Old Man Marcher’s place with a warrant and finding the weapons used in the assault on Mumford Block. The Shadowrunners used their criminal contacts to lean on corrupt police to arrange this situation, and the Chauncy clan is helpless in the face of the law. It seems convictions are likely, and public attention inevitable—very dangerous for them.

An order of monster hunters, St. Michael’s, has come to town and may end up hunting the Chauncy in both factions with equal zeal if they cannot hush this up somehow.

The Wanderer used his criminal contacts in the clan to burn a body at the Mumford Block site, so the police have announced Jeremiah Mann’s terrorist spree ended when his next scheme was defeated by two rival cells of terrorists shooting it out. However, aside from shaving his head, he has not altered his appearance overmuch, and he continues to appear before sometimes hundreds of clan members who know him, so it seems unlikely the rumors of his demise will be taken seriously.

Also, a taboo of the werewolves is being violated. Someone is eating human flesh. A defecting spy from the Shadowrunner side said it was not their people—is it possible someone in the ranks of the Templar has gone rogue and is feasting on humans?

Jerrica and her followers on the Council continue their violence against the Shadowrunners, delighted to have been so successful in hitting them hard and unwilling to let survivors complicate the future. The Wanderer has reprimanded their attitude and methods, but Jerrica does not seem to take the Council seriously as she zealously conducts her own crusade of genocide.

Increasingly, it seems the Chauncy clan (both elements) proves willing to murder, sometimes on a mass scale. This means the Gray Ghost must either put a stop to it somehow, or violate his own code of ethics. But how do you stop werewolves without killing them? Can killing them be the only answer? And there are so many involved at varying levels… how do you judge the proper response to this kind of mayhem and destruction within a family, spilling out on the city? Is the Ghost up to the challenge of quelling this chaos? How do you kick hundreds of people out of the city when you are one man? They are stubborn, notoriously uninterested in obeying authority figures… Will this break the Ghost’s moral code at last?

As the chaos sorts out with Bellchek willing to shelter the surviving Shadowrunners, will organized crime become more terrifyingly powerful than ever with supernatural violence supporting its edicts?

Can the Chauncy clan find some unifying vision that can help them heal the massive scarring of a civil war that is not clearly understood or framed, with no clear heroes? Or will the schism repeat until the werewolves of the city flee from clannish structure to escape the violence?

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