Shadowrun: Shadows of Giza

Lingo, Organizations, and locations of interest

B-mo: A casual reference to the Bormanus Project. Morpheus Lab’s crowning achievement.

“Tricky Vic”: CEO of Morpheus Labs.

REM-scape: A visualized space created by a dreamer which can be exploited given proper incentive.

A Dive: Venturing into a subject’s REM-scape using the B-mo

Betrayers of Osiris: Often times just referred to as Betrayers. Drawing from the ancient myth of the Fall of Osiris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris), these men and women are a street gang of sorts similar to the Halloweeners of North America. Rather than dress in costume, these gangers undergo extensive genetic modification to alter their bodies to bare the appearance of ancient Egyptian deities. When genetic modification is not available, they often resort to intensive cybernetics to augment their bodies to better resemble the Gods of old. Often this leads to chop jobs, body snatching etc. Some of these gangers go so far as to claim status of one of the Awoken of ancient Egypt. While most of these claims are unfounded, some of these upstarted have gathered quite the following.

Akhenanten (Betrayer): Likely the best known leader of the Betrayers, Akhenaten claims to be one of the Awoken Pharaohs of Old. While not considered among the Seven, the man is a Shaman of considerable power basing his root in a Sun deity named Aten. While generally dismissed as a faker, he’s amassed a large network of betrayers to follow him. These followers are not only loyal to him, but borderline fanatical when it comes to the prospect of their Sun God. While all betrayers are dangerous, the followers of Aten are especially so.

Burnouts: Betrayers that are specifically worshipers of Aten

Aden: Big, nasty Dragon. Sort of the big brother of the middle East (http://shadowrun.wikia.com/wiki/Aden)

The Awoken: While exceptionally rare, these are spiritual entities which claim to be risen Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. While lacking evidence to back up the claim, it is documented that when interviewed, these individuals held immense aptitude at magic and a substantial knowledge base of Egyptian lore. While there is no official number of how many of these “pharaohs” walk the Middle East, there are seven who have openly displayed themselves during the sixth age. They are referred to strictly as “The seven” when talked about as a collective. It’s due both in part to these figureheads as well as the Dragon Aden that the region has not been grossly overtaken by Megacorps. Despite occasionally working together, the collective does not seem intent on unifying the nation as a whole. Seeing instead they each seem to pursue objectives all their own. While no record of such has been recorded, it’s highly likely that any one of these creatures could go toe to toe with a dragon if the occasion called for it.

The seven are as follows -

- Khufu (reined 2589 – 2566 B.C) and Khafra (reigned 2558 – 2532 B.C.): “The Father” and “The Son” Out of all of the Awoken, these are the two found most often working together. More rather, they’re never seen apart. Historically speaking the pair was responsible for both the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx. After their Awakening, the pair seemed intent to continue their Architecture. Pushing further into the desert than what would have been allotted in ancient Egyptian life, the pair has continued construction of additional structures based on a design all their own.

-Amenhotep (reigned 1525-1504 B.C.): “Keeper of the Mediterranean Sea” Taking his root in Alexandria, Amenhotep holds a military-esque border on the Mediterranean Sea. Having amassed a fairly decent army all his own, the Pharaoh maintains his line in the sea. Despite this, and his proximity to the Suez Canal, Amenhotep played no supporting role in the Awakening of Thutmose the Mad. Instead, He seemed rather intent to watch it play out.

-Hatshepsut (reigned 1498-1483 B.C.): Also mentioned occasionally as “The Bitch Queen of Sinai”. Hatshepsut historically is a woman who stole the throne from his son, exiling him to life in a monastery. This later led to her downfall as her son Thutmose rose up in later life and retook the throne by force. Hatshepsut the Awoken pays homage to this flavor of character in a sense. She rules and operates a city on the edge of the Red Sea called Sharm El Sheikh. Before the sixth age, this city was a popular tourist location for European travelers run entirely by remnants the Russian mob. During this time, the city served as a major means for the Egyptian country to pull in foreign funds for the nation’s economy. Due to the importance of this, the Egyptian government (Or lack thereof) allotted a large amount of freedom to this. Upon her Awakening, Hatshepsut spared little time taking control of this corrupt network of seedy entertainment. Though not directly involved in the affairs of Cairo, the woman does business between the cities regularly. Sharm el Sheikh still remains the nation’s largest provider of foreign income and because of that, the queen is allotted similar freedoms shared by her predecessors.

-Thutmose (reigned 1479-1425 B.C.): Also known as “Thutmose the Mad” awoken late compared to the rest of the seven and would normally not be included into the Seven as he’s no longer Alive. However it was the way the man revealed himself that etched his name into history. Thutmose awoke abruptly in the summer of 2042 and the way he did it was volatile to say the least. Finding himself back in the world, the Pharaoh declared outright war on the woman who was historically referenced as his mother. At this time, Hatshepsut had been well established in Sharm El Sheikh for the better part of 50 years. The battle was outright chaos and there are still horribly irradiated patches of desert left over from the conflict that spanned three weeks. During this this time, 26 thousand people were killed and the entire city of Port Sied was burned to the ground. To this day, the Suez Canal is considered a no man’s land littered with radiation and mutated creatures left over from the aftermath. It does however provide a border between Gaza and Egypt that is maintained diligently by the Queen Bitch of Sinai, which has its own political value.

-Tutankhamun (reigned 1334-1325 B.C.): “King Tut” as he’s referenced often bears the appearance of a young and handsome Arabic man in his early 20s. During the dawn of the sixth Age, Giza especially underwent massive change to its atmosphere and overall geography. While the University of Cairo sits on the edge of the Nile going into Giza, it was not untouched during the shift. It was during this time that Tutankhamun revealed himself and maintained the ground, preserving the university and protecting it from the initial chaos that erupted following the change. While not a stranger to the modern ways of the world, He seems to be entirely focused on preserving the remnants of Ancient Egypt. Presently he sits at the top of the University’s Board and acts as its leading figurehead.

-Ramses (reigned 1279-1212 B.C.): Considered to be the most powerful of the Awoken, Ramses oversees the whole of Egypt from the city of Luxor, Maintaining his kingdom at the heart of the Karnack temple. Though predominantly an administrative role, Ramses was vital to the region’s rebuilding after the awakening of Thutmose the Mad. While Hatshepsut claimed victory in the battle, it was in no small part due to the support she received through Ramses’ assistance. Troops, supplies and resources to contain the spread of radiation were all vital in the brutal conflict.

The Islamic Unity Movement (IUM): An organization which pushes for the unity of the Ummah (A potential Worldwide Islamic collective)

New Islamic Jihad (NIJ): a terror organisation.

NIJI (Pronounced “Nee-Jee”): A word used to describe a member of the NIJ. Often used in a derogatory manner.

The Pit: Centered at the edge of Tahir Square, the pit is a large hole cut into the landscape where the Museum of Cairo once resided. During the outbreak initially following the turn over into the sixth age, a riot broke out in Tahir square among the chaos. In turn, several bands of locals opted to take this opportunity to attempt a raid into the Museum of Cairo with mind to loot it. Not allowing this to happen, Tutankhamun the Awoken wrapped the entire building in a bubble of energy and tore it from the earth. To an onlooker, the building just vanished leaving nothing more than an oversized crater in its place. The Pharaoh rematerialized the building to his location at the time, setting it (grounds and all) to hover precariously above the University Campus. To this day, the Museum floats on its own power above the Collage. Elevators have since been erected to ferry people with business on location to and from the building, but casual visitors are no longer allowed in. Meanwhile the pit itself is considered by many with quite a bit of superstition. Though not a graveyard, the location brings with it a fair level of Unease to anyone around it. Despite being prime real estate, To this day no one’s rebuilt anything upon it.

“Tears” or “Tripping”: A vague reference to a dimensional anomaly that occurs more often the closer one gets to the pyramids. Generally these are nothing more than small distortions in time space that provide the observer with strange Deja vu like experiences. Sometimes however, these can be much greater occurrences such as wormholes, time dead zones, and other happenings which betray the laws of physics.

To be “Tripped Up”: Referencing a person who’s found themselves at the receiving end of a dimensional anomaly

Relic: Items infused with strange properties residing from a dimensional anomaly. Generally these are more novel trinkets that fetch a fair price from collectors, but some of them can actually be put to practical use. Ones that fall in this category are especially valuable.

“Tear Bear”: A seeker of imbued relics often with intent to sell them. These folk are generally considered crazy dare devils to intentionally seek out tares.

“Tear Bear Stare”: A look one gets about them after being “Tripped up”. There are stories of some anomalies effecting victims that forever distort their perception of reality.

The Suez: Referencing the radioactive wasteland that is the Suez Canal. Left in ruins from the clash of Hapshepsut and Tutmose the Mad.

Tahir Square: The proverbial Center of Cairo. Similar to Time’s Square is to New York

Gehzra: A small island in the middle of the Nile River. Considered by most to be Betrayers home turf.

The Necropolis: A catch all word to describe the grounds containing the Sphinx and the great Pyramids. This is home to the most powerful nexus points on earth and is extremely dangerous to visit without considerable knowledge of how to ward against tears.

The Ring and “Riding” the ring: The largest highway in Cairo, it circles around both cities and feeds exits right into the Necropolis. It is widely considered to be the easiest entrance into the grounds. To “ride the ring” is to attempt an expedition into the Necropolis. This gesture, while not per se suicidal, is generally synonymous with death.

The Anfaq: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Cairo_Metro_map.svg) The Metro system that connects the two cities. On all Cairo metro trains, the middle two cars (4th and 5th) of each train are reserved for women (the 5th car becomes a mixed use after 21:00). There are also blue signs at every station that signify the position of these cars. These cars are used as an option for women who do not wish to ride with men in the same car; however, women can still ride other cars freely. This policy was introduced for protection of women from sexual harassment by men. While the metro no longer runs into the necropolis, the tunnels still remain from before the Awakening. The metro runs 24/7 except during Ramadan when it shortens its hours to

Ramadan: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar; Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.

The University/ CU (“See You”): Short for the American university of Cairo

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Just what is Morpheus Labs?

Morpheus Labs is a small and fairly recent Company owned and run by the American University of Cairo. They specialize specifically Psychology and Neuroscience, but also dabble rather heavy in Dream Research and REM study. Maintaining a staffing bracket of only fifty six employees, the company feels less like a corporate R&D firm and more like an independent facility that’s been subcontracted out. The company is small enough that employee relations remain personal; the grind of corporate lifestyle isn’t apparent and quite a bit of freedom is allotted to its workforce in order to maximize creative potential.

The company’s CEO is a man by the name of Victor Sandusky, though the employee grapevine has warranted him the nickname “Tricky Vic”. While not per se an insult, Vic is never seen around the office. Employee email notifications are always filled to the brim with company updates by the man, company meetings are met with video feeds of his likeness, and he’s always absent during executive gatherings of any sort. While this doesn’t seem to hurt the organization productivity, the Man seems content to manage his company remotely. That being said, he seems to make up for his absence through his own take on Safety briefings, Protocol updates and news in his own style. While one cannot dismiss his attendance record, he receives straight marks for keeping his employees up to date.

The company even stocks the fridge on its own dime based on studies claiming supplied food improves workplace morale.

While not managing curfews, the facility is based within the University proper and most of its employees spend their lives entirely within the campus walls. Housing is distributed for a fee that isn’t horrendous and while it would be cheaper to live within greater Cairo, the dangerous nature of the city lends most folk to take up the appealing offer.

Campus lifestyle is a touch different to lifestyle outside the walls. Maintaining its “American” heritage, the language most often spoken there is English. A stark contrast to the Arabic most often spoken within the city. While a large amount of the students and workers there hail from the Middle Eastern region, a surprising 40% sport western ethnic backgrounds. The result of this paints a night and day atmosphere between the university and the City Beyond. Much more so when one ventures into Giza proper.

Within the last decade, Morpheus Labs began work on a project called “Bormanus” named after the Celtic God associated with secrets revealed through dreams (Though the company grapevine casually refers to the project as “B-Mo”). In summary, the project seeks to create a method where analog memory in the human brain can be quantified. Where it can be placed on a disk and traded, or implanted into a new source without the time normally required for such experiences. The usefulness of such technology is obvious and doesn’t need to be stated. By implanting memory into a new source, you basically revolutionize the written word.

Rather than take a hardware approach to the problem, the Firm opted to instead focus on suggestive states in REM sleep. Using rats, the company managed to manufacture a dream maze for the rodent with Pavlovian incentive down a certain trail. When awoken and placed in an identical maze as produced in the dream, results displayed an overwhelming success rate in the rodent’s first attempt.

When the research went public, the company’s PR exploded. Every news feed on the BBS ran segments on the capabilities for such technology, how it would change the world and revolutionize the human experience. Along with soapbox however, came doomsayers. They claimed that to quantify memory would be to remove a vital aspect of the human condition. What’s the point of an artist when you could download how to paint like Picasso? What’s the point of enlightenment when it could be bottled and consumed in a fraction of a lifetime normally required?

Naturally a moral debate echoed across the BBS despite clear oversights in the differences a mouse finding cheese and a downloadable meaning of life. Regardless however, it became clear that this technology was on the forefront of the next technological revolution, and whoever controlled it first would pave the future.

Enter Aztechnology.
The Aztlan based megacorp took specific interest in the technology and poured a large amount of resources in completing the race from a late start. Immediately after duplicating the result, the Corporation pushed into realm of human testing. While some success was achieved through the series of experimentation, it’s what happened after going public that really shook the scientific community.

After displaying evidence of a successful memory implant in a human being, Aztecnology PR exploded much in the same way as Morpheus Labs. What wasn’t expected was the side effects displayed in the test subjects. Not being able to justify the implanted memories, every subject used in the test lost some level of grip on reality. Various subjects found themselves diagnosed with schizophrenia, pronounced aspects of intense paranoia, and many even attempted (or succeeded) suicide.

The after effects were a PR nightmare for Aztecnology. The BBS flayed the corporation’s image and for a short time, they became the laughing stock of the scientific community. It’s widely assumed that any knowledge about the questionable side effects were never meant to see the light of day. This is supported by several attempts by Aztechnology to cover up the evidence. In turn, it’s likely that the story came to light due to a security leak from an outside source. This however, is purely speculation with little ground.

Meanwhile, the overnight fame of Morpheus Labs bolstered requirements in security measures by the previously tiny company. Curfews, operational security regulations, and restrictions became much more apparent in the previously Lasse fare community. While understandable considering the volatile circumstance of the situation, Morale has taken a hit and many of the employees maintain an overwhelming feeling of being boxed in and monitored. Meanwhile the question that seems at the top of everyone’s news feed is…

…Who’s coming out on top of this tech race?

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OOC tools to be used:

There’s a few things that we’ll be using for this campaign, some of them are for ease of access, others are just neat.

Okay all of them are ease of access AND neat, but that’s beside the point.

Starting out, All characters will be built, maintained with SR4CG. This program is awesome and you will learn (without much difficultly) to absolutely love it.

You can download the program here: http://www.dobberisms.com/sr4cg.php

Characters will be stored on dropbox for ease of access. (We’ll figure out which dropbox on sunday)

As for the build, here’s where things will get interesting. You will start with 150 build points. Just 150. I know. It’s pretty shit, that’s the point. Here’s the kicker though, unlike a standard game, You have plenty of means to gain back points through use of Negative qualities. In a normal game, you only get to choose 5 of these max. In this game, you get to have as many as you can comfortably play. You’ll find that the negative qualities you choose will help you round out your character and get a better feel for them quicker. You’ll also find that this should well open your BP pool a bit.

Next up is Roll 20

Roll 20 is a neat little tool used for online RPGs like this that can be as easy or as massively complex as you want it to be. Generally this is great for DnD because you can just build your maps, set your variables and help smooth out details in a visual format.

But fuck that noise. I run by the seat of my pants. A lot of this shit I’ll be making up on the fly because I dig that sort of thing. Soon as you lot create an account, I will invite you into the campaign so you have easy access. We be using roll 20 for two major things.

1. Having an open forum for dice so folk won’t be tempted to lie on rolls

and

2. Make use of a visual media that I can have pre set if the occasion so fits me and I plan ahead on more than just the story. Otherwise we’ll be using the next tool:

Scriblink!

This is an online whiteboard more apt for the seat of the pants RP I’m fond of. If I need to show you something visually that I haven’t prepared for, I will be doing it here. You can get there from the following link:

http://www.scriblink.com/

Finally and most importantly is this site right here, Obsidian Portal. Portal is great because it will give us the ability to keep folk updated on the things that have gone down previously as well as a means to update folk when we’re not easy to get a hold of. After every session, one of the players will take on the roll as scribe and record briefly the events of the session. It doesn’t have to be in depth, just something to go over what happened that game. This will be determined at the beginning of each campaign using a d6. When a person runs the roll of scribe, he/she will not perform this duty until everyone in the rotation has done the roll. Afterwards the rotation will restart and rolling will commence.

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Where you come in...

Where you come in:

You, cheeky roleplayer person, are a corporate wageslave. You begin the story in a small subsidiary company called Morpheus Labs. You have a SIN (Social Identification Number), You do your taxes, you pay your union dues. While the state that Cairo’s in isn’t particularly appealing, the freedom of research your firm is able to proceed with within the environment is likely the reason the company was established here. Within that freedom, your project has flourished.

In a nutshell, your company is focused on Information withdrawls, Deposits, reprogramming and suggestion capable of the human and metahuman brain during REM sleep. While the science of this process is rather in depth, the basic direction of the technology takes the human brain as it is naturally and treats it as a computer, interfacing with it directly in a non invasive format at the state it’s most open to suggestion. Money inflates, buildings crumble, and weapons rust. Secrets however, last quite a bit longer.

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The Setting:

All men dream, but Not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible…

- T.E. Lawrence

The Setting:

Through backhand deals, corporate employee shuffles, sense of adventure or a bad hand in general, You find yourself in Cairo Egypt. A country ripped to shreds through a constantly shifting wave of ideals, fractured religious framework, clashing politics and a desperate populace hungry for a sense of purpose. Two years ago, the country was thrown into a brand of chaos as the ruling theocracy was removed from power forcibly by the people of the state. Order has been attempted through both corporate, Governmental, Gang and Militant methods but for reason or another, a unified front has yet to be established beneath the shadow of Giza. Some are drawn here from the sense of freedom found in the chaos, others for the freedom obtained in a state without LABOR LAW restrictions, others because the land is fertile with one of the most mystically rich environment on the planet. Most however, were just unfortunate.

Without ruling framework, the city of 28 million people festers daily. Pockets of dolled up environments still exist for the person with a dollar to spend, but they are few and far between. Lack of trash collection has made it not entirely uncommon to see rubbish piles crammed into unused alley ways, in some cases towered up all the way to the brim of the multi story buildings that encase it. Violence is rampant, Law enforcement is corrupt, the economy is shot, and it’s not entirely uncommon to see a body in the street on your way to the store.

In addition, due to peculiar tax codes set in motion decades before. Building owners and CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES could actually avoid paying property tax entirely on a construct if it was incomplete for a total of 20 years. While this seems silly, it’s how certain high influential figures in the region through out the country’s history have been able to create tourist spots and high traffic land marks of which they wouldn’t be weighed down by tax legislation. A level of corruption hidden beneath ancient laws that no one bothered to change. While in some cases this leads to entire districts under the ownership of a single influential figure, more often it leads to ruined construct framework scattered over the egyptian sands. Because of the economic turmoil of the nation, it’s not uncommon for squatters to take refuge in these structures and live within them. Deaths occur regularly from these crumbling skeleton buildings as no one regulates their upkeep.

Gang activity is rampant but the more terrifying brands of these scale much grander than street punks and bedowin nomads. Larger organizations hold to ideals kept through the previous theocracy and often cling to religious lines. The Muslim is one such organization and holds an impressive display of power throughout the middle east. Often these religious groups tend to yield a high number of magically connected members from which they draw their muscle.

While not a government power, The Dragon Aden keeps a check on all things within the middle east, though manly focuses his(her?) resources on keeping external powers across the sea from gaining footholds within his domain. While more behind the scenes than Lowfyr and his German based corporation, with substantial enough digging one can often find the dragon’s fingers in all manners of things. He’s most well known for single-handedly razing Tehran Iran to the ground in 2020. The muslim brotherhood revile him for this act as it was a response to the the Ayatollah’s jihad against the Awakened.

Giza itself sits just outside of Cairo and is basically the same city. Located furthest from the nile, this urban landscape was built predominantly around the pyramids and sphinx themselves. At one point, this place was a tourist ground for people on their way to the sites. Since the dawn of the sixth age however, these sites sport some of the most powerful leylines in the world. The closer one gets to the landmark, the looser definitions of reality occur. Because of this, several extremist groups of shamans, mages and adepts flock to these grounds.

Finally, the American University of Cairo is likely the reason why you and your firm are here in the first place. An epicenter for archeology and science for centuries, this has not changed in the rise of this age. Embrace the chaotic environment, the University has taken the opportunity of lawlessness to attempt a jump in research and technology without the weight of labor laws on their shoulders. It is this organization that fronts Morpheus Labs’ PAYROLL and why scientists,researchers and techs find themselves transferred to the chaotic region all too often.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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