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The story of Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown

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Marzhin

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« on: (12:54:52/05-15-15) »
Hi all,

I figured people who are not interested in playing video games would still be interested to know the storyline of Shadowrun Chronicles, so here's a summary. I haven't reached the end yet, so it will be updated later on.

Obviously this post contains HUGE SPOILERS for the game. Read it at your own risk. I can't be held responsible if it infects you with CFD :p

As the player is free to create his/her character and team up with other(s), the PCs will be referred to as "the Shadowrunners" or "the runners" in this summary.

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Boston, the Northeastern Metroplex Axis, 2076...

The Shadowrunners are new in town, and have been recommended to a fixer named Smedley Pembrenton, III. Smedley is a veteran of the Boston shadows, and used to be a shadowrunner under the handle "Boom". The Shadowrunners meet him in a corner of the Leather District, which has become a hub for all kinds of shadow activities.

Smedley hires the Shadowrunners to deal with a gang known as the Dragonslayers. This gang is trespassing on Smedley's turf and endangering his business, so he wants them to understand they are not welcome in this part of town. After a couple of runs against the Dragonslayers, the Shadowrunners encounter their boss, Luna, a Magician who seems to be in cahoot with a Megacorp. But Luna escapes before the Shadowrunners can learn the identity of her sponsor.



Through Smedley, the Shadowrunners are hired to infiltrate the NeoNET Towers and plant some dirt on the terminal of one of the employees. During the run, the NeoNET towers are suddenly attacked by a dragon. The Shadowrunners are forced to abort the run and escape to save their lives as all hell breaks loose.

Back in the Leather District, the runners learn that the dragon has crashed on Fenway Park, before flying towards Salem, leaving a strange, iridescent rain in his wake. Smedley thinks it is a good opportunity to loot the Red Sox' trophy room. To do that, the runners steal a Doc Wagon ambulance and uniforms, and go to Fenway Park. The surroundings of the Park are in a state of emergency, with hundreds of wounded being tended by the rescue services. The runners sneak through the compound and enter the ruined stadium.



During the heist, the runners are brutally attacked by crazy persons in a state of murderous frenzy. As if responding to a silent signal, many of the wounded are simultaneously turning into maniacs and attacking the cops and doctors. The runners barely escape, saving the life of a Knight Errant detective named Sarah McCarthy.

As more and more incidents involving crazy people are reported, the runners learn that the FBI is taking over the investigation of the recent incidents (or more accurately, putting said investigation under the rug), and has had Sarah arrested when she refused to quit. Smedley hires the runners to exfiltrate her from the KE headquarters.



From there, the runners can be hired by the following people for various kinds of jobs:

- Smedley is trying to turn the growing madness into a business opportunity
- Sarah is looking for clues and evidence to understand what is going on in Boston, and while she dislikes Shadowrunners, they are her best hope to find the truth
- Jane, Smedley's trusted Decker, hires the runners for "social" runs, to help people threatened by the crazies
- Buster, the Ork who leads the local militia, is looking for weapons and other ways to defend the Leather District, just in case
- Bozeman, a shady Dwarf, is looking for muscle for various shady jobs

Soon, the city is put under lockdown. The runners are sent to the city sewers to find a way to leave the Quarantine Zone, but realize the forces outside have been ordered to kill everyone who tries to leave.

The "headcases" try to attack the Leather District through the Catacombs, but the resident magicians and shamans manage to cast a defensive spell to seal the tunnels. By autopsying the headcases' bodies, it is discovered they are actually infected by large quantities of nanites. It also becomes clear the Dragonslayers have been capturing people to serve as guinea pigs for their Megacorp employer: Aztechnology.

The runners have another encounter with Luna, and finally learn who is her mysterious patron: an Aztechnology executive named Cruzado (IIRC). Cruzado operates from an innocent-looking Stuffer Shack, actually one of Aztechnology's hidden facilities in the area. When the runners reach the facility, they witness Azzie commandos executing Cruzado's people. It seems the Azzies are cleaning up their ranks, killing anyone involved with the nanite plague. The runners arrive too late to confront Cruzado, and witness him being murdered by someone claiming to be Damon (the "dragon socialite"). Before killing Cruzado, "Damon" tells him he should not have double-crossed him.

From that point on, the runners begin digging into Aztechnology's business, looking for clues about the nanite plague. It becomes apparent someone in the Leather District has become affected by CFD, and has been stealing from the rest of the community, possibly even trying to sabotage their efforts from the inside. Suspicions fall on Bozeman, who has been suffering from headaches. Bozeman soon escapes, which looks liek a proof he was indeed a traitor, although Smedley still has doubts. Another character becomes a potential Ms. Johnson: Allison Sanborn, an Horizon reporter who has managed to get herself smuggled in the QZ to investigate the real causes of the lockdown. Escorting Allison back to Fenway Park, the runners discover the headcases have been working together, building some sort of "makeshift transceiver".



Investigating Aztechnology puts the runners at odds with the NeoNET forces, and it is revealed the two Megacorps have been working together for the past ten years on something called "Project Vulcan", nanites able to reprogram personalities. Jane comments: "I think they both liked the idea of reprogrammable people". NeoNET has put a dragon at the center of the nanite experiment.

The runners discover a research facility hidden under Northeastern University (this last fact is not mentioned in the game itself, but it's where it is on the Boston map). In the databanks of the facility, they find evidence pointing towards a large underground complex near MIT&T, where the dragon that started it all was kept before he escaped and attacked the NeoNET towers. Among other things, they also discover a message sent by Miles Lanier to Richard Villiers. Lanier tried to warn his former friend of what Celedyr has been working on, but his evidence was ignored, as Villiers believed he could "rein in" the dragon.



Piecing the clues together, the runners, Sarah, Smedley and Jane realize the Dragon was none other than Eliohann, the first dragon to have received a Datajack. Project Vulcan was an attempt to reunite Eliohann's consciousness with his body. However, Aztechnology double-crossed Celedyr, using data from Project Vulcan to create anti-dragon weapons. Celedyr is trying to keep it all under wraps as he would be in major trouble if it was discovered he has -- even inadvertently -- helped the Azzies wage war against his draconic brothers and sisters. As if that double-cross wasn't enough, yet another party sabotaged the project from within, infecting Eliohann with "an AI that was part of a research project called Imago". The nanites now contain Eliohann's e-ghost, or the intruder AI, or both, and are driving people insane as these alien personalities try to reform in their brains.

In the underground complex, Jane is revealed to be a headcase herself, but her "uninvited guest" seems somewhat benevolent, or at least trying to help the runners find out the truth. In the main terminal, the runners discover a message left by PAX, gloating that it is too late to stop her plan and that it is "the beginning of the end".



The runners escape the facility and return to the Leather District, only to find it under attack from both the Aztechnology and NeoNET forces, hell bent on erasing all evidence and witnesses of what has happened...

And that's were I am in the game at the moment :) To be continued...  8)
« Last Edit: (11:14:00/05-16-15) by Marzhin »
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Marzhin

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« Reply #1 on: (11:05:29/05-16-15) »
Part 2, all to the way to the end!



With help from Buster's militia, the Aztechnology and NeoNET assault forces are defeated. The Leather District community regroups and comes with a plan to expose the Megacorps' role in the nanite plague.

Allison, the reporter, suggests to use her access to Horizon's grid to upload a file with all the clues the runners have gathered. While it may be taken down rapidly by the Megacorps, it will have been seen by thousands, and the truth will be out there. But all communications are still being jammed. Detective McCarthy has the idea to use the transmission array in MIT&T to send the package out. But McCarthy and the runners first have to fight the Azzie forces defending the MIT&T labs.



Here we are reaching the end of the game, so it's your last chance to stop reading to avoid the big spoilers.



As Sarah activates the array, Jane starts uploading the data... or not. It turns out accessing the array was her goal all along, but not to get the truth out: Jane has been taken over by the AI a long time ago, and it is anything but benevolent: it wants to break free from the Quarantine Zone by spreading its code into the Matrix. Sarah tries to shut down the array, but "Jane" retaliates. Sarah is killed as the whole lab explodes. Whether or not the AI had the time to upload itself into the Matrix is left unclear.

The main runner wakes up in a Corp lab, with scientists about to experiment on him. He freaks out and kill them. "Jane" guides him towards the exit, but it is in fact an ambush he is not supposed to survive. After a battle with headcases, the Shadowrunner manages to escape the facility with the help of some muscle sent by Smedley. The group tracks down Jane to a Mitsuhama drone-manufacturing plant in Brookline. The headcases have taken it over and the place is swarming with nanites. The runners encounter "Jane" in her physical form, rebuilt by the nanites into a creepy half-human, half-machine hybrid.



The AI mocks their attempt to stop it, saying it will never be a slave or a prisoner again, and claiming Jane is only one shell of many. The battle begins, and eventually the runners take the upper hand and manage to inflict a lethal wound to Jane. In her last moments, Jane's original personality resurfaces and asks the runners to kill her while they can. The choice to finish her off or not is left to the player.

Victory has a sour taste. The AI is still infecting thousands of headcases, and has potentially managed to upload itself into the Matrix as well. Boston is still under lockdown, while the Megacorps are now waging war in Salem to retrieve Eliohann's body. Sarah and countless others are dead. Even the runners may be compromised, after breathing in the nanite-saturated air of the MCT plant. Smedley advises them to get some rest, as the battle is only beginning. The runners swear they will find whoever is responsible for this mess and make them pay for what happened to Jane.



The game ends with a mention that this was only Chapter 1, and that the story will continue in future updates, and whether the players chose to kill Jane or not will have an impact in the next chapters of the story and the world of Shadowrun in general.

It is interesting to note that while it may seem obvious the AI that took over Jane is Deus, it is never mentioned by name, leaving its real identity open.
« Last Edit: (11:23:47/05-16-15) by Marzhin »
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Jamelfr

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« Reply #2 on: (21:36:13/05-16-15) »
Thank you for the recap of the game story.

I am still playing it and I find your summary useful : I don't know if it's me (I'm ill at the moment) or the writings (not at the level of Shadowrun Returns), but sometimes I find it difficult to follow the story. I hope the developpers will but a summary of the missions in log/journal soon.

Marzhin

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« Reply #3 on: (17:02:38/05-18-15) »
I am still playing it and I find your summary useful : I don't know if it's me (I'm ill at the moment) or the writings (not at the level of Shadowrun Returns), but sometimes I find it difficult to follow the story. I hope the developpers will but a summary of the missions in log/journal soon.

Indeed, the story is less focused in Shadowrun Chronicles, you can feel it's there to give background but it's not on the forefront as it was in Returns and Dragonfall, and therefore it's often left to the player to piece it together. You can also see that a lot has been shuffling around, and sometimes pieces are missing, or not always fit perfectly next to each other.
Still I found the story pretty good if you're into it :)
The fact the writers of SR Chronicles are not native English writers (even if the author of the Lockdown book did a proofreading pass on the game's texts) also shows (I know the issue firsthand, being myself a video game writer working in English while being French).
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Jamelfr

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« Reply #4 on: (17:35:46/05-20-15) »
Yeah, I agree with what you are saying. It seems like they did not have the time to review enough the story and dialogs and I get the impression sometimes that I am having information way too quickly or way too late, in the logical progression of the story. And too often I feel like there are simply not enough information to fully understand all the situation : fortunately I have the Boston Lockdown sourcebook, so I can understand some situations better, but a game storyline should not rely on an external source that way (imho).

But indeed, it does not prevent one to appreciate the game and overall plot. :)

ScytheKnight

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« Reply #5 on: (19:48:42/05-20-15) »
I didn't really have too much trouble following the story.. as for early/late info, eh, it's about "not seeing the whole picture". Even as someone not really knowing a whole lot about early Shadowrun lore I felt they did a reasonable job of explaining the whole situation with who the dragon was, what happened to him and why it was such a big deal.
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Fisher

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« Reply #6 on: (03:33:36/06-07-15) »
Quote
It is interesting to note that while it may seem obvious the AI that took over Jane is Deus, it is never mentioned by name, leaving its real identity open.

Hrm.... question. What exactly made you think the AI that took over Jane was Deus? There's nothing clearly to that effect in your summary, just that it was one of the Imagio AIs. Pax muwhahaha'd about freeing it, but she was involved in Imagio anyway, so she'd do that regardless. Did 'Jane' say anything that suggested a link?

Marzhin

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« Reply #7 on: (05:10:56/06-07-15) »
Quote
It is interesting to note that while it may seem obvious the AI that took over Jane is Deus, it is never mentioned by name, leaving its real identity open.

Hrm.... question. What exactly made you think the AI that took over Jane was Deus? There's nothing clearly to that effect in your summary, just that it was one of the Imagio AIs. Pax muwhahaha'd about freeing it, but she was involved in Imagio anyway, so she'd do that regardless. Did 'Jane' say anything that suggested a link?

That's what I'm saying. Deus seems to be the obvious candidate, but he's never actually mentioned.
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Fisher

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« Reply #8 on: (05:30:36/06-07-15) »
Quote
It is interesting to note that while it may seem obvious the AI that took over Jane is Deus, it is never mentioned by name, leaving its real identity open.

Hrm.... question. What exactly made you think the AI that took over Jane was Deus? There's nothing clearly to that effect in your summary, just that it was one of the Imagio AIs. Pax muwhahaha'd about freeing it, but she was involved in Imagio anyway, so she'd do that regardless. Did 'Jane' say anything that suggested a link?

That's what I'm saying. Deus seems to be the obvious candidate, but he's never actually mentioned.
*nods* I'm with you. I'm just curious as to why people jumped on the Deus theory. The story fits any CFD AI, and we knew that was why Boston was on Lockdown in the first place. I'm wondering how people came to that conclusion specifically. Is it the message from Pax? Or was there something I'm missing?

Marzhin

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« Reply #9 on: (11:15:47/06-07-15) »
There's PAX's message, but also the AI's general behaviour : strong anti-corporate bias, her claims she'll do anything not to be "locked up" again when you confront her, her general megalomania, etc.
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cyclopean

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« Reply #10 on: (23:00:51/06-26-15) »
Thanks for posting this stuff! I'm planning to take my players to Boston once they finish up in Chicago, and I was curious what was happening with this game, meta-story-wise. Super useful to know

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #11 on: (01:59:31/07-09-15) »
See my timing rundown here - that it's the personality of Deus is IMO pretty blatantly obvious, and the reason why she'd encode his personality is becoming more and more obvious to me the more that I look at it from her point of view.  Who better to use, to whip up anti-AI sentiment, than the poster child of Big Bad AI everywhere?

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Streetsam_Crunch

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« Reply #12 on: (01:06:30/06-08-18) »
I know this is thread necroing, but I thought if anyone was interested, I made a transcript of all the dialogue in SRC from beginning to end, each NPC interaction, each mission, each data node you could run across, and even the voice-over bits that PA's play during some of the runs ("Attention: Today's caffeteria menu is ricotta canolli with green salad, or clam chowder as a vegan option."  ;D )

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=859974620

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