Wednesday, August 12, 2015

About Shadowrun

Before i dive in and make a meek attempt to adequately describe the Shadowrun Universe, there are three 'Proverbs' i wish to share which, i hope, will provide an example of the mindset of the characters that live, work, and die within the shadows of the awakened sixth world.

"Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon."

"Geek the mage first." 

"Everything has a price." 

This is a snapshot from the latest core rulebook for this game.

Shadowrun originated as a role-playing game, first released in 1989 as a pen and paper (pnp) game. Akin to Dungeons and Dragons.  That is, using a rule-set for the guidelines of character creation, the 'world', etc., and using dice to help insert a 'randomness' in helping determine the outcomes of a plethora of situations.  Since then, it has most recently seen a 5th edition of the PnP core rules, several stand alone game applications (1), an online version known as 'Shadowrun Chronicles', a 'Collectable Cooperative Card game' (2).  I could easily get all deep in the various versions, etc., but at its core, the Shadowrun Universe (that provides the backdrop for all of these iterations), is a Science Fiction universe, set in the 'near' future.  Its timeline diverges late in the twentieth century. 

It is a dystopian future where corporations wield immense amounts of power.  You're either a registered citizen, or you are scum.  At the end of the Mayan calendar, 21 December, 2012, the world erupted into the 'Sixth World'.  Dragons emerged, magic awakened, metahumans began appearing (Elves and Dwarves via birth to human parents, Orcs and Trolls 'goblinized' at puberty).  Cybernetics and the internet (known as the Matrix in-game, and yes, this predates the movies by the Wachowski brothers) take huge leaps forward.  Augmented and virtual reality interfaces are the norm.  The best ways i can think of to describe it is:

Put Dungeons and Dragons, Max Headroom, Blade Runner, and in many ways, Tolkien's Middle Earth, into a blender, add a pinch of espionage, some horror, and imagination, and viola!

Perhaps, it would have been better if i had shared this first:

The world has changed…
Magic is no longer just for fairy tales. It’s real. While technology has merged with flesh to challenge the strength of old world sorcery. Now people are more than just people; after an unexplained genetic event, some of them have developed traits that have left them labeled as elves, dwarfs, orks, and trolls. And dragons aren’t just in picture books–they’re very real, and they’re running nations and some of the biggest corporations in the world.People call it the Sixth World, and it’s not a friendly place. Mega corporations have ruthlessly consolidated power, and they make everyone, from the lowliest sage slave to the most powerful government leader, dance to their tune. Many people sell their lives to these megacorps, believing they have no choice. But there are a few who have the skills, the guts and the nerve to stay independent, finding a way to live in the gray areas of a world not built for them. They can survive–and if they’re real lucky–thrive in the corners and shadows of the world. They’re outlaws, but they’re tolerated by the powers of the world because they’re useful. They are called shadowrunners.
For a more in depth perspective, Catalyst games also provides a free .PDF that was used as an internal memo, to help their new employees, etc.  The 'Primer' can be found here:  Shadowrun Primer.
I was hooked from the release of the 1st edition, but until last year, life just got in the way.  I love fantasy, i love Cyberpunk, i love dystopian visions of the future... this game really does have a mix of everything i like... and a few things i would prefer to not envision... but, so does real life. :)

(1) Shadowrun: Returns, Dragonfall, and Hong Kong, with more to come.
(2) Shadowrun: Crossfire

No comments:

Post a Comment