Shadowrun, 5th Edition

It’s been forever since we last visited the Sci-Fantasy game system known as Shadowrun. We’ve grown tired of slogging through fantasy dungeons and need a break. It’s my turn to run the game so after some discussion I settled on Shadowrun. What follows is my poor interpretation of a rather complex game setting.

Shadowrun is set in a no-so-distant future where technology has become so ubiquitous that humans are implanting technology in their bodies to enhance everything from personal communications to muscle reflexes, the term cyberpunk comes to mind. Similar to the movie Johnny Mnemonic but with an additional twist.

The ‘Awakening’ was an event when true magic returned to the world causing recessive genes in some humans to activate and BOOM! elves, dwarves, orks and trolls are all over the place. With the return of magic native shamans suddenly had real power and Native Americans began to take back their lands. Now the world is this weird combination of high technology and magic. Magic also awakened all the associated creatures and spirits providing all manner of things like dragons. Matter of fact, Dragons run a few of the mega-corporations…

This future world is dominated by corporations instead of traditional nations. Information is just as valuable as currency and plain old violent interaction is very common as corporate interests collide. Many of these ‘mega-corps’ have larger standing armies than what’s left of the nations around the world. With the meta-human re-emergence traditional countries have been shattered. As is human nature, anything different must be contained or destroyed but with Magic in the world he who has the largest gun is not necessarily the victor. Large swaths of continents have been converted into meta-human exclusive nations. Between Native Americans and the new meta-humans the borders of America have been reforged.

Shadowrun: North America Map

Players are ‘shadow runners’ that undertake various tasks on behalf of a ‘Mr. Johnson’ usually through a ‘Fixer’ middle man. Players take on the various roles needed to round out a typical team; heavy weapons, melee muscle, mage, shaman, face man or tech expert. Life as a shadow runner is dangerous at best so knowing how to shoot is a major plus. Most runners aren’t on any official books so they can be disavowed fairly easily. Need something stolen? Need a competitor or nuisance eliminated? Need some extra muscle to guard your goodies? Hire some runners and maybe another group to watch the first… just in case.

I haven’t even looked at this game system for over 20 years so I will be cramming as much information as possible between now and my first session. They released a 5th edition a couple years ago, doesn’t look too different but if i’m going to make a decent attempt to entertain my players i’ll need to be a little more familiar with the mechanics.

I’ve settled on running a couple pre-generated missions from the official source and see where it takes us. As is always the case, I expect the original plots will not survive the first session. That’s half the fun.

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