Setting Notes

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Since this campaign is something of a Shadowrun “reboot” there will be some setting changes. Think of this as a cross between Strange Days, Watchdogs, Max Headroom, Deus Ex, and (Insert Urban Fantasy Series Here).

For now, the current date is not yet defined, and I’m mainly using these pages as a way to collect pre-campaign ideas and data.

Things That Happened Differently

In this campaign, things happened a little differently. We’re updating the setting for both “past compatibility” and for the Rule of Cool. The Current Year is 2054.

First off, let’s talk about this famous little company called Google. See, by the mid-2020s, Google and Microsoft were poised to either take over the world, or destroy it underneath them in their conflict. Then the Crash of ’29 happened, and, well, now we have the Redmond Barrens. “Free internet for everyone!” was no longer a good thing after the Megas used it as a big scapegoat for the total worldwide rampant destruction caused by the Crash. After all, they said, if things had been more controlled and regulated, the fallout would only have been but a fraction as bad, if even that. The public and the governments ate it up, and thus came the end of the free Matrix.

After the crash, no one bothered stepping in to restore everything that Google had offered. That meant no more easy searches, no more free email, no more free anything. All of this stuff became available again from dozens of for-pay providers, most of which were already owned by or quickly gobbled up by the Big Megas.

Google and MS had set up wireless everything, everywhere. After the Crash, a lot of that infrastructure fell into pieces. Augmented Reality became a thing of the past, as no one trusted the Matrix much anymore. It still exists here and there, but in limited quantities, and mostly fairly sketchy.

Today, no one texts anymore. After a significant portion of society was murdered by their always-on personal Matrix devices, texting more or less vanished from common habit. Replacing it today are email (again) and actual phone calls.

Also, the Elves and Dwarves have been here the whole damn time. We just didn’t know it until they finally decided to make The Big Reveal. We suspected, yes, and many times things slipped. That’s where a lot of our old faerie tales come from (with a lot of yarn-telling and good ol’ hyperbole thrown in, of course). After the great dragon Ryumyo kinda went all leeroy jenkins and made himself known to the public, the Princes of Tir decided to make themselves known to the public. The Dwarves had been here too. Many elves and dwarves had even existed in plain sight for centuries. The Ork and Troll golinization thing still happened, though. Such a shame, those poor souls.

Bug City happened, and it was way worse than written. We’re talking ruptures into Places Man Was Not Meant To Go. It’s not been fixed, and probably never will be. It’s taking all the effort the UCAS can just to contain the damn thing and keep it from spreading. Rumor is they even got a damn Dragon on the task.

Human augmentation has been all the rage ever since the early century. Medical prosthetics made way for elective replacements, with cyberware and bionics paving the way for vat-cultured bioware. Today, human augmentation is fashionable, versatile, and highly addictive. Anyone who has ever gotten a second tattoo knows what I’m talking about here, only now amplify that with the rush of direct neural interaction. It’s even culturally encouraged in many sectors. Laborers make more money when they’re stronger, scientists function better with neural interfaces, and no modern secretary worth her salt doesn’t have a cranial database.

Magic exists, but it is some powerful stuff, and everyone realizes that. One does not simply go around casting spells willy nilly in public. Kids who show magical talent are tagged and taken into special schools as soon as they are found. The rich kids benefit from rich kid mage schools, while on the opposite end of the social spectrum, the schools are little more than magical military schools, not too many shades away from prisons. Those drawn to the Totem Spirits are usually found by their local spiritual leaders and convinced to join their flocks.

Of course, some magi-kids escape the ever-watchful eye of Big Brother and band together for a while in wiz-gangs or other secret cabals. Some of those even make it into adulthood, either learning how to pass as freelancers or going full on toxic. The latter don’t last too long past their early 20s, although a rare few still haunt the asphalt wilds.

And speaking of that watchful eye, well, let’s face it, folks. No matter where you are, or in what country you claim citizenship, the Sixth World is all one big Surveillance State. Drones are everywhere, there are cameras on every street, the buses and planes are all live recorded 24-7. Satellites way up high can find you in a split second, and it’s all thanks to humanity’s convenient addiction to technology.

Oh, and then there’s you, the Shadowrunnner. You exist as under the radar as you can. Your government and sometimes even your own family considers you a deniable asset. There are few public records of your existence. Your gear is second-hand or stripped-down custom, your goals entirely anti-social. You are a Criminal, and you get paid to be one. The only nobility to your career is the cause you bring to the table, and chances are that “nobility” is mostly selfish. There’s nothing wrong with a little selfishness, if it keeps you alive and happy.

Setting Notes

Shadowrun: The Series, Revisited phasmaphobic