"Shadowrun is a role-playing game set in the dystopian near-future of 2074, a world where cyberpunk meets magic, where criminal subcultures rub shoulders with corporate elites, and where advanced technology competes with the power of spells and spirits. It is an age of high-tech lowlifes, shrouded in danger and mystery and driven by intrigue and adrenaline. Those who play in it stand on the edge, always on the cusp of adventure." - Shadowrun, 20th Anniversary Edition
Magic: When magic returned to the world, it brought with it many changes. Powerful dragons crossed the skies, claiming vast swaths of land. Dragons, thankfully, are the rarest of entities. The more common races became what is known as Meta-humanity. Some humans were born deformed or mutated into forms resembling those of mythological creatures. Uncommon people became Ghouls and Vampires, Sasquatches and Naga, Pixies and Drakes. Even some animals "awoke" to sentience. The most common expressions however were Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Trolls. These 4 races, combined with humans, make up the bulk of the world's population, with less than .5% of all sapient creatures falling into a different species.
The reaction to these different sapient creatures have been many, but most states recognize the equal rights of at least the 5 most common species, with many recognizing the rights of the less common creatures. Only independent nations that were formed for the expression of a specific species do not recognize the rights of other creatures. On the individual level, many organizations have formed to advocate for the rights (or segregation) of the different meta-human groups.
Sorcery: The most common form of magic is sorcery. Like the wizards of Arthurian legend, Sorcerers use magic by casting spells. These spells can be classified into several groups: Combat Spells, Detection Spells, Health Spells. Illusion Spells, and Manipulation Spells. Combat spells are any type of magic spell that can harm another. Detection Spells, as the name suggests, are spells that use magic to gather information. Health Spells are any spells that repair a living thing. Illusion Spells either manipulate the mind of their target or bend light and sound to create tricks. Manipulation Spells use magic to transform the world around them like the alchemists of old.
One final branch of sorcery is ritual spell-casting. In these arts, magic users work together to control a more powerful spell. with enough spell-casters of enough skill and with sufficient time, a group could destroy an entire city - though the number of mage's required and the amount of draining that would occur would be prohibitively expensive.
Learning to cast requires enormous time, and developing a spell can take years. Most people can never know more than eight different spells from the different schools combined.
Conjuring: Conjuring is a type of magic where the caster summons a magical spirit to do his bidding from the Astral-Plane. These Spirits take many forms from dragons and phoenixes to lines and tigers and bears (oh my) to kittens; the form subconsciously chosen by the caster. Like spells, spirits have been classified into several forms. Elemental spirits (those of Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind) are the most commonly used varieties, but others (such as Guardian - who defend their summoner, Beast - Spirits of the wild, Man - a spirit of meta-humnaity, and Watcher - spirits who can only watch what happens around them and report to the caster)
Summoning is the most dangerous type of magic as it has the same disadvantages as sorcery, in that it drains the caster, but in that it calls a sentient creature to the Sixth World. Without great care taken when doing the summoning (and a bit of luck), the spirits are uncontrollable, nigh indestructible monsters that hold no love for their caller or those around them.
The advantage of conjuring is obvious: the power. Of all the forms of magic, summoning offers more potential then any. Whether summoning a watcher spirit who will rarely miss a beat or a fire spirit with destructive skills rivaling a tank, spirits are the nigh unstoppable force of the magical world.
Spirits are difficult to control and more difficult to work with. The most powerful conjures rarely know more then five spirits they can call and few can summon more then once before they need to rest. As a result, even the most dedicated conjurers learn some rudimentary sorcery to protect themselves.
Adept: The final branch of common magic is the adept. Rather than casting spells or summoning spirits, these individuals internalize their magic and use it to enhance themselves. This type of magic is the most stable, having little chance of draining the life-force of the caster, but have the most limited effects - primarily related to enhancing the persons physical and mental self. A powerful enough and well trained adept can actually rival an augmented super-soldier. The closest historical examples of this type of magic are the holy warriors of ancient Europe, the shaolin monks of China, or the Japanese ninja.
Adept Magic falls into three main groupings - Physical Enhancement, Mental Enhancement, and Over-boost. Physical enhancement primarily deals with enhancing the body. They are used to make a person physically stronger, faster, more enduring. Mental Enhancement is similar to the age old adage "mind over matter". They enhance the senses of the user - giving abilities to see in the dark or dull the sense of pain. The final type is Over-boot. With this form of magic, the adept can push his powers beyond their normal limits - allowing for feats of incredible strength and skill. This form is the most draining and the most risky. it is not uncommon for an adept to kill himself by pushing his limits too much or too far.
Most Adepts have no more then eight abilities, drawn from the three schools.
Drain: Magic is exceedingly powerful, but it comes with a cost. Whether you're the sorcerer drawing magic from the either, the conjurer calling forth powerful spirits, or the adept internalizing his own magic, the caster risks harming himself with the flow of magic. The only sure-fire way to avoid the draining effect of magic is to not cast. Magic is so unpredictable that even the simplest spells can go awry and knock a caster out. As a result, even the most powerful casters cannot cast more then a few times per day. An adept has it the easiest - avoiding significant risk as long they avoid boosting themselves, but extended periods of magical use fatigues them quickly. Conjurers have the greatest risk. Like sorcerers, they risk drain with every summoning, but should they fail to control the summon and drain themselves too much, they find themselves in the warpath of a living, magical tank with no weapon to defend themselves.
Moral of the story: Don't over do the magic.
Government: The political landscape of the world has changed dramatically. Government's still have power, controlling the laws of any given land. Organized military's still have far more firepower than the corps, and the many government services and agencies still exist in one form or another. Many services have become privatized such as emergency services to groups like DocWagon (Medical) and LoneStar (Police).
Corporations: In this world, corporations are the most powerful forces on the planet. These corporations are divided into classes - ranging from D Class to AAA Class with AAA being the most powerful. There are only 10 AAA's; each is more powerful than a nation, maintains extra-territoriality and corporate-national dual-citizenship, and produces every good you will ever see. The AAA Mega-Corps are the most powerful organizations on the planet and they will never let you forget it. These ten are referred to as "The Big Ten". Shadowrunners have a love-hate relationship with the corps. On the one hand, the corps and their endless supply of troops are the most likely cause of death for any shadowrunner. On the other, Shadowrunners can only exist because of the covert jobs the corps offer. The Big Ten are (in order of most powerful to least):
6. Ares Macrotechnology
Religion: With the return of magic, religion has taken a turn for the strange. Most faiths have adapted to the presence of magic, changing their views - accepting it when used for good or fighting back against it by declaring it heretical . Some religions, such as Wicca, have grown in popularity as a result. Other religions have reformed, such as the worship of the ancient greco-roman and Egyptian pantheons. Even new religions, inspired by questions of the origin of spirits, have formed. As a rule, nearly every religion (old and new) exists with multiple denominations and views on the source and value of magic.
Crime: New gangs form daily. Some form by breaking off from other gangs, some by merging with others, and some grow in power by destroying others and claiming their territories. Most of these gangs form or join alliances and play to the powerful Organized crime lords for protection.
Of course, the most important kind of crime as far as you are concerned are the shadowrunners. Shadowrunners are individuals who hire out their impressive skill set to someone (referred to on the street as a "Mr. Johnson") who needs a less-than legal goal checked off. They get payed to do the dirty work for big companies, big governments, or any one with big-bucks. The advantage they offer is their deniable existence - there is never any proof to link a runner or his group back to the entity that hired them.
Entertainment: Entertainment comes in many forms in 2074 - if it can be done and someone is willing to pay, there is a buyer somewhere. Entertainment includes:
1. Nightclubs: 2074 doesn't sleep much. Clubs run 24/7/365. They range from the traditional techno blasting music clubs to nitche clubs that cater to specific tastes. Some clubs even exist on the Matrix, with exclusive backrooms you need to hack to get into. There are clubs that are private, public, and everything in between - and all of them have backrooms for similarly named deals.
2. Music: With so much interconnection across the world, and the low cost to get an instrument, a cultural renascence of music is underfoot. Music of every variety imaginable (and several unimaginable) exist if you know where to look
3. Sports: All the classics still exist - baseball, basketball, football, FOOTBALL - each with all the money and fanaticism behind them they always had. New sports, taking advantage of the existence of magic, have also taken root including Urban Brawl, Combat Biking, and Court Ball (Aztec sport like basketball where the losing teams captain is sacrificed)
4. Simsense: Simsense has become the future of television and video-gaming. It is completely immersive story telling. You are a part of the story, directing it's actions at the viewers discretion. It affects all 5 senses by plugging directly into the viewers head - with filters available for the less desirable senses like pain.
5. Trideo: Simsense is great, but most people don't want to experience the 6 PM news in it. For the average day-to-day, people use Trideo - a digital high-definition 3 dimensional holographic television. It works much like good-o'l TV, providing a simple viewing port to the outside world affecting only sight and sound.
6. Radio: Even in the far flung future, radio has it's place. Most of the news, talk, and music is corp sponsored, but independent broadcasters exist, catering to every market.
7. Advertising: No discussion of entertainment is complete without advertising. Thanks to Augmented Reality, Advertisements cover the landscape, catering to the specific desires of the user. Traditional forms of advertising still exist, but they are becoming more and more outdated each year.
8. Fashion: Fashion has expanded into new ground. With cheap cosmetic augmentations, self-altering clothing, and AR technology to cover yourself in whatever you want - a person can change their entire look with a thought.
9. Sex: Oldest Profession indeed
10. The Deep End: Even in the open socially progressive world of 2074, there are illegal activities. The drug trade is stronger than ever - powered by all the classics and dozens of designer drugs all produced with the greatest ease and sold for the highest profit. Simsense has it's dark side: Better-than-Life's (BTL's) - Simsense with all the limiters removed. Why settle for real life when the VR world is so much better. Underground gladiator matches are common enough, and the dark side of the sex trade has only gotten darker.
The Matrix: Every device from cars and airplanes to toasters and soy-cafe makers is powered by computers. With a thought, people can start their car, get the latest news, make a hot cup of coffee, or experience the latest SIM (virtual reality movie/game). With a comm-link or augmented eye, information about the world around you is placed before your eyes using Augmented Reality. All of this is possible thanks to "The Matrix" - a wireless computer network that connects people and machines the world over.
There are those that exploit this network for their own gain. These people are called hackers. They come in many varieties, from those that have mastered some specific type of matrix skill (such as stealing data) to those that are jacks-of-all-trades who do a little of everything to alter the matrix world around them. Some specialize in the control and modification of drones - automated workers, soldiers, and vehicles - to do their bidding and those that have mastered the art of cyber-combat, who break into parts of the matrix using programs and avatars of their own design, displaying the matrix world like a complex video game. Beware however, as many a matrix code can affect not just your avatar, but your mind as well. Many people have been found dead, having gone face to face with programs they were ill-prepared for.
Perhaps the most interesting of all things in the matrix is something known as the "Deep Resonance". No one is quiet sure what it is or if it even exists, but there are those that believe it is the matrix made aware - a sapient network. There are many pieces of evidence to support it's existence. Many an A.I. has reported it's presence, and sprites (tiny semi-sentient programs) appear from somewhere. The most compelling of the evidences however is the Technomancer - a person who can access the matrix without a computer. These rare individuals are, for some unknown reason, living, sentient, bio-organic computers, who can create code at will and interact with the matrix on a level that no other person is capable of.
But don't think you have to be born special to bypass the keyboard. with the right equipment - a hot-SIM module - it's easy to access the Matrix directly, creating an Avatar uniquely yours in the online world. Note: Inherently magical creatures (such as dragons) cannot use a hot-SIM module because their magic rejects it. Technomancers also cannot have magical abilities - the two groups of powers are inherently opposed.
Meta-Human Augmentation: After 12,000 years of human civilization, Meta-humanity has turned its tool making skills upon itself, "improving" the species. 60 years ago, the most advanced piece of augmentation was a prosthetic limb for amputees. Now, there are hundreds of ways in which people have changed themselves ranging from military grade-cyber limbs equipped with the latest weapons to hair augmentation allowing the fashion elite to change their looks at a moment's notice.
Augmentation comes in several different varieties ranging from cybernetic limbs and nano-technology to genetic modification and bioware. Because of these augments, Meta-humanity is capable of feats once thought impossible. Unfortunately, as with all advances, for something gained, something else is lost. For reasons unknown, the meta-human body has a limit to how much modification it can take before psychosis sets in. Those practitioners of the mystical arts say this is due to the loss of bits of the meta-human soul. Scientists believe it may have to do with the body being unable to function with such a limited amount of it's original material remaining. Whatever the cause, the fact remains: you play with your nature too much, and nature takes offense. Augmentations have another major side effect - they reduce your connection with the Astral-Plane and the Deep Resonance. As a result, most Technomancers and Mage's stay as far away from the body-mods as they can.
Weapons: Weapon technology hasn't changed much in the last 60 years. Guns are (mostly) still projectile based, bigger weapons are still illegal, and most people have little more than a pistol (if that). The only major change has been the resurgence of archaic weapons. With magic able to enchant simple weapons to make them as powerful as a modern gun and the rise of Japanese culture in societies around the world, it's not uncommon to see a person walking the streets with a sword - made of the highest grade advanced materials to be as strong and sharp as steel with half the weight and none of the need for repairs. The other major change is on the high tech end of the spectrum. Energy based weapons are just starting to appear - mostly in the form of laser based artillery weapons, military grade microwave guns, and even rudimentary power-armor. All of these weapons are highly illegal and either still experimental or too heavy for common use (ship mounted weapons being the most common). Electro-magnetic guns are somewhat more common, and Gauss rifles on the street are somewhat more common (though expensive) with Rail-guns the king of war. For now, the bullet still rules the battlefield - just propelled by different compounds/techniques and aided by the occasional katana.
S.I.N.: S.I.N. stands for "System Identification Number". It represents an account that all citizens (should) have to prove their identity. The SIN connects your work history, education, skill sets, and background. It's all the information a person needs to go to college, get a good job, and settle down with a spouse and 2.3 kids. It is also how the government and corp's track people. If you were, lets say, stealing a prototype weapon from Ares and they picked up your S.I.N. They could use that information to find out everything about you and "serve justice". They are a necessary evil for most shadowrunners. Fortuitously, like any good ID, they can be faked. The quality of the identity varies from maker to maker, but they all serve the function of having the benefits of a SIN, with none of the pesky "hunted down and killed on a street corner" bit. Of course, they are highly illegal. Note: Not having a S.I.N. is akin to being a second class citizen. If you are arrested without a S.I.N... well, due process becomes less important.
Miscellaneous: Many other technologies exist. Drones - robotic servants, workers, and soldiers - help in all manner of task. Cars/trucks are as common as ever. Chemicals and drugs of a million varieties exist - from illegal substances to get you high, to combat enhancement drugs that make you faster, stronger, and deadlier than ever before. If you can think of it, Someone somewhere has it. They only technologies that have truly defied creation are FTL and Cornucopia technologies.
You are a prisoner, some time ago where it be an hour, a day , a week or a year you committed a crime and know you're in prison. One day you're escorted into a room by flashy suited Men, A man in a white and red Striped suit tells you that you and 3 other inmates will be released and all charges dropped if and only if you all deliver a package across the country. He warns that this trip will be very dangers, plenty of Mercs and Criminals (not unlike yourself) will want to get their hands on that package. He'll allow for you to choose one and only one Weapon.
The lingo of the universe is very important to the story. If this does pick up and we start RPing please try your best to remember these words:
Ex: What the Drek? Screw you Drekhead, I'm too old for this Drek
Do I fragging look like I give a Drek? Frag you asshole, I'd frag the Drek out of here if you know what I mean
How's it going Chummer? You look like you could use a good Frag Chummer
Code Name: You five aren't allowed to give out your real name so you must choose a code name (ex. Big Stick, Dirty Bullet, Lady Luck)
Age & Gender: Quite clear I hope
Race: Races include Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Orcs, and Trolls.
Type: Just a general description of what your character does (e.g. Adept Warrior, Technomancer Rigger, Street-Samurai, etc)
Appearance: What your character looks like.
History: What your character has done until now? What kind of life he has lived until now? This is good place to explain a few facts of the topic below this one.
Crime Commited: Why'd you do to get put in this shithole?
Personality: Well, again, this is maybe quite complex, but lets other people to see more clearly the reason behind your actions.
Notable skills: Both in combat and outside of it. Do you swing a sword, cast spells, silently sneak around, use big guns and cyber-ware, etc? What do you know - are you a conspiracy theorist, are you a Lovecraft buff? etc.
Equipment: Which Weapon did you choose? The Axe? The Bat? The Hammer? The Sword? The Pistol? The SMG? The Rifle? The Sniper Rifle? The Shotgun? The Spell Book?
Other: Anything else that makes an impact on your character? Character hooks you would like me to try and work in. etc.
Code Name: Time Bomb
Age & Gender: 27/Male
Type: Gun Slinger
Appearance: This Troll has horns like a Battering Ram, skin grey and rough. He wears a dusty and dirty Leather jacket that has a faded large gold star on the back he bought for 30 credsticks at a back alley market in Seattle
Crime Commited: Bank Robbery, Murder of 3 LoneStar Cops and Resisting Arrest
Personality: Time Bomb is a troll of few words, he has temper issues and has no interest in getting to know anyone besides from the barrel of a gun.
Notable skills: Time Bomb likes to go up close and personal, the Shotgun is his weapon of choice. Time Bomb is a demolitions expert. He can diffuse intricate bombs and create some himself. He always keeps Grenades stacked and ready.
Equipment: The Shotgun.
Other: Time Bomb can't speak very well, he has trouble with sentences. In other words : Me can't say words very well.
There are Currently 5 spots opened:
1. Millo- Time Bomb
A HUUUUUUUUUUUGE thank you to Escapist user Asclepion for organizing all the Lore in one place, I can't thank them enough.