Shadowrun

Shadowrun is a role-playing game set in a near-future fictional universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. It combines genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime, with occasional elements of conspiracy fiction, horror, and detective fiction.

The original game has spawned a franchise with a card game, two miniature-based wargames, multiple video games, a series of novels, and music.[1] From its inception, it has remained among the most popular role-playing games.

Setting overview[edit]

Shadowrun takes place several decades in the future (2050 in the first edition, currently 2078. In 2011, the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar ushers in the "Sixth World", with once-mythological beings (e.g. dragons) appearing and old forms of magic suddenly starting to work. Large numbers of humans "Goblinize" into orks and trolls, while human children begin to be born as elves, dwarves, and even more exotic creatures. In North America, Native American tribes discover their traditional ceremonies allow them to command powerful spirits, and rituals associated with a new Ghost Dance movement let them take control of much of the western U.S. and Canada, where they form a federation of Native American Nations. Seattle, Washington remains under U.S. control by treaty as a city-state enclave, and most game materials are set there and assume campaigns will use it as their setting.

In parallel with these magical developments, the setting's early 21st century features technological and social developments associated with cyberpunk science fiction. Megacorporations control the lives of their employees and command their own armies; the ten largest have extraterritoriality, such as now enjoyed by foreign heads of state. Technology advances make cyberware (mechanical replacement body parts) and bioware (augmented vat-grown body parts implanted in place of natural organs) common. The Computer Crash of 2029 led to the creation of the Matrix, a worldwide computer network that users interact with via direct neural interface. When conflicts arise, corporations, governments, organized crime syndicates, and even wealthy individuals subcontract their dirty work to specialists, who then perform "shadowruns" or missions undertaken by deniable assets without identities or those that wish to remain unknown. The most skilled of these specialists, called shadowrunners, have earned a reputation for getting the job done. They have developed a knack for staying alive, and prospering, in the world of Shadowrun.

Production history[edit]

Shadowrun was developed and published by FASA Corporation from 1989 until early 2001, when FASA closed its doors and the property was transferred to WizKids (a company founded by people from FASA). WizKids licensed the RPG rights to FanPro (who were already publishing for the German version) until they were acquired[2] by Topps in 2003. Currently, Catalyst Game Labs (a publishing imprint of InMediaRes Productions) licenses the rights from Topps[3] to publish new products. WizKids itself produced an unsuccessful collectible action figure game based on the property called Shadowrun Duels.

The Shadowrun role-playing game, various expansions, and a Shadowrun collectible card game have won Origins Awards. The fourth edition also won the prestigious independent Ennie Awards for Best Rules as well as for Best Product in 2006. In 2010, the Shadowrun – 20th Anniversary Edition won 3 silver Ennie Awards: Best Interior Art, Best Production Values and Best Game[4].

Shadowrun's fourth and current edition was released at Gen Con in August, 2005, and brought significant changes to the game's system and setting. The new system caused some controversy among fans, although third-party reviews were positive. FanPro USA had some problems with their production schedule and the game was out of print from December 2006 to April 2007. In April it was announced that production and development of the game was changing hands to the aforementioned Catalyst Games, and publishing of the core game and new supplements has resumed.[5]

The Shadowrun role-playing game has spawned Shadowrun: The Trading Card Game, four video games, Shadowrun Duels (an action figure game), two magazines, an art book and more than 50 novels, starting with the Secrets of Power series which introduces some of the original characters of Shadowrun and gives a good introduction to this fictional universe. In addition to the main rule book (now in its fourth edition) there have been over 100 supplemental books published with adventures and expansions to both the rules and the game settings.

Since 2004 (when the RPGA discontinued Virtual Seattle) Shadowrun Missions (SRM) has offered fans a “living campaign” that allows for persistent character advancement. SRM is broken down into “seasons” which are made up of up to 24 individual missions that can be played at conventions or at home. Each SRM season develops an overarching plot focused on a specific city from the Shadowrun setting. Previous settings have included Denver and New York City with plans for season 4 to take place in Seattle.[6]

Fictional universe[edit]

The Shadowrun world is cross-genre, incorporating elements of both cyberpunk and urban fantasy. Unlike in a purely cyberpunk game, in the Shadowrun world, magic exists and has "worked" since 2011. Among other things, this split humankind into subtypes, also known as metatypes/metahumans. Some of these metatypes take the form of common fantasy races. Likewise, some animals have turned into familiar monsters of past fantasy and lore and both monsters and human magicians have regained magical powers. By the second half of the 21st century, in the time the game is set, these events are accepted as commonplace. Man, machine, and magic exist in a world where the amazing is among the most common and technology has entered into every facet of human (and metahuman) life.

Races[edit]

Characters in Shadowrun can be humans, orks, trolls, elves, or dwarves, certain diverging subspecies (known as metavariants) such as gnomes, giants, minotaurs, etc. In the early days, when magic returned to the world, Humans began to either change into, or give birth to elf and dwarf infants, a phenomenon called Unexplained Genetic Expression (UGE). Later, some juvenile and adult humans "goblinized" into other races (mostly orks, but also some trolls). The term "metahuman" is used either to refer to humanity as a whole, including all races, or to refer specifically to non-human races, depending on context. With the return of Halley's Comet new human variants called "changelings" arose. Two of the metahuman races have fictional languages.

Additionally, a virus known as the Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus (HMHVV), with many variant strains, has been known to cause further change, far beyond that of traditional vampirism, frequently resulting in fierce abominations that are no longer human and sometimes no longer even sentient: bandersnatches, banshees, dzoo-noo-quas, goblins, ghouls, nosferatus, vampires, Wendigos, wild Fomorians, and others. Most of these species do not consider human/metahuman types as more than victims, and should be treated as dangerous subjects. They are not normally available as player characters.

Dragons are also present in the awakened world, though not as player characters. Dragons are very powerful physically, magically, and in some situations, financially. Some dragons found the riches they hoarded, and hid during the last Awakening. Their great intelligence allowed them to gain a great deal of influence and power quickly. A few have risen to high political and economical posts, running entire corporations or even as head of state.

Game background[edit]

The game is set 63 years in the future, following a great change that has returned magic to the world. The emergence of magic, the outbreak of the Virally Induced Toxic Allergy Syndrome plagues, the Computer Crash of 2029, the Euro-Wars, and the fevers for independence of Amerindian tribes, Chinese provinces, and everything else that came with the many struggles that ravaged Europe and Asia during their struggle left the world's governments tumbling and falling. The United States was broken into substates. Monetary value was lost. The world had to rebuild, and rebuild they did, this time in the image of the Mega-Corporations that seized power. Taking advantage of the laws that had been passed years ago, and using their new found freedom, the Mega-corps began impressing their power on the failing governments. Before long the world was transformed. Boundaries were redrawn, and the political landscape was changed forever.

The nations[edit]

A basic premise of the setting is that as the world endured the string of state-changing events and conflicts, the political landscape fragmented and reformed. In North America, for example, some nations broke apart and reformed, as was the case with the Confederation of American States and the United Canadian and American States; others became havens for specific racial or ethnic groups, like the councils of the Native American Nations, the Native Americans having used their new found magical abilities to regain massive tracts of land; or the Elvish principality of Tír Tairngire, that encompasess all of the state of Oregon. Some, like the California Free State, simply declared independence, or became de facto corporate subsidiaries like Aztlan (the former Mexico) to Aztechnology Megacorp. Despite the new role of megacorporations, many nations still hold considerable sway through economic, social and military means. For some, getting by means taking advantage of whatever the corps, or the government might bring their way.

The corporations[edit]

The monolithic "enemies" of the Shadowrun world (borrowing heavily from cyberpunk mythos) are the corporations, dubbed "megacorporations", "megacorps", or simply "megas" or "corps" for short. Megacorporations in the twenty-first century are global, with all but the smallest corps owning multiple subsidiaries and divisions around the world. They are the superpowers of the Shadowrun universe, with the largest corporations having far more political, economic, and military power than even the most powerful nation-states.

In Shadowrun, corporations are effectively "ranked" by the amount of assets under their control, including material, personnel, and property, as well as profit. These ranks are A, AA, and AAA; AAA corporations are top tier. Most corporations in the AA and AAA level are immune to domestic law, responsible only to themselves, and regulated only by the Corporate Court, an assembly of the ten AAA-rated corporations. All AAA-rated and most AA-rated corporations exhibit a privilege known as “extraterritoriality”, meaning that any land owned by the corp is sovereign territory only to the corp and immune to any laws of the country within. Corporate territory is not foreign soil but corporate soil, just like its employees are corporate citizens, though dual citizenship in a corporation and a nation is common. The AAA corps, as well as numerous minor corporations, fight each other not only in the boardroom or during high-level business negotiations but also with physical destruction, clandestine operations, hostile extraction or elimination of vital personnel, and other means of sabotage. Because no corporation wants to be held liable for damages, it has to be done by deniable assets, or shadowrunners, invisible to the system where every citizen is tagged with a System Identification Number (SIN).

Technology[edit]

Despite the Crash which caused much data corruption, technology in the game is advanced. Cyberware, technical implants, and Bioware, genetically engineered implants which enhance a person's abilities, emerged. Characters can also augment their bodies with nanotechnology implants.

The Matrix[edit]

In earlier editions, direct neural interface technology enabled humans and metahumans to directly access computers and the Matrix, the ingame global computer network restructured after the 2029 Crash. Access to the Matrix was accomplished by "deckers": individuals that have "cyberdecks". These interface machines are connected to the brain through a Datajack generally located at the temple or behind the ear.

In Shadowrun 4th edition, the Matrix rules have changed, thanks to the setting's constant evolution and a drive to match real world technological developments. After the second Matrix crash in 2064, Matrix technology was moved away from the wired network and led into a wireless technology. The most noticeable difference between the Matrix in the 2070s and the earlier editions is that wireless technology has become completely ubiquitous. Communications and Matrix access is provided through wi-fi nodes placed throughout the infrastructure of just about every city on Earth, fulfilling a service similar to contemporary cell towers - but as these nodes are as numerous as telephone poles, only a tiny percentage of their range is necessary. The nodes of all electronic devices a person carries are connected in a similar manner, creating a Personal Area Network (PAN). People access their PAN with their Commlink, a combination personal computer/cell phone/PDA/wireless device available either as an implant or a head-mounted display. This access can be the total sensory immersion common to cyberpunk fiction, or a sensory enhancement by which the virtual features of one's physical surroundings can be perceived and manipulated. The Matrix of the 2070s is thus not only a virtual reality, but an augmented or mixed reality. Cyberdecks are obsolete, so "deckers" have once again become "hackers". In turn, the otaku of previous versions (deckers who did not need decks to access the Matrix) have been reworked into technomancers, who possess an innate connection to the Matrix that permits them to access the wireless network without hardware.

Magic[edit]

Those able to actively interact with the magical energies of the Sixth World are known as awakened. An awakened character's power in magic is linked to their Magic attribute. A magic user's approach to working with mystic energy is called their Path. The Awakened fall into three general Paths: Magicians, Adepts, and Mystic Adepts. Broadly speaking, magicians focus their magic outward, actively affecting the world around them, while adepts focus their magic inward, passively enhancing their bodies and minds.

Magicians are able to cast spells, summon spirits, and create magical artifacts called "foci". All magicians follow traditions that determine their understanding of magic. These traditions include hermetic mages, whose control of magic comes through study and manipulation of magical energy or mana, and who summon and bind elementals in lengthy and expensive rituals to be called on later; and shamans, whose magic derives from a connection to nature via a totem spirit, and who can summon the nature spirits associated with a particular place.

Adepts use magic internally in order to accentuate their natural physical abilities. Adepts can run on walls, use mundane objects as deadly thrown projectiles, shatter hard objects with a single unarmed blow, and perform similar feats of incredible ability. All adepts follow a very personal path (Path of the Warrior, Path of the Artist, etc.). This path normally determines their abilities which might be very different for any two adepts: while one might demonstrate increased reflexes and facility with firearms, a second might possess unparalleled mastery of the katana, and a third might be able to pull off incredible vehicular stunts.

Mystic adepts, also known as physical mages, are part magician and part adept. They distribute their magic power between the abilities of both aspects.

System[edit]

Mechanics[edit]

The Shadowrun game mechanics are based entirely on a 6-sided dice system. The game is skill-based rather than class-based, but archetypes are presented in the main book to give players and gamemasters an idea of what is possible with the system.

Before the fourth edition, skill and ability checks worked as follows: all actions in the game, from the use of skills to making attacks in combat, are first given a target number that reflects the difficulty of the action which is then raised or lowered by various modifying factors, such as environmental conditions, the condition of the character, the use of mechanical aids, and so forth. The player then rolls a number of dice equal to their level in the relevant skill, and the number of dice rolled that meet or exceed the target number determines if the character is successful performing the action and the degree of success the character has. As an example, a character with a high firearms skill not only has a better chance at hitting a target than someone with a lower ranked skill, but also is more likely to cause more damage to the target. For an action with a target number of 6 or less, a dice roll of 6 allows an extra dice to be rolled, increasing the chance of greater effectiveness. Target numbers may exceed 6, in which case any dice that show a 6 have to be re-rolled (a target number of, e.g., 9 is reached by rolling a 6 followed by at least a 3; thus, a target number of 6 and one of 7 are identical, except extra dice rolls are not allowed for target number 7 or greater). For even higher target numbers, this procedure has to be repeated; thus, an action with a target number of 20 (like attempting to procure military-grade weaponry) will only succeed if 3 successive dice rolls result in sixes, and the fourth gives at least a 2. For any dice-roll a roll of 1 always counts as a failure. This system allows great flexibility in setting the difficulty of an action.

In addition to this basic mechanic, players can use several task-specific dice pools to add bonus dice to certain tests, though dice that are used do not refresh until the end of a turn. This adds an extra tactical element, as the player must decide where best to spend these bonus dice. For example, combat pool dice could be spent to improve attacks or to improve defense, or some of each. Players also have Karma Pool that can be used to reroll any dice that failed to reach the target number. Karma Pool refreshes rarely, typically once per scene or less, at the GM's discretion. The combination of Karma Pool and dice pools gives players a considerable amount of freedom to decide how important a task is to their character. Two characters with identical statistics could perform very differently on the same tasks depending on their priorities (and thus, allocation of dice pools and Karma Pool).

In the fourth edition, things have changed substantially. The game still runs on six-sided dice, but now each task is given a threshold. The player then rolls dice equal to their skill plus the relevant attribute modified by applicable modifiers. The number of fives and sixes is equal to the number of hits. Hits above the threshold indicate extraordinary performance. Furthermore if more than half the dice rolled are ones, then the player has made a glitch. Glitches cause bad things to happen to the player and game masters are encouraged to be inventive and funny.

Archetypes[edit]

Although the skill system is freeform, certain combinations of skills and equipment work well together. This combination of specialization in skill and equipment is known as an archetype. The most notable archetypes are Street Samurai, characters who have heavily augmented their bodies with cyberware and bioware and focus on physical combat; Adepts, characters who have magical abilities that increase their physical (and sometimes mental) combat abilities; Faces highly charismatic characters who specialize in negotiations and social manipulation; Hackers (aka Deckers), specialize in electronic surveillance, security, and augmented/virtual reality monitoring, combat and response; Riggers who augment their brains to achieve fine control over vehicles and drones; and Magicians who cast spells and can view emotions and call spirits from astral space. In Fourth Edition, with the setting change, deckers are replaced by hackers, who manipulate computer networks with augmented reality via ubiquitous commlinks; they also tend to take over the rigger's role.

However, the archetypes are not character classes: the player is allowed to cross boundaries. Restrictions are not imposed by the system itself, but by the player's specializations. Because character-building resources are limited, the player has to weigh which game resource he wants to specialize in and which he has to neglect. This allows high character customization while still ensuring that characters are viable in the setting.

Character creation[edit]

The fourth edition of Shadowrun uses a point-based character creation system. Earlier editions used a priority-based system with point-based character creation as an advanced option. Priorities are divided into race, magic, attributes, skills, and resources. All things that do not explicitly fall under the first four classifications, including contacts in third and earlier editions of Shadowrun, are given cash-equivalent values to be bought with resources.

Shadowrun characters are created with contacts, friends and acquaintances who serve as key nodes in the character's social network and who will often help the character out. Through the contacts system, players may uncover information that their characters cannot independently acquire. Additionally, players can often negotiate for the use of skills that their characters do not themselves have, a radical departure from most role-playing games.

Essence[edit]

Essence is a measure of a living being's lifeforce. All humans and metahumans start with a value of six (although critters may start with a higher or lower Essence). It powers magic, and as essence fades, so does magical aptitude. Cyberware, bioware, nanotech implants, extreme cases of substance addiction, and other major changes to a being's body can damage its essence as well. Generally, if a being's essence ever reaches zero, it dies. Cybermancy allows metahumans to survive with an essence rating of zero or less.

Karma[edit]

Players are awarded Karma points as a game progresses. In third edition and earlier, these points are usually added to a total called Good Karma, which can be used to boost attributes and skills. Skills that are already well-developed cost more Good Karma than skills which are undeveloped, which helps encourage specialized characters to become more flexible by spending Good Karma on weaker attributes. Karma also makes characters more powerful in general because every tenth (or twentieth for metahumans) point is added to the Karma Pool instead of Good Karma. The Karma Pool allows players to re-roll dice or "purchase" additional dice in certain situations. Karma can even be used to avoid certain death, at the cost of all Good Karma and Karma Pool points.

In fourth edition, Karma Pool is replaced by a new attribute called Edge which can be used in most of the same ways as the third edition Karma Pool. Experience and character advancement is still tracked with Karma, although Good was dropped from the name as it no longer needs to be distinguished from the old Karma Pool.

Fourth edition changes[edit]

With the new edition, major changes to the rules system were adopted.

Out of the original six attributes (Body, Quickness, Strength, Charisma, Intelligence, and Willpower), Quickness was split into Agility and Reaction, while Intelligence was broken into Intuition and Logic. A new attribute called Edge was introduced to replace Karma Pool. Instead of starting from a base, characters buy their Magic attribute like a normal attribute. The statistic originally called Reaction has had some of its functions taken over by the new attribute by the same name.

The initiative system was modified to affect only the order of actions, not the number of initiative passes. The number of initiative passes taken by a character is now determined solely by external influences, like implants, magic, and drugs. It is no longer possible for an unmodified character who is not under the influence of magic or drugs to have more than a single initiative pass, except through the use of Edge.

Several of the archetypes were modified. Deckers were merged with riggers and renamed hackers. Many distinctions between shamanic and hermetic magicians were removed, and the magic system was designed to allow many other variant traditions. Otaku — individuals who have the same roles and abilities as deckers, except without a cyberdeck — were changed into technomancers. With the addition of the Resonance attribute technomancers function like magic users in the matrix calling up sprites as opposed to spirits and dealing with fading as opposed to drain.

Skills were changed from the target number system to a "hits" system. The target number is fixed at 5; to make a skill test, a player takes a number of six-sided dice equal to the skill and its linked Attribute, and rolls them, counting the number of dice that show 5 or 6 as "hits". The number of hits is compared to a pre-determined amount (or Threshold) set by the Gamemaster for the roll. If the number of hits equals or exceeds the threshold, the roll is a success. This mechanic, not coincidentally, happens to very closely match the new World of Darkness system. In addition, dice pools were removed, eliminating most of the tactical allocation of dice during combat, spellcasting, hacking, and other activities. These changes were intended to speed up the resolution of skill tests and combat.

The "Rule of One" of previous editions has been changed. A "glitch" is when at least half of the rolled dice come up 1s. A glitch results in a minor inconvenience or setback for the player, though it does not necessarily mean failure as long as enough hits were still scored. However, if a person rolls a glitch while scoring no hits at all, it is considered a "critical glitch", and is substantially more serious or potentially even fatal.

Rules for combat, magic, hacking, and other activities were changed to accommodate the new skill system. The modified rules are typically similar in outline, but the details are necessarily different.

Since the rules in the Fourth Edition are mechanically dissimilar to those in earlier editions, balance issues differ between editions. Characters from previous editions do not easily convert to the new edition with their strengths and weaknesses intact.

There were a few changes to the fictional setting in the Fourth Edition. The main premises remained unchanged while the timeline advanced by five years. The largest change in setting was the addition of a global wireless matrix that allows people to have augmented reality displays: visual overlays on real-world scenes. This encourages hackers and technomancers to join their teammates physically rather than provide matrix backup from a remote location, a change designed to make coordinating and integrating online and real-world actions easier for the Gamemaster.

There were also other changes to Shadowrun society at large, as illustrated in the flavor text. For example, up to this point, cursing had been illustrated with a variety of colorful made-up words, such as "drek", "frag", and "slot". FanPro eschewed these in SR4 (to some player complaint, as many fans believed this added social color to the game) and decided to use their contemporary, real-world counterparts.

Fans of previous editions have often leveled accusations regarding the new magic rules as "causing magic to lose its flavor." In previous editions there were two baseline "traditions" for magicians—hermetic and shamanic—with other traditions making use of elements of either or both in new ways, such as voodoo houngans and mambos using largely shamanic elements but summoning unique loa spirits that could possess the summoner or serviteurs to work their powers in the physical world and mindless zombies that could be used for manual labor, cannon fodder, anything the summoner could think of. In SR4 the various traditions—and "styles" that were cultural, religious, or even simple flavor variations of a tradition—were standardized so each tradition learned and cast spells and summoned spirits (five per tradition, all drawn from a "pool" of standard spirits) the same way, causing magicians to be seen as the same regardless of tradition, seemingly by players and the game's authors alike. Where once there was a continuous feud between mages and shamans over the nature of magic that often manifested itself in the fiction as much as the mechanics, the two traditions are so largely similar now that there has been little to no mention of this feud in any official SR4 books. On the other hand, the SR2 Awakenings sourcebook established that in the Shadowrun universe, use of magic merely depends on the users being "gifted" (in game terms, purchasing a high-enough magic attribute at character creation) and able to provide some sort of mental framework for their ability – by the time of SR3, the original system had been adapted to a plethora of magical traditions differing in details, but only marginally as regards core rules. For example, the difference between a shaman conjuring a spirit of nature and a hermetic magician conjuring an elemental was highly depending on role-playing, storytelling and acquisition of paraphernalia, while most actual die rolls were identical even in SR2. Insofar, the criticism might be better understood as being one of "flavor" (e.g. the Odd Couple-like sitcom Odd Coven about shaman and hermetic flatmates, referenced in early sourcebooks) than of game mechanics.

Influences and links[edit]

Shadowrun is linked to Earthdawn, and is set in the "Sixth World", where Earthdawn is the "Fourth World" and modern-day Earth is at the tail end of the Fifth World. Such links are not necessary for play, but they allow crossover potential.

The concept of the "Worlds" is directly linked to the ancient Aztec belief that the world is renewed every five thousand years—a period called a "Sun" (currently we live in the fifth Sun). The date of the beginning of the "Sixth World" is based on the ancient Mayan calendar which will finish an approximately five thousand year long period in December 2012, although Shadowrun puts the date in December 2011. The understanding of the Maya that resulted in the use of the Dec. 24th 2011 date and the use of the "worlds" concept is due to the influence of Frank Waters's book Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth World of Consciousness (1975), whose elaborate cosmology is selectively utilized in the framework of the Shadowrun universe. Waters took his information about the date of the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar from an early printing of Michael Coe's The Maya (1966).

Shadowrun is influenced by the writings of William Gibson (particularly Neuromancer), who reacted as follows to its release.

"…when I see things like Shadowrun, the only negative thing I feel about it is that initial extreme revulsion at seeing my literary DNA mixed with elves. Somewhere somebody's sitting and saying 'I've got it! We're gonna do William Gibson and Tolkien!' Over my dead body!
But I don't have to bear any aesthetic responsibility for it. I've never earned a nickel, but I wouldn't sue them. It's a fair cop. I'm sure there are people who could sue me, if they were so inclined, for messing with their stuff. So it's just kind of amusing."[7]

The curse words of the first three editions substituted words for curses that would have been used in a setting like the one depicted, but would equally have provoked criticism when used in a book for adolescents - e.g., "drek" (German Dreck, "dirt" - short for Scheißdreck, substitution for "shit") and "frag" for "fuck". This practice — along with the slightly differently spelled "Frack!" (German for "tailcoat") — was a very popular trait of all Battlestar Galactica serials.

In December 2005 Robert Boyd from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland robbed a lingerie shop at knifepoint in Belfast while wearing a blonde lady's wig. During his trial Boyd stated he was playing Shadowrun, specifically the role of criminal elf Buho, at the time and may have "blurred reality and fantasy". Two jurors believed his story, but ten did not and he was convicted of robbery in March 2007.[8]

Spin-offs[edit]

Novels[edit]

FASA released 40 Shadowrun novels in collaboration with Roc publishing between 1991 and 2001. Shadowrun novels went out of production between 2001 and 2005, making the books produced towards the end of FASA's ownership of the license hard to find. A 41st novel was announced, but never released.

In 2005, WizKids began publishing new Shadowrun novels, again through the Roc imprint of the New American Library. Six novels were released in the new series.

In 2008, Catalyst Game Labs (An InMediaRes Productions, LLC company) announces the return of novels for Classic BattleTech, MechWarrior, and Shadowrun. The announcement states that the first of the all-new Shadowrun novels would appear tentatively by early 2009.[9] However the novels were not released due to unexplained delays in production of the novels for all three franchises.

In 2010, a book of short stories set in the Shadowrun universe was published called Spells and Chrome. A new novel, Dark Resonance, was announced at the end of the book. Its release date is expected to be in 2011.

Several additional novels were published in foreign languages only. More than 30 novels have been written in German, by German and Austrian authors published by Heyne (since 1991) and FanPro (since 1997).

Video games[edit]

Four video games have been developed based on the Shadowrun franchise; the first in 1993 was an action RPG titled Shadowrun developed by Australian software company Beam Software (now Melbourne House) for the SNES console. The second also titled Shadowrun, was for the Mega Drive in 1994 developed by US company BlueSky Software. The third game was an interactive fiction adventure game developed by Japanese company Group SNE in 1996 for the Sega CD console, again titled Shadowrun. A fourth game for the PC, titled Shadowrun: Assassin, was to be released in 1998 by US company FASA Interactive. However, the game was cancelled.[10]

The fourth and latest game released is a first-person shooter for the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista and is titled Shadowrun. It was developed by FASA Interactive, owned by Microsoft Corporation, which also produced the title. This latest title is the very first game that allows cross-platform play between Xbox 360 and Windows Vista users on the Live for Windows service. Despite sharing the same name as the RPG, the video game has sizable differences from it; as the publishers of the Shadowrun role-playing game stated at the time of the video game's release: "Microsoft rewrote the timeline and setting for this game, so it is not in continuity with the tabletop RPG. It may be more accurately described as a game loosely based on Shadowrun."

In September 2007 Microsoft closed FASA Studios (and the FPS official forum), and licensed the Shadowrun electronic entertainment rights to Smith & Tinker, a company owned by Jordan Weisman, one of the original creators of Shadowrun. Details at Smith & Tinker's website [1] hint at the development of an MMO game.[11]

Machinima[edit]

Rooster Teeth Productions produced a machinima mini-series in 2007 titled 1-800-Magic, using the Xbox 360 Shadowrun game.

See also[edit]

  • Earthdawn - Set in the same world as Shadowrun but many thousands of years in the past.

References[edit]

  1. "Review: Shadowrun". Space Gamer 2 (2). October/November 1989.
  2. Topps will buy WizKids in cash deal
  3. Shadowrun at Catalyst Game Labs
  4. 2010 Ennies Awards Noms and Winners
  5. InMediaRes Productions LLC. Enters Negotiations for the Classic Battletech and Shadowrun Licenses from Wizkids Inc.
  6. Official Shadowrun Site: Shadowrun Missions
  7. The peak (19/10/1998) arts: Cyberpunk on screen - William Gibson speaks
  8. BBC News
  9. Catalystgamelabs.com
  10. Nightmare and Kurt Kalata. "Hardcore Gaming 101: Shadowrun".
  11. Carless, Simon & Chris Dahlen (2007-12-07). "Weisman Licenses MechWarrior, Shadowrun, Crimson Skies Rights From Microsoft".

External links[edit]


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