Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Shadowrun - Bringing Sydney into the 2070s

I really like the setting of Shadowrun. It is a cyberpunk-fantasy dystopia that was created in 1989. It features megacorporations that are more powerful than countries, the Matrix an immersive VR internet along side magical beings, spirits dragons, orks, trolls, dwarves and elves.

Being an RPG setting you can theoretically play whatever you want but the default has you playing a band of Shadowrunners, criminals who are hired by rich individuals and corporations to achieve illegal ends without the need to dirty their own hands.

As with a lot of Earth based RPG settings, they haven't really done much with Australia. It was only mentioned in a few side notes in various Shadowrun books until 2001, when Fanpro released Target: Awakened Lands.
Theoretically, it was a sourcebook about awakened sites around the world, but at least half of the page count was dedicated to fleshing out Australia as a location. While the materials in there are pretty good there are two problems:
1) Target: Awakened Lands is a little internally inconsistent especially regarding population numbers. The population summary table and the text have very different figures.
2) It is 13 years old, both in and out of game. The fluff material in the book is dated 2062, the year in the Fifth Edition sourcebook is 2075. A lot has happened in those 13 years. I think it would be good to try to update things.

The Shadowrun Almanac has the most recent canon information on Australia. It got almost 2 pages and I will probably use some of it, however the writer appears to have not read Target: Awakened Lands and seems to have missed basic information about real world Australia. The Almanac implies that Canberra is only the temporary capital of Australia for example due to the problems Sydney.

The basic plan is to go through and write a reasonably consistent and interesting setting for running a Shadowrun campaign set in Sydney. I am not going to go into much about the rest of Australia unless it seems particularly pertinent. This is both to reduce the workload and also because in Shadowrun Sydney is a relatively isolated city. A combination of nature and magic are not very happy make access quite difficult at times and hopefully I can find ways to highlight that aspect and the struggles it causes.

Tune in next time where I will talk about the weather in 2070s Sydney.


  1. I, for one, look forward to hearing more about my future overlords! :)

  2. I, for two, am certainly glad I got out before the Mana Storm.