Lets Read Shadowrun 1st Edition!

devilkitty

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Hola folks,

In the vein of a lot of other Lets Read threads, I’ve decided to jump on the wagon with my own personal project. Lets Read Shadowrun 1st Edition. Why Shadowrun? I’ve always loved the concept- cyberpunk meets magic in the not so distant future, a group of criminals working on the wrong side of the law in the dark streets of a corporate run metropolis. There is some exciting stuff there.

Why 1st edition? I mean, 5th just came out, why jump backwards? I haven’t actually read much into Shadowrun, but it’s been on my ‘To Do’ list forever. I played 4th edition once, a game that lasted about 6 sessions- two of which were character creation. I want to pull Shadowrun out and run it for my group. Unfortunately, while I think I have a basic enough grasp on the setting to start forming adventures and adventure ideas, I’m more than a little lost regarding the system.

So I’m starting at the beginning. Going back to where it all originated from. I tracked down a copy of first and am starting fresh. I have not read this book before and my impressions of it will be those of a beginner. This may not be the most efficient method of learning a new game. But what the heck, Shadowrun has this deep history associated with it, and it feels worth it to become really immersed in it.
 
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devilkitty

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The cover:

Love this cover. Its three figures- a human female, an elf, and I think an orc. The elf is hacking a computer terminal while the orc is shooting at some gangers down the road. It’s nicely evocative of a filthy urban street with the corporate high rises in the background. Good stuff, makes me think of daring raids and dodging gangers.

Next page is a Map of Seattle. I’m guessing this means that Seattle is Shadowrun 1st edition’s default city setting. Not much interesting on the map itself, mostly just blue squares. The legend has some useful stuff in it, a list of bars, restaurants, attractions, and hotels. That will be good to refer back to for adventure fodder, assuming the GM just doesn’t make something up.
 

devilkitty

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Next page has a picture of a stone seal featuring multiple faces on it, looks vaguely Incan or Aztecan in origin. The large face in the center looks kinda sad. Underneath is the classic old school Shadowrun logo- gritty ram skull wrapped around a rolled out scroll.

Now we got the Table of Contents! Nicely organized. You never realize how important the Table fo Contents is until you wind up with a book that either doesn’t have one or doesn’t have a good one (like just about every White Wolf supplement. I love my changeling books, but the minimal table of contents in them causes me to want to pull out my hair every time I have to look something up)

After the Table of Contents comes the Credits page. *insert applause here* . Very bottom of the page is this: “Shadowrun and Matrix are trademarks of FASA Corporation”. Huh, makes me wonder some things about the Matrix movies.


The Year is 2050
Finally into some meat! Starts with a Street Proverb- “Watch your back. Shoot straight. Conserve Ammo. And never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon.” First bit sounds almost like Zombie Apoc advice. Second bit makes me chuckle- mostly because now I am imagining my players dealing with a slicked back dragon on the top of a corporate high rise. Yeah, gotta make that happen.

The rest of the section gives a brief back history. First man made AI, then he started to experiment with cybernetics. Then, out of nowhere, came the Awakening. A 3,000 year lull in magic ended and now Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs, and Trolls pop out of the woodwork. The Apocalypse Horsemen race across the Earth, magic starts to work, there is a major computer virus that hits, Nukes are launched, and Dragons happen. Gee, I want a game that happens here. Post Apoc crazy is one of my favorite settings.

But we move on, and it looks like the world sorts itself out. The Matrix replaces the internet, Mega-Corporations rule the world, and we get to be shadowrunners- the people who fall into the cracks of society. We get a brief glance at some character concepts- a Technomancer, Street Samurai, and Mage.
Page finishes out with a picture of an Orc…or maybe a Troll. Haven’t gotten to the race descriptions yet so I can’t be sure. Big ugly guy in ganger get up with a revolver tucked into his belt. He is lighting a cigar and has a Mohawk for a haircut, also carrying a big club with nails on it. Wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley.
 
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devilkitty

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Night on the Town

Next segment also starts with a quote, It’s the definition of a Shadowrun, which is any movement, action, or series of such made in carrying out plans which are illegal or quasilegal. Ok, there are no legal shadowruns. Got it. Then we get a short story. Looks like the front cover is a depiction of the main action in the story, so the man with the dual guns on the front isn’t an orc- he is human wearing war paint.

And more to come later!
 

TheMouse

garmonbozia
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Looking forward to this. It's been absolutely forever since I read Shadowrun 1e.

I used to play with my friend John way back when. His book had totally disintegrated, so it was nothing but a collection of pages in a folder. Which was sort of convenient until you needed to find something that someone had put back out of order. But when it was in order, it was nice to be able to have one person looking through the magic section while another person was picking out guns and someone else was going through char-gen.
 

Pare

Mikko Parviainen
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Hey, great! I started this project some months ago, but other commitments made me stop after the Magic chapter.

For the cover, the characters are Sally Tsung (the human mage), Ghost (the native american with the SMGs) and Dodger. Staple characters in the Shadowrun fiction.
 

devilkitty

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Hey, great! I started this project some months ago, but other commitments made me stop after the Magic chapter.

For the cover, the characters are Sally Tsung (the human mage), Ghost (the native american with the SMGs) and Dodger. Staple characters in the Shadowrun fiction.
Cool! Good to know. I'll keep an eye open for them as I read through.
 

devilkitty

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And So it Came to Pass:
The next 8 pages are setting information. The world is not the same one we knew.

Rise of the Megacorps
Problems start in the 90s. and in 99 a food riot sweeps New York City. The rioters attack a truck owned by Seretech (No information on who that is yet) and the end result is laws being put in place that made megacorporations laws unto themselves.

New York City got hit with a major earthquake and had to be completely rebuilt.

Resource Rush
The corporations start exploiting everything they can, especially on Indian and other federal lands. United Oil Industries is the corporation listed as the big bad guy here. The Native Americans decide enough is enough and steal the keys to a nuke.

The Lone Eagle
Attempting to get the nuke back results in an accidental launch. The Soviet Union may or may not have shot the nuke down, but there was no detonation. Either way, they were pissed.

The Blame Falls
The corporations push for new laws to punish anyone connected to SAIM (the group of Native Americans who stole that first nuke). The law is abused as Natives aren’t well regarded in this future. (well…past now, I suppose) They get shipped to concentration camps. And here we have the first mention of a new setting character- Daniel Howling Coyote, future Prophet of the Great Ghost Dance.

Tribulations
After a slow build up, everything seems to hit the fan all at once. Virally Induced Toxic Allergy Syndrom (VITAS) hits in the far east and spreads. We don’t get an explanation as to what this is here; just that it leaves millions dead. The Mexican government falls (no explanation why). There is famine. Then there are raids on nuclear power plants which led to meltdowns and radiation fallout.

While all this is happening UGE hits- children born with mutations. These children are called Elves by Newsweek.

“and it seemed that the horseman of the Apocalypse had finally arrived”- for such a momentous event, it doesn’t get much space here. We had a paragraph on VITAS, but only a sentence on the Four Horsemen.

“This year is known as the Year of Chaos”- Yeah…I can see why.
The Dragon Ryumyo appears on December 24th flying around Mt Fuji. This is witnessed by hundreds of Japanese as they sped past on a bullet train. Gotta love the imagery there. I would love to see a full page picture of that scene.

Also we find that the Native Americans aren’t taking their situation lying down. Daniel Howling Coyote leads his people out of the Abilene Re-Education Center.
 

devilkitty

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The Sixth World

2011 was the end of the old age and 2012 was the beginning of a new age. The Sixth World comes from the Mayan Prophecies, as does the date.

Here is an interesting paragraph- It states that the Mayans predicted a world destroying calamity that would herald the birth of an improved race of humans. This hasn’t happened yet. Hmmm, so is this an area where the metaplot is going to focus, or is it just something that got tossed in and later forgotten? I guess only time will show me for sure.

Next paragraph is a tidbit about historical shifts, such as from B.C. to A.D. It states that we backdated the calendar to account for the change. Interesting bit, but no one has backdated the calendar to account of the sixth world, its still 2050. Well, maybe it’s something they will get around to in the next thousand years or so.

The Dance:

Daniel Coleman led his people out of the Abilene Re-Education center and spent the next several years going to all the Native Americans and teaching them his Ghost Dance.

Sidebar: The Awakening

Now here we have a boxed in section that gives us a first person account of Coleman’s jailbreak. The account is a statement given by a guard at the Center. They were ordered to fire, but the bullets never seemed to hit.

Interesting- two things come to mind here. First, is there any chance that my players could pull off powerful magic like that legitly in game? Or is it all in the hands of GM plot/fiat. Second- this took place in 2011. So its perfectly feasible that the younger guards or staff at these ‘re-education centers’ could be in their 60s by 2050. That might make for an interesting NPC. Say- a guard who later became a corporate CEO whose racism and hatred makes him attempt, through magical means, to finish the genocide that these re-education centers started. Alternatively, a person who regrets that they were a part of these evil centers and is working to redeem himself for crimes both real and perceived.

Either way though, this entire section has a lot of touchy subjects in it. We have real life triggers here by harkening back to the terrible treatment Native Americans got when North America was being settled. AND we have lots of stuff referencing the Holocaust. So yeah, know your group and what they find offensive before mining too deep into this section for plot ideas.

Back to the Dance

The Native Americans embark on a guerrilla war. Coleman shows back up in 2014 and announces the formation of the Native American Nations. He wants “the withdrawal of all persons of European, African, and Asian ancestry”

The media laughs at the demands, until Redondo Peak erupt.

The US doesn’t believe Coleman’s claim that he caused the peak to erupt and attempts to capture him.

Air forces are destroyed by sudden tornadoes.

The whole story is eventually leaked to the press and President Jesse Garrety takes the blame
 
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