A Look at the Fluff of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition
July 18, 2013

A Look At The Fluff Of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition

“Watch your back! Shoot strait! Conserve ammo! Never deal with a dragon” – a Shadowrunner’s proverb.

Shadowrun is an amazing game of cyberpunk meets fantasy. As I have already discussed the fluff of the game for Fourth Edition, I will be focusing on what has changed between the editions just as I have done for the crunch of the game. The world has grown, but remains the same at its core. If anything, Shadowrun has remembered its roots, taking the best of all of the previous editions and rolling it all into one working whole.

Shadowrun has always done a wonderful job of allowing its’ crunch to influence its’ fluff. The major changes to the game’s mechanics involve the systems for the Matrix and the Awakened World (magic). As such, events have transpired within the cannon of the world to explain these changes. For the Matrix, the all-powerful Big Ten — the ten largest mega-corporations that practically run the world — have realized that the free-access wireless Matrix of Fourth Edition did nothing to protect them from hackers and was a resource that they were not making a profit off of, two unforgivable crimes in their eyes. As such, they have broken the Matrix down into various grids. There remains a Public Grid, which is free to all, which is good for their public relations, but in truth this grid is garbage. It is filled with clutter, making taking any action in the Matrix more difficult than it would be otherwise. Then, there is the Local Grid, which is controlled by the local government, such as the Emerald City Grid of Seattle (the default setting of Shadowrun). Finally, there are the ten Global Grids, one for each of the Big Ten. As you can imagine, these are the top of the line, costing a great deal to have access to (legally, at least).

As for the Awakened World, events in recent years have damaged what is called the “Mana Sphere,” the flow of magical power that courses over of the world. The largest of these events was the war between Atzlan/Aztechnology and Amazonia. To win the war, Atzlan activated all of their various pyramids, channeling more magic than had ever been drawn on before to make the final strike against their enemies. Unbeknownst to them, and most others in the Sixth World, magic was not an infinite resource. The ley lines were weakened, the connection to the Astral World was strained, and magic as a whole became more difficult to channel even by the most basic and the most powerful practitioners.

Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is an amazing game. Though some of the changes will take some time to get used to, I am thrilled with most of them. Balance has become more even between the major factors of the game (meat, matrix, and magic) and the world has regained much of what many thought was lost from previous editions. I recommend this game very highly.

Oh, and deckers are back. Is there anything more that needs to be said for Shadowrun?

Image Credit: Catalyst Game Labs

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