Tag: Shadowrun

alt.shadowrun.history – The Yellowstone Caldera

The eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano and the collapse of the 30 by 75 miles wide caldera underneath was something geologists and climatologists had been dreading for over a century. When it finally blew on March 3rd, 2021, it set off a chain reaction of earthquakes and eruptions throughout the Pacific Northwest. It didn’t take long before the San Andreas fault line was destabilised and the destruction continued along the Pacific rim, causing massive eruptions of volcanoes and igniting the Ring of Fire. It would take more than a decade before the eruptions finally abated and the Ring of Fire calmed down again.

The ecological and economic impact was enormous. The initial eruption in Yellowstone covered about half of North America in a four foot thick layer of ash. Roughly 600 cubic miles of material was belched into the atmosphere. The aquifers and lands of the worst hit states and provinces were so polluted that they could no longer actively sustain human life and the influx of refugees caused enormous civil unrest in remaining states and provinces. Food and water shortages lead to riots, pollution and radiation sickness lead to overcrowded hospitals.

Yellowstone caldera ashfall

Politically, both the United States and Canada were in turmoil. During the initial eruption, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) mistakenly issued an alert of a possible nuclear missile attack from an unknown source. The president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada, and their respective cabinets, were moved to Peterson Air Force Base and secured in the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunkers near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Essentially flying towards the area that would soon be worst hit. The electro-magnetic wave that was discharged in the initial explosion and the subsequent shockwaves that followed for weeks interrupted communications with the base and most of Colorado was lost in the wake of the disaster.

By the time the situation had been put somewhat under control, different political groups had jockeyed to fill the power vacuum that was created by the loss of both cabinets. This lead to several southern states seceding and forming the Confederate American States (CAS) on September 22nd, 2021. The rest of the United States and Canada, with the exception of Quebec, which formed an independent state, politically joined to form the United Canadian and American States (UCAS) on February 17th, 2022.

Due to the huge quantities of ash being belched into the atmosphere during the eruption, super storms started to ravage the western part of North America. This left only the coastline of Washington and Oregon as well as large parts of California, habitable. Seattle, Portland and Vancouver joined up with the UCAS while California decided for independence, being the least hit state on the Western coast. Later they would negotiate a treaty with Japan in return for protection from the sabre-rattling from Aztlan to the south.

Refugees were being evacuated from the uninhabitable wastelands of the western part of North America as fast as possible. The frequent earthquakes, numerous irradiated zones and freak storms claimed countless lives. A quarantined zone (QZ) was established and the roads and airspace to and from it became heavily guarded. Riots erupted along the border of the QZ as people tried to enter it to search for lost loved ones. The military brutally quashed the riots and congress passed decisive laws governing the QZ and access to it.

The refugees that made it out of the fire ended up in the frying pan. The cities closest to the quarantined zone quickly became overcrowded. Seattle, Portland and Vancouver were the only cities outside of the Californian cities to survive on the west coast and their habitable land was severely diminished, creating claustrophobic and dense urban areas.

The devastation reached right up to Seattle’s borders, locking them in between the Pudget Sound and the quarantined zone. When Mount Rainier erupted, Puyallup got covered in ash and slag all the way up to South Hill, turning the lush and fertile district into a barren nightmare unfit for habitation. The rest of the districts got so overcrowded that some people, mostly refugees and SINless, took a risk and moved into the wastelands of Puyallup.

Vancouver faced similar conditions as Seattle. When Portland was lost after an outbreak of VITAS, the lieutenant governor of British Columbia immediately instituted martial law. Laws were quickly passed for the Seattle and Vancouver exclaves to have increased law enforcing authority to deal with civil unrest.

Don't Nod - Remember Me

Pollution is rampant, cities are overcrowded, nutritious food is scarce and clean water is expensive. VITAS outbreaks occur with a frightning regularity. As a result, health care is only available to those who can afford it. All of this has lead to continued civil unrest.

Wars are being waged over the remaining arable land as countries scramble to provide food for their citizens. Europe, Africa and Central Asia are least hit by the catastrophe and most of the food production comes out of these regions. South America is faring better than most along the pacific rim due to the rain forests’ surprising resilience to the pollution.

Corporations are making considerable profits supplying one or more of the many waring governments and factions with the arms and technology to keep fighting, most notably Ares Macrotechnology and Saeder-Krupp. Agricultural technology is also big business, competed over by Aztechnology, Evo Corporation and Shiawase Corporation.

The fierce competition is presided over by the Corporate Court, a group made up of representatives of each of the AAA-megacorporations that owns the Zurich-Orbital Gemeinschaftsbank. Conflicts between the corporations are resolved by the court according to an extensive set of treatise set up between its members. On rare occasion the court doles out retribution against a corporation that has crossed the line. The threat of this retribution keeps all of the corporations in line, but that doesn’t mean corporations don’t fight their fights in the shadows.


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a concept for an alternate Shadowrun campaign that I’ll probably get to run somewhere early 2014. Right now, most of the fruits of this labour are a bunch of small disconnected documents with ideas in it, which I’m going to try and expand upon and post here as consistent campaign setup.

Currently, I have no working title just yet, but it’s going to be a non-canon, unconventional Shadowrun campaign in which the fantasy humanity meta-types (orcs, trolls, dwarves, elves) have been replaced by different types of human mutations and magic has been limited to sorcery and physical adepts and changed to psionics. This, of course, has radical consequences for the history, so I’ll supply an alternate history as well.

Another change is that we’ll start transitioning from SR3 to SR4, mostly in the hope to utilise the new hacker/rigger rules. As a result, the year will likely be 2070 or so, but with the alternate history, it won’t really matter much.

More on this later.

Shadowrun Anxiety

Oh, I’m very nervous about my upcoming Shadowrun campaign. I’m busy cutting almost all the high fantasy out of the setting (replacing meta humans with evolved/mutated humans and magic with psionics, e.g), and making psionics more like it’s used in the film Looper (2012), where most people know parlour tricks, but it’s commonly accepted there’s not much more than that. As a result, the history and certain details of the world will need to change (no Great Ghost Dance, no dragons, e.g.) and I can finally get to the Shadowrun campaign I always wanted. Exciting!

Pretty soon I will start publishing some posts I’ve been working on to cover all the changes I want to make. Stay tuned!

Shadowrun Returns

The timeline of my unequivocal* fandom of Shadowrun:

One weekend, when I was about fourteen years old, my cousin and I rented Akira on VHS. We had two other films that we watched first and we never got to watch it together. Talking about it with a buddy at school, he highly recommended going to watch Akira that very night. So I did. And I loved it. I thought it was amazing, and it nourished a dormant science fiction seed that people like my father, my cousin, and my best friend at the time had planted in me. I didn’t know anything about cyberpunk, but I was a quick study. I read my first Gibson and I was hooked.

It wasn’t until the mid-90s that some of my friends had introduced me to Shadowrun. Then my cousin showed me Shadowrun, too. (To be honest, I don’t know which came first, my cousin or my friends.) Regardless, I wanted to really play a game. My regular gaming group, which my cousin was part of, were heavy into D&D at the time (Ravenloft to be more specific) but they were open to playing a game or two. The mechanics were a bit off, so it never really worked out.
I also found Shadowrun for the SNES, further fueling my interest. I played that game inside-and-out, partly because I didn’t have a weekly Shadowrun game running. I loved the game, the atmosphere, the music, the storyline, and I didn’t even mind the fact that it hardly seemed to care about canon Shadowrun material.

Around the same time, I started going online, finding more Shadowrun information and connecting with different people. At first it was the Shadowrun Webring, later Shadowland.org and the Deep Resonance Forums (which later became Dumpshock), the latter would later spawn Bulldrek, where I really came into my own.


Third edition was released. I had been reading and collecting some Shadowrun books and since our D&D campaign was winding down, I thought it would be the right time to make a real push to play the game. Over the next ten years it was the predominant game our weekly gaming group played. I got into my own as a GM and it allowed me to indulge in my cyberpunk and RPG hobbies, while at the same time express myself creatively.

I opened a Shadowrun website of my own, first on dv8.nl and later on wiredreflexes.com, where I started collating Shadowrun information relating to my own campaign. It proved to be really popular and I got to develop a bit of a name for myself in the online Shadowrun community.

By 2008, I found myself getting a little burned out on Shadowrun. I hadn’t switched over to fourth edition yet, and found that my interest in the system was almost zero, while my interest in the mixture of hardcore cyberpunk, post-humanism and neo-tech mysticism had grown, while the fantasy element that had always bothered me about Shadowrun (the clinical use of magic as well as metahumanity) was beginning to seriously get on my nerves. My games began to change a bit, focussing more on the cyber, less on the fantasy.

When the PC game was announced, I was cautiously excited. It was going to be a FPS, which I didn’t think was a great idea, and when more information got released it seemed like the producers were taking a big shit on the Shadowrun core. I couldn’t even be bothered to pirate the game.

I was getting more and more interested in web-development, and decided to work on a Shadowrun browser game together with my brother. Shadowrun: Corrosion became my hobby project. I ceased all other development on my website on focussed only on this browser game. A long term project that was already garnering some interest, I still work on it today.

Shadowrun Returns
Yesterday, I came home to find someone posted a link about Jordan Weisman, the original creator of Shadowrun and one of the driving forces behind its original producer, Fasa Corporation, who had bought back the digital rights to the Shadowrun IP. He and Harebrained Schemes were using kickstarter.com to set up a project to develop a Shadowrun computer game, asking fans to donate $400k so that the game could be made. I immediately donated $115. When I did, the ticker was set to about $45. Now, about 30 hours later, it’s at $465k, well past the amount required to start development.

Adam said he was surprised that people were so surprised at the initiative taking off. I guess I was, too. Maybe not as surprised as I was excited to be part of it, to watch it gain traction and to watch them succeed with ease. I had hear him talk about kickstarter before, but I had never donated or paid too much attention to it.

I’m very excited about the game.

* When I say unequivocal, I don’t really mean that. I’m not super fond of metahumanity, furry elves, immortal elves and Year of the Comet can go fuck itself. But… you know. Whatever.