The Shadowrun Timeline Idea Project
Shadowrun is a world-specific tabletop RPG and is one of my favourites. It provides one of the most comprehensive, versatile and interesting playing worlds in all of role playing and its history is immense. Because of that big world with lots of possibilities and its timeline full of weird and interesting events, it feels to me like every year of that time line can have an idea or two in it. And idea for a Shadowrun campaign or mission or just an interesting tidbit one could use in future creative endeavours. This is my attempt to curate them.
The early decades are a bit sparse and low on excitement.
1999 gave us the Seretech Decision, a landmark Supreme Court case that gave corporations the right to maintain a private army. A mission/campaign could set the runners on a trail digging for what really happened there, maybe even uncovering that it was all a ruse by Seretech designed to cause the riot and drag the US towards that inevitable decision.
2000 brought the Shiawase Decision, granting corporations (now with personhood and a private army) extraterritoriality, basically making them sovereign states. A campaign could tie this back to the Seretech Decision and maybe back to the original case when corporations got their separate legal personality. This could all be a huge, century long conspiracy to bring about the corporation states. The question should be: who would benefit? Is there a hidden dragon somewhere? Insect spirits? Fairies? Some kind of other being capable of planning a century or two ahead?
Also new in 2000 is the Century Ferret, probably the first awakened species to be discovered. It is quite a big weasel with some sensitivity to the Astral Plane. A mission could find documentary evidence of experiments done on the ferrets by someone who figured out their nature and maybe found a way to tap into the Astral Plane and conduct some basic magic.
In 2001, a NASA Mars probe photographed structures and skeletons that seemed draconic and NASA covers everything up. Could magical beings, and dragons in particular, have lived on Mars during the last magic spike? Did they evolve their? Maybe one survived? Maybe they left artifacts? This whole issue seems to have been completely neglected in Shadowrun fiction.
In one of the most unlikely event in the timeline, Libya started a short conflictÂ with Israel in 2004. The conflict ended with almost total destruction of the Libyan state. What I’m thinking is that the conflict arose as a high rank power struggle and most people just want to live their lives in peace. So, maybe, years after, people are still coming out of the blasted out, irradiated wreckage, not knowing or not caring about the actual causes of the war and only knowing about the Israeli retaliation with nuclear force. And so they harbour only hate and vengeance… and maybe some cool mutations or astral favours.
March 4th, 2009 marked the meltdown of the Cattenum nuclear power plant in France. If you take stories from survivors, you can use it as a reason for revenge or twisting of the mind as it is usually a very traumatic experience. But what if it was an early bug spirit invasion that went wrong? You could find some interesting evidence in the rubble. Maybe it was an early magical experiment, someone tried to punch a dimensional hole and it didn’t quite work as expected.
In September 28th, 2009, one of the most curious events of the timeline happens: On September 28, TheÂ Sovereign American Indian Movement took over the Shiloh launch facility in Montana. Before Delta Team could retake it, they launched a Lone Eagle ICBM at Russia. But that missile disappeared in flight. Did Â a proto-Shaman make it disappear? Did Dragons take it? Did someone divert it into space? This could go which ever way you want depending on your secret organisation of the week.
February 10th, 2010 brought us VITAS orÂ Virally-Induced Toxic Allergy Syndrome, a disease that started in India by a lethal, airborne virus and ended up killing billions and serving as one of the major causes for the fall of the old world of states and the rise of the new world of corporations and extra-territorialities. Could it be possible that it was man made? That it was part of a huge global conspiracy? What happened to the people who made it? Were they killed to keep the secret? Maybe one of them escaped? Maybe they can blow the lid on this whole thing? Would it matter if they did?
In January, aÂ nuclear power plant in Dounreay,Â Scotland, suffers a meltdown, creating theÂ Scottish Irradiated Zone. I’m almost always in favour of fairies. Not the cute, tiny Peter-Pan-Kind of fairy but the dark, vicious, inhumanÂ Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell kind of fae which are much more interesting. I don’t remember the Shadowrun universe to actually contain those in canon but this might be a good time to introduce them as another malevolent force, not unlike the bug spirits. That is, what if they were gathering their forces and biding their time until the Year of Chaos, when VITAS was all around, governments were falling and what’s another nuclear plant meltdown among several? What if they used that as a cover to punch a hole through to their dimension, smack in the middle of the Scottish exclusion zone, and no one will go there for 30 years, at least, while the Fae, immune to radiation damage, made their beachhead?
In May, several months after the first appearances of UGE babies, some of them start to get abandoned and even disappear. What if, interested in this new genetic expression, some less than scrupulous scientists/corporations, take up those abandoned babies or even still them from parents to run tests and experiments on them? What could they possibly do? Supersoldiers it the usual vanilla response. But there could be other things. And what would those poor individuals feel if, a decade or two later, the experiments stop or they managed to escape?
On December 24th, there was The Awakening. Many things happened. Dragons appeared.
But Daniel “Howling Coyote” Coleman lead a walk-out of a detainment facility, literally walking through bullets and disappearing into the ongoing storm. It’s a very famous event in the history as Daniel is considered one of the greatest figures of the Native American Nations and probably the first Shaman. But what happened that led up to that. Playing that event or uncovering the whole story, however you want to portray it, could be very interesting.
Then there was theÂ Saeletra appearance which is so mysterious, it can go in all sorts of different ways. Is it another dragon? Some other kind of very powerful entity? Is it the origin of magic? How old is it? Why is it talking on the Shadowland BBS?
On AprilÂ 8th, after several contentions between Israel and Palestine over the right to Jerusalem, astral disturbances and spirit attacks forced everyone to evacuate the Old City for 40 days. Now, think a bit about Hebrew mythology, about the meaning of the “40 days” in context and about everything you can find in Jerusalem’s Old City and you can have ten stories just around that time.
On June 1st, The Japanese Diet passes the Yamato Act. This seems like a rather innocuous act but this is one of the cornerstones of the new reign of the corporations and a story that delves into how this act was passed, along with other corporate pushes, could go to the base upon which the Shadowrun universe is built upon.
On June 23rd, the Treaty of Galway is signed, establishing the United Free Republic of Ireland. This follows a series of magical terrorism acts perpetrated on British soil. A group in that era could play into that resistance movement and help plan and execute terror in order to make that treaty happen.
October 15th, the U.S. President is assassinated; October 31st, the Russian President, the UK Prime Minister and an Israeli minister are assassinated; November 11th, a new U.S. President elect is sworn in. He immediately passes an executive order to remove all Native Americans from U.S. soil; December 12th, a wrong tip sends the U.S. Army on a killing spree, eliminating an entire NA tribe. What if all of these events were connected, conducted behind the scenes by a corporation, a dragon? Who will benefit from all of this?
December 12th, Charles University in Prague is the first to introduce a Hermetic course curriculum. There could be a small and interesting story behind this: Who pushed this? Who are the teachers? How did the process of approving it went? How it came about. Could be cool.
August 17th, 10:32. Daniel Howling Coyote initiates the Great Ghost Dance causing four dormant American volcanoes to erupt simultaneously. This frustrates the U.S.’s attempts to apprehend him and eventually causes the country to admit defeat and sign the Treaty of Denver. Further down the line, an ambitious Mage known only as Darke tried to use the site of the dance as a portal to other metaplanes through which he could bring in malevolent spirits known as horrors into our world. What if all of this was predicted? Dragons are already present on the scene and are smart and knowledgeable. What if one sent a team of runners to prevent the Ghost Dance. A session or few could center on the pursuit of Howling Coyote, an attempt to prevent the Dance in some manner, and the attempt’s eventual failure and aftermath.
April 25th, the Treaty of Denver is signed. Don’t really know what’s to play around the signing of a document but as the one that divides the Americas, establishes the Native American Nations and the extraterritoriality of Denver and Seattle, it’s a pretty important document.
July 12th, theÂ Artificial Sensory Induction Systems Technology (ASIST) is invented. It will eventually lead to full immersion VR and the simsense entertainment branch. What if it was a move by a corporation of a dragon designed as another method of population control but eventually got out of hand? Think about it.
April 30th, in a process that will later be name Goblinization, 10% of the world population, living and in uterus, mutated into the sub-races of Ork and Troll. While some countries took this in stride, issuing support and assistance to the newly changed meta-humans, some did not take it so well. It was rumored that the reigning king of England was killed after Goblinizing. Japan took it rather badly, riots broke out across the UCAS and, eventually, the Humanis Policlub was formed. It even caused the Coffee Famine of 2022. Many stories could be run on the background of rioting, mass hysteria and general fucked-up-ness: What really happened to King George VII? What particular event traumatized someone enough to form the Humanis Policlub? How was the 14th Amendment to the UCAS constitution, giving equal rights to meta-humans, finally pushed into law? Maybe run a rescue mission for a some corporate exec to rescue his goblinized child from a dangerous location?
March 25th, an assassin kills Dunklezahn’s interpreter John Timmons. The great dragon obliterates the assassin in vengeance. Why should the interpreter be killed? Was he really about to leave the dragon’s side and break out a huge reveal? Why wouldn’t the dragon heal his wounds? Is it possible that Big D orchestrated the whole thing and then disposed of two problems with one blow? Investigating this could be interesting.
April 26th, construction begins on the Aztechnology Pyramid in Seattle. There always things to do when a huge construction undertaking is underway. Maybe there are political opposition that need to be silenced? Maybe there are more vocal opposition? Maybe the architect is an elf and racial tensions ride high? Maybe there are suspicions of secret dealings in the construction? Maybe it’s a cover up for an Aztechnology secret compound underneath the building (And with Aztechnology, that is entirely possible)?
The United States Supreme Court grants equal rights to metahumans. Humanis Policlub is founded. Pretty much every racial tension based story you want can fit on this background.
Kenneth Brackhaven goblinizes into an ork. His father Charles has him murdered and brainwashes and surgically alters a SINless orphan into believing he’s Kenneth. And in case there’s wasn’t enough racial-based shit going on, investigating or being a part of this conspiracy should satisfy it.
The African Rhino is considered extinct in the wild; the only remaining specimens are in captivity. This could be the beginning of a classic heist only involving animals. If that’s your thing. It can be about getting rhinos to a collector, from a collector or just actually trying to confirm that there are no more wild ones. And maybe there are. And maybe there aren’t.
Japan starts deporting metahumans to Yomi Island. In Japan, most meta humans, and especially Trolls, are seen as demons or evil spirits. It’s not particularly surprising that, in a strict society such as Nippon, unusual things get ostracised. What is interesting is what happens during the process. Think of broken up families, maybe a rich or high ranking person wanted to keep a family member out of the selection, maybe someone goes on the run. Lots of things could happen.
Massive earthquakes hit Los Angeles, destroying Los Angeles International Airport. With the rise of magic visibility and magic users in recent years, I can see how some people would blame earthquakes on the magic users and this might incite some racial aggression on community or even state scale. A shadowrunning team might be called it to surgically fix some uprisings or to defend a corp building and any of those occurrences could lead to some interesting kerfuffles.
Somewhen between the end of January and beginning of February, the CIA, FBI, and NSA begin the Echo Mirage project. Echo Mirage they brought the ‘decks to the fold, they fought the Crash Virus of 2029Â and were considered, even decades later, as elite deckers. How did this start? Who came up with the idea? What necessity brought the US Alphabet Soup together? Was it just the crash? Was there something more? How did the selection take place? What training did they go through? Did they attack other targets as practice? These are all very interesting questions to entertain.
And, of course, onÂ February 8: The Crash Virus of 2029.
In August, after many many deaths caused by the virus, including the original Echo Mirage team, Echo Mirage Team Two manages to grab some important intel on the virus and also prove that the new cyberdecks cut through security like butter.
After the Kaliningrad Incident, Russia attacks Poland, starting the first Euro War. The first conflict was roughly three years long. It’s interesting to poke into what started it, why it was conducted the way it was and was meant to accomplish from it but probably the most interesting bit about it was how it was concluded: with a swift, all encompassing strike from a third party (to this day unidentified in certainty) that crippled war efforts on both sides. Who is that side? Why did they get involved? What were they afraid could happen? How did they do what they did? What did it take? Since assassinations and hacks were involved, this is where Shadowrunners can come in.
October 15, Act of Union signed in Washington D.C., Canada and the US merge into the United Canadian and American States. Right now… I’m wondering what could the United States possibly hold over Canada’s head to force this.
On November 3rd, the Echo Mirage Team Two wipes out the last remnants of the Crash Virus. Only seven out of the thirty two original members remain. Four of them take their knowledge and experience to the private sector. The other three disappear. At the time of the usual Shadowrun game (That is, 2070s-2080s), the Echo Mirage team members are considered to be at old age or dead already. There are four whose locations and actions were somewhat known, some work as cybersecurity for AAA corporations, but the missing members are usually the more interesting ones. Shadowrun Returns gives us information on one of them, who became a very high value hacker, but where the rest of them are, what have they done, what they could do, what knowledge they hold and, especially, what they know about the Crash Virus, its origin and its original designers, could be a stepping stone to pretty much anything.
December 25th saw the first second generation cyberterminals, or cyberdecks, publicly available. The military probably already has them for a while, major corporations might also. But smaller companies and private people might just be getting them. Certainly, criminals and Shadowrunners are now getting them and the first connections to the matrix, of the type known during the 2070s, are now being made. How those connections are made, what for and how they go wrong is an interesting place to go.
On September 28th, Lone Star Security Services is granted extraterritoriality. This means that from then on there exists a paramilitary organisation that only answers to whomever hires it. This is a huge step away from the rule of government and law and probably one of the major steps to the weakening of the world governments and the rise of the corporations. What could possibly have happened to push such an extreme measure forward? Whose pockets had to be greased? Whose backs had to be broken? Whose daughters had to be threatened? And who did all that? These could all be answered very interestingly by Shadowrunners.
On October 30th, several megacorporations in the Seattle Metroplex are robbed of millions of nuyen in the same week. The money and the perpetrators are never found. Probably the only people who could pull this kind of thing off at that time were ex-Echo Mirage hackers. Finding out this detail while tracking down such a person or linking it to someone and finding out they are Echo Mirage could definitely add spice to a character and an adventure.
November saw the isolation of the Human-Meta Human Vampiric Virus, the nasty virus that turns regular humanity and meta humanity into monsters. Once it starts seeing public exposure, imagine all the monster hunts and misunderstood “monsters” stories you could get out of it.
On November 15th, a consortium of Corporate Court members – Ares, Aztechnology, BMW, JRJ International, Mitsuhama, Renraku, and Shiawase – takes over Global Financial Services, that is the global bank, the one that controls the Nuyen. It ends up with each one of the ten AAA corporations holding 10% ownership of GFS. It eliminated the corporate debt and is probably the most definitive step of leaving the world of nations behind and stepping into a world of corporations. Much financial, business and political manouvering must have been made to get this to pass but I’m sure some Shadowrunners were also sent to accelerate progress, oil proceedings and maybe turn a few heads and get rid of obstacles.
On January 23rd, a flight of unknown aircraft spread across the Euro Wars battlegrounds, destroying key installations on both sides while unknown commando troops killed key commanders and crashed Matrix networks. The UK denied involvement but the war ended with a cease fire the following day so someone went to the trouble of doing that. Some one with a lot of tech and a lot of resources as this was no easy feat. Shadowrunners could have been involved in the on-the-ground, and maybe even in-the-sky, action but this could be an interesting point of history for someone to send Shadowrunners to investigate. Maybe someone is holding an old grudge and want some old debts settled. Maybe a former soldier who saw something he shouldn’t see and kept it to himself. Maybe an old commander who was left for dead but actually survived the assassination. Maybe a whistle blower finally bringing the truth to light and needs help staying safe and getting to his destination.
OnÂ November 14th, Ken Roper and Michael Eld, former members of Echo Mirage and founders of Matrix Systems, demonstrate their prototype cyberdeck in Boston, UCAS. A power outage ends the demonstration. What caused the power outage? It could have been an overload from an untested prototype or it could have been sabotage by some competitors. Maybe other people got their hands on cyberdeck technology and needed to sabotage the demo to beat them to market?
On May 1st, Matrix Systems — built by former Echo Mirage members — release the first “grey” cyberterminal, the Portal. On June 12th, both founding members die in freak accidents. On June 13th, the Matrix Systems central server suffers a catastrophic crash and all data is expunged. Furthermore, the prototypes go missing. This, to me, smells like a very professional, well planned, well orchestrated operation to prevent Matrix Systems from being first to market or unleashing a technology that could change the world of computer security. If the rumors of Echo Mirage are to be believed, any tech they have is an order of magnitude more advanced than anything currently on the market and corporations have a reason to be afraid.
OnÂ August 7th, Richard Villiers, a successful businessman, who helped build up Matrix Systems, acquires one-third of Fuchi Industrial Electronics in exchange for all of his North American holdings, his Corporate Court seat, and his backup data and prototype of the Portal, basically buying his way into Fuchi with the cyberdeck tech, making Fuchi the leading force in the new cyberdeck field. Could it be that Richard was the one who orchestrated the demise of Matrix Systems? Was he helped by Fuchi? Did Fuchi turn him? Was it the plan all along? It’s most likely that Fuchi had its eye on the tech and wanted exclusivity on it, no matter the cost.
This year saw the succession of Tir Tairngire from the Native American Nations andÂ Tsimshian Nation followed suit. Aztlan invaded Texas. Texas succeeded as well. The Corporate Court saved the United Nations. And the United Kingdom suffered a nuclear meltdown that caused theÂ Northern Irradiated Zone. I can’t think of any interesting things for Shadowrunners to do in these cases but I felt it bears mentioning.
On January 11th, Texas rejoins the CAS. On March 23rd, California secedes and gets attacked by Aztlan and Tir Tairngire.
But on June 23rd, twenty people, mostly metahumans, are killed when napalm is thrown into a church in New Visions, Ohio, UCAS. A previously unknown group calling itself Alamos 20,000 takes credit in a badly-spelled message to the press. Now, this is a straight up violent hate crime but survivors of the attack or casualties families could get Shadowrunners for a retribution run and some might even jump at the chance to doll out some justice on anti-metahuman scum.
OnÂ September 4th, a modification to the 14th Amendment of the UCAS Constitution is ratified, establishing the System Identification Number system and requiring all citizens to register for a SIN. This is an interesting bit. This kind of thing will obviously be opposed by the Shadowrunning community as it will single them out and make things a lot more difficult for them. But Corps might like it as it will make things more manageable for them. So, if there is a run associated with this event. It will most likely be started by a need and not a contract. And it will most definitely fail.
The Denver Nexus (or Denver Data Haven) is set up in the old USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, in the Front Range Free Zone. This is the home of the Shadowland BBS, one of the biggest hubs of the shadow community, and is the largest data haven in the world. It might not be relevant at the time but after it found its feet and got some reputation, someone must be thinking of breaking into it or hiding something in it. Enter any ‘Impregnable Fortress’ scenario you wish: Trying to get something in, trying to get something out, trying to plant a worm, copy pay data, use it as a way to track someone, etc… All are doomed to fail and raise the ire of the community.
Lofwyr announces his 63% ownership of Saeder-Krupp and votes himself chairman of the board, president, and CEO. Well, while dragons are very smart and manipulative, it is doubtful Lofwyr got all his share through legitimate channels. Probably Shadowrunners were employed in certain aspects of forceful negotiation, getting leverage and incriminating evidence, kidnapping loved ones or simply eliminating the competition. Of course, any such mission would be under heavy cover and done through many layers of isolation from the dragon himself.
Guerrilla warfare in northern California pushes Tir Tairngire back north as far as Yreka. The territory between Redding and Yreka becomes neutral ground, claimed by both sides. This could be the grounds for many pure tactical action missions. Since Tir is an Elven nation, this could also facilitate stories of race, exclusivity, elitism and such.
This year had a lot of political and corporate shuffles but not a lot of actually interesting things.
A dragon destroys the hydrogen airship Lothar SpÃ¤th above the Black Forest in Germany. I think the most interesting thing about this is that the dragon did that by himself. Dragons are usually smarter and act through agents. It’s also interesting that the dragon wasn’t identified as they are usually very known. So, this is either a ploy, a misdirection or one very good, very confident dragon. As to why… no idea.
On February 7th, The Night of Rage sparks with protests over the treatment of meta humans and anti meta human riots. This is a very important event but I can hardly think of anything more plainly human and straight forward.
On July 5th, in Charleston, CAS, a victim’s ghost help discover evidences leading to the arrest of a serial killer. Maybe Shadowrunners didn’t have anything to do with this. But communicating with a ghost of the recently deceased to find anything is a really cool idea.
On August 6th, The Pan-Europa terrorist group releases a para-viral agent on London, with destructive effects on wood and biofabrics. Just out of that, this act can be the basis of a simple revenge mission by a corporation with interests in those industries. A simple snatch and grab of the perpetrators, information gathering to find the heart of the group or a quick wet assignment out of spite.
In November 15th: Â The Mather Group purchases the Cabrini Green housing projects from the city of Chicago and attempts to evict the residents. The ensuing violence kills thirty-two and causes millions of nuyen in damages. Mather becomes de facto landlord for the housing projects, using local gangs as “security” in exchange for a cut of their illegal profits. This could be a haven for Shadowrunners running in the gangs, with the gangs, against the gangs, trying to get houses back, trying to get revenge, and, maybe, if someone smart hires them, actually run a plot to take down Mather or someone high up over there.
OnÂ July 20th, noted mage Martin de Vreis strikes off on a series of one-man vampire hunts. So, if you ever wanted your Shadowrun troop to go vampire hunting, here’s your chance.
OnÂ September 10th, construction begins on the Renraku Arcology in Seattle. As this is one of first, if not the first, arcology, there are probably some difficulties at this stage. There are probably bureaucrats to bribe or blackmail, unions that need straightening out, opposition that needs dismantling or simply materials and workers that needs escorting to the job site.
OnÂ December 12th, New Horizons corporation comes under investigation for its Superkids project, overseen by New Horizons CEO Paul Louberge, when one of them commits suicide. The program is shut down when discoveries of extensive genetic manipulation, in conjunction with physical and mental abuse, are discovered. This is a classic Shadowrun mission. This could even come from the actual rule of law. Some detective or journalist or attorney could try to rustle up some evidence and recruit the crew to do some breaking and data gathering. During the mission, the crew could confront horrific experimentation in pursuit of human perfection and provide some interesting drama.
On June 7th, New York City voids its contract with Warren Security after Knight Errant proves they butchered squatters in Warren-owned buildings. Shadowrunners can definitely get involved with this. In the mission to get the data on the bloodbath, or helping Knight Errant with delivery or, even, in a failed attempt to hide the information.
OnÂ September 5th, the Corporate Court forces France to modify the Loureau Act, which controls extraterritoriality within the nation. This seems like a classic place for Shadowrunners to intervene with blackmailing (or getting blackmail material), strong arming or threatening officials, getting errands done for those who can’t be forced or just getting rid of irrelevant rivals.
In an unspecified date, the Corporate Court proposed the Business Recognition Accords to governments of the world to establish a standard of extraterritorial privileges. This was probably not received with all hands in favour, as it gives corporations a sort of sovereignty in predefined territories, but most if not all of the ruffled feathers were probably smoothed out on the political arena. I’m mentioning it because it’s an important milestone in the Shadowrun universe and if you really want, a Shadowrunning team could be sent to blackmail or force a vote in the usual way.
Also, aÂ series of volcanic eruptions occur in the Eifel Mountain region of Germany. This is obviously something magical going on. It’s not specific so it can serve as a hook for any magical/shamanic centered plot.
TheÂ Seoulpa Rings, a conglomerate of Korean syndicates, start expanding their business, encroaching on other syndicates. TheÂ Seoulpa Rings are small and scrappy and adaptive. This will probably cause, at least, a low-intensity mob war which could provide a fertile ground for Shadowrunners to get into business. So, pretty much any mob vs mob mission could work.
On September 10th, a team of rogue deckers, known as Magestone, erases the results of California’s gubernatorial election, allegedly aided by a Los Angeles street gang. The so-called Lost Election prompts the government to declare war on the “criminal element” in Los Angeles, sending army and corporate mercenary troops to raze El Infierno. After fighting a losing battle, California’s central government declares Los Angeles a Free City. Like the mob wars of 2045, this could be fertile ground for any sort of Shadowrunning mission you might like such as hacking, information gathering, counter espionage or even outright ground warfare.
On June 19th, London Bridge is bombed. This is probably a terrorist plot or maybe a humanist plot. The Shadowrunners could be hired to bomb it or to stop the bombing by someone who knows it’s coming. They can be led on a long chase and somehow always fail to stop the bomb.
OnÂ July 11th, aï¿¼ï¿¼ Para-VITAS outbreak in Tynesprawl, England, kills 120,000. The outbreak is believed to be the work of unidentified eco-terrorist toxic shamans. Same as before, runners may attempt to foil or aid in this action but it will always succeed.
On March 26th, Operation RECIPROCITY. The Corporate Court conducts a joint military strike against Aztechnology and Aztlan for nationalizing corporate assets. While this was, officially, a fully military affair, Shadowrunners can be involved in every step of the way including, but not limited to, intelligence gathering, guerrilla hit and run operations, any kind of support or even deception and diversion operations to turn attention away from it.
Hawkshorne Chemical settles a class-action lawsuit to stop producing a highly-toxic insecticide. Hawkshorne does not destroy its stockpile as promised and instead stores it. So, if the terrorists, or even the Shadowrunners, need a big stash of highly toxic substance, they know where to turn.
The Malaysian People Front overthrows the communist government of Malaysia. This could be the basis for a whole campaign as Shadowrunners back up freedom fighters and helping them fight communists.
A misfiring ABM system of North Jersey, New Jersey, takes down an Euroflot suborbital flight on approach to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport, New York. This rather banal occurrence could be turned into a conspiracy theory of terrorists hacking the system to take down civilians or a mission (for an especially evil group) to do the same in order to take out a specific target on the flight.
Actress Meg Owen re-appears in a summer stock theater company on Prince Edward Island before disappearing for good. This could turn into a Disappear Me mission in which the actress, for what ever reason, hires the group to get her out.
The Talis Cat is first classified as separate from mundane cats. And as this kind of magical beast is discovered, some “Wild Life Enthusiast” might want a piece of that and hire the group to hunt such a cat.
“Present day” of Shadowrun First Edition. Just to note.
On March 19th, The Campeche Massacre happened. Aztechnology Corporate Security opens fire on unarmed protestors in Campeche, killing hundreds. At this stage, this could very well be ritual killing and an intrepid band of Shadowrunners run by a concerned citizen might look into it.
On May 30th, Thousands of metahumans march on Atlanta, calling for increased awareness of metahuman rights. This is a great place for random killing. Shadowrunners could be recruited as protection, a personal detail for a VIP or a hit team to take out one target among the rabble.
On September 13th, Closed-circuit simsense technology is commercially available, allowing a single rigger to monitor an entire building. This could be a place for any infiltration mission in which the runners need to handle a brand new threat.
Jake Armitage defeats Drake and the malevolent AI in Aneki Corporation. If you aim anything for the Super Nintendo crowd, put any mission during the Shadowrun game and you’re good.
OnÂ March 12th, Rebel forces begin commando raids against Aztlan troops in YucatÃ¡n. Any guerilla incrusion, breaking and entering, interception, supply line disruption and the likes are primary ground for Shadowrunners.
OnÂ June 23th, the great dragon Haesslich disappears after a battle with a group of Shadowrunners near Puget Sound in Seattle. This could be your group of Shadowrunners but they should probably be high level for this and have this as the culmination of a long quest line.
On July 20th, Spinrad Industries is hit with massive fines and loses French extraterritoriality after revelations that it participated in illegal human experiments in Marseilles. This could be the conclusion of an adventure meant to either expose the experiments or frame them. The reason could be just corporate struggles or maybe a personal vendetta of a scorned employee.
In August,Â Seattle musician James “Dark Angel” Crull apparently commits suicide in a BTL-induced episode. Xanadu Studios releases a posthumous album of his music. This could also be a dark turn for Shadowrunners that were maybe hired to deliver a very special BTL clip into Crull’s device, something that will play on a nascent disorder and flare it to life or freak him out to a degree that will make him jump off a bridge. Because artists tend to be worth more dead than alive.
On November 15th, a debate between corporate security officers and shadowrunners on the talk show Heavy Hitters erupts into violence. This could be a ‘Where were you?’ moment for the Shadowrunners.
Bioware hits the public market. That means, more biologically compatible body enhancements are starting to become available. Less rejection, better sustained and more aesthetic. Trade wars are sure to follow and Shadowrunners will go to where they are needed: curtailing supplies, hitting shipments, threatening shops or maybe even making sure everything runs smoothly and competition is fair.
On April 24th, the Essence-Integrity Theory is published, describing the link between cybertechnology enhancements and the loss of magical potency. This is one of the linchpins of the Shadowrun universe, the fact that magic and cybertechnology don’t really mix well. If your group is active at this stage, and even if it isn’t, just sitting around and discussing magic, cybertech, how it affects lives and how they interact, could take a session or maybe two.
On August 24th, the Moolah Temple in St. Louis, home to a Universal Brotherhood soup kitchen, burns down. Since we know that the Universal Brotherhood are a bunch of insect cultists, this could be the result of some kind of Shadowrun mission against their plots.
Between November 9th and 16th, Yamatetsu violates a concord of the Corporate Court in searching for forbidden lost technology and almost triggers a global corporate war. This is a perfect job for a Shadowrunning team: The mystery of tech lost since the last Crash, trying to find it and probably fighting the people trying to keep it hidden, the people trying to keep it from themselves and the other team also trying to get it.
OnÂ April 30th, TÃr Tairngire locks down Crater Lake. They block all land access, shoot down planes above it and shoot lasers at spy satellite’s cameras trying to spy on it. Ground observations spotted strange rune covered blocks hovering around it. The elves are definitely keeping a tight grip on it. This is probably a very secret magical research facility. They might be even doing planar research. Anything weirdly magical you want can happen there and Shadowrunners could be sent in to steal, disrupt or destroy it.
On June 10th, An MIT&T expedition to Crete announces its discovery of relics and artifacts corresponding to the legendary location of Atlantis. Just in case you wanted to put Atlantis into your game for weird science, ancient technology, evidence of magic in the fourth world, or whatever else you’d like.
On July 13th, the nuclear power plant of the Bundeswehr barracks in Karlsruhe-Ettlingen inexplicably explodes. Rumors about a terrorist attack or a mishandled nuclear bomb abound. This could be anything from terrorists to corporate sabotage, mishandled magic, an AI breakdown (or breakout) or even interference by astral entities. This can be taken anywhere.
Acting on “tips” from Ares, the UCAS FBI discovers that insect spirits control the Universal Brotherhood and shut it down, using a cover story of financial corruption. Other nations take similar steps, and the Brotherhood is completely shut down by 2056. Ares assists in destructive raids against local hives, which are reported as widespread incidents of “unmotivated terrorist violence” against the Universal Brotherhood. This could be the bedrock for whatever weird action encounters one wants for fighting bug spirits.
On August 8th, The AGS government declares a state of emergency over Berlin and tasks the extraterritorial corporations with ending the anarchist rule of the city. Heavy fighting erupts. Again, any kind of Mad Max or Escape from New York type of just for fun scenario can happen here.
Late December: The media receives documents compiled by residents of the Chicago Containment Zone describing the truth behind the Wall: a Hell-on-Earth scenario where petty warlords exerted control through violence, privation is the norm, and insect spirits openly preyed on the population. Chicago gains a new nickname: Bug City. See previous paragraph.
On June 8th, insect hives are discovered in several large cities in India. Send your Shadowrunners to hunt insect hives, it’s all good. There’s no other reason needed, just a tactical map and some insect stats.
On July 5th, Yucatan rebels accidentally sink a civilian ferry, killing over two hundred people. Was this a set up? Was it rigged to fail? What are the repercussions? Who’s sending revenge squads? Is your troupe part of it?
On October 25th, fifteen people are killed when a bomb explodes at the Liberation Day parade in San Francisco. Did Shadowrunners set it up? Was it a fuck up on their part? Are Shadowrunners part of the retaliation?
On January 19th, the 2056 UCAS election was declared invalid due to fraud. Maybe Shadowrunners were involved in exposing the fraud, being sent to retrieve some secret documents or protect important sources? Or maybe the fraud itself was an act of blackmail?
On March 15th, Dunkelzahn announces on radio show Wyrm Talk that he will be running for president. Not really much to do here but it’s an historic event.
On March 27th, the body of shadowrunner Rodney James “Roderigo” Goodhue is found at his cyberdeck several days after his death and a week after publicly announcing on Shadowland that he double-crossed Lofwyr on a run against a small pharmaceutical corporation. The Shadowrunners could be the ones who executed the job. This could be a standard wetwork operation or through a severe dumpshock via a Matrix run.
In May, Samuel Violet, Renraku Computer Systems’s representative on the Corporate Court, is killed in a plane crash. This could be the start of an infiltration assignment into a Renraku facility. You would do that to get access to credentials, to force an audit of computer systems or soften a target who will be mourning or reorganising.
Also in May, faulty vat tissues used by DocWagon in Seattle, UCAS, cause cases of serious insanity and cannibalism nicknamed the “laughing death”. Where those tissues contaminated to instigate the outbreak? Probably to soften a target or cause a distraction. Most likely for political ends and to change public opinion or hurt DocWagon reputation.
As if May wasn’t bad enough, aÂ Tir Tairngire freighter ship name the Sapphire Seahawk explodes in international waters off the Pacific Coast. The elven nation could have a lot of enemies trying to hurt it. This might be a simple terror attack to damage supply lines or the ship itself could be a cover for transporting something more dangerous or conducting illicit activities in international waters.
On July 10th, General Franklin Yeats, Republican Party candidate in the UCAS Presidential Election, is murdered in his hotel in Seattle, UCAS, by a wasp spirit possessing an FBI agent assigned to his security. This is pretty much cut and dry. You can use it as part of your bug spirit featuring campaign or use it to start one because bug spirits are wierd and we don’t know what they want.
On August 9th, Dunkelzahn is sworn into the office of President of the UCAS, hours before dying in the explosion of his limousine in Washington FDC, UCAS. An astral rift appear soon after on the site. Riots start in all the UCAS cities. This smells like Dunkelzahn was a sure fire winner throughout the campaign and someone planned to have him killed in a place they were sure he would be. Could have been a rival candidate. Maybe it was a corporation who didn’t see his rise to power as a great benefit. Maybe it was the Humanis Policlub who didn’t want a Dragon president. Maybe it was a play for anarchy, trying to incite the riots or maybe they were a by product of something else.
On August 11th, a funeral is held for President Dunkelzahn at Lake Louise. If your crew is a more security and safety oriented one, this could be a short mini arc of setting up, preparing for, and attending the funeral and, probably, foiling an attempt to muck it all up and saving all the top officials that are in attendance.
On August 19th, the Atlantean Foundation begins negotiations to pursue an underwater dig in the Bermuda Triangle. What are they digging for? An underground complex? A unique resource? Crashed alien spaceship? The crew can safeguard this, infiltrate it, assault it. A heist on the open seas or underwater will be fun.
On October 2nd, Captain Chaos begins to upload a series of investigations into the items bequeathed by Dunkelzahn’s will. This could start a Lost Room style treasure hunt or anything like that.
On October 12th, a change to the UCAS 14th Amendment allows non-metahuman sentients and probationary citizens to obtain SINs. In the leading months up to it, there could be a background force of AI and/or other non-metahuman sentient creatures pushing to get equal rights that the Shadowrunners can be involved in.
On November 8th, the UCAS Scott Commission clears President Haeffner of involvement in former President Dunkelzahn’s assassination. This is something that the Shadowrunners could be involved in getting/falsifying evidence for.
On January 1st, Mafia Don James “The Hammer” O’Malley is assassinated by a Chimera-sniper in Seattle. Assassination plot? The party can be on the assassin side, reconning, planning, and executing (literally) or they can be working the Mafia and carry out a retaliation or be blamed for failing to prevent it, prompting trouble or recompense.
On January 7th, the Yakuza starts muscling in and on January 8th, the Irish Gangs get pulled in so the party can play for or against either side.
On January 18th, CAS Vice President Ivory McCabe is elevated to president after President Oliver Jackson dies of a sudden heart attack. Sudden heart attacks can be caused maliciously. The party can be the cause working for nefarious purposes or be put on the investigation detail.
On February 22nd, Ares implements “Operation Extermination,” a large-scale physical and magical assault on the insect spirits infesting the Chicago Containment Zone. The party can be one of the teams sent in. This could be the end of an arc about Bug Spirits.
On February 26th, UCAS President Haeffner lifts the quarantine around the Chicago Containment Zone (CCZ) basically causing a refugee crisis as everyone who was stuck inside the CCZ try to find a way out and everyone else trying to keep them out of their neighbourhood. There’s a whole host of issues that can be addressed with this very relevant to today’s struggles (Pretty much no matter when you read this).
On August 3rd, Renraku successfully recaptures the AI Morgan, and utilizes sections of her programming to develop the Arcology Expert Program. This could be a very cool extraction mission for the party or just the end of a long journey of tracking it down, cornering it, and pacifying it.
On August 10th, Rinelle ke’Tesrae, a grassroots social movement, is formed in Tír Tairngire and calls for a democratic system to be established. Stories are released in Seattle, UCAS, and the California Free State. The party can be part of an outside organisation trying to provide support or working for the Tír Tairngire council in trying to suppress it.
On January 15th, the great dragon Masaru posts a manifesto calling for Philippine independence on Shadowland with open elections to be held in February. Everytime a starting nation declares independence, the nations currently controlling it are very against it. The party can be sent by those nations to sabotage the elections by propaganda or by force, or they can be working for the dragon foiling such attempts.
Sometime in March, 27 people are killed in an industrial accident inside the Renraku Arcology. Now, what could it have been? Was it sabotage by a group of outside operators? Maybe it was an accident? Maybe it was made to look like an accident to cover up what really happened? A heist gone wrong? Maybe a heist gone right?
On May 16th, Dosan Aburajoki, Mitsuhama Computer Technologies’s representative on the Corporate Court, commits suicide in his home in Kyoto, Japan. Was it really a suicide? Was the suicide forced? Who would benefit from this removal? The party could be the conspirators working for a different corp or some other high official. Or they might also be chased for blame.
On July 11th, Tokyo-Seattle Flight 1118 crashes in Redmond district in Seattle, UCAS. 200+ people die. Among them, David Hague, representative of Fuchi Industrial Electronics on the Corporate Court. Is this really an accident or a designed plot to take down Fuchi. The party can be the ones who set up the crash or part of Fuchi’s investigation and revenge plot.
On August 14th, Lofwyr purchases all mining rights to several sites in Eifel Mountains despite AGS geological surveys that concluded that any valuable ore has been already mined. What is he hiding? Is that the location of his hoard? This is certain to attract some attention. The party could be part of an outfit with some special knowledge going on an infiltration mission or maybe the security detail against such infil or protecting what Lofwyr doesn’t want to get out.
On December 19th, The Renraku Arcology in Seattle, UCAS, is sealed automatically by security systems, trapping more than 100,000 people inside. What was discovered two years later is that the Deus AI lost its mind and started experimenting on the residents while police and military tried to end the situation. The party could be part of the military initiative, they can be there as part of a private party who wants something or someone from inside, or this can be a background of one character — especially an otaku — or where the adventure starts as the party tries to escape. This can even be a whole campaign.
Sometime in 2059, the heat tap of a geothermal plant in the Trans-polar Aleut Nation explodes, releasing toxic radioisotopes in the local ecosystem. Was this sabotage? Who would benefit? Was this a deliberate attack? Maybe a build up of accidents?
On March 17th, representatives from the corporate and anarchist zones of Berlin sign a treaty of coexistence. As we all know very well, behind every signing of an important treaty there are a lot of backroom negotiations and exchanges. The party can be involved in any number of classic scenarios, from escort and delivery to extraction and disappearing, just because one side tried to give something more or hold one over on the other side.
On March 26th, in New Delhi, a terrorist bomb kills Navroz Chandaria, Renraku’s newest Corporate Court representative, while she is meeting with Jawahr Prasad, India’s Secretary of Commerce. Probably industrial sabotage. Could be for any number of reasons. And the party can be part of executing it or failing to prevent it.
On October 3rd, an island erupts from the Pacific Ocean roughly three hundred kilometers off the coast of Petrolia, California Free State, exactly as predicted in Dunkelzahn’s Will. Federated Boeing investigates the island but appears to abandon its interest. There are three big explanations for these kinds of actions, either they found something interesting they want to hide, they found someone who forced them away or paid/threatened them off, or, the least interesting, there wasn’t anything good to exploit there. The previous two could be lynchpins for investigations involving the party.
On January 1st, the United Nations declares 2061 the “Year of the Comet.” Corporations rush to design and launch probes (and sabotage each others’ progress) to reach and study Halley’s Comet. As is already stated, corporations sabotaging corporations requires a lot of deniable assets. The party can join at any point of offense or defense.
On June 11th, Shibata Construction and Engineering’s Kepler probe is severely damaged before launch at Aztechnology’s Spindle space station. And like we already know, everything that can be thought of as sabotage can include a party of characters on the sabotaging or failed-to-stop-sabotaging side.
On June 18th, the Cataclyst terrorist cell highjacks the semiballistic craft carrying the Shiawase Corporation’s Brahe probe, which explodes during its ascent, destroying the probe and killing all on board. This could definitely send a group of runners on behalf of Shiawase to find exactly who is responsible and make an example of them.
On September 4th, Badr al Din Ibn Eisa, leader of the Islamic Unity Movement, is assassinated in front of the Ka’bah in Mecca. Again, the party can be part of the assassination attempt, a failed measure to prevent it, or part of the investigation to find and punish the killer.
On November 27th, a Dunkelzahn Institute of Magical Research team identifies a recently-discovered vein of metal in Azania as orichalcum. The news sparks an orichalcum rush among the megacorporations. Any time the corporations fight, scheme, or just try to out-race each other, a party of Shadowrunners can be employed directly against competitors to sabotage efforts or indirectly by making the situation on the ground more difficult or untenable for others.
On December 2nd, an 8.5 earthquake rocks Los Angeles. Over ten thousand people die in the collapse of buildings and the ensuing fires and violence. Not exactly a setup for a mission but an unplanned disaster can show what the characters care about outside of doing missions on their or their patron’s behalf. Will they help people or use it for their own ends?
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