The year is 2070, and the world hasn’t just awakened with magic, it’s also crawling with tech. Mythical creatures walk the streets as spellslingers delve into the arcane. Cyberware makes you better-than-flesh, more than human. In the background, gargantuan corporations back stab each other’s in the war for the bottom line. You are a shadowrunner, you are the “deniable asset” hired by those same corporations to do something they don’t want to be caught doing. That is what shadowrunners do, and they get the job done.
Then the world went bonkers
Long story short, magic emergence, plague outbreak, a horrific computer crash, war in western Europe, Amerindian tribes clamoring for independence, and a whole slew of other things leave world government and political structure broken and battered. With their fall mega-corporations step in with their own brand of sovereingity.
He ain’t heavy
Strange things start happening to some people due to magic returning to the world. Humans started giving birth to cute little elven babies and dwarf babies. This was known as the UGE, or Unexplained Genetic Expression. In addition to that, some years after the first UGE baby came the Goblinization. Adult and juvenile humans started turning into something else, namely Orks and Trolls. These are, the metatypes of metahumanity: (that could be the title of an old 80′s cartoon… I’m not too sure)
Homo sapiens sapiens
Making up a slight majority on the average of Earth’s population, they are seen as the norm and measuring stick to which the other metatypes are compared. The fates, however, are kinder to humans.
Homo sapiens nobilis
Elves are taller and slimmer than the average human. This doesn’t mean that their bone structure and musculature are weaker than a human’s. They have those distinctly pointed ears, which is why many wear their-normally very fine-hair long to cover their ears. Their eyes are capable in dim light.
Elves hold an unchallenged position in pop culture, which is mostly due to their looks. Many media icons – from models to singers to politicians to porn stars to high-profile lawyers are elves. Unlike dwarfs, orks, and trolls, who are discriminated against on the basis of being “different and ugly,” elves get looked down on for being “different and beautiful.” They also have their own language: Sperethiel.
Homo sapiens pumillonis
Short, stocky, and barrel-chested, typically has shorter legs than other metatypes. Dwarves possess natural thermographic vision which helps on the stereotype that they used to live underground. They also possess a hardy immune system, rarely getting sick even when exposed to toxins. Dwarves tend to be quiet and unassuming about their abilities, they also tend to be the most assimilated into mainstream society. They encounter less prejudice as they aren’t feared like orks or trolls, or seen as glamorous or conspiratorial like elves, but when they encounter those that equate short with child-like they get the paternalistic attitude. The shortness doesn’t end there, they have to cope with living in a world built for taller beings as well as being literally overlooked when equal opportunities come.
Homo sapiens robustus
Proportioned similarly to humans, but with a heavier build that adds to their overall bulk. Aside from size, orks have large lower canines, often making them look more alien when paired with the characteristic thin lips and flat noses. Orks also have ears like an elf’s, though not as elongated. Orks also have eyes adapted for low light situations.
In 2060 the Or’zet codex, was published and established the basics of an ork language. Or’zet soon became a cultural phenomenon and helped fuel “ork pride,” but also lead to the explosion of “orxploitation” media stereotyping orks as poorly tempered or prone to criminal activities.
Homo sapiens ingentis
The largest and most exotic of the metatypes, they stand two and a half meters tall and can weigh upwards of 300 kilograms. Most trolls have arms longer in proportion compared to the other metatypes, and their skin is often ridged and lumpy due to natural bone deposits. This acts like a natural armor effect. They also possess thermographic vision. Troll ears are pointed, they have two extra teeth (for a total of 32), including prominent lower canines, they also have a pair of horns that grow in all manner of ways – straight, curled, twisted, etc.
Stereotyped as stupid or frightening, trolls are no less intelligent or well mannered as other metatypes. Though they are predjudiced for it, many trolls have found employment for those said traits: size, strength, and intimidation.
Racism is a thing of the past, speciesism is in Gone are the days of hating others because of their skin color or ethnicity, here are the days of hating on someone plainly because you’re human, or an elf, or whatever when walking into the turf of some go-gang.
You are what you do
Shadowrunners aren’t from the same cloth, they do different things differently. One might hurt people really well; the other may empty his bank account, steal his car, and his life in one execution of code. Here some of the more common character concepts:
These are the charismatic individuals, good looking, sweet talking, quick-witted or just have a great personality. Usually the front man in any negotiations with Mr. Johnsons, dealers, fixers, info-brokers, and any situation where legwork and networking in necessary. A face may be all natural, or packing bioware such as tailored pheromones.
Magicians use their force of will and the power of their beliefs to bend and manipulate magic to their whim and control the spirits of their tradition. Magicians of similar beliefs tend to gravitate toward each other, adopting schools of thought known as traditions. They are all capable of casting spells and summoning spirits. Most can percieve and project themselves into the parallel mystic realm of astral space. The most common traditions are the hermetics and the shamans. Hermetic mages believe magic is all about knowledge and structure. Shamans believe that magic is attunement with the forces of nature.
Modern day ninjas or berserkers. Adepts use magic to enhance their body’s abilities, enabling them to do stuff a normal uncybered person dreams about. They tend to be athletically oriented, with good stealth and combat skills.
Specialized in accessing and manipulating data on the Matrix (the world’s super-version of the internet). While illegally logged into the Matrix, they can search and sift through information of all kinds, tap phone calls, disable security systems, and enable other systems at will. Most hackers are experts in cybercombat- a battle of skills and programs against other hackers or intrusion countermeasures (IC)
Riggers are a subset of hackers that deal with manipulating and using modern vehicles and drones. Whether it be jumping in the vehicle, effectively operating the vehicle as if it was part of their body, or controlling multiple drones armed to the teeth, riggers have their metal friends around him at all times.
- Street Samurai
These are the ones that love hurting people. These razorboys and razorgirls use cyberware to make them combat monsters. Implanted with cyberware, bioware, and combat skills they attempt to become the meanest, fastest, strongest killing machine on the street. Street samurai is a catch all term for people who hurt things. Some may identify themselves as mercenaries, bodyguards, assassins, or with similar labels.
“Watch your back. Shoot straight. Conserve ammo. And never, ever, cut a deal with the dragon.” -Street proverb