I totally forgot that I purchased Shadowrun Returns.
I stumbled over it a couple of days ago an thought, I'd give it a go.
For those of you who don't know what Shadowrun is:
It's the 2050s and the world has been through some hell. The future is grim and the companies are the rulers, not the governments. It's money that makes the world go round more than ever.
Tech has been developed rapidly. Computers aren't normal keybords with monitors anymore. You actually plug your brain into the virtual reality that is the matrix, a full sense environment.
But there is more cyberware, not only rigs for computer access. There is no bodypart that can't be imporved or completely substituted, making people stronger, faster, better in any way.
But this is not the only thing. Magic has come back into the world, bringing mages and shamans with it. And very old genes have been re-awakened in people, so elves, dwarves, orcs and trolls are back too. And a lot of magical critters around the world, including dragons. Yes, dragons, which are not only gigantic lizards but probably the most intelligent lifeforms, mastering everything from magic to science. Some of them even got into industry and commerce, becoming the wealthiest and most powerful creatures.
But this world has its dark side, too. Some people, for various reasons, can't live in the neon lights of the huge cities and companies. Those who live in the shadows have a choice: Try to scrape together whatever is needed to somehow make a living or become Shadowrunners. Shadowrunners do the jobs that people need to have done but don't want to do. They are hired if someone wants to steal information or tech or even an emplyee from some other company. They risk their lives for money, soldiers of fortune, trying to get on the bright side of life.
There are DECKERS, those who hack and manipulate the matrix. RIGGERS who jack themselves into vehicles and become part of the machine. SAMURAIS is what they call themselves but most of them are just technically enhanced killers. And of course the MAGES and SHAMANS, using their magic. Whiles mages follow tzhe hermetic tradition, shamans follow a totem animal like Bear, Wolf, Dog or even Spider. But it's the totem that chooses the shaman, not the shaman the totem. So a lot of them seem to have some characteristics of their totem.
It's been a rather successful pen & paper RPG way back in time that is now on the market in its 5th edition, although I only really enjoyed the first 2 editions. From edition 3 on, they moved along in time, now in the 2080s, I believe. But it's the charme of the 2050s that got me hooked. The mix of fantasy (magic and elves, dwarves etc) and science fiction is amazing and works fine. Yes, a fireball hauling mage is very dangerous but there'll be no fireball casting with a bullet in his head. Or, like they said on the first pages of the RPG: Aim carefully, save ammo and never try to hoodwink a dragon!
It's inventor, Jordan K. Weisman, brought those good old times back, but to the computer screen.
The first story, called 'The Dead Man's Switch', was awesome to play, only the fact that riggers are not used in the game and decking isn't like it's been described in the novels or the P&P are a bit of a letdown. But the story is cool and I really enjoyed to play this RPG with turn based combat.
Just when you thought life couldn't get any worse, you get a call in the middle of a night from an old friend you haven't seen for quite a while. But before you can even start to smile at him, he tells you that this is a prerecorded message and only the fact that his heart has stopped beating initiated this call and the playback of this message. He is dead. But he wants you to find out who killed him and there is a life insurance with a nice sum to it that will be paid to you as soon as you bring his murderer to justice. And so you start, first thing is tracking his body down, finding him in an 'Organ Grinder' facilitiy. Nope, nothings gonna go to waste in the 2050s. And there the trouble starts...
I can only say, if the mix of fantasy and science fiction speaks to you, try it out. Right now, I'm playing the second release, 'Dragons Fall', which is taking place in Berlin, Germany, and it also is very good, at least as far as I've been playing. There are more official releases like 'Boston Lockdown' but if you use Steam, you'll find tons of new fan-made content in the Steam Workshop.