Introduction: Shadows of Europe
by Rob Boyle
Europe has been mentioned and used as a setting many times in Shadowrun, but with the exception of a few specific countries (Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom) the information given has been spotty and incomplete. Shadows of Europe remedies this situation, exploring Western and Central Europe in detail. The vast majority of the authors and artists who contributed to this book hail from Europe, so the perspective is as authentic as we could manage.
Some of the material in this book has been drawn or based on previous Shadowrun sourcebooks, and so credit is due. In particular, the London Sourcebook and Tír na nÓg (both by Carl Sargent and Marc Gasciogne) and the Germany Sourcebook (by Jens Eggert, Martin Ellermeier, Guido Hölker, Michael Immig, Irene Fehlberg, Alex Kleesen, Hartwig Nieder-Gassel, Jörg Raddatz, Thomas Römer, Carsten Scheibe and Andreas Wichter) were referenced. The chapter on the Allied German States in this book summarizes and expands on the ideas presented in the German-language-only sourcebook Deutschland in Den Schatten Zwei (by Jens Ballerstädt-Koch, Lars Blumenstein, Florian Don-Schauen, Tobias Hamelmann, Tilo Hörter, Timo Gleichmann, Gunter Kopf, Jörg Middendorf, Lars Siele, Jens Ullrich and Frank Werschke) as well as the German-only campaign Shockwellen (Falk Behr, Lars Blumenstein, Tobias Hamelmann, Tilo Hörter, Frank Werschke and Tobias Wolter).
In the days when FASA owned Shadowrun, licenses were granted to Fantasy Productions and Jeux Descartes to publish European-specific sourcebooks in German and French, respectively. Though the material in these books was not officially "canon," we have attempted to stick as close as possible to the histories, characters and plots they presented while still adhering to the continuity of the official Shadowrun universe. The authors of those books also deserve mention: Shadowrun France (Philippe Tessier), Chrom & Dioxin (Cristo Fe Crespo, Sebastian Frankfurt, Timo Gleichmann, Guido Hölker, Tamara Kistner, Björn Lippold, Stefano Monachiesi, Thomas Römer, Jon Szeto) and Walzer, Punks and Schwarzes IC (Otto Blume, Cristo Fe Crespo, Sebastian Frankfurt, Timo Gleichmann, Guido Hölker, M. Rudi De L'Eau, Björn Lippold, Jörg Middendorf, Ten Pan Sni, Thunder).
Shadows of Europe is presented as a series of electronic documents posted by Captain Chaos, sysop of the vast Shadowland archive and data haven‹the number one source for shadowrunners on what's going on in the world of Shadowrun. The documents come from the viewpoint of shadowrunners, for the consumption of other shadowrunners. These sources are each unique in outlook and perspective, influenced by their own particular prejudices and interests. Each article is marked up with a running commentary by shadow denizens who add to, revise and contradict the original post. These inserted comments add innuendo, allegations, opinions, rumors, misconceptions, misinformation, lies and sometimes even the truth to the information presented. It is left up to the gamemaster to decide what information is correct and which is just filling, as appropriate to his or her game.
The first document, The New Old World, provides an overview of Europe's history and its corporate, underworld and magical affairs. Two major events are described here: the founding of the New European Economic Community (and its internal dynamics) and the brewing mob war between the entrenched Mafia and the Vory V Zakone. The activities of the Big Ten megacorps and the top fifteen AA Eurocorps are also explored.
The chapters that follow detail each nation in turn, including history and current affairs, cultural differences, important figures, interesting locations, corporate and criminal dealings, and various business opportunities for enterprising shadowrunners. This information provides a wealth of plot hooks and background setting concepts for gamemasters to draw from.
Following these sections, the Game Information chapter provides information on getting in and out of each nation, including border crossing by both legal and extralegal means. Suggestions for using each country in your Shadowrun campaign are also provided, as is a complete listing of Central and Western European Matrix RTGs.
Crossing the Pond
> I've had more than one runner tell me that the file collection we threw together on North America last year helped them to better understand the underworld dynamics across the continent, so they managed to avoid walking into a situation blind and getting their hoop shot off. Given how small our world has grown (thanks to suborbital traffic, the Matrix, linguasofts and other tech), it seems appropriate to give other continents the same treatment. First up for the hairy cybereye is Europe, a patchwork land of mini-states, fairy-tale kingdoms, religious conflicts, corporate scheming and many other sundry affairs that draw out shadowrunners like devil rats to a corpse.
In my quest to bring you paydata from the most reliable sources available, it only made sense to turn to the European shadows to find some Euro-runners who didn't mind giving us the scan on their local scene. I contacted Synner, one of the Helix data haven sysops, to recruit his help in rounding up some streetwise peeps with solid refs. Synner went above and beyond the call of duty, pulling in favors from some of Europe's top talent. As a result, we've compiled a comprehensive exposé of the European shadows unlike anything seen before. Starting with an overview of European history to put everything in context, these files move on to cover all of the important places and people that visiting runners might need to know.
Even more than North America, Europe is a mixed bag of nations and cultures, rubbing shoulders in close proximity. You don't have to go far to cross a border and immerse yourself in a different world. But thanks to the New European Economic Community, Europe is now more unified than ever before, at least where the authorities are concerned. And while certain pan-European entities like megacorps and the Mafia aren't restricted by minor hassles such as borders, they still tailor their activities to suit the needs of each particular locale. I've said it before and I'll say it again: do your homework, and be aware of what you're getting into before you bumble in to some tense situation like a clueless tourist and wind up as a footnote on some travel advisory.
Without further ado, I'll pass things over into Synner's capable hands and let him walk us through New Europe.
> Captain Chaos
Transmitted: 02 June 2063 at 05:03:26 CET