Introduction: State of the Art: 2064
by Rob Boyle
State of the Art: 2064 takes a look at some of the latest developments in the world of Shadowrun. Like the previous year's sourcebook, State of the Art: 2063, this book focuses on five areas of particular interest to shadowrunners: the spy business, adept magic, police ops, European magic and culture. It's important for shadowrunners to keep abreast of the latest advancements in magic, technology and society so that they can adapt and take advantage of them.
State of the Art: 2064 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 a variety of sources, underground and mainstream, but are directed towards an audience of 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 chapter, Games of State, provides an overview of modern spycraft and how it has changed in the aftermath of the Awakening, global balkanization and rise of the megacorps. In addition to detailing intelligence (and counter-intelligence) methods, it also covers major players, hot spots and new spy gear.
The Path of the Adept delves into the philosophy and mindsets of the various adept ways, expanding upon the information given in Magic in the Shadows (and the out of print second-edition sourcebook Awakenings). A slew of new adept powers and metamagic techniques are included, broadening the range of abilities available, especially for social adepts.
Behind the Badge explores the world of modern policing, with a specific focus on privatized police groups like Lone Star and Knight Errant. Similar to the out of print Lone Star sourcebook, it defines what different police units do and discusses various issues related to legalities, jurisdiction, police operations and forensics. It also dives into prisons and prison culture, giving details on what a shadowrunner can expect when he goes to the Big House. Suggestions for running prison campaigns are supplied, along with some new cop gear and drones.
The section on European Magic supplements some of the material originally introduced in Shadows of Europe. The nature and outlook of witchcraft and various pagan magical paths are expanded upon, as is the academic debate between various hermetic schools. Magic and Christianity is also touched on. This information can serve as an excellent source to flesh out the philosophy and trappings of a character's magical tradition. Rules are also provided for giving some of the traditions a unique flavor.
Culture Shock focuses on the latest news and cultural trends, both mainstream and underground. It starts off with a lively description of the latest phenomenon to influence mainstream culture—orxploitation—and moves on to discuss the methods and consequences of megacorp loyalty, including corporate gangs and point systems. Gambling, genetic art and a new type of networked club are also featured. A number of top ten lists are provided that relate to numerous events that have occurred in the shadows over the past year, from most wanted criminals to paranormal phenomenon. The top ten news items progress a number of plotlines previously introduced in other Shadowrun books. Finally, an overview of the sports industry is given, including features on the 2064 World Cup in Amazonia and the latest on the maneuverings surrounding the 2072 Olympics. Overall, this chapter includes a wealth of plot hooks that gamemasters can use to fill out the their campaigns and construct adventures.
It's That Time Again . . .
> It's hard to believe that a year has already gone by since we posted the last State of the Art folio. We've seen a lot happen with various dragon maneuverings, corporate infighting, the founding of the NEEC, a brewing mob war in Europe, and the continuation of civil warfare in Poland and the Philippines. The screamsheets have not been lacking for newsworthy material—which means that our line of biz is doing just fine.
But let's not get cocky. With the changes our world goes through every day, it's becoming an increasing challenge to keep up with the latest developments. If you don't suspect that an adept might try running across water to sneak up behind you or that a spook might have a taser concealed in that hollowed-out credstick, then you're not doing your job. We all know that staying alive means keeping ahead of the game, being prepared so that we can laugh at our opponent's "big surprise" and tell him that was last week's vaporware.
Once again, as roll over our calendars to the big '64, I present you with a file collection that compiles some of the latest advances that you should be watching out for, some intel on the cutting edge. Just like last year, I've focused on five areas of particular interest to shadowrunners. This time, I've chosen to feature modern espionage, adept paths and magic, police operations, European magic traditions and the perennial favorite, that slop that passes as "culture" these days.
The spy game material is a friendly reminder that nation states still play in our sandbox just as much as corporate agents do. The material on adepts is a bit overdue, as there are many types of adepts out there who haven't gotten the recognition they deserve, and they have plenty of nifty new powers up their sleeves. The material on cops just seems a necessity, as they are the number one opposition shadowrunners need to keep an eye out for, so we should all know what they're up to. The exploration of Euro magic is an add-on to the Shadows of Europe folio we recently posted, since so many of you have had run-ins with magicians who didn't fit the North American norms. And finally, the culture section should give you some ideas on where to look for work, as well give you a heads-up on world events in case you've had your head buried in a Matrix game node for the past year.
Remember kids, it's not just enough to scan this information—it's how you use it that counts. There are plenty of items here that can save your hoop in the right situation, and plenty of facts that can lead to you cashing in on a sweet run. So quit slacking and get to work.
> Captain Chaos
Transmitted: 20 December 2063 at 16:22:20 (PST)