Introduction: Target: Wastelands
by Rob Boyle
Target: Wastelands delves into areas that are hazardous and treacherous to navigate. These hostile environments provide privacy and security for various agencies that wish to hide what they're doing from prying eyes. Naturally, these are exactly the sorts of places that shadowrunners will be sent into, at no small risk to themselves. Five different environments are covered here: toxic zones, deserts, the Polar Regions, space and deep sea habitats. Each chapter explains what these areas are like, what hazards they present, how to survive those hazards and what the corps and other powers-that-be are doing in these areas that's interesting.
Target: Wastelands 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 other 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 Poisoned Earth, details how modern civilization has polluted the Earth with toxins, radiation, genetic manipulation and human misery. It covers the side effects of this pollution and then presents a few select toxic areas: the North Sea, Tripoli, Tsimshian, Los Angeles, the Yucatán and the SOX.
Shifting Sands provides shadowrunners with everything they need to know about desert survival and provides overviews of what's happening in some of the world's largest deserts: the Sahara, the Namib, the Arabian Desert, the Gobi and others. It also explains what the Desert Wars are all about and how they're run.
The next chapter, The Ends of the Earth, talks about the Polar Regions and the dangers of these extremely cold environments. It provides an overview of the Trans-Polar Aleut nation that claims the North Pole and surrounding lands, then describes the vast continent of Antarctica, with its remote research stations, dangerous weather and angry spirits.
Up the Gravity Well provides a history of metahumanity's expansion into space and provides some background on the independents that operate in the cracks. It also covers the various orbital stations, habitats and lunar bases that runners may visit or hear about.
The Riptides chapter introduces a wealth of new material on deep-sea aquacologies and corporate plans. Several specific stations are covered as well as new developments in undersea defenses and magic.
The final chapter, Game Information, provides all of the rules necessary to use the other chapters. It includes rules for survival and navigation, various hazards and dangers and includes new spells, critters, vehicles and gear.
Artwork: Zero G Fight by Klaus Scherwinski and Walking by Peter Bergting