Introduction: Target: Matrix
by Michael Mulvihill
Target: Matrix features the sites, grids, hosts, and unique personalities of the electronic virtual world in Shadowrun known as the Matrix. The Matrix is more than just bits and bytes of information, it is a social arena stocked with games, virtual meeting places and other forms of entertainment that are "more real than the real world"—or so the ads claim. It is also a deadly place of counter-intrusion programs, Matrix gangs, grids that seem to be created to trap and kill an intruding decker and full of strange anomalies that get stranger and more numerous with each passing moment.
Target: Matrix walks players though these locations by presenting the information in a series of electronic documents compiled and posted by Captain Chaos, the sysop of the vast Shadowland archive—the number one source for shadowrunners to get the info they need to survive in the world of Shadowrun. The documents are written by various runners, each with their own prejudices and points of view, and marked up with a running commentary by other runners, each adding to, revising or contradicting the author. These pieces of black information, or shadowtalk, add innuendos, allegations, opinions, misconceptions, misinformation, lies and sometimes even the truth to the information presented. It is left up to the gamemaster to determine which facts are correct and which are just filling.
Target: Matrix opens with Grids, the massive networks that are the first link to the virtual world. Grids from corps, organizations and government agencies are covered, including what’s left of the Chicago grid after the Bug City events.
The book then moves on to Data Havens, the giant clearinghouses of information that are crucial to shadowrunners and the underground shadow culture. This chapter details an assortment of data havens, their philosophical bent and their reasons for existing. Special attention is focused on the granddaddy of them all—the Denver Nexus and its Shadow Matrix.
The home to the busiest net on the grid is Seattle, so a little tour of Virtual Seattle gives us the scoop. From the Mitsuhama Pagoda and the Aztechnology Pyramid in the downtown local grid to Ares, Cross or Mitsuhama in the less-used neighborhood grids, everything that’s important to the Seattle grid is in one place including the remains of the Renraku system.
Hosts, like Grids, covers some unique and important places to go while on the grid. From the decker’s best friend—Hacker House—to the game parlors and virtual sex shops, these hosts are the stopping points of interest to anyone on the Matrix.
Personas and Organizations describe the deckers and users of the Matrix, from those that work the shadows to those working for the corps. The Open Forum that follows is a download of the weird, scary and indescribable things that may inhabit the Matrix.
The Game Information chapter gives rules for using all of the sections described in the book as well as adventure hooks using the Matrix as a prime "character" in your games.