Introduction: Target: Awakened Lands
by Rob Boyle
Target: Awakened Lands is about the places in the world of Shadowrun that are deeply affected by magic. Each of the locations described within are marked by magical events and Awakened beings. These areas can be used as campaign settings, set within a backdrop of arcane forces and mystical mysteries; or they can be used as exotic, briefly-visited locales with intriguing shadowrunning options. While they are many such places in the world of Shadowrun - too many to detail in one book -T arget: Awakened Lands focuses on the continent of Australia and a smattering of other Awakened sites, and also delves into the new fluctuations affecting magic and the astral plane.
Target: Awakened Lands 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 are written by various characters, from Outback explorers to shadowrunners to Aboriginal shamans, each with their own prejudices and points of view. Each article is marked up with a running commentary by other runners 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, Manic Mana, details the changes and unpredictability of magic in the wake of Halley's Comet and the fiftieth anniversary of the Awakening (both described in the Shadowrun sourcebook Year of the Comet). Many new phenomenon are covered, from astral shallows, where the astral and physical planes come closer, to astral rifts, holes in the fabric of the universe that lead to the depths of the metaplanes and astral space.
The second and main document, Australia: The Land of Oz, describes the Awakened land most infamous for its primal natural power. This section first explains all of the relevant background information runners need to know about Australia, including the history, way of life, and the intrigues of the megacorps and organized crime. It then details each of Australia's major cities, from the independent city of Sydney to the Japanese enclave of Cairns. The chapter then moves on to explain Aboriginal magic and the concept of the Dreamtime, important knowledge for runners who venture into the Outback. Several key locations in the Outback are then described, as well as tips for surviving in the bush. The section wraps up with an overview of Australia' paranormal critters and magical threats.
The third and final document, Awakened Sites, provides information on nine areas of potent magic, from the ghostly cliff dwellings of the long-lost Anasazi to the 7,000 steps of the sacred mountain of T'ai Shan, the new abode of the great dragon Lung. Capsule descriptions are also provided on eight other locations strongly affected by magic, from bug-haunted Chicago to the witch haven of Salem.
All of the rules information for these sections appears in the Game Information chapter at the end of the book. Gamemasters will find the vital statistics of Australia, as well as rules for applying magical phenomenon like mana storms and ghostly alchera, as well behind-the-scenes data on many of the locations described.