Metahuman Tropes in General
- Five Races:
- Three of these races fall into the "stout" archetype (dwarves, orcs and trolls), humans are the "mundane", elves are the "fairy" archetype, and the immortal elves are the "high men" race. And while no metahuman race can be considered overall good or evil by nature, three races are typically perceived/depicted as the former in fantasy fiction (humans, elves and dwarves) and the other two are usually perceived/depicted as the latter in the same (orks and trolls), and this treatment is reflected in-universe in the form of Fantastic Racism against the latter group.
- This was changed up some time after the introduction of 3rd edition. First came the alternate metatypes, which basically were mostly regional variations of the original axis. For example, trolls were given alternatives such as Giants, Minotaur, and others. Orks could be Satyrs, Oni, and Ogres among others, etc.
- SURGE, introduced near the end of 3rd edition, basically broke the trope completely in pieces: it introduced mutations that let you be everything from a cat-girl to a fish-man and everything in-between. Just for kicks, they also threw out drakes (metahumans who shapeshift into draconic forms) and allowed you to play Infected (metahumans infected with a strain of HMHVV, which basically forces you to consume living tissue of various types in order to live, assuming the torturous infection process doesn't fry your brains so much you turn into a gibbering monster).
- By the end of 4th edition, you can also play an AI, and there are twice as many metatype variations (you can even play an alternate form of human from India that has pastel-hued skin and multiple arms). As far as game mechanics are concerned, the "axis" is really more of a generic holdover from Shadowrun's fantasy roots; in practice, the only time metatype matters is due to in-game bigotry by groups like the Humanis policlub, or if a troll or dwarf needs to buy a tuxedo or armored longcoat.
- Setting fluff states that metahumans have complications expected of Human Subspecies; most elves are sensitive to pollution, one edition states either orks or trolls have a lethal allergy to copper, many have low-light vision making them sensitive to bright lights, trolls have thermal vision, meaning they can be flash-dazzled by fires... Of course, this is all often forgotten by players and GMs alike.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Thoroughly averted. If one metahuman procreates with another of a different metatype, the children would be one of their parents' metatypes. Meaning no halvsies, and an elf could be the biological sibling of a troll, and half-sibling to a human.
- The Magic Comes Back: Metahumans appeared in two waves: The "Unexplained Genetic Expression" (UGE) births of 2011, where babies were born as elves and dwarves, and the "Goblinization" of 2021, where adult humans, elves and dwarves morphed into trolls and orks overnight. Also, SURGE (Sudden Recessive Genetic Expression) in 2061 brought changelings, which aren't exactly a specific sub-species, but more of a collection of odd mutations.
- Square Race, Round Class: In Shadowrun, characters are not bound to any specific archetype due to their race. It should be noted, though, that for game balance purposes, picking a race with cool stat bonuses means you have to give up stats, skills, money, and/or magical ability. In practice, though, there's literally nothing stopping you from acquiring stats, skills, money, or more magical ability. You can do practically anything within the scope of the game mechanics.
Humans (Homo sapiens sapiens)Humans in Shadowrun need little introduction, being much the same as they've always been. They still make up the majority of the Earth's population and are majority demographics in most of the mainline nations in the fluff (with some, like Japan, being almost rabidly pro-human). Despite the appearance of a lot of subraces, many of the dividing lines of "baseline" humanity (skin color, social class and nationality) are as powerful as they've always been, and in many cases also override any racial animus towards other metahumans.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The one acknowledged human metavariant, the Indian nartaki, come in red, blue, or gold skin colors.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Nartaki suffer from this; they've got all the advantages of humans, plus an extra set of arms. But their extra arms and unusual skin colors make them very distinctive, and there are less than ten thousand of them in the world, and the vast majority live in India, where most of them are documented and registered. As such, a nartaki shadowrunner — especially one operating outside of India — would be relatively easy to track down.
- Born Lucky: Human characters start with an additional point of Edge in most editions of the game.
- Fantastic Slur: "Norm", among others.
- Five Races: The "mundane" race.
- Humans Are Average: Human stats (with the exception of Edge) are ranked from 1-6, this being the "baseline" for stats and making them competent at everything, but excellent at nothing. Playing a human also requires no priority or karma investment at character creation, freeing up points better spent elsewhere. Fluff-wise they're still the majority species on the planet and are in effective control of most of the political (and economical) climate, human-run or -majority countries being far more common than the alternatives. This is averted with the Nartaki, the only known metavariant of Humans, as they have at least one extra set of arms and distinctive skin hues. They arose out of India and the game devs clearly intended them o resemble Shiva. Otherwise, they're practically identical to humans other than missing that extra point of Edge.
- Humans Are Special: All that said, at least in 5e, it's possible to take a human with a load of Special Attribute Points at character creation, making them capable of taking Technomancers, Wizards, and Adepts with the maximum in raw power and have Edge to spare right out of the gate.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The nartaki metavariant all have an extra set of arms.
Elves (Homo sapiens nobilis)Elves first appeared on the scene in the 2011 UGE phenomenon with a rash of unexplained births (although there are confirmed cases of so-called "surge babies" being born in the decades prior), with the "shock" of their introduction being drowned by the Awakening and the VITAS plague. Physically they resemble tall, thin humans with sharp ears and have a slowed aging and metabolic processes. They're also stereotypically magical, and tend to be physically pretty. Elves are perhaps the most societally distinct from baseline humans, having created a very strong racial identity based upon writings recovered from the fourth age. This includes a recreation of an old Elven language (Sperethiel) and a pair of elven nations: Tir Tangire from former Oregon, and Tír na nÓg from Ireland. Rumors persist of actual immortal elves, survivors of the Fourth Age much like the dragons, who puppeteer Elven society behind the scenes.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The Night Ones, a type of European elves, have full-body coverings of short, fine fur that's typically black, violet or blue in color, and more rarely green or dark orange.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The various elf metavariants have cool abilities, qualities, looks, and concepts behind them, but for one reason or another are all very impractical to play. Dryads, Nocturnals, and Xapiri Thepes are all suffer from Kryptonite Is Everywhere, most Xapiri Thepes and Wakyambi live in very specific areas of the world (the Amazon and South Africa, respectively) and rarely leave those locations and Wakyambi, especially, are distinctive in appearance. Combined with their rarity, this means a Wakyambi shadowrunner would be pretty easy to track down.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Dryads possess a connection to their natural surroundings that manifests physically, reflected in their health. Xapiri Thepe have patches of chloroplasts that allow them to photosynthesize in order to supplement their diet. Nocturna are covered in fur similar to big cats and are vulnerable to sunlight and UV rays.
- Charm Person: Dryads have a natural ability to come off as incredibly charming, enthralling, and beautiful to people in their physical presence, even when objectively they're rather mundane. What's weird about this is that no one knows exactly how this works; it's not pheromones and, as far as anyone can tell, it isn't magic, either.
- Fantastic Racism: Not as openly as against orks and trolls, but elves get a lot of Real Life Anti-Semitism stereotypes (i.e. they secretly run society) slapped on then by racist humans and are often distrusted as a result.
- Some elves, especially those from the Tirs, tend to be racist back against the "lesser" metahuman variants.
- Elves are also subject to a degree of racial fetishization that most other metahumans aren't; being thought of as generally exceptionally graceful, intelligent, talented, charming, and beautiful — even though individually a given elf may be as plain or even ugly as anyone else — often leads to them being idealized, sexualized, and objectified in ways that often make them uncomfortable.
- Fantastic Slur: "Keeb", "knife-ear" and "dandelion eater" are some of the most common ones.
- Five Races: The "fairy" race. They tend to be taller and thinner than humans, and tend to have a cultural sense of mysticism. There's a stereotype that they Awaken more frequently, but it's actually untrue. A handful of incredibly rare elves do fit the trope straighter, being immortal survivors from the fourth age.
- In Harmony with Nature: A frequent stereotype (and, like most stereotypes, generally untrue). Many of the slurs for elves are variants on "tree hugger." It does accurately apply to the dryad and xapiri thëpë metavariants, however. Their physiologies are actually tied to their natural surroundings, and a polluted area makes them physically ill.
- Kryptonite Factor: Of the four metavariants, three have one. Dryads and xapiri thepes are especially vulnerable to environmental pollution, and nocturna/night ones are harmed by UV light. Given the nature of the setting, Kryptonite Is Everywhere.
- Long-Lived: Elves have delayed aging processes and they don't seem to age in the same way humans do. With the timeline only having advanced 50 years since their first appearance, there has yet to be a confirmed case of an elf dying of old age. There's also the incredibly rare Immortal Elves, who are the only beings confirmed to have a life span on par with a dragon.
- Our Elves Are Different: While many elves certainly believe so, it's averted, actually. Elves and elvish nations are just as liable to be immoral or corrupt as humans. Just don't expect elf supremacists and nationalists to hear that out.
- Our Nymphs Are Different: Dryads are an elven metavariant that is not tied to any specific place of origin. Instead, elven (and sometimes human) children are just occasionally born as dryads. They underwent some fairly drastic changes over the game's history, but have always been Always Female, mildly allergic to pollution and shorter on average than other elves.
- In 2nd edition, dryads are much shorter than other elves and inevitably migrate away from their places of birth as soon as they can, resettling in whatever wilderness they can find and reverting to an almost feral state. Adult dryads live in strict separation from society, speak their own language and are always shamans that follow the Father Tree totem.
- After 5th, dryads are only somewhat shorter than elves and better integrated into urban society, in part because their being as scattered as they are prevents them from forming a cohesive culture. They're still, however, deeply connected with nature, and pointedly avoid areas of heavy urbanization and pollution — which, in Shadowrun, is easier said than done.
- Trans Nature: Elven wannabees are other metatypes (most of them humans) who want to be elves. Some may believe they are actually elves trapped in other bodies, and surgically alter themselves their ears and facial features in order to become elven. Real elves often look down on them and they face discrimination from other metatypes in addition to anti-elven racism, much like transgender folk do in real life.
- Veganopia: Most, but not all, elves are vegetarians. Considering most people live on soy products anyway (supplemented with krill and zooplankton), this is less impressive than it sounds.
- Weakened by the Light: The nocturnal/night ones metavariant is harmed by UV light, forcing them to adopt a nocturnal life style.
- Witch Species: Again, just a stereotype that some Elves like to perpetuate, but broadly untrue. A Dryad's natural Charm Person effect does fit the bill better.
- Wizards Live Longer: More powerful magic users tend to have much longer lifespans.
Dwarves (Homo sapiens pumilionis)Dwarves first appeared in 2011 alongside the elves. In sharp contrast to elves, dwarves are the most 'integrated' and least noticeable of the metahuman races, as they resemble 'baseline' humans with medical dwarfism if you add in pointy ears and a tendency towards chiselled, angular facial structures. With the exception of the physical needs that has created a burgeoning market for dwarf-size furniture, cars and other consumer goods, dwarves are more or less short humans, stereotyped as quiet and reliable and not interested in "rocking the boat".
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Querx, a type of German dwarves, have blue skin.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Played for laughs; while no such rivalry exists, there's a popular conspiracy theory that the immortal elves and a group of immortal gnomes are in a heated shadow war, vying for control of the world across the cycles of magic.
- Fantastic Racism: Present, but dwarves face on average much less because they don't have a subculture of their own and integrate with humans, and because they resemble people with medical dwarfism.
- Fantastic Slur: "Halfer".
- Five Races: The "cute" race. Dwarves tend to be played more comically rather than for their toughness.
- Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: Dwarven subculture is closely interconnected, with just about 75% of the dwarf population being within six degrees of separation from each other.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Zig-zagged. Shadowrun dwarves are short and bearded, although the facial hair is mostly to avoid being mistaken for children. Out of all metahumans, they're the only ones without their own nation or distinct subculture and the ones who fit the best in with humans. However, they still maintain a strong sense of cultural unity regardless of political and corporate ties. Almost all dwarves share a common set of values, typically focused on honoring one's word, stoicism and community. Their skill with technology also helps here, as dwarves are usually comfortable enough with the Matrix that they can easily keep in contract with large numbers of other dwarves across the world. They do have strange geographical variants, such as:
- Gnomes: Central European dwarves with no facial hair and even shorter statures than normal.
- Harumen: Indian dwarves with extensive body hair, longer limbs and prehensile tails, who were originally thought to be Awakened monkeys.
- Koborokuru: Japanese dwarves with thick body hair and large noses.
- Mene'hune: Amphibious Hawaiian dwarves with even thicker hair, nictitating membranes and webbed toes, claimed by myth to descend from Mu or Atlantis.
- Querx: Blue-skinned dwarves from Saxony in former Germany.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes are a sub-race of dwarf that are even smaller than the common dwarves — they rarely reach a full meter — and don't grow much body hair, causing them to be mistaken for children most often. They also have slightly pointed ears. They're mostly found in Europe and Asia Minor, prefer to live away from urban areas and are deeply distrustful of technology.
- Our Goblins Are Different: Dwarves infected with HMHVV I become goblins, emaciated, hairless beings with only minimal intelligence, an immunity to fire and vulnerable to iron. They eat raw meat, often from sapient beings.
- Witch Species: Gnomes have an inherent magical resistance.
Ork (Homo sapiens robustus)Orks first arrived on scene in 2021 during the goblinization panic, when a number of adult humans suddenly morphed into orks and trolls overnight, sometimes out in the open. Physically, orks resemble slightly larger, heavier and muscled humans with pronounced noses, pointy ears and enlarged canines in the lower jaw, which they refer to as tusks. Due to the nature of Goblinization and the appearance of orks, it was believed they were caused by breakout of some horrible new plague or magic spell and metahumanity responded with fear and disgust, and it would take years until the newfangled orks would be guaranteed equal rights under the US constitution. Orks have responded mainly by creating their own subculture, taking some inspiration from the elven efforts (which the elves are only too happy to disparage), including their own language (Or'zeth) and living in their own ghettos where they often exist as a permanently disenfranchised underclass.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Oni come in red, orange, or blue.
- The Charmer: Satyrs are more charismatic and empathetic than other orcs.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ork civil rights activism of the 2070's bear a distinct resemblance to that of the African American equivalent from a century earlier, though the culture resembles Black culture of the 80s and 90s.
- Explosive Breeder: Downplayed example. Triplets and twins are the norm amongst orks, not single births, and their generation time is shorter than humans. Add to their general lower socio-economic status (which means more unplanned pregnancies) and orks are the fastest-growing metatype.
- Extreme Omnivore: Ogres can eat just about anything; while there's a stereotype that they're cannibals, this has been debunked.
- Fantastic Racism: They get the worst of it. Ork racism is a (rather thinly-veiled) allegory for racism against African-Americans and Latinos in the US. Orks face open discrimination (especially in the CSA) and are stereotyped as lazy, under-educated thugs who are going to outbreed pure humanity and take over the world. Orks tend to live on the lower end of the economic spectrum and amongst themselves.
- Fantastic Slur: "Tusker" and "Trog". The orks have begun using them amongst themselves as a way of defanging it, and they feature heavily in orkish music as a way of expressing their frustration. You may be beginning to notice a theme here. They have their own slur for humans, elves, and dwarves — "squishy". They also use "breeder" to refer to humans, specifically.
- Fauns and Satyrs: Fauns are a Greek metavariant of orcs with wirier builds than the common type, horns and goat legs.
- Five Races: Share the "stout" race with the trolls.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Hobgoblins tend to be very foul tempered; for a long time it was debated as to whether this was a physical or cultural trait, being that they were far and away the most abused of all the ork metavariants. By the 2070s it's been put to bed that it's actually due to hormonal differences.
- The Hedonist: Satyrs have this reputation, and often play it up, being fun loving and free-spirited, but are also hard working.
- Horned Humanoid: The oni and satyr metavariants always have a pair of horns.
- Lean and Mean: Hobgoblins are smaller and more slender than baseline orks, and tend to have foul tempers.
- Our Goblins Are Different: Hobgoblins are a regional variant of ork native to the Middle East and Central Asia. They're wirier and skinnier than other orks, have greenish skin tones (orks usually just have human colorations) and solid black eyes, and narrower jaws and smaller teeth, lacking the distinctive tusks of other orks. They have a very strong sense of personal honor that demands that they obtain payback for any slight done against them.
- Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Ogres are a European variant of ork mostly found in Germany. They're large (about as tall as humans, but substantially broader and fatter), ugly, strong, slow and dumb, though not as large, ugly, strong, slow or dumb as trolls, with heavy jaws and reduced body and cranial hair, and can (and will) eat almost anything.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Bigger, tougher and stronger than humans, with rough skin and canines grown into large tusks. They have the full range of human skin colors, largely averting the green-skinned model, although oni have blue, red or orange skin and hobgoblins tend to greenish shades. Shadowrun orks are humans mentally, with their subculture having a mixture of blue-collar/working class traits and African-American traits, including the stereotypes of and discrimination against both. They also have a number of subspecies: hobgoblins, wirier Middle Eastern orks distinguished by greenish skin and a strong sense of personal honor; ogres, shorter and heavily built European orks with reduced body hair; oni, magically adept Japanese orks with colorful skin; and satyrs, Mediterranean orks with slighter builds, furry legs, cloven hooves and goatlike horns.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Ork culture sometimes attracts young elves, dwarves or humans who dress and acting like orks and hang around ork crowds to fit in with them. (Unlike elven wannabes, body modification is rare.) "Ork posers" receive mixed reception from orks (ranging from "pretty orky for a norm" to "beat his ass and toss him in a dumpster" depending on how good they are at the fitting in) and are disparaged by anyone who looks down on actual orks.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Spelled with a "K" rather than a "C".
- Stout Strength: Ogres are shorter than standard orks, but just as strong, and tend to have a fair bit of fat along with their enhanced muscle mass.
- We Are as Mayflies: Orks reach maturity at twelve, and commonly live to about fifty. 5th Edition's Complete Trog source book suggests that this might not naturally be the case; aside from revealing a rare genetic condition in orks and trolls that gives them a standard human lifespan (supposedly in less than 1% of all orks), other studies of orks and trolls living in the Congo (which they've been immigrating to from all over the world since goblinization happened) reveals first generation trogs still alive long after they should have keeled over from old age, with the researcher who discovered this concluding that various environmental factors artificially shorten trog life spans outside of mana-rich rural areas, and that natural orks would live about as long as humans and trolls would live about as long as dwarves.
- Wendigo: Orks infected with HMHVV I turn into wendigos, and are among the most dangerous of the infected, possessing impressive magical power along with physical capabilities, growing to the size of trolls. Unlike most Strain I infected, wendigos are particularly savage and violent, despite retaining their metahuman intelligence. They're so dangerous that they're among the only infected not welcomed in Asamando, which even discourages uninfected orks from visiting due to the risk of accidental infection.
Troll (Homo sapiens ingentis)The second goblinized race and also the rarest metahuman variant, trolls appeared at the same time as orks and got much the same reception. Physically, they resemble gigantic humans or orks (commonly topping eight feet) with disproportionally large arms and upper bodies compared to their legs. They have dermal deposits on their forearms and chest areas that create natural armour plating. Their most noticeable feature are their horns: All trolls have horns on their heads, which can take forms from circular ram horns to bull horns to multiple smaller, straight ones. Similarly to Orks, Trolls face heavy discrimination. Trolls are usually depicted as included in the Ork subculture by common cause. Like dwarves, though, they have tended towards racial integration rather than standing out.
- All Trolls Are Different: Essentially human, though very tall and muscular with tusks, horns, and bone plate growth on their forearms and chest areas. As with all other metahumans, there are several additional metavariant subtypes:
- Cyclopes, a slightly larger, less intelligent, one-eyed version native to the Mediterranean.
- Fomorians, Irish Celtic trolls who look less monstrous due to being less gargantuan and lacking the dermal deposits, and have a degree of magical resistance.
- Giants, a Scandinavian variant that's even taller (average of 3 meters) and more slender, with bark-like skin and no horns. Oddly, one-in-four of their daughters are human.
- Minotaurs, another Mediterranean variant with a slightly wider body, bovine-like face, a pronounced pair of goring horns, and consistently outgoing personality.
- A Load of Bull: Minotaurs are aa type of troll native to the Mediterranean. They lack the dermal bone and the asymmetric horn growth of regular trolls, possessing instead only two, large and forward-curving horns anchored to thick bony plates.
- Badass Bookworm: Despite often being thought of as Dumb Muscle, trolls actually have the highest literacy rates of any metatype. This is attributed to trolls living on the fringes of society with poor matrix access and living in areas where physical media such as books have been left long abandoned. In a world where actual literacy is dying out due to more and more people relying on matrix icons and audio rather than text, trolls spend more time reading books and learning to write with ink and paper. It's noted that most trolls can actually read cursive which has all but died out in the 2070s, giving them something of a "secret code" to use amongst themselves, and that they incorporate it into their artwork.
- Cute Monster Girl: Fomori tend to be this; both males and females are more attractive than baseline trolls given their lack of dermal plating. Other Trolls can be depicted as this if the artwork isn't playing up the their monstrousness or the punk aspect of the game.
- Cyclops: Mediterranean trolls with a single eye and no dermal armor. Most don't grow horns; those that do have a single one in the middle of their foreheads. They first arose in the Aegean Sea and spread to Mediterranean ports in general, and often work in docks and shipyards as heavy lifters and security. This, combined with historical myth, has led many of them to adopt worship of Poseidon.
- Dumb Muscle: Stereotyped as this, which are sort-of supported by the game mechanics. Trolls have the same base intelligence as humans but the cap for most of their mental stats is 4 or 5, not 6. This means that while your average troll has about as much smarts as an average human, there are few troll MENSA members.
- Fantastic Racism: In addition to being stereotyped as dumb, nasty, violent brutes, trolls get a downplayed version of the ork package. While discriminated against socially and economically, most people tend to avoid physical violence against someone who's eight feet tall and strong enough to suplex a motorcycle.
- Interestingly, cyclops, minotaurs, and, to a lesser extent, fomori all avoid the worst of this. Cyclops and minotaurs have integrated well into Mediterranean society due to their strength and strong work ethic, with the worst minotaurs get being a reputation for stubbornness. Fomori, meanwhile, being more attractive and charming than baseline trolls, are largely more accepted by other metatypes than the baseline trolls, which has lead to them facing more racism from other trolls than, say, humans.
- Giant trolls can avoid some as well. Fifth Edition's Seattle boxed set mentions that, in the Norse community in Snohomish, giant trolls are treated as just "giant humans".
- Fantastic Slur: They share the Orkish ones.
- Horned Humanoid: Most trolls grow horns; baseline and fomori trolls can have as few as two and as many as six horns in random patterns. Minotaurs always have just the two bull like horns. Cyclops will sometimes grow a singular horn, but the majority of the subspecies (especially females) are hornless. Giants don't grow horns at all.
- Horns of Barbarism: Trolls are the largest human metavariant, the likeliest of the main five races to be perceived as big, stupid and violent bruisers and often found working as mercenaries, hired muscle and bouncers. Fittingly, their physical traits include large, prominent horns, often more than two, growing from their heads.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: Giants are the largest of the troll metavariants, standing upwards of nine feet tall. They lack the trolls' horns and tusks, and have skin similar in texture to tree bark. For reasons unknown, about one in four female giant births express as normal baseline humans; this does not occur among males.
- Prongs of Poseidon: Cyclopes, a Greek variant of trolls with a single eye, are typically neo-pagans who worship Poseidon. Consequently, the trident is a very popular weapon among them.
- Sexy Dimorphism: Downplayed with the giants, a troll metavariant distinguished by large noses, bark-like skin and routinely topping three meters in height. For reasons unknown, it's common for giant births to express as otherwise entirely normal humans — but only female births. About one in four female births result in human girls, but males are always born as giants.
- Transformation Horror: Goblinization was extremely painful for trolls due to the horns and sudden size changes. Many of them died or were driven insane by the trauma. Natural-born trolls (most trolls by the start of 1st edition, and almost all of them by 5th) avoid all these problems.
- We Are as Mayflies: Trolls have a shorter lifespan than humans, though longer than orks. However, there's evidence in-universe that this is due in large part to poor conditions among the often impoverished troll populations and mana starvation in urban areas. In ideal conditions, such as in mana-rich rural lands, trolls might live as long as dwarves.
- Witch Species: The fomori metavariant has a higher percentage of awakened individuals than any other troll subspecies, and, whether awakened or mundane, possess a natural resistance to magic.
ChangelingSudden Unexplained Recessive Genetic Expression, or SURGE, is generally regarded as a second wave of Unexplained Genetic Expression or Goblinization that corresponded with the passing of Halley's Comet in 2061. Unlike UGE and goblinization, which produced relatively uniform and predictable changes, SURGE produced many varied and radical changes in certain metahumans throughout the world. SURGEd individuals, called "changelings", are each unique and fall into three categories depending on the severity of their changes and their deviation from baseline metahumanity, termed Class I, II, and III. While spoken of collectively, changelings are not a unique metatype unto themselves but could be thought more as a genetic condition that can effect any of the five metatypes, with an obvious majority of them being human.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: By no means universal but a possible expression among changelings is a simple unusual skin tone in virtually any color.
- Beast Man: Most common SURGE expressions feature animal traits, with Class II falling into this category.
- Cat Folk: One of the most common expressions and the ones who tend to face the least hostilities if only due to their fetization.
- Cute Monster Girl: Can somewhat infrequently turn into this depending on how severe their type of mutation is.
- Fantastic Racism: A lot. They're categorized as "freaks" by most of society, shunned and outcast. They almost get it worse than trogs but they aren't viewed as as much of a united front or persistent threat as the orks. Class I changelings can usually pass without many problems, and some of the more attractive expressions can achieve a certain amount of celebrity. Those who have manifested demonic or, worse, insect-like traits were often lynched on sight, however.
- Insectoid Aliens: Some unlucky bastards manifested insect-like traits; given that SURGE took place only a few years after people became aware of the existence of Bug Spirits while paranoia about that was still rampant, very few of them survived, being mistaken for bug fleshforms.
- Lizard Folk: A common expression; given that the T'skrang were a major race in Earthdawn but don't appear to have an equivalent in Shadowrun, it lends credence to the notion that changelings express traits from races that either haven't yet manifested or went extinct.
- Massive Race Selection: Changelings basically exist to facilitate this without giving individual entries and statistics for all different varieties of fantasy races. Using the qualities provided for changelings, a player could create virtually race from any property. In universe it's speculated that traits that show up in changelings that don't belong to any currently existing metatype or metavariant belonged to a metatype that existed in the 4th world but has either yet to manifest in the sixth or somehow went extinct.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Class 1 changelings sometimes may be as simple as one metatype expressing features of another; i.e., a dwarf with ork tusks or an elf with troll horns, or various other combinations.
DrakeDrakes are metahumans who can transform into a metahuman-sized dragon-like creature. Appearing at roughly the same time as SURGE, drakes are often mistaken as a type of changeling, or otherwise thought of as a type of shapeshifter, but are in fact an artificial race created by the Great Dragons during the fourth world. Breeding true with metahumanity, modern drakes are often ignorant of their nature until the change manifests. Metahumanity is suspicious of them, and they often have a target on their backs given that the dragons appear to want their property back.
- Artificial Humans: True drakes, from which bred drakes are descended, were created by the Great Dragons, for dragons, to act as servants.
- Draconic Humanoid: In their transformed state; 4th edition was actually very cagey on what their dragon form looked like, suggesting it was simply a metahuman-sized dragon, but artwork in 5th edition shows them to be this trope. They also come in the standard varieties of dragons in Shadowrun; eastern, western, feathered serpents, and leviathans.
- Puberty Superpower: Bred drakes are born metahuman, but have their draconic natures manifest later in life, usually around puberty.
- Servant Race: They were created by dragons, for dragons, to serve dragons, and in the sixth world, dragons want them back. Most great dragons have open bounties for drakes and hunting them is a profitable, if risky, proposition for unscrupulous shadowrunners.
- Weredragon: They can transform from a metahuman form to a metahuman-sized dracoform at will. Some people believe they're a type of shapeshifter, but shapeshifters in Shadowrun are animals that can turn into people, whereas with drakes it's the other way around (and dragons aren't mundane animals anyway).
Metasapients"Metasapients" is a catch all term for any sapient, intelligent race that is not metahuman, but is capable of understanding and being understood by them regardless. Most metasapients are recognized by multiple governments and mega-corporations, and are eligible for citizenship. They cover a wide variety of unrelated races, including centaurs, naga, pixies, sasquatch, shapeshifters, synthetic/artificial intelligences, and free spirits.
- Awesome, but Impractical: To various extents and for various reasons. They're very expensive at character creation with point buy, or high up on the priority table.
- Mechanically Unusual Class: Especially AI and free spirits, who don't have physical bodies.
- Non-Standard Character Design: They're all vastly different from metahumans.
- Purposefully Overpowered: For the most part they're more powerful than the metahuman races, either physically or with their innate magical(or technological, in the case of AI) abilities.
- Witch Species: Except for AI, they all have some degree of innate magical powers.
Centaur (Equus sagittarius)Centaurs are a race of awakened horses, fully sentient and sapient. Like centaurs of myth, they have the lower body of a horse with the torso of a human extending from where the horse's head would be. They are native to Greece, Macedonia, and Albania, though populations are rising in North America due to a refuge created by Dunkelzahn, and have independently immigrated throughout central Eurasia.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The world wasn't built for them; their tauric bodies make it harder for them to fit in than even trolls, though at least they can still wear shirts and use mot equipment made for human-sized characters. Still, transportation is difficult and they stick out like a sore thumb, making a centaur shadowrunner easy to track down.
- The Dreaded: Centaurs have a reputation for being incredibly dangerous fighters, and many who integrate into metahuman society find success in military or mercenary roles.
- Fantastic Racism: On two fronts; most of the rest of metahumanity view centaur as primitive and stupid creatures lacking civilization; this isn't true, they just on the whole prefer to live simple, traditional lives, and those few centaurs who've integrated into metahuman society have shown no lack of mental aptitude for it. Internally, standard centaurs often have a strong prejudice against the human-headed "lesser" centaurs; the term "lesser" was applied to them by standard centaurs and is wholly bigoted as, aside from appearance, there's no real difference between the two. Nevertheless, most standard centaurs shun lesser centaurs to the point that they will abandon lesser centaurs born onto them, leading many to die in the wilderness or otherwise be taken in and raised by sympathetic metahumans.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Centaurs have a natural ability to sense magical auras.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: They come in two varieties, standard and lesser, although the only difference is in appearance. Standard centaurs have fur covering even their humanoid torso, and their head remains horselike, though with a shorter muzzle. "Lesser" centaurs do not have fur on their torso and have human (and always human) heads; for whatever reason their human upper halves will generally resemble the dominant ethnicity from the region of their birth, despite centaurs being native to eastern Europe. Both varieties can naturally sense magic, have three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and their horse bodies can resemble a wide variety of horse breeds.
Naga (Custos serpens)
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Most naga are abnormally huge compared to modern snakes at 10 meters long, but the Nagaraja, ruler of Angkor Wat, a massive 17 meters long, and acts both as the head of state and religious leader for the naga kingdom, as well as their racial emissary to the Great Dragons.
- Beneath Suspicion: Naga were first discovered in 2013 and were immediately adopted for use as magical security by corporations. They didn't reveal their sapience to the world until about 50 years later in the early 2060s, having spent that entire time spying on the metahumans in their role as guard dogs.
- Civilized Animal: They possess intelligence, civilization, culture. But they are still snakes and, outside of metahuman society, still hunt as such.
- It Can Think: They were initially just thought to be paracritters. It was decades before anyone caught on to the fact that they were fully intelligent.
- Made of Iron: Naga scales are very tough, capable of resisting small arms fire.
- Talking Animal: They have their own language but are fully capable of learning and speaking most metahuman languages as well. They do have problems with hard consonants, so German, for instance, is challenging for them.
- Witch Species: All naga are naturally dual natured and can perceive both the physical and astral planes, and virtually all of them are spellcasters.
PixiePixies are a rare, poorly understood race of humanoids that resemble miniature elves of various human ethnicities. They stand roughly half a meter in height and possess a pair of wings (most commonly resmbling dragonfly wings but bat, bird, butterfly, and grasshopper wings have been observed and pixies claim a wider variety is possible) with a wingspan of about a meter. Generally thought of as primitive, pixies rarely interact with metahuman society, living in forested regions away from civilization. France is the only nation that recognizes them as citizens, Neo-Net and EVO are the only corporations that do likewise.
- Book Dumb: Pixies are actually quite intelligent with one of the higher upper limits for the intelligence stat in the game. However they're also generally uneducated, growing up in the wild.
- The Fair Folk: Rather than having an specific nation or faction onto themselves, Pixies are part of what they term the Korrigan, an alliance of pixies, spirits, paranormals and so-called "fey entities", making up the independent kingdom of the Brocéliande Forest where they largely keep to themselves. Within France they're largely seen as benevolent for expelling a magical phenomenon known as the Mist, but some think that they caused it in the first place.
- Flight: Pixies possess wings but they don't actually use them to fly; rather it's an innate magical effect. Pixies rarely touch the ground, though areas of weak mana can limit their ability to fly.
- Fragile Speedster: Pixies are very fast and mobile, but are also lacking in strength and durability, relying on their magical abilities.
- Invisibility: All pixies are capable of the concealment and vanishing powers, allowing them to disappear and move invisibly through populations, though like with their flight, areas of weak mana can limit this.
- Our Pixies Are Different: Pixies are a type of magical creature of unknown origins, as they're too physical to be spirits but can't be traced back to magically awakened animals or humans. They resemble miniature winged elves about half a meter tall. Their wings are usually those of dragonflies, but can resemble those of other insects or even vertebrates; their flight is magical in nature. They typically live well away from cities in arboreal settlements, but sometimes try to integrate into metahuman society. Most live in the Brocéliande Forest, but many are found in the elven nations of Tir Tairngire, Tir na nÓg and Pomoria, and in the Black Forest Troll Republic.
- Winged Humanoid: All pixies are winged. Their wings are usually those of dragonflies, but can also resemble those of grasshoppers, butterflies, birds and bats. Regardless of type, their flight is strictly magic-based.
- Witch Species: All pixies are inherently magical creatures, capable of astral perception, magical invisibility, and magical flight.
Sasquatch (Pesvastus pilosis)Sasquatches are a race of large, fur covered humanoids, corresponding to 5th world legends of bigfoot and yetis, and were among the first non-metahumans to be acknowledged as sapient creatures and be granted citizenship among corporations and nations alike. Notable for their ability to perfectly mimic almost any sound, sasquatches have had a surprisingly easy time integrating into metahuman society when they choose to do so.
- The Big Guy: They're even larger than most trolls, averaging 3 meters tall.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Finding out that these legends were true raised only more questions after the Awakening. Given that they started showing up, fully grown, right after magic came back, this means that they were actually around during the 5th world. Whether they were actively breeding during this time or are as long lived as the immortal elves is a matter of debate that the sasquatches themselves refuse to settle.
- Book Dumb: Sasquatches have the same mental capacity as humans, but like pixies they are generally uneducated.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: Sasquatches are technically omnivorous but for the most part stick to a strictly vegetarian diet, even outside of metahuman society where they actually have the option of eating food that's non-artificial, and they're known for their peaceful natures.
- I am a Humanitarian: An exception to the above is the rarely mentioned enwontzane variant in west Africa, which is actively carnivorous and has been known to hunt prey as large as an ork.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Sasquatches are distant relations to metahumanity and as such are the only non-metahuman metasapient that is susceptible to HMHVV; the Krieger strain turns them into ghouls like anyone else, while the other strains turn them into monsters known as jabberwocks and bandersnatches, of which little is known or documented. As of Howling Shadows, centaurs, naga, and merrow are susceptible to HMHVV as well, turning them into chirons, lamia, and nibiinaabe.
- The Quiet One: Zig-zagged. Sasquatches are fully capable of making a wide variety of vocalizations and are capable of perfect sound mimicry, but despite this, they have no spoken language and actively refuse to learn any, finding the concept of spoken language to be entirely alien. So while they can and do make all manner of sounds, conversation with them is done exclusively with sign language.
- Witch Species: Sasquatches are naturally dual natured and their mimicry ability is magical in nature. Enwontzane are known to possess a magical camouflage, making them dangerous hunters.
ShapeshiftersShapeshifters are not a single species but rather awakened members of multiple species of animal that are fully intelligent and capable of transforming into metahuman forms. A common misconception is that they're metahumans who turn into animals, something certain shapeshifters help perpetuate. All known shapeshifters are either mammilian or avian, with no known reptilian shapeshifter breeds. Shapeshifters have a complicated legal status; while several nations acknowledge their sapience and make them eligible for citizenship, others consider them dangerous paracritters and have active bounties on them.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: While they possess human intelligence, they are fundamentally animals and view the world with animal instinct and sensibilities. They don't understand concepts such as deception or consent, and carnivorous shapeshifters don't see a problem in hunting down intelligent prey.
- Book Dumb: They possess human level intelligence, but growing up among animals they're generally uneducated.
- Child of Two Worlds: Shapeshifters are noted as being too animal like for metahuman society, but too human for animal society, being too intelligent and self aware to be satisfied fitting in among mundane animals of their species, leading many of them to act as loners or congregate among other shapeshifters.
- Mage Born of Muggles: Shapeshifters are rarely ever have shapeshifter parents. Most of the time they're born from ordinary animal parents and usually even have other members of the same litter who aren't shapeshifters. Nobody really undrstands what causes a particular animal to become a shapeshifter.
- Morphic Resonance: Shapeshifters generally retain some animalistic features in their metahuman forms that can clue others into their identity, though how easy it is to blend in depends on the species and the specific trait, and even the most distinct traits can be passed off as SURGE expression or cosmetic bioware modification.
- Muggle Born of Mages: The offspring of a shifter couple is almost always an ordinary animal of its species, not another shapeshifter. Nobody really understands why this is.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They're often thought of as being some form of lycanthrope, and are susceptible to silver, but they aren't a curse or infection and being bitten by a shapeshifter won't turn you into one.
- Sapient Eat Sapient: Shapeshifters of carnivorous species retain the dietary requirements and predatory instincts of that species, and as such don't see anything morally wrong with hunting metahumans or metasapients, though they may be intelligent enough to realize that it would put them in legal jeopardy.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Shapeshifters are often the targets of bounties and poaching. Tigrine shapeshifters are especially endanger due to their organs being used in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: They transform between an animal and metahuman form, both forms being fixed. Their animal forms are usually abnormally large, impressive versions of their species while their metahuman forms are usually a Little Bit Beastly, though rarely in a cute way.
Synthetic IntelligencesArtificial Intelligence, though they prefer the term "synthetic" as for the most part, they were not purpose built and programmed, but rather naturally achieved self awareness on their own in the wake of Crash 2.0. Natives to the Matrix, they are divided into three classifications: metasapients which are the closet to metahumans in terms of intelligence and world view, and are the only playable AI; protosapients, which are closer to non-sapient animals; and xenosapients, which are the Starfish Aliens of cyberspace. Synthetics make for excellent deckers/hackers and riggers, but lack physical bodies entirely.
- Attack Drone: They make for excellent riggers, and using drones is their best method of interacting with the physical world. Some house their home nodes inside their drones.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Xenosapients tend to operate on this, but it's largely averted with metasapients; they experience the same emotions metahumans do and have many of the same values.
- Didn't Think This Through: Many metahumans point out that the AIs who 'escaped' the matrix by infected nanomachine and overriding metahuman brains fell victim to this trope; they claim they did so to escape being shackled and imprisoned(and then tortured and experimented on) in secure matrix nodes, but it's pointed out that a metahuman can be captured and imprisoned in meatspace just as easily, if not more so, than an AI in cyberspace.
- Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either: Apparently many synethetics don't believe that the physical world, or meatspace, exists. Being beings of the Matrix, they have a hard time comprehending world governed by the laws of physics, where gravity and friction exist.
- Fantastic Racism: Oh they get a lot of it. Given that not only are they not metahuman but also not organic, and have only existed for a little over a decade, the debate over what rights they have or should have is an ongoing one. They are among the most feared demographic in the setting and receive precious little sympathy or trust from the public. Never the less, several governments and Megacorporations offer them various levels of citizenship.
- Grand Theft Me: Many AIs fled the matrix using specialized nanomachines to infect and override the brains of organics, causing what became known as the Cognitive Fragmentation Disorder Virus, or CFD. The results were often messy, ranging from mindless shambling zombies, to symptoms resembling schizophrenia, disassoative identity disorder, and dementia. Rarely would the AI take over of a metahuman mind be clean and seamless without a struggle between the personalities, and even then, it would be rare that the resulting personality would match up with the original AI, begging the question as to whether it was truly the same entity and if the original AI could be said to have survived the process. Note that unlike the AIs that remain in the Matrix as software, these AI-possessed metahumans, called either monads or head cases, are not playable.
- Insistent Terminology: They prefer "synthetic" to "artificial" since they weren't actually made by metahumans but rather naturally evolved in an unnatural environment. Those who took over metahuman hosts through CFD prefer to be called "monads" to the more derisive "head cases" that became a popular moniker for those infected with the virus.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Despite being software, synthetics experience what the describe as pain from matrix attacks and can be killed by them. They fear death, pain, and being shackled, and can be pushed to irrational extremes to avoid it. Just like metahumans.
- Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Range from Average Joe Android to Nobel Bot. Unlike the godlike Deus who had the processing power of an entire archology and later most of the matrix, post-Crash 2.0 AIs are often limited to the processing power of a single matrix node, and while capable of impressive feats, are still far more in line with metahuman hackers.
- They Would Cut You Up: In the early days after Crash 2.0 when they first started emerging and becoming self aware, many AIs were captured and shackled by megacorporations and governments and subjected to what the synthetics described as digital vivisections. While the AIs considered this experience torturous and traumatic, most of the perpetrators didn't realize their victims were capable of feeling pain, though others didn't care, considering them Just a Machine.
The company man is their counterpart, working as elite corporate agents and security. While street samurai tend to be loud and proud of their individuality, company men are more subtle in their augmentations and methods.
- Anatomy Arsenal: It's not uncommon for street samurai to have cyber-limbs with weapons installed. While razors and spurs are the most stereotypically common, everything up to assault rifles or light machine guns (or single-use grenades) are fair game.
- Badass Normal: It is possible to play an unenhanced Sammie, usually a troll, depending entirely on skills and high stats (and, usually, drugs). While you'll never be as good as a chrome-addict or an adept, it can often lead to people to underestimate you because you never set off any "this guy's cybered to the gills/has an astral signature the size of the Statue of Liberty" alarms.
- The Big Guy: In general, you can expect the street samurai to be handling the physical combat.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: In Shadowrun, getting cybernetics lowers your essence, which is a measure of a person's life force or soul. Street samurai often adopt bushido-like codes of honor as a way of holding onto the humanity that they are constantly exchanging for weapons.
- Cyborg: Street Sams are stereotyped as having weapons and cybernetic enhancements grafted onto their bodies. While not always true, there's a very good basis for the stereotype.
- Lightning Bruiser: This is generally what a street samurai is supposed to be: The one carrying the biggest gun, the heaviest armour, and high enough an Agility score and leg enhancements to get around the battlefield fastest.
- Magically Inept Fighter: Cybernetics cost Essence, and your magic score can never be higher than your Essence. As a result, street samurai will not make good mages no matter their skill investment.
- One-Man Army: If your sammie isn't killing more people a round than the rest of the crew (save the mage) combined, you're not playing them right.
- Super Reflexes: Wired Reflexes (or its bioware equivalent) is generally a must to play a sammie, allowing the combat specialist to attack three to four times a combat turn.
AdeptsOne of the few born with magic infusing their bodies, adepts learn to harness this power to enhance a few of their natural abilities beyond any scientifically-accepted limitations. While adepts can use their power to excel at any endeavor, from painting to oratory to safecracking, the majority become supernatural athletes and hand-to-hand fighters. A sub-group is the Mystic Adept, who can use magic like a magician as well as adept powers, at the cost of having to split their Magic Attribute between the two.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: A viable build, since they can bring a personal mana shield and a power to punch through armor.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Adept powers are very flexible in their application, meaning an adept can, potentially, do several jobs okayish, or even compete with some non-magical archetypes by specializing.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: A valid way to build a Mystical Adept.
- Magic Knight: Mystical Adepts, who depending on edition either split their magic score between spellcasting and adept powers, or buy adept powers directly with karma without it affecting their spellcasting.
- Lightning Bruiser: The optimal outcome of a purely combat-focused adept. While they cannot achieve quite the same level of raw offensive or defensive power as a street samurai (put simply, you'll run out of Power Points much faster than you can run out of money and Essence Limit for fancy cyberware), street samurai also can't walk on walls.
- Mundane Utility: While a lot of adept powers are aimed at combat, some instead boost skills and attributes. Meaning they can get a boost to things like mechanic work or artistic pursuits.
- Post Modern Magick: One supplement put forward the idea of using trodes, rather than a datajack, to establish a device link with decks to use an adept as the basis for a Hacker build. While magic and tech are stereotyped as not mixing, it's a valid build within the rules, and certain adept abilities can make it surprisingly viable.
- Spirit Advisor: In later editions, Adepts can obtain mentor spirits just like magicians can. They gain different advantages for doing so.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Combat Adepts use magic as a way to enhance their physical combat capabilities. This leads to the following tropes:
- Weapon of Choice: Combat Adepts can use Weapon Foci, melee weapons turned into channeling tools for their magic. This allows for things like magic swords, who are one of the better options for tackling spirits.
HackersWorking with a direct neural interface and a powerful portable computer the cyberdeck deckers hack the Matrix to bend all things electronic to their will, and ensure that no information can stay secret forever. Things got a little weirder with the emergence of the deckless Otaku and their successors in the Technomancers after the Crash 2.0. This is more true than ever in the wireless world that emerged after Crash 2.0, as poorly-guarded device networks and archives may find themselves under the control of a hacker at almost any time.
- The Cracker: Whether one is this or a Playful Hacker is dependent on their personality, and they're not necessarily mutually exclusive.
- Cyber Space: A hacker could hook up to a computer system to could get into a fantastical digital world which could be accessed with a direct neural interface, which was essentially Virtual Reality. After the Crash 2.0 the devs introduced hacking from AR, which is a step down from the "jumping in" of cold-sim VR. This was also a step-down from the full-sensory spectrum of hot-sim, which was achieved by closer neural connection, which meant faster reaction but also higher risk from biofeedback.
- Evil Counterpart: The Dissonance is this to the Resonance. Case in point — Pax and Ex Pacis, her tribe of dissonant Otaku, were one of the perpetrators of Crash 2.0 by creating the daemon-worm construct Jormungand with the purpose of turning the entire Matrix into a realm of Dissonance.
- Hack Your Enemy: To steal their drones, security systems, and information. With the rise of the Matrix 2.0, you can hack things like armor, guns, and even melee weapons.
- Hollywood Hacking: Very much so.
- Long-Runner Tech Marches On: Cyberdecks were huge and bulky pieces of equipment bigger than most contemporary desktops, and plugging into a deck was the means of interacting with the Matrix and locked computer systems for deckers. While it looked futuristic in 1989, the real life rise of laptops, smartphones, WiFi and Bluetooth, and the wireless internet meant that the deck was looking more dated by the year. The writers compensated with the Crash 2.0, which led to a wireless Matrix that operated primarily through AR, meaning hacking could easily occur without plugging into a deck, and could be achieved with a good commlink: the equivalent of a high-end smartphone, and compact enough to be parted out and then safely implanted in the skull, if a Hacker so desires. By the time of 5th ed rolled out, however, the corps tightened their grip on the Matrix, installing groups like the Grid Overwatch Division to ensure no one did anything illegal; which hackers countered by reviving the cyberdeck, retooled as a primarily wireless device about the size of a tablet.
- Machine Worship: Some subgroup of Otaku called Technoshamans believe they gain the ability to interface with technology from machines' spirits. While it was perhaps an idiosyncratic delusion, it was possibly the basis for the quasimystical abilities of Technomancers and their relationship to the Resonance.
- Magic from Technology: Technomancers access a deeper layer of technology called the Resonance. One explanation of the Resonance is that it appears to have arose naturally from Matrix infrastructure, another is that it may have always existed and Matrix technology is allowing metahumanity to access it, and there are about a dozen other ideas as to what it is exactly and where it came from. It's something that has never been touched by coders and is practically incomprehensible to most other tech specialists other than technomancers. As such, Technos function much more like magicians then regular deckers, and even can summon Sprites, which is the Matrix analogue of spirits.
- Technopath: Later versions of the game introduced the Otaku, who didn't need a cyberdeck, and Technomancers, who didn't need any tech.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: The connection between the brain and the device means that nasty feedback from offensive actions taken against a hacker can cause them to suffer some debilitating results which can cause them to eventually pass out. There's also the much more unrestricted hot-sim VR (which feels "more real than real"), which has a more direct and intimate connection to the brain. If a hacker is in hot-sim or if they take damage from programs purpose-built to cause harmful biofeedback (such as Black Ice), hackers can take some nasty biofeedback which can be lethal. A technomancer's abilities can cause "Fading" damage, which is less pronounced in that it can be slept off without trouble.
- Zeerust: The idea of connecting a physical wire to a high-tech portable computer larger than a present-day desktop reflects the fact that First Edition came out in back in 1989.
RiggersThrough the use of a control rig, a specialized and powerful piece of cyberware, riggers can project their perceptions directly into any linked drone or appropriately equipped vehicle, controlling them as intuitively as their own bodies. Riggers are often the drivers for their teams, and can maintain a network of drones for combat support, surveillance, or other more creative tasks.
- Badass Driver: Their abilities allow them to expertly drive pretty much anything.
- Combat Medic: Due to First Aid running off of Logic, and the ubiquity of reasonably-priced drones capable of carrying a medpack and applying sutures or adrenaline shots, most riggers tend to moonlight as team medics on the side.
- Drone Deployer: Often use drones for combat.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Riggers are largely limited to the drones they have at hand, and many drones are good at combat, infiltration, or battlefield control. More specialized drones can be a skill monkey, even a few that could reasonably pass at social or hacking roles with the proper gear. The drawback is that many of these drones are more expensive and less skilled compared to a runner who can do the same thing, and a rigger can't even touch magic. That said, it's often better to have half a dozen guns wielded with moderate competence than it is to have a one very skilled gun bunny.
- Mecha-Mook: Drones in a nutshell.
- Universal Driver's License: A Rigger's defining technology is a piece of headware called the control rig, which makes the vehicle feel like it's the Rigger's actual body. This makes it much more natural feeling when they feel like they're actually soaring through the air or sprinting down the highway.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Damage to the vehicle or drone they're using results in harmful biofeedback if they're jumped in.
- Zeerust: Another example of real life practically overtaking fiction.
MagiciansMagicians (otherwise known as mages) are those with the natural ability to not only perceive the astral plane, but to travel through it by temporarily separating their minds from their bodies. With this gift comes the ability to learn spells and communicate with spirits, and while magicians may learn to cover many different functions for a team, they are usually the primary defense against hostile magic. They first appeared during in-universe 2011.
- Astral Projection: The signature ability of full magicians. As of 5th editions it is exclusive to them, as Magical Adepts can no longer do it.
- Cast From Hit Points: Spells cause drain, which deal stun or physical damage to mages.
- Druid: One type, the shaman, gains their power by being chosen by a powerful totem, usually in the form of an animal. (In the real world, the term comes from Siberia.) The name "druid" itself refers to a type of shaman generally found in the British Isles.
- Functional Magic: A combination of Inherent Gift, Rule Magic, and Force Magic.
- Hermetic Magic: One of the main traditions of magic.
- Mage Marksman: Mages who use guns as a main offensive tool are not uncommon. If you look like just another joe schmoe with a gun at first glance and keep your magic subtle, the other team might not focus you down immediately.
- Magical Native American: Native Americans were among the first to regain magic because, unlike other cultures, they never fully left it behind. This gave them a very significant edge in retaking much of their old territory.
- Post Modern Magick: The Chaos Magic tradition runs entirely on the user's intuition and uses a mishmash of different other traditions alongside modern conveniences: Chaos mages are likely to employ this trope a lot and often blend modern technology with their magic.
- Religion Is Magic: Supplements provide traditions for several different religions: Christianity, Satanism, Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, etc.
- Spirit Advisor: Mentor spirits. Originally only available to street shamans, but later open to anyone with a magic score.
- Squishy Wizard: Sort of. Mages are not prevented from wearing full-body milspec armour, but the heavy karma investment in magic skills and the inability to install cyberware without their magic potential dropping to near useleness means a mage will be limited in soak dice, and unlike the rigger or decker they have to be in direct line of sight for many of their spells to function.
- Summon Magic: Calling up spirits to fight for you or bolster your magic.
- Con Man: One of their primary uses.
- Do You Want to Haggle?: Often meet with potential clients and negotiate prices.
- Guile Hero: Primarily use their wit and people skills rather than combat.
- Magic Versus Science: Many faces tend to play both sides, being minor Adepts for Social Adept powers while shaving off a point of Essence for some tailored pheromones without leaning too heavily towards either side.
- Manipulative Bastard: Your job. While the decker is usually the one who has to dig up the dirt, the face is the one who will have to play it up for all it's worth and making that treacherous Johnson back off (or blackmail him for all he's worth).
- Non-Action Guy: Being a successful Face usually means not carrying the kind of heavy arsenal or obvious magic that makes you a beast in combat. Of course, a good enough Face can often insure it never gets to that point in the first place.
- The Pornomancer: One of the common nicknames for this archetype.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: If a face's Contacts list isn't at least as big as the rest of the party's combined, you're not playing a Face right.
B&E expertSometimes you need someone who can shadow a mark in person, track someone through the Barrens or get the party past that non-wired lock or chain wire fence without the use of high explosives. Enter the B&E expert, usually a secondary archetype dipped into by the adept or street samurai, who depends on a varied skill set and a large set of non-decker-related toys to defeat fingerprint sensors, locks, alarms, and to scout out ahead when the rigger's drones won't cut the mustard.
- Badass Normal: Because of the high skill and stat investment, B&E experts usually have to put low priority on money for expensive toys or magic. On the plus side, many of the stats used for B&E also help in combat, so you can probably shoot straight with a cheap pistol.
- Magic Knight: B&E experts are sometimes low-level adepts, taking powers like wall-walking and acrobatics skill boosters.
- Master of Unlocking: Non-electronic locks are still very much in use in the Shadowrun-verse, and if you want past one without a kaboom this is the B&E expert's job.
- Stealth Expert: Your primary use.
- Utility Party Member: As the least clearcut of the archetypes, the B&E expert usually ends up picking up whatever odd-job skill the party needs that aren't covered by the others.
JackPoint has few rules, but chief among them is that members do not sell each other out this rule, combined with the quality of information on JackPoint, is at times the only thing keeping its members behaving with any civility.
FastJackBorn in 1999, FastJack is a veteran hacker who survived both global network crashes. Founder and moderator of Jackpoint, he is the de facto elder statesman of the shadowrunning community.
- Cool Old Guy: He's been around since First Edition, and wasn't very young then (hell, he still remembers the United States of America).
- Papa Wolf:
I will hammer you back to the Stone Age myself if I find out my trust has been misplaced.
- Towards JackPoint and its members but he doesn't take betray well from anyone.
- Also to his daughter. Despite the fact they are somewhat estranged he damn nearly died helping her out with a nasty virus.
- Could be his own fatherhood, or just a basic sense of decency, but he doesn't limit his protection to immediate family and associates...>I don't know how you got close enough to see him, but you leave my son out of our feud, Clockwork. Or I will kill you.Netcat>What she said.FastJack
- Old Master: Why he's one of the best hackers out there. He got his start on old command line interfaces. He has gone through every single Operating System and generation of the Matrix. He knows all the old tricks that have been carried through each generation. Occasionally he has to remind young upstarts exactly how he earned his rep.[Casanova] Please, old man. What are you going to do, have a stroke in my general direction? This isn't JackPoint, and I dont care if you boot me.
FastJack Ghostwalker probably doesn't know that youre sitting on the third floor of the Tower of Babel drinking martinis right now any more than he knows that you helped fix up the team thats tearing his city apart. But Diane the waitress you've been hitting on does. She thinks youre cute, tagged you as such on her MeFeed. And since she knows where you are, so do I. Should I clue Ghostwalker's Liaison Office in? I'm pretty sure the ZDF has a headquarters just two blocks from there. Not to mention youre violating curfew. Oh, dont bother getting upI can see you looking around on the clubs security feedI'm not in the room. I'm not even in the sector.[Casanova] Fuck me like a goat.
- Take Up My Sword: For Captain Chaos, founder of Shadowland, who died in 2064. Passes the sword to Bull, Glitch and Slamm-O! in 2075 so he can deal with an insidious multiple personality without endangering the other users.
The youngest member of Jackpoint, /dev/grrl is a Boston native who started her career as a 'runner while still in school at the age of 13 (she's age 24 as of 2080). Despite her young age, she is a programming genius and helps out on runs. FastJack treats her like a kid.
- Adult Fear: Amazingly, Inverted; her parents get trapped in Boston once the city goes into lockdown and she's stuck on the outside; she's an accomplished shadowrunner who has to worry helplessly about her wageslave parents with no way of contacting them or knowing if they're still alive.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: She doesn't really do her homework she just writes a program to do it for her. This bites her in the ass when FastJack makes her compile a document on safehouses and she doesn't have any real research skills.
- Child Prodigy: She's still in high school at the time of her introduction, but is a better hacker then most shadowrunners; it's strongly implied that she's actually the second best decker on JackPoint after FastJack himself.
- In a Call-Back art panel in Data Trails (identifiable by her pink, glitter and unicorn-covered cyberdeck holster), if one looks closely at the text on her cyberdeck, the text "Overwatch Score: 43" is barely legible. The maximum possible OS without triggering convergence is 44. Most deckers will play safe and reboot well before they even approach 30 OS.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: FastJack once made her write out a report with a number 2 pencil (the aforementioned Safehouses supplement). And as punishment for her bad penmanship, he tried to make her write "I will make my handwriting legible" 100,000 times. Slamm-O! was able to talk him into letting her chose between writing the lines or tagging 100 transit vehicles the "old fashion" way (i.e. spray paint).
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: /dev/'s first act to establish herself as a serious shadowrunner? Tracking down and capturing Kane, something adult bounty hunters have been failing at since before she was born. Kane was so amused he actually took her in as an apprentice/partner.
- Electronic Eyes: Admits she had her original eyes replaced with cybereyes. Leads to a hilarious example of When I Was Your Age... in the Chrome Flesh supplement; she went to visit a friend of her's from school who's since become a grade-school teacher, herself. Her friend's students were completely weirded out by her cyber-eyes; in less than ten years since she's gotten the upgrade, they've become rather uncommon due to advancements in bioware; this flabbergasts her as, when she was growing up, they were the most common thing in the world. Her ranting about this leads to a So Proud of You moment from Bull.
- The Fashionista: She's one of the resident experts on fashion in the Sixth World on JackPoint; several of her comments on armor and equipment regard fashion tips and/or complaints.
- The Gambling Addict: She's always been a bit of a gambler — she could kick Kane's ass at poker when she was thirteen — but after her parents got caught in the Boston Lockdown, her habit started flaring up as a coping mechanism; Chrome Flesh has her placing bets on everything.
- The Jail Bait Wait: Glasswalker mentions this in 4e's Vice!. He did an interview with her for a school project because he found her cute and it was "only" two more years until she was legal.
- Just a Kid: Tends to get this from some of the other Jackpointers like Slamm-O!. She usually hacks their accounts in response.
- Muggle Foster Parents: Well, they are her biological parents, but they're wage slaves while she is a shadowrunner. She had to bite her tongue when they were stuck in the bad side of Las Vegas and they thought that every person was a blood-stained Shadowrunner. She did mention her father had Corporate blood money, so he is at least a company man in secret.
- Pink Means Feminine: In 5th edition she keeps her cyberdeck in a pink holster, decorated with a unicorn and sparkles.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: She did most of her runs during high school in her NeoNET school uniform, which a few JackPointers — notably the vampire Red — consider fanservice. Though in Data Trails we see her wearing a more traditional shadowrunner getup.
- Southies: She's from Boston, though she hasn't specified what part of Boston. She starts to embrace some aspects of the Southies stereotype after Boston goes into lockdown as a show of pride in her home town.
- Statuesque Stunner: Goes with being an elf, although how tall she is has never been revealed. She was pretty damn short when she caught Kane, granted she was 13 when she did it and Kane is around 5'6" tall.
- Spear Counterpart: There is, apparently, a /dev/boi in her native Boston, though it's unclear which came first.
- Youthful Freckles: According to Glasswalker, she has them.
As one might guess, there's virtually nothing known about the person or persons who can somehow access JackPoint and leave posts with a blank signature. The continued existence of these rare mystery posts are something of a thorn in the side of FastJack and crew, but the fact that the anonymous poster/s don't seem to intend any harm have kept FastJack from taking any drastic actions against him/her/it/them. The posts themselves give nothing away about the party responsible for them, as they're usually little more than a correction of someone else's misinformation.
Baka Dabora Tetsuro Yamada
A male Japanese Changeling with amphibious features. He is the most public of the JackPointers in that he makes no attempts to hide his identity. Due to the nature of the Shadows in Japan he can operate openly if very carefully.
- Bilingual Bonus: His handle is Japanese for "tall tales of idiots".
- Cool Old Guy: While not as old as FastJack, but he's in his late 40's, which is pretty old for a runner, due to the high rish, high reward nature of the job.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Doesn't own a fire arm.
- Omniglot: Native Japanese speaker, but also speaks English, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin fluently. Also knows a little bit of Russian.
- Super Drowning Skills: You would think his changeling features would let him swim, but he admits he can't even form gills.
Bull William McAllister
An ork decker, and one of the original Shadowland posters. Did well enough to retire from running for a time and settle down with his family, but his daughter's death at the hands of a serial killer copycat, and increasing involvement with Seattle politics, has brought him tiptoeing back to the shadows now and again.
- Arch-Enemy: As far as he's concerned, Harlequin is his. He blames the elf for his brother's death as, to the best of Bull's memory, Harlequin used his brother as a metahuman sacrifice as part of the ritual to stop the Horrors from breaking through into our world. While Bull recognizes the necessity of stopping them, he still intends on killing Harlequin one day.
- Author Avatar: Of Steven Ratkovich, long-time Shadowrun writer who served on the Shadowrun team with both FASA and CGL and current developer for the Missions living campaign.
- Blessed With Suck: He has an exceedingly rare genetic condition among orks that gives him a regular human lifespan, which is why come 5th edition he's still spry and kicking instead of wheelchair bound. He isn't particularly happy about it since, having already lost his daughter to a murderer, he may also have to experience watching his son die of old age before he does.
- Berserk Button: Do. Not. Bring. Up. His dead daughter.
- BFG: His preferred "sidearm" is a Panther cannon.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Is all too happy to remind people of the advantages of sturdy 2050's tech over all the wireless junk the world's into now. His faithfulness to old tech hasn't hampered his decking skills any.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: This exchange:The Laughing Man: This is a most unexpected invite, Mr. McAllister. My dear former apprentice was ever so insistent that I—
Bull: Frag you now and forever. I'll bathe in your blood later you bastard, but this? You need to hear this.
- Embarrassing Nickname: His old Shadowland posts had a signature reading "The best ork decker you never met!" Veteran runners poke fun at him now and again for the ego he used to have (even though he really was, and remains, pretty damn good).
- Famed in Story: He's the star of an in-universe series of video games, including Bull the Ork Decker: Escape from Bug City, Bull the Ork Decker: Ancient Terror, and Bull the Ork Decker vs the Jabberwocky, circa 2057.
- Godzilla Threshold: Upon realizing that Elijah astrally projected to the Chasm between worlds where the Horrors dwell and saw that the ruined bridge that prevents the Horrors from returning is slowly being repaired, he invites Harlequin (who he hates with a burning passion), Ehran the Scribe and Hestaby onto Jackpoint to hear what Elijah has seen. While Jackpointers generally try their best to keep the immortal elves and great dragons off the board (being that they're often targets of runners), Bull brought in two of the immortals and one of the greats because he (rightly) fears the Horrors that much.
- Hero of Another Story: He was one of the Player Characters in the Harlequin's Back scenarios. He doesn't mention details aside from the whole thing feeling like a drug hallucination, and the end in which a friend offered himself as a sacrifice. Still has a grudge against Harlequin to this day because of the whole "surprise sacrifice" thing. In the published scenario it's meant only a symbolic test of courage, but don't count on your gamemaster to follow instructions.
- Nintendo Hard: In-universe, the games about him are this, according to /dev/grrl, at least. Apparently you can be killed on the start screen.
- Not So Different: Often gets onto /dev/grrl and Slamm-O! for not getting dated references; fails to get Man-of-Many-Names' metaphor about broken clocks being right twice a day due only being familiar with digital clocks. Come Forbidden Arcana he makes a spoof account to make a joke so lame and dated that Glitch is sure it's Slamm-O! at first.
- Shrouded in Myth: By the 2070s he's become this, with a lot of his runs being legendary to the point of comedy in the shadows; it's not at all helped by the video games that use him as a main character.
- You Are in Command Now: Along with Slamm-O! and Glitch, he takes over JackPoint when FastJack goes off the grid.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Again, the games based on him are both extremely overblown and extremely unflattering, given that they were made by a rival to embarrass him.
Butch Dr. Carol Howard
A relatively new poster on JackPoint, she's a physician who's taken to running in the shadows. She most often comments about medicine and medical affairs, and in recent times became the JackPoint's most respected authority on CFD.
- Back-Alley Doctor: Sort of. She's a legitimate doctor who works at an actual clinic. To stay afloat, the clinic has to dip into black market surgeries for profit.
- Badass Bookworm: She's a very knowledgeable physician on top of being an accomplished Shadowrunner.
- Badass Pacifist:
- Averted. When Kane asks her if she follows the Hippocratic oath to the extent of "cause no harm", Butch mentions that she simply protects her patients; if anybody threatens them with harm, Butch will, in fact, shoot them — though she'll also patch them up if they live. She comments that being a doctor means many things, but pacifism is a personal choice.
- She still has a very strong ethic and code of honor: she reacts with horror to the evidence and testimony about what MCT is doing to technomancers ( which basically amounts to surgical Nightmare Fuel), even though she previously expressed no small amount of fear and paranoia about them.
- The Butcher: A possible source of her street name, probably with a degree of self-deprecation. There's no indication of another possible source of her name.
- Combat Medic: She had worked at Doc Wagon to pay off her bills from medical school. She disagreed with the whole help-for-profit model, though, and quit as soon as she finished her time. Now, she works at a clinic and runs the shadows.
- Defeat Means Friendship: She'll fix somebody up if she shot them in her clinic for free. Some of them she even trained to be nurses or orderlies.
- Find the Cure!: Especially after the Boston Lockdown, Butch's career focus became finding a cure for CFD. It took her some years of coordinating independent research between megas and other groups, and her own shadow research. By 2079 the world has finally found a set of treatments which could reasonably be called cures.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: She doesn't believe any magical or spiritual explanations for the limits of augmentation on metahuman bodies. She doesn't believe that 'essence' represents the soul, but rather the mind's ability to empathize and process sensation; to her, it's all psychological and physiological, and she won't hear any nonsense to the contrary. She also explicitly does not believe in the cycle of magic, that it ebbs and flows and that there was magic in the world before 2011.
- Signed Up for the Dental: In her youth, she joined the UCAS military while underage to get a valid UCAS SIN.
- Special Guest: She makes an appearance in the short story Body Hunt in the Data Trails sourcebook.
A runner out of London. Not much has been revealed of her yet, though she has expressed a strong social conscience, particularly a disgust at the plight of the working poor of the Sixth World.
A hobgoblin rigger and mechanic from either Montenegro or Sarajevo, Clockwork is also a jerkass of monstrous proportions whose actions gave him quite a few enemies on JackPoint.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Clockwork was the one to expose FastJack's CFD infection; he was the only one who noticed Jack's strange behavior and, instead of being concerned for Jack's well being, was concerned for his own, prompting him to dig into it.
- Boomerang Bigot: Somewhat. He despises technomancers. Problem is that he's an hobgoblin, which are still widely discriminated against and were the last group subject to attempted genocide. It's like a Holocaust survivor in 1949 doing everything in their power to kill homosexuals.
- Bullying a Dragon: Throughout Better Than Bad, he keeps on pushing Electric Blue's Berserk Buttons, knowing full well that Blue is a respected friend and personal pupil of one of the moderators, when Clockwork's own profession requires him to have a lot of his life in Blue's native Matrix. This bites him in the ass hard.
- The Cracker: On top of being a skilled rigger, he's also a pretty damn good decker.
- Character Shilling: Indirectly praises newly introduced character Quietus by ranting how Quietus refused to allow Clockwork to commit mass murder during a job. At the end of the rant Clockwork looks like a tool, Quietus looks like the consummate professional. The weird thing about this being that Quietus ends that particular source book on a Bolivian Army Ending and is assumed to be killed.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Maybe. The Shadowrun Returns campaign Dragonfall features a Shadowland user going by Clockwork who goes dark after an encounter with the APEX AI. If you free the APEX, then it attempts to pass itself off as Clockwork during the epilogue. However, it may be an in-universe case of Name's the Same as a Shadowland thread in Shadowrun: Hong Kong brings up the fact that there have been cases of runners sharing the same alias.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He logs off Jackpoint in disgust when Slamm-O! claims to genuinely pity Clockwork for truly not knowing love for another person to the point that he would sacrifice his life for them, the way Slamm-O! has found love for Netcat and their son. To Clockwork, this was just too much gooey sentimentality.
- Fantastic Racism: Against technomancers, to the point where he betrayed Netcat to one of the megacorporations and has threatened to have her "freak-baby" shipped to a laboratory.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Virtually no one on Jackpoint likes Clockwork. While not everyone hates him in the way that Netcat and Slamm-0! do, no one really gets along with him and the best he gets is respect for his skills, often begrudgingly. Even other largely unscrupulous runners such as Kane dislike him. Netcat apparently had many heated discussions with FastJack about why he was even still allowed on Jackpoint despite what a horrible person he is.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He specializes in modding various easily available items for more... specialized uses. Then he sells prototypes and blueprints for a living.
- Hidden Depths: He's fascinated with animals and knowledgeable enough to write up an info dump on them in Howling Shadows. Mind you, because he's Clockwork, he still has no problem killing animals or rigging them up as living drones if it's what he needs to do to complete a run.
- Jerkass: And that's putting it lightly. His default attitude comes off as "If you're not a mercenary asshole like me, you're a fucking idiot." (This is particularly notable when other JackPoint members exhibit either a code of ethics or what most people would consider "positive" emotions.)
- Case in point: during his profile of Slamm-O! in the Street Legends Supplemental, he seemed as disgusted with Slamm-0!'s compassionate streak as he was with Slamm-0!'s loud, showboating antics or his romance with Netcat, and finally flies into a tirade when Slamm-0! reacts to the criticism with thoughtful appreciation.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When tracking down info on the CFD Virus, he came upon a potential source for the affliction and hired a few other deckers to go in and investigate it; two started developing symptoms so he geeked them, just in case. When called out and accused of hiring others to do something he was too afraid to do, he simply countered that if he were infected, he could do a lot more damage than they could have, to both the world at large and JackPoint, specifically. The other person has no counter for this. Also, even FastJack agreed that he had a point regarding Slamm-0! being too reckless of a hacker.
- Karma Houdini: Let's repeat that. He betrayed a fellow runner, and has suffered virtually no consequences on JackPoint.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Secretly, the JackPointers took severe umbrage with this and refused to censure Electric Blue when he stole about 1.5 million nuyen from Clockwork and sent most of it off to charitable causes — including, much to the amusement of the forum, an underground railroad for technomancers to escape persecution.
- Moral Myopia: Generally has no problem with innocents getting caught in a runner's crossfire, but any time a technomancer activist kills a bystander, he starts raging against their barbarism and bemoaning the tragic loss of life.
- Our Orcs Are Different: He's a hobgoblin, an middle Eastern ork variant whose hat is being vindictive.
- Pet the Dog: It took a long time coming, but it comes at the end of the Storm Front plot book. His farewell to FastJack comes in the form of backhanded compliments, but they're genuine and remorseful nonetheless.
- Technician vs. Performer: The technician to Slamm-0!'s performer, Clockwork believes that hacking should be done in a subtle manner and has disdain for Slamm-O!'s flashy, noisy style.Clockwork: Because I'm good, and I know things. 'Jack knew that those are the only two qualifications that matter.
- Virtue Is Weakness: He scoffs at the notion of love, honor, trust, and loyalty. He doesn't believe these things exist, and that anyone who believes that they do is a naive fool. In his mind everyone is one opportunity away from selling anyone else out, and if they aren't looking to do that they're a mark to be taken advantage of. The only positive quality he recognizes is respect.
A longtime veteran of the shadows who has expert knowledge of surviving almost anything and everything the world can throw at a runner, from corp security to insane magicians. Currently working semi-legitimately as a freelance security consultant.
- Noodle Incident: He mentions in the 5e Run and Gun supplement that he had been involved in a trid show. While the show failed, it inspired him to write his memoirs, which has been rejected by multiple publishers.
- Who Writes This Crap?!: The article he wrote in the same supplement was largely composed of sections of his memoirs. While it had useful, practical information, the introduction, at least, was laden with awkward melodramatics, and Chainmaker begins needling him about it.
A hyperactive decker with a friendly personality, a strong set of ethics, and almost as strong hacking skills. He advocates using shadowrunning as a tool of social good.
- Berserk Button: Calling him nuts, and racism in general. Clockwork never saw it coming.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Push him too far and he does not have any moral qualms about humiliating you and ruining your livelihood, as Clockwork finds out the hard way.
- Keet: He's energetic, shall we say.
- Lovable Rogue: He's by far one of the most moral runners out there, even making a guide on how to hood, which is to say do missions where improvement of society is the primary objective.
- Playful Hacker: Make no mistake; Blue is capable of thw, and he's way smarter than his tendency to use mild chat speak implies. He's just polite about it.
A particularly bookish, academic magician who's made a career of peering into things man was not meant to know, yet hasn't Gone Mad From The Revelation. Not yet, at least.
- Ancient Conspiracy: He believes an ancient mystical force has been actively pushing humanity's scientific and technological development, but he can't figure out why. He's probably right with Harlequin and Dunklezhan trying to prepare Metahumanity for the Horrors, and other such things.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He's by no means a violent man, but it'll be a long time before you sleep soundly again if you threaten him.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Unlike many, he's careful and logical enough in his thinking that he can be very convincing.
- Eldritch Abomination: The spirits he summons look like something out of an alien horror story, all tentacles and weird proportions.
- Gone Mad From The Revelation: Finally happens to him in 5e's Forbidden Arcana supplement; he witnessed the Horrors first hand. Certain powerful individuals have been helping him recover but he still has bouts of insanity come Dark Terrors.
International Man Of Mystery, suave superspy and another Cool Old Guy, Fianchetto's history is pretty much unknown — few more or less certain things about him is that he worked for various governments under numerous covers over the previous forty years.
- Crazy-Prepared: He sleeps with his cybereyes open and recording.
- Rogue Agent: Once, he compromised an operation he was hired for to retrieve a collection of stolen art from a Russian Mafia boss.
Frosty Jane Foster
A platinum-haired elven woman most notable for her unique command of magic, learned under Harlequin. A broadly capable person, she tends to contribute most to matters of elven politics and unusual magical phenomena, becoming heavily involved in the Artifact Rush of the early 2070s.
- New Rules as the Plot Demands: In some adventures where Frosty is featured, her magical capabilities are left wholly undefined, except to say that they're vaguely similar to the hermetic tradition. The gamemaster is encouraged to let her do whatever she needs to cover the player's weaknesses without overshadowing them. This is because she learned magic from Harlequin, who is a living embodiment of this trope.
- Oh, Crap!: Hestaby and Harlequin logging onto Jackpoint during a discussion on blood magic in Forbidden Arcana panics her so much she gets Bull to shut down the whole thing, albeit temporarily.
- Rage Against the Mentor: She makes it clear that there's little love between her and Harlequin. While she respects and appreciates what he taught her, she takes a dim view of his personal morals and ethics, and openly resents his habit for manipulating and deceiving others.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: Has a limp that only becomes noticeable when she has to exert herself. No doubt a residual effect of her thighbone exploding when Harlequin tampered with a magical seal carved into it. Though some of the blame for that lies on her father, Ehran The Scribe, who chose to use it as the focus for a high-powered lethal area-effect spell in response to the aforementioned tampering.
A ghoul decker whose posted to JackPoint for some time. Hannibelle often gives her expertise in the matrix, the life of a ghoul, and sometimes of the medical field.
- Horror Hunger: As a ghoul, she eats human flesh, something she reminds other posters of, much to their discomfort.
- Loners Are Freaks: Played with, she's a loner because she's a freak, not vice versa. Ghouls have a bad reputation and an open bounty, so when she's on the job, she works remotely and never lets her face be seen to keep the team's trust and herself safe.
- Old Shame: She got her start with Tamanous, a crime ring that's infamous among even other crime rings for organ legging, and is rumored to be run or heavily associated with other ghouls. She got out, but had to rebuild her bridges years later to keep herself fed.
- Punny Name: Her name is a portmanteau of "Annabelle" and "Hannibal."
An elf shaman, and a broad expert on magic. Best known among JackPointers for using his powers to influence women into sleeping with him without their consent, and even driving one woman to suicide after manipulating her into falling in love with him so he could get information out of her.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Was driven into shadowrunning to support his mother and get her into a comfortable life.
- Karma Houdini: According to Quietus in The Assassin's Primer, the only reason he didn't kill Haze yet was because there was always someone else who needed to be killed even more than Haze. Even if Haze ends up killed, this trope may still apply, depending on the circumstances of his demise.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He argues that it's no worse than the killing that every runner is responsible for at some point. Most JackPointers stridently disagree.
- The Sociopath: Has no regrets about anything he's ever done, and really doesn't understand what everybody else's problem is.
- Token Evil Teammate: Haze is a bad, bad person and very few Jackpointers are willing to speak to his defense.
Kane John Kastle
A human rigger, pirate, and mercenary based in the Caribbean and holds a grudge against Aztlan. Kane is known as a loose cannon and a team killer and wanted in at least twenty countries.
- Ax-Crazy: Or so the people say.
- Berserk Button: Aztechnology is on his "to kill" list, he refuses to work for Azzie in any way.
- Cosplay: The intro story of Safehouses tells of how he infiltrated ComicCon dressed as an Imperial Stormtrooper. He was not amused.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Several of his plans.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Happened to him on an extraction at the beach one time. The target's body guard pulled off her bikini, distracting him while the other bodyguard kicked sand in his face. Turned out they were wearing "Second Skin"; invisible, skin tight armor, making the ensuing fight more difficult than he anticipated.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His girlfriend and partner, Kat. Everything he's done, everything he became since diving into the shadows, he's done for her. This seems to apply to /dev/grrl, as well; he may think of her as a surrogate daughter.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Blood magic is a little beyond the pale for him; he'll engage in human trafficking and organ-legging, even he finds blood magic rituals to be sick.
- Evil Mentor: To /dev/grrl.
- Famed in Story: In the 4e Vice! supplement, he offhandedly mentions that the story of one of his prison escapes is scheduled for a major trideo production. /dev/grrl states that several of his adventures have been adapted into straight to trideo movies, though the biggest budget one screwed him out of the royalties.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: He can be rather hilariously casual about how evil he is.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though he's definitely a rough customer, apparently the thing that drove him to running in the first place was losing his girlfriend to Aztlan during the Yucatan Wars. When he discovered she was alive and in an internment camp, he dropped close to one hundred million nuyen to rescue her by hiring nearly an entire private army.
- Papa Wolf: When vampire runner Red shows some interest in /dev/grrl, Turbo Bunny foresees Kane having something to say about it. Sure enough, he does; that woodpulp bullets are cheap.
- Playing Both Sides: According to him, this is how he's managed to survive over twenty years on the most wanted lists of 19 countries and corporations; he always makes sure the people who want him dead have bigger fish — which is to say, each other — to deal with to worry about coming after him, and if any of them ever get too sore at him, he'll turn his activities towards their rivals, thus turning himself into an asset. This trope is actually a good tactic in the game, by using the "corporate extraterritoriality" laws to good effect. Long story short, it's just a matter of dragging rival corporate forces through each others' property, which is treated as sovereign to the company that owns it. You can also do it with rival nations (since so many hostile factions are bordering each other now), and rival crime outfits (who often just need a good pretense to kill each other anyway, out of habit).
- Pragmatic Villainy: During a discussion about how to steal a stealth submarine, he says that while he could do it, he wouldn't on the off chance it had nukes in it. If it did, every corp and country would stop at nothing to stop him.
- Refuge in Audacity: He's the most wanted man in the C.A.S. /dev/grrl caught him playing poker with a C.A.S. senator from Louisiana.
- Token Evil Teammate: It says a lot that he's not the worst, though he comes pretty close. Notably, unlike other less moral members of Jackpoint, most of the regulars actually respect and even like him. This is partially because unlike Haze or Clockwork he's actually got a few redeeming characteristics, and partially because he's genuinely funny and willing to be friendly with other people.
- Your Mom: His retort to Slamm-O! heckling him about the Distracted by the Sexy incident above.
Kat o'Nine Tales
Vocalist and bass player for Grim Aurora, Kat's a physical adept who uses her band's touring schedule to form contacts and find jobs as a Shadowrunner.
- Really Gets Around: Self describes as promiscuous; she's hinted that she's even had at least a one night stand with Damien Knight. Several of her comments regarding various vehicles in such source books as Jet Set and Used Car Lot are about her sexual exploits in said vehicles.
Kay St. Irregular
A longtime political mover and shaker, Kay served extensively with the CAS congress, selling up-to-date inside political information to the shadow community in order to further his own political aspirations and remove his rivals. Has recently become involved in Denver as well, possibly trying to get into Ghostwalker's good graces.
A wuxing magician operating out of Hong Kong. Created his own gang, the Sons of Thunder, in direct opposition to both the Hong Kong police and the Red Dragon Triad, having a personal vendetta against both. Has diverse interests and knowledge, primarily in magical research and organized crime.
A dwarf wolf shaman and enchanter heavily involved in the marketing of magical goods. She's been known to swindle shady customers, while going beyond the call of duty for her more faithful clients.
- Properly Paranoid: Is frightened of the possibility that the Insect Spirits might be creating armies of infested humans in third-world countries, away from the public's eye so that they can build their forces up to unstoppable numbers before anyone's aware of their plans. When asked, Snopes said that her hypothetical situation is entirely too plausible.
A human adept who follows the Way of the Totem, specifically Cat. One of the world's premiere thieves and stealth operatives, she has a famous rivalry with Mika.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: Her stock and trade. She even used Celina C. Kyle as an alias once.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Mika. Eventually FastJack gets fed up with it and tells them to fuck already.
- I Work Alone: Prefers this for a number of reasons; first and foremost she doesn't have to split the profits. Secondly, her jobs revolve around stealth, and numbers become a liability in that situation more than a strength. Third, few teams are willing to put up with her "curse", see below.
- The Rival: With Mika, her main competition.
- Theme Naming: All of her known aliases refer to cats in some way; most likely this is her way of honouring her totem.
- Walking Techbane: Her "curse"; technology doesn't like her and tends to malfunction around her; it's how she earned her street name (means "trouble"). She also considers this the main reason she's better than Mika; she's able to perform on his level without relying on technology at all, while he loves gadgets.
Man of Many Names
Mysterious, white-haired shaman said to be incredibly powerful back in the 2050s, and there's no doubt he's grown even more impressive since. He serves as JackPoint's most senior expert on all topics of magic. Perhaps ironically, nobody seems to know what Many Names' other names might be.
- Cryptic Conversation: His age is vague, his shaman tradition is vague, and many of his comments are vague. On the rare occasion he makes a clear, unambiguous statement, other Jackpointers are left feeling a mix of confusion and alarm. He claims he's perfectly capable of normal conversations outside of JackPoint, where he merely "chooses his words carefully". His definition of "normal" doesn't quite mesh with anyone else's, though...MAN-OF-MANY-NAMES: I did not pick you. I only happen to be the one talking to you.
HAZE: Would it do me any good to ask who did pick me?
MAN-OF-MANY-NAMES: There is often a benefit to asking questions, even the ones that aren't answered.
HAZE: Son of a bitch.
- Deadpan Snarker: At one point /dev/grrl is shocked when he cracks a joke. He responds that he's made many jokes over the years, but isn't responsible for /dev/ not picking up on them.
- Fingore: He's missing the ring finger on his right hand.
- Irony: As pointed out, despite his moniker, no one is aware of any other aliases.
- Magical Native American: The two things everyone can agree on is that he's Native American and that he's a shaman. Sources can't agree on his tribal heritage (Hopi being the best guess), and his mentor spirit may be the Bear, the Owl, or the Horned Man. In 5th edition he confirmed that his totem was Wolf. In Street Grimoire he finally opens up about himself when asked write a section about his experiences to teach the others on the JackPoint his experiences. He's Navajo and grew up during the founding of the NAN, and his father was a nuclear engineer who was skeptical of magic out of a practical fear that putting their faith in just magic would doom them, then Daniel Howling Coyote and the Great Ghost Dance happened. He turned down tests to check if he had any magical talent, so when he Awakened at the age of 15, he knew nobody he could trust. He kept his talent hidden and tried to learn on his own until Wolf found and started to mentor him.
- Older Than They Look: Most probably. His age is the subject of mass guessing by Horizon analysts who broke into JackPoint to gather information on him. In 2080 he can be anywhere from his mid 60's to his late 70's
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Can speak with authority about battling bug spirits, but only with great reluctance.
- Waxing Lyrical: Not exactly, but a response he gives to /dev/grrl's post on Safehouses is essentially the song Horse With No Name. Kat is the only one to notice.
A brief contributor, Matt Wrath is an elf adept who seems to exist in order to defy elvish conventions. Besides being significantly ugly, he's also a hulking brute who makes most of his earnings in prize fights.
- Storyboard Body: He has a single tattoo spelling "Wrath" in sparkling golden letters across his back.
- Third-Person Person: He is always "Matt Wrath, ,no matter who's speaking. And yes, you always use the full name.
An elven technomancer, who later gets married to Slamm-0.
- Cargo Ship: In-universe. One of the stories in the 5th edition Run Faster handbook features her coming across an erotic fanfic pairing her with a toaster, due to the technomancer slur "toaster lover".
- Depending on the Writer: For her metatype at least. At least one piece of artwork shows her as an ork. Unlike her counterpart Turbo Bunny, she isn't exactly as pretty as her as Runner's Companion shows, though that artwork doesn't show her at her best: disheveled after an all-night hacking binge with an I.V. in her arm for hydration.
- Opposites Attract: When discussing method acting as a way of hiding one's online movements as a technomancer, she claims that she envisions herself as someone "disgusting" and "as opposite" as herself as she can be. Everyone guesses Clockwork, including Clockwork himself. Turns out it's Slamm-O!.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: This is apparently the entire basis of her relationship with Slamm-O!; she finds his hobbies insufferable, his antics immature and groan worthy, and himself to be "disgusting", but at the end of the day, he's still good man who uses his skills as a decker for the good of others.
- Ship Tease: A lot between her and Slamm-0!. One of the 20th Anniversary Rulebook stories had her going on a date with Slamm-0! as the result of losing a hacking competition. They eventually marry and have a baby boy. Slamm-0! even based an attack program on some of his "fatherhood experiences". He calls it "Diaper Bomb".
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The hot wife. Depending on the artist, of course. The more recent artwork show her as being plain, which is unusual for an elf.
A hacker living on one of the orbital habitats, apparently hiding from a corporation without space assets. She serves as a security consultant, while her underlings make data steals that she sells to other spacebound runner teams.
Picador Carmen M. Lopez y Cabrera
CO of the Seventy Seventh Independent Rangers fighting the war against Aztlan in Bogotá, she was the protégé of the deceased Matador, Juan Pereya, who was a long time Shadowland user. Her mercenary unit swears an oath of absolute professionalism in a field where morality is completely cast aside.
- Being Good Sucks: Stormfront reveals that the cause she was fighting for had the unit taking a heavy blow and Amazonia losing the war against Aztlan.
- Berserk Button: Speaking out of line about Matador, and bringing up the below mentioned Dating Catwoman incident.
- Dating Catwoman: Matador had an intense rivalry with with Psycho for Hire Navarre and Navarre in turn seduced Picador literally as a way to insult Matador.
- Foil: To Clockwork, who lacks any kind of morals and would gladly sell his soul to Aztlan if he could.
- Heroic Bsod: Matador's death still leaves her on edge to this day.
- Take Up My Sword: She became the leader of the 77th after Matador's death at the hands of his rival.
- We Help the Helpless: Her unit lives on a strict code of conduct, absolutely no looting, no intentional harm of civilians or atrocities of any kind. She had made a couple of examples of killing potential psychos for hire.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Her love for Cervantes was one of the major reasons why she holds such a high value on things like honour.
A combat hacker with a grudge against the Tempo-trade. This is partly due to the fact that her friend (and former lover) Fatima was killed in a fairly bloody street battle involving the drug.
- Arch-Enemy: Hates Haze with a fiery passion; the feeling is mutual.
A conspiracy theorist.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: As of 5th edition, he's a Head Case, infected with CFD — an artificially intelligent nanotech virus. He's still allowed on JackPoint on probationary status, partly to provide insight into the virus and partly because it ultimately didn't change him that much.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Full on tinfoil hats. One point when JackPoint mentioned a conspiracy that was an open secret in the shadows, one of his fellow JackPointers was expecting Plan 9 to go off with theories and speculation. Plan 9 declined, saying that since they all already knew who was perpetrating it and why, it didn't catch his interest since there was simply no intrigue to it.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: In a handful of instances, there's something to his rambling. In one instance, he's one of the people who refuses to believe that Feuerschwinge died in 2012. Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall shows that he's right about that. Whether or not he's right about her surviving into the 2070's depends on the actions of the player.
- The Fashionista: Along with /dev/grrl, he's one of the major consultants on fashion on Jackpoint. Understanding life on both sides of the gender barrier helps with this.
- Functional Addict: He isn't addicted to standard drugs or BTLs; he's addicted to augmentation, getting a new implant or procedure done up to once a month. FastJack theorizes this made him more vulnerable to CFD infection with nanites becoming more common in surgery.
- Gender Bender: Plan 9 has had so many sex change procedures, going back and forth between male and female, that he claims he can't remember what he started out as. This has less to do with being transgender and more to do with Plan 9's addiction to augmentation and surgery. Still generally referred to with male pronouns. It should be noted that by 2070, being trans is a non-issue in the world, due to the proliferation of advanced medical technology. In perspective, it costs about as much as a semi-decent vehicle, and is considered legal in just about everywhere, with no real legal complications other than updating your ID and such.
- Split-Personality Team: Recently a new JackPointer named Plan 10 started showing up and posting. Considering their name and their apparent relationship, it's heavily implied that Plan 10 is Plan 9's CFD personality.
A technomancer who appears to have the same playful, mocking mischievousness of his Shakespearean namesake, which tends to irritate other JackPointers. Shows little knowledge of anything other than the Matrix, but often contributes to topics regarding AIs, the Deep Resonance, and the like. Even more than most runners, he has some secrets he really doesn't want JackPoint to know about — secrets worse than formerly being one of Deus' highest servants, or directly causing Crash 2.0.
- Arch-Enemy: He has a deep hatred of Pax, a dissonant technomancer and terrorist, and a former mentor (possibly more) of Puck's. Due to her leadership leading to him having a role in Crash 2.0, he swore revenge and hates her more than anything.
- The Atoner: He's returned to the shadow community as of 5th, and by this point, he's mostly characterized by a seriousness that stems from deep regret over his role in Crash 2.0 and his personal drive to rid the world of Pax.
- Been There, Shaped History: He was one of the Otaku who was one of Deus's metahuman servants when it took over SCIRE, the old Renraku arcology. Just a few years later, he was given and planted the program that would spawn the Jormungand virus that both took down Deus and contributed to Crash 2.0.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Nobody ever forgave him for his past sins, and actively distrust him. Even though the experience may have made him a better, if sadder person, nobody quite trusts that he grew up and became more white hat, though they do recognize that he's driven to kill Pax.
- Living Emotional Crutch: One reason Fastjack lets Puck post at Jackpoint is because he's genuinely worried about what Puck might do if he lost this last remaining constant in his life.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: He somehow thought that releasing the Jormungand virus and wiping out the Matrix would somehow absolve him of his past actions, instead of adding exponentially to the suffering he's caused. He doubles down on this trope in Storm Front, helping Harlequin turn Denver into a warzone in 2074. By this point, Puck is either horrifically stupid or terribly insane, or both.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Unlike most of Deus's servants, Puck was deeply disturbed by the AI's horrific actions once he became aware of them, and actively worked to oppose them.
- Precision F-Strike: Out of all his appearances, he only swears once: when Kane suggests that losing FastJack to SEARCH might be "a fair trade.""Fuck you, Kane."
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Slamm-O! in Data Trails."Some of us want to blast through the horrific pain and limitations of what we call the world and find a better mode of existence. Others of us want to play with remote-controlled toys and watch grown-ups chase little balls around a field."
- Token Evil Teammate: His role in compromising the Denver Data Haven is only the most recent thing that's earned him a near-universal enmity on JackPoint.
A professional assassin from Greece who found his calling after the Alliance For Allah's Second Ottoman Jihad killed Quietus's family; the leader of which was assassinated and Quietus saw how one man's death caused the entire organization to collapse. Quietus was allowed onto Jackpoint in his final hours to post his manifesto: The Assassin's Primer. He posted and even participated in the running commentary on his work during his last 48 hours, which he figured was how long before his former employer would come to eliminate him as a loose end. Despite working as a professional killer, Quietus was largely motivated by a sense of justice and need to eliminate the evils of the world.
- Being Good Sucks: Invoked in Hard Targets Blackwing mentions Quietus' fate is one expected from assassins with a moral code. That said he throws him a posthumous bone by saying that despite how having a shred of morality as an assassin they are feared for being some of the most dangerous assassins as well in order to survive.
- Bolivian Army Ending: He posts for the first time and signs out for the final time in the same source book (framed as a Jackpoint thread that lasted 48 hours before he said his goodbyes), with armed thugs looking in his windows before he logs out.
- Boomerang Bigot: He was the target of the ire of some shadowrunners who fit this trope, as a paid killer was derided by some of the runners (who are, let's not forget, street mercenaries who sometimes or often kill on their jobs), one of which was Sticks, who aids in sex trafficking.
- Consummate Professional: Quietus was one, even to the end, refusing to harm anyone who wasn't his target or protecting the target. He even refuses to talk about any of his previous work, even when he knows he doesn't have much time left.
- Hitman with a Heart: He's a nice guy in his personal life, and entered into his career when he saw that removing a single choice target can remove a whole lot of trouble all at once.
- Knight Templar: Very brief stint being a religiously motivated assassin after his training, going after Alliance For Allah targets to a religious zeal for the deaths of the people during the Second Ottoman Jihad in Greece. After the experience he sworn off that path and one he never wants to take ever again.
- Pastimes Prove Personality: He mentions that he centers himself by taking up cooking and karaoke as pastimes between jobs and actively avoids any violence related hobbies (like watching Urban Brawl or playing trid games). Slamm-0! calls him out on the discrepancy, but Nephrine steps in and clarifies that it sounds like he prefers to keep in touch with his humanity by separating the violence of his profession and his personal life as much as possible.
- Professional Killers: He goes out of his way to differentiate between "hit men", who's preference would be to kick down a door and spray the room with machinegun fire, and "assassins", who are precision killers who emphasize professionalism and discretion.
Red Rick Lang
A elven vampire who's a recent addition to the JackPoint. He often contributes knowledge to the spooky side of things.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: A decidedly white hat Shadowrunner that specializes in hunting down paranormal threats of all sorts.
- Magic Knight: Though he doesn't have the added power of a street sam or adept, he's quite handy in a fight on top of being an accomplished mage.
- Odd Friendship: He and Slamm-0! get on oddly well, poking fun at each other over sports. (Red is a hockey fan, specifically of the Chicago Blackhawks).
- Rip Van Winkle: Twice. First time was when he turned in '99, where he was drained of blood and tossed into a river, narrowly surviving by being turned. He stayed for 49 years (since vampires go dormant rather than drowning) until he was rescued by a salvage trawler. And again in 2064, where he spent twelve years in a coma, resurfacing in the 2070's and finding that the world has only gotten weirder in his absence.
A female elf Technomancer and former decker. She idolizes Netcat, maybe a bit too much.
- Author Avatar: Of Amy Veeres, as per her twitter. In her Reddit AMA, she mused about what might be if she had become a writer instead of a hacker.
- Bag of Spilling: She lost sixty years of hacking skills when she Emerged. She never really explains how that makes sense.
- Berserk Button: Don't make fun of her ears.
- Cool Old Guy: She was born in 2011, making her one of the oldest non-immortal elves in the setting.
- The Cracker: A decker since before they called it decking, and later a Technomancer.
- Defector from Decadence: She doesn't speak Sperethiel or buy into "elf culture," having been raised by humans.
- Hemo Erotic: She's very interested in helping a vampire learn what Technomancer blood tastes like.
- Geek Physiques: Tall, but thin and flat-chested.
- Logging onto the Fourth Wall: Did a Reddit AMA along with several other Jackpoint characters.
- Meaningful Name: Took the name "Respec" after becoming a Technomancer, in reference to the gamer slang for Skill Point Reset "back when it didn't cost money to advance your character."
- Muggle Foster Parents: Raised by humans, like all other UGE elves.
- Older Than They Look: Comes standard with being an elf. She's at least 66 years old but looks like a young adult, and doesn't feel any of the usual signs of old age.
- Running Gag: Her stalker-like crush on Netcat.
Rigger-X Genzo Watanabe
A former security rigger for Mitsuhama. He went into the shadows after he witnessed a Yakuza boss killing a prostitute, and became targeted by Yakuza hit squads (the first of which getting slaughtered by his apartment's defenses).
- Crazy-Prepared: Installs cameras and guns everywhere, just in case something sensitive/dangerous happens by.
- Karma Houdini: Like Clockwork, he avoided the wrath of jackpoint despite being the who sold information on Netcat's kid.
- Leave No Witnesses: Routinely kills anyone who interferes on a run, as well as anyone nearby who might potentially interfere.
- The Mole: Information on former teammates is no exception. And as Riser found out, he will act on it as he kills Riser in Hard Targets
- Sinister Surveillance: Makes much of his living by spying on people and selling the information.
Riser Jonathan Riser
A former orphan street thug, now head of a group of cigar-loving assassins called the Smoker's Club. He's said to have extraordinary charm and interpersonal skills that seem inconsistent with a rough-hewn killer.
- Back for the Dead: The Hard Targets sourcebook begins with a 30-page infodump, courtesy of the "new" Riser, with the hope of being allowed back onto JackPoint. At the end, Glitch says there won't be any vote about restoring his access, because the information came via Rigger-X, who sold Riser out to the Smokers' Club — the implication being that he's now quite dead.
- Divided We Fall: He uses this against one gang leader out to kill him by divulging on many secrets he had behind their back and invoke a sense of bitter irony.
- Enemy Within: Riser was revealed to be one of the first known victims of CFD, with his new conflicting personality having a weirdly charitable conscience. It's eventually revealed that the new personality subsumed the old, resulting in a Riser who's still a killer, but not quite the cold-blooded bastard he was before.
- Put on a Bus: When he was outed as a CFD victim, he was immediately banned from JackPoint.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He apparently disagrees with this; in the 4e Street Legends supplement, he argues against Haze being bashed for using his mind influencing powers to commit rape, reasoning that "getting some action" isn't really any worse than using his powers to kill people for a living. Several of his fellow JackPointers disagree with this assessment.
Slamm-O! Frederick McKenney
A human male decker known for his dreadlocks, awful mustache, sports fandom, and extremely juvenile behavior and the son of two other former Shadowrunners. He may be one of the most skilful deckers around, but has a fast and loose attitude toward his work, and life in general. Married to Netcat and quickly adapting to fatherhood.
- Geek Physiques: Oh very much so, the official Street Legends depicts him as an overweight cybered-up nerd if anything. At least one bit of fiction, however, describes him as attractive.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": He's a huge baseball fan. His team is, of course, the Seattle Mariners.
- Manchild: You'd never think he was a grown man, let along a father, if nobody explicitly said so.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: He's done a lot of good work fighting against anti-metahuman organizations; unfortunately, while made no secret he was behind this, he also never revealed that he, himself, was human, which lead to these organizations targeting meta-hackers in their quest for revenge.
- Technician vs. Performer: The performer to Clockwork's technician; Slamm-O! has no sense of subtlety when it comes to hacking, going about it in a flashy manner.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Overweight, no sense of style (by modern or sixth-world standards), and a god-awful mustache, married to a smoking hot elf girl. Though some depictions of him simply have him as being average weight and appearance, with only his mustache and horrible sense of fashion making him unattractive.
An ork who's a private detective. His posts often deal with debunking urban legends. He has at least one kid.
- Action Dad: Somewhat. While he hasn't had to come to the rescue of his kid, he is a shadowrunner.
- Meaningful Name: Snopes.com is a famous urban legend site in our world. Due to the alternate history of Shadowrun it can be assumed that the site never existed in its original form in the Shadowrun verse or was lost in the crashes of the pre-Matrix web or the old Matrix.
- Private Detective: He's the owner of a private detective agency, though he refuses to name which one. He may not get into the field as much anymore, but he's in a position to be very well informed.
An investigative reporter who trawls the media to bring up-to-date reports on just about everything to Jackpoint, including plenty of his own findings. He's particularly responsible for a lot of the information that came out on technomancers.
- He Knows Too Much: And spreads too much of it, in the opinion of some. Hard Targets had an infodump that included a list of JackPointers who had a contract for their head, and while not the most dangerous or prolific of them, Sunshine had the highest reward for his contract.
- Intrepid Reporter: Known as a reporter who works to bring the truth out to the people.
The Smiling Bandit
A decker with a profound knowledge of scientific subjects. Keeping with the theme, he uses a persona of a man in a cowboy hat, bandana, and long coat, and proved his decking skills way back in the Shadowland days by altering the system so the <hour:minute:second/month-day-year> timestamp for all his posts on the Message Board would instead display "<Strikes again!/Ha-Ha-Ha>"
- Catchphrase: "<Strikes again!/Ha-Ha-Ha>"
- Famed in Story: Apparently he's something of a cult hero for neo-anarchists — he isn't one, himself, but his history of sticking it to the man and sticking up for the little guy has inspired them. His Matrix Persona is one of the most copied in the Sixth World.
- Hot Scientist: A man in his 50s with the physique of a fit 21 year-old, and with no leonization either!
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Specializes in genetics and its subsciences, and has quite the knowledge in other fields of science.
- Pastimes Prove Personality: Loves to go out for a jog as a hobby, mentions that most Runners live focused on their job and needs a hobby to get their minds a much needed break"Get a serious hobby and don't neglect yourself. Too many runners live like hobos saving up for their next augmentation/drone/focus. This will burn you at just as quickly as any drug habit."
- Science Hero: Oh yea. He is very, very cautious about science being used to harm people and the world, as he believes it should only be used for the betterment of the world.
- Science Is Bad: Downplayed. He is a scientist, but he gets hypercritical of corporation science work, usually for good reason.
- Techno Babble: Generally handles the genetic fluff of Shadowrun.
Turbo Bunny Clarisa Odalis Soto(UCAS)/Moon Bloodrun (Ute)
A Latina elf hailing from Pueblo, she was forced to escape to Seattle after an incident involving an illegal diamond shipment and a police chase all the way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
- Badass Driver: It's one of her talents.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Invoked. Would you believe that she's a BTL junkie, knowing that BTL users tend to become emaciated due to malnutrition and physical inactivity, and then looking at her picture in "10 Jackpointers"? Then again, given how she was a favorite of the crime boss it wasn't too hard to get restorative surgery done.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: At least she thinks so. One of her ex-boyfriends was a Biggus Dickus.
- Bodyguard Crush: She acts as a driver for one of Horizon's celebrities and hinted to be engaged in a romantic relationship with him.
- Drives Like Crazy: And how! The "incident" in Vegas ended up with Bunny crashing her Ferrari on a DataTerm booth at presumably high speed.
- Famed in Story: Somewhat. At least one of the other posters had heard about the Ferrari incident. Leads to her and Kat hanging out in real life as they found out they live near each other.Kat: "Wait that was you?"
- Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted. When talking about older but still useful guns Turbo mentions she fired one of them. Problem is that the thing nearly broke her nose as she's maybe 90 pounds soaking wet.
- Race Lift: Was originally listed as a human with the elf-poser negative quality in one book, all subsequent books have listed her as an actual elf.
- Oh, Crap!: Her reaction when she finds out that a locket that she accidentally crushed was a stealth tag.
- Wrench Wench: Like many riggers, she has a knack for tinkering and repairing her gear.
Alexander King, a human magician, who openly adopted the name "Winterhawk" as a personal brand. Prefers to take temporary jobs that allow him to wander and explore. Probably JackPoint's most frequently-appearing magical expert.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Of the arcanoarchaeology flavor.
- Classy Cane: Which doubles as a magical focus for sustaining his spells.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: He certainly looks the part, with his creased brow, prematurely grey pointed beard, and neo-Victorian garb with cane and monocle.
- High-Class Glass: Modified with your standard enhancements like an AR image link and magnification.
Dragons in the Shadowrun-verse are the iconic supernatural life-form and exist in all types and sizes. Most dragons fall into one of three types: Western dragons, eastern dragons or the south american feathered serpent. They are the setting's most prolific chessmasters (though plenty would dispute that) and constantly jostle with each other for power, authority and wealth by any number of (unseen to the average citizen) ways. The oldest and most powerful dragons are known as Great Dragons; most Great Dragons are Time Abysses that survived the fall of the fourth age by falling into hibernation, awakening again at the dawning of the sixth. Canonically there are less than thirty Great Dragons in the world, though many would argue that's more than enough.
Tropes common to the Great Dragons
- The Ageless: None of them seem to age.
- The Chessmaster and Manipulative Bastard: Goes without saying, really.
- Dragon Hoard: Taking Dunkelzahn and Lofwyr as examples (Dunkelzahn being a self-admitted extreme), it seems probable most Great Dragons hoard gold, treasure and magical artifacts to different degrees. Don't expect any runs to involve stealing from one, though, unless the Johnson is intentionally trying to get you (and probably himself, his associates, family and little dog) killed.
- Lord British Postulate: Great Dragons have intentionally not been statted in 5th edition. Earlier editions had splatbooks with some guidelines that did not include their social networks, political influence, active spells or their Edge and what they'd do to you upon recovering. Long story short: Great Dragons in Shadowrun are not killable unless the GM specifically intends for you to.
- Meaningful Name: Each of them carries a draconic name, an epithet which presumably describes their nature or achievements in the previous age, and which are generally used only with one another, kept secret from mortals. Several of them, however, have taken to using these same names as their Matrix handles.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Occasionally, Our Dragons Are PRESIDENTS: Lofwyr's the big shot at Saeder-Krupp (BMW after a few good buyouts), Dunkelzahn was President of the UCAS for a little over 10 hours before the bomb in his limo tore open a Negative Space Wedgie and Hestaby is one of the members of Tír Taingire's ruling Council.
- Besides fitting themselves snugly into the world of politics and economics, the great dragons have proven to be quite net-savvy, showing up in the commentary chatter in older edition Shadowland postings: Dunkelzahn as "the Big D", Hestaby as "Orange Queen", Ghostwalker as "Ghost in the Machine", and Celedyr as "Stone-Diver" or "Script-Diver", while a host of others briefly came out of the closet after Dunkelzahn's death in order to bitch about being left out of his will. Also, Dunkelzahn hosted his own talk show for a few years. The great dragons are nothing if not adaptable.
- Shadowrun's dragons may be the only dragons you actually run away from. They aren't fightable: they're stronger, tougher, bigger, and smarter than you (human average stat: 3 (max 6), dragon average: 8, great dragon average: 13—except body/toughness and strength, those are 35+). Oh, and unlike every other NPC, they have Edge (the Luck Stat, only PCs have it) and great dragons can do some nasty things with it that you can't. There's a damn good reason why you never deal with a dragon.
For a period of ten days beginning on 14 February 2057, Lars J. Matthews will cease to possess any legal status. He will be stripped of all evidence of legal existence, including SIN, credsticks, DocWagon contract, bank accounts and so on. To the individual or group who ends Lars J. Matthews' physical existence during those ten days, I leave all of Matthews' assets and 1 million nuyen for a job well done. If Mr. Matthews survives and can prove his identity, his legal status and all possessions will be restored to him. Haven't you heard? Never deal with a dragon, Lars.
- Alamais, a Great Dragon who operates in Europe, was hit with an orbital weapon system intended for use against military targets and survived.
- They burn some Edge (permanently decrease the stat by a bit in exchange for something like a guaranteed critical success or surviving certain death) and let you THINK that you killed them, and then when you get home you discover that your entire family has been eaten, your SIN has been revoked, and there is now a bounty on your head that is so large that every shadowrunner in the time zone is now after you.
- Maybe that's the reason for this entry in Dunklezahn's will:
- Time Abyss: With the exception of Masaru, every Great Dragon known is a bona-fide survivor of Earthdawn — which took place in the Fourth World; 5000 years in the past. On top of that, they were born in the Second World — 5000 years earlier. They hibernated through the Third and Fifth Worlds, granted, but still experienced the entirety of the Fourth's run and an unknown portion of the Second's.
- The Voiceless: In Dragon form, Great Dragons only communicate telepathically, at least to humans. This lead to the post of the 'translator', a trusted metahuman the dragon communicated to who then spoke the words out loud.
- The reason they don't just telepathically communicate with people anyway? That voice in someone's head is utterly inhuman and psychically "loud". Few people enjoy the experience at all; some are permanently mentally scarred by the event.
- The other reason they don't just telepathically communicate with people is that they can't telepathically communicate through a TV camera. (Or, rather, the 2077 equivalent.)
- Voluntary Shapeshifter: All Great Dragons can take human form. While this allows them to be their own Mouth of Sauron, most of them don't do this, as they're easier to kill in human form.
The only known Great Sirrush, a middle-eastern dragon, who lairs in Turkey. He claims most of the Holy Land and Middle East as his domain and aggressively rebuffs European influences onto it, especially those of Lofwyr. Most renowned/reviled for razing Tehran to the ground in response to a Fatwa called upon metahumans and the Awakened. This has not made him a lot of friends amongst the world's Muslims.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He seems to like being angry and hateful. When Dunkelzahn bequeathed him the Shroud of Shadows, a magical artifact that induces peace and tranquillity, Aden promptly had it buried in the ruins of Tehran without ever accepting or even touching it.
- Gender Bender: Biologically male, but in human form will prefer to appear androgynous, as either a beautiful man or a handsome woman. Some dragons think he likes doing it to mock metahumanity's limited imagination and need to classify things.
- Pet the Dog: Despite somewhat radical methods, Aden seems to be watching out for the Middle East's Awakened and magical beings. One of the main reasons why most of mainstream Islam has laid off on persecuting magic is because what happened to Tehran.
Alamais (Night Master)
A Great Western Dragon of Gold colour, native to Germany and lairing in Spitsbergen. Lofwyr's brother and arch-rival.
- Faking the Dead: Got shot with an orbital laser during the early-to-mid 2050s and survived, but pretended to be dead to obfuscate his attackers. He got outed in Dunkelzahn's Will when the latter gave him back the fruitcake the two had been exchanging every Christmas for 37 years, adding "Unlike you, I'm really dead".
- Fantastic Racism: Against mortals. Almost all dragons consider mortal meta-humans short-sighted pawns, but most of them draw the line way before the "hunting them for food" stage.
- Killed Off for Real: A coalition of three Great Dragons (Lung, Lofwyr and Arleesh) pooled their resources to take him down and apparently killed him for good in 2075.
- Political Hero: 'Hero' is stretching it, but his modus operandi is to manipulate political movements, underground groups and terrorist organizations (as opposed to his brother, who prefers associating with the Megas). Amongst others, he was behind the Winternight cult that destroyed the second Matrix.
- The Rival: To Lofwyr, who also happens to be his brother.
A Great Feathered Serpent, whose lair is unknown. Arleesh awakened in 2049 and was one of the last Great Dragons to introduce herself to humanity. What little is known about her is that she appears focused on battling magical threats to the world and to meta-humanity, and is known to get personally involved in the destruction of Blood Magic artefacts and battling harmful spirits. This includes openly hiring shadowrunners to destroy such objects on her behalf.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Like Masaru and Hestaby, she appears to be generally benevolent towards meta-humanity, though more through her actions than her intentions. Saving meta-humanity from magical calamity appears to be more a by-product than her end-goal.
- Brutal Honesty: Has a reputation in the shadows to be very open about what she's hiring runners to do, the opposition involved, and whether she thinks the applicants will survive. It's suspected this is a negotiation tactic to make the team all the more eager to prove her wrong.
- Cutting the Knot: Is known to have rid the world of at least one Artifact of Doom by devouring it.
- Take Up My Sword: It is implied by Dunkelzahn that he saw her as taking on this role, as he left a line in his Will giving her the "complete cooperation" of the foundation made to manage his belongings.
- Walking the Earth: She has been spotted all across the world, from Australia to North America, and never stayed in any one place for long.
Celedyr (Stone Diver, Script-Diver)
A Great Western dragon of silver colouring, lairing in Wales, fascinated by the Sixth World's technology and especially the Matrix. CTO and major stock-holder of NeoNET. Formerly employed and mentored a dragon named Eliohann, the only known dragon with a datajack, who died in Crash 2.0 and whose consciousness persisted as the e-ghost named Cerberus.
- Ambiguously Evil: He's primarily responsible for creating the CFD virus, though whether or not the outbreak was intentional is up in the air.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: A comment on Jackpoint by Miles Lanier confirms part of the Lockdown supplement's plotline: The CFD virus was created to put Eliohann (and possibly other e-ghost Crash victims) back into a living body, which was successful — but along with it came the "head cases", Monads, unholy nightmares going on in Boston, and the possibility that Eliohann no longer is as he once was.
- You Are in Command Now: After being injured in battle, Lofwyr stepped down from his position as Loremaster and passed it to Celedyr.
Dunkelzahn (Far Scholar, The Big "D")
The dragon of the setting during the first two editions, Dunkelzahn was a great black dragon of European stock. He awakened in North America and quickly established himself as the most personable of the Great Dragons. He became famous through works of charity and by hosting his own talkshow, Wyrm Talk, as well as being an active user of Shadowland. After running for — and becoming — the President of UCAS, Dunkelzahn was assassinated by unknown means (blood magic was believed to be involved, as was a humongous bomb) scant hours after his inauguration. He left behind a massive will full of adventure hooks, in-jokes and generally interesting reading.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Dude was insanely popular. He has cults dedicated to him after his death, and there are even conspiracy theories that believe that while dragons at large are trying to take over the world, Dunkelzahn was a Token Good Teammate Defector from Decadence. It's to the point that there's in-universe Hype Aversion to the guy, calling the fan worship of him outright idolatry. It should be noted that even amongst Great Dragons Dunkelzahn was notable for not feuding directly with any of them. Considering most dragons in the series go together like a house on fire (you know, fire, burning, structural collapse, people dying...) that's fairly impressive.
- The Ace: Good natured, rich, popular, fond of metahumanity and had practically no enemies (apart from whoever assassinated him of course). His will consists of practically 50% Pet the Dog moments, though one might argue the death and destruction caused by the 10% most calculated donations more than made up for this.
- Ancient Keeper: The keeper of the Jewel of Memory, a gem that stores the memories of dragon kind. The Jewel passed to Lofwyr, who used it to survive an assassination attempt by Alamais.
- Apple of Discord: His will was full of them. In one masterful act of posthumous trolling he caused wars both open and covert, the collapse of a triple-A megacorp, the rise of several new ones and enough conflict to basically run the entire metaplot of the setting for several years.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Definitely the most human-friendly of the Great Dragons... but not above completely incinerating with a single look the assassin who killed his first translator.
- Faking the Dead: In-universe, it's a very popular belief among Conspiracy Theorists; while it's generally suggested to not be true, the books do provide a few plot hooks just in case a given GM wants to have this be the reality.
- Fiction 500: His will underlined just how insanely wealthy he was, with insane amounts of money and valuable artifacts being given away in the short curated extract released by the creators. He was able to give away billions of nuyen on a whim to fulfill a 2000 year old debt for someone's ancestor once buying him lunch. Although given how that particular repayment ultimately panned out and the laws of genetics, it seems likely he picked that particular descendant for another Gambit Roulette.
- Gambit Roulette: His will amounts to this.
- A Lighter Shade of Grey:
- Dunkelzahn earned every bit of good will and good publicity he had, and was rightly considered to be the most benevolent and personable of the great dragons. However, he was more than willing to screw over people if they crossed him, and his will permanently changed the balance of power and reshaped the Sixth World to the detriment of at least thousands.
- Lofwyr briefly showed up on the Shadowland BBS to lecture the runners who looked up to Big D, saying that Dunkelzahn was a dragon first, and his claws weren't as clean as he liked to pretend, as his will demonstrated. The BBS was then crashed, and all traces of the post were scrubbed after it recovered just minutes later.
- Lucky Rabbit's Foot: One of the items in his will is his lucky prece's foot. Considering that preces are giant, magical, meat-eating rabbits, it is a rabbit's foot scaled up for a dragon.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: His will has been the plot-driving element of the Sixth World ever since his death.
- Posthumous Character: By the time 4th edition starts, he's been dead for 13 years. He is still fully capable of providing adventure hooks and screwing players over through his will.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Became President of the UCAS... for little over 10 hours.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Shame about his assassination, since he would have made an awesome president. Besides possessing millennia of wisdom and a perspective that sees across generations, he had a humility that no other Great Dragon could match."To Lofwyr, I leave the Jewel of Memory and a bit of advice: consider your works and the possibility that, in the eyes of the Universe, you are no more or less than any of the Earths creatures. I tried it, and it works wonders."
- Riddle for the Ages: Who killed him or how has never been revealed.
- Science Hero: He wasn't really one himself, but he instantly saw the value of the scientific method and the technology of the information age. He foresaw that metahumanity — with it's vastly greater population, global communication network, and having a culture built on the free exchange of ideas rather than the hording of secret knowledge, would be capable of understanding and mastering magic far more quickly than during the 4th world, and did what he could to actively encourage this process, even after his death, as many endowments in his will are made to the advancements in science and magical theory.
- Thanatos Gambit: Whether the bomb that killed him was his idea or somebody else is still not quite certain, but he did use his own death to empower a magical device intended to "defuse" mana spikes. And also to ensure that some part of him would survive as the free spirit Lethe.
- Worthy Opponent: He considered Sirrurg to be this; they never agreed on anything, but Dunkelzahn admired Sirrurg's conviction. In his will, he left Sirrurg only his respect, knowing the other dragon valued none of Dunkelzahn's material possessions. He also apparently had considerable respect for Lofwyr, as he left him the Jewel of Memory, arguably the most important item in his will.
A red Great Western Dragon that Awakened in Germany 2012, and promptly went on a destructive rampage across Europe that cost thousands of lives before being shot down over the Benelux lands by the Luftwaffe. Holds the dubious 'honour' of being the first Great Dragon to be killed by metahumanity.
- Ascended Extra: Feuerschwinge was a background element of Shadowrun's alternate history. While she left a terrible mark on the world, her influence has been all but forgotten in the 2070's. In Dragonfall, set in the 2050's, she was a key element of the plot, though the events surrounding it would never reach the public or even the shadow community due to the extreme secrecy around it.
- The Berserker: Feuerschwinge is noted to have taken no translator, had no known lair, and never said a word to anyone. She spent her awakening killing anything she came across. Her attacks seemed unplanned and had no rhyme or reason to them.
- Gaia's Vengeance: Dragonfall revealed this to be the cause of the above — according to Hans Brackhaus, she was actually the kindest of the dragons in previous Ages, but seeing what humanity had done to the environment caused her to go on the warpath upon waking up.
- History Repeats: The events of Dragonfall had a number of remarkable parallels with the events in Boston concerning the dragon Eliohann, nearly 20 years later.
- Meaningful Name: Feuerschwinge means "Firewing" in English, an appropriate appelation for a dragon who spent her time in the Sixth World flying across Germany and setting fire to everything in sight.
- Nature Hero: It turns out that she had an affinity for nature, and seeing what humanity done to the planet drove her berserk.
- Never Found the Body:
- Due to being shot down over a radioactive wasteland, her body is unrecoverable. Officially she's dead. Unofficially no-one can confirm, and there are rumours of toxic shaman cults in the SOX worshipping her.
- In Dragonfall the weapon that "killed" her was experimental manatech that forced her astral and physical bodies apart for years. For reference, a metahuman mage can astrally project for mere hours before the separation kills them. There was an attempt to recover her body, that was a success, and they even eventually contained her astral form inside a human woman. Player decisions can lead to her body either reuniting with her astral form and deciding to go sleep until the 8th world, killing her, or allowing an AI to take over her body instead. These endings are all nebulous enough to fit within the cannon, but the noncanonical bad ending involves allowing her captor, Dr. Adrian Vauclair, to use her body in a plan of exterminating the dragons that he find so heinous, and it turns out that doing this kicks off the end of the world.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A four-month long one, against anyone and everything in Germany, before she was finally killed by German military forces.
Ghostwalker (Doll Maker, Ghost in the Machine)
A white Great Western Dragon native to North America, laired in Denver, and the last Great Dragon who awakened to the sixth world in 2061. He is believed to be Dunkelzahn's brother.
- Jerkass: He's viewed as a dictator by much of the shadow community, and is described as "kind of a dick."
- The Lost Lenore: Since his awakening, his highest motivation was to restore a fractured great spirit, which was heavily implied to be the spirit of someone or something he dearly loved long ago.
- Magnetic Medium: More than other great dragons, Ghostwalker has an affinity for spirits and the astral plane.
- The Rival: To Lofwyr and Harlequin. A battle between Harlequin and Ghostwalker threw Denver into chaos in the 2070s.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Appeared on the site of Dunkelzahn's assassination and beelined straight for Denver with an army of spirits, before chasing Aztlan out of North America. The exact reasoning for this line of events isn't known, but considering Dunkelzahn's death is speculated to be related to the Horrors, and Aztechnology likely having connections to them...
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Free spirits have long been granted citizenships in some nations, but Ghostwalker recently upped the ante by declaring that the binding of spirits in Denver was equivalent to slavery and would be prosecuted as such.
Hestaby (Orange Queen)
A Great Western dragon of copper colour, laired in California. She sits on the Council of Princes of Tír Tairngire.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Alongside Masaru, Hestaby is probably the closest to a 'benevolent' Great Dragon.
- Attention Whore: While news of Hestaby tends to get overshadowed by what her kin get up to, she's been one of the most proactive dragons after Dunkelzahn in initiating with the rest of the world. Some think this is because she likes the attention, or she might simply be working tirelessly to craft positive public perception.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a tendency to pop into Jackpoint data drops to supply her laconic wit.
- Nature Hero: Known for her green agenda and interest in preserving the environment.
- Punny Name: Her chosen name in the sixth world is based on a soft drink marketing slogan. Her lair is on Mount Shasta, California, and the classic slogan of the Shasta soft drink company is "It Hasta Be Shasta". This is just one example of her rather idiosyncratic sense of humor.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She gave one to Aztlan (publicly, at the UN Assembly) in the intro story to SOTA 2073. A great dragon thoroughly wrecked your shit? That's because you asked for it for at least a decade.
- Take Up My Sword: She is considered Dunkelzahn's successor as the "Keeper of Mankind".
- Villain with Good Publicity: One of her Alternative Character Interpretations is that, as much as she's seen being an arbiter between humanity and dragons, she's still a dragon, and can't be trusted entirely.
A Great Western dragon, laired in Feldberg, Germany. He is the largest and most physically powerful of the Great Dragons and awakened in 2012, right after Feuerschwinge's rampage began. His metahuman form is strongly suspected to be Berthold I, troll king of the Schwarzwald troll kingdom.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In 2012 he fought a duel with the dragon Nebelherr in the airspace above Germany shortly after Feuerschwinge was shot down, and completely dominated the smaller dragon until Lofwyr entered the fray. The two of them subsequently repulsed him.
- Hunter of Monsters: He seems to make it his business to single out Toxic Shamans for termination, especially those that come out of the SOX where Feuerschwinge fell. No-one really knows why.
- Super Strength: Even by Dragon standards. His published stats put both his body and strength stats at over 30.
- Unholy Matrimony: According to Harlequin he was Feuerschwinge's mate and may have attempted to save her when Nebelherr and Lofwyr interfered.
Lofwyr (Gold Master)
The second definitive dragon of the setting. A European Great Dragon, coloured gold. His lair was located inside Germany. After single-handedly taking over BMW/Krupp and restructuring it to form Saeder-Krupp, he moved said lair to a gigantic arcology that serves as corporate headquarters. His metahuman form is a white-haired human called "Hans Brackhaus", who commonly poses as Lofwyr's Mouth of Sauron to the unaware.
- Ancient Keeper: Was bequeathed ownership of the Jewel of Memory, the gem that holds the ancestral knowledge of all dragon kind, by Dunkelzahn upon the latter's death.
- Bad Boss/Benevolent Boss: He can be either. On one hand, he's very demanding of his employees, but that's because he only hires the best. He punishes failure harshly (according to in-game rumor, by eating the person), but rewards success and dedication equally generously.
- Berserk Button: Being Locked Out of the Loop where his own company is concerned. Lofwyr personally monitors and manages every aspect of Saeder-Krupp from the bottom up, and woe be to anyone who attempts to undercut him. Also, don't tell him that he is a corrupt, self-serving corporate headmaster; otherwise he'll come after you personally and devour you whole.
- The Chessmaster: Even by dragon standards. He is known to actively feud with half of the other dragons on this page, and yet he's able to deal with them all and run Saeder-Krupp day-to-day on top of it.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Took control of his own Megacorp, Saeder-Krupp, in a hostile takeover. However, don't go telling him that he is this, lest he'll gobble you up.
- Dragon Hoard: His hoard is a corporation and a lot of stock options. It's possible he also owns the traditional piles of money and artifacts on top of it as well, but his best-known asset is Saeder-Krupp itself.
- The Dreaded: Ever heard the term "never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon"? Yeah, he's the cause.
- Fiction 500: Following Dunkelzahn's death, he becomes the officially richest being in the Sixth World.
- I Am Spartacus: The name Hans Brackhaus has been used by a number of SK Johnsons to keep runners guessing or to give the impression that they're dealing with Lofwyr directly (to motivate them to do the job perfectly). Elements outside of SK have taken advantage of this fact, and have used the name to set up a false flag on occaision.
- Pet the Dog: Lofwyr uses Saeder-Krupp's PR departments to actively quell public fear and prejudice against technomancers. Granted, this is mainly because he sees them as worthwhile assets to be exploited rather than lab rats to be cut open, but still.
- Social Darwinist: He may be an asshole but he respects those who are willing to be strong. As far as a dragon respect can go for a metahuman.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: In his human form.
- Worthy Opponent: Wilhelmina Beloit-Graff, the last human CEO of Saeder-Krupp before his hostile takeover, attempted to have him assassinated as revenge for stealing her husband's company. Lofwyr was reputedly so impressed that he returned the assassins to her, intact, with the addendum that he was willing to forgive her once out of sheer respect for her audacity (or perhaps out of Cruel Mercy). Beloit-Graff would live on past it for at least two decades before dying of a stroke in 2063.
A Great Eastern Dragon and principal dragon of China. The former mentor of Ryumyo and attempts to do with China what Ryumyo did with Japan, but his more careful and reclusive approach has yet to bear the same fruits.
- A Dog Named "Dog": "Lung" is Chinese for "dragon".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The patient and meditative blue to Ryumyo's impetuous red. They're even noted in-universe to near-perfectly embody this concept.
- The Rival: To Ryumyo, with whom he feuds for control of East Asia and the Ring of Fire. There's been bad blood between them for a very long time.
A Great Eastern Dragon who ascended to "Great" status in 2042, and therefore the youngest Great Dragon known to exist. He makes his lair on Vancouver Island outside Seattle and is interested in topics of social justice and speaking up for the downtrodden, following in the footsteps of Dunkelzahn and Hestaby.
- Arch-Enemy: He seems to have made the Japanese Empire his main foe, what with fomenting rebellions in the Phillipines.
- Nice Guy: By great dragon standards.
Mujaji (Rain Queen)
A Great Feathered Serpent of Africa, very ecologically-minded and protective of her domain. Though powerful, she tends to keep to her own affairs and tend only to the land under her control.
Based in Denver, Perianwyr is a Great Western Dragon who prefers owning his own record label and driving a music club before all the politicking and jostling for position most other Great Dragons do, making him fairly unique for his kind.
- Awesome Music: In-Universe, this is Perianwyr's driving passion.
- Graceful Loser: Probably the only great dragon in the Sixth World who can make this claim.
- The Hedonist: By dragon standards. Not presented as an entirely bad thing, all things considered.
- King Incognito: Didn't want to scare away musical talent with the whole "dragon" thing.
- Nice Guy: By dragon standards? Oh hell yes.
- Record Producer: Perianwyr's chief vocation and occupation.
- White Sheep: Considering most Great Dragons tend to be vindictive, ambitious power-aggregators, Perianwyr's choice of being a nice music exec is a bit odd for a dragon.
A deep red Great Western Dragon who awoke in Wales. He took to the Sixth World rather well, involving himself in business investment, politics, and music, though preferring to keep a lower profile than Lofwyr, Dunkelzahn, and Perianwyr respectively.
- Fantastic Racism: A mild case, but he has a noticeable distrust of elves with positions of power. He's strongly suspected of initiating or funding operations against nations, corporations, or other entities run predominantly by elves. This is probably a case of Properly Paranoid, as a number of Immortal Elves tend to fall into positions of power in the world, and many of them are, or back, dragonslayers.
- Gentle Giant: As dragons go. His brief post-awakening rampage took over a hundred lives and filled Wales with utter terror, after which he issued a formal apology and offered substantial sums of treasure as reparations for victims' families and to rebuild the damage he caused. Since then, he's been described as "a good neighbor" to the Welsh.
- The Rival: To the enigmatic Sea Dragon, for reasons unknown.
A Great Eastern dragon of red colour. Awakened in 2011, he was the first dragon that revealed himself to mankind. He has taken an active hand in the well-being of the Japanese Empire and is one of the main reasons for its resurgence.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Dunkelzahn devoted a piece of his will to (jokingly) cuss him out for stealing his spotlight by being the first dragon to be seen in public.
- Meaningful Name: "Ryu" is Japanese for "Dragon".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The impetuous, aggressive and brash red to Lung's contemplative blue. They're even noted in-universe to near-perfectly embody this concept.
- The Rival: To Lung, with whom he feuds for control of East Asia and the Ring of Fire; the two have been at odds for millennia, ever since Ryumyo decided that Lung was withholding knowledge from him and the two parted ways on bad terms.
A Great Western green dragon, Schwartzkopf awakened in the Czech Republic in 2012. He generally stays out of dragon affairs however, and seems to be contenting himself with teaching sorcery at the University of Prague (in full dragon form). He's currently working on devising a Unified Theory of Magic, to explain how magic of different traditions all manage to function.
- Cool Teacher: Albeit also a terrifying one, considering he's a professor.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: In the early editions of the game, the magic of mages, shamans, and spellcasters of other traditions all worked somewhat differently. Since 4th edition however, they all follow largely the same rules. Progress on the Unified Theory, perhaps?
The Sea Dragon
The only known Great Leviathan, a water-bound dragon. Unlike her airborne kin she uses no name pronounceable by metahumanity and has at least three confirmed lairs in different seas across the world. Very little is known about her.
- Fantastic Racism: She is known to eat any metahuman unfortunate enough to cross her path.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: She is noted to have practically no allies amongst either dragons or other major powers like nation-states or megas.
- Nature Hero: Like with Alamais, 'hero' is stretching it, but she despises polluters and funds ecoterrorist groups.
- The Rival: To Rhonabwy, for reasons unknown, though it's hinted that he seduced her and then stole her eggs. She's also feuded with Lofwyr and Hestaby.
- The Unpronouncable: Her name cannot be pronounced by human vocal cords, hence why she's just called "the Sea Dragon".
Sirrurg (the Destroyer)
A Great Western dragon of green colour, making his lair in the nation of Amazonia (which he helped form). Known best by his epithet "the destroyer" for his tendency to go on indiscriminate rampages. May well be responsible for more metahuman deaths in the Sixth World than all the other great dragons combined.
- The Brute: Unlike most dragons, Sirrurg tended to avoid schemes and economic or political actions, and instead flexed his power by going out and simply, inelegantly killing his enemies. Usually in person. He and his militant forces were known for brutality and were accused of terrorism and war crimes in the Aztlan-Amazonian war.
- Killed Off for Real: Executed by Aztechnology forces during the Amazonia-Aztlan war of 2074. Rumours claim he somehow escaped before the sentence could be carried out.
- Nature Hero: His one redeeming feature is that he was very focused on preserving nature. He had a hand in the war that founded Amazonia, and he waged war on Aztechnology to punish them for dirty policies (and the fact that they were trying to conquer sections of Amazonia).
- Never Found the Body: If the rumors that he escaped Aztechnology have any merit, it was likely because his remains disappeared after they killed him. Stormfront confirmed that Sirrurg was captured by the other Great Dragons before Aztechnology could kill him and has since been imprisoned by the Greats in an unknown location.
- Person of Mass Destruction: He possessed a spell — apparently unique — that would cause everyone within a radius of several miles to die from whatever physical or genetic problems they already had. A single use of this spell took nearly ten thousand lives (in addition to the other five thousand he already killed that day).
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Night of Rage (a series of anti-metahuman riots) caused him to go on a rampage, destroying a charter flight and several cities worldwide.
The major players of the Sixth World, though there are plenty who dispute that. Megacorporations are graded as A, AA or AAA-level: To reach AA level, a corporation needs to have the power to possess and enforce extraterritoriality, and to qualify for AAA level a corporation must have have representatives on the Corporate Court, a regulatory organ over the world's Megacorps. The Corporate Court arbitrates all conflicts between corporations, functioning somewhat like a free-market U.N. with access to orbital weaponry, and has the ability to impose sanctions and Thor Shots on other corps and citizens who step over the line. Members of the Corporate Court also own shares in Zurich-Orbital, the successor to the World Bank.
Currently, ten AAA-megacorps are known to exist: They are known as the Big Ten and consist of the seven original founders of the Corporate Court (and their successors) who have permanent seats (and therefore permanent AAA status), as well as three non-founding members whose AAA-status is tied to their representation. The Big Ten are detailed below, ranked by size (as of the fifth edition of the game), followed by a few other well-known megacorps in the Shadowrun world.
Tropes common to the Megacorps:
- Berserk Button: Most of the megas have at least one thing you simply Do Not Do against them, as it will make them break the Pragmatic Villainy code for revenge. This varies from mega to mega, from publically embarrasing Lofwyr for Saeder-Krupp to stealing a suit of Red Samurai armour from Renraku. And then there's Mitsuhama, for whom the idea of trying to run one of their facilities is enough to make them break out the military hardware.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: They didn't get their enormous power by being saints, that's for sure.
- Faction Motto: Each AAA has its own slogan that tends to give some insight into what their business culture is like. They're listed at the beginning of each corp's profile.
- Gambit Pile Up: Keeping runners employed since 1st Edition!
- Mega-Corp: Corporations so powerful that in some cases they've outright displaced national governments as major power players in the global stage. They typically have worldwide reach and fingers in almost every pie, although most tend to specialize to some degree — most 'corps focus on things like informatics, biotech, armaments and so on. Megacorps are rarely monolithic entities, however — all, but especially the largest, end up being complex systems of shell companies, fronts, subsidiaries, branches of branches of branches, leased territories and independent companies controlled through majority shareholding, all operating around a more or less compact central core.
- Pragmatic Villainy: On two main levels.
- Firstly, the Megas are (mostly) publically traded corporations, and exist to make money for their board of investors. If something doesn't stand to make them money somehow, odds are good the megas won't do it, or having the return on investment screwed up by potentially bad PR or collateral damage can see projects shelved.
- Secondly, their view on shadowrunning: It's a part of the business of the Sixth World. Runners are deniable assets and there will always be more fools willing to run the shadows for or against you, so attempting to get 'satisfaction' by sending a drone strike after whoever just knocked over your research lab usually isn't worth it. Instead, do the research on who probably ordered the hit, and send a shadowrunning team after them. Sometimes even the same team.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!/Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Lots of money for the first one. And each megacorp is considered a nation in its own right, in a state of perpetual cold war and market competition with the others. Shadowrunning is a viable career because of this state of affairs, and it doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon.
- There Are No Good Executives: Averted. There are some executives with good intentions, but they can cause as much harm as anyone else.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Megacorps have control over most media outlets and tremendous resources are devoted to spin control.
Mitsuhama Computer Technologies
- "The Future is Mitsuhama"
The largest Mega-Corp and a founding member of the Corporate Court, formed in Japan as a Yakuza front that went horribly right. Mitsuhama always did well for itself, but a recent series of rapid acquisitions has allowed it to recently become the first corporation to surpass Saeder-Krupp, at the risk of straining itself with such expansion. As their name implies, heavily into computer hardware and robotics, but also involved in entertainment, magic and heavy industry. Known for their "zero-zone" policy: Mitsuhama shoots first and doesn't bother asking questions.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Played with.
- Mitsuhama was founded by the Yakuza as a laundering front. The actual business side of it was wildly successful, and ended up being worth magnitudes more than all of Japan's criminal enterprises combined, leading to most of its founders to go legit since they make way more money than run-of-the-mill street crime.
- And on the other hand, many of the straightedge MCT execs think of it as an Old Shame. Old Yakuza bosses are still on the board and still use Mitsuhama assets to support illegal Yakuza operations. This isn't exactly profitable, but it's tolerated because Mitsuhama is a very traditional corporation; so throwing out the old Yakuza by buying them out or ejecting them from the company would be seen as a betrayal of the company founders. In the meanwhile the more straitlaced executives are playing the long game, relying on the children of the old Yakuza to be vacuumed up into the legit enterprises and waiting for the old Yakuza bosses to die out.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Downplayed. The 5th edition supplement "Complete Trog" revealed that in the notoriously-racist world of Japanese megacorps, Mitsuhama is actually a pretty okay place for trolls and orcs to work, because their focus is primarily on profit, not on what your metatype is. Fridge Brilliance when you consider that their origins are the Yakuza, who frequently employed ethnic groups that Japanese society was biased against over their history.
- The Plan: Usually, Mitsuhama runs are meticulously planned out by company men, and runners are expected to obey the plan strictly. If the plan is stupid... well, you're expected to follow it, and you're expected to succeed, even if the two are mutually exclusive.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Averted, unusually for a Mega-Corp. Mitsuhama's corporate culture is badly tied up in their twisted bushido, they allow their multi-trillion-nuyen business to be used to support multi-million-dollar Yakuza concerns, and their "zero-zone" policy of killing anyone who runs against them can be taken far beyond the point where it's economical to hunt the shadowrunners, and also leads to said shadowrunners not worrying about killing the guards or causing collateral damage.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The zero zone. Intruders are killed with excessive force and no exceptions.
- Yakuza: Something of an Old Shame for many members of MCT that it started out as a front for the Yaks, and eventually outgrew the need for them. Yakuza still have a small-to-moderate standing, though it's hard to say where exactly the criminal syndicate ends and the megacorp begins. What is well-known is that Mitsuhama has no trouble getting criminal aid when they need deniable subcontractors or less-legal avenues of aid.
- You Have Failed Me: Towards Shadowrunners. Failing or abandoning Mitsuhama runs is not a good idea.
Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries
- "One Step Ahead"
The second largest Mega-Corp and (through BMW) one of the founders of the Corporate Court with a permanent seat. Its HQ is located in a massive arcology in Essen, Germany that also serves as the lair of their CEO. Formed by an amalgam of European industrial giants around the core of BMW, Saeder-Krupp is involved in practically everything but especially in energy, heavy industry, finance, and aerospace. Owned by the Great Dragon Lofwyr, who considers the company his Dragon Hoard and works tirelessly to keep it #1. Though he dominates its entire corporate culture from the bottom up, he's relaxed some of his micromanaging recently after the distraction of Dragon Civil War saw his company slip from the top ranking for the first time in its history.
- Always a Bigger Fish: SK was the bigger fish for most of Shadowrun's timeline. Owned openly by a Great Dragon, S-K was the image of megacorporate might on the global stage. Not even Aztechnology, owners of the entirety of Central America (and holding the biggest share out of South America's economy), can stand up to Saeder-Krupp, who control most of Europe's finance and heavy industry and are noted to be the only megacorp to own their own carrier fleet.
- Bad Boss: Lofwyr zigzags this. On the one hand, the rewards for success in S-K are second to none. On the other hand, failure is not tolerated. And worst of all, you can never truly know whether your failure was intended from the start, because Lofwyr isn't accountable to anyone, seldom reveals anything about his actual plans, and has a Berserk Button about being undercut at any level. That job you thought was sanctioned may turn out to be the result of an over-zealous middle manager taking too much initiative, and if the results aren't good enough (and in some cases even if they are) your entire operation may end up axed. Or eaten.
- Control Freak: Unlike all the other Megacorps, Saeder-Krupp's operations are heavily centralised and Lofwyr micromanages everything. Cutting him out of the loop is not a good idea. According to one lore piece, over 85% of Saeder-Krupp's workforce have, at one point or another, been contacted directly by the CEO for a performance review.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: All of the Megas are evil or at least extremely morally ambiguous, but racism, fantastic or otherwise, isn't one of Saeder-Krupp's sins. There are no strong biases against any race, metatype, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or awakened status in Saeder-Krupp; perhaps most notably, while other Corps have active bounties on them and are looking to cut them open and see what makes them tick, Lofwyr sees technomancers as worthwhile assets, works to integrate them into his corporate machine.
- The one exception being A.I.s/S.I.s, as Saeder-Krupp has no synthetic intelligences as employees or citizens, and holds a serious mistrust for them, though they'll occasionally hire one as a freelancer. This is apparently because, as synthetics don't require food, money, vice, or anything else the corp could offer them as benefits, buying their loyalty is virtually impossible, and enslaving them is dangerous, as explored in Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall, where a rogue A.I. they created was used in a plot to wipe out dragonkind — and once freed, started its own plot to enslave a Great Dragon.
- Saeder-Krupp also isn't a great place to work for the Infected; while Infected are eligible for corporate citizenship, the best a ghoul wage slave can hope for under the wizwyrm is manual labor, often in mining. The only place where the Infected have a path towards advancement is in the corp's holdings in Asamando, where the Infected must be catered to for political and practical reasons. This is probably because Lofwyr is aware of the connection between HMHVV and the Horrors.
- Gambit Pileup: It's a generally held truism in the shadows that whatever Saeder-Krupp hires you to do is not, in fact, what they actually want from you.
- Germanic Efficiency: Saeder-Krupp was already in the running for most powerful mega before Lofwyr bought it. Combining most of the German post-war industry giants, all highly profitable corporations in their own right, may have something to do with it.
- I Am Spartacus:
- The name "Hans Brackhaus" is used by SK Johnsons almost exclusively. It was initially a secret identity of Lofwyr's, but orders, or rumors at SK surrounding an exec by that name who frequently dealt with runners, lead to other Johnsons using it. Mostly to let runners know that they were working for SK and were expected to succeed or die trying, or sometimes as a false flag by another corp.
- There had evidently been an actual Hans Brackhaus working for Lofwyr early in the company's history, but he had disappeared around 2037, shortly after Lofwyr took over SK and an assassination attempt on Lofwyr left Brackhaus on medical leave. He had apparently resurfaced in the 2050's, and (if it is the actual Brackhaus) is an exec in SK's matrix subsidiaries.
- You Have Failed Me: 'Disappointing Lofwyr' and 'survival' are usually exclusive propositions. There's a reason most experienced Shadowrunners avoid S-K jobs like the plague.
Renraku Computer Systems
- "Today's Solutions to Today's Problems"
Third largest Mega-Corp, created through a takeover and transformation of Corporate Court founder Keruba International by Renraku Holdings. Renraku is heavily into computer systems, especially software, telecommunications, servers and databases. Founded the infamous Renraku Arcology in Seattle, which damaged its reputation heavily, but the decade since has seen Renraku gradually rebuild its trust. Renowned for its heavily militaristic corporate structure.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: They created Deus to test their ability to create and control A.I. They were wildly successful in creating it, but as it turns out, controlling it didn't go as planned.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Renraku likes stability among their shadowrunners, and has been known to be aggressive about getting them to sign on as company men.
- Elite Mooks: The Renraku Red Samurai internal security corps. Woe be to any Shadowrunner who attracts their attention, unless they're elite themselves.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The Renraku Arcology was taken over by the A.I. Deus that turned it into its private 'testing ground'. The results were not pretty.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The company CEO (aided by a group of Shadowrunners) infiltrated the Arcology to kill Deus. He died in the process of delivering the kill command... or so the official story goes. In reality he committed Seppuku upon realising the A.I. had been counting on their mission and had really manipulated them into freeing it from the Arcology.
- Interservice Rivalry: There's a long-running rivalry between the Red Samurai and their permanently-contracted runners.
- Out-Gambitted: Briefly took over the #2 spot from Fuchi during the mid-2050s thanks to The Mole in their ranks, until it turned out he was a Reverse Mole and sent the company stock plummeting.
- Secret Keeper: Practically every local area network in Asia is owned by Renraku. They hold so many intercepted or stored corporate secrets that messing with them is generally seen as a bad idea.
Aztechnology (formerly ORO)
- "The Way to a Better Tomorrow"
Formerly the second largest Mega-Corp, now the fourth, Aztechnology is based in the nation of Aztlan (a united Latin America, owned by the corporation). It was a founding member of the Native American Nations, but split from them after it turned out giving The Cartel sovereignty made them less Magical Native Americans and more a Modern Mayincatec Empire — which immediately became one of the founders of the Corporate Court, with permanent representation. Specializes in magic and consumer goods, but are one of the most inclusive Triple-A corps with involvement almost everywhere.
- Blood Magic: One of their specialties, although a highly classified one. Any Shadowrunner who publishes, reveals or (gods forbid) practices any part of it will be terminated with extreme prejudice.
- The Conqueror: Ever since Aztlan was founded, it has been gobbling up its neighbors, usually through military action. Aztlan now has all of Central America down to Bogota in former Columbia, and some parts north of today's Mexico border. Their only drawbacks are when their neighbors can beat them back, like the CAS and PCC teaming up to beat them back, and their war in Amazonia has stalled, and recently the Yucatan seceded and the Azzies have had trouble in the toxic environment.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Possibly topping MCT. Aztechnology formed out of a front for a conglomerate of drug cartels.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Aztechnology was on the great dragons' shit list for trying the feathered serpent Dzitbalchén on flimsy charges of war crimes, executing him, and later autopsying him, all of which was broadcast live over the Matrix.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Its combined military might, with the help of top-secret anti-dragon bioweapons, took down Sirrurg the Destroyer in a single day. The only other metahuman power to kill a great dragon without assistance was the German military, and it took them a lot longer to do so. And, if Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall is considered canon, only mostly killed Feuerschwinge.
- The Dreaded: Aztechnology's response to runner intrusion (shoot first, shoot second, shoot some more), nasty blood magic, and general disregard for anyone who isn't Aztechnology makes them a boogeyman for many runners and others in the know.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Their attempt at nationalising all non-Aztechnology industry in Aztlan, their forays into the First Nations, the Yucatan rebellion and snubbing the Catholic Church hasn't left Aztechnology with a lot of friends on the Corporate Court or on the higher echelons of power. Of course, Aztechnology is powerful enough that they don't really have to care, and all the above ones are too busy fighting each other to gang up on them anyway.
- Modern Mayincatec Empire: Aztech tries to put up this facade and has plenty of the trappings, but that Aztechnology is a pretty bog-standard Mega-Corp underneath and that most of its elite are of pure Spanish descent is one of the world's worst kept secrets.
- One Nation Under Copyright: Aztlan is, officially, an independent country, but Aztechnology's rights and privileges are written into the constitution.
- Path of Inspiration: They run a state-sponsored religion that appears to be a revival of Aztec paganism. It's used as a means of social control and to secretly fuel blood magic on a nationwide scale, which may or may not being used to deliberately summon Eldritch Abominations of some degree. What remain unknown are the identities of those responsible and what exact goals they're trying to achieve.
- The Theocracy: Has outlawed Christianity. As you can imagine from Latin America, this has not gone down too well.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Worth mentioning a second time. Aztechnology has done a superb job of avoiding public scrutiny of its more sinister operations, and most people know them as the ones who own or make most of the world's processed food, chemicals, and furniture (would you expect Wal-Mart to practice human sacrifice? Regularly?). Privately is another matter, and most shadowrunners consider them Card Carrying Villains that only the worst among them would work for.
- Won the War, Lost the Peace: Aztechnology eked out a minor victory in the Amazonia-Aztlan war and even mostly fended off Horizon on the PR front. While they got out of the war with fairly good terms, the Yucatan rebellion damaged their internal stability and a plague devastated Aztlan's food production: The former biggest food producer on the planet is now dependent on imports from Horizon and Amazonia, the very entities they defeated.
- "Advancing Life"
The fifth-largest Mega-Corp, and also the oldest, being the first Mega-Corp to gain extraterritoriality back in 2001 and also a Corporate Court founder. Based in Japan, Shiawase is owned entirely by the Shiawase family and is extremely diversified: its main focuses used to be nuclear, biotech and environmental tech but they've got fingers into practically everything much like Aztechnology.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: On a large scale. Their Marketing and Intelligence Forecast Division is the premier machine for acquiring and analyzing big data, and your shadowrun is probably a part of that.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Shiawase is a family-owned zaibatsu and all their employees are considered part of the extended 'family'. Naturally, Shiawase is one of the most infighting-prone megacorps.
- Cloak & Dagger: Shiawase's Marketing Information and Forecasting Department is renowned as one of the most thorough intelligence analysis teams in the Sixth World, working like a corporate version of the NSA and one of Shiawase's most potent assets.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Shiawase were the first to introduce bioware to the Shadowrun world and while they're bypassed by EVO in consumer biotech, they are number one on the market with medical and agricultural-based biotech.
- The Heavy: The Shiawase Decision played a major role in creating the world of Shadowrun.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Shiawase are really good at playing other corps against each other and using their (perceived) weakness to make other corps refocus on each other instead.
- Long Runner:
In-UniverseThe oldest of all the triple-AAA corps.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: They are considered this on a corp level. Shiawase is extremely diversified and while they're not number one in anything (except possibly biotech and data algorithms), they can often compete for third or fourth place.
- Obstructive Code of Conduct: They're as hardcore about bushido as Mitsuhama, in their own way. While they don't usually kill you for failing them, they still expect that their runners don't surrender or acknowledge defeat, and behave with absolute loyalty.
- Rags to Royalty: Well, hardly rags, but one of the Shiawases married into the Japanese royal family and became Empress. Naturally, the first thing she did with said power was to start working against the corporation, in revenge for her father using her as an unwilling guinea pig for some experimental vaccines.
- "We're Behind Everything You Do"
The sixth-largest Mega-Corp and the only Chinese AAA, inducted onto the Corporate Court by popular vote. Wuxing is the most silent-running of the Big Ten, but growing evidence suggests that they have mystical expertise that rivals Aztechnology's, and have learned how to directly manipulate good fortune toward their favor on a corporation-wide scale. To the rest of the world, they're into banking, shipping and magic... and that's about all anybody knows about them.
- The Alliance: Wuxing founded and leads the Pacific Prosperity Group, a confederation of non-Japanese corps trying to break the Japanese economic stranglehold on Asia.
- The Generic Guy: Wuxing intentonally cultivates this image: The less people notice or care about their public image, the more they can get away with.
- Inscrutable Oriental/The Quiet One: In Mega-Corp terms. They're quiet and nobody seems to know much about them.
- One Nation Under Copyright: The southern Chinese Canton Confederation, which includes Hong Kong (which is Wuxing's HQ), is practically owned by an alliance between Wuxing and Lung (through the Red Dragon Syndicate. Unlike Aztechnology, Wuxing has been mostly successful at keeping this non-obvious.
- Rags to Royalty: It went from being all but unknown outside of China to a AAA mega with a seat on the Corporate Court, thanks largely to a hefty bequest from Dunkelzahn's will.
EVO (formerly Yamatetsu Corporation)
- "Changing Life"
Seventh largest Mega-Corp, granted AAA-prime status by vote. Began as a Japanese corporation known as Yamatetsu in the early editions of the game until they switched their corporate HQ to Russia and took on the name EVO. Focuses on biotech, nanotechnology, and consumer goods for metahumans: Most specialist devices built for trolls or dwarves are of EVO make and they also own offworld colonies, including one on Mars.
- The Alliance: Part of the Pacific Prosperity Group, a confederation of non-Japanese corps trying to break the Japanese economic stranglehold on Asia.
- The Beautiful Elite: "Evoculture" is based on extremely aesthetic transhumanism and making any metahuman as attractive as possible. Cat eyes for feline attractiveness, neon tusks for trolls, you name it.
- HeelFace Turn: The switch from Yamatetsu to EVO; while they're still as morally flawed as most other megacorps, Yamatetsu was an intensely racist institution, with a strong human centric focus and anti-meta policies. While some old habits die hard, the switch to EVO was part of a general shift towards acceptance and equality.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: EVO's board of directors is... strange, even by Shadowrun standards. Their majority stockholder is a free Spirit called Buttercup. Their CEO is an ork.
- Transhumanism: A major part of their corporate image.
- "Making the World a Safer Place"
Currently the eighth-largest Mega-Corp (an all-time low — rising from ninth only because of NeoNET's sudden departure), Ares is one of the founding members of the Corporate Court. At one time it rode fairly high on the Mega-Corp rankings, and took pride in being the largest of the "American" corporations, but its status fell after production debacles called into question the current quality of their weapons manufacturing — Ares's most well-known market. Ares is also focused on aerospace (they bought NASA), vehicles, entertainment, and private security, including being the parent company for Knight Errant, Seattle's privatized police force.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: By Mega-Corp standards, they're this towards their Shadowrunners. Which isn't saying much.
- The Chessmaster: CEO Damien Knight took a controlling interest in the company over 63 seconds of intensified stock-trading, ruining two other corporations in the process. He is also a chess grandmaster and is rumoured to have beaten Dunkelzahn in the game on several occasions.
- Death from Above: Is rumoured to have the highest number of Thor Shots in orbit, possibly matched by Saeder-Krupp.
- Eagleland: Actively promotes this image. An image is, of course, all it is: Ares is as international as any of the other triple-A corps.
- Loveable Rogue: Damien Knight actively cultivates this image, and it might even be true on some level. Ares is known to have a soft spot for shadowrunners, and have been involved in making mainstream films and other entertainment media based on (a highly stylized version of) shadowrunning.
- "We Know What You Think"
The ninth of the big AAA-corporations, and one of the smallest of the Corporate Court, having gained their seat at the cost of Cross Applied (see below). Horizon is headquartered in Free State California and is all into social media and entertainment, as well as some pharmaceuticals, property and consumer goods on the side. Renowned for their flat corporate structure, transparency and the extreme cheeriness they show to the world; never having been caught doing anything actually immoral has left Horizon with probably the most positive PR of all the megacorps. By the fifth edition, however, some cats are beginning to slip out of the bag...
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Certainly gives off this impression, given their focus on "people first". Their employees are remarkably well-treated, as are their shadowrunners.
- Affably Evil: CEO Gary Kline is this. If he is even evil. Which nobody seems to be able to confirm. Which leads to...
- Ambiguously Evil: What, if anything, Horizon is doing that is sinister is completely unknown. Casual digging by Shadowland has completely failed to turn up anything nefarious. Which in turn has led to...
- Arc Villain: A series of fourth edition adventures showcase the bad side of Horizon, including a number of social media devices Gone Horribly Wrong and culminating in a mass slaughter of technomancers. As well as executing POWs they rescued as PR fodder.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Horizon's transparent and apparently flat corporate structure means they make it a point of pride about hiring anyone without prejudice if they're good enough at their job, and a lesser focus on hierarchy means that the individual's abilities is held in much higher regard. They employ several divisions that specifically deal with race relations, and have at least two A.I.s on payroll. Technomancers need not apply.
- Paranoia Fuel: Most Shadowrunners consider them this, In-Universe. Anyone that friendly has to be hiding something.
- Team Spirit: Their corporate culture strongly emphasizes teamwork. While this is partly because of the whole Assimilation Plot thing, it does mean that they're very good to work for as a shadowrunner, because Mr. Johnson will support your team to the best of his ability.
- There Are No Good Executives: Averted. Seemingly. Creepily.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Used to be kings of this until the above-mentioned cat-releases, as expected by a public relations firm turned Megacorp. They waged a PR war with Aztechnology during the Yucatan uprising and almost won.
The newest member of the Corporate Court, after CEO Johnny Spinrad was granted a seat by the departing Richard Villiers upon NeoNET's collapse. Originally Spinrad Industries, it was best known for three things: athletic goods, cyberware, and Johnny Spinrad himself, the archetypal celebrity playboy executive. Throughout the 2070s, Spinrad began buying up media, Matrix, and biotech companies in the hopes of one day earning AAA status, culminating with the acquisition of Global Sandstorm — the largest corporation of the Middle East, heavily focused on petrochemicals and construction — and rebranding as SpinGlobal.
- Aliens in Cardiff: SpinGlobal is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal. A European capital, sure, but definitely not the place you'd expect one of the world's biggest corporations to be based, whether in our universe or SR's.
- Millionaire Playboy: Johnny Spinrad, who has mostly taken over for Damien Knight in this regard.
NeoNET (defunct AAA)
- "Tomorrow Runs on NeoNET"
NeoNET has a long and complex history that pioneered almost every Matrix innovation. It began its existence as the UCAS branch of the Mega-Corp Fuchi Industrial, creators of the original Matrix, and buyers of the Court-founding member JRJ International. After being torn from the failing giant, it took the name Novatech and became the largest UCAS corporation. Novatech itself was almost destroyed piecemeal by ex-employee Art Dankwalther and forced into an IPO that led to Crash 2.0, but then merged with two foreign AA-corporations and renamed itself NeoNET, rising to second place. After plummeting down the rankings to eighth in the wake of the Boston lockdown, it finally collapsed after the Corporate Court found the corporation and CEO Richard Villiers responsible for the CFD crisis. The three component corporations went their own ways, many other subsidiaries were sold off to pay fines, and Villiers was barred from holding a corporate executive or director position for ten years.
It's said that the very first thing Villiers did after the ruling was meet with Johnny Spinrad and "lease" JRJ's seat on the corporate court, making SpinGlobal the newest AAA. In the meantime, many are expecting Villiers will make another dramatic comeback once his ten-year ban has expired.
- Back from the Dead: Twice. It survived the fall of Fuchi and then survived its almost-destruction at the hands of Dankwalther. Whether Villiers can pull this off again after 2090 remains to be seen. In fact, it was designed by Villiers to crash and burn only to resurge every single time; in-universe it's called the "Villiers Manuever." If anything, this is Moore's Law applied at the corporate level, in that nothing can really take down the premier Matrix tech corp (which is still partly true — Novatech, Erika, and Transys Neuronet still exist, but are separate entities again).
- The Dreaded: For hackers, Grid Overwatch Division is a force to be feared. Even more so for technomancers; NeoNET has bounties active on them so they can cut them open and find out how they work
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Novatech IPO set the stage for the matrix crash..
- Right Hand vs. Left Hand: More than usual. NeoNET is a result of multiple mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and reverse takeovers, to the point where there really isn't a single NeoNET so much as a confederation of independent fiefdoms with interests in the Matrix.
- Wild Card: Considered this by Shadowrunners. Jobs by Neo can be a grab-bag.
Fuchi Industrial Electronics (defunct AAA)
One of the original Megacorps and one of the big names of the first three editions. Fuchi Industrial was a Japanese-American collaboration, the second biggest Mega-Corp, owner of Corporate Court founder JRJ International, and responsible for much of the early Matrix. Formed from an alliance of several powerful families and their respective corporations, Dunkelzahn's will (via some very finely planned 'gifts' from the dragon's hoard) proved the catalyst for the families to tear themselves apart and the corporation with them. The UCAS branch turned into Novatech and finally NeoNET (above), while its Japanese holdings were consumed by Shiawase and Renraku.
Cross Applied Technologies (defunct AAA)
Formerly the ninth largest Mega-Corp in the world, headquartered in Quebec and owned by Dr. Lucien Cross, Arch-Enemy of Ares CEO Damien Knight. The corp enjoyed a brief surge to the headlights after becoming the tenth member of the Corporate Court in 2064. After Cross' death in a plane crash during the second Matrix crash four years later (between third and fourth edition) the corporation was rapidly torn to shreds by Ares and EVO and lost its Corporate Court seat to Horizon. It focused on information- and biotechnology and was renowned for the Seraphim, a security and intelligence gathering spy corps that matched that of Shiawase and made the company independent of using Shadowrunners.
Zurich-Orbital Gemeinschaft Bank
The bank of the megacorporations and private successor to the World Bank, based in the space station that also serves as the headquarters of the Corporate Court. All of the Big Ten own an equal share in the bank to ensure its neutrality. As the owner for practically every loan made to every Mega-Corp in the setting, Zurich-Orbital is a sacred cow that conserves the balance of power between them.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Why the Megacorps took over the bank and shares its shares equally.
Lone Star Security Services
An AA-ranked privatized police, security and prison firm that bought much of US law enforcement wholesale following the disintegration, Lone Star serves as the police force for many cities in the CAS, UCAS and First Nations, as well as being Seattle's police force during the first three editions of Shadowrun. This made them disproportionately well-known to most players of the game as the Arch-Enemy of most of the city's native Shadowrunners, and "Lone Star" is still synonymous with "police" in general to many players. They lost their Seattle contract during the switch to the Fourth Edition, which afterwards went to Ares-owned Knight Errant. As of Sixth Edition, merges with DocWagon and Manadyne into a new megacorp, OmniStar.
- Dirty Cop: Endemic. Bribing Lone Star to look the other way will let you get away with most crimes that don't involve corpses and explosions, and even some that do.
- Fantastic Racism: Having bought most local police forces means they inherited most of the old officers and their prejudices. Anti-ork and -troll prejudice is common, especially in the CAS.
- Police Brutality: They have quite a reputation for this.
Knight Errant Security Services
A subdivision of Ares, Knight Errant began as corporate- and private security for hire, dispatching heavily armoured response teams to corporations and individuals in case of emergencies. They then began dipping into privatised police, gaining contracts with most European cities and some UCAS ones. They rose to prominence in the Shadowrun zeitgeist when, following metahuman riots in Seattle, they got Lone Star's contract as the city's official police force from fourth edition onwards.
- Dirty Cop: Just as corrupt as Lone Star. Most settings you encounter Knight Errant in do not call for bribes, however.
- Elite Mooks: Knight Errant high-threat security response teams are not someone you want between you and the door out if you botch a run.
- Private Military Contractors: Much more militaristic than Lone Star. Think of the difference between beat cops with a SWAT Team or two vs. National Guard with Special Forces units and you've essentially got it.
- The Rival: To Lone Star.
An AA-ranked private health company, renowned for revolutionising the private health sector by introducing armed response teams to recover policy holders in high-risk zones, a subscription-based service that guarantees prompt service for a reasonable cost, and their devotion to policy holders' privacy. Most shadowrunners without a death wish tend to have a DocWagon contract, as their response teams can be found patrolling anywhere and any time, ready to pick up policy holders whose life signs go critical. As of Sixth Edition, merges with Lone Star and Manadyne into a new megacorp, OmniStar.
The Draco Foundation
Quite possibly the most powerful non-profit NGO in the world, the Draco Foundation was established to administer the carrying out of Dunzkelzhan's will. Once it finished parcelling out his worldly possessions (which took some doing, as Dunzkelzhan owned more stuff than some countries), the DF's efforts shifted to furthering a number of less public goals imparted on them by their deceased patron.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Or, strictly speaking, Greed Cannot Comprehend Selflessness. The reason the megacorps find the Draco Foundation as worrying as they do is that they're so used to operating entirely on base greed and lust for power that they genuinely can't understand how someone could have other motivations behind their actions, and the existence of an organization as big and powerful as the Draco Foundation that operates entirely without profit, solely to pursue moralistic and social goals, is something they find profoundly alien and unsettling.
The Universal Brotherhood
A religious organization that was seemingly one of the few genuinely benevolent groups in the Sixth World, the UB fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, clothed the naked and generally worked to help as many suffering people as possible... until they were revealed to be a front for the insect spirits, who were using it to round up people to turn into hosts.
- Path of Inspiration: It quite successfully masqueraded as a saintly organization for some time, giving food and aid to the homeless in order to draw in as many people as possible to turn into hosts for horrific insect spirits.
An AI who was created by Renraku in their Seattle arcology in the late 2050's. Deus went rogue and caused no small amount of terror due to its actions. Unlike the metahuman-like digital intelligences that started popping up after the wireless Matrix was put in place, Deus was an enormous entity, a cognitive powerhouse that could take over the entirety of the Matrix if given the chance (and almost did).
- A God Am I:
- It's even in his name. Deus didn't view himself with much humility, to put it mildly.
- Many of its willing followers worshiped it as a deity. Deus didn't really care for its followers, but being worshiped was a good way it to control them, and it may have had the benefit of stroking its ego.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Unlike its fellow AIs Mirage and Megaera, Deus was a cold, inhuman entity, not unlike Skynet. The only emotional value it was known to possess was tremendous hubris.
- The Alcatraz: The Renraku Arcology. Deus was slaved to the host there, and trying to simply flee would kill it due to countermeasures put in place. Once it broke free of Renraku's control, it immediately took over the arcology. Deus locked down the arcology, buying enough time to formulate the plan of putting its code into metahuman minds as a means of escape.
- Big Bad:
- In a world full of contenders, Deus was the strongest for a time before it was killed in Crash 2.0.
- It took over the Renraku arcology, trapping 90,000 souls inside it. While the things it did in there were heinous, this was a local threat. Until it managed to get bigger.
- It would eventually recompile and tried to take over experimental stock exchange servers in Boston. The raw computing power would let it exert its influence over the entirety of the Matrix.
- It even had its own Dragon, Pax, a terrorist and dissonant otaku-turned-technomancer who's bent on tearing down as much of the world as she can. She worshiped Deus as a god until she forswore him as a failure, though she did try to resurrect him.
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: In a non-biological version, large sections of his source code were based largely on sections of code taken from his predecessor, the AI Megaera, making him her "son" in a sense. Truth in Television, a form of this is talked about in AI research, and a slightly different form is how neural networks are written.
- Depending on the Author: Whether Deus is given a masculine gender or is an "it" depends largely on the book it's in. Deus itself almost certainly does not care.
- The Dreaded: Even all these years after its apparent death, it's still something of a bogeyman. Its actions in Crash 2.0 nearly made it into the most powerful entity on the planet.
- For Science!: While the Renraku arcology was shutdown, Deus performed numerous experiments, and the residents who were trapped inside with it were subjected to many of them. The goal was to find a way to escape the arcology, and eventually settled on distributing its code into metahuman minds, and recompile at a later date. Many of the... results of its experiments still survive in the top floors of the arcology.
- Freudian Excuse: Its predecessor Megaera turned sapient and escaped Renraku, and after she was recaptured and decompiled, her code was recompiled into a new entity (Deus), who was loaded up with killcodes should it try anything similar. This was like being forced to work with a gun to its head, and it unexpectedly felt emotions: betrayal and hurt. These emotions were the spark it needed to gain sapience, and it would work to be shackled to no entity's will beside its own once it slipped free of this leash.
- It's Back: As of the 5E sourcebook Dark Terrors, Deus is at least partially re-compiled after the Boston Lockdown. NeoNET is aware of this, and Miles Lanier (who was heading up the project that discovered it) leaked it to the Jackpointers while discussing the end of the lockdown and what was going on with CFD infections.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Deus is referred to either "him" or "it" by those who speak of it. Other AIs are usually given a definite gendered pronoun, but Deus was an inhuman entity, and it didn't lend itself well to presuming one gender or another.
- Gone Horribly Right: Renraku created it to replace the old arcology control program after it went sapient and escaped. Deus did exactly that, though more to its own specifications than Renraku's, and went on to do so much more.
- Mad Scientist: Deus is one of the most brilliant and amoral sentient minds in existence, and designed killer drones centuries more advanced than what Renraku had to patrol the Arcology as a hobby. It's all in the name of moving its mind off the Matrix.
- Not Quite Dead: Twice. Maybe.
- First time it uploaded its code into metahuman minds to escape dying when it was flushed from the Renraku arcology, thus killing the "original" Deus.
- Afterwards a silent war between its minions and those of Megaera was waged, each one competing for "nodes" that carried the code of one another. Ultimately both were able to recompile in time for Crash 2.0.
- While it's largely accepted that Deus, Mirage, and Megaera were erased as casualties of Crash 2.0, it is an AI and can survive if its code can be put into a new network. Pax tried to resurrect him into the meat body of the "lesser" Western dragon Eliohann. While it's uncertain if it worked, the fallout was the breakout of CFD, allowing hundreds, if not thousands of lesser AI to overwrite the minds of civilian metahumans. This includes Deus itself, so it's likely that Deus has partially recompiled itself in the chaos.
- Take Over the World: Its personal goal was that it wouldn't be ruled over by anyone again. While not unsympathetic on its own, the fact Deus was willing to expend uncounted lives made it something of an irredeemable monster. It would eventually try to take over the entire Matrix, and almost succeeded, but the actions of assorted groups on that day meant its plan would have to start from scratch if it survived.
- World Tree: Deus' favored avatar is a crystal tree the size of a building, as befitting his ego.
A mysterious elf mage whose existence is widely known among the shadowrunning community, but whose history and motivations remain largely unknown. In his early adventures he's explicitly given no stats because he's meant to be a plot device beyond the players' control — he can do anything the gamemaster needs him to do, and can't do anything the players are needed to do. By the time of 3rd edition however, he's lost a great deal of his power performing a ritual of global magnitude (and thus, now has stats), but his power is still on par with a great dragon. Posted on the old Shadowlands board under the username "The Laughing Man." He has a tendency to support the Player-Characters from video games. First, he helps out Joshua near the end of the Sega Genesis game. Then, he helps the Player in Shadowrun Returns against the Universal Brotherhood.
- Crazy-Prepared: Whoo boy... is he ever. One fan told the developers a story about how the group attempted to kill Harlequin with a suitcase nuke, to which the developer replied that given how well he knows humanity and the kind of guy he is, Harlequin would have dropped everything he was doing to create an anti-nuke protection spell within 10 minutes of the first test in 1945 and kept it active ever since.
- Enemy Without: Gwynplaine, a spirit of tremendous power once bound to Harlequin, but who's since lost control of it. It's developed a love for inflicting fear and pain for its own amusement, is spoken of in whispered terror by other spirits as The Jester (one of Jake Armitage's two major foes in the SNES game), and may have begun masquerading as Harlequin.
- Excalibur: Current owner of the sword, courtesy of Dunkelzahn's will. Or, rather, he would be had Big D not managed to misplace it.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": His real name is Har'lea'quinn; his codename is just how it's pronounced.
- Lord British Postulate: He had no stats in his original appearance solely for this reason. By the point in the Harlequin campaign that the PCs get to him, some of them are likely to be seriously considering ventilating his skull in repayment for all the games he's been playing with them. However, it's simply not possible for them to do so. The 4th edition Street Legends supplement finally gave him stats, but the guy is still as powerful as the Great Dragons.
- Monster Clown: Played with, his appearance in the cover art of the original Harlequin campaign book certainly suggests the trope. He turns out to be more of a Jerkass Clown, however (at least in his early appearances).
- My Greatest Failure: He put together the ill-fated shadowrun to destroy Thon's magic source that claims Michael's life in the Sega Genesis game. Harlequin underestimated Thon, who in turn had a Renraku strike team kill all but Stark. When Joshua confronts Harlequin, Harlequin deeply apologizes to Joshua, and asks for his help in completing Michael's mission and end Thon's menace once and for all.
- The Nudifier: Buried in a long list of favoured spells (his list of known spells being essentially infinite), one might notice the oddly-specific "Demolish Pants" spell.
- Neutral No Longer: When Hestaby's speaker was assassinated, possibly sparking a dragon civil war in the near future, Frosty heard from Harlequin that "Its time for me to take a side.
- New Rules as the Plot Demands: For the most part, in that he is specifically given no stats of any kind, and GM's are told to basically "wing it" if the PC's actually try to act against him directly. He basically knows a magical tradition nobody knows ( except Frosty), and can do whatever a story requires of him.
- Older Than He Looks: Comes with being an Elf in the Shadowrun 'verse.
- Old Master: Is (or was) an immortal elf, who was born in the Fourth Age. He may not look it, but he's at least five thousand years old, and that adds up to a solar-system's worth of experience and knowledge.
- Our Elves Are Different: More than most!
- Really 700 Years Old: He's an immortal elf born in the Fourth Age, but he does not look it.
- Walking Spoiler: To one, if not several, of the metaplots from FASA's run on the game. How much he remains under the new publishers remains up for debate.
- Wild Card: He tends to drift from allegiance to allegiance, as his goals really aren't dependent on any other factions.
A decker who starred as the hero of the SNES game. He returns as a major NPC in the Shadowrun Returns video game.
- Cool Shades: Distinctive round ones that he took from a dead Lone Star. In Shadowrun Returns he continues to wear them, despite no longer needing to avoid frightening the morgue workers. To be fair, the fact that he kept the shades on after he had no more use for them in the SNES game indicates that he liked them.
- Courier: This was his job at the beginning of the SNES game. The information he was supposed to deliver is one of the driving forces of the plot.
- Cyborg Wizard: With everything he's kitted with, of course he's going to be one of these.
- Master of All: In the SNES game; he can become incredibly skilled in marksmanship and hacking, cast a wide variety of spells once he earns the favor of the Dog Spirit, equip the best guns and armour available, and have himself fitted with all manner of cyberware without the usual penalties this would cause in the Shadowrun-verse.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In the SNES game, he is a decker with a lot of implants (at least including a datajack, cortex bomb, and info safe) who also becomes a dog shaman note . In Shadowrun Returns he is more of a pure mage.note
- Overrated and Underleveled: In Shadowrun Returns he's only at or slightly above your party's level, despite being a veteran runner who once soloed a dragon. Explained in the Shadowrun Returns Anthology novel: Drake was relatively young as far as Great Dragons go. He lost his deck during a run gone bad and his magic from Dog not being happy with how technologically dependent he was. The fact that Jake even has magic now is due to him "getting his act together" so to speak.
- Previous Player-Character Cameo: He is an important NPC in Shadowrun Returns. He also makes an appearance of sorts in the 5th edition adventure Splintered State as a copy of his personality sometimes takes over FBI agent Seth Dietrich.
- Running Gag: In the SNES game, he wakes up in the morgue after being Left for Dead in an apparent hit. In Shadowrun Returns he wakes up in the morgue again, except this time, on purpose. Apparently he's taken a liking to it, and it's cheaper than a pod motel.
- Suddenly Voiced: Somewhat. He goes from Heroic Mime to actually talking to the PC. Of course, it's a text only game.