Monday, 7 February 2011

Sun, Sea and Cyberware

Well, I wasn't intending for this to be Shadowrun Week at the blog, but what the heck.

When Tim went off to university and took his Shadowrun campaign off with him, I attempted to fill the gap. We played a few generic, disjointed sessions, but in the end we moved on to different games, and my custom setting never saw the light of day. The notes are long lost now, but I can put together the basic elements from memory.

Since I was barely out of my teens, all vim and swaggering arrogance, I decided I wanted to subvert the usual gloomy trappings of the cyberpunk genre, and as such swapped the dirty alleyways and torrential rain of the urban sprawl for the sub-tropical splendour of Bermuda.

Perhaps taking the infamous Triangle as inspiration -- which strikes me today as being quite clever, although I'm not sure I intended the metaphor back then -- I set up a three-way power struggle. Before the Awakening, the Bermuda Triangle was known as one of the world's hotspots of the weird, but with the return of magic to the world in 2011 (!), the weird became manifest. Storms of unnatural strength and size battered the islands and cut them off from the outside world, while strange things fell from the clouds and crawled from the sea.

Prior to 2011 (!) Bermuda was an important offshore financial centre for many corporations, a result of its favourable taxation system. As such they were quite keen to get back in touch with their offices there, and when the eldritch storms finally subsided, the mega-corporations raced each other -- and the British government, as Bermuda was still a British territory -- to the islands, only to find them wild and lawless, and ruled -- if that is the right word -- by a cadre of newly-empowered and quite militant shark shamans.

Today, Bermuda is officially under British rule once more, although stable government is confined to a few key locations, most notably the northern islands of St George's and St David's, with much of the rest of the land a wild zone full of wandering Awakened creatures and independent settlements. The capital -- and all that valuable financial data -- is in the hands of the shark shamans, and negotiations continue between the shamans -- who demand an independent magical state like those seen elsewhere in the Awakened world -- and the British, with the mega-corporations waiting on the sidelines, their impatience growing by the day.

There you have it, as best as I remember, anyway. There's potential for the traditional Shadowrun political and corporate intrigue, with a number of factions jockeying for position, but with all sorts of weird stuff slithering in from the Bermuda Triangle, there's also a chance for a good old-fashioned monster hunt. There's even room for some D&D-eque ruin exploration, as those abandoned corporate facilities are bound to be full of the kind of stuff that would command a high price on the shadow markets.

And of course, there's always room for speedboat chases.


  1. What a cool mix. At root it's a very good idea, and it's been developed cleverly, with something for almost everyone. I find a lot to like. Will you keep working on it?

    I wonder how many of the good ideas of youth sink with little trace. Exuberance is worth a lot when it comes to this kind of fiction, and the fiery teens have plenty.

  2. Thanks Porky. I've no immediate plans to develop the setting, for the simple reason that I don't intend to run Shadowrun at any point in the near future.

    But never say "never". As I thought back over what I'd come up with over twelve years ago, I surprised myself with how playable some of the ideas were, so who knows?

  3. Who knows indeed - it's good you have something of this quality up your sleeve!

  4. In addition the US navy had two bases in Bermuda during the Cold War with underground, nuclear-proof facilities for monitoring Soviet submarine traffic. There are now used by - gasp - corporations for secure data storage. I can say no more than that! Oli Wigs and I developed the Isle of Wight as a Shadowrun setting for 3e, based on the supposition that the UK was forced to sell it to raise cash (somehow apocryphal in its own way). The corps then divided it up into 'sectors' a la Berlin in the Cold War. It was a tax-free, extra-territorial jurisidiction for them, a bit like Hong Kong.


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