Shadowrun: The Icarus Effect
Magic and the Matrix
During the chaos of the 2030s Magic flooded back into the world, but it wasn’t what people were expecting. It gave rise to terrible creatures, freak weather, and meta-humanity. Most creatures were straight from mythology, hell hounds, ghouls, and Dragons being a few but some were straight out of a Godzilla movie; towering monstrosities, they gave birth to the age of the Titans. There hasn’t been a Titan sighting in over a decade, but experts aren’t yet willing to say that we got them all. It was a number of years before anyone was able to control and use magic. He quickly vanished. No one knows where though conspiracy theorists claim it was into a Mega Corp black site. Now a days there are those out there who can use Magic but they aren’t the spell slinging summoners in the Trids. Their magic is smaller and more localized, taking a great toll on the caster.
(In game effect: Magic rating and skills cost double at character creation and +50% Karma, Price for all magical paraphernalia is tripled and its availability is doubled. All spells are +1 drain. Note: this is a direct nerf to Magic because it fits the flavor and intent of the world, there is no upside.)
The Age of Titans brought about massive technological upheavals as meta-humanity struggled to defend themselves from the behemoths that threatened them. This gave rise to what was called ‘The Matrix’ an ultra connected and omnipresent internet. This led to massive economic and social growth and as meta-humanity pulled itself away from the horrors of the Titans they entered into the Age of Connection. The world was made small and all peoples (who could afford it) were brought together. In this new world Hackers lived as Kings, carving out their own virtual domains. The Matrix turned into a war zone as the forces of ‘order’ battled against the hacker warlords. While the hackers eventually lost the Corporate Council and the United Nations came together and changed the Matrix. They imposed artificial barriers in net space and forced all new tech to adhere to the Cyber Terrorist Prevention Act which limits the range of WAN technology as well as outlaws all “out of body” (Virtual Reality, and Downloadable clones) technology. Many criticize the act as intentionally downgrading communication to Pre-Titan levels, which is mostly accurate. The Earth now boasts near total internet saturation, with all of the major providers, and the devices used to access it are small and cheap enough that most everyone has one. Also Augmented reality is a day to day, well, reality for most people in the developed world. But the days of virtual cities that one can traverse with just their mind and a computer are gone and not likely to return. However, there are some who refuse to fall back and of them a rare few have gained the ability to interface with technology with their minds. Not much is known about these individuals other than that they exist.
Computer experts and Hackers do still exist, however, and play a vital role in the world. The intentional limiting of connectivity and VR has done nothing to slow the spread of technology. Every modern device sports a computer that can be hooked up to your [CTP Compliant] WAN. Military units are also wired to an intense degree. From their Pi-Tac systems to their fire arms everything has a computer that, if attached to a WAN, can be hacked. Note: Most combat units carry a “Black Box” which houses a potent firewall to protect their WAN.
(In game effect: Resonance rating and skills cost double at character creation and +50% Karma. All complex forms are +1 drain. Note: this is a direct nerf to Technomancers because it fits the flavor and intent of the world, there is no upside. Also note that Sprites are now much more limited and far less useful in any flavor outside of Machine Sprites.)
While at first divided the Age of Titans forced Humans and the newly emerged Meta-Humans to co-exist. Tensions still exist today but it’s less about race and more about culture. That being said the goblinoids (trolls and orcs) do make up most of the lower classes while Elves tend to exist towards the top.