ShadowRun question: Background Story

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, I was heavily into AD&D and less heavily into other role-playing games. One that I was into only to the extent of buying some sourcebooks was ShadowRun.

In the limited number of sourcebooks for this game that I have read, there emerges a background story that, in the course of those sourcebooks, is never elaborated on past a certain point.

Note that a Shadowrun world spoiler follows.





There seems to be a “higher level” of entities in the Shadowrun world, who appear to have survived in hiding between the Fourth and Sixth Worlds. These entities seem to include several of the Princes of Tir Tairngire, a few of the Great Dragons, the mysterious Harlequin/Laughing Man, and others. The only one of the bunch who seems eager for the bulk of (meta)humanity to know the deep, dark secrets of the Sixth World is Dunkelzahn the Great Dragon.

My question is, do any of the Shadowrun afficionados (and I’m sure they exist in these boards) know the details of this background history? And if so, can you elaborate for me? Most of the Shadowrun stuff seems to be either rarely carried or out of print, and I don’t know exactly what books would be best to buy even if I had access to all of them.

For information, the sourcebooks I’ve read are Tir Tairngire, Tir Na Nog, the Paranormal Animals (European and North American), Germany Sourcebook, and the Great Britain sourcebook.

I know this probably isn’t entirely appropriate for the SD, but I can’t find anything that I don’t already know on the web.

I haven’t played Shadowrun in years, but my GM did notice some consanguinuity between the worlds of EarthDawn and Shadowrun… specifically the Elves.

Hope that’s some help to you.

Without diging into boxes of books, I would say the series had about 25 books. There were many different authors, which had their own reoccuring characters and styles. Look into buying the books in used book stores at half price. Almost every book adds to the expanse and history of the world in the series. I know there are a lot of web pages out there from fans of the series. Pop the series into a search engine. There is even a Shadowrun Circle.

Check out the ShadowRun novel “Never Trust An Elf” for quite a bit on the elf background. Other than that, I don’t know what else to suggest.

Another book you might be interested in is Super Tuesday!, which details Dunkelzahn’s election to the Presidency of the UCAS, and his subsequent assassination. The book offers some speculation as to the indentity of his murderer(s), and the other Great Dragons are prime suspects. It also contains his Last Will and Testament, wherein he bequeathes the majority of his estate to various entities (including a phantom room in the Renraku Arcology in Seattle, which may indicate that he knew something of the AI that seized control of the arcology and forced it to seal itself off; for more details, check out the aptly titled Renraku Arcology Shutdown).

Just as an aside, I’d also recommend Bug City and Target: UCAS, simply because I live near Chicago and being able to visit the places they mention as the sites of various Insect Spirit attacks is creepy. So is the fact that the UCAS quarantined the entire city for something like 2 years.

Been writing online stories about SR for a long time and been in it since its inception. So without further ado…some answers (we think)

Shadowrun or SR is supposed to have links between the module EarthDawn and SR. The history is made to be murky but some facts have been revealed over the years (The boys at FASA were infamous of making the cross references almost a trial in itself)

Here is the gist: The world has had 6 ages…Dragons and Elves have been in a good deal of them due to their immortality. Here is a rundown on what is what

The First age was of the Horrors, They exist in another plane (world?) all together and every cycle when the manalevel in the world is high enough they appear and stay for about 600 years before they disappear back to where they came from. They come to this world to feed from it. Some of them feed on rocks, plants, animals etc. but some of the more powerful ones feed on human emotions like fear and pain. All they do on this world is to eat (just what they eat is a different question)
In SR terms, they are very close to bridging the gap to the current world and coming into a relative buffet of every known being on our lil dirtball.

2nd was the dragon’s where the great mother dragon created life, beat back the horrors, and generally made everything hunky dory for life to evolve.
The Black Lodge was the home for the supposed ‘original elves’, who actually served the dragons until a big rebellion and went out on their own. Apparently serving a big lizard is not all its cracked up to be

3rd age…humans find their way onto the forefront and are regarded as novelty, elves think they are a joke, dragons regard them as walking blue plate specials. No real info exists on this. Supposedly mana jinked high enough and released the Horrors onto the earth again, known as “The Great Scrounge” and the beginning of the 4th age.

4th age this is Earthdawn, you got the elves becoming the blood elves to exist and fight the horror scrouge (among them ol Harlequin…who is the second oldest elf supposedly only done in age by the Blood Mother…both of whom are supposedly part of the original Black Lodgers). Also on hand are the orks, trolls, dwarves and other knick knack who were in hiding. Atlantis exists and so does magic (a crap load of magic-so much so that it feedsback and sinks Atlantis) which begins the 5th age

In the 5th age humans go from dummies to leaders of the free world. Magic craps out except for lil pockets here and there. Trolls, Orcs, etc go into hiding or disappear altogether. Horrors are gone, Dragons decide to take a long snooze to await the 6th world. The remnants of the immortal blood elves walk among us (wearing a lot of hats I guess). Sometime during this age, the elves decided to geek a good chunk of the dragons in their peaceful slumber. Only a couple survive -some from the 4th age and a handful of the original 2nd agers (Dunk, Lofwyr, Alanis, and Icewing) due to them being too well hidden.

Now comes the 6th age, and if you read the original SR sourcebook, you know the history. The Great Ghost Dance wallops the age of magic into place and we find out where a lot of the trolls and stuff disappeared to…they were just us. Dragons wake up, become cranky and say hello to the world. Elves make a big comeback. 1/3 of the world turns into fantasy beasts…etc etc.

Whew…hope that helps a bit. It may not all be there or may be skewed but thats the gist I get.

To answer a few questions brought up here by earlier posts.

The immortal elves: who they are from where to where
well here is what is believed…SR name first(ED name second)

Ancient Immortals In age and belief to be 2nd agers:

Alachia (Blood Queen)

Harlequin (Caimbeul)

Aina Dupree (Aina Sluage)

Ehran the Scribe

Aithne Oakforest

Sean Laverty

Lugh Surehand

Jenna Ni’Fairra


Leonardo (Nonan Findas?)

Karl-Heinz Haessler

Liam O’Connor (?)

Young Immortals:

Lady Brane Deigh

Jane “Frosty” Foster

Glasgian, Tealla and Elleara Oakforest
That adds up to a total of 17 known IEs, but it’s probable that more of them can be found in Tir na nOg, Amazonia and Azania, Pomorya, The Atlantian Foundation and The Mystic Crusaders. What is more, The chapter in “Threats” mentions that the immortal gene can lie dormant in an elf, which could be triggered when the Mana Level rises or if exposed to great magical energies such as a strong power site.

Dunk assasination: Believe it or not, the big D cacked himself. If you read the Dragonheart trilogy books, you find out ol D knew the Horrors were getting close to bridging “the Great Divide” and decided to kill himself to save the world. He went astral and then had a big ass bomb blow his meat apart to blow apart the DragonHeart (a HUGE ASS mana focus) and release enough mana back into the world to delay the Horrors for some time. So, no political motive, no group of runners responsible, just a dragon doing one hell of a honorable thing to save us from hell.
Good idea…but bad BAD form. The author wrapped it up in a neat lil package and ruined a good many modules much to the ire of us players. A LOT of us prefer to ignore the novels due to they seemingly being the bastard child of the SR Universe.

Last Will and Testament: You MUST read Portfolio of a Dragon. This sourcebook details the death and the VERY interesting last will of the big D. Almost all the things given to various individuals concern plotlines everywhere and the fun is trying to figure out what is what. (The phantom room is correct…it was the place where Deus was being ‘born’) and other such things from both Earthdawn and every sourcebook and novel around.

Books to read:
Worlds without End…SR novel concerning the Immortal Elves and a lot of backstory on them. Considered by most to be the most ‘in cannon’ novel out there

Harliquin’s Back - SR gaming module concerning the mysterious and quite annoying sometimes Harlequin. It also delves more into him and how he goes about living through the years. Personally, I think he to be somewhat a asshole. But you live that long, I guess you have every right to be. Quite hard to find but check Ebay
Some great links to learn more about whose who and whats what

You think I was detailed…Look at this. This baby looks like I spoke between mouthfuls of food

The Earthdawn/Shadowrun Crossover Information
The Great Dragon Roll Call -this link tells ya who is who and where they are now. About as a complete list as you can get on the wizworms nowadays though it may be confusing due to it mostly being based in the ED world.
Thats enough for me…send me a email and I can help ya anyway I can if ya need more. Who knows…maybe you may want to read my fiction (pretty good I hear)