Review – Shadowrun: No Future

2 December, 2019

No Future!Shadowrun: No Future is a sourcebook for Shadowrun and lets you know what the media landscape is like in the Sixth World of Shadowrun. It casts a wide net covering music, popular entertainment, news, sports and more. If you like this level of world building, this is the book for you, for others, there is general information on the world and run ideas but perhaps not enough to make this a required purchase.

Shadowrun: No Future, is a CyberPunk Sourcebook for Shadowrun, this particular book provides an overview of where culture is in the Sixth World, ranging from music to sports, media to fashion. The limited amount of game mechanics for the version I reviewed were for Shadowrun, 5th edition, but the cultural information is edition independent.

Following an introduction, laying out the theme of the book, as is traditional, there is one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then begins Look Forward in Anger which looks at the power of the media to shape perception in the Sixth World and how the corporations use that to maintain their grip on the world. Each of the major megacorporations gets a short write-up of how they deploy their media power and how its works. And maybe, just maybe, how you can fight back.

Blitzkrieg Bops looks into the music scene of 2080, new music genres, who are the current stars and what happened to some of the old ones. It also looks at venues, up and coming acts from all around the world and some notes on sythlinks. It ends with a section on making music with rules for playing a rocker and making music (or other art), both live and recorded, unfortunately, the rules are essentially unusable with parts verging on incomprehensibility.

Creation Starts With Darkness covers what is being broadcast (streamed, whatever) that makes it way as part of the public perception of the world. Initially focusing on popular shows with considerable discussion of how they portray the world around them. There is a surprising amount of potential plot and adventure fodder here and that is just the show! There are also discussions about geographical hubs of activity (all North American sadly), media corporations and some of the people who hire Shadowrunners in the mediasphere. Also much flavor in the form of series guides, broadcast schedules and more. There is a page, just a page, on pornography in the Sixth World, which just skims the surface of the subject but is no less amusing for its brevity.

Next, after some fiction, is Leading & Bleeding about the news media in 2080 which is entirely corporate controlled and follows the corporate line almost all the time. A description of the corporate playbook for media control follows along with the major corporate players. Next there are the organizations fighting back against the sterilized and manipulated news. There are implied plot hooks here but they are not as frequent, clear or fun as in the previous one.

The Thrill & Agonies delves into sports, mostly professional, and the place they have in defining communities. Several “future” sports are included such as Combat Biking and Urban Brawl and information on how all of the sport have adapted to cybernetics, magic and metahumanity. This is all great background material but a little light on the adventure potential though the suggestions on fallen athletes becoming Shadowrunners, and the pitfalls thereof, has potential both for player characters and NPCs, Logos or at least colors for the new sports teams would have helped to flesh out this section and made it more useful, at least from my point of view.

We Suck Young Blood is about cool hunters, influencers and how the corporations aim to make some money off of them (and you). This implies certain sorts of missions and games and some of the corporate players are mentioned but it is not properly expanded on and there is no real guidance to how to incorporate these ideas or corporate groups into a run or campaign. Which is a shame as there are some interesting thoughts here.

Lastly, there are new toys: musical, cybernetic, fashions, weapons (of course), printing presses and other exotica. Fun as usual but nothing particularly game breaking but certainly good thematic support.

While the entire product does not match the superb chapters on music and media, it is an amazingly useful resource for making the Sixth World feel like a real place for the characters (and their players). However, if emphasizing that side of the game world is your jam, get this right away.

Note: The link is an affiliate link and I will receive a small amount of you purchase through it.

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