Review – Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust

28 June, 2020

Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust is a missed opportunity, a Age of Rustsourcebook for the Omaha, Nebraska, region which is undergoing a period of unique instability and change making it a potential hotspot for the sort of work Shadowrunners do. Unfortunately, it fails in providing anything beyond the most basic plot hooks and minimal background material.

Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust, is location/adventure resource for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding on the situation in part of the UCAS and providing adventure hooks.

It begins with an introductory piece laying out what the situation is in Omaha, Nebraska, where due to border shifts and changes in the UCAS, NORAD has withdrawn from the Offutt air force base here (where it apparently relocated after the creation of the NAN) leaving a massive economic and political hole in the local area. But with instability comes opportunity for some and that is what this work tries to present.

The next seven pages (almost half of the product) are game world artifacts, conversations, reports and such like talking about the situation in Omaha followed by two pages of in-setting analysis from commentators. While a fun way to present data, this could have been condensed a bit more to provide more room for other material.

Next we have some information on the city of Omaha itself, which is only two and a half pages and somehow fails to mention organized crime or notable fixers, both things that visitors from the wrong side (i.e., shadowrunners) might want to know something about. Nor does it mention the local Henry Doorly Zoo, sport teams, universities or a host of other cultural things that might be of interest.

The next section is on looting NORAD, while I entirely approve of base crawls (Base Raiders is a cool implementation of that idea) as a style of adventure there is not much here to help out a GM. It suggests that weapons (naming AK-97s as a potential find, a Russian made weapon, really?) and ammo might be found and what magical assensing can show at the only three locations it names on the base. In fact it only devotes a page and a half, and almost a page of that is what they can find assensing, to what could be really interesting exploration mini-campaign. A huge missed opportunity.

Lastly there is a new vehicle and a half explanation of one of the strange events which refers the reader to a PDF only sourcebook for a previous edition! As the last page was only half used, they could have as least explained it in broad strokes.

While an interesting read it is simply not very usable as is, there are plot hooks but no useful support is for them and one, I quote “More information about what Buzzard Transit is up to will come in future books” which essentially says, do not use Buzzard for anything but background because otherwise we will contradict you in a future published supplement. No maps, and it needed at least three: one for Omaha, one of the local area (to show NAN encroachment) and one for the base. No index either but that is at tolerable for such a short work.

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