Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition cover
Designer(s)Jordan Weisman
Robert N. Charrette
Paul Hume
Tom Dowd
L. Ross Babcock III
Sam Lewis
Dave Wylie
Mike Mulvihill
et al.
Fantasy Productions
Catalyst Game Labs
Publication date1989
1992 (Second Edition)
1998 (Third Edition)
2005 (Fourth Edition)
2009 (20th Anniversary)
2013 (Fifth Edition)[1]
Genre(s)Cyberpunk fantasy
Set in the same world as Earthdawn,
millennia later (2080 AD)[note 1]

Shadowrun is a science fantasy tabletop role-playing game set in a near-future fictional universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. It combines genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime, with occasional elements of conspiracy, horror and detective fiction. From its inception in 1989, Shadowrun has remained among the most popular role-playing games. It has spawned a vast franchise that includes a series of novels, a collectible card game, two miniature-based tabletop wargames, and multiple video games.

The title is taken from the game's main premise – that industrial espionage runs rampant in a near-future setting. A shadowrun – a successful data theft or physical break-in at a rival corporation or organization – is one of the main tools employed by both corporate rivals and underworld figures. Deckers (futuristic hackers) who can tap into an immersive, three-dimensional cyberspace are opposed by rival deckers and lethal, potentially brain-destroying artificial intelligences called "Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics" – "ICE" for short –, who are protected by street fighters and/or mercenaries, often with cyborg implants (called cyberware), magicians, and other exotic figures, on such missions as they seek access, physical or remote, to the power structures of rival groups. Magic has also returned to the world after a series of dystopian plagues; dragons who can take human form have returned as well, and are commonly found in high positions of corporate power.


Shadowrun takes place several decades in the future (2050 in the first edition, currently 2080[note 1]). The end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar ushered in the "Sixth World",[note 2] with once-mythological beings (e.g. dragons) appearing and forms of magic suddenly emerging. Large numbers of humans have "Goblinized" into orks and trolls, while many human children are born as elves, dwarves, and even more exotic creatures. In North America, indigenous peoples discovered that their traditional ceremonies allow them to command powerful spirits, and rituals associated with a new Ghost Dance movement let them take control of much of the western U.S. and Canada, where they formed a federation of Native American Nations. Seattle remains under U.S. control by treaty as a city-state enclave, and most game materials are set there and assume campaigns will use it as their setting.

In parallel with these magical developments, the setting's 21st century features technological and social developments associated with cyberpunk science fiction. Megacorporations control the lives of their employees and command their own armies; the ten largest have extraterritoriality, such as currently enjoyed by foreign heads of state. Technological advances make cyberware (mechanical replacement body parts) and bioware (augmented vat-grown body parts implanted in place of natural organs) common. The Computer Crash of 2029 led to the creation of the Matrix, a worldwide computer network that users interact with via direct neural interface. When conflicts arise, corporations, governments, organized crime syndicates, and even wealthy individuals subcontract their dirty work to specialists, who then perform "shadowruns" or missions undertaken by deniable assets without identities or those that wish to remain unknown. The most skilled of these specialists, called shadowrunners, have earned a reputation for getting the job done. They have developed a knack for staying alive, and prospering, in the world of Shadowrun.

Other Languages
čeština: Shadowrun
Deutsch: Shadowrun
español: Shadowrun
français: Shadowrun
italiano: Shadowrun
עברית: מרוצללים
lietuvių: Shadowrun
Nederlands: Shadowrun
polski: Shadowrun
português: Shadowrun
suomi: Shadowrun
svenska: Shadowrun