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I recent started reading an alternate universe series that turned out to be very Shadowrun-esque. You can find it here:

I also highly recommend the audiobook, which is read by Vic Mignogna (the voice of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, and many other anime series); he did an excellent job with it.

The story is set in an alternate 1930s New York City. If you’ve ever seen the film Cast a Deadly Spell (and if you haven’t, you really should, ASAP) where magic and technology are used side by side, this book could practically be set there.

However, in this world, there is a very clear divide between the magically talented haves and have-nots. Sorcerers can cast real spells, laying powerful and near-permanent enchantments on whatever they choose. But they’re so rare that that there are only 6 of them in New York City, and “The New York Six” are something of a combination of The Big Ten megacorps and the council of great dragons, all rolled into one.

Much more common are the Runewrights. They inscribe runes that are a temporary form of magic. They’re kind of like scrolls in D&D – use them once and they are consumed in the casting (by lighting them on fire). If you’re a Runewright, nothing’s stopping you from inscribing as many as you want and carrying them around with you on flash paper for a quick light-them-with-a-match-and-cast-the-spell (as our protagonist does). Nothing except the fact that inscribing each (complex) rune costs money for things like crushed gems and silver ink, and might take you hours per rune. Or the fact that there are no schools that teach magic, and if your master didn’t teach you a good selection of runes during your apprenticeship, you’ll be stuck trying to research new ones on your own (and hopefully not kill yourself in the process).

It’s not quite as openly dystopian as the Sixth World, but the sentiment is definitely there. As I once addressed here with Koekepan, this also presents a scenario where mages can have real power, but still be more controllable than in canon, where they tend to over-dominate the action.

As for our protagonist, he’s a shadowrunner in all but name. He’s a private investigator who uses magic to do his job. Of course, not all of his clients are upstanding citizens, nor are all of his jobs strictly legal. Outside of the eye of any witnesses, he definitely bends or blatantly breaks the law to get his job done. He’s also no bookish mage - he carries an enchanted revolver and can use his fists as well.

All in all, I highly recommend this series to any Shadowrun gamers, and you may find it inspirational if you’re looking to try something different in your campaigns. The setting positively cries out to be turned into an RPG.
cool, will check it out
Sounds like fun.

And yes, the link between cyberpunk (in its various manifestations and mutations) and noir is very strong. I'm not surprised that this worked, perhaps in the light of:
Ok, from what I've seen of your 2015 thread (still reading it), the magic system in the Arcane Casebook series fits all of your criteria for a new magic system more suitable to the early 20th century.
Great minds think alike? I hope you're having fun with the blast from the past, in any event.
Ok, I have to say that I like your second setting (in the 1950's) much more than the first one.

The first one makes the canon Sixth World look like a utopia in comparison. I've increasingly come to believe that dragons are a cancer upon the Shadowrun setting, and this alternate setting really drives that home. Its very well thought out (do you have a degree in history?), but the sheer number of dragons under every rock ruins it. But aside from that, I love it.

Its also interesting that you almost ended up describing the magic system in the Arcane Casefile series a few years before it came out.
Thank you very much. I'm feeling quite flattered right now.

My tastes tend to run to the darker, so making the Sixth World look like a lost cause didn't really strike me as all that dystopian, but you may be right. Thank you for thinking highly of my work - but I never studied history as such after high school. What I studied long and hard was economics, including political economics and as a consequence, quite a bit of political science and related thoughts. I absorbed some history as a consequence, simply by osmosis.

The magic approach was, as I laid out, really rather a consequence of the requirements in-game, as opposed to any particular grand vision. I think that most game setting rules should be tweaked in exactly that order: vision first, rules after.
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jan 9 2021, 07:07 AM) *
The first one makes the canon Sixth World look like a utopia in comparison.

Well, that pretty much sums up the real 20s and 30s.

You had ecological devastation, abject poverty, rampant diseases without cures, megacorps deploying private armies against their workers, racist mobs torching entire city sections...and that's before you're getting abroad.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jan 9 2021, 07:07 AM) *
The first one makes the canon Sixth World look like a utopia in comparison.

Well, little facts like that you can get 'Medical insurance 200 per week' in North America puts 'the canon Sixth World' firmly into the Utopia category, period.
The US also switched to metric in canon, how much more utopian can it get? biggrin.gif
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