Shadowrun - The Titans of Old
United Kingdom of Great Britain
Like many nations, the arrival of the Sixth World hit Britain hard. The Awakening’s effect on nuclear power plants led to catastrophic meltdowns in both Kent and north Scotland among other places. This has led to large patches of the county largely abandoned to the irradiated swamps, woodlands and eerily quiet towns. And beyond that, one of history’s biggest oil spills occurred off the Scottish border, leading the Scottish Fringe Toxic Zone. For safety’s sake, most Scottish and English citizens flocked to the city sprawls to avoid the sickness that began to permeate much of the countryside. Despite this, hundreds of thousands still died from both radiation sickness and the troubles the resulting panic brought.
On a more positive note, magic came back to Britain in a huge way. Britain boasts almost twice the international average for Awakened individuals and draws in a staggering amount of spirits and other magical beings. Stonehenge-esque magical circles also sprang up all over in the early days of the magical resurgence, letting scholars map out an intricate network of leylines that cover the entire nation.
The influx of magically active individuals also gave rise to a new political force: the Druids. Basing their rhetoric in the ancient cults, they gained a huge amount of power in a comparatively short time (helped in no small part by disproportionate amount of upper class members). Emergency measures to combat the chaos of so much magic in such a small nation brought about the creation of the office of the Lord Protector. Shrewd political maneuvering saw this office gain more and more emergency powers as time went on and eventually it became the de facto ruler of the nation. That is, until the position was recently dissolved by Queen Caroline thanks to mass popular support.
Nowadays, control of the nation is fractured. Scotland and Wales both have their own regional governments, while no single party has a clear majority in the English house. This causes much friction and infighting, but gives a decidedly more individualistic environment for someone willing to make savvy deals and alliances of circumstance.
London: The Big Smoke. Already a metropolis at the beginning of the century, London has grown to absorb even more of it’s satellite towns after the mass population influx caused by the environmental catastrophe. Thanks to wealth generated by the capital’s financial, technical and magical sectors, large parts of London has kept up with the bleeding edge of gentrification. That being said, the surge in population density has led to the return of the fabled fogs of old. Though now they have a tendency to make your skin itch, eyes water and lungs burn if you spend too long out in them.
Unlike many metropolises in the Sixth World, London doesn’t host overwhelming amounts of slums. There’s certainly enough low income neighbourhoods to play host to a huge variety of gangs and criminal enterprises, but all-out lawlessness is rare. That being said, the Metropolitan police forces are infamous for their ability to overlook anything for the right amount of pay.
Merseysprawl: The boiling kettle of the nation. Manchester saw an even bigger influx of residents than many areas of London. And as such, was forced to hastily bulk build lowest-bidder accommodation for them. Eventually the Manchester and Liverpool sprawls cimbined and formed Merseysprawl. The city’s star was on the rise at that point, with it’s manufacturing industries flourishing thanks to government grants and outside investment. All that money has long since disappeared though, and now competition for jobs is so vicious that killings over places in a interview queue are becoming commonplace. This is further compounded by the apparent ease of acquiring firearms on the city’s black market. Despite law enforcement’s best efforts, officers haven’t been able to penetrate far enough into the huge sprawl that is the Manchester slums.
Cardiff: Wales remained blissfully untouched by the calamity that so readily came for much of the UK during the Awakening. This, combined with Wales’ disproportionate magical strength and elven population led to a resurgence in national identity and led the Welsh government to becoming a powerhouse almost out of nowhere. While still wholeheartedly a member of the UK, Cardiff became the seat of power for a cultural identity that had long since been dormant.
Cardiff itself plays host to a huge number of A and AA ranked corporate headquarters, along with the continental headquarters for the AAA, Evo Corporation. The money that these entities bring to the city is heartily reinvested in infrastructure and public works, lending the city a positively utopic air at times.
The darker side of this development is that demand for living space is higher than it’s ever been across Wales. And as such, local inflation is staggering. Years of ecological lobbying has left all of Wales with intensely strict rules on development, immigration and tourism to the point where all citizens must display either their Welsh SIN or limited visa details at all times or risk imprisonment or deportation. This makes things exceptionally difficult for those without the appropriate identification and huge amounts of effort have gone into wiping out the Welsh SINless population. Either by mandatory issuing, deportation or, if you believe enough local spitballers, liquidation.
Cambridge: the center of the United Kingdom’s research and
development industry. The school is surrounded by corporate research
institutes, where many of the professors and dons moonlight as consultants.
Like Nottingham, Cambridge instituted a building height
cap at sixteen stories, giving the city a turn-of-the-century feel. The
exception is the old Fuchi habitat, now owned by NeoNET, which lies
three miles north of town. The forty-four story structure is built with
graceful curves, glittering, beveled glass walls, and tubular structural
components, and is considered an architectural masterpiece
Nottingham: Nottingham is almost as charming
as most folks envision it. It’s still a
sprawl, but local ordinances have limited buildings to ten stories,
and green space is a priority. One of the sprawl’s main attractions
is the Sherwood Theme Park. The park bought up the land around
Nottingham Castle, tore down many of the buildings, and used
magic to recreate a portion of Sherwood Forest. The “old growth”
forest is quite beautiful, and has numerous Robin Hood-themed
attractions. It’s also home to an impressive zoo of paranormal and