Shadowland was something of a cross between a magazine and a fanzine, published by Sword Of The Knight Publications, Inc. between 1995 and 1997. To be honest I never found it to be more than an average-quality publication, with too much fiction and other articles that have a low "re-use value." However, this was not the publisher's fault, because they needed to make do with what the articles and artwork got from the readers. Another thing that I did not like about Shadowland—and this is something the publishers could have done something about—is the generally poor appearance of the magazine. It all just looked like it had been put together by someone who didn't know much about layout or the software they were using. The best-looking parts of Shadowland issues were always the covers, really.
Still, there were some good articles in the magazine, which were unfortunately let down by at least an equal number of poor articles that seemed to be either all fiction or come very close to being munchkinous. My advice, if you see issues of Shadowland in a store somewhere, is to first take a look at the articles before deciding whether or not to buy the magazine.
This is an earlier story by Steven, and was actually printed in the publication "Shadowland" #7. It happens earlier in time than the other. Rather cool.
Issue Date Stock Number
Shadowland nr 1
October/November/December 1995 SOK201
Stock Number: SOK201
Articles & Authors: To The Bone (short story, Vicki Kirchoff-Martin), Nissan Stallion (motorcycle, Andrew Ragland), The Gross-Frankfurt Sprawl (city description, Jonathan Szeto), Nightstalkers (organization, Steve Kenson), Acers (powered armor, Andrew Ragland), Drak's Drek (column, D. L. Knox), Yuki No Onna (critter, Steve Kenson), Virtual Realities 2.0 (preview, FASA), Headache (short adventure, Chris Hussey), Cop Gear (equipment, Andrew Ragland), Crimson Avenger (Matrix software, Andrew Ragland), The General Store (decker supplies, Andrew Ragland), Rose Colored Glasses (short story, Phillip T. Adams)
Editor: Kevin D. Knight
Overview: An okay issue, partly as this is one where the fiction had not gotten out of hand yet. The Nissan Stallion is a cool motorcycle, although stats for it are Rigger Black Book style. The article on The Gross-Frankfurt Sprawl is very long (it continues in issues #2 and #3) and forms a good expansion on what's in the Germany Sourcebook. The Nightstalkers are a group of NPCs who can be hired to deal with Awakened problems (hauntings, vampires, paranormal animals, etc.); they are basically a bunch of tough shadowrunners, stat-wise, and a couple of sample encounters with them are included in the article. The Acers article describes a way to include powered armor in Shadowrun, which may be a neat development for a high-powered game, but it won't really fit into down-and-dirty type campaigns. The article about MAO Inhibitors ties in with the chemical MAO described in Shadowtech, immunizing characters for its effects. Drak's Drek is nice, but only really useful for new players, as it's sort of an advice column. Then there's a new critter, the Yuki No Onna, which is a spirit like the man of the woods (see Paranormal Animals of North America) an which can control the weather. The Headache short adventure is not much more than a long encounter that could quite easily be fitted into another run, but it is pretty decent; it is described on the Magazine Adventures page. Cop Gear lists equipment you can expect Lone Star officers to have in their vehicles, but much of it could be useful to runners in certain situations. The Crimson Avenger is a bit of a strange concept, a smart frame (for the Matrix) that sort of "captures" the decker and fights him or her in a sculpted environment. The General Store has some new programs and options for deckers and new IC, but it uses Virtual Realities because Virtual Realities 2.0 was not out at the time.
This is probably one of the best issues of Shadowland published—which is rather unfortunate for a first issue, I feel.
Shadowland nr 2
December 1995 SOK202
Stock Number: SOK202
Articles & Authors: Lunatic Fringe (short story, Phillip T. Adams), Drak's Drek (column, D. L. Knox), McKissack's Chameleon (critter, Andrew Ragland), Gift Horse (short story, Erik Kjerland), A Runner's Guide to Magic (background, Linda Naughton), The Gross-Frankfurt Sprawl (city description, Jonathan Szeto), Learning and Improving Skills (skill rules Linda Naughton), Path of the Tiger (shamanic totem, Gabriel Salazar), Headaches: Social Animals (short adventure, Chris Hussey), The Hermetic Lodge (spells, Chris Hussey)
Editor: Kevin D. Knight
Overview: Drak's Drek is much the same as in issue #1, with advice mainly for new players. McKissack's Chameleon is a paranormal animal, as the name suggests an Awakened chameleon with Adaptive Coloration power (surprise!). A Runner's Guide to Magic is just that—an idea of how shadowrunners can use magic, again best for new players to Shadowrun (or at least players new to playing magicians in Shadowrun). The article Learning and Improving Skills appeared in slightly updated and modified form in the Shadowrun Companion, but for those who don't have that book, this can be a useful article. Path of the Tiger is a Tiger totem write-up, nothing much more can be said about it. Headache: Social Animals is described in the Magazine Adventures section. Finally, The Hermetic Lodge has a few new, neat Illusion spells.
Shadowland nr 3
April 1996 SOK203
Stock Number: SOK203
Articles & Authors: Amethysts (short story, Jennifer Baker & Christopher Maley), Arabian Magic in the Sixth World (magical traditions, Steve Kenson), Another Good Run (short story, Wesley Tester), The Gross-Frankfurt Sprawl (city description, Jonathan Szeto), Super Tuesday: A Preview (FASA), The Hermetic Lodge (spells, Chriss Hussey), The Wave-Form Nature of Magic (magical theory, Erik S. Jameson), Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (short story, Jay Fugiel), Celtic Totems (Steve Kenson), Get Out Of The Water! (short adventure, Steve Kenson), Magical Groups (Steve Kenson), All Gear, No Guns (equipment and vehicles, Erik Jameson), Second Tier Solutions (corporations, Erik Jameson)
Editor: Kevin D. Knight
Overview: Arabian Magic in the Sixth World provides a new "direction" for player character magicians; not a new tradition, because it's basically just a modified form of hermetic magic, but mainly a new mindset for magicians, backed up by a new archetype—the Islamic Mage. The Hermetic Lodge returns with more spells, this time Manipulation, Health, and Detection spells that are all pretty useful. The Wave-Form Nature of Magic is an article with in-game speculation about how magic moves in cycles, and though it doesn't have much real usefulness in a game, it's a good article. Celtic Totems has some totems for druids (see the London Sourcebook and The Grimoire, 2nd Edition). Get Out of the Water is another short adventure, and will be discussed in the Magazine Adventures section. Magical Groups is just that: five groups of magicians that players might be able to join or butt heads with; a good idea is that adventure hooks are provided to involve the PCs with the groups. All Gear, No Guns is again what the title indicates, an article with useful equipment for shadowrunners, but without any firearms in sight. Mostly it's electronics and a few cars, though with Rigger Black Book game stats. Second Tier Solutions has the dirt on a number of smaller megacorps, lower than the Big Eight (or Big Ten) but still good corps to build adventures around.
Shadowland nr 4
August 1996 SOK204
Stock Number: SOK204
Articles & Authors: The Shopping Mall (equipment, Erik Jameson), The Street Gang Campaign (alternative campaign setting, Steve Kenson), Serious Buckshot (shotguns, Kevin Montanaro), 2056 Harley Davidson Ultra-Glide (vehicle, Kevin Montanaro), The Ahvaz Diaspora (magical background, Erik Jameson), VatJob (adventure, Andrew Ragland), A Star Is Dead (short adventure, Chris Hussey), Dead Air (novel preview, Jak Koke)
Editor: Kevin D. Knight
Overview: The Shopping Mall, as the name suggests, has gear for sale; most of it consists of weapons and accessories, which are high-powered, though not too over-the-top. The Street Gang Campaign is another article whose title leaves little more to be said—basically it has ideas for how to run a campaign where the PCs are gangers; this is mostly useful together with the Underworld Sourcebook (coincidentally also written by the article's author). Serious Buckshot has shotguns and ammo aplenty, but they're a bit munchkinous for my taste. The Harley Ultra-Glide has stats for what's essentially a current-day motorcycle. The next article, The Ahvaz Diaspora, is a kind of compilation of different magic-related articles. It talks about some new metaplanes and has some metaphysical explanations of how magic works, plus some rules for situations brought up by the text. The two adventures Vat Job (a full adventure, not a one-nighter) and A Star Is Dead (a short one) will be discussed in the Magazine Adventures section.
Shadowland nr 5
December 1996 SOK205
Stock Number: SOK205
Articles & Authors: Cold (short story, Gunnar Jaeck), 'Till Death Does the NPCs Part? (NPC rules & contacts, Gurth), Bigger, Badder, & Powered (power armor, Erik Jameson & Brian Angliss), The Voodoo You Do (voudoun rules & loa, Steve Kenson), Daddy's Little Girl (short story, Vicki Kirchoff-Martin), A Change For The Better (shapechange spell & toughts, Steve Kenson), Sister Savior (short story, Chris Hussey), Hardware: Guns (firearms, Brian Dowess), On the Nature of Magicians in the Sixth World (magical background, Mike Bodary), Headache: Little Boy Lost (short adventure, Chris Hussey), Mr. Wherefore (NPC, Chris Hussey), The Hermetic Lodge (spells, Chris Hussey & Douglas Miller), A Piece of Cake (short story, Richard April)
Editor: Kevin D. Knight
Overview: 'Till Death Does the NPCs Part? was written by the current reviewer, so all I'll say is that it has expanded Professional Rating rules plus a few new contacts. Bigger, Badder, & Powered is another look at powered armor, going into much more depth than the Acers article in Shadowland Volume 1. That Voodoo You Do adds to what's in Awakenings, providing new loa and rules for voudoun shamans. Shapechanging gets an in-depth look in A Change For The Better, which clears up many problems that exist with the Shapechange spells from The Grimoire. Hardware: Guns suffers from the "bigger = better" syndrome, giving stats for guns that always seem to do more damage than similar FASA-published types. The article On the Nature of Magicians is a nice read, though it doesn't really add to or explain all that much about magic. Little Boy Lost will be discussed in the Magazine Adventures section. The article about Mr. Wherefore is difficult to describe; it's source material about a specific person, the idea being that a gamemaster can use this to create adventures around. I'm not sure if it succeeds in this all that well, though. The Hermetic Lodge makes an appearance again, this time with some spells that can be useful, although not to everyone. There are some spells here that I would have done differently, if at all, myself.
Shadowland nr 6
April 1997 SOK206
Stock Number: SOK206
Articles & Authors: Bad Karma ("negative Karma" rules, Dave Panchyk), NERPS: Hot Spots (locations, Erik Jameson), Spells in the Astral (new spells, Ron Cole), Nightdancer Home Protection (corporation, Peter Bailey), Dr. Burt's Body Shop (cyberware & bioware, Mark Fisher, Eric Fisher & Bert Patrick), Balance (short story, Lee Shaw Morrison), Double Trouble (contact, Karen Mason-Richardson), Headache: Zone of Twilight (short adventure, Chris Hussey), That Spell Is Useless! (spells discussion, Mike Bodary), Making Some Changes (firearm modifications, Gurth), Headache: What's Cooking (short adventure, Karen Mason-Richardson)
Editor: Kevin D. Knight
Overview: The first article, Bad Karma is about a concept that I don't like—penalizing the player characters for doing "bad things." In essence it introduces Karma that can be spent by the gamemaster to improve NPCs (which I have a hard time justifying in non-game terms) in much the same way Karma is used by players. Hot Spots has some bars and clubs that players can visit, in the style of older sourcebooks. (By the way, this article was intended to be the first of a regular series of articles written on the NERPS mailing list, but nothing much happened after this one.) Spells in the Astral was probably written by someone who doesn't know too much about Shadowrun magical theory, because it has spells doing things that are downright impossible according to various sourcebooks... I don't really know what to make of Nightdancer Home Protection; the article describes a corporation's building and employees, but there's no real indication of what you're supposed to do with them; the article seems to assume the PCs break into the building, but why? Dr. Burt's Body Shop has a few cyberware and bioware bits and pieces, interesting but nothing earth-shattering, not to mention much similar stuff can be found on the net. Double Trouble describes an NPC (or actually two), who can be used as starting points for adventures. Zone of Twilight is a short adventure. That Spell is Useless! is an attempt to make players fixated on Mana Bolt and Invisibility see how certain other spells can help on a run, and it's an article players who exhibit that behavior should read. Note that there are no new spells in it. Making Some Changes is an article about modifying firearms, written by me, so I won't tell you how useful it is :) Again, no new stuff, just add-ons for existing weapons plus some rules. The last article is another adventure, What's Cooking?.
Shadowland nr 7
October 1997 SOK207
Stock Number: SOK207
Articles & Authors: Expect the Unexpected (short story, Andrew Hamilton), Getting Physical (adept powers, Ken Sato), Friendship & Honor (short story, Steven Warnock), Gen Con Wrap-up (convention review, unknown), Technobabel (novel preview, Steve Kenson), Cyberpirates Preview (Mike Mulvihill), Knight Shift (NPCs, Unknown), Ne Tools of Anti-Social Behavior (firearms, Brian Downes), Gotcha (hit location system, Ben Zitterkoph & Jason Shockley), Nature's Shadows (plant totems, Anonymous), Nothing Personal - Just Business (short story, Jon Szeto), Shadowrun CCG List (card list, FASA), High Noon (short story, Jay Fugiel), Way of the Hunter (adept rules & powers, Jonathan Szeto), Hermetic Lodge (spells, Chris Hussey), Newsline (2050s' news, unknown), Writer's Guidelines
Editor: Chris Hussey
Overview: That Shadowland changed editors with this issue is plain to see; although it didn't undergo a complete metamorphosis, changes for the better were definitely made. On to the articles... The imaginatively-titled (not) Getting Physical has four new physical adept powers that to me seem to be just too ... much, I guess. They don't really follow the spirit of the game as I see it. The GenCon Wrap-up seems a space-filler—it looks back at GenCon 1997, mainly the Shadowrun side of things, and doesn't really add anything to anything, in my opinion. The Knight Shift appears to be someone's characters from a long-running, high-powered campaign, and to be honest I really didn't need a description and full game stats (including all the gear they own) of five characters, especially not if it takes up 10 full pages. The New Tools of Anti-Social Behavior is exactly the same article as Hardware: Guns in Volume 5, so why it is in Volume 7 as well kind of escapes me... The Gotcha! hit location rules are nice, though it has the same problem as all other hit location systems for Shadowrun: the game is too abstract to allow this to be easily integrated. Nature's Shadows has an interesting concept, namely plant totems. If you're looking for a different kind of shaman, this could be worth checking out. The Shadowrun CCG Complete Card List has all the stuff you expect for such a thing, which is to say it's handy if you play the card game, but that's about it. Way of the Hunter is another article with physical adept powers, but this one does a better job than Getting Physical. The Hermetic Lodge, finally, has some more useful spells.