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Metahumanity (Catalyst Game Labs)

Metahuman is varyingly used in the Shadowrun universe to describe either humans and the other metatypes as a single group, or to refer to elves, dwarves, orks and trolls as separate from homo sapiens sapiens. Although the word metahuman is increasingly reclaimed in-universe for the former definition, this article deals with them primarily in the latter sense.

Metahumans are described as being subspecies of Homo sapiens who began emerging following the return of magic in 2011 and generally have been the targets of racism throughout their existence. In game terms, metahuman characters generally have abilities beyond those of normal humans, such as increased strength or agility, improved vision, etc.

Major Classifications and subgroups[]


There are at least five known variants of the Dwarven Metatype:


There are at least five known variants of the Elven Metatype:


There are two official variant listed for Humans:

  • Nartaki: multi-limbed, blue skinned humans
  • Valkyries (Garudan in India): winged humans in Norway and India1


There are some rare metahuman variants of orks, that are - mostly - characteristic for some special geographic area:


Metavariants of Homo sapiens ingentis (trolls) include:



These small humanoids resemble miniature elves with wings. They bear ethnic traits from around the world, usually similar to the local metahuman population. Pixies stand under a half-meter tall, though their feet are rarely on the ground to measure them. Their wingspan measures approximately one meter across. The average pixie’s wings resemble iridescent dragonfly wings, but other variations have been noted, including those mimicking the wing profiles of bats, birds of prey, butterflies, and grasshoppers, and pixies claim an even wider spectrum of wings is possible. Regardless of their wings’ appearance, pixies use an innate manipulation of mana for flight instead of actual aerodynamics. They also possess the innate magical ability to conceal themselves; this seems to be their natural state, as they immediately disappear at the moment of death, which makes postmortem study and taxonomical classification of the species a challenge. Unsavory elements have attempted living autopsies, but pixies are tricky and tough catch, and those who claim to have information from such procedures are not necessarily to be trusted.

Pixies tend to live in forested areas away from cities. They group themselves by family and develop treehouse villages. On rare occasions, pixies have been known to try out life in urban sprawls. Their size is usually the most limiting factor, though variations in mana levels also affect their ability to fly and magically conceal themselves.

Pixies may be the Windlings of the Fourth World, as they share all of the same characteristics except pixies vanish when they die and Windlings do not (they are usually cremated).

When infected with HMHVV disease. Pixies become 'Tooth Fairies' which have an hunger for fresh teeth. The younger, the better.






Infected Metahumans[]

Human Vampire Loup-garou Nosferatu
Elf Banshee Harvester
Dwarf Goblin Gnawer
Ork Wendigo Grendel
Troll Dzoo-noo-qua Fomóraig Mutaqua

These are metahumans that have been infected by one of the various strains of the HMHVV diseases.

The Krieger strain of HMHVV always turns its victims into Ghouls regardless of metatype. For other strains of HMHVV, the outcome depends on the subjects metatype.

One exception to the normal outcomes is that while the Bruckner-Langer strain normally kills any host that is not a human or troll; there has been one case where an elf did survive and became a Nosferatu.


Races of the Fourth World[]

The following races are prominent in the Earthdawn depictions of the 4th World mana cycle referenced in different editions of Shadowrun. In the 6th World, they have been indirectly referenced in editions after 3rd to avoid trademark and licensing conflicts between the rights holders of the separate Earthdawn and Shadowrun properties.


Obsidiman were a race of large, rock-based humanoids. They stood over 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and weighed over 900 pounds (410 kg). Their primary connection was to their Liferock, which was a large formation of stone within four hours of their place of birth. Obsidimen were loyal to the community around their Liferock, and eventually returned to it. Obsidimen lived around 500 years away from their Liferock, and their ultimate lifespan was unknown, as they generally return to it and remain there. Due to their rocky nature and long lives, Obsidimen were rather slow moving and deliberate in both speech and action, and had difficulty understanding the smaller races' need for haste. However, if aroused by a threat to self, friend, or community, Obsidimen were fearsome to behold.

Obsidiman were mentioned in a preview of Runner's Companion posted on April 1, but were not included in the published book. A reason for their absence was posited in the short story The Last Liferock by Bobby "Ancient History" Derie.

Evo share holder Hideo Yoshida may be an obsidiman.

T'skrang / Tandorans[]

T'skrang are a lizard-like amphibian humanoids with long tails and a flair for dramatics. Many of them exhibited the behaviors and characteristics which are stereotypical to a "swashbuckler". T'skrang were often sailors, and many t'skrang families run ships through rivers and seas. A rare subrace of t'skrang, the k'stulaami, possessed a flap of skin much like a flying squirrel, allowing them to glide. While k'stulaami were born as a random mutation in any T'skrang line, they tend to congregate into communities filled with their own kind.

As of Shadowrun 6th Edition, a population of T'skrang, now identified as Tandorans, are located in the metaplane of Beasts. They were hatched on the metaplane after being transported there by a Great Dragon during a prior mana cycle. In the thousands of years since the hatching, the Tandoran culture has skewed away from the traditional "swashbuckler" stereotypes of the T'skrang and are more magically active compared to their 4th World ancestors. Other aspects of the T'skrang culture, such as the boisterous and matriarchal society remain intact.


  1. Sixth World Companion

See also[]