Shadowrun Magazine Article Scans

This page contains scans of Shadowrun-related articles from a variety of magazines, as well as scans of whole magazines dedicated to Shadowrun, mostly from the 1990s. The reason I put them up is largely because there’s a lot of them out there (shadowrun.wikia.com has an overview of just the English-language ones to get you started) but hardly anyone has any copies anymore, nor do most people know where to look for them all — I know I don’t, for one.

Yes, they’re bootleg scans, which means they’re probably not legal to have in many places, and it’s almost certainly not legal for me to put them up here. I’m doing it anyway because first of all, I think they deserve to not be forgotten. Second, I don’t feel there’s any harm being done: the only people making money off these magazines are second-hand games sellers (if they have them at all, which is doubtful), and the target audience for these is tiny (chiefly the few people who are still interested in very old editions of Shadowrun, like yours truly).

Many of these files, I created from scans that are already to be found online, often on Scribd (see below for cheating their system). A few others I scanned myself from hardcopy magazines in my collection, or I received from other people specifically to put up here. I trimmed all the issues down to only the front cover and any pages relevant to Shadowrun (except for reviews, which I decided to not include). I OCR’ed all the articles so the text is searchable, but this isn’t perfect — you may find unexpected letters or other symbols if you copy text from the files, for example.

A lot of these magazines and articles are in languages other than English, including ones I can’t actually read myself, but if the idea is to preserve articles, then that doesn’t matter — though I do hope someone who can read them, comes across them and finds them useful.

All of this is for first through third editions of Shadowrun — I have little or no interest in fourth or beyond, so, very selfishly, I don’t feel like putting in effort in searching out and making available material for that.

—Gurth <gurth@xs4all.nl>

P.S. What’s with the colons in some of the filenames? In Mac file systems, colons are forbidden in filenames but slashes are not, while Unix (that macOS is based on) doesn’t like slashes in filenames but has no problems with colons, so behind the scenes, a complicated switch occurs with the two characters. This results in most non-native Mac applications and other operating systems showing a colon where native applications display a slash. Rename the file yourself after downloading if you’re on another operating system and it bothers you. The colon in the filename, that is.

P.P.S. Somewhat related to these, in the sense that they are also “lost” and hard-to-find Shadowrun material, Lars Wagner Hansen has made available a Dropbox directory full of Virtual Seattle adventures, which were run at conventions by TSR’s Roleplaying Game Association (RPGA) in the ’90s.

The Magazines

(Click here if you would rather view the list on a page of its own.)

What’s What

Many of the magazines may not be familiar, so here’s a quick guide to what they are.

Anduin

A German RPG fanzine that coversed all sorts of systems, including Shadowrun. It apparently began as a hardcopy fanzine you had to subscribe to, but then moved into free downloadable issues. Its web site proclaims that the magazine “is back” in early 2015, but the site doesn’t seem to have been updated since the middle of that year. The download page is still accessible, even if you have to find it via Google.

Thanks to Gottfried Neuner.

backstab

This is French, and has the best title I think I’ve ever seen for a gaming magazine. Its style reminds me a lot of the British magazine, arcane, that was out around the same time, but backstab had more game-specific content (arcane mostly kept things generic). A closer look at the credits reveals this is probably because backstab, especially in its earlier issues, included a number of articles translated from arcane, as well as using some of its artwork for unrelated articles.

Bíborhold/Holdtölte

These two are Hungarian, and I get the impression they’re the same magazine whose name was changed around issue 30, because their whole style is basically exactly the same. (With thanks to Ádám Vitális, Bíborhold translates as “Reddish-Purple Moon” — not “Blood Moon” though — and Holdtölte as “the event of the moon becoming full” — or, perhaps, “waxing gibbous moon”.)

Challenge

The magazine published by Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW), a company best known for its games Traveller and Twilight: 2000, from 1986 until the company ceased trading in 1996. The first issue was No. 25 (for continuity with the earlier Journal of the Travellers Aid Society), the last was No. 77. The magazine covered many more games than just GDW’s own, though. It is also the original place where the Wolf and Raven stories by Michael Stackpole were first published, which he reworked (slightly) into a novel of the same title (Wolf and Raven, that is — not Challenge) for FASA in 1998.

Thanks to Gottfried Neuner.

Data-Heaven

A German Shadowrun fanzine, of which three issues seem to have been released in 1995 and ’96 (Shadowhelix only lists two, but it’s missing the one available on this site at the time of writing). The only reason I have one is because the people behind it sent me a complimentary copy after I allowed them to translate and print some of the articles I had posted online.

Thanks to Tom Kedor.

Dragon

One of TSR’s magazines, mostly aimed at (A)D&D players but also featuring articles for other games back in the day.

Thanks to Roger Bell West.

GamesMaster International

This British publication was apparently a follow-up to another magazine titled GamesMaster, whose publisher went under. It was published from July 1990 until October 1991, a total of 15 issues.

Imagonem

A Norwegian magazine, of which I know next to nothing else.

Ka•Ge

This was the magazine of the Shadowrun Network, an official players’ organization run by AWOL Productions and supported by FASA. It began with an issue 0 in 1991 and then released quarterly magazines until mid-1994 — at which point, apparently, the people behind the organization went AWOL themselves. Anyway, the name of the magazine is Japanese for “shadow.”

As a bit of trivia for long-term Shadowrun players: take a look at the credits of almost any issue, then go re-read the second-to-last adventure in the Harlequin campaign book. Yep, that run not only takes the PCs to the town AWOL Productions was located in, but its office manager is the focal point of the whole adventure … Why do I get the impression that AWOL’s president, who also happened to be the writer of that adventure, had a thing for her?

Thanks to Tony Rabiola and Lars Wagner Hansen

Masters of Role Playing

This American magazine I had never heard of, but I picked up a few copies at GenCon ’99 (ah, the nostalgia …) mainly for the Shadowrun article in one. Again, I know next to nothing else about it.

Shadowland

The second official Shadowrun magazine, published by Sword of the Knight Publications (“SOK”) under license from FASA. SOK also put out the Earthdawn Journal (for FASA’s fantasy RPG) and Traveller Chronicle (for GDW’s science-fiction RPG). It ran for seven quarterly issues from the end of 1995 until the end of 1997 — the seventh being published late because a new editor had to be found — and not much later, the company went out of business.

Shadowrun Black Pages

A German online fanzine that was published for six issues in 1998, “[e]very month, to be precise on the second Friday” — right … It still has a web site, from which I simply downloaded the zips to post here, just in case that site ever goes down. I also posted their font pack (even though you’re likely to have most of them on your computer already) and converted the Word documents to PDF as closely as I could; I had to zip issue 5 because it comes with a couple of other files.

Thanks to Gottfried Neuner.

The Shadowrun Supplemental

TSS for short, this was a Shadowrun fanzine set up and edited by Adam “Fro” Jury that ran for at least 19 issues plus a few specials. It covered all kinds of topics, from new gear and spells to complete adventures to fiction to reviews, and a lot more besides.

Space Gamer

This generic science-fiction gaming magazine dates back to the mid-1970s and was published until the early ’90s buy various companies — see the Wikipedia article for its complex history.

Thanks to Gottfried Neuner.

White Wolf Magazine

WWM was one of the biggest American gaming magazines in the 1990s, changing its name to White Wolf Inphobia with issue No. 50. By then it focused ever more on White Wolf’s own games (not entirely unexpected, of course) and on gaming-related lifestyle stuff, but earlier issues had articles for all kinds of games.

Thanks to Rob H.

WunderWelten

This was the magazine published by FanPro (the original German branch) to support its games, running for 50 issues from 1989 until 1999; the name translates as “Worlds of Wonder” into English. Overviews of the published Shadowrun-related articles can be found on both Shadowhelix and Shadowiki.

Thanks to Cristo Fe Crespo Soro.

Cheating Scribd’s System

Scribd wants you to make an account before you’re allowed to download PDF versions of the files they put up, and to view most of them in their entirity. If you try to with no account, most pages are made almost unreadable, with a request to sign up to view them. Luckily, you can get around that with a little bit of effort.

(Note that the method outlined below works on any Mac, but Linux or Windows users may have to adapt it a bit to the tools available on their systems.)

  1. Open the document you want to download on the Scribd site (duh).
  2. Go to the end of the document using the key , or Page Down (whatever your computer has), or the space bar, or scroll with your mouse. Do this slowly — you should be able to see the pages of the document load behind the white area that mostly obscures them, and don’t go faster than they can load. The reason for this is that Scribd only loads the pages you actually view as you scroll through them, plus a few extra before and after these, rather than loading all pages of the document at the beginning.
  3. Save the document as an archive — not as the HTML source, but as a document you can view offline. (Safari has this option; I don’t know about other browsers.)
  4. Open the archive in File Juicer. (Yes, this is a program you have to pay for to get rid of the watermark, but it’s well worth the money if you ever find yourself needing to disassemble documents for their images, text, or whatever.)
  5. Once File Juicer has done its thing, a Finder window opens that shows a bunch of directories. Open the directory jpg that shows in that window and go to the last file; change its name by adding -0 (hyphen zero) to it, which will make it the first file. Then select all files in the folder (Command A on a Mac).
  6. Open Automator, which is supplied with every Mac (check Launch Pad or the /Applications folder to find it — the icon is a little robot holding a pipe). Make the following workflow in it: (You of course only need to make this once — save it and you can re-open it any time you need it.)
  7. Click the Run button in Automator’s toolbar (or press Command R). You now end up with a PDF file containing the images — and can put both the archive and the folder that File Juicer made, into the trash.