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"The body's in here, detective -- manager said another renter complained about the smell, so he opened it up and found the body.  Called us right away," explained the uniform, leading us towards the cluster of squad cars and the coroner's van.

The smell as we walked into the small self-storage facility nearly had me putting my lunch on the ground -- this guy had been dead a while, no doubt about it.  From the looks of things, he hadn't come to a very pleasant end, either.  His neck had been slashed from ear to ear, though there didn't seem to be nearly enough blood for him to have been completely exsanguinated.  Decomposition had been at work for a while and it looked like this place had a rat problem.

"Christ.  Fucking freaks," I heard Chance mutter.  Under the rotting corpse and the blood that was there, some sort of white chalk pentagram had been drawn, ringed with the "mystic" symbols that we'd started to see more and more the last couple years.  Used to be you could count on it all being a bunch of wannabes or deranged cultists, but these days, you never knew.

"You think that's bad, look up," said Paulsen, the forensics geek.  He pointed up towards the ceiling, where someone had painted another strange symbol, nearly two meters across, in red paint.  Except it wasn't paint.

"Jesus.  The Feds are going to be all over this one.  You got an ID on this guy?"  I didn't expect that anyone had found his wallet, but if we got lucky and he'd been fingerprinted at some point.

"Working on a DNA match, but so far nothing.  I'd put time of death at at least three or four days ago, but I'll know more once I get him back to the lab."

Any reader of this blog has probably figured out that I'm a big fan of Shadowrun, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year (and I finally broke down and bought 4th Edition -- I'll be getting one of the numbered Limited Edition hardcovers when they are released (I assume around GenCon, though no actual street date has been announced).  I haven't played the game in a long time, and to be honest I'm not too fond of the direction the new edition took with the setting -- it's much more Ghost in the Shell these days than Neuromancer -- but I still have a lot of fondness for the game, and for the people who write it.  I would really like to get back to the game again.

My favorite period in the canon Shadowrun timeline is around 2055, the tail-end of the Dowd/Findley heyday that I've talked about before.  However, one period I've always thought I'd love to try running a game in is the period right as the world is still coming to grips with all the changes of the Awakening.  Magic is still relatively new and strange, the Matrix is just coming online, elves and dwarves are starting to come into adulthood and orks and trolls have been around for barely a decade.  The megacorporations are still solidifying their positions and the old order is making its last stand, as the Eurowars rage.

To steal a trick used by NSDM's Cold War scenarios, here's some comparisons between 2032 and today.  In 2032:

It might just be the fact that I'm rewatching the first couple seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street lately, but I think it'd be really cool to run a police procedural sort of campaign in this period, with the players playing homicide cops during a time of change.  I'm not sure I'll ever get to, but I think I might try playing with the idea some and writing some fiction set in that period, if nothing else.  I've been toying with the idea for quite a while, and this is sort of a way to keep me from letting myself forget about it too much.

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