Fall of the Megacorps

Weaving Harlequin’s Back, Dunkelzahn’s Secrets, and Renraku Arcology: Shutdown as the key events with which to destroy the Shadowrun universe as we know it.

Act I— “Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I will move the Earth.”

Theora vs. Aztechnology, with helpful advice from Brainiac, the super-enhanced Mental Adept who’s working for either UCAS intelligence or Ares. Run Bottled Demon somewhere in here.

Capital Investment

Heist a mainframe from a minor Aztech firm that isn’t so well defended. Extract a couple of programmers while they’re at it so they can make a profit off the run.

Market Research

Raid a series of Aztechnology warehouses for goodies to sell, as a means of covering swiping the inventory control systems, so Theora can analyze the data on the mainframe.


Attack less-than-stellar operations of Aztechnology in order to draw away security assets from their better ones, and sell data to other megas to help them see who’s vulnerable. Part of the trick here is to give the data to people in other megas who are getting ready to pull a Villiers and make off with whole subsections of megacorps.

Part of the attacks will be designed to hit shipments of goods that are important for keeping contracts. When the goods don’t arrive, the contracts will be void, and the Azzies will lose business.

Most especially, weapons shipments will be sold to the rebels in the Yucatán and Amazonia.


Raid Yomi for competent metahumans to become agents all across the planet. Building a spy network is great for increasing karma...


Immediately after Harlequin’s Back, the top management of Aztechnology will be in disarray: Darke will be dead, their major operation with the Focus will have been completely disrupted, and their contact with entities beyond will have been severed.

The PC’s, with now huge quantities of karma due to running in Harlequin’s Back, will need to make surgical strikes against the top management of Aztechnology.

(Note for HB: redeem the dark warrior.)


The PC’s, possibly Lightbearers by now, get to go after the corrupted Eastern Dragon who killed Dunkelzahn (who pulled a Kenobi when confronted with the amount of power pulled together by a corrupt dragon). But they have to strike quickly (at the behest of Dunkelzahn’s shade), or the dragon will be able to re-gather the power it expended...

Act II— “The avalanche has spoken; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.”

Dunkelzahn’s Will kicks in and provides more chaos among the megacorps. Aztechnology will fragment, Fuchi will split up into Villiers’ company and additions to two others. The next companies to go will be the ones that Fuchi joins— Shiawase and Renraku, I think. Renraku’s death knell will be the failure of the arcology.

Shadowrunners will be employed to steal interoperability specs for supposedly proprietary devices, and several well-defended companies will spring up that offer interfaces between competing standards.

Some companies will react to the “if you don’t like loss of extraterritoriality, then leave” ultimatums by purchasing small countries or developing their own offshore locations. (Ares will make a big push for putting self-sustaining assets on Luna.) This will in turn have interesting repercussions in the UN, as bigger countries warn of potential declarations of war if the megas owning other countries indulge in human-rights violations or hazardous experimentation that might spill over borders.

Socially, there will probably be a big political-correctness movement regarding freedom from the megas.

The Liquidation of Renraku

When the Renraku Arcology falls under the dominion of a hostile AI, the UCAS acts against them. The Shiawase Decision is overthrown: corporate extraterritoriality gets big holes shot in it. Corporations have to file environmental impact reports for anything they do that might impact any activities outside their grounds. They may be sued for damages when they cause trouble.

Renraku will be struck with hundreds of suits ranging from wrongful death to reckless endangerment. When they refuse to pay up, the UCAS will ban the importation of their products, freeze their assets in anything it can get to, and start seriously flexing its muscles. In desperation, a crippled Renraku with stock in the doldrums will sell off its holdings and limp away.

With this wedge driven into corporate extraterritoriality, other countries will rise up and demand similar behavior. The NAN and the CAS will quickly follow the UCAS lead.

Corps that are busy having sanctions levelled against them may find it useful to hire smugglers to bring their goods into countries to bypass tariffs and boycotts... another fun piece of work for shadowrunners.

Mutiny Against the Dragon

Saeder-Krupp will suffer a massive mutiny as various different divisions conspire and realize that there’s no way Lofwyr can get them all, and that the Big Dragon is smart enough to accept a fait accompli when he sees it. The runners will mind probe various top executives to determine who can be safely approached about this— planting ideas in their heads and then allowing themselves to be hired to bring in others in the conspiracy— and orchestrate the mutiny. Lofwyr, when presented with sudden, massive corruption within his empire, will bite several heads off, retain a large amount of Saeder-Krupp, but will not go up against entire governments whose troops have been augmented by Saeder-Krupp defectors.

A Fallout Among the Olympians

Fragmentation fever will strike Ares, as independent, maneuverable companies become moving targets too numerous to track. Ares Macrotechnology will fragment into a group of companies that have close business ties. (Check on the Sun Microsystems model.)
Hephaestus Engineering The industrial manufacturing arm.
Ares Arms All the military goodies.
Apollo Astronautics AresSpace, including the Daedalus space platform.
Demeter Biotechnology Biological engineering.
Hermes Thamaturgical Research
Knight-Errant Security The security provider we all know and love.

Act III— Götterdämmerung

The Fall of Zurich-Orbital

Several dozen surface-to-space missiles, launched from across half the planet, will simultaneously target Zurich-Orbital. All human beings on board will be killed, and the station will begin to deorbit. The Zurich-Orbital Gemeinschaft Bank will reveal that it keeps backups in Zurich.

The Corporate Court is gone, and no one is willing to replace them. The days of the Omega Order are history.

The Light at the End of the Shadows

Smaller companies are less able to sustain black-ops budgets, and when not faced with monolithic enterprises that can throw large amounts of money at a problem, are less in need of them. With the fall of extraterritoriality, companies can sue each other for theft of secrets and personnel. The market for shadowrunners begins to dry up.

This does not happen peacefully. Plenty of people who still think the world works under the rules of the megacorporate regime will be hiring cut-throat shadowrunners to get any edge they can. There are many smaller companies that retain secret ties from the days of the megacorps. But the budgets will be less and less, and runners will begin finding their own ways to maintain their shadowy lifestyles.

Gangs will be a big problem at first, as shadowrunners attempt to continue with their criminal lifestyles. This will prompt a rise in security— and a rise in the number of people that security companies will be willing to hire in order to defend against them. In turn, shadowrunners will leave the shadows for real jobs— sure, it’s nine-to-five, or second or third shift, but it pays nuyen and you can get maintenance for your ’ware. If you like excitement, there are lots of jobs available with the law enforcement companies like Lone Star and Knight-Errant... and with the government agencies that begin to take a greater interest in making sure they’re doing what they’re paid to.

This will open the floodgate for more people to acquire SINs— as runners gain them, they will negotiate them for friends and relatives, and with lobbying from the DIMR, citizenship will be extended to a large portion of the underclass.


Not all problems will be solved by killing the megacorps. Polluters will still exist, and will need to be detected. Inhuman experiments will be harder to do, but still quite possible, and profitable. Justice will still be a prerogative of the wealthy. Terrible magical beings will still lurk in dark corners of the world.

When all avenues have been exhausted, there will still be people who need the elite problem-solvers.