Earthdawn/Shadowrun Crossover Information
There are a number of links that prove that Earthdawn takes place on the same world as Shadowrun; and is, in fact, the Fourth World (as opposed to Shadowrun's Sixth World). The obvious proof to this is that the FASA folks admitted it when questioned at a convention :-), but to help back that claim, here are most of the printed and observed links between Earthdawn and Shadowrun:
SHADOWRUN RULES:In the introduction to the Critters section, reference
is made to the possible origins of Dragons. One of them includes the idea that Dragons may have slept somehow until the mana level reached a sufficiently high point. </P> Also, Sperethiel is given as the name of the Elvish language, which is the same name the Elven language has in Earthdawn.
SEATTLE SOURCEBOOK:The Atlantean Foundation is reviewed. While a minor
link, it should be noted that the AF believes that a lot of the true mystic history of the Shadowrun world could be revealed if they could find the remains of Atlantis. Thera, in Earthdawn, is the actual name of an island near Greece which is commonly held to be the site that Plato based his Atlantis stories upon -- both were destroyed in some horrible accident.
BOTTLED DEMON:Arleesh the Great Feathered Serpent remembers a previous age
of magic where she and other Great Dragons banded together to destroy and/or abolish the evil forces behind the Bottle. First establishment of fact that the Dragons did exist in a prior age of the Earth, and first establishment that there are metaplanes quite beyond the eight established Shadowrun metaplanes, and that the inhabitants of such places are not only immicible to normal life, but purely evil as well; obviously the Horrors of Earthdawn.
HARLEQUIN:The first confirmation of immortals beyond Free Spirits and
Dragons in the Shadowrun world, Harlequin and Ehran are both shown to have lived in pre-Revolution France, and make reference to have lived for a long, long time before that. The chal'han that Harlequin performs here is a specific form of the Ritual of Challenge mentioned in the TIR TAIRNGIRE sourcebook, which is also similar to like rituals performed in Thera, as per the BARSAIVE sourcebook. Harlequin and Ehran also converse in a language that predates Sperethiel, a mystery language that is mentioned in both DENIZENS OF EARTHDAWN I and TIR TAIRNGIRE.
Wyrm Talk:A source of a lot of tie ins, being as it is a conversation
between Dunklezahn the Dragon and Harlequin the Elf, both holdovers from at least the Fourth World. Both make obvious references to having been around a while, and both refer to the Invae, remarking that humanity seems to be holding their own against the Invae without too much trouble. As per the BARSAIVE sourcebook, the Invae are clearly confirmed to be the Insect Spirits from Shadowrun.
GUIDE TO PARANORMAL ANIMALS OF EUROPE:The Sprite is shown, which is
obviously a Windling from Earthdawn. Likewise, under the Wraith description, the netter -H- (an abbreviation that Harlequin has used in the past) says "Kill these Horrors whenever you encounter them. They are Evil, if anything is." -H- also says that the Wraiths will be just the fore- runners of something much worse if Earth cannot stem the tide now. In the Earthdawn rules, in the history of Barsaive section, descriptions given of the Signs of the Scourge describe mist-like wraith beings driving men to violence against one another, which matches exactly the description and powers of the Shadowrun Wraith.
Never Trust An Elf:A novel, in which more references to immortals
are made -- indeed, the fact that some elves may be immortal is a major point of the plot. Lofwyr mentions to Khan the Ork that the Orks were once the slaves of the Elves, a long time ago. In Earthdawn, the Orks were the only Name-Giving race regularly enslaved by all the rest.
TIR TAIRNGIRE SOURCEBOOK:A feast of plenty for immortal elf evidence,
including a large conversation between confused runners and Dunklezahn the dragon, pointing to, among other things, the fact that some elves are immortal, the fact that there was a Fourth World (and a Second -- the Dragon Age, according to Earthdawn -- as well), and that there is a secret language that the ruling elves of Tir Tairngire speak that isn't Elvish (c.f.: Harlequin and Ehran's discussion in HARLEQUIN). </P> Likewise, mention is made by some runner that some Druids in Tir Tairngire are shamans, but they follow Passions instead of totems (to which Harlequin replies "You're a dead man. I'll send flowers."). The Passions, of course, are the great guiding spirits of life in Earthdawn. A Prince of the Tir is called "our dear sweet Blood Queen" by Harlequin, and an anonymous report from a runner says that they saw a picture, in that Prince's house (Prince is a title that can refer to male or female Elves in the Tir) of apparently the same woman, but with thorns growing out of her body. The Blood Elves of Earthdawn, of course, have the same condition. Another of the Princes is reported to have blasted to atoms some rose bushes that his wife planted behind their house without his permission. </P> Meanwhile, Crater Lake receives a lot of discussion, and facts are revealed that it would have been created some 7000 years before the current Shadowrun date, which fits in neatly with the end of the Fourth World and the beginning of the Fifth (the Mayan Long Count, which Dunklezahn himself says is "more accurate than most"). High amounts of magic are associated with the lake, and the Tir cordoned it off after the general knowledge that it was believed to have been created 7000 years ago leaked out.
TIR NA NOG SOURCEBOOK:More immortal elf evidence, which by now is
so commonplace that it's almost not worth noting -- in this case, the spike baby elves in Ireland knew of the Awakening before it was going to happen, and thus were able to arrange things so they could more easily take over Ireland when it came around. </P> Most blatantly, the description of the Ways and Paths is nearly exactly the same as the Paths described in DENIZENS I. Likewise, the function and purpose of the Seelie Court in TIR NA NOG is that of the Court of the Elven Queen (at least before the Corruption) in Earthdawn (presented in DENIZENS I), that of preserving and setting by example the strictures of Elven society. Likewise, both sources mention the unique spirits of the Great Firey Path.
Out Of The Past:A short story, this one has a strange spirit that
resembles, in conduct and appearance, the Passion Vestrial, visiting a drunken Harlequin late one night. Obvious overtones to the Scourge are made, with Harlequin desperately trying to convince himself that it won't happen again, and Vestrial insisting that it will, especially since the Great Ghost Dance helped things along. Reference is also made to the Northern Isles and the Knights of the Crimson Spire, which is the setting of the famous Elven City of Towers in DENIZENS I. Harlequin is apparently the last surviving member of that order. Harlequin also refers to the metaplanes as netherworlds, and then corrects his error, which is the usual term used for them in Earthdawn.
Night's Pawn:A novel, in which Alamaise the Great Dragon (Lofwyr's
brother) plays an important part. Nothing upfront about Earthdawn, but Alamaise is listed as one of the Great Dragons of Barsaive in the Earthdawn rules.
A Great Form earth elemental is referred to in the opening history of Thera and Barsaive; Shadowrun has Great Form spirits. In the same story, Wraiths from the PARANORMAL ANIMALS OF EUROPE are mentioned, as well as insect beings that take over Name-Giver bodies and souls -- the Insect Spirits (Invae) of Shadowrun. </P> The races (or at least the humanoid ones) are the same as Shadowrun. Sperethiel is, once again, the name for the Elven tongue. References are made to immortal elves. Dragons are divided into two types, normal and Great, just like Shadowrun. Of the Great Dragons, Alamaise (from Night's Pawn) is listed under that name, while the Great Dragon Mountainshadow is said to have a human pawn/servant known as Darktooth. In German, Darktooth is Dunkelzahn. Given Mountainshadow's similar personality to Dunkelzahn, it's pretty clear that they're the same Dragon. Magicians are divided into adepts and full spellcasters, like Shadowrun (although the Earthdawn adepts have, admittedly, far greater powers than their Shadowrun counterparts). </P> The magical theory of both games is similar. Astral beings can't pass through unmolested earth (thus the sanctity of most kaers), emotional trauma (including the Scourge) pollutes astral space, and so on. The Passions are also described, matching the reference to them in TIR TAIRNGIRE and Harlequin's Back. References are made to ages of magic cycled with ages of nonmagic, just like in TIR TAIRNGIRE. Both games make use of orichalcum, a rare magical alloy. </P> The map of Barsaive fits the description of the lower Russian landmass between the Caspian and Black Seas.
BARSAIVE SOURCEBOOKS:The Invae are clearly described and are obviously
the Insect Spirits from Shadowrun. They even have partially invaded/taken over a cult (of Chorollis), just as in Shadowrun. </P> Mountainshadow's personality is more clearly defined; he's obviously Dunkelzahn. Thera is said to lay far to the southwest of Barsaive in the Selstrian Sea, which is an obvious match to the Barsaive map being in Russia if Thera is Atlantis, located at the real-world Thera in the Mediterranean Sea. </P> There's a short rundown of Theran society, which shares many similarities between that and Tir Tairngire.
The Longing Ring and Poisoned Memories:Novels, good only to reestablish
the belief that Mountainshadow is Dunkelzahn. Well, they're good for other reasons, but for our purposes those are all that apply. :-)
DENIZENS OF EARTHDAWN VOLUME I:
Mentions that Elvish language older than Sperethiel, again. Mentions that Alamaise killed the Elf Queen. Gives the theory of the Great Wheel of Life and the Five Paths that the Elves walk on it, which is functionably the same as the Ways and Paths of TIR NA NOG. </P> The human section brings up the Earthdawn theory that humankind is the only Name-Giver to exist in low mana periods, and that when the magic arises it causes some humans to change into other forms of Name-Givers. This is Shadowrun's Goblinization.
While I'm convinced that Earthdawn and Shadowrun share the same world, here's some meandering guesses on what the events in Shadowrun have to do with the events in Earthdawn. </P> Tir Tairngire is almost certainly the rebirth of Thera, or at least Shoshara, the original renegade Elven nation. They share the same rituals, and general attitude of adopting new technology to help them keep their powerbase in the world. To counterpart them, then, Tir Na nOg is the Wyrm Wood once more, if its not obvious enough from their insistance on being the true repository of Elven culture. </P> This does make it a bit difficult to explain why the Blood Queen is currently in Tir Tairngire, however. My take is that Alachia is listed, in the BARSAIVE sourcebooks, as having some second thoughts about how great an idea the Ritual of the Thorns was, really. Pride and her position would keep her from admitting it in Earthdawn right now, of course, but if she ever did come around and try to say she was wrong, her subjects in the Wyrm Wood, angered at their Queen actually trying to say that all this pain they went through on her account was a mistake, and that they really should be ashamed of themselves, turn on her. She flees to Thera/Shoshara for protection, and that sets up matters for the Sixth World. Tir Tairngire is heavy into genetic research so they can find a way to remove the grow painful thorns portion of their DNA before the mana level gets high enough for the Ritual of Thorns to have power again. </P> As to why Elves hate Dragons, the Great Dragon Alamaise nuked their Queen and all her attendants some centuries before the Scourge. That would undoubtfully go a long way to fostering bad Elf/Dragon relationships. </P> Questions and comments on the Earthdawn list, of course, are gladly taken. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. </P>
Author: David R Henry
Author: Chris Ryan <A HREF="mailto:email@example.com">(firstname.lastname@example.org)</A>
Last Updated 8th December 1995