This page is for important game rules and additional information that's too long for the game description on the homepage.
Shadowrun takes place in the Six World, a future earth in which magic has returned. This was clearly demonstrated when a Great Dragon rose from Mount Fuji and flew alongside a bullet train. The return of Magic is referred to as The Awakening.
With the return of magic came other changes, individuals who had appeared to be human found themselves changing. The became elves and dwarves (at the time referred to as Unexplained Genetic Expression or UGE). Later, as magic increased, Goblinisation occurred, transforming people into orcs and trolls. Of course, they had always been elves or dwarves or orks or trolls, but the lack of magic in the world had suppressed their form. Now all these creatures and more live side by side with humans, one great sprawl of metahumanity. As for the Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus (HMHVV)...the less said about that the better. Just carry plenty of ammnition.
The world of 2080 is very different from ours and national borders have been redrawn. More important now than governments are the megacorporations, espcially the big ten, it they who really shape the image of the modern world. These ten companies have extraterritoriality and control large and extremely well equipped private armies. They are also the most likely employers, one way or another, of Shadowrunners. Although criminal gangs, politicians and wealthy individuals hire them to.
Magic is present in Shadowrun, clearly, and so is advanced technology. Cyberware , Bioware and nanotech can be used to enhace metahumanity and the entire world (more or less) is covered by the matrix. The matrix is accessed wirelessly and can be found embedded in everything. Indeed a user may carry a number of personal devices all connected to the matrix and accessed via a commlink to create a personal area network (PAN). The commlink is usually either a direct neural interface or a head mounted unit.