Shadowrun Berlin

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Where are the Berlin Walls?

A short while ago, someone asked where the second Berlin Wall (after the partial „liberation“ of Status F Berlin by the mega-corporations) was, how much still stands and where one can find the former and/or current Berlin Wall(s) on the large Berlin map of the „Berlin 2080“ sourcebook.

To this, I wrote an extensive answer, which I also want to share here. For the original post in the Pegasus forum, click here.

1. Is it possible in the Berlin overview 2080 map to see where there are actual walls? I presume that the Yellow/orange areas are Corp-controlled and are walled off because of extraterritoriality. But where does the wall that [I found on shadowhelix.de] exist? Is it shown in the Map? There are some dotted lines around the corp areas as well as running around Gropiusstadt, Marzahn and Pankow areas etc. Is it the dotted lines that represent physical walls?

No, the map won’t help you much there. The dotted lines mark the borders of certain structures (i.e. airports), but do not indicate what KIND of border security is there. The colors of the disctricts denote corporate sectors (yellow), „normal“ city districts (violet) and „alternative“ districts (black, greys). Note that „alternative“ CAN und usually does mean neo-anarchist (i.e. Pankow, Kreuzhain), but there are also „moderate“ districts like Spandau or even the special case of the alternative district Oranienburg that factually belongs to the AGS „Bundesgrenzschutz“. The soft blueish areas outside of Berlin denote extraterritorial areas, mostly farmland (Aztechnology) or giant city dumps (Shiawase).

Now, regarding the wall(s): The main problem is that the actual location of „the 2nd Berlin wall“ (2055-2071) was never officially drawn on any map, and there wasn’t even a wall in the sense of the famous (1st) Berlin Wall to begin with (not all around the Anarchist Zone, and only in a sense of a real „wall“ in very limited areas – we’ll get to that).

There is only a very short writeup of that divided city in a rather obscure sourcebook called „Walzer, Punks und Schwarzes ICE“. According to said book, the new border between the controlled coporate sectors and the „free“ anarchist zones was along the „last frontline“ of the battle between corporate forces and anarchist guerilla troops. Said frontline is described as: „along the districts bordering the Landsberger Allee and in the ‚Spreewäldern'“.

I live in Berlin, and I don’t have the slightest guess what these „Spree woods“ (Spreewälder) are supposed to be (there is THE „Spreewald“ southeast of Berlin, it’s a gigantic swamp, but it certainly isn’t IN Berlin — MAYBE the authors were thinking about the Treptower Park and Plänterwald which is a rather large park with lots of trees bordering on the river Spree, but I wouldn’t know). The situation ALSO doesn’t get any clearer if you consider that the second wall is supposed to divide Berlin in a Western and an Eastern part again, but the Landsberger Allee is running in West-East-direction, so a frontline or border there can only serve the purpose to divide the city in a Northern and Southern part, strictly speaking.

The book also explains (re: the last frontline again) that „after the first nights“ there was a frontline developing „from the Eastern river bank of the river Spree over the Treskowallee and Märkische Allee up to the Stadtpark Marzahn“. There is an additional mention in the book that the frontline along the Spree became ever more stable. Apparently the corporate forces were planning to cross the Spree with amphibious vehicles (I thought the frontline was already on the Eastern riverbank? Also amphibious vehicles wouldn’t be my first pick when choosing a strategy to advance the front eastward, but I am no military genius), but the expected reinforcements from Bremen (dafuq?) either never came or were suddenly withdrawn together with that mighty amphibian strike force. The reasons for this move are shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories, but that was when the frontline became the border.

Now, to describe the route of this border with the „Berlin 2080“ map: 

We come in from the South and follow the river Spree until we reach the Southern border of Lichtenberg. We follow the Lichtenberg border and then the Southern border of Pankow and further until #111, where we then follow the dotted line running NW, touching the airport and then running to the Autobahn A111 which acts as a border until mid-Reinickendorf, where it „diffuses into nothingness“.

The reason for this is that while the corporations CLAIMED to control i.e. Reinickendorf, they weren’t very willing to PAY for controlling that border. In the inner districts and where the actual earlier frontline was? Sure! Along the border of their very own facilities and disctricts? You betcha! But out there in the anarchist hellhole that is Reinickendorf that has literally NOTHING anyone would want? Naah. To the South, the river Spree acts as a natural = CHEAP border. To the North? Uhm. The same goes for Spandau: TOTALLY in corporate paradise land, but Aztech and the AG Chemie can’t bother to invest in anything, so both corps are just guarding their own installations (i.e. „Disctrict Aztechnology“) and the rest of Spandau can rot.

IMPORTANT: This is why oftentimes „old borders“ of the „divided city period“ will be in weird places (= anywhere the GM needs one). A lot of territory was CLAIMED, but never CONTROLLED, and actual checkpoints would only be where they made sense for the corporations, i.e. at the edge of neighborhoods where lots of their citizens/workforce lived, at a place that the corp wanted to be a shining example of corporate control (i.e. Alexanderplatz, Großer Stern, Brandenburg Gate etc.) or right a the actual wall of a „factory fortress“ (i.e. Messerschmitt-Kawasaki’s giant factory in South Berlin or Saeder-Krupp’s own „inner circle of Tempelhof“).

EDIT: The situation of Berlin in the 2060s gets even more confused in the sourcebook „Brennpunkt: ADL“ which introduces a shitload of new corporate districts, some of which do not exist anymore because the corporations behind them withdrew from the „failed“ corporate utopia Berlin. All of the new districts are not named after established districts of Berlin, but after the corporation they belong to (i.e. „district IFMU“, „district EMC“, „district Draco Foundation“). This makes it extra hard to guess where they are – thanks for that. The description (always only one short paragraph) gives only extremely vague descriptions of their location and borders. „Fuchi district“ is „East-Treptow to West-Steglitz“, „IFMU district“ contains „Nordbahnhof-Alexanderplatz-Potsdamer Platz“, „EMC district“ contains the „Johannisthal airfield“ and reaches „to the border of the anarchist zones, so to the Spree river“). Being corporate districts, at least some of these would have their own border security, possibly fences, possibly walls, but … no one knows where or what, exactly. Unfortunately, Brennpunkt: ADL does not contain a map for Berlin (the most current map of that publication period (2004) being the one from the old Germany sourcebook, imagine that).

Now, regarding the actual wall as in „actual structures you can bump your head on“:

The sourcebook „Walzer Punks und Schwarzes ICE“ clearly states that „the Berlin Wall was never rebuild„, but that there are border checkpoints and „the toughest border security checks anywhere in the AGS, including Westphalia“. However, this is from a 2057 POV. Since later sources on Berlin do mention a wall – if partial or in the form of a fortified border strip – it is very safe to assume that this wall(ish structure/s) were built during the 2060s under the impression of neo-anarchist terrorist attacks etc.

Again: The exact location of „the wall“ has never been canonically disclosed, and to the best of my understanding the „East Anarchist Zone“ was never the „fully walled-off Snake Plissken hellhole“ some fans like to imagine it (when we re-made Berlin in the SR4 sourcebook, the idea of really walling it off and making an „Escape from East Berlin“-like setting was actually floating around a bit, but it was dumped for a more „mixed through“ approach with anarchist Kiezes dotting the Western parts and fortified corporate structures dotting the Eastern parts.

Walling off the entirety of Eastern Berlin just wouldn’t make any sense from an economically or even security POV (not when you don’t have a Soviet Union backing your effort). 

So where are the remnants of old „walls“ or current, actual walls and wall-like structures?

– Around Aztech-Schönwalde. They actually maintain a border strip with a huge fence and a patrol road inside the fence (plus monowire/NATO-wire topping of the fence, sensors, drones and critters like Barghests)

– Around the Z-IC Tegel airport (dotted line). Actual border walls, sometimes including manufacturing plants into the „airport“ area. 

– Around Z-IC Tegel. They are building a border strip with fence along the new Northern border of the district right now (2080+, completed in 2082). The Autobahn A111 acts as a border with a wall-like structure beneath it; tunnels contain security checkpoints (exactly like Renraku does in the Renrakusan with the A100 –> https://www.devianta…order-858596071 )

– Around Renrakusan. Mainly to the North (A100 acting as border wall) and East/Southeast (actual wall). To Mitte there are structures that can be used to block access (wall sections in the roads that can go up, streets that can be closed off, border watchtowers and of course a very dense sensor/drone network).

– The dotted line around S-K Tempelhof airport and around the S-K arcology. One hell of a wall: 6m tall, with defense towers and missile launchers and everything you can think of –> https://www.devianta…order-808880916

– Remainders of wall sections all in and around SK-Tempelhof (SK’s district once ran all the way westward to the Gedächtniskirche and way into Kreuzberg/Neukölln, so do not be surprised by a lonely border tower and a wall section anywhere there.

– Remainders of actual wall sections plus abandoned guard towers along Treskowallee and Märkische Allee (that’s the slightly thicker street running straight through #390)

– Remainders of actual wall sections on the western bank of the river SpreeSouth of #376 up until #101

– Around the Messerschmitt-Kawasaki megafactury (#305). An outer border strip with fence, patrol road, sensors, murderdeathkill-drones etc. and another, real wall around the „heart“ of the factory.

– Around every factory fortress (Berlin 2080 mentions some; most are in Strausberg)

– Around Schönefeld airport (usual airport security fence plus some fortified sections, pop-up turrets etc.)

– Remainders of a border strip (fence, half-crumbled guard towers, some anti-tank barriers to the sides of the road) all around Berlin (West AND East, but with the OLD (= current, 2021) borders of Berlin). These sections are really old remains from the 2010s/2020s/2030s effort to keep out marauders and bike gangs from Brandenburg; there are even occasional remains of the actual 1st wall around West Berlin on the outskirts. 

– Everywhere. Berliners banded together during the Status F. So some buildings, blocks, neighbourhoods or entire Kiezes (like the Emirat) were walled off to defend against corporations, raiders, gangs, warlords etc. Now that we have peace, many of these walls were removed, but esp the Neo-As aren’t stupid and they don’t bet their families‘ lives on the peace to last. So for even window that isn’t walled off, there is a steel barrier with a slit just waiting to be hooked in nice hooks around the window, blocking it off again. Even some of the smaller streets are actually walled-off with bricks, trash or sandbags (or any combination thereof). The same goes for the western parts: There are TONS of gated communities in Berlin – it gives the citizens a sense of security and is the preferred living arrangement for a huge part of the Berlin populace.

Aaand that should be about it.

2. Shadowhelix also indicates that there are checkpoints/gates between the walled off areas. I presume these exist where there are roads, pedestrian roads or other infrastructure leading between the different areas? Example Kreuzhain – Mitte. 

As of now-ish (2071-2082+) the former border between Kreuzhain and Mitte does not exist anymore. All roads are open. There will be checks by Sternschutz on a random (or racial) basis, even mobile checkpoints occasionally, as there will be times when the Sternschutz quite obviously wants to hinder movement from the anarchist districts to Mitte (i.e. if there is a big corporate parade there). 

Remember: with the 2nd reunification of Berlin in the early 70s there is no actual border between districts anymore – only there where people from one side of the „border“ or the other feel threatened (the Caligarikiez in the „Netzgewitter“ campaign book is a prime example of that –> https://www.devianta…rhaus-858594663 )

Whew. I hope that will answer at least SOME of your questions. If you have more: Fire away :)

AAS

Shadowrun 5 Character Tent

SL

Did the Samurai hear the Cyberninja drawing his Monokatana? Did the Decker smell the cold smoke of the snitch’s cigarette, who has been waiting here for the past three hours? And does he recognize the brand and know that it is extremely popular with MIFD spooks?

Some say that gamemasters should never do hidden rolls for the player’s character. 

But no matter your personal stance in that debate, it sure would be good if the gamemaster would always know enough about the characters and their (active) augmentations in order to describe the surrounding world as the characters would actually perceive them – taking their (augmented) senses AND their knowledge into account.

Now, the attached character tent for Shadowrun 5 – heavily inspired by the „Character Tent“ zu D&D5 von Gamerstable Dan – can’t do everything.

But using the character tent, the gamemaster can see at a glance, whose character would actually see right away that one of the combat bikes in front of the group’s hideaway still has a hot motor, and also if the fixer would punch into the group’s face’s face because of bad rep of that creep.

CharacterTentSR5Screenshot

You can find the German version of the character tent [HERE].

Have Fun!

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