Name: Paradise Lost
Publisher: FASA Corporation
System: Shadowrun 2nd Edition
Format- Softcover book
Size: 28cm x 21.8cm x 0.9cm
Price: OUT OF PRINT
(5.0 / 5)
Paradise Lost is an adventure/sourcebook for Shadowrun 2nd edition, written by Nigel Findley and Tom Wong and published in 1994. To date this book represents the only adventure and the only in game source material written about the Kingdom of Hawaii with the only other material being the novel House of the Sun, also by Nigel Findley.
The book is obviously named for John Milton’s epic poem of the same name but while there are analogies between the fall of man and the Shadowrun universe there are no similarities between the poem and the adventure. The front of the book is in the characteristic style of 1st and 2nd edition Shadowrun, with a large central picture with the title above it and an etched circuit board effect around the outside. The artwork is almost postcard like, with a beautiful woman on a sunny beach with ‘Aloha!’ written above her. in front of this are two shadowrunners descending an escalator wearing leis. The cover art perfectly epitomises the tone of the adventure, bright sunshine, beautiful beaches and dangerous people.
The book is split into 2 parts, the adventure, named Paradise Lost, and the sourcebook for the Kingdom of Hawaii both set in the year 2055. The adventure is 54 pages long and the sourcebook is is a further 11 with the extra 15 pages being given over to advice for running the adventure, the prologue and some game information covering new Totems specific to Hawaii.
It goes without saying that there will be spoilers from here onwards
The adventure is fairly straightforward and plunges the players headlong into a plot involving a couple of local Hawaiian corps, a potentially groundbreaking decking device named the AFD (anti-flatlining device), AAA Megacorp Mitsuhama and a local terrorist group named Aloha. The adventure follows the standard adventure tree format of 1st to 3rd ed Shadowrun and, as is often the case, it works very well, allowing flexibility while still giving enough detail to cover all the pertinent points. the adventure used the 2nd edition rule set and so can easily be played in 3rd ed but wil require some work by the GM to convert it for the 1st, 4th or 5th edition rules.
It starts with the runners being hired in Seattle (or whichever sprawl they call home) to investigate whether a hit on the corp developing the AFD was really a piece of corporate espionage or a prearranged plan to cover the device being sold on without the knowledge of the owners and recover any remaining AFD prototypes.
The runners are flown out to Honalulu, put up in a fancy hotel and introduced to a contact while they investigate the hit but what makes it a little interesting is that they are told in advance that while getting equipment into the island isn’t hard, getting it back out is and so they can only rely on what they are willing to lose or what can be sourced locally. I like this a it forces the runners to live by their skill and wits rather than their equipment and resources.
The first step is to break into the facility that was hit and try to find more information but it just so happens that Aloha (Army for the Liberation of Hawaii) are breaking in that same night to makes urge that there were no lose ends from the hits. After finding out what they need the runners find another related facility on a nearby island and head out there via boat only to find an MCT crew there and end up rescuing an MCT operative, who happens to work undercover for Aloha, and engaging in a high speed boat chase escape punctuated by the appearance of a Kracken. My players loved this part and put some physical barrier spells to excellent use to delay and destroy the boats chasing them.
After interrogating the guy they just rescued the runners find out he gave copies of the AFD data files and a prototype to Aloha and with a little persuasion he is willing to lead the runners to the Aloha HQ. This begins the final stage of the run and pits the runners against the might of Aloha, on their home turf. The runners manage to procure a VTOL to take them to the remote mountainous base.
Infiltrating the base will generally start with stealth but, unless the players are really careful will inevitably devolve down to combat. Aloha’s base is well guarded and all of those inside are devoted to the cause and so will defend it with their lives, meaning that when the everything goes south the party will end up having to clear the place room by room and will face some fairly stiff opposition including street sams and magicians.
The final confrontation is with the head of the organisation, a reclusive individual reported to be a powerful magic user but he turns out to be a whole lot more than the runners expect as he is, in fact, a feathered serpent. This final confrontation can go a couple of ways as the wyrm is willing to negotiate (assuming that the party think to do so) but most likely a rather deadly confrontation will ensure inside the dragons cavernous chambers. This makes for an epic and suitable end to the run but can obviously be exceptionally deadly if the runners aren’t tough enough to take on a dragon.
After they recover the data and prototypes they can arrange passage back to the mainland and and get paid, with no shenanigans from the Johnson, unless you decide that there should be. Obviously the fallout is that the runners have a MCT and potentially a terrorist organisation somewhat upset with them, but that’s just another day at with for a shadowrunner, right?
It’s a good adventure, it’s challenging without being exceptionally difficult, it has a few nice scenes and it’s in a new and exotic locale so it can be dropped in nicely when you want to change the pace of your campaign. The final showdown with the Dragon is a nice touch as defeating a dragon always leads to a feeling of success.
The sourcebook makes up the second part of the book and I really like its inclusion, more adventures in exotic locales should imclude a sourcebook section. It’s a short section but it’s enough to properly give you an idea of the general lay of the land in the Kingdom of Hawaii and a basic understanding of what the shadows are like there.
Included is the standard ‘facts at a glance’ which shows an overwhelming majority of orks amount metas on the island (22% of the total population) along with details on the climate (warm and sunny, even during winter), how you get in and out and what the general geography looks like. After that the history of the islands is explained, including how it broke away from the U.S. In 2017.
The chapter also includes some details on modern Hawaii, including it’s political family, economy and culture. This last is tied deeply into the attitude of the islands as there has been a strong re-emergence of traditional Hawaiian traditions and beliefs, which has lead to greater sympathy for those who favour greater autonomy from megacorporate influences, in particular the terrorist group Aloha.
Honalulu is given someone the spotlight as it is the destination that the runners will visit in the adventure and the greatest focus of shadow activity in the Kingdom of Hawaii. As normal this focus covers schooling, law enforcement, transportation, crime and shadow activity, albeit briefly as each is covered only in a paragraph or two.
The book finishes with 4 new shamanic totems that are specific to the Kingdom of Hawaii and would make particularly good inspiration for a PC who wanted to play a Kahuna. These totems are Honu (turtle), Kohola (whale), Mo’o (gecko) and Nene (goose).
Paradise Lost is a solid addition to any Shadowrun collection, not only is it a great adventure but it is the only place to get source material on the Kingdom of Hawaii and for a completion it’s like me, this makes it a must. It’s not the easiest book to get hold of, my search took me several months and a few failed attempts and, even then, it’s wasn’t exactly cheap, costing me more than double its original retail cost for a copy in average condition. Still, it’s certainly a book I’d recommend to anyone who wasn’t so fun and interesting adventure that lets their players lake a little departure from the norm.