Paranormal Animals of Europe

The first edition Shadowrun sourcebook, Paranormal Animals of North America, was either the first or the second roleplaying book I ever got. I was eight, I’m pretty sure. The other was the Tome of Magic for 2nd Edition AD&D. I don’t remember which I got first, or if I got them at the same time, I just remember getting them at this weird little hobby shop that my mother took me to for some reason. I saw a book about magic and a book about monsters, and as today’s long lasting internet memes might say, I DID WANT. It didn’t take me long to figure out there were games that accompanied these neat catalogs of monsters and spells, but it took me longer to get the books that actually allowed me to interpret the (at the time) incredibly arcane rules that were included. That’s a story for another time, if ever, though.

I got back into Shadowrun and decided to finally run a game earlier this year when I ran across Running Wild, the recently released SR4 critter sourcebook; I decided I had to get it, because I’d always, ever since first picking up PAoNA, loved the Shadowrun critters. One thing led to another, and I found myself running a game. Which has been great. But one of the other things I learned as I started to research the game and its history was that there was a companion book to PAoNA—Paranormal Animals of Europe. And this weekend, I found a used copy at Powell’s. My joy was hard to contain.

I’m pretty pleased with the purchase. It’s in much better shape than my copy of PAoNA, and has several critters that didn’t make it into Running Wild. And of course just like PAoNA, it has a full spread devoted to each critter, with art, in-game nature guide info, and Shadow Talk section where runners tell each other what’s actually the what. The Shadow Talk section of PAoNA is a little better, I think, though it might just be that familiarity breeds fondness. There’s till some good stuff in PAoE, and I’m pleased with the significantly greater detail on many of the critters that Running Wild just couldn’t afford to provide. There seem to be contradictions at points, probably borne out of 20 years of in-game canon and rules development, and they don’t bother me particularly; one of the premises of magic in SR is that as much as everyone thinks they know, there’s more they don’t. I’m particularly pleased with the info on the Wild Hunt and the Aitvaras (also, according to Running Wild, known as the lindworm), as both will play big roles later on in my campaign. Also got an idea involving Meistersingers  (super smart Awakened humpback whales). I love Seattle and everything I can do there using the Seattle 2072 book, but I’m looking forward to breaking my players out into the wider world.

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