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Message no. 1
From: Marty <s457033@*******.GU.EDU.AU>
Subject: Australian sourcebook ideas (large)
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 21:40:54 +1000
Here's the stuff that the gang up in Brisbane, Australia has come up with
so far with regard to the Australian section of NAGTTW. Any comments,
suggestions, questions or rebuttals would be greatly welcomed, especially if
they're coming from an Australian list member.

After all, we wouldn't want to offend anyone by inadvertently
proposing a stereotypical viewpoint of Australia. *grin* It could result in
another flame-thread starting, and I wouldn't want that.

Please keep in mind that these are only proposals, so if you don't like
something, please say so...... Just say it in a civilised and
concise fashion; People that occupy bandwidth with ranting are not
well-received. (get the hint FoxMaster?)

A copy of this, or an updated document might even find its way to FASA...
but I want to ask if that's really a good idea first.

Socio-Political Situation:

Firstly, Australia should be unified. Though the rest of the world has
shown a depressing tendency towards balkanisation, Australia is not big
enough (economically) to survive as a bunch of independant states. The
sharks in the pool (notably China, Indonesia and the Megacorps) would regard
a divided Australia as nothing more than a tasty morsel, and we don't want
to be another CFS.

The total population in Australia should be no higher than 35-50 million
and would possibly be lower. We simply do not have the type of land to
support many more people than that, unless you want to put up with
horribly reduced living conditions and water shortages (Or if you want
to change the climate of Australia). Of the increased population, immigrants
from Asia and refugees from the Euro-wars would have arrived in bulk,
further diversifying the cultural backgound of the nation... natural growth
would comprise the rest.

Keeping up with this general (surface) acceptance of diversity, Australia
could have recieved a large influx of metahumans ousted from elsewhere...
In this regard Aust. would have followed the lead of New Zealand and
accepted them as human variants early (See the NZ list member for
further details) Of the, immigrants, a large proportion would be Japanese
orks and trolls not wanted in their home nation.

The style of government in Australia would also have changed. There is a
current movement to change to a republic by the turn of the century, thus
severing our governmental ties with Britain. Whether or not the event
occurs as predicted, it will happen because Great Britain shows less
relevance as a world power in SR than it does now. Also, Australia is no
longer a white anglo-saxon nation (there are apparently more Greek nationals
in Melbourne then in Athens), and would see less importance in strong
ties to Great Britain (Sorry to all the brits out there)

One of the big questions is, should Australia be at war? And if so, with
whom?? Posts in the Riggers Black Book imply that there is (was) some
kind of war going with PNG. Most of the guys up here agree that this is
a bit absurd, because PNG has nothing we really need, and we currently
have good relations with PNG, and give them a large percentage of our
foreign aid. In addition, Australians in general like and respect the PNG
people, mainly due to WWII and the Kokoda trail (look it up if you don't
know). Therefore we think that any fight would have been a border skirmish.

On the other hand, there are plenty of other nations around for Australia
to have a war with. Indonesia comes immediately to mind, because they
have a lot of people and very little land. Other contenders
currently include China, because they've got the same kind of problem as
Indonesia.... In fact it seems to be a situation endemic throughout South
East Asia.

Ideally, the country should be Indonesia, because it keeps the conflict local.
Any conflict should be sporadic and low-key, to enable shadowrunners to
survive in the region without getting wasted. The conflict may have
started over the Indonesians occupying the Christmas Islands or some other
drek (which we can't defend anyway).

Australia as historically had to rely on other nations to supply the
political and economic pressure to safeguard our national interests,
because we do not have the population base to maintain a military big
enough to protect the vast expanse of land we have. Therefore Australia
has had to rely upon maintaining good relations with whomever was the
capilatist/anglo-saxon world super-power at the time (ie Great Britain,
then America). Nothing much would have changed in this respect in SR;
We're still small-fry.

That leads to a problem, because neither the UCAS or the CAS is big
enough to provide the kind of 'big-brother' help that Australia would
need to keep Indonesia or whomever from getting ambitious. We tossed
around a few ideas as to who could fill those shoes, and came up with India.
India would have lost the poorest 20% (at least) of its population to the
VITAS epidemics, and this would have given them a huge boost to almost
superpower status in the Asian region (as far as nations go these days).

Aust. would therefore have strong military and diplomatic ties to India
and India would have a permanent military presence in Australia. The
other possible choice that I can think of would be the Japanese, but that
would result in Australia being turned into another CFS. As far as i can
tell, that would really piss the Australian players off.... So it's not
going to happen.... not everywhere at least.

The Australian military would have suffered the same kind of down-sizing
that every other nation seems to have (including Indonesia if a war is
happening). Certainly, neither the army, nor navy would have increased in
size from today's levels and may have even been reduced. The SAS on the
other hand, would have enjoyed a relative boom period, and might even
have a reputation as the best geurilla warfare and counter insurgency
operatives in the world. (A few guys up here want to see that happen; It
may piss of a few list members of certain other nationalities, but we're
patroitic, and as far as I know.... it may even be true *grin*)

Another possibility that I talked with the New Zealand mailing list
member is the possible amalgamation of Australia and New Zealand into one
power. The amalgamation would have raised some bad blood on the NZ side
if it was complete, so instead it could be similar to the European
Economic Community; A standardised currency, education system and some
aspects of the legal system. A strong military relationship would be
part of this for obvious reasons (Long live the ANZAC's *grin*)

Organised crime in Australia would be diverse, though there wouldn't
neccesarily be the stranglehold that exists elsewhere in the world. On
the basis of cultural background, Melbourne; should be Mafia, Brisbane;
Seoulpa Rings and Yakuza in contention. Sydney should be a free-for all.
The Yakuza may have been forced to accept non-japanese members in order to
diversify their activities. The final decision should be made by those
living in the area... After all; I live in Brisbane, not Melbourne

Ecology and Physical Changes:

Of course, the mana storms will be around... We haven't decided how
powerful or frequent we want to make them, because it's a tough call and
will greatly influence the style of play in Aust. The mana storms would
provide a deterrent to any corporation seeking to use the land for
resources, and could make travel throughout the center of Aus. hazardous.
(I'd dearly like some feedback here)

Lake Eyre is possibly flooded due to an increase in rainfall, or because
the corps dug a channel though from the sea (it's a long way, and they'd
need a good reason though.) The increase in rainfall could be a result
of weather disturbances caused by the mana storms. Freak weather
occurences such as dust storms, sleet and rain could be common occurences
throughout Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef is likely to have suffered some ecological damage
due to chemical pollution and changes in the sea. Most of it would have
been saved though, though whatever efforts were necessary. The reef
should be off-limits to petrochem powered vessels, or those carrying
cargo deemed even possibly dangerous. The result is that shipping lanes
have been diverted far, far away from the area. We were considering
putting some form of awakened dolphin in the area, and stocking it with a
strong navy presence as well as several groups of eco-freaks.

Kakadu National Park and large tracts of the center of Australia would
have been handed back to the traditional owners (Aborigines), who live
off the land and maintain the natural balance, much like Park Rangers. The
vast majority of aborigines would however have been absorbed into city
culture. The presence of the Aborigines would serve as another deterent
to the exploitation of Australia's natural resources.

Metahumanity and Magic:

I have a personal objection to the frequency of immortal elves in the SR
game universe (refer to the fiction for examples), so I'm choosing to
believe that the Aborigines did not goblinize exclusively to Elves. The
gang up here has tossed around the possibility that the unusually close
relationship that Aborigines had to magic and nature caused those still
out in the dream-time to expess metahuman traits at a higher rate than
normal... The predominant races expressed would be Elves (unfortunately)
and Orks, with a few Drawves and almost no Trolls..... It was pointed out
that Australia's natural conditons would not allow a troll to survive
because of scarcity of food.

Another probability is that the relationship with magic caused more of the
Aborigines to express as Shamans and adepts. Almost no Hermetics would
exist among the out-back population. The higher number of magically
active members makes up for the small numbers in the tribe... and really
scares away corporations. A possibilty we'd like to see eventuate is
that Australian aborigines exhibited the first physical-mage properties,
almost exclusively in the traceless walk / stealthy genre.

Aborigines should not be affected as much by mana storms if they live in the
natural environment; They have learned to accept the dream-time. Another
thing to consider is that the dream time had all kinds of nashy
creatures, like the rainbow serpent (and yes; a Feathered serpent would
be kitsch)... these would certainly be around.

Other awakened creatures to include in Australia would be; the Drop-Bear,
and awakened Wombat, an awakened funnel web spider (supposedly an
Aboriginal curse on white settlers), dolphins, dugongs, maybe an awakened
snake, Bunyips, and anything you normally find in a desert...... Big
scorpions *grin*. Unless someone can come up with an interesting variant
on an awakened Kangaroo or Platypus, they won't be included; They probably
exist, but wouldn't have any powers of interest to a shadowrunner.
(Possible stats for any of the critters would be appreciated)

Corporations and Industry:

The group up here was tossing around the possibility of Australia being
the world leader in one or more fields of research.... Lady Jestyr
suggested cold fusion, but that's way too big (nice idea though; We
wish)... Instead, perhaps Australia may be a world leader in oceanic
underwater mining, drilling and agriculture... Of course that would take a
megacorporation to do that, so we'd make one.

The corporation we were thinking of making would be second or third tier.
It'd be an amalgamation of BHP and MIM (familiar to the Aussies out
there).. The corp specialises in the fields of mining, chemicals and
production... as well as power generation (services), and dabbles in all
the otehr fields. Aust. is not big enough to wholly contain a megacorp,
so BHP would be based out of Australia and have extensive interests thoughout
the south-east asian region... other major nations where BHP (or
whatever name) has interests would be Africa, and India. BHP should
dominate the SE Asian mining market, though would not be a monopoly....
The corp would probably have a sterling reputation, and would be at least
moderately ecologically concious.... Which makes good sense if you have
to deal with Aborigines.

All of the major megacorporations would have a presence in Australia,
though they do not dominate the economy completely in all sectors.
Certain parts of Australia would be Japana-corp dominated (ie the Gold
Coast), but other areas would not have any presence at all. This means
that Australia makes a great place to drop out of sight....assuming you
can survive.

The biggest Japanese (or other extranational) corporations in Australia
would be agricultural businesses. None of the Megacorps have high ratings
in Agriculture according to Corp Shadowfiles, so another 2nd or 3rd tier
megacorp should have a strong presence in Australia.

One of the major megacorps would have an orbital launching facility on
Cpae York peninsula (it'd be under harrasment by greenies)... We were
tossing up who could own it; Ares is heavily into space assets, but they
got all of NASA. Owning Cape York as well would be a bit excessive. Of the
remainder, Saedder Krupp has all of Europe to play with, so that leaves
six... Can someone make the decision for me??? Of course, as well as the
eco-terrorism, there would be problems with any on-going conflict between
Asutralia and Indonesia......The mega-corp would have a very short temper
when it comes to stray shots hitting their vehicles.

Anyway, I've taken up way too much of your space... if you made it this
far; Congratulations.

Now all you have to do is write a response... Please???
Just remember to trim the rest of the post out.

Many thanks in advance to Lady Jestyr and the rest of the SR crew up
here, for giving me the ideas to write this much. (There is more, but
I've been here too long)


Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading about Australian sourcebook ideas (large), you may also be interested in:


These messages were posted a long time ago on a mailing list far, far away. The copyright to their contents probably lies with the original authors of the individual messages, but since they were published in an electronic forum that anyone could subscribe to, and the logs were available to subscribers and most likely non-subscribers as well, it's felt that re-publishing them here is a kind of public service.