So, what do we LIKE about Shadowrun

Sommerjon

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Probably the thing I liked least... about Shadowrun or any other cyberpunk game I've played. It seemed to just lead to a continuing cycle of 'gear up - run mission - get paid - gear up - run mission... etc.' Throw in the occasional double-cross/complication, but that's pretty much all I've seen happen in cyberpunk games.
I wanted more character driven stories, less gun/gear porn, more stuff about conspiracies and taking down the oppressive system... or being nomads out on the roads... existing as a 'blank' outside the grid.
Yeah that was the result of their version of the RPGA.

Shadowrun is the cautionary tale of what happens when a company designs only for their SMLC(RPGA).
 

Gringnr

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What's the best edition? For newbies, say?

Also, if I stopped all the magic/fantasy elements out, would it be a better Cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2020?
 

Picaroon Jack

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What's the best edition? For newbies, say?
Also, if I stopped all the magic/fantasy elements out, would it be a better Cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2020?
I'm not sure about the best edition, I've only had experience with 1 & 2. If you took all the fantasy elements out, you basically have cyberpunk 2020. As you would guess, the mechanics are totally different, though. Cyberpunk is basically stat+skill d10 to get a target number, and Shadowrun is d6 die pool versus die pool. Cyberpunk is much quicker in my opinion.
 

Toadmaster

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I dont have an issue with the double cross if its used correctly. It can advance the plot, lead to intetesting scenarios and it doesnt have to be something pre planned but is the result of something gone wrong. Its still used in movies to this day. I havent used the double cross on my group for many years, i may never use it again, but they are constantly looking for it.. They drive their own parinoia.. At the end of the day they know they are deniable assets...
I think the double cross is just part and parcel of the kinds of missions that tend to dominate cyberpunk games and fiction. The people hiring the PCs are usually resorting to the PCs because they have a reason to be working outside of their usually deep pool of resources, and that usually comes down to trust issues. Their motives are often screwing over their partners / employer for personal gain or they think their partners / employer are up to something and can not be trusted.

The phrase There is no honor among thieves comes to mind. Because it is so easy and such an obvious motivation, it gets heavily overused. The same thing occurs in heist fiction / games, and of course the heist is a common cyberpunk mission.
 

Toadmaster

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What's the best edition? For newbies, say?

Also, if I stopped all the magic/fantasy elements out, would it be a better Cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2020?
I can't speak to the edition, I've only played first or second (one or both, not sure). Even removing the fantasy elements, Shadowrun has a slightly lighter tone and style than Cyberpunk 2020 from what I recall.
 

Bashere

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What's the best edition? For newbies, say?

Also, if I stopped all the magic/fantasy elements out, would it be a better Cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2020?
Best edition? Hard to say and I've played all of them up to 4th. Every edition is heavy on the crunch, sometimes unnecessarily so. They all have their quirks. I'd lean to 4th only because it might be easier to find books and support at this point. My plan is to grab world information and use FFG's Genesys with Shadow of the Beanstalk and Terranoth to run it. I already have dice for it though so there is that.

As for doing Cyberpunk? I suppose you could, but honestly you'd be better off grabbing Cyberpunk 2020. It's a slicker, more streamlined system, even if bits aren't fleshed out as much as they should be. Also the netrunning rules are fucking terrible but easy enough to ignore by letting an NPC handle it.
 

Chris Brady

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Also, if I stopped all the magic/fantasy elements out, would it be a better Cyberpunk than Cyberpunk 2020?
That would require rewriting the entire history of the setting, in my opinion. Magic is pretty entrenched in there, from how the rise of it allowed an entire group of people handwave how they were able to return to prominence.
 

opaopajr

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The outline of a post-apoc sci-fantasy gritty modern setting and the baked-in "something to do" pitch. And that's about it. :grin:
 

Trippy

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My perception was that Shadowrun started a sort of change in RPGs in general.

Before Shadowrun it was normal to have single genre settings. You had your D&D style fantasy, Traveller style sci-fi, and comic superheroes. Shadowrun comes along and tosses D&D fantasy into sci-fi cyberpunk. Shadowrun almost certainly wasn't the first to do this, but it certainly made an impression on me and the people around me.

At the time I called this phenomenon "X plus Magic" because so many examples of it just seemed to take some style and then toss D&Disms into the mix.

One of the things I recall was how many players saw Cyberpunk 2020 as inferior to Shadowrun. It wasn't the rules or anything. Their argument was the Shadowrun had trolls and magic, so it was the better game. Cyberpunk was "just boring normal people."

Also, Shadowrun matched the stereotypical D&D template. Your group of warriors, spellcasters, and elves met in a bar. They got their mission from a wizard/Mr Johnson. They went off to some dungeon/corp building. They killed trolls and other critters. Cyberpunk 2020 and other non-"X plus magic" games didn't really have that setup mapped as parallel as Shadowrun did. I mean, what the hell do you do with a Rocker?? So much simpler to know what to do with a Street Samurai, Wage Mage, or a troll gang leader.

At the time, I liked Cyberpunk 2020 more. I was quite fond of "boring normal people." But I liked Shadowrun for other reasons.
I think that is an astute observation, as the 'mixed genre' genre became something of the norm in the 90s (Amber, Torg, Mage,etc) when Shadowrun was in it's ascendency. That said, there were some games that mixed up genres a bit, albeit in more subtle ways. Warhammer Fantasy Role-play, for example, was really a mash up between Tolkienesque fantasy and Lovecraftian horror. And of course, GURPS was around too.
 

Séadna

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I like the recentish Shadowrun video games.
Yeah they're really good, I think they hit all the major elements of the setting without getting bogged down. If they somehow managed to make a medium crunch version of the RPG and present the setting as efficiently as those games I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Some of the missions in Dragonfall are even great examples of a Shadowrun.
 

The Butcher

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I have never played any edition of it and as a relative newcomer to gaming, I adored the bald-faced brashness of the mix-up. Trolls with cybernetic implants and wizards with submachineguns, fuck, where do I sign?

Later I also came to appreciate their worldbuilding. Dragon CEOs and Earthdawn shout-outs, oh my.

Seconding the “which edition to pick up that won’t break me” question.
 

Raleel

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this, and the other thread, has me making characters using my hacks for cyberpunk in mythras. A troll Street (culture) Warrior (career) who spent a little time in the military but dropped out is a terrifying thing. Also put together my friend's troll Street Politician, aka Mayor Troll.
 

Colin Chapman NZ

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For me, it's the setting and the gear (to an extent).

I've avoided it forever though because every edition just seemed to get heavier and heavier system-wise, in typically poorly-designed ways that were attempting to be "simulationist". I feel that approach has actually limited SR's broader appeal.

Personally, I'm watching Cyberpunk RED and SR6e carefully. I'm interested in both, but I don't do heavier systems, and a real test will be the levels of errata. Neither RTalsorian (with Witcher) or CGL (with SR5e) have displayed effective editing ability.
 

CRKrueger

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If you’re in it for the world building, you want 1st and 2nd only. After that, Earthdawn and Shadowrun were different IPs and many of the main storywriters, ie. Tom Dowd, had moved on and Nigel Findley was dead. 3rd struggled along valiantly, but became more focused on rules. World building is easily the worst thing about 4th and 5th, and that’s with some of the worst rulesets available for a major IP.
 

Raleel

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If you’re in it for the world building, you want 1st and 2nd only. After that, Earthdawn and Shadowrun were different IPs and many of the main storywriters, ie. Tom Dowd, had moved on and Nigel Findley was dead. 3rd struggled along valiantly, but became more focused on rules. World building is easily the worst thing about 4th and 5th, and that’s with some of the worst rulesets available for a major IP.
and, iirc, 2e was more of a polishing of 1e rules wise
 

Faylar

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Shadowrun cashed in on tropes of the day too, the whole Native pride movement, the dark dystopia ala robocop, and all the Japanamation (As it was called then) featuring cool cyberspace stuff. The 80s was full of neo magic stuff like in Dune, Howard the Duck, Masters of the Universe, Krull, The Beast Master, etc... so weird was kind of expected.
Shadowrun as a whole was a product of it's time rolled into one package and then it took it one more step and pulled a page from Twilight 2000 to deliver us GUN PORN!

Honestly, I don't think Cyberpunk 2020 had as much appeal because it was trying to be something else and didn't have as much pop culture appeal to it. If Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun were released now though, I think the opposite would be true and Shadowrun would be accused of trying too hard.
 

Faylar

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If you’re in it for the world building, you want 1st and 2nd only. After that, Earthdawn and Shadowrun were different IPs and many of the main storywriters, ie. Tom Dowd, had moved on and Nigel Findley was dead. 3rd struggled along valiantly, but became more focused on rules. World building is easily the worst thing about 4th and 5th, and that’s with some of the worst rulesets available for a major IP.
People like Mike Mulvihil and company remained though, and they made 2e stuff mostly compatible until they put out a replacement supplement for it, so I think the transition to 3rd was a bit better than you are saying. Also, 3rd brought us stuff like Bug City. That was just awesome fun to play. 4th went toward transhumanism over dystopian and lost the vibe of Shadowrun IMO. 5th, I have mostly skipped thus far because 4th really didn't appeal to me beyond a few good rules changes.
 

Faylar

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I'm not sure about the best edition, I've only had experience with 1 & 2. If you took all the fantasy elements out, you basically have cyberpunk 2020. As you would guess, the mechanics are totally different, though. Cyberpunk is basically stat+skill d10 to get a target number, and Shadowrun is d6 die pool versus die pool. Cyberpunk is much quicker in my opinion.
4th... it plays nicer to the new crowd of Role players than the previous crunchier editions. It is still hella crunchy, but it is far easier to learn and the books are better laid out.
That being said though, Read all of the older source material if you want a feel for what Shadowrun truly is, as 4th kind of missed that mark.
Also, disclaimer... I am not familiar enough with 5e to comment on it, so this a 1st through 4th recommendation.
 

James Gillen

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I liked how the background actually progressed in real time. I'm not sure how much I like the new metaplot, but at least it's part of the history.
JG
 

Chris Brady

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Shadowrun cashed in on tropes of the day too, the whole Native pride movement, the dark dystopia ala robocop, and all the Japanamation (As it was called then) featuring cool cyberspace stuff. The 80s was full of neo magic stuff like in Dune, Howard the Duck, Masters of the Universe, Krull, The Beast Master, etc... so weird was kind of expected.
Shadowrun as a whole was a product of it's time rolled into one package and then it took it one more step and pulled a page from Twilight 2000 to deliver us GUN PORN!

Honestly, I don't think Cyberpunk 2020 had as much appeal because it was trying to be something else and didn't have as much pop culture appeal to it. If Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun were released now though, I think the opposite would be true and Shadowrun would be accused of trying too hard.
I think you're onto something, the gun porn was very effective at keeping my attention as well as the various groups I got to play with/run for.
 

Gringnr

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I've seen it opined by many people that, "X edition had the best mechanics, buy Y edition had the best hacking rules". Any experienced SR players care to weigh in on that?
 

Faylar

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I've seen it opined by many people that, "X edition had the best mechanics, buy Y edition had the best hacking rules". Any experienced SR players care to weigh in on that?
Yes and no... it depends on who you talk to. 1-3 had great hacking rules if you played it as a sub game, but Hacking, vehicle combat, main combat, and astral combat all happened on different initiative sequences, so they didn't mesh. Basically, if you were in a combat and your mage went astral, he basically got a minigame while time stopped for everyone else. Same was true for deckers. Once they rolled everything into one initiative, it got more streamlined and deckers could join the rest. However... the rules got simplified which turned many people off.
 

CRKrueger

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People like Mike Mulvihil and company remained though, and they made 2e stuff mostly compatible until they put out a replacement supplement for it, so I think the transition to 3rd was a bit better than you are saying. Also, 3rd brought us stuff like Bug City. That was just awesome fun to play. 4th went toward transhumanism over dystopian and lost the vibe of Shadowrun IMO. 5th, I have mostly skipped thus far because 4th really didn't appeal to me beyond a few good rules changes.
Mike Mulvihill was part of the "struggling along valiantly" before Shadowrun started to tailspin under Rob Boyle.

BTW, Bug City was somewhere around 2054/55, definitely 2nd Edition.
3rd Edition was 2060, so SURGE, Year of the Comet, etc.
 

Winterblight

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The bug infestation was one of the highpoints of Shadowrun for me. Suddenly you were no longer just worrying what corporation Johnson really worked for, but that he might be a bug spirit. The team might be on a datasteal or an extraction and suddenly find themselves in an Aliens style scenario.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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What I really liked about Shadowrun was they really gave the genre fresh and 'cool' aesthetic with an original take. I liked cyberpunk but I always found the setting a bit 'dry' until I discovered SR.

I was not mad on the merging of fantasy characters, however.
 

Faylar

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Mike Mulvihill was part of the "struggling along valiantly" before Shadowrun started to tailspin under Rob Boyle.

BTW, Bug City was somewhere around 2054/55, definitely 2nd Edition.
3rd Edition was 2060, so SURGE, Year of the Comet, etc.
Yeah, you are right, The cover art uses third edition color palates but it is a second edition book. My mistake. I always played it a third edition rules setting.
 

James Gillen

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I personally like Shadowrun Anarchy. It’s far lighter than 5e. Badly needs a 2nd edition, though. The organisation is terrible and some rules need clarification.
Anarchy might be worth a try, but while it's not as "narrative" as other Cue System games, it still specifically defines job payment as Karma (rather than nuyen) which makes it too meta-game for me.

JG
 

b9anders

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Mixing fantasy into cyberpunk seems like it should be a bad idea but it actually works so so well.

Cyberpunk as a genre is amenable to the supernatural and what shadowrun did right was to avoid the world of darkness trap and instead just blow it wide into the open as something that had an inevitable impact on modern culture and in turn was shaped by modern culture.

Streets shamans and urban magics is cool, troll Street samurais are even cooler. And there is something inherently satisfying about opening fire on supernatural critters.

Having immortals and dragons head up mega corps and aztech resurrected and all is just further proof of how well executed the setting is.
 

Colin Chapman NZ

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Anarchy might be worth a try, but while it's not as "narrative" as other Cue System games, it still specifically defines job payment as Karma (rather than nuyen) which makes it too meta-game for me.

JG
I've heard a lot of folks (including some fans of more rules lite and narrative systems) complaining about Anarchy, basically along the lines of of it being poorly designed and edited.

Can anyone shed more light on it?
 

CRKrueger

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Unfortunately, poorly designed and edited has been the complaint against most 5e releases so far. I read a more detailed review of the issues with Anarchy, I’ll see if I can find it again.
 

James Gillen

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I've heard a lot of folks (including some fans of more rules lite and narrative systems) complaining about Anarchy, basically along the lines of of it being poorly designed and edited.

Can anyone shed more light on it?
Yes, I'm not sure that Anarchy is MORE poorly designed and edited than a lot of SR stuff, but given the deliberately vague nature of the rules, it's hard to say if that's the reason.

JG
 

Gabriel

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Anyone remember when Shadowrun had action figures?
Yeah. I remember those. I think those were very early 00s. I recall seeing them in Gamestop. They were somewhat concurrent with the Clix craze. I also seem to remember them having a game attached. Each figure had a stat card and some rules to play a miniatures game with the figures?
 

yojimbouk

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I've heard a lot of folks (including some fans of more rules lite and narrative systems) complaining about Anarchy, basically along the lines of of it being poorly designed and edited.

Can anyone shed more light on it?
I wouldn’t say that, on the whole, it is poorly designed. However, the rules for spirits are not balanced leading to house rules. It also didn’t help that rules for drones were missing from the initial PDF release.

Also, stuff is all over the place. Descriptions of Shadow Amps are in an appendix rather than in the character creation section.

Really badly needs a revised edition which reorganises and clarifies stuff. It would be nice if they made the shared narrative stuff an advanced option rather than the default play style to make Anarchy more newbie friendly.
 
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