So, what do we LIKE about Shadowrun

Raleel

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I think one thing I enjoyed is the cultural blending, though I think it is less in Shadowrun than others. I was reminded of this just now when i downloaded Zaibatsu (see, I'm cheating on my mYstress ;) ) and the use of japanese names for archetypes.
 

TristramEvans

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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?
Yeah, they came with sort of click-like bases. I never investigated the game.
 

CRKrueger

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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?
This isn’t the article I was thinking of, but it might help.
Anarchy Rant
 

Stevethulhu

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This thread has given me an odd urge to sort out a game using GURPS Cyberpunk and Fantasy Folk, as I've mentioned elsewhere. And base it in some undefined city, using this and this for the setting. Use the rule of three for fleshing out details, so three corporations, three gangs, three organised crime groups and so on and just go with whatever happens.

Shame it's going to be a few months before I can think about getting a game off the ground :hmmm:
 

Toadmaster

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This thread has given me an odd urge to sort out a game using GURPS Cyberpunk and Fantasy Folk, as I've mentioned elsewhere. And base it in some undefined city, using this and this for the setting. Use the rule of three for fleshing out details, so three corporations, three gangs, three organised crime groups and so on and just go with whatever happens.

Shame it's going to be a few months before I can think about getting a game off the ground :hmmm:
Years ago I thought it would be fun to run a fantasy post-apocalypse game sort of Fallout meets Lord of the Rings. I never did it but I still have this image of Orcs with home built Sten guns in my head.
 

silva

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When I met Shadowrun in the early 90s it wasn't just sci-fi with elves, it was it's own thing full of personality and exoticness. A vision that came through in 1st/2nd corebooks and expansions art, shadowtalk, and slightly wonky but soulful rules. It all painted a world vibrant as f*** that I felt compelled to explore (the fact it was the exact time the excellent and moody SNES and Sega Genesis videogames also came out helped).

Unfortunately that vision was lost in later editions. But man, I'll never forget my first time as a 11 years old kiddo opening that 2nd edition book and immersing myself on it all night long. It was my birthday gift that year, and I don't remember gaining a better birthday gift since then. And I'm 40 years old now.
 

Gabriel

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Another minor thing.

When I got into Shadowrun, it was with that first edition hardcover.

Very, very few RPGs were hardcover back then. Off the top of my head, the only ones I can think of were the AD&D books and Living Steel. Everything else was softcover or staple bound booklets in box sets.

That automatically made Shadowrun 1e special back then. It seems trivial and silly now, considering how hardcovers became the norm after 2000. But back then being hardcover automatically made Shadowrun special and stand out.
 

Raleel

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Very, very few RPGs were hardcover back then.
warhammer fantasy is the one I think about there. 3 years earlier than 1e, but yea, there were a lot of softcovers. vampire 1e has a hardcover I think, 2 years later, but outside of AD&D, maybe 1-2 hardcovers a year over the whole industry.
 

yojimbouk

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warhammer fantasy is the one I think about there. 3 years earlier than 1e, but yea, there were a lot of softcovers. vampire 1e has a hardcover I think, 2 years later, but outside of AD&D, maybe 1-2 hardcovers a year over the whole industry.
I think GW’s Call of Cthulhu 3rd Edition was the first but WFRP followed later that year, if memory serves. Compiling them as books allowed them to avoid Value Added Tax in the UK allowing GW to set the cover price lower.

I think GW’s intent was to make them deluxe with a hardcover and colour plates. Certainly the CoC reprint was widely lauded.
 

Iceman

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I think the setting is brilliant. Sci-fi with fantasy and it gets it dead on right.
 

Chris Brady

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I think the setting is brilliant. Sci-fi with fantasy and it gets it dead on right.
No, it doesn't. It makes magic out into this all powerful force and then squanders it for no real reason. It's got an incredible amount of inconsistencies that make the entire thing if you take a good solid look at it. The Ghost Dance is especially egregious, I could go on as to how it's a dumb idea, but that's not the point of this thread.

The point is, that's not what anyone cares about, the geopolitical landscape is the least important thing about Shadowrun, and frankly, gets in the way of the real fun. Cybernetic warriors and wizards fighting dragons and monsters, where the kingdoms to topple are inside a city limits. The gun porn is part of the cool loot you get. And they get that right, the complexity of the system makes the weapons meaningful too.

It's all about playing a covert ops style game where your enemies are the traditional Orcs and Trolls, and faceless minions of a robber baron dressed up in cool suits, metal arms and big guns. This, this is why people play Shadowrun, the setting is nothing but a backdrop that begs you not to look too hard into it.
 

AsenRG

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No, it doesn't. It makes magic out into this all powerful force and then squanders it for no real reason. It's got an incredible amount of inconsistencies that make the entire thing if you take a good solid look at it. The Ghost Dance is especially egregious, I could go on as to how it's a dumb idea, but that's not the point of this thread.

The point is, that's not what anyone cares about, the geopolitical landscape is the least important thing about Shadowrun, and frankly, gets in the way of the real fun. Cybernetic warriors and wizards fighting dragons and monsters, where the kingdoms to topple are inside a city limits. The gun porn is part of the cool loot you get. And they get that right, the complexity of the system makes the weapons meaningful too.

It's all about playing a covert ops style game where your enemies are the traditional Orcs and Trolls, and faceless minions of a robber baron dressed up in cool suits, metal arms and big guns. This, this is why people play Shadowrun, the setting is nothing but a backdrop that begs you not to look too hard into it.
For the record, I agree completely:smile:.
 

silva

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The point is, that's not what anyone cares about, the geopolitical landscape is the least important thing about Shadowrun, and frankly, gets in the way of the real fun.
I must disagree with this part. While the setting has its share of quirks, I find it very good at conveying the staple cyberpunk tropes in its own, fantasy-mixed way (racism through the night of rage, cultural clashes through the NAN secession and the treaty of Denver, corporate exploitation through manipulated governments by strong megas, etc). Sure, some players will only care for the gun and spell stats, but for those who care for such tropes, it's there IMHO.
 
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Raleel

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I must disagree with this part. While the setting has its share of quirks, I find it very good at conveying the staple cyberpunk tropes in its own, fantasy-mixed way (racism through the night of rage, cultural clashes through the NAN secession and the treaty of Denver, corporate exploitation through manipulated governments by strong megas, etc). Sure, some players will only care for the gun and spell stats, but for those who care for such tropes, it's there IMHO.
you know, that's an excellent point. I don't know if it is intentional, but the framework for playing racism and other bigotry is there. Certainly a leverage point for a *punk sort of story if you take the notion of *punk being against the norm/outside the norm. 1e has "projecting dark dreams of goblins onto the unsightly physical modification of the victims" and talk of traumatization of loved ones, living up to the stereotype with violence, balkanization and isolation. "Where the color of men's skins had once been the great barrier, the people of Earth now began to hate and fear the new 'races', the emerging Elves, Dwarfs, Orks, and Trolls. In the year 2022, race riots wracked the globe on a scale never seen. In the turmoil, new nations emerged when states split from parent countries or coalesced from two or more units." We have the Night of Rage, Policlub, and so on.

Now, most of the people I've ever played with have avoided that sort of social exploration game like the plague, because they play games for fun, not for exploring social issues, but it certainly sets it up for you. I think that's a positive thing.
 

Picaroon Jack

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Now, most of the people I've ever played with have avoided that sort of social exploration game like the plague, because they play games for fun, not for exploring social issues, but it certainly sets it up for you. I think that's a positive thing.
This reminds me of the time in Rifts I had the players all make CS characters who were way out away from the burbs on an extended long range mission. The plan was for them to eventually see the light and have them side with the DBees and turn on Chi-Town. That did not happen. They just blew everything up CS style. The poor cyber knight who was trying to deliver them a message never saw what hit him.
 

CRKrueger

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OK, fair enough. Evidence please. I'm willing to be corrected.
Ok, while I work on it, please tell me how Cyberpunk 2020 characters and campaigns are tied into the geopolitical landscape.
 

CRKrueger

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Ok, first, let's address the "Sorcerers and Knights going out to fight Orks and Trolls" charge, AKA "People getting their D&D on with Cyberwear and Automatic Weapons". I played and ran Shadowrun heavily from the tail end of 1989 through 1999. I did this in LA, where there's a lot of gamers and huge conventions. I played in College groups with people from the Claremont Colleges, the Cal State System and the UC system. I played more garage games than I can count. I never saw the "D&D with Shotguns" syndrome. Honestly. Maybe it's just because I was older. I graduated High School three years before Shadowrun dropped, so I didn't play with "High School" groups, even though there were plenty of high schoolers (and at conventions, grade schoolers) at the games.
I don't know what Brady and Asen's experiences are, but being that they don't play the game much and are from Canada and Bulgaria, I highly doubt that they are in a position to claim that MOST Shadowrun players do anything. It's also possible that there is a current crop of Shadowrun players playing 5th Edition who have never heard of WIlliam Gibson and are getting their D&D on. Based on forum discussions from Catalyst and Dumpshock...I doubt it.
SInce this will be long, I'm breaking it up. More coming.
 

CRKrueger

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Second, let's look at the whole "Geopolitical Landscape" thing. In Shadowrun, especially if you play in the default setting of Seattle, the Geopolitical Landscape is very important. Seattle is a mostly-on-its-own island of the UCAS (United Canadian and American States) surrounded by a foreign nation, the SSC (Salish-Sidhe Council). Every Shadowrunner, at some point, is going to want to lay low, and there's no better place to do this than in the SSC...provided you know what the status of the various tribes are (there are 6 major plus more) both with each other and with the UCAS. If you want to get to Cal Free (California Free State) to do biz or make contacts, it's a nice drive down the I-5...going right through Tir Tairngire an Elven nation, which is going to make a Shadowrunner's life hell. So you might have to go around, how many airspaces are you going to fly through held by how many different countries and factions? You don't know? It will be one interesting trip.

You know how the Berlin Wall and the division of Berlin made for about a thousand spy novels and movies? Well imagine Denver split between 6 nations, yes 6. Simply going to a meet can be like a John Le Carre novel. Here the Geopolitical Landscape is literally the landscape and if you don't happen to know where the current best crossing point is, and whether the wall guards are currently on "Shoot to Kill" status due to relations between the nations, well, you don't live long.

Then there's the Corps. Cyberpunk 2020 is famous for its Corporate War between Arisaka and Militech. Well, Shadowrun had its Corporate War as well, plus a UCAS Election, the return of Haley's Comet, the walling off of the City of Chicago, the AI war, the Second Matrix Crash, etc... which all spawned campaign books dealing with how Shadowrunners get involved and can affect these events.

You forget that Shadowrun was the other big Metaplot Game of the 90's.

Then there's the adventures. Sure, not many adventures can lead to the death of a country, but one campaign can lead to the End of the World. Most of the adventures have an effect on the corporations involved, and can alter the power levels of even a AAA Mega (being Shadowrun, there's even a system for it).

So when you say people don't care about the Geopolitical Landscape, or that people in Shadowrun are playing like a Fantasy game and not a Cyberpunk Game, I don't know what the fuck games you've seen, because my experience, which I know for a fact dwarfs yours, and is backed up by the game itself, tells me the exact opposite.

Could you have some knuckleheads kicking in doors and blasting everything in sight and the GM letting it all occur? Sure, name me ONE game where that can't happen. That says nothing about the game itself.
 

CRKrueger

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It is. To my understanding @Chris Brady likes that.

What I don't know is why even @CRKrueger would bring CP2020 in this thread.
If Brady thinks that Shadowrun doesn't concern itself with the Geopolitical Landscape and that its players don't either, then I have no idea what he means by the term. He obviously thinks CP2020 does, so in order to engage with his criticism, I have to know his point of view.

If he doesn't think Cyberpunk 2020 does it either, he can substitute ANY game that addresses or affects the Geopolitical Landscape if he likes.

Knowing Brady's many past rants on Shadowrun, 99% sure he's not complaining about people ignoring the Geopolitical Landscape as much as he is saying he, personally, doesn't like the Geopolitical Landscape.
 
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Chris Brady

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If Brady thinks that Shadowrun doesn't concern itself with the Geopolitical Landscape and that its players don't either, then I have no idea what he means by the term. He obviously thinks CP2020 does, so in order to engage with his criticism, I have to know his point of view.
That is incorrect. The game's geopolitical landscape is there to inform the world, to shape it and the inhabitants experiences and history. It's not very coherent in some places (like I said, I could go on and on about how the Ghost Dance is badly executed) but the intent is there to create a unique world. This is a plus, because it creates a unique playground for players, and frankly, it's much more memorable than quite a few other games on the market right now, because it has a rich tapestry.

The thing is, the focus for the characters is much closer to the ground. They don't care about why the world became the way it is, they want to play in it, they want to run across the Ancient's biker gang. They want to beat up that Ork mafia hassling the poor Native family. They want to cast spells, steal cool things, or a myriad of other activities that the setting is ripe for.

Most players don't really care how or why things are, just that they are.




OK, the issue I have, specifically, with the Ghost Dance, as I remember it, is how one sided the exchange was. Magic was all powerful, no technology could affect it. What stopped the Natives from just wiping out everything they didn't want on their land? Also, if magic stopped so suddenly, and couldn't be brought to bear once more, what was to stop the non-Natives from redoubling their assault and this time with 'righteous' proof that the Natives are too dangerous to let live because they were OK with genocide -While, ironically, the non-natives wipe them out-?

What I would have done was have it be a 6 days war, where both sides took heavy casualties and when they decided that if they continued there would be a mutual destruction event, and so they decided to broker a peace, as tenuous as it was likely to be. Both sides would get together and be like, "OK, you get this back, we get to keep this. We cool? We cool." But honestly, like I said, most people don't think that hard on it, because they don't care about it. It's just not important to the game.

The game is about running shadow ops in Seattle, meeting interesting races and killing them.
 

CRKrueger

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That is incorrect. The game's geopolitical landscape is there to inform the world, to shape it and the inhabitants experiences and history. It's not very coherent in some places (like I said, I could go on and on about how the Ghost Dance is badly executed) but the intent is there to create a unique world. This is a plus, because it creates a unique playground for players, and frankly, it's much more memorable than quite a few other games on the market right now, because it has a rich tapestry.

The thing is, the focus for the characters is much closer to the ground. They don't care about why the world became the way it is, they want to play in it, they want to run across the Ancient's biker gang. They want to beat up that Ork mafia hassling the poor Native family. They want to cast spells, steal cool things, or a myriad of other activities that the setting is ripe for.

Most players don't really care how or why things are, just that they are.
Most players based on your selection size of what, exactly?


OK, the issue I have, specifically, with the Ghost Dance, as I remember it, is how one sided the exchange was. Magic was all powerful, no technology could affect it. What stopped the Natives from just wiping out everything they didn't want on their land? Also, if magic stopped so suddenly, and couldn't be brought to bear once more, what was to stop the non-Natives from redoubling their assault and this time with 'righteous' proof that the Natives are too dangerous to let live because they were OK with genocide -While, ironically, the non-natives wipe them out-?

What I would have done was have it be a 6 days war, where both sides took heavy casualties and when they decided that if they continued there would be a mutual destruction event, and so they decided to broker a peace, as tenuous as it was likely to be. Both sides would get together and be like, "OK, you get this back, we get to keep this. We cool? We cool." But honestly, like I said, most people don't think that hard on it, because they don't care about it. It's just not important to the game.

The game is about running shadow ops in Seattle, meeting interesting races and killing them.
As I said, Brady’s critique is all about not liking the Lore, and his “Shadowrun is Murderhoboville” nonsense, a contention disproved by every published adventure.
 

CRKrueger

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As to the Great Ghost Dance...

Why didn’t they keep it going? - Because it’s a Blood Magic Ritual, and was causing the deaths of dozens of shamans and hundreds of others to power it.

Why didn’t the US call the bluff? - Because they didn’t know it was a bluff. The only ones who could have explained anything to the President were the Immortal Elves and the Great Dragons currently awake, and they had as much of a reason to see the US fragment as the Native Americans.

You’re the President in the chaos following the Awakening.
  • Even if you wanted to nuke US soil, because of the Lone Eagle incident, you have no idea if nukes even work anymore.
  • Enemy troops can turn invisible and control the weather, oh and they’re immune to bullets this time, so no Wounded Knee 2.0
  • The enemy can cause every US volcano in the Ring of Fire to simultaneously erupt. No one else can tell you whether or not they can blow the Yellowstone Supercaldera or start playing happy with tectonic faultlines.
  • All your allies have their own shitshows to deal with.
  • All the corporations want you to capitulate (drooling at the possibilities of a balkanised US).
  • The people are calling for you to stop the chaos or step down. Your predecessor’s move to try and throw all Native Americans into internment camps and your idea to throw them all into graves doesn’t really make you the Good Guy either.
What do you do? You agree to talks.

Why didn’t the Ghost Dancers insist on reclamation of all Native Territory, their original demand? Because they’re not the ones who made Lone Eagle disappear, so for them, the US nukes are still a threat if the US wants full-blown destruction.

What do you do? You agree to talks... and the Treaty of Denver is born.
 
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Winterblight

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As to the Great Ghost Dance...

Why didn’t they keep it going? - Because it’s a Blood Magic Ritual, and was causing the deaths of dozens of shamans to power it.
This is my understanding of it also. I think the novels talk about the number of deaths caused, and it was substantial. So it was a bluff. But one so powerfull it brought all parties to the table. It also messed up astral space real bad. My memory was a bit fuzzy, but wasnt a Horror not involved in teaching the ritual to Daniel Howling Coyote?
 

CRKrueger

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Last intel I have on that is that no one knows. At least Harlequin didn’t. The Totemic Spirits are something that wasn’t around last time either. If they are just different versions of the Passions for a different people and time, then they certainly would know how to do it.

It was rumoured that some Horrors have been active in SR since the Awakening, since they don’t need high level of magic to exist, just to be summoned. It’s possible one was here all along and just “woke up” like the dragons did. It’s possible the Idol from Bottled Demon was involved, or the experimental Aztec Magics like seen in Ivy and Chrome contacted them.

I’m not fully up to date on the Catalyst view of things, but during the FASA years, the Great Ghost Dance puzzled the fuck out of the Powers That Be because none of them know who taught Coleman and all of them claim not to have taught him themselves.

One Power That Be who could do such a thing and is on the Earth is Thaïs, Aina’s son with the Horror Ysrgrathe.
Just thumbed through World’s Without End again. You may be right. Apparently Thaïs was responsible for the failed Ghost Dance in 1890, I’d forgotten that, so it stands to reason he’s a prime candidate for the knowledge of the Great Ghost Dance.
 
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Winterblight

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Yeah. It was probably one of those nebulous open ended plots that FASA loved. It was probably me that decided it was a Horror, as it was a Horror seemed most likely to gain.
 

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I’d really like to get Tom Dowd ripped on Sodium Pentothal and put him to The Question.:grin:
 

Winterblight

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I met Tom Dowd at EuroGenCon many years ago. Other than asking him to sign my 2nd Edition rulebook, I couldnt think of anything to ask him about shadowrun. A wasted oppertunity for me, not for him. He sold me Earthdawn
 

James Gillen

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As to the Great Ghost Dance...

Why didn’t they keep it going? - Because it’s a Blood Magic Ritual, and was causing the deaths of dozens of shamans to power it.

Why didn’t the US call the bluff? - Because they didn’t know it was a bluff. The only ones who could have explained anything to the President were the Immortal Elves and the Great Dragons currently awake, and they had as much of a reason to see the US fragment as the Native Americans.
They've said in the books that if Drain can cause Physical damage, then the scale of magic used in the Great Ghost Dance measured Drain in terms of lives.
Magic on that scale is like a nuke, and when you're going up against the US government, you need that level of power.

JG
 

silva

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The game is about running shadow ops in Seattle, meeting interesting races and killing them
Wow, this don't match my reading of the source material at all. In Shadowrun there are no evil races to serve as fodder/to be butchered by heroes. Orcs and Trolls are just normal folk trying to get by as anyone else. Even ghouls are like that as some jurisdictions have laws to protect and help them.

Or are you role-playing a Humanis Policlub member here? :hehe:
 

Chris Brady

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Wow, this don't match my reading of the source material at all. In Shadowrun there are no evil races to serve as fodder/to be butchered by heroes. Orcs and Trolls are just normal folk trying to get by as anyone else. Even ghouls are like that as some jurisdictions have laws to protect and help them.

Or are you role-playing a Humanis Policlub member here? :hehe:
I was trying to be funny. Not one of my better attempts. Note to self, get some sleep first.
 

James Gillen

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Wow, this don't match my reading of the source material at all. In Shadowrun there are no evil races to serve as fodder/to be butchered by heroes. Orcs and Trolls are just normal folk trying to get by as anyone else. Even ghouls are like that as some jurisdictions have laws to protect and help them.

Or are you role-playing a Humanis Policlub member here? :hehe:
You can also kill Humanis. ;)

jg
 
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