Archive for the ‘Shadowrun’ Category

A couple of weeks ago I hit the big four-oh and one of my gifts from my wife Kala was the new Shadowrun sourcebook, Attitude. The book is a guide to the culture of the 2070s a bit like Shadowbeat and portions of the Neo-Anarchists  Guide to North America were in second edition Shadowrun.  The first thing you notice is the cover by Echo Chernik. Its a very striking cover, one of the best the line has had, chainmail bikini or otherwise.

The content of the book is what some would disparage as “fluff” as it is all about setting, and giving you the feel of the Shadowrun world. The opening chapter  “The Untethered Life” is written from the perspective of a mage who is a Shadowrunner and part-time academic, and looks into why people become Shadowrunners, and I think everyone playing the game should read it before they build a character, or even after to give some thought to who their character is.

From there the book takes a look at street etiquette and codes in the free lance criminal underworld, for GMs looking for  adding detail and nuance its golden. Much of the rest of the book looks at the pop culture and other distractions. Music, Film, Trideo(3D-TV), and Simsense (including Better-Than-Life) are all given coverage with lots of  information a GM could form a story around, or at least create some good complications. Sports of 2073 are also covered, a handy thing in my current game as one of  the characters wants to become a pro-athele in Combat Biking.

Bottomline I recomend this book for GMs and players, although if you prefer rules to setting background you might be disappointed, but for me it gives the feel of the game and will be a great help in making the game world pop, adding those bits of detail, and personality that make a fictional place feel more real. Oh and just an FYI Attiude has received two ENnies nominations, best sourcebook and best cover art, i hope it does well.

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So Last Sunday, my Shadowrun just did not gel for any great amount of time. I thought it was a good story, an exciting wrap-up to the previous sessions story. There were some good RP opportunities, there was the planning portion, my players love a good infiltration, and there was the chance to be an international team that had been frequently talked about.

Sadly the game broke down into minor squabbles, over planning and it just slowed down. So what do other GMs do in this situation, I floated a Twitter balloon but only got one response.  The option of just scrapping the game for the night, but that just did not feel right for how things was fallin down, i think we all wanted to be there but there were just lots of problems on how to handle what was going on.

In the time since then one of the players thinks the international route might not be the best for his character’s mind set after all so the campaign might be moving in a different direction than previously planned, but I still am left wondering about how rescue future sessions if things just start to go south. Gaming time is preciously small as a full fledged adult so i hate to see a game get called off, so does anyone have any good ideas?

WAR!

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Shadowrun, Table Top Gaming

I recently picked up the newest Shadowrun source book War! its part of what Catalyst calls the Deep Shadows line of source books.  Its soft cover with very evocative cover art depicting an airborne assault circa 2073.   It comes in at 279 pages of text with a couple of pages of gear tables at the end.  The primary focus of the book is moving the story forward with the out break of a war between Aztlan (Shadowrun’s re-energized and expansionist Mexico) and Amazonia (an awakened nation taking up most of northwest South America and ruled by all sorts of non human critters).

The first few chapters of the book detail the flashpoint city of Bogota detailing history, culture and major players in the city. The history of the war is detailed enough to give a good solid foundation to run in the region, but its open enough that you can mold it into your individual campaign.

Other military conflict zones are given a few paragraphs as Poland, Nepal and Somalia to name just a few. It gives the nuts and bolts of conflicts, and offers a few nuggets for a GM to run with in her or his own game.

The final section is game information on various aspects of living and working in a war zone, as well as a lot of heavy duty military gear, ranging from mines and battle rifles to orbital weapons platforms.  There are also a few new spells and bunch of new military NPCs for use as contacts and or opponents.  A lot of the weapons are things a team of Shadowrunners should NEVER get their hands on, but how much panic could they have as satellite fired munitions start vaporizing buildings as they are escorting their target out of the war zone?

My only complaint about the book is minor, it is the lack of a map of Bogota, with as much book space as Bogota takes up a map would have been awesome. I guess there is always Google Maps for that. I have read a few complaints about the gear being out of the range of your typical Shadowrunner, but that is sort of the point.  Its not a book for your players necessarily, but for a GM its a very useful tool.

When we last left or magician he was walking down the path towards and idyllic medieval fantasy looking village on his way to talk to his mentor spirit the Dragon Slayer.  The object of this particular quest is to learn the initiate talent of masking, masking allows the magician to disguise his aura how ever he or she sees fit, looking far more powerful, of completely mundane and non magical, or even look like another type of being entirely.  So during these trials the first objective will be to puff him self up be big and bold like a real Dragon Slayer.

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After a very long time  GMing the Shadowrun role playing game in 3 out of the 4 editions of the game, I am running my fist meta-planer quest for a magical character and ordeal for initiation and for the character to gain a new magical ability, in this case the ability to mask his magical aura. The plan is to run it as a play by email as this will not involve any of the other characters.

In the Shadowrun setting there is the mundane world that everyone experiences, the astral plane, that only magicians can access for the most part, and the meta-planes that are beyond the edge of astral space, and home to very powerful and sometimes very malignant beings and forces. Venturing to the meta-planes is not something to be done lightly and is a dangerous proposition, as it can take a physical and psychological toll on the magician that is taking the journey.

The character in question is a chaos magician, who barrows aspects of all sorts of traditions as part of his path to magic, in this case whe looks to the Dragon Slayer mentor spirit for part of his magical path.  His goal is to seek out the mentor spirit on the meta-planes in order to learn the talent.

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Every Shadowrun game needs a few Prime Runners as opposition or allies for the player characters. Prime Runners should have a bit of a  history some flaws and some goals and things they value, not just fodder for the PCs

Today’s Prime Runners are Calvin and Hobbes, a wired up sub-machine-gun  expert and an up close and personal tiger shape-shifter physical adept.  Both Characters are around 500 points give or take a few build wise.

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So in my Shadowrun game there has been some problems with maintaining a consistent characterization in some situations. Especially when it comes to how dark to play a character. If a character who the player describes as “good” does a reasonably evil act.  The act in question is disposing of a prisoner by selling of his parts especially cybernetics to a ripper doc.  This came into direct conflict with the rest of the team, who had real in-character problems with doing that to someone, especially since the NPC was some one they had worked with in the past, but has come up on the opposing side.  

 In the past the player has described his character’s morality as chaotic-good in D&D terms and in his background he has a real hatred for human tracking and other forms of similar exploitation, so organ-legging seems like its out of character.  I have no real issue with a bit of player conflict in my Shadowrun game, often with in the genre it makes for good story telling, moral conflicts are a fun part of the Shadowrun experience, and the initial roleplaying around the  argument of what to do with their captive was very compelling and it looked like every one was having fun with it. Up until the player in question started to loose the argumentand started looking for almost metagaming reasons to end the conflict, justify the actions and get a quick and easy payday for his character, even if it looks like violates the character’s ethics. 

When do you lean on a player to play a character a bit more in character, is setting fluff enough of a reason to give the player a pass with zero consequenses? In the end the player figured out a devious way forward to pull off his plan, that the others would not know about, and  I see a way forward with the character getting some unwanted attention in the form of toxic mentor spirits and the like.  This brigns up some other questions: where does morality fit into a Shadowrun game? Is not falling on the gratuitous side of the violence spectrum just good business for a Shadowrun team?  How do you handle a loose cannon team member?