101 Things that make Shadowrun, Shadowrun?


Other RPGs


1. Dystopian world controlled & monitored by corporations (kinda like today, hey!)

2. The Matrix (or interwebs?)

3. Magic + Technology. "Hello, Troll buddy."

4. Shadowrunners live in the grey areas of morality

5. Constant threat of being double-crossed

6. Rain -- because of the pollution (or is it just Seattle waitors)

7. 3 hours of at-the-table planning before entering a room

Liberty's Edge

None of that makes Shadowrun Shadowrun.

What makes Shadowrun Shadowrun is taking a shallow and simplistic version of the cyberpunk genre and adding elves and magic and dragons and respectable production values.


Krensky wrote:

None of that makes Shadowrun Shadowrun.

What makes Shadowrun Shadowrun is taking a shallow and simplistic version of the cyberpunk genre and adding elves and magic and dragons and respectable production values.

And a really bad view of how the US would have been split up, not to mention the world. I'm almost positive a dart board was used at one point.

Liberty's Edge

That technically falls into the shallow and simplistic cyberpunk, but point taken.


8. And this brings us to: People pretending they have played Shadowrun.


Heh. I've played more Shadowrun than any other game except D&D/Pathfinder.

Most of the original post isn't anything strictly tied to Shadowrun as a game.

1. Dystopian: That's pretty much cyberpunk games as well as things like Paranoia and others.

2. The Matrix is their branded name for netrunning or whatever other computer interface system that a game or novel or whatnot uses.

3. Magic+Tech: They weren't the only ones to play with that, but they did do a good job of selling it as "D&D with guns!" in the early days. It works part of the time, and part of the time it falls down. Lots of arguments over, yes, you guessed it, spell casters outstripping others.

4. Morality: Done across the spectrum of games. I'd argue that Cyberpunk 2020 or even the various Blah: The Blahing lines did it better and first.

5. Double Cross: You should play some spy games, or classic D&D games, or .. well, let's just say that this isn't unique to Shadowrun.

6. Rain: Congrats! They set it in Seattle, which people knew about when the game came out mostly for rain. Then grunge, Starbucks, and other things. And rain is pretty much used all over the place in movies, games and so on to set mood.

7. Overplanning: That's a product of players more than the game. People do that in any number of games, because players love to try to cover every option and many think they are tactical geniuses after playing X video game, movies, or hearing stories from their brother's friend's cousin about the two weeks in boot camp.

So. To circle back around, most of your list isn't unique or even about Shadowrun outside of some of #3. If I recall, TORG played with some of the same ideas around the same time period and they've shown up in a number of other games. Heck, D&D did it with Barrier Peaks almost ten years before, albeit that you couldn't play the androids back then.

Things that might actually make Shadowrun Shadowrun?

1. Native American's being an actual threat in a game not set in the Old West. With the rise of magic, the Nations were able to take over large swaths of North America and send the USA packing. You don't see that come up often in RPGS.

There's a start to a list for ya! :)


knightnday wrote:

Heh. I've played more Shadowrun than any other game except D&D/Pathfinder.

Most of the original post isn't anything strictly tied to Shadowrun as a game. ...

Oh, for this list it's ok if items are not precisely unique to Shadowrun, just make them thematically on target.

Go for the Nuggets, so experienced players will think, "Ah yes, I know that." And, noobs will think, "Oh, I didn't know that. That's good to know."

I really like your item about native americans. Let's keep going with your item on the list:

--

9. Native American's being an actual threat in a game not set in the Old West. With the rise of magic, the Nations were able to take over large swaths of North America and send the USA packing. You don't see that come up often in RPGS.


10. The core rules cover in detail how to use another player or npc as a meat-sheild.


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Krensky wrote:

None of that makes Shadowrun Shadowrun.

What makes Shadowrun Shadowrun is taking a shallow and simplistic version of the cyberpunk genre and adding elves and magic and dragons and respectable production values.

must we war here, krensky?

Liberty's Edge

Freehold DM wrote:
Krensky wrote:

None of that makes Shadowrun Shadowrun.

What makes Shadowrun Shadowrun is taking a shallow and simplistic version of the cyberpunk genre and adding elves and magic and dragons and respectable production values.

must we war here, krensky?

I have a complete set of first and mostly complete set of second edition and a few third edition bookd, along with all three HBS games.

Doesn't change the truth.

If you want a good mirrorshades and electrometal game, in the sense of getting the genre, you play Cyberpunk 2020. If you want Elven solos and Dwarven fixers, well I'd say that I'm sure there's a fantasy Fuzion game you can borrow from for a CP2020 campaign, but more generally you go to Shadowrun.


11. Augmented Street Samurai


Krensky wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Krensky wrote:

None of that makes Shadowrun Shadowrun.

What makes Shadowrun Shadowrun is taking a shallow and simplistic version of the cyberpunk genre and adding elves and magic and dragons and respectable production values.

must we war here, krensky?

I have a complete set of first and mostly complete set of second edition and a few third edition bookd, along with all three HBS games.

Doesn't change the truth.

If you want a good mirrorshades and electrometal game, in the sense of getting the genre, you play Cyberpunk 2020. If you want Elven solos and Dwarven fixers, well I'd say that I'm sure there's a fantasy Fuzion game you can borrow from for a CP2020 campaign, but more generally you go to Shadowrun.

I'm sorry to disagree but I found cyberpunk 2020 to be some of the most boring gaming I have ever experienced. Maybe that's why shadowrun did as well as it did.

Liberty's Edge

You're dead to me, again.


:(

Liberty's Edge

Cyberzombies aren't allowed to be sad.


12. Black IC (pronounced black ice)


13. Everything can be hacked. See how the original list was attacked by some and restarted by others? Well imagine what happens when someone like them plugs a magic lamp into the greatest super computer and makes the really big wishes. :)


14. Horrors
15. Earthdawn


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Shadowrun predated Eberron in lifting Orcs out of the Stupid Brute straitjacket. And removing elves from the Nature Hugging trope.

And best of all... No Half-Elves!


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You think there are no half elves? The cover up is working. :)

16. Cover ups to die from.


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Goth Guru wrote:

You think there are no half elves? The cover up is working. :)

16. Cover ups to die from.

I'll see your Shadowrun and raise you Talislanta.

Talislanta... Six Editions.... No Elves in any of them!


17.
Character Creation in Shadowrun 5e is not for the weak. You have to make five choices in order to make your dreams come true.

Shadowrun is a dark setting, mixing the cyberpunk from the 80’s with the idea of the return of the magic and the surging of old species like Elves and Dwarves. The players are shadowrunners, criminals doing whatever they are contracted for and trying to survive one more day in a world owned by megacorporations.

Now, let’s go to the creation!

Step 1: Choose concept:

Shadowrun character creation is not random, so it starts by choosing a valid concept. Some of the classic Shadowrun character concepts are: Face (the one with a lot of contacts and good with the people), Spellcaster (a magic user), Decker (expert in using the Matrix, the evolved Internet of the setting), Technomancer (a user of the Matrix with a mystical base), Rigger (the driver, but with a total connection to the vehicles and to drones) and Street Samurai (experts in combat, usually mixing big weapons with cybernetic technology).

I’m going to create a spellcaster, a mage who studied magic in some old magic school in Europe.

All characters start with 25 Karma to improve themselves. (You may elect to take on 'negative' qualities during character creation which give you more Karma to spend (up to 25). Typically, during game play, the GM rewards Karma for you to use after you complete a mission.)

The next five steps are actually kind of concurrent: there are five elections (metatype, attributes, magic/resonance, skills and resources) and five priorities to assign to them (from A to E). The election which gets A is the better for you, the election with the E is the worst.

E.g.: You get to choose one letter for each slot.
Metatype: B
Attribute: E
Magic/Resonance: A
Skills: C
Resources: D

Step 2: Choose Metatype and raise Attributes:

Metatype is just the magical race of the character. This election gives you also special attribute points to increase your Magic, Resonance or Edge.

I’m going to be an Ork. I can be an Ork with priorities A, B or C. I’ll set with the priority C in Metatype, to be an Ork with 0 special attribute points.

As an Ork I get Low-Light Vision, and the starting and maximum values in my attributes: Body 4/9, Agility 1/6, Reaction 1/6, Strength 3/8, Willpower 1/6, Logic 1/5, Intuition 1/6, Charisma 1/5, Edge 1/6, Essence 6.

For the Attributes I’m going to assign only the priority D: he is not very naturally gifted in many areas. This gives me 14 points to distribute among my attributes. I end with the following attributes:

Body 4, Agility 3, Reaction 3, Strength 3, Willpower 3, Logic 5, Intuition 3, Charisma 2, Edge 2, Essence 6.

Step 3: Choose Magic or Resonance:

This one is easy: I’m giving priority A to Magic. This means I can choose to be a magician, a Mystic Adept or a Technomancer. I choose to be a Magician, which gives me: Magic 6, two Rating 5 Magical Skills, and 10 spells.

As magic tradition, I choose to be a Hermetic Mage. My Drain Resistance (which allows me to avoid being exhausted after using magic) is Logic+Willpower.

For the two skills I choose Spellcasting and Counterspelling.

For the spells, I choose Blast, Manabolt,Fireball, Improved Invisibility, Heal, Analyze Magic, Armor, Clairvoyance, Detect Magic Extended, Detect Individual.

Step 4: Purchase Qualities:

There are positive Qualities, which cost Karma, and negative Qualities, which give Karma (you can get a maximum of 25 additional Karma for negative Qualities).

From the list of available Qualities, I buy:

Analytical Mind (-5 karma): +2 to Logic to analyze clues, recognize patterns, etc.
Aptitude: Spellcasting (-14 karma): I can start with Spellcasting at rating 7, and eventually rise it up to 13.
Exceptional Attribute: Magic (-14 karma): I can rise my Magic to 7.
Focused Concentration 2 (-8 karma): I can sustain better some magic.
Bad Luck (+12 karma): When using Edge, there is a chance in 6 of it turning to be bad.
Distinctive Style (+5 karma): I am very european, with a thick english-dutch-french accent I can’t avoid.
Simsense Vertigo (+5 karma): I am very bad at augmented reality or virtual reality situations.
Sinner (+5 karma): I am registered in the system. I have a national SIM from some european nation.

And I still have 9 karma left (from the negative qualities I only receive 25 karma, not 27).

Step 5: Purchase Skills:

For Skills, I have assigned the priority B. That gives me 36 skill points to divide among my skills, and can use up to 5 of those points to buy skill groups (skill bundles, cheaper to buy than the individual skills they contain). The maximum rank for a skill in creation is 6 (but I can raise Spellcasting to 7 thanks to my Aptitude Quality). The skill points can also be used to buy skill specializations, which cost 1 point and give +2 to use the specialization.

I start raising my Spellcasting from 5 to 7, spending 2 points, and buy a specialization in combat spells (1 point). I also want to know how to summon spirits, so I buy the Conjuring skill group up to 3. With my other 2 group points I buy the Enchanting skill group up to 2. I still have 29 skill points to spend. I buy the following skills:

Spellcasting 7 (specialization: Combat Spells)
Counterspelling 5
Skill group: Conjuring 3
Skill group: Enchanting 2
Pistols 2 (specialization: semiautomatics)
Sneaking 2
Pilot Ground Craft 1
Running 2
Swimming 1
Etiquette 2
Intimidation 2
Negotiation 1 (specialization: Contracts)
Blades 1 (specialization: swords)
Perception 3
Assensing 2 (this is used to read astral auras)
Arcana 2
Astral Combat 2
Computer 1
Navigation 1

Now I also get free Knowledge and Language skill points, equal to my (INT+LOG)x2. So 16 points in total. And, also, a language as native language. For me it is English. I buy the following Knowledge skills:

Language: English (N)
Language: German 2
Language: French 1
Magic theory (Academic) 3
History (Academic) 2
Music (Academic) 1
Parazoology (Academic) 1
20th Century Trivia (Interests) 2
Smuggling Routes (Street) 3
Law (Professional) 1

Step 6: Spend your Resources:

For Resources I only have left the priority E. This means I only have 6,000 NuYens to spend. I can always spend some karma to get more NuYens in this step, obtaining 2,000 extra NuYens per Karma point spent. I spend 7 points of karma in this, to get 14,000 additional NuYens, for a total of 20,000 NuYens.

I have also to select (and pay) for my level of lifestyle. I’m going to spend 2,000 NuYens to have a Low Lifestyle.

I spend the rest of my money as follows:

Katana (1,000 NuYens) (I always associate katanas with shadowrun, due to the Street Samurai Catalog cover)
Colt America L36 (320 NuYens) (a light semiautomatic pistol)
Hidden arm slide for the Colt America (350 NuYens) (allows me to ready the weapon faster)
Regular ammo for the Colt (20 reloads) (400 NuYens)
Normal clothing (300 NuYens)
Lined coat (a wild west style coat which offers protection and allows to hide things better) (900 NuYens)
CommLink: Sony Emperor (700 NuYens) (the smartphones/computers of the future)
MicroTransceiver (100 NuYens) (a professional walkie-talkie)
Silver CredStick (20 NuYens) (to store up to 20,000 NuYens)
Gold CredStick (100 NuYens) (to store up to 100,000 NuYens) (this is me being optimistic of my future contracts)
Fake SIN (rating 2) (5,000 NuYens) (To avoid using my real SIN when possible)
Flashlight (25 NuYens)
Spell Focus (Combat Spells) (Force 1) (5,000 NuYens)

And I keep 3,785 NuYens for me, that I add to my standard initial money, which based in my Low Lifestyle is 3d6 x 60 NuYens. I roll and get 540 NuYens. So I have 4,325 Nuyens.

Step 7: Spending your leftover Karma:

I have two points of Karma, that I use to bond to my Spell Focus (it costs Force x 2 in karma). This will allow me to add the Force of the Focus to my spells.

In this step I also get additional free Karma to spend in contacts. I get CHA x 3, so I have 6 points of Karma to spend in contacts. Each contact has two values: Connection (how much influence the contact has) and Loyalty (how much is he willing to do not to betray me).

With only six points, I’m going to settle with only two contacts:

The owner of “Ye Olde Magic Boutique” (Connection 1, Loyalty 2)
A not very important Corporation middle-manager (Connection 2, Loyalty 1)

Step 8: Final calculations:

This step consists only in calculating some values derived from the previous.

Initiative determines the order in combat. It is INT+REA and a dice, which starts in 1D6. My Initiative is 6+1D6.
As a mage, I can have Astral Initiative. It is INT+INT, with a base dice of 3D&. My Astral Initiative is 6+3D6.
Inherent limits are determined by your attributes, and limit how many hits (successes) you can get in your rolls.
Mental limit is ((LOGx2)+INT+WIL)/3). My Mental limit is 6.
Physical limit is ((STRx2)+BOD+REA)/3). My physical limit is 5.
Social limit is ((CHAx2)+WIL+ESS)/3) My social limit is 5.
The Condition Monitor tells how much Physical and Stun damage you can sustain.
You have (BOD/2)+8 Physical boxes. That’s 10 for me.
You have (WIL/2)+8 Stun boxes. That’s 10 for me.
You have some extra Overflow boxes, equal to your BOD + bonus from augmentations. As I have no augmentations (they do not mix well with magic), I have 4 overflow boxes.
With my bad luck quality, I start with a Notoriety of -1. My Street Cred and my Public Awareness are, of course, 0 (as I have yet to do anything).

Step 9: Final touches:

This is the step for the background and the rounding of the character. I see him as a traveller, born close to England, educated in ancient European magic schools, and recently arrived to Seattle.

It always rains in Seattle because of the polution.


The reason Shadowrun is based on a cyberpunk world is that society is getting to be way too close to that. The complaint that Shadowrun is a weak copy of Cyberpunk is wrong, because that is like saying that all the writers of cyberpunk stories and books are copying each other. Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction. Shadowrun is in the sungenre of urban fantasy. I love the world of Shadoerun and I have run a game. The critics are looking at the simularities instead of the differences and then calling the game weak.


When you compare Shadowrun to Pathfinder you find it too restrictive. What it needs is a long look at homebrewed Shadowrun.

For example, crude oil ran out years ago. Some maniac alchemist has discovered how to turn flesh to plastic. The landfill owners are not happy with this new competition. For years they were the only source for plastics.

New character class: Tinkerer(Mainly Gnomes). They are continually advancing their battle suit design and chain gun(that shoots bicycle chains).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I'll be playing Shadowrun 4thEd in a few months, as a ki adept, focused on social skills and unarmed combat. I'm looking forward to it, although I also dread it a bit, given that I am not that big a fan of the setting as the other players and the GM are. It hits a bit too close to home (obviously not on the magic side, but in the terms of technology and politics), and a good part of the reason why I play RPG's is for the escapism.


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18. Drinks with Mr. Johnson

Liberty's Edge

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"Shadowrun" on the cover of the book works for me.


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HD HD HD HD HD HD


19. Cheering and happy players.


20. Shadows that run.


21. Grenades

Lantern Lodge

22 : chunky salsa rule.


23: Bacterial Containment Zones

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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24: soy everything


knightnday wrote:
Krensky wrote:

None of that makes Shadowrun Shadowrun.

What makes Shadowrun Shadowrun is taking a shallow and simplistic version of the cyberpunk genre and adding elves and magic and dragons and respectable production values.

And a really bad view of how the US would have been split up, not to mention the world. I'm almost positive a dart board was used at one point.

That's not an invention of Shadowrun. The fall and breakup of the USA and major countries was a staple of R. Talsorian's CyberPunk as well. And novels from Gibson and Stephensen such as Nerverunner and Snow Crash, in which the breakup is even more severe with the U.S. essentially being reduced to a few buildings in Washington DC. Only in this case the breakup is along economic and regional lines.. Ghost Dancing Indians didn't apply.

Shadowrun isn't even unique in including the supernatural, for those of us who remember the Night City supplements to Cybperpunk.

Which makes shadowrun unique is that thet the history just doesn't revolve around heavy ammunition, economic collapse, and network national breakdown. It's magic and the return of mythic creatures and races that are major components in shaping the background.


Spellcasting + Magic[Force]


25. Elven go gangs battling it out with troll go gang rivals on the free ways at night.


26. Safehouses in the Ork Underground.

27. Astral Scouting


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28. An Intiative system that you need an app or spreasheet to track.


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29. and dice pools so big you need a die roller app


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30. Bug spirits and Chicago Containment Zone.


31. Dragons for president, and of course a Dragon CEO of the world's largest corp.


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32. A crunchy rule system that makes the bar of entry too high for all but the most committed rpgers.

33. Character creation that takes hours and hours


34. NERPS!!


35. Suppression Fire rules


36. Blood magic


37. Edition wars? Apparently, Shadowrun is coming out with a non-backward compatible rule book at the end of the summer?


A few things I like about Shadowrun, not necessarily unique to Shadowrun:

Hackers (whether using magic or tech) and combat characters can have a lot to do in the same encounter. My favorite Shadowrun encounters involve breaking into a corporation and a hacker hacks the matrix while the combat team keeps security busy.

The Native Americans are handled really well, in my opinion. Very few games portray Native Americans as adapting to the times, and Shadowrun does this better than any other game I've seen.

Similarly, the Shadowrun handling of dragons is similarly well done. Dragons use tech and magic and run corporations. The backstory to Dunkelzahn is the best dragon write up I can think of off the top of my head.

There are some things I think Cyberpunk does better, especially the social interaction aspect. But I own a copy of Shadowrun fifth ed even though I don't have time to play it.


Well you had better hurry up. The creators are going to break the game this year with the release of new rules.


38. Dragons doing the darndest things. President, CEO, Freedom Fighter, Dictator, Organized Crime Boss, Decker, Club Owner.

39. Ghouls that are people, too! Sometimes.

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