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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Default (Shadowrun) How to start?

    Hey all, my friends and I have been interested in Shadowrun, but we don't know which edition to start with, or even how to play. If you could send me some info about the game or which edition we should play, we'd appreciate it. We've mostly been playing DND 3.5e.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    DeTess's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2017

    Default Re: (Shadowrun) How to start?

    Regarding editions, all I know is that you don't want to play 6th (the newest). I think 5th or 4th will probably work best for you, as the systems are mostly functional, and not too old.

    Regarding how to play: in my experience, shadowrun should be a lot more sandboxy than DnD. Rather than setting up a dungeon with level appropriate encounter X, Y and Z, to be completed in that order, the Dm should create a local sandbox with an objective. For example, if the players need to steal a diamond from the museum, the DM will need to decide the stats for the guards, how many guards there are, what specialists (mages, hackers, etc.) are present, what other security measures are there, etc. However, the DM should then let the players figure out the way to approach the target themselves, and this will likely require the DM to make a number of on the spot calls unless they where really thorough in their preparations (for example, the players might ask if there are any sewers running closely under the museum they can use to sneak in).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that a mission should, to some degree, be tailored to the players. In DnD, any competent party of 4 players should be able to do a level-appropriate dungeon. However, in shadowrun, a party consisting of 2 hackers, a drone specialist and a social mage will have to get pretty creative if they're tasked with wiping out a gang in the slums, while a party consisting of two heavy weapon's specialists, a fireball mage and a rigger driving a literal tank might have some trouble with a data-theft mission requiring absolute stealth. That's not to say you should never put your team in a tricky situation, but its more important to serve missions suited to your team's specialty. It is for this reason that the players should also probably cooperate when making their characters so they form a seamless unit. If you've got a team with 3 stealthy characters, and one loud gunner, then the gunner is going to spend a lot of missions on overwatch in case something goes wrong (and if everyone else does their job, nothing will).

    Overall, what I think shadowrun requires from the DM is flexibility and the ability to improvise, because its unlikely you can prepare a location so thorough that the players can't come up with some novel approach that should work, but that you hadn't provided stuff for (such as the aforementioned sewer, or them trying to find blackmail material on a guard, or whatever). The DM should also be good at switching between perspectives and scenes, as there are certain specializations that do their thing separate from the rest (such as hackers), so you need to be able to handle that without everyone else getting bored.

    Players in shadowrun need to show a lot of initiative. In DnD you can often get away with just following the quest hook through all the encounters to the end of the dungeon, but in Shadowrun you need to decide yourself how you're going to approach things. When the DM asks 'what are you going to do now', the players should have their answer ready.

    Oh, one last little thing for the DM, coming from my own experience. The world of Shadowrun is a dystopia, but that doesn't mean that everyone is out to betray the PC's. Sure, a corporate A-hole that betrayed them after hiring them can make for a great multi-session antagonist, but if every single person that ever hires them tries to betray them, it'll quickly grow stale and start feeling more like 'the DM is being antagonistic'.

    One more thing. Character building can be quite complicated, but for 4e and 5e there's a tool called chummer that's basically an electronic character sheet that can do a lot of the math and points-tracking for you, that has most gear built in, including the basic stats for quick reference. In my experience, chummer makes character building lot more easy and fun, and speeds up gameplay as well since you can easily check what your character can do without needing to check the books or look through a 4 page paper character sheet.

    edit: oh, there's another thing. You should expect your players to spend a lot of session time planning their approach. This is not a bad thing, but both the players and DM should keep an eye on how the planning is going . If it seems to be stuck in a rut because of the lack of some information or tool, the DM can introduce that through one of the PC's contacts, or just an OC nudge of 'hey, you know you could try to do X to get that info, right?" As a player, if you notice that the plan is basically done, but everyone is still stuck in contingency planning to make it perfect, it might be time to suggest that you just get going, as you're going to need to improvise at some point anyway.

    edit2: what I'd recommend you do when you're just starting and everyone is still new, is to just start with a couple of simple stand-alone 1-2 session heists and assassinations, ideally with different characters each time and maybe even different DM's. That way you get a chance to learn the different aspects of the system and what everyone likes best.
    Last edited by DeTess; 2019-10-30 at 05:47 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    GrayDeath's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2007
    In the Heart of Europe

    Default Re: (Shadowrun) How to start?

    A lot has been said above, but let me perticipate with both my own Experience (I palyed SR 2 and 3 before D&D ) and the tale of a former D&D Player and his troubles in my SR Game.

    1st and foremost: Forget everything about Loot orientation, CR, adapting all resistance to palyers, and for starters also any overaching Plots.
    The SR World is HUGE and full of Dragons (metaphorical and real ones) that have much too much power to interfere with.

    2nd: Building your Teams Characters should normally include 2 Characters per Player. This allows them to switch them out if the run offered is simply a bad fit, or if they are heavily wounded (unless you are swimming in Money AND are a Cyberware friendly Char healing takes AGES).

    3rd: Unless its a simple, short term, Attack and Kill/Gtrab Run, expect planning to be LOONG and finish YOUR planning before they start (otherwise the subconscious trend will be to adapt your defenses to them, it happens a lot, trust me ^^).

    4th: Tell them ahead of time that this is very much NOT D&D. its much more deadly (aside very early D&D Levels) and they are not going to be Top Dogs within 2 years (or even a Decade). The World is a Dystopia and the Powers that Be have a LOT of advantages. They may be able to steal/disturb/etc some plans, but that will be it. Classic Hero Games SR does not really support.

    Now to actual Advice:

    Start simple and remember: a Mr. Johnson CHOSE your Palyers Characters for that Run. So it must be something that their capabilities are useful for (never try a Sneak and Peak Run with Trolls, a fully cybered Orc and their AttackD ron focussed RIgger^^).

    Do not sweat it if your first run or 2 are too easy for the PC`s. That makes sense, they are being tested (and you all are lea´rning the game).

    And lastly: Planning will, in time,t ake about 1/2 to 3/4ths of a session if a big run is on the horizon. Thats normal. Do not rush them (unless being rushed is the Plot^^).

    As for Edition: I would go with 5th. its the most complete if you only get the COre Book.

    A neutron walks into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?” The bartender says, “For you? No charge.”

    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Orlando FL

    Default Re: (Shadowrun) How to start?

    I haven't played since 4th edition. Pray you dont have my players at the time. A simple museum robbery took 3 hours to plan. I as the GM actually went and got food and a beer during this time and got back and missed nothing.

    Its not hard to run even only partially planned, especially if you run it based off an area you know. I ran an entire hijacking mission running from Atlanta to Savannah GA along Interstate 16, had a chart for events and when they would happen. Was fun and action packed. I found if you don't give PCs time to overly plan, the game session runs really well.

    I didn't allow hackers to surf the net(I know, blasphemy), my reasoning was there was already a lot of planning and so forth going on, no reason to further delay the game while one person has their own solo adventure. I did allow them to roll to breach security and so forth.

    After reading through the 6th ed book and feeling like it didn't quite capture the feeling of earlier books and required a degree in mathematics to manage the dice pools upon dice pools with some dice pools inside them to modify the dice pools. In other words, I too would not use 6th edition... ever.

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