IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Another New GM, New to SR and to GMing
Guye Noir
post Mar 2 2006, 08:48 AM
Post #1


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 43
Joined: 1-March 06
From: NYC
Member No.: 8,325



Greetings oh great and honorable Shadowrun vets. :P

I picked up a copy of the SR4 book mostly out of curiosity. The more I read it, however, the more I liked it, both the setting and the system. I've been in a regular DnD group for about a year and wanted a change of pace; something sci-fi and a bit more realistic and gritty than d20. SR4 is just what the doctor ordered. Since my regular GM doesn't want to run 2 games at a time, and will be leaving soon, I figured I'd try my hand at running a Shadowrun campaign.

Since my players and I are new to SR, I figured I'd use the "On the Run" adventure when it comes out. Until then I was going to run the adventures from the "First Run" book, after converting them to 4th edition of course. I had the idea to let my players make "throw away" characters to play with in the adventures from "First Run" to let them get a feel for the world and the system, and then let them redesign, if they so choose, before we start "On The Run".

I'd appreciate any advice the vets can give me, both about GMing in general, and about GMing Shadowrun. I also wanted to ask about using minis during combat. I know SR combat isn't designed around them, but having a visual representation of the action can be extremely helpful, to both players and GMs, especially when determining who's in range of what, and who's affected by certain AOE conditions, such as spells and grenades.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Backgammon
post Mar 2 2006, 01:53 PM
Post #2


Ain Soph Aur
******

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 3,477
Joined: 26-February 02
From: Montreal, Canada
Member No.: 600



Thats a good idea for a first game, Guye Noir. I would add to that the suggestion to have the PCs chose from the premade archetypes for that first game, rather than making new characters. Character generation has always been an extremely lenghty process, so doing it for "throwaway" chars might be a bit discouraging.

I have never used minis, but I know some people here do. It could be a good idea to have your combat scenes on maps with minis, it may certainly help.

As for advice:
Make sure everyone agrees on how the campaign should go. If a player wants to make an inter-city smuggler but everyone else are want to be mafia enforcers, that's no good.

Script your stories, but always, always be ready to improvise and change the story based on what the characters do. There is nothing more frustrating for players than to feel railroaded. If you make an NPC and expected him to be all badass and invincible, but the players kill him in the blink of an eye, don't say shit like "he teleports away to safety" or "he laughs at your bullets". He dies. Period. Adjust for next time, and move on.

Have rules cheat-sheats handy. It speeds things up, reducing the number of times you thumb through stuff.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
TinkerGnome
post Mar 2 2006, 02:19 PM
Post #3


Dragon
********

Group: Members
Posts: 4,138
Joined: 10-June 03
From: Tennessee
Member No.: 4,706



Sounds like a good way to get started.

Since you're coming from DnD you're going to have battlemats or the equivalent handy. You'll find those very useful for SR, even if you don't use minis on them. Most of the time in SR, your situation won't fit on a map (or won't need to be on a map). However, there are cases where it will.

It's important to note that in SR combat should be relatively more rare than in DnD. In large part because it's deadly, but also because some runs can be pulled off without it if the team does things well.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
mintcar
post Mar 2 2006, 02:39 PM
Post #4


Karma Police
***

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 1,358
Joined: 22-July 04
From: Gothenburg, SE
Member No.: 6,505



Good advice there Backgammon.

Guye Noir: GMing is so much of a subjective thing, my advice may be all wrong for you. This is some things everyone could use though:

One is; read a lot of Shadowrun sourcebooks and stories, if you can get them. Hang around a lot here on the forums and ask about anything that's unclear. Shadowrun is a multifaceted and complex world, and it helps to have a clear understanding of the setting. Not because you have to get it right, but because you're players will want to know stuff about little details like how getting a fake SIN is done or what the laws are for hunting behemoths in Florida, and you need to have a consistent image of the game world to make up your own answers if you don't have them.

I'd also like to second Backgammon's advice, because stressing this can not be done enough: Let the dice fall as they may. If not litteraly then at least in principle. If the players win an easy victory, or if they loose badly, it's no big deal. In fact it's good that there's different outcomes from time to time. Makes it more interesting. You don't always have to have ballance. Even if that should be your goal from the beginning, don't enforce it.

My last advice is; start out small! Players who never played Shadowrun before usually can't play high end criminals. It's taken me a long time to realize that. It's easier to let mistakes slide when the characters are running scams on a korean laundromat on asignment from the local maffia, than it is if they're breaking in to the Seattle Ares compound on asignment from the great dragon Lofwyr. Let them work things out before sending them on mission impossible. They need to find out what kind of actions and research you expect them to make. And you need to find out what those things are too. When you've played a while, you will realize that they know what you concider smart tactics and that they start making good moves most of the time. That's when you let them out of the sandbox and into the big world.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Brahm
post Mar 2 2006, 03:39 PM
Post #5


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,635
Joined: 27-November 05
Member No.: 8,006



Just to expand on what TinkerGnome was talking about with combat. The type of campaign that SR is is similar to a D&D city only campaign. If you've only been playing D&D a year it is quite possible you have never played a city only campaign, just dungeon and wilderness campaigns where you go into a small town or a city to restock. Most dungeon crawls and wilderness monster bashes are fundementally different than a city campaign in that you are almost certain to in a city come across unfriendly or even aggressive NPCs that are hugely more powerful than you, and therefore extremely dangerous. Because it can be hard to judge how tough an NPC can be. So the default plan should be something along the lines of stealthy avoidance.

Then there are the civilities of the city. Not walking around with obvious weapons. I guarantee right now you'll have someone somewhere along the way declare they are taking the bus while carrying an assualt rifle/sinper rifle/Panther Assault Cannon and a bandoleer full of grenades. It'll take a while to get the mental picture of what is going on. That the metroplex ain't no dungeon crawl.

For you as the GM the toughest part is likely that your characters can, and likely will go all over the place and do all sorts of things that you never expected. Reading and understanding the setting is your best tool here. It will allow you to fill in some details as they go. The second thing is having a pool of NPCs, and being able to also draw up the core of an NPC on the fly. Make sure to write down the name of the NPC and his general abilities incase this ends up being a recuring NPC that they have to go back to later.

Anyway, disposable characters are an excellent idea. Those are the best for finding out an itchy trigger-finger is the route to an early grave. :) If you go over to the Community subforum of the main Shadowrun forum you'll find a few character generators that should help a lot when the players do get around to making their own characters. They could even play around with them right now just to get a feel for what is out there.

Something that I'll also toss in that I find helps a bit is to take a dip in the pop culture pool and watch a few movies to get them in the SR mood. I don't just mean sci-fi, although Bladerunner is an obvious choice for atmosphere and one damn fine movie to boot. Just glancing through my DVD shelves you could check out Boondock Saints, Leon:The Professional, or Way Of The Gun. If you like things a little on the lighterside maybe Wasabi, Snatch, Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels. The Transporter 1 & 2 is a great rigger/driver example of SR type action and the over-the-top Hollywood style you could have. Then there is the killer superspy Borne Identity movies, and in that vein the grittier Ronin. Heat is great for that criminal team feeling. There are a million and one heist movies. I notice The Italian Job on my shelf, but that's mostly for my wife. ;P If you are going out to the theaters anyway sometime soon I recommend you check out The Matador. I think a great example of a hitman and his fixxer. There are lots more, and numerous threads in the main forum on this. Just do a search on "movie" and set the time to a year back and you'll get lots of threads with lots of ideas for this.

If you want to understand the roots of where SR grew from and the source of a lot of these goofy ideas in then you can buy Neuromancer. Which is what FASA originally ripped a lot of stuff off of back in the 80's for SR1. A fairly quick read. Notice the Julius Deane character, the prototypical gear fixer.


Good luck and have fun!


EDIT

One last piece of advice. Keep it simple! You don't have to have them meet every iconic NPC on their first run, or have them make the Big Haul or play the pivotal role in world changing events. Just keep them some Joes doing a job. It avoids that whirlwind tour of the stars cheezy feel. Just play the game, the good times will come out of that. It certainly will be a lot easier on you to GM.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Churl Beck
post Mar 2 2006, 04:26 PM
Post #6


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 126
Joined: 26-January 06
Member No.: 8,193



No, your first mission should always involve Mech Warriors, godly toxic spirits, and Joss Whedon.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
mdynna
post Mar 2 2006, 04:46 PM
Post #7


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 371
Joined: 10-January 06
From: Regina
Member No.: 8,145



Adding to what mintcar is saying about keep things simple: beware of First Run. In my opinion (especially that first adventure) it is NOT a good "first run". Reason: it is HARD, I mean really hard.

I would never put newly-minted characters up against 8 RED SAMURAI, 6 of which are as good as any starting PC Street Sam, 2 of which are Magicians better than any starting PC Magician, and (oh yeah) they have a fragging Cyber Zombie. If you're going to do First Run, tone down that fight a lot. Only throw as many corp guys as there are players. Crank down their stats to the standard "Corporate Guard" as outlined in SR4, or possibly even the Red Samurai as listed in SR4, which are significantly less powerful than the stats given in First Run. Finally, ditch the Cyber Zombie. Or, if you really want the players to see him (because he's "cool"). Have him make some sort of "cameo" right near the end of the fight, but stress to the players not to engage him. One Cyber Zombie on his own is more than capable of tearing a group of starter PC's to shreds.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Azralon
post Mar 2 2006, 05:01 PM
Post #8


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,651
Joined: 23-September 05
From: Marietta, GA
Member No.: 7,773



QUOTE (TinkerGnome)
Most of the time in SR, your situation won't fit on a map (or won't need to be on a map).  However, there are cases where it will.

As a GM, I consider it to be a personal victory when I can orchestrate an encounter in which all of the PCs are physically present and the field of action can fit on a 3'x4' battlemat.

SR's telepresence aspects are neat, but boy howdy do they make tactical combat rapidly devolve into an exercise in handwaving.

QUOTE (TinkerGnome)
It's important to note that in SR combat should be relatively more rare than in DnD.  In large part because it's deadly, but also because some runs can be pulled off without it if the team does things well.

Ain't that the truth.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
BlackHat
post Mar 2 2006, 05:46 PM
Post #9


Great Dragon
*********

Group: Members
Posts: 5,486
Joined: 17-March 05
From: Michigan
Member No.: 7,180



QUOTE (Azralon)
As a GM, I consider it to be a personal victory when I can orchestrate an encounter in which all of the PCs are physically present and the field of action can fit on a 3'x4' battlemat.

Haha. Awesome. SR-gold.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dissonance
post Mar 2 2006, 05:48 PM
Post #10


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 515
Joined: 19-January 04
Member No.: 5,992



Maybe if you had one of those omnipresent Sci-Fi chessboards with multiple levels for no apparent reason...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
emo samurai
post Mar 2 2006, 06:02 PM
Post #11


Dragon
********

Group: Members
Posts: 4,589
Joined: 28-November 05
Member No.: 8,019



QUOTE
No, your first mission should always involve Mech Warriors, godly toxic spirits, and Joss Whedon.
Gee, I wonder who THAT'S referring to. And what the hell do you mean by involving Joss Whedon? And Mechwarriors were never awesome enough to have plasma fisters.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Brahm
post Mar 2 2006, 06:05 PM
Post #12


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,635
Joined: 27-November 05
Member No.: 8,006



QUOTE (emo samurai)
QUOTE
No, your first mission should always involve Mech Warriors, godly toxic spirits, and Joss Whedon.
Gee, I wonder who THAT'S referring to.

"Listen up maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world. We are all part of the same compost heap." - Tyler Durden
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
emo samurai
post Mar 2 2006, 06:06 PM
Post #13


Dragon
********

Group: Members
Posts: 4,589
Joined: 28-November 05
Member No.: 8,019



What's wrong with Joss Whedon?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Brahm
post Mar 2 2006, 06:39 PM
Post #14


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,635
Joined: 27-November 05
Member No.: 8,006



QUOTE (emo samurai @ Mar 2 2006, 01:06 PM)
What's wrong with Joss Whedon?

Nothing! He has created the very finest of cheese. Firefly doth rocketh. I should hope to ever have a game that comes together as fine as one of his scripts.

But his most famous work is still cheese (he isn't really known for his script work on Toy Storry or Parenthood).

The Tyler Durden quote was to suggest that he likely wasn't talking about you because that aspect of you is not in anyway unique. You are merely at Level 3 of the composet heap. :)
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Backgammon
post Mar 2 2006, 07:49 PM
Post #15


Ain Soph Aur
******

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 3,477
Joined: 26-February 02
From: Montreal, Canada
Member No.: 600



Right, reading these posts made me remember another awesomely important thing for beginng GM/Players:

As the GM, give hints of how the players should behave in shadowrun, because you may have vasty different understanding and perceptions of how NPCs will react and such, mostly based on how many gangster and cyberpunk movies you've seen ;)

To pseudo-quote someone's good example for another thread a while ago, imagine a scene where a player is asking a bartender contact for info. You then say: "The bartender innocently states that he doesn't know anything about Jack Redeye."
The player then proceeds to shrug and walk away...

What you should have added is "Looks like a bribe may be in order. 50$ should cover it."

There's a line between given it all way to the PCs and giving them good hints, but at first I suggest you make the hints more explicit than not.

Also, as SR4 states, an Etiquette test is an excellent way of figuring out how many hints you should throw at a character.

Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Brahm
post Mar 2 2006, 07:57 PM
Post #16


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,635
Joined: 27-November 05
Member No.: 8,006



QUOTE (Backgammon)
Also, as SR4 states, an Etiquette test is an excellent way of figuring out how many hints you should throw at a character.

Ettiquette, or even a Judge Intentions (Cha + Int) Test. Each having slightly different meanings. The Ettiquette would give something like "People don't openly talk to strangers...unless there is something in it for them." Judge Intentions on the other hand would give something more like "Their lips may be saying they know nothing, but something in their face says they do." More hits would bring up the hints about cash.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Cain
post Mar 2 2006, 10:10 PM
Post #17


Grand Master of Run-Fu
*********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 6,840
Joined: 26-February 02
From: Tir Tairngire
Member No.: 178



Eh, for SR newbies I'd make it much more explicit than that. They not only need to know that bribery is commonplace, but what the GM's idea of a reasonable bribe is. Coming from D&D, they might think a 5 :nuyen: tip will work on a corporate bigwig, and/or that 1000 :nuyen: might not be enough to loosen the squatter's lips. I definitely wouldn't make them roll for this sort of thing, since there's no way the players could know, especially when they're new.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Brahm
post Mar 2 2006, 10:18 PM
Post #18


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,635
Joined: 27-November 05
Member No.: 8,006



QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 2 2006, 05:10 PM)
Eh, for SR newbies I'd make it much more explicit than that.  They not only need to know that bribery is commonplace, but what the GM's idea of a reasonable bribe is.  Coming from D&D, they might think a 5 :nuyen: tip will work on a corporate bigwig, and/or that 1000 :nuyen:  might not be enough to loosen the squatter's lips.  I definitely wouldn't make them roll for this sort of thing, since there's no way the players could know, especially when they're new.

Good point about total noobs. Or those new to your SR world, because different GMs do handle this differently.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 16th April 2024 - 09:18 PM

Topps, Inc has sole ownership of the names, logo, artwork, marks, photographs, sounds, audio, video and/or any proprietary material used in connection with the game Shadowrun. Topps, Inc has granted permission to the Dumpshock Forums to use such names, logos, artwork, marks and/or any proprietary materials for promotional and informational purposes on its website but does not endorse, and is not affiliated with the Dumpshock Forums in any official capacity whatsoever.