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> Why do you Shadowrun?, What do you look for in a game?
emo samurai
post Apr 24 2006, 12:15 AM
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I get mixed messages about what people look for in their games; the consensus amongst the "veterans," at least on my game threads, seems to be "street-levelism." That is, a constant frantic scramble for survival in the shadows of corporate giants that would stomp them to the ground if they weren't so tiny and insignificant. Then again, those same people want to play a game "where he (the hero) looks heroic, shoots the bad guy, and taps the female lead and her sister at the same time." This was said by Critias, who, in the old days of a few months ago, would constantly admonish me for not being "street level" enough.

There also seems to be a consensus against powergaming; it's bad to have stuff that is too good, to have players that are too powerful and effective. I construe this to mean that may people want good role-playing. At the same time, there seems to be a constant pressure to conform to this monochromatically dark standard; people seem to like and even require "mundane hitman/detective/hacker/gangster with a mercenary heart/chip on his shoulder/bad conscience/religious devotion to 'professionalism'" type characters; requisite cliches contrasting with a stated desire for "creativity."

The question I want to have answered is what the hell do people want out of Shadowrun? Do you want a Mary Sue hero or a whiny street emo geek? Do you want anti-productive creativityin which people try not to make specialized, effective characters or dumbass archetypes that people are, if this world has any justice, tired of? Am I not getting something, are people trying to be disagreeable for the sake of testosterone backlog, or none of the above?

Personally, I'm looking for excitement, twisted, dark humor, with moments of genuine heartbreak that are in no way diminished by the objective wrongness of the situations sprinkled in. What about you?
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Fresno Bob
post Apr 24 2006, 12:21 AM
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I shadowrun because otherwise my perfectly good basement and virginal friends would sit around collecting dust.
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emo samurai
post Apr 24 2006, 12:23 AM
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But what do you look for in a game?
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Fresno Bob
post Apr 24 2006, 12:28 AM
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*Shrug* I like more cinematic gameplay, but based on the kind of cinema I watch. So theres a lot of Road Warrior/The Warriors-esque gangs and whatnot. And then general ridiculousness, like sending the PCs on a run to rob an armored convoy shipment of super-rare awakened coffee beans. Character interaction and conflict is always fun. I once had a character sneak into a PC's girlfriend's house and kill her, because the character felt said PC's girlfriend was becoming a liability and annoyance.
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emo samurai
post Apr 24 2006, 12:37 AM
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Wow... thanks for responding.

Now for all the people who make a habit of shooting down my ideas; what do you want from Shadowrun?
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Backgammon
post Apr 24 2006, 01:23 AM
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A believable experience where I can pretend I'm a professional badass in a dirty grimey world.

Why? I have no clue. But I love it.
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Taran
post Apr 24 2006, 01:24 AM
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I mostly enjoy watching people react to the things I've made up; I'm open-minded about the nature of the game in which this happens. The one I'm running right now is pretty high-powered: 100-ish karma, with a bunch of mathematically ept people for players. It's street level in the sense that the characters aren't corporate and wouldn't want to be, but gangs (frex) are a threat only in large numbers or when led with unusual intelligence. The PCs are highly skilled professionals, and their fees (and challenges!) reflect that.
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James McMurray
post Apr 24 2006, 02:22 AM
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I play it because it's fun. Street level, medium, or ultra-high powered can all have their places. If it's a challenge without being impossible and gives me something to wrap my brain around while sometimes venting frustrations on imaginary targets, great!
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Paul
post Apr 24 2006, 02:25 AM
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I don't.

I'm the Games Master. I'm way too much of a ball hog to be a player.
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Dogsoup
post Apr 24 2006, 02:33 AM
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High stakes and and dangerous/nefarious opposition.

Examples: Harlequins back, Double exposure, stuff involving Deus.
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Glyph
post Apr 24 2006, 02:38 AM
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I play mainly for the roleplaying and the combat. I like the cyberpunk theme, but I don't find the planning phase as interesting, and a lot of games seem to get bogged down in the planning stage of the run.

As far as power level goes, I am flexible. I don't mind low-powered games if the characters can still affect the world around them, even if it's just stopping the local protection racket. I don't mind high-powered games, if there is still enough realism for me to be able to suspend my disbelief, and if there are still real challenges in the game.

Morality-wise, I prefer gritty antiheroes who have to do bad things to survive sometimes, but who are still better than the opposition most of the time. I like romanticized criminals, but not overly-romanticized ones. People who have to occasionally do bad things for the greater good, or even simply to survive. People who fight the system but realize, deep down, that in many ways they are still part of it.

I don't like games where the runners are psychopaths. On the flip side, I don't like the cold pro games that much, either, where there is too much planning and paranoia, and not enough fun (for me, that is. For people who like the planning aspect, these games are probably all kinds of fun).

As far as the game, I try to adapt to the GM's style. The only thing that I really dislike is excessive railroading. There's nothing wrong with a plot, but the PCs should have the ability to affect things.
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SL James
post Apr 24 2006, 05:51 AM
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Street-level is such mindless posturing bullshit. It's like the argument Synner and I got into over PM last year where he kept bringing up Heat while consistently missing the whole point (Which is why I think he's completely full of shit, or clueless, or both). This was a movie where one of the protagonists fronts $100,000 of his own money to buy the bank job (plus a 10% cut on the backend). There's not one goddamn thing about that crew that is "street" and yet I've been told over and over again that a crew of 20-something street scum are somehow supposed to be on average as professional and skilled as McCauley's crew, yet still live in the fucking gutters.

Bullshit.

I play in the same world as Crit does (Did. Whatever) where professional criminals can make a fairly decent living because they get paid for their skills because their skills are rare and the resources that go into prepping a job usually exceed those of what Fanpro considers a decent average payment for a whole team. But they're still professional criminals where plenty of resources go into covering your ass, plenty of time is spent in the Barrens because that's where the action is and because that's where you can make all those nasty deals and field-test your l33t combat skills with weapons without the Star dropping two platoons of SWAT cops on your ass, and where the likelihood of coming home maimed or not at all from a job is virtually assured.

And that's the game I play, because that's the only way the game makes sense.
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mfb
post Apr 24 2006, 05:58 AM
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yeah. Heat was good. but it was not street. i don't know of many good crime movies that are all that street-level. Bandits, maybe? The Big Hit? City of Industry is stretching it.
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eidolon
post Apr 24 2006, 06:03 AM
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QUOTE (SL James)
<snip>

And the award for the Perfect Master of all that is Shadowrun goes to...

:please:

Hey everybody, we might as well sell our books and play d20 My Little Pony. We obviously don't know how to play Shadowrun.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 24 2006, 06:19 AM
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QUOTE (eidolon @ Apr 24 2006, 01:03 AM)
QUOTE (SL James @ Apr 24 2006, 12:51 AM)
<snip>

And the award for the Perfect Master of all that is Shadowrun goes to...

:please:

You're just threatened because he's right.

(Well, I won't agree with the assessment of Synner, though I will about his view of Heat if it's accurately presented here. Regardless, that's neither here nor there.)

Shadowrun is "street level" in that Shadowrunners know the street, they frequently know people who live on the street, they even, you know, walk and/or drive on the street. That's just about it. You can certainly play a campaign where everyone is a ganger, just like you can play a campaign where everyone is a Lone Star cop or a DocWagon employee or a white-collar wageslave in Fuchi's most majestic example of mid-'40s architecture. Once you do that, though, you are no longer playing shadowrunners.

~J
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James McMurray
post Apr 24 2006, 06:40 AM
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QUOTE (eidolon)
QUOTE (SL James @ Apr 24 2006, 12:51 AM)
<snip>

And the award for the Perfect Master of all that is Shadowrun goes to...

:please:

Hey everybody, we might as well sell our books and play d20 My Little Pony. We obviously don't know how to play Shadowrun.

LOL! I was going to respond myself, but couldn't have done it better. :)
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Straw Man
post Apr 24 2006, 07:48 AM
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Personally, I like the fact that you can create some freak that spews 5 or 6 phases of full auto AV fire per round straight out of chargen.

Why? Because things like that grant players the illusion of invincibility/omnipotence, then they go and USE those skills... and find out that the second they use that godly might, they've forfeited their pay/brought the wrath of a multinational corporation upon themselves/implicated the wrong people through their indiscretion.

The best and most memorable runs I've been on were astounding failures... where we barely got through with enough assets remaining to limp to the drop-off, only to find the guy with our pay had been turned into a thin film coating the majority of the surfaces in the room. Oh noes. And we've still got the package! Shit.

To me, Shadowrun's a system where, if the job is done "right", there's generally very little proof that it was done at all. It's a system where, at some point, the "heroes" have to run for their lives. It's a system where the only cures for paranoia are money and death. It's the Indiana Jones "out of the frying pan, into the fire" progression. It's the little guys fighting against the oppression of the big guys, and losing because they have to play by the big guys' rules.

It's a system where a guy with 18 dice in Cyber-Implant Combat and a pair of dikoted spurs can't succeed on his own, and whose street name is probably "Plan C"

But that's my two cents. Some play heroic fantasy, and that's swell.
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Synner
post Apr 24 2006, 08:10 AM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Apr 24 2006, 06:19 AM)
(Well, I won't agree with the assessment of Synner, though I will about his view of Heat if it's accurately presented here. Regardless, that's neither here nor there.)

Actually SL James is misrepresenting the discussion we had, placing it out of context and twisting it to his own ends (nothing new there)... I'm perfectly okay with him quoting me if he wants to validate his point though only if he does so in context, I no longer have the PMs on file.

Then again this discussion had SL James (or whatever his name was back then) explicitly tell me that his games were so street level that boosting cars was a usual way for his runners to make ends meet (kinda funny in light of his comment above) - so take that at as you will...

What I did say, and this was regarding Heat specifically, was that I felt it featured a pretty typical Shadowrun crew (by canon standards) and that in a "realistic" 2070's world they would be moving around and pulling off heists in several cities - in context, this came from a discussion on whether it was possible to make Shadowrun more international without losing its street-level feel and for a team of professional runners to operate in multiple (regional) sprawls on a regular basis (which, for the record, I believe is possible) given semi-realistic economics of running in a single sprawl with competition from several other pro shadowrunning teams.

Unlike Heat , by 2070, nobody needs to fork out 100k to get a job, and you have to play the market against other such crews...

QUOTE (mfb)
yeah. Heat was good. but it was not street. i don't know of many good crime movies that are all that street-level. Bandits, maybe? The Big Hit? City of Industry is stretching it.

Heist.

QUOTE
Shadowrun is "street level" in that Shadowrunners know the street, they frequently know people who live on the street, they even, you know, walk and/or drive on the street. That's just about it.

Pretty much my feeling.
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emo samurai
post Apr 24 2006, 02:26 PM
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If people were paid 20% above lifestyle, they would never buy cool toys. That's enough reason for me to pay my players a lot.
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hyzmarca
post Apr 24 2006, 02:48 PM
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There are ways to justify the suggested pay scale. Volume, for example. A team that is good at managing their scheduals and working their contacts could do legwork for a several runs all at the same time and then pop them off over the next week.

A four man team could easily do legwork for a dozen runs over a week and finish two per day over the next week. At 2000 :nuyen: per run split evenly they'll be grossing 12,000 yeach per month. That isn't half bad.
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nezumi
post Apr 24 2006, 02:56 PM
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I play SR for all sorts of reasons. I do enjoy working 'on the streets' with a gritty feel to everything, where you know your stuff but you're still a small fish. I like the high-level espionage campaigns where the world is your oyster. I like hunting magical critters. I like playing the sasquatch PC in the winnebago. I like the dice system, the attribute break-outs and the magical rules. I wish they had a cyberware list a bit closer to CP2020, but that's okay. I like the ideas emo has that are internally consistent, although in general I like to have clear lines of 'this is the normal world Joe wageslave sees every day' and 'this is the rest of the world', with a reason why the two do not meet (something I think emo's campaigns oftentimes lack). I enjoy a sort of Alice in Wonderland feeling to my games, I suppose.
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stevebugge
post Apr 24 2006, 03:12 PM
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QUOTE (emo samurai)
If people were paid 20% above lifestyle, they would never buy cool toys. That's enough reason for me to pay my players a lot.

That's exactly the reason I don't pay a lot. I want the corps to have the cool toys and the characters to have to work really hard to get them. Then again I run and play lower end games where the characters hear about earth shattering events, not participate in them. Just about everything happens in or in the immediate vicinity of Seattle, and that way the characters have to deal with the fallout of their actions. Unlike a lot of games ours tends to be a little lighter, we spend a lot of time laughing about something one character or another did. Our games have sort of a Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels feel if you need a movie description. But mostly we play because it's a good midweek break, we spend 4 hours on a Wednesday night getting in to what trouble we can then getting back out again, hopefully making a little cred and Karma while consuming requisite amounts of snacks and the occasional adult beverage.
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SL James
post Apr 24 2006, 11:52 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Apr 24 2006, 08:48 AM)
A four man team could easily do legwork for a dozen runs over a week and finish two per day over the next week. At 2000 :nuyen: per run split evenly they'll be grossing 12,000 yeach per month. That isn't half bad.

Assuming that no one gets hurt, killed, captured, hunted, or even known to their targets.

Assuming that doing legwork on a dozen simultaneous targets doesn't send up enough red flags in the shadows to have everyone and his brother ready for you to pull off something (Yes, I use the Wrong Party table religiously. My players fail to perform counterintelligence at their peril).

Assuming that you can actually do legwork on twelve separate targets in a week at all.

Assuming that the missions are accomplished.

Assuming that the Johnson doesn't stiff, backstab, or otherwise screw you.

Assuming that you don't run into unexpected expenses.

Assuming that you aren't planning on saving up resources for your next set of dozen simultaneous legwork operations.

Assuming you aren't planning to pay for anything personal or go anywhere. Hopefully your runs are all expenses paid.

Assuming that you don't need to buy new ammo, weapons and gear - either as replacement or just to keep that AR 6 skill sharp.

Assuming no one bothers spending any time learning new skills, improving attributes or skills, initiating, learning new spells, building gear, repairing gear, or getting any enhancements.

Assuming, basically, that the world revolves around your characters and no one anywhere will ever do anything to interfere with, impede, or sabotage their work, or tries to annoy, interfere with or end their lives for any or no reason whatsoever.

Yeah... Assuming a lot of rather improbable things, I guess it could work.
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emo samurai
post Apr 25 2006, 01:09 AM
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That's why I pay them a ton of money; that means everybody's happy!!!

Except for you, it seems.
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eidolon
post Apr 25 2006, 02:10 AM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
You're just threatened because he's right.


"Threatened".

Yeah. That's the word I'd use.
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