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> Which is a Shadowrun?
Which is a "Shadowrun"?
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Browncoatone
post Jan 20 2009, 02:20 PM
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Having read, both here and elsewhere, many opinions of just what is and what is not a proper amount of compensation for a Shadowrun I became curious as to what exactly people considered a Shadowrun in the first place. Which ones do you consider a Shadowrun?

A. Sidestep, Magecraft and Engine Joe break into a luxury estate on Bainbridge Island and carefully remove a priceless Waltz Blue 1948 Tucker Sedan (one of only 51, including the prototype, ever made) for a determined collector. After rubbing it with a diaper for a week the team brings the chrome-trimmed darling to a meet on the Tacoma docks where the Johnson changes the payment from the agreed certified credit to CFS dollars. After accepting (funny how snipers in position can alter a deal) the car is handed off to its new owner who has it loaded on boat for transport. Of course the team later learns that the CFS dollars are fake and the Johnson was really the orginial owner of the car who just wanted to cash in on the insurance money.

B. Scuzz, Little J and Shea steal a small electric commutter car. Lucky for them there is less than 200 miles on it. They sell it to guy they know in Redmond who alters the RFID tags and has a mage alter the VIN numbers on the frame. This guy turns around and sells it to a used car dealer down near Fort Lewis who in turn sells it to a soldier with more nuyen than brains.

C. Rogue, Denim and Nitro step into a Stuffer Shack on the way back from a successful run. Unfortunately for them, whilst they are loading up on sythbeer and artificial pork rinds the Shack becomes the next battlefield between two rival gangs. Lonestar gets involved and the combat that ensues costs Denim a GSW and Nitro several hundred nuyen repairs to her car. Rogue gets off with only excessive ammunition expenditures.
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DWC
post Jan 20 2009, 02:39 PM
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I voted A. B is just a GTA, which goes back to one of the problems with the really low paying shadowruns. C is a byproduct of living in a shitty neighborhood.
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Crusher Bob
post Jan 20 2009, 02:40 PM
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Only option B seems to involve no idiots, so that has to be the shadowrun.

The problem with A is that a team of highly skilled criminals is being hired to do a job that basically any idiot can do. And the idiot hiring the slope headed killers has the gall to try and stiff them. This is usually followed up with the team later breaking into the guys house and rendering him and his family down for their organs to sell on the black market.

In vignette B, everyone does the job without any complications.

Vignette C is a quick replay of gunfight from Heat, as the runners quickly supress the gangs with their superior skills and use fire and manuver to quickly break contact and go home.
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raggedhalo
post Jan 20 2009, 02:52 PM
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I'm with DWC on this. A is a shadowrun, the other two are just bumps in the road...
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Jhaiisiin
post Jan 20 2009, 02:55 PM
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I voted A and C. A because it seems very shadowrun in a lot of ways. They're hired to do a job, and get paid for it. It doesn't matter that the job is extracting a person or a vehicle or information or whatever. It's still an illegal (or even semi-legal, in some cases) job put forth by a Johnson. Getting screwed by your Johnson is also something that is mentioned repeatedly through the years in the fluff of varied books and editions. It also serves as a plot hook, as the players are likely to seek revenge for getting stiffed entirely on the bill, and could turn into one hell of an adventure while they work to get their due.

C struck me as a standard Shadowrun outing, and helped sit well in the setting of the SR Dystopian world.

B seemed like people being directionless thieves more than actual runners.
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Larme
post Jan 20 2009, 02:55 PM
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A is the only shadowrun. A shadowrun is a job that you do at the request of a Mr. Johnson. If you're working for yourself, as in B, you're not on a shadowrun, you're just committing a crime. The whole idea of shadowruns is that they are the new currency of the realm. Instead of relying on only hostile takeovers, mergers, and PR battles, corporations (and other groups) now rely on professional thieves, kidnappers, murderers, and terrorists to get things done. Those are the shadowrunners. They're the people you come to when you need something done.

I can't accept your argument, Crusher Bob, that B is the shadowrun because they did it professionally. Being professional might make you a shadowrunner, but that doesn't mean everything you do is a shadowrun. There are lots of things that a team of shadowrunners might do on their own steam without a J, but those things are not themselves shadowruns.

I also think you're wrong about "any idiot" being able to break into a luxury estate and steal a priceless car without being noticed, or hurting the car. That is exactly the type of job that shadowrunners would do, ones that require special skills and a great deal of discretion. And really, it's not the level of professionality that makes something a shadowrun, it's the existence of a Johnson. Just because the J screwed the runners doesn't mean it wasn't a run. That just means that the silly runners took the very silly step of trusting a J without doing any legwork to get the real story.
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BIG BAD BEESTE
post Jan 20 2009, 02:58 PM
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Gotta say option A here folks. That's the only one that the team are being hired for. A shadowrunner is someone who is hired to perform semi-, quasi- or illegal operations on behalf of another party who wishes to remain anonymous and unconnected to said deeds.

The others are simply events that happen in normal life or when the so-called runners try to earn a fast buck outside of being hired (which IMHO just makes them standard criminals).
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Graushwein
post Jan 20 2009, 03:03 PM
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A is a shadowrun (and usually the rich guy will die within a few weeks, possibly missing a fortune.)
B is a private character plot to make more money
C is a GM event or byproduct of being in a bad neighborhood.
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InfinityzeN
post Jan 20 2009, 03:47 PM
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A is a shadowrun, though something that almost no NPC would be stupid enough to pull in my games. Come on, the guy hired the people to break into his secure house and steal his car, which they did with zero problems. How stupid can you be to stiff cold blooded criminals who you already know have no problem breaking into your house? He is de'da'de'de'dead... (Guy actually did something simular in my game. Players spend 5 PC driven sessions hunting him down, killing every single member of his family, robbing him blind, before finally throwing him off a building. Needless to say, people don't screw them over when they do the job anymore.

B & C, while highly possible, are just events. B is PC driven, why C is GM driven.
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Naysayer
post Jan 20 2009, 04:01 PM
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Yeah, basically what the other posters said.
A is a shadowrun, classic three-acter: buildup, execution, screwover. (with revenge being a very likely epilogue ).

B is a not-so-subtle hint by the players that the GM is overdoing it with the "street-level" feel and needs to dish out some actual money for a run.

C is when you roll 2d6 on a random encounter table and score a cliché... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Wesley Street
post Jan 20 2009, 05:56 PM
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All can be considered a "run" or part of one.
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Dwight
post Jan 20 2009, 07:54 PM
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None of the above. I see absolutely no reference to the use of grenades.

(IMG:style_emoticons/default/cyber.gif)

A: Snipers in the hills to fiat screw with the PCs? Johnson renegs on the deal. Was lying to them all along? Cliche much? *snore*

B: What was the point again?

C: Totally random violence, nice little bit of spice I suppose. Fun tonight. Maybe fun next week. But sooner rather than later that's going to get old, especially if it keeps beating down the PCs.
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Rasumichin
post Jan 20 2009, 08:02 PM
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Have to agree with the others here.

A : classic SR1-2 scenario, fortunately out of use
B : typical event in open-ended play involving the SR setting and rules system
C : random encounter during a session in an archetypal SR subsetting

So, a default shadowrun is D :
Professional and highly skilled criminals hired by a third party for illegal activities in an extremely violent, in many areas mostly lawless environment.
With the characters not on top of the heap, but far, far above from common thugs as far as skill, reputation and payment go.
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InfinityzeN
post Jan 20 2009, 08:27 PM
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As I said and the last two backed, A is not the way to go about things. Unless the Mr. Johnson is totally stupid or extremely desperate (because he didn't have the money, getting the job done is more important to him then his life, etc), then you won't see this happen.

I'm always sick of hearing "Its not a shadowrun until the Mr. Johnson screws you". A Johnson's rep is very important for him to do his job and if he gets a rep for screwing people (and he will... very quickly) then he will not be able to do his job. Plus he will end up very dead very quickly since the people he is screwing over are cold blooded, ruthless, violent, and highly skilled at B&E, extractions, and killing.

I think I've pulled the Mr. Johnson screws the PCs thing (trys to stiff/whack em) three times since I started running SR3, and one of those was in a SRMission. Now I have had "Johnsons" (not the pros, just a small timer who needed something really bad) that lied about their ability to pay. But they pretty much had to come clean with the players and work out someway to pay them for services rendered if they wanted to keep breathing.

My runners actually often contract out another group of runners to provide overwatch at what they consider to be high risk meets. Only cost them a few hundred if nothing happens, plus dinner and some beer. Becoming contacts with other runners (individuals & teams) can be really helpful. The group my players normally use are like their prodigys. They bump 'em easier jobs not worth their time, sub-contract them when they need more manpower, etc.
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Browncoatone
post Jan 20 2009, 09:09 PM
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Ok, looks like I should have made a distinction between a scenario and a Shadowrun. Now these are just my personal opinion and are in no way universally accepted, but to me a scenario is the stage set by the GM for a gaming session- though some groups may find it necessary to play more than one session to resolve a scenario.

As for a Shadowrun, I reject the definition provided in SR1: (Forgive me if I got the wording wrong I haven't seen my first edition for over 15 years):

Shadowrun
n. Any movement, action, or series of such made in carrying out plans which are illegal or quasi-legal.

A Shadowrun isn't stealing cars, nor is it beating up shop owners that haven't paid their protection money this week. Both of those are crimes but they are not Shadowruns.

A Shadowrun is, by my definition, a mission completed by a Shadowrunner, or a team of Shadowrunners. Which, of course, demands that we define what a Shadowrunner is:

A Shadowrunner is a freelance covert operative.

If Mrs. Jones is being threatened by the local Yakuza because she refuses to pay protection money and she hires a group of thugs to stand around her shop to deter the clan from making good on their threats, that is NOT a Shadowrun.

If, however, Mrs. Jones hires a team of ex-CIA / Army Rangers to secretly poison the sake at the local Yakuza hangout in an effort to deplete the Yakuza's available manpower, that would be a Shadowrun.

A Shadowrun is always covert (not just clandestine) and is always carried out by freelance operatives. So thieving cars, contesting gang turf, or doing an outright hit doesn't count unless it is part of a larger operation.

Which brings us to scenario A. In scenario A the team steals a classic / priceless automobile from a well guarded location without damaging the vehicle. This operation was covert and completed by freelance agents, it therefore was a Shadowrun. It might be a cliche Shadowrun, with a predictable ending and a poor outcome, but I didn't say it was a good Shadowrun or a successful Shadowrun (who else would have strapped a phone activated explosive under the Tucker's gas tank, anyone? Anyone?) but they did act as freelancers on a covert mission so it counts regardless of the carelessness of the team.

Scenario B was not a Shadowrun. In scenario B the street thugs stole a car and sold it to a chop shop. They were not acting as freelance agents on someone else's behalf, and thus the operation wasn't really covert. It was just theft.

Scenario C was inspired by the original introductory scenario included in the original first hardcover printing of Shadowrun where a team of Shadowrunners find themselves in the middle of a robbery between runs. Though it is a scenario, this isn't a Shadowrun and is basically stated as such by the authors when they begin the whole mess by informing the players that they are between runs. Even so, the team isn't acting in a freelance capacity and they are not working covertly so scenario C is not a Shadowrun.

Of course those are just my opinions, your mileage may vary.
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BlacKat
post Jan 20 2009, 09:52 PM
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As far as I am concerened both A and B could be classified as ShadowRun in my games. It all depends on the style of game we are playing. Situation B is perfectly legit if we are running a street level ganger game. Yeah they may take on more "traditional" shadowruns, but the games pint is to RP the street life. Just becasue a Johnson isn't involved, doesn't mean it can't be a ShadowRun. In the case of option B the Gang Leader or whatever just takes the place of the Johnson/Fixer.

Option C though is just an encounter. It may be an encounter that takes an entire session, but in the end its just an encounter. Now if it had been written from the point of view of the Gangers then it possibly could have been a simple takedown mission.

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InfinityzeN
post Jan 20 2009, 10:24 PM
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QUOTE (Browncoatone @ Jan 20 2009, 04:09 PM) *
Which brings us to scenario A. In scenario A the team steals a classic / priceless automobile from a well guarded location without damaging the vehicle. This operation was covert and completed by freelance agents, it therefore was a Shadowrun. It might be a cliche Shadowrun, with a predictable ending and a poor outcome, but I didn't say it was a good Shadowrun or a successful Shadowrun (who else would have strapped a phone activated explosive under the Tucker's gas tank, anyone? Anyone?) but they did act as freelancers on a covert mission so it counts regardless of the carelessness of the team.


My players would have. Actually, they did do it. In case your wondering why I wrote up rules for classic cars, it is because my game has an on-going mission from "Mr. Collector" that pops up every 4 or 5 game sessions in which they snatch another classic car. They actually like it and at first would leave a bag in the trunk (full of high grade explosive). Before handing over the keys, after being paid one of them said "Oh, almost forgot my bag" and took it out of the trunk. If they had not got paid or got ripped as the group above, they would have blown the car (and part of the ship) to hell.
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Wesley Street
post Jan 21 2009, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE (Browncoatone @ Jan 20 2009, 04:09 PM) *
A Shadowrunner is a freelance covert operative.

The original Shadowrun Companion and Underworld gave pointers to GMs on running runners-as-cops, runners-as-Doc Wagon employees, and runners-as-organized-crime-members. LA's Pito system turns the covert idea on its head and creates a not-unrealistic idea of runner-as-reality-show-spectacle.

Trying to give a specific definition for a shadowrunner is like trying to hold water in your hands. Covert, illegal or quasi-illegal, etc. etc. are all concepts that a shadowrunner is intimately familiar with but a shadowrunner isn't the sum of his parts.
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Dr Funfrock
post Jan 21 2009, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE (Larme @ Jan 20 2009, 09:55 AM) *
I can't accept your argument, Crusher Bob, that B is the shadowrun because they did it professionally. Being professional might make you a shadowrunner, but that doesn't mean everything you do is a shadowrun. There are lots of things that a team of shadowrunners might do on their own steam without a J, but those things are not themselves shadowruns.


Real runners do everything professionally. Everything.

"OK boys, it cookie time! Spin, you get the oven pre-heated, Roller, you're on dough dutie, and McCavity, you've got clean-up. Remember, nobody gets a lick of that bowl until we're done. Everybody, GO GO GO!"
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eidolon
post Jan 21 2009, 08:33 PM
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I've droned on about it before, but I find the "Shadowrunners are totally professional bad ass covert professional operative professionals that Never Mess Up" definition so boring and trite that I don't limit my games to it.

I get characters here and there that fit it, sure, but the good characters in my games have usually been the folks that stumbled into 'running, the people that didn't have much of a choice so here they are, the people whose life either didn't leave much of a choice or was a sum of skills that made it the obvious choice.

I'm not saying characters shouldn't be competent, or shouldn't be created to be good at doing stuff in the game world, I'm just saying that "professionals that never screw up and are awesome" gets really old.

That said, I voted A. Yeah, it's a bit cliche, but it's the only one in which the team has been contracted to do a job, done it, and gotten paid (even if the payment was bogus, something that could lead to more story). The other two don't have those essential elements. B is just something that could happen in the game world / setting / rules, and C is just a shake it up and have a fight encounter.
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