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> Sooo I read Anarchy...
tete
post Oct 20 2016, 05:37 AM
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The good - if you want shadowrun lite it does offer that if your ok with things becoming even more generic.
The bad - people who want more shadowrun feel other than a big dice pool are going to be left wanting, also people who don't like large dice pools won't have any options like ubiquity and fate do, lastly it's not traditional gm or gm less it's some weird inbetween I would have preferred gm less with gm optional rules.
The ugly - I know opinionated rpg writing is all the rage right now but frankly parts of this book are insulting. It feels like it's written in places by someone who has had awful gms and awful players and need to give them all the finger.

What are your thoughts.
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Gingivitis
post Oct 20 2016, 06:43 AM
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The Good - The action is very quick, with no rulebook diving. Shadow Amps balance the archetypes, and Karma balances the advancement. Characters, after a 15 minute build-time, are immediately immersible. The game is completely modular and adaptable to your table; if you want a thing to be true, make it true as a group (including character concepts, scene narrations, house rules, etc.).

The Bad - Like all Shadowrun editions, it is clearly written for people who have played Shadowrun before; there is a little lore in Anarchy to ground a new player into the setting but even less to ground them into the system. The Anarchy gameplay experience is tightly tied to your table; if you have spotlight-hogging players or an adversarial GM, the shared story-telling can be a problem (but if you don't, it's great!)

The Ugly - Like all Catalyst Games publications, it sorely needs editing and proof-reading; we (players deeply invested in the concept and who posted on the official boards) got a lot of errata pushed through but there will remain more needed even after it goes to print. Luckily, see "The Good." (And my signature!)

[Edit] I should add that I have had 3 sessions so far after converting SR5 characters to Anarchy.
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Mantis
post Oct 21 2016, 02:34 AM
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Thanks for the reviews. This pretty much puts me off even bothering with this product. The lack of care when editing in previous books makes reading the book a chore rather than a joy. I don't want to have my train of thought interrupted by having to figure out what was actually meant. Also, if whatever author it is that overuses the words This, These and That had anything to do with this book, I'd rather bash my head open than wade through another document by them. If you don't know what I'm talking about read either Protectors and Despoilers in Hazard Pay or Fall of a Dragon in Storm Front. Painful.
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Medicineman
post Oct 21 2016, 05:57 AM
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one more Reason to wait for the German Edition , even if it may take a while

with a patient Dance
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hermit
post Oct 22 2016, 01:45 AM
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The good:
* It offers Shadowrun Lite for people who want Shadowrun Lite. It probably works well for quick three-hour games.
* Very good world introduction chapters.
* For all the rules' faults, the pregenerated characters make the most of them, and are by themselves a lot more diverse, colourful, and entertaining than usual Shadowrun archetypes.
* The Living World details fun adventure seeds; this collection is usable without Anarchy, too, though some seeds need a bit of polishing to work with a longer, standard game.

The Bad:
* Characters are flat, narrow, one-trick, and can never outgrow that. this caters to a very specific play style and unnecessarily narrows down Anarchy's potential audience.
* With its starkly limited amp and skill slots, Anarchy manages to be even more magerun than SR5.
* Some parts (Karma is the new, official in-game currency johnsons pay you with) are so gamist and counterimmersive, it would make a 90s videogame ashamed.
* There's way too much "if you don't like this, make a houserule" but none of the promised rules toolkit. If a rules system comes along half-baked and then tells me "write your own if you think you'Re so clever!", I don't need to waste money on this book. I just dig into FATE and come up with a Shadowrun hack, or use one of the dozens available.
* There's a discerning lack of courage in maintaining traditional GM as opposed to a true narrative, GM-less system. Clearly, that was the idea, but by both preserving a traditional GM slot, and by regulating plot points, making any interrupt based on spending one of five points, and ensuring the GM has limitless plot points, SR narchy fails to muster up the courage to live up to its self-ascribed Narrative nature. As is, SR Anarchy is a lot more traditional, top-down structured than FATE, let alone Mystic GM Emulator.
* Plus, there's a lack of clarity how the Cue system's cues work, other than as a notebook of sorts of how to play a pregenerated, unfamiliar character (something that has been done just like this 25 years ago already). There's also no explanation as to why, with cues, you also need tags that seem to do the same thing.

The Ugly:
* Tune down the douchebroness already. You aren't funny. You aren't playful. You just sound like assholes.
* Also, some structure would really help this book. It is insultingly untidy, with rules about something being scattered all across the book and tied by references, sometimes even in a circle (for X, see p. 106; on p. 106: see p. 12; on p. 12, see p.106). Case in point: What Essence Loss Modifiers are and how they work.
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Critias
post Oct 22 2016, 08:37 AM
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Okay, I'm curious. When folks complain about the tone of the book, or the chip on the shoulder, or the douchebroness, or what-have-you -- can someone gimme some examples?

I'll readily admit that "tone" wasn't what I was looking for on my proofing runs, and I was certainly paying more attention to some sections than others, on my various read-throughs (meaning I may not have even seen the bits y'all are complaining about). That said, I've heard the complaint multiple times, from multiple sources, so I'm curious enough that any page numbers, paragraphs, or quotes would be appreciated.
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Medicineman
post Oct 22 2016, 09:02 AM
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What is douchebroness ?
I know a Douchebag and MLP Bro-Fans (but aren't they called Bronies ? )
and I know a Baroness, but I can't make a connection....
If someone could explain that expression to me ?

With a Dance on the wrong way
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hermit
post Oct 22 2016, 10:04 AM
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QUOTE
What is douchebroness ?

Just ask the Urban Dictionary. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Basically, a bro who is also a douchebag. A douchebro. Typical english compound word.

A bro|ny is a bro who is into MLP (po|nies), for reference on how this compounding works.

QUOTE
When folks complain about the tone of the book, or the chip on the shoulder, or the douchebroness, or what-have-you -- can someone gimme some examples?

I'll reread it and post. It wasn't one big quote, it was dozerns of smaller, irksome sentences that added nothing but came across as bratty, arrogant, both, or otherwise fairly unpleasant.

Examples (two out of many):
* Strength: It’s how strong you are. Duh. (p 29)
* Helps you quickly come up with an answer to the ever-present question, “If you’re so smart, why are you still on the streets?” (p 29)

The first is plainly superfluous - thank you, Captain Obvious. It also comes across as arrogant. The second is much bitterer - aside from being annoyingly assumptuous and easily read as an insult to the player, it also carries a super-sized serving of racist arrogance.

And that is one random page.
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DeathStrobe
post Oct 22 2016, 02:11 PM
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I'd argue the book needs stuff like that, else the book is too vanilla, thus boring to read. But that's me.
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Medicineman
post Oct 22 2016, 02:47 PM
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And I don't want my intelligence or Common Sense insulted

You can surely spice up the reading but you don't need to do that by insulting the Players
When I read something like this

QUOTE
* Strength: It’s how strong you are. Duh. (p 29)

it seems to me pretty Vain and insulting
(maybe its lockerroom writing, I don't know)

HokaHey
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Gingivitis
post Oct 22 2016, 06:04 PM
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I didn't mind the tone too much. I have been getting called "chummer" since 1990. I get that it is supposed to be an immersive, setting-based method of getting the rules across. Shadowrun has always had the tone of a veteran runner, giving advice to a new runner. But passages with tone like that should be confined to flavor text and fluff (like Bleeding of the Edge chapter), not in the meat of the rule set.

The one that irked me though was:

p. 40 (Attack Limits)
QUOTE
Want to debate the meaning of Attack action beyond that? Have fun, and we’ll be here for you when you’re ready to play!


Its a little holier than thou for the chapter that it's in. You have to remember that you are writing this for two audiences: those new to Shadowrun (in which case, this passage is unnecessarily combative), and those Shadowrun veterans (in which case, they legitimately need a valid distinction from SR5 to help them shift mechanics).

It's best in both cases to just explain the concept clearly and unequivocally.
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hermit
post Oct 22 2016, 06:55 PM
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QUOTE
It's best in both cases to just explain the concept clearly and unequivocally.

That's how all rules texts should be approached. Aside from being grating and making me wonder about the intelligence of the authors, it is just bloat, page space that could have been put to more productive use (like a concise definition how Essence loss penalties work that isn't literally spread in tiny morsels all across the book). Unfortunatly, it isn't in recent SR products. It's not like this problem is confined to Anarchy.

QUOTE
Shadowrun has always had the tone of a veteran runner, giving advice to a new runner.

That's not what I get from these 'witty' asides, though. They sound like a poser telling a veteran what's what. Makes me want to ask them what the colour of the boat house in Hereford is and assault them with a cup of coffee, to be honest.
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Glyph
post Oct 22 2016, 07:30 PM
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Yeah, that's been the problem with SR5 from the get-go, and it seems to be in Anarchy, too. I don't think it's necessarily malicious; they seem to think they are being witty, or cool. But if you think you have something witty, or cool, to say, then that's what the shadowtalk is for!! When I read the description of the Dodge Scoot, I don't need to read "no self-respecting shadowrunners would be caught dead on one." That would be fine if it was done as a poster in the shadowtalk (maybe with someone under it posting "Hey!"), but it has no place in the vehicle description. Something like "This little scooter will get you jeers from go-gangers, but is perfect for blending in with all of the other corporate commuters" would be better.
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hermit
post Oct 22 2016, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE
I don't think it's necessarily malicious; they seem to think they are being witty, or cool.

I agree (for the most part). All the more reason to inform them that their self-perception and what it seems like to outsiders is very different.

QUOTE
When I read the description of the Dodge Scoot, I don't need to read "no self-respecting shadowrunners would be caught dead on one."

That's another irksome thing - Anarchy seems to assume there is only one true way to play Shadowrun, and that is gonzo pink mohawk. It fits in the general limitation-heavy Anarchy system, but given that I don't enjoy gonzo pink mohawk games, it doesn't sell me on Anarchy the way it maybe is intended to.
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Gingivitis
post Oct 23 2016, 08:38 AM
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I should be clear: I am definitely on the side of "this product is RPG gold that needs some polishing."

Despite any distractions, uncertainty, and misunderstandings, this is a very playable, moderately accessible system with unlimited potential.

I cannot recommend it enough, honestly. It plays EXACTLY like your table wants it to play. Combined with the errata and liberal use of community input, I can see this overtaking SR5 at a lot of tables.
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hermit
post Oct 23 2016, 09:33 AM
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QUOTE
It plays EXACTLY like your table wants it to play.

No, it doesn't. Speaking from experience, I can say this is more than a bit presumptive. It may play exactly like your table wants it to play. But not every table is your table.

Anarchy lacks a GM-light or GM-free structure, and modding it in is just as complex as it is with SR5 core. Now, getting rid of the need for a fixed GM (which nobody wants to be all the time) was one of the strongest appeals for a SR Narrative system for my table, and anarchy just didn't deliver there. You don't need to convert to Anarchy if you use a FATE-inspired narrative structure or MGME anyway.
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Gingivitis
post Oct 23 2016, 10:45 AM
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I'll admit that I have never played MGME, but I have played FATE (in the form of Dresden Files) and SR 1-5 (along with D&D 1-5, and a half-dozen others). I cannot see how SR:A, in its base form, does not at least qualify as GM-light. The GM knows a few things more than the players (for suspense and discovery) but the players decide, to a great degree, how things play out.

There isn't a collaborative world-building process before play, but it is definitely built whilst playing, to the extent that your table desires. There isn't a collaborative character-building process but your characters are as deep and as deeply entwined as your table desires. The GM rolls the opposing dice for Tests, but does it really matter from who's hand the dice fall?

The Contract Briefs are...brief...enough that rotating GMs could happen every night. That's not a mod... that's just an agreement at the table. Rotation could even happen with every Scene. Heck, start the GM with a player character and 3 plot points and you can rotate every Turn.*

*Thanks, I just realized I am going to try this!
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hermit
post Oct 23 2016, 11:50 AM
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QUOTE
I cannot see how SR:A, in its base form, does not at least qualify as GM-light. The GM knows a few things more than the players (for suspense and discovery) but the players decide, to a great degree, how things play out. (...) The Contract Briefs are...brief...enough that rotating GMs could happen every night.

Yeah, you can do that with SR5 core too, you know. Maybe we define GM light differently.

My point is: The players' turns describe scenes from their characters' perspective and with their characters at the center (hence the cues). Yes, they 'may' introduce NPCs or spend one of their three plot points per session on 'interrupts and obstacles' that immediately affect the overall story, but the storytelling, world maintainance is firmly in the GM's hand. There is no true collaborative, equital world- and story-building, and it's still the GM's job as a benevolent dictator to keep every car of the story train firmly on the railroad tracks. The writing repeatedly stresses this point actually.

And all that can be done with SR5 core too. In fact, it is pretty much how my table ran things already (with SR4A, for full disclosure), sans formalized plot points. Those actually limit this type of conditional GM dictatorship (as opposed to the total hegemony traditional gaming prefers).

QUOTE
Rotation could even happen with every Scene. Heck, start the GM with a player character and 3 plot points and you can rotate every Turn.*

We've been experimenting with a similar, though less formal and conditional, system for some time at my table. It, of course, makes coherent plotting harder (though for the most part, Anarchy's contact briefs are vague enough it should work), but did work well enough at my table (with SR4A). What I am looking for is a more formalized rotating GM system, or one that is entirely GM free. This works reasonably well with MGME, though it's easy to fall back into GMing reflexes and not use the GME. It works moderately well with FATE.

However, I don't see how Anarchy works well with that, since it still demands a dedicated GM person at the table, and the players can be (using anarchy as written) at best "deputy GM" for a short time, with the GM always at the ready to rein them in (in Anarchy as written, that seems to be the primary concern). That is not GM light. It might be called reduced GM visibility, but it only reluctantly grants any power transfer to players, and only conditionally, paid for with limited currency, and always at the ready to yank control from grubby munchkin player hands, because you know, players.
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freudqo
post Oct 23 2016, 01:53 PM
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QUOTE
no self-respecting shadowrunners would be caught dead on one


I understand this bullshit is not "in character"?

I had always understood the shadowrun "reputation" system to be the exact opposite of this shit.
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hermit
post Oct 23 2016, 02:02 PM
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QUOTE
I understand this bullshit is not "in character"?

Nope, in straight-up rules text. A vehicle description. Probably intended to be flavorous, but sort of overshot the mark.

QUOTE
I had always understood the shadowrun "reputation" system to be the exact opposite of this shit.

Depends on the approach to the system. There are two basic "schools" there - Black Trenchcoat (gritty, 'realistic' spy game, where low-key appearance, silencers, rare gunfights and elaborate, clever plans are key - think Blade Runner meets Person of Interest and Leverage.) and Pink Mohawk (overplayed, big guns, flashy outfits, blingy cars, explosions, massive shootouts with lasers and 'frontal assault' being the first, last and only plan - think Fast&Furious meets 90s Stallone and Judge Dredd). Usually, shadowrun products try to balance between those two 'schools' of playing the game. Anarchy, however, swings almost entirely towards Pink Mohawk. Which brought us this quote.

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freudqo
post Oct 23 2016, 02:29 PM
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QUOTE (hermit @ Oct 23 2016, 02:02 PM) *
Depends on the approach to the system. There are two basic "schools" there - Black Trenchcoat (gritty, 'realistic' spy game, where low-key appearance, silencers, rare gunfights and elaborate, clever plans are key - think Blade Runner meets Person of Interest and Leverage.) and Pink Mohawk (overplayed, big guns, flashy outfits, blingy cars, explosions, massive shootouts with lasers and 'frontal assault' being the first, last and only plan - think Fast&Furious meets 90s Stallone and Judge Dredd). Usually, shadowrun products try to balance between those two 'schools' of playing the game. Anarchy, however, swings almost entirely towards Pink Mohawk. Which brought us this quote.


I don't know. Honestly, even in the most pink mohawk setting, I really can't picture shadowrun as being a game where a runner would give a shit about dying on a dodge scout. That's seriously lame, and precisely the opposite of what the game has always promised, pink mohawk or not, for character types.
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Gingivitis
post Oct 24 2016, 01:56 AM
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From my personal experience, I have to disagree that Anarchy swings entirely Pink Mohawk. I've run 3 sessions so far (not in order):

One could be classified as Pink Mohawk as there was a van vs. go-ganger running chase scene with bullets and fireballs flying.

One was entirely stealth and subterfuge and even when I nudged for a fight with a security mage, the players pulled a fast one, used disguise, and fast-talked their way out.

One was a mix (as I believe most good campaigns end up): there was quiet infiltration, hacking, and plenty of legwork, but there was also a caterer that was brained with a wine bottle and a security guard tranq-darted in the neck.

In all 3 sessions, I GMed knowing only 1-2 Hard Points (plot details that I knew that I wanted to be true), but because our table built the story together, it went way off-course. I didn't have to reign it in; I just leaned into it. Now, granted, my players have been grouped for many years and there were no "I see a spaceship!" or "all the guards go on break at the same time" Narratives to try to lasso back. But I do not see my experience as an anomaly.

If a player wants a thing to be true, it is. If the table wants to expand Amp slots or Skill slots, it does. If the players want to sit back and ride a story-line, they can. Tags, Cues and Dispositions are as important as the table wants them to be: mostly ignored, or grant Plot Points for RP, or extra Karma for RP, or docked for bad RP, whatever. Make what you want of it... or don't. I am not the boss of you.

I guess what I meant too by, "It plays EXACTLY like your table wants it to play" is that if you don't want it to work, it won't.
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Jaid
post Oct 24 2016, 03:10 AM
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QUOTE (hermit @ Oct 22 2016, 05:04 AM) *
I'll reread it and post. It wasn't one big quote, it was dozerns of smaller, irksome sentences that added nothing but came across as bratty, arrogant, both, or otherwise fairly unpleasant.

Examples (two out of many):
* Strength: It’s how strong you are. Duh. (p 29)
* Helps you quickly come up with an answer to the ever-present question, “If you’re so smart, why are you still on the streets?” (p 29)

The first is plainly superfluous - thank you, Captain Obvious. It also comes across as arrogant. The second is much bitterer - aside from being annoyingly assumptuous and easily read as an insult to the player, it also carries a super-sized serving of racist arrogance.

And that is one random page.


is there some context that makes the second *racist* arrogance as opposed to just regular arrogance? i'm not picking up on what makes it racist... but to be fair, i've never been the target of racist arrogance (and there's not a ton of it in the places i grew up in general), so maybe the missing context is in me rather than the text.
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hermit
post Oct 24 2016, 08:38 AM
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QUOTE
In all 3 sessions, I GMed knowing only 1-2 Hard Points (plot details that I knew that I wanted to be true), but because our table built the story together, it went way off-course. I didn't have to reign it in; I just leaned into it. Now, granted, my players have been grouped for many years and there were no "I see a spaceship!" or "all the guards go on break at the same time" Narratives to try to lasso back. But I do not see my experience as an anomaly.

See, I have run my games like this (though mostly, players lean into the GM (usually me or one other guy, because they want the experience of discovering a plot, not directing one) since SR2. Actually, I think in gaming theory terms, it's called the Island Method or something similar. I don't need Anarchy for that. In fact, Anarchy restricts this player interaction by regulating it and tying it to limited, virtual currency.

QUOTE
If a player wants a thing to be true, it is. If the table wants to expand Amp slots or Skill slots, it does. If the players want to sit back and ride a story-line, they can. Tags, Cues and Dispositions are as important as the table wants them to be: mostly ignored, or grant Plot Points for RP, or extra Karma for RP, or docked for bad RP, whatever. Make what you want of it... or don't. I am not the boss of you.

I guess what I meant too by, "It plays EXACTLY like your table wants it to play" is that if you don't want it to work, it won't.

I think we're talking past each other. I'm talking about Anarchy as a rules system, RAW. You're talking about your games. Look, if Anarchy works for you, great. Just, this may be more becuase your group works than because of the specific Anarchy rules. Yes, you can houserule everything if you don't like it. That's the tired old standard response to criticism of game rules systems that are indefensible otherwise. I am, here, not discussing what could be houseruled, or how to adapt given rules to my table. I am talking about a book, called 'Shadowrun Anarchy', and its contents. I am talking about wheter, as written I think these rules make sense, the book is well-structured, the books tone is pleasant or unpleasant, and whether or not experimentally implementing said rules, as written, worked out or not.

You, however, seem all about your experience, and how your group works or not. That's fine, too. Just don't confuse "we houseruled it and now it works fine for us!" with disproving criticism of the product as sold.

Jaid, because of Forum rules, I'll get to you via PM.
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freudqo
post Oct 24 2016, 11:36 AM
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QUOTE (Gingivitis @ Oct 24 2016, 02:56 AM) *
If a player wants a thing to be true, it is. If the table wants to expand Amp slots or Skill slots, it does. If the players want to sit back and ride a story-line, they can. Tags, Cues and Dispositions are as important as the table wants them to be: mostly ignored, or grant Plot Points for RP, or extra Karma for RP, or docked for bad RP, whatever. Make what you want of it... or don't. I am not the boss of you.

I guess what I meant too by, "It plays EXACTLY like your table wants it to play" is that if you don't want it to work, it won't.


The idea that you can make a rule-lite shadowrun system that could play with every table is plain wrong, no matter how you think those who don't get it to work are sabotaging themselves.

One of the main reason shadowrun has been and is still praised is because of the intrication of its game mechanics and its universe. Sure you'll find some stupid hacks, such as D20 shadowrun, but no one plays them because no one gives a shit.
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