IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Downtime Sandbox Game idea
Iduno
post Mar 14 2022, 07:40 PM
Post #1


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 586
Joined: 27-January 07
From: United States
Member No.: 10,812



I have an idea for running a more sandboxy downtime-centric game. It partly came from my experience GMing where I didn't feel like I did enough with the world, and also wanting more role-playing opportunities. I'm not sure the run really needs to be actually played out, but I liked the inversion of the amount of focus on runs vs downtime. It was written up in my own notes over time in notepad, so spelling and grammar ore probably worse than usual. April 1 is coming up, which may be a fun time to give it a whirl. Feel free to offer suggestions and/or steal it.


You're Shadowrunners, you go on runs to make rent and upgrade yourselves, and spend the rest on parties, taking down the corps, getting revenge, or making it look like you live a normal life with normal friends when your parents come to visit. One run per month, hopefully only taking a few minutes, then a full session of exploring the world and living your lives. Fitting for exploring the world-building, or just beer-and-peanuts slice of life comedy. Possibly also making Cowboy Bebop-themed Shadowrun where you fail a lot and need to worry about lifestyle costs. Probably more enjoyable for players familiar with the setting. Would 4th edition rules work best, because it's easier to call for a single roll for a particular skill without worrying about pools?

Run Rules:
Need to accumulate X number of hits (10 per player? More/Less? Depends on how well PCs are built and the amount of success you want them to have.) over 3 tests, with a small amount of exposition about what you're doing. Getting more means you get extra money, or make it through without injury, or have extra time for time-sensitive downtime stuff. Getting fewer means the Run failed.

Most rolls are Everyone needs to roll the same skill, or everyone needs to roll a role-specific skill (decking, sorcery, bluff, a weapon-skill, controlling drones, etc.) The totals from those rolls are added together.

Some rolls will be one person from the group makes the roll (perhaps a teamwork test), and everyone gets credit for that number of hits. Driving or fixing something would be examples.

Some rolls are instead using the worst roll out of all of the players. Everyone gets the score for their total, and some penalties may be added for doing poorly. Stealth or parachuting, for example. A character can get left out, but may not make any more rolls during that Run unless there is some sort of escape needed.

My goal is to require every skill during at least one Run, and try to avoid using any skill more than twice before every skill is used. A well-rounded team is probably a good idea, if you care about succeeding at Runs.


Downtime Rules:
I don't plan to kill you during Runs, so success mostly means you can pay rent and upgrade stuff. Constant success means a few more sessions about being rich, successful, and popular (for runners). Or finally using your accumulated power to fight The Man. Constant failure means more desperate downtime, like using your skills in clever ways to be able to pay rent, or needing to move to a cheaper neighborhood with worse neighbors. Both can be entertaining, and plenty of downtime stuff can be hacky sitcom premises or sandboxes.

Injuries from the run will carry over to downtime, as will spent edge. Downtime is much less structured than a normal run, and any goals will be suggestions like "how do you use your skills to make enough money for rent this month?" or "visit the Crime Mall". If the team has any goals, such as fighting the corps or getting their band to be famous, or making their neighborhood more livable for the downtrodden, those can make great downtime sessions as well.


Runs:
Improve defenses at MoM location in town: astral patrol, set up wards, improve matrix, in-person patrol and drive off Humanis, make friendly with locals and get their help.
Parachute into a facility, then use nature lore to find way out of woods. Survival skill if you do badly. Better score is more time for this month's session (which I guess should be a time-sensitive goal like earning enough money for rent).


Sessions:
Get into concert after tickets are sold out.
Get back riggers stolen/impounded van while you're all exhausted and beat up from the run.
X's parents are in town, and can't find out they're runners. Parents may also be there on a mission opposing you.
The face seduced someone for information, but they hit it off. Keep the bodyguards off non-violently (no alarms) while they're on their date.
Failed too many missions, need to make rent: illegal street racing, short grifts, drug dealing, get real jobs?
Need to babysit an extractee or someone who needs protecting.
Beat up a street dealer who was 1) being provided drugs by the Vory (or whomever) trying to get more control, and also is an undercover KE agent who lost the trust of the people they were pretending to join and can't infiltrate anymore.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Lionesque
post Mar 15 2022, 10:59 AM
Post #2


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 139
Joined: 6-April 17
From: Copenhagen, Republic of Scandinavia
Member No.: 207,604



Totally loving it, but I think that the distinction between 'a run' and 'downtime' may disappear very quickly, once you actually sit down to play. Sneaking past security, opening a lock without triggering alarms and blending in with the backstage crowd at that CoNcReTe JuNgLe concert sounds pretty much like the job we had where we had to sneak in backstage at a political rally to make sure the wannabe assassin didn't get close enough to make their move on the as-yet-unspoiled candidate for mayor of Puyallup, Alexandra McRae.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
pbangarth
post Mar 15 2022, 06:56 PM
Post #3


Old Man of the North
**********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 9,505
Joined: 14-August 03
From: Just north of the Centre of the Universe
Member No.: 5,463



Sounds really interesting. I think

Bongo Slade

would fit this story well.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Iduno
post Mar 16 2022, 02:08 AM
Post #4


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 586
Joined: 27-January 07
From: United States
Member No.: 10,812



QUOTE (Lionesque @ Mar 15 2022, 05:59 AM) *
Totally loving it, but I think that the distinction between 'a run' and 'downtime' may disappear very quickly, once you actually sit down to play. Sneaking past security, opening a lock without triggering alarms and blending in with the backstage crowd at that CoNcReTe JuNgLe concert sounds pretty much like the job we had where we had to sneak in backstage at a political rally to make sure the wannabe assassin didn't get close enough to make their move on the as-yet-unspoiled candidate for mayor of Puyallup, Alexandra McRae.


Yeah, good point.

The major difference would be that you're (mostly?) earning money and karma in the background. I had considered several run-like activities (maybe explore legwork more, take a shot at a corporate big-shot), but also a lot of non-runs. Taking someone on a date to the major sights in the city, recreating terrible sitcom premises like being in two places at once/hiding your identity, protecting/training a street kid (played by the sam) who wants to know about running while the sam is in a tank getting cyberware, letting the players just try things out to show off their characters' dumb tricks, or all going shopping together to explore the cool things you can do to a drone/car/metahuman body. The idea is to free the characters up from needing to worry about getting paid, or anyone paying them, anyone plotting, or even a plot. Explore the characters' personalities and whatnot.

I'm thinking of adding a step "what do you want to do in your downtime?". They've got a month, and character sheets. I'm curious what can come from downtime for an entire session, free from the idea of falling behind or whatever, because the run still happened.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Bodak
post Mar 17 2022, 10:27 AM
Post #5


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 572
Joined: 23-July 03
From: outside America
Member No.: 5,015



QUOTE (Iduno @ Mar 16 2022, 02:08 AM) *
I'm thinking of adding a step "what do you want to do in your downtime?".
I did a similar thing for my Apocalypse World game. We'd have stuff crop up during play that the player(s) wanted to get more into but which wasn't really the sort of inclusive action that suited sessions so periodically everyone would get downtime to develop such interests. Players liked it.

I know you mentioned SR4. But in SR3 the ways to keep the Lifestyle costs away while being busy in downtime tend to be Social: Instruction (check out those prices in SRC!) and Background: Talismongery: Gathering. Things like learning a spell (TN of 2xF) are definitely not the sort of thing to bog down a story arc. I had a player wanting to research and learn Force 8 Treat spell (Exclusive for Drain, as if it were F6), but after we threw a bunch of numbers in a spreadsheet it looked like retries would take them a couple of years of in-game study to hit that TN 16. That's a lot of downtime to get through with no income.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Tecumseh
post Apr 11 2022, 08:07 PM
Post #6


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,980
Joined: 1-September 11
From: Seattle
Member No.: 37,075



First off, I have no idea how I missed this thread. This is a topic near and dear to my heart.

Second off, this is hilarious:
QUOTE (Iduno @ Mar 14 2022, 11:40 AM) *
X's parents are in town, and can't find out they're runners. Parents may also be there on a mission opposing you.

Third thought, which is really a continuation of the first thought, is that I've had a very similar idea in the past but I never fully developed it. I called it Career Mode and the goal was to cover months/years/decades of a career arc. But one of the major points was to explore downtime. The thought came to me during a game when we actually got to visit the runner's apartments and safehouses and I realized how much RP material was available but untapped.

I also wanted to resolve runs quickly, in a handful of rolls. Say a dozen or less. Everything from the meet to the mission is wrapped up in a quarter of an hour and then it was on to explore the consequences of the run (laying low, safehouses, downtime) and progression (both personal and professional).

For the missions, I was going to randomize which rolls were necessary, but have that randomization weighted toward the team's skillset(s). I reasoned that a fixer/Johnson wouldn't hire a bunch of gunbunnies for a Matrix job, nor a bunch of riggers for a job that has a significant astral/magical component, etc. The rolls would then provide a framework for why the job did/didn't succeed, and those consequences would be carried into the downtime.

I wanted the players to focus on personal projects and slice-of-life scenery, letting the Sixth World shine through as a character of its own. Maybe one of the runners is trying to brew the perfect beer, maybe one wants to form a gang of sycophants and underlings, maybe one is plotting to kick Lofwyr in the nuts. But that open-ended, sandbox environment allows the players' creativity and resourcefulness to shine through.

The timing of runs would be unpredictable. I was going to roll a 1d6 and have that be the number of weeks between runs. BUT, the players wouldn't know how long it would be so they'd have to budget accordingly. Maybe they get a bunch of runs back-to-back-to-back and make bank, or maybe they get one before they're completely healed up from the last one. Or maybe the next one doesn't come along as quickly as they like and they have to eat the Lifestyle costs, not knowing when the next paycheck will arrive (especially if they botch the next job and don't get paid).

I was going to have mechanical benefits to various levels of Lifestyle so that there would be an incentive to upgrade rather than just living on the cheap for years on end. My primary thinking for the mechanic was to affect the use of Edge during downtime activities, or how much Edge would be available for use at the start of a run, which would then in turn make the next run more or less likely to succeed.

We'd use a calendar, similar to the Missions calendar, to keep everyone on the same page. Plus it would also represent training schedules, so maybe you're not totally leveled up in the new skill when the next run begins. I was also going to implement some limits over how much someone could accomplish before they physically or mentally burned out and needed a break, probably tied to Willpower and/or Body depending on the task in question.

I probably had a dozen other thoughts but these are the ones I could remember off the top of my head. Sorry I didn't drop these in when the thread was hot and fresh.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Iduno
post Apr 13 2022, 09:42 PM
Post #7


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 586
Joined: 27-January 07
From: United States
Member No.: 10,812



QUOTE (Tecumseh @ Apr 11 2022, 03:07 PM) *
Second off, this is hilarious:

Third thought, which is really a continuation of the first thought, is that I've had a very similar idea in the past but I never fully developed it. I called it Career Mode and the goal was to cover months/years/decades of a career arc. But one of the major points was to explore downtime. The thought came to me during a game when we actually got to visit the runner's apartments and safehouses and I realized how much RP material was available but untapped.

I also wanted to resolve runs quickly, in a handful of rolls. Say a dozen or less. Everything from the meet to the mission is wrapped up in a quarter of an hour and then it was on to explore the consequences of the run (laying low, safehouses, downtime) and progression (both personal and professional).

For the missions, I was going to randomize which rolls were necessary, but have that randomization weighted toward the team's skillset(s). I reasoned that a fixer/Johnson wouldn't hire a bunch of gunbunnies for a Matrix job, nor a bunch of riggers for a job that has a significant astral/magical component, etc. The rolls would then provide a framework for why the job did/didn't succeed, and those consequences would be carried into the downtime.

I wanted the players to focus on personal projects and slice-of-life scenery, letting the Sixth World shine through as a character of its own. Maybe one of the runners is trying to brew the perfect beer, maybe one wants to form a gang of sycophants and underlings, maybe one is plotting to kick Lofwyr in the nuts. But that open-ended, sandbox environment allows the players' creativity and resourcefulness to shine through.


First, thank you. Second, it sounds a lot like the pile of ideas I had and tried to put together. 3 rolls is arbitrary, but low enough that it can't take up much time. It was meant to reflect the way downtime usually is just a few rolls at the start/end of a session and doesn't really do much.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Tecumseh
post Apr 14 2022, 05:19 PM
Post #8


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,980
Joined: 1-September 11
From: Seattle
Member No.: 37,075



The core concepts sound almost exactly the same. How to go about it are the fiddly details.

I wanted ~12 rolls for the run because I wanted to reward diversification and not have the players incentivized to only load up their primary dice pools. Maybe the team unexpectedly need to pick a lock, so the one runner with a handful of dice in the skill is the hero all of a sudden. Or maybe someone flubs something and there are consequences - injuries or a failed run - how do those ramifications echo through their downtime and the rest of their career?

Maybe it ends up being three rolls per runner, focusing on their specialties, then another three for the team that are randomly selected. Then the runner with the most relevant dice pool rolls and the team lives with the results. But then there are questions about how to handle Edge and rerolls, since Edge gets more powerful the fewer rolls you have.

To me, the run simulation is the hard part. I think the narrative aspects of downtown would be relatively easy. At least my brain works that way, so I'm comparatively comfortable with the open-ended nature of things.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Iduno
post Apr 17 2022, 01:31 PM
Post #9


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 586
Joined: 27-January 07
From: United States
Member No.: 10,812



I like that we came up with a similar solution by coming at the problem 2 different ways. My attempt at getting diversification was to pick skills that made sense for the run, but try to use every skill at some point, and not reuse skills. You went with requiring a few more rolls, but always picking some from primary and some from others. If I run this, I'll have to combine the two ideas a bit better and go for a few more rolls, and always pick 1-2 from primary skill lists.

Edge was also one of the things I was real curious about the effects of. I agree that throwing in more rolls would help dilute that, and I'd still probably have to lean on the injured/tired aspect of downtime to get people to use it all up and have to worry about using it tactically.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dutch-DK
post Apr 18 2022, 10:10 AM
Post #10


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 52
Joined: 26-February 02
From: The western side on the Danish side in the Oeresound-region
Member No.: 105



I used to intertwine the runs with the downtime. Especially if they had put things in motion and had to wait for intel to come back. The downtime and roleplay could be used to let them overhear conversations in parks, tidbits in a club etc. Sometimes it was for the tun other times consequences from old runs etc. Really good was if one of the runners had a strong moral code. All sorts of side quests came of this and also love, affairs and conflicts between the characters.

Death would normally be on a run but can happen at any time, anywhere in the world of Shadowrun and did in my campaigns.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Tecumseh
post Apr 19 2022, 06:24 AM
Post #11


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,980
Joined: 1-September 11
From: Seattle
Member No.: 37,075



Dutch-DK has been on the site for 20 years and we've just coaxed their 48th post out of them. Hurray!

As for Edge, I was thinking about not refreshing it until after a run was complete. So you'd start your downtime with Edge, and then occasionally need it for your downtime tasks, and then whatever was left could be spent on your run. So now there's some strategy around how badly do you want to succeed at this personal project vs. how much of a safety net do you want during your run.

As mentioned previous, I was also going to have the refresh rate affected by your Lifestyle. The idea might be to remove it as an attribute - i.e. something you spend points on during chargen, or karma on to improve - and just make it a function of your lifestyle expenses. Trying to get by with a Street lifestyle? You get none; you spent it all just to stay alive, chummer. Squatter might get you 1 point, Low 2 points, Middle could be 3 or 4, High 5, and Luxury is so ridiculously expensive that you get 6 as a meta and 7 if you're a human. Something like that. But pace yourself! Since you don't know how long it will be between runs, you never know when your next refresh will be, or how much you might need to survive on that run.

Again, I wanted some mechanical incentive to prod players to upgrade their lifestyles so they wouldn't be sleeping in squalor to save up for their Fairlight Excalibur.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dutch-DK
post Apr 19 2022, 05:35 PM
Post #12


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 52
Joined: 26-February 02
From: The western side on the Danish side in the Oeresound-region
Member No.: 105



QUOTE (Tecumseh @ Apr 19 2022, 08:24 AM) *
Dutch-DK has been on the site for 20 years and we've just coaxed their 48th post out of them. Hurray!

And you can say he/him to me if you want to.
Yeah just did a bit of cleaning and found my old links here. On this version of the forums, I was not that active. I started way back when ThatPaolo made the first bigger Shadowrun site and then added the forums. I spent most of my time not in the gaming part but the everything else section. Kept it going during all the moves etc. and ended up her 20 years ago. We just lost too many of the old ones I hung out with like Adhoc, Sarge, Beeste and Bitten by the bug who is now my ex-wife. and many others. We even made a small European gathering with some players at one point.

QUOTE (Tecumseh @ Apr 19 2022, 08:24 AM) *
As for Edge, I was thinking about not refreshing it until after a run was complete. So you'd start your downtime with Edge, and then occasionally need it for your downtime tasks, and then whatever was left could be spent on your run. So now there's some strategy around how badly do you want to succeed at this personal project vs. how much of a safety net do you want during your run.

As mentioned previous, I was also going to have the refresh rate affected by your Lifestyle. The idea might be to remove it as an attribute - i.e. something you spend points on during chargen, or karma on to improve - and just make it a function of your lifestyle expenses. Trying to get by with a Street lifestyle? You get none; you spent it all just to stay alive, chummer. Squatter might get you 1 point, Low 2 points, Middle could be 3 or 4, High 5, and Luxury is so ridiculously expensive that you get 6 as a meta and 7 if you're a human. Something like that. But pace yourself! Since you don't know how long it will be between runs, you never know when your next refresh will be, or how much you might need to survive on that run.

Again, I wanted some mechanical incentive to prod players to upgrade their lifestyles so they wouldn't be sleeping in squalor to save up for their Fairlight Excalibur.


Modding Edge would definitely be a good idea as well.

OT: Started reading 6E and saw how in the simplification they made character creation worse and combat rules a mess. I miss 3E in some aspects and not so much in others. I need more time to do a 3E & 6E combo of sorts.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Lionesque
post Apr 19 2022, 07:58 PM
Post #13


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 139
Joined: 6-April 17
From: Copenhagen, Republic of Scandinavia
Member No.: 207,604



QUOTE (Dutch-DK @ Apr 19 2022, 07:35 PM) *
I need more time to do a 3E & 6E combo of sorts.

And if and when you do, there are people in the near vicinity ready to playtest it for you. Just sayin' (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
pbangarth
post Apr 19 2022, 11:31 PM
Post #14


Old Man of the North
**********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 9,505
Joined: 14-August 03
From: Just north of the Centre of the Universe
Member No.: 5,463



QUOTE (Lionesque @ Apr 19 2022, 02:58 PM) *
And if and when you do, there are people in the near vicinity ready to playtest it for you. Just sayin' (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)



+1 - except for the vicinity part. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Tecumseh
post Apr 21 2022, 05:05 AM
Post #15


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,980
Joined: 1-September 11
From: Seattle
Member No.: 37,075



I don't want to turn this into edition wars but for me 6E is exactly the same as every other edition in that I love parts of it and hate other parts.

It doesn't get mentioned much but I actually think Anarchy could be a good foundation for a downtime sandbox game. Chargen is amazingly fast - you can be done in 15 minutes or less - and the narrative nature of the system would help keep the downtime stories flowing.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Sengir
post Apr 21 2022, 08:35 PM
Post #16


Great Dragon
*********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 5,081
Joined: 3-October 09
From: Kohle, Stahl und Bier
Member No.: 17,709



I'm seeing a bit of the "decker does stuff, let's get pizza" problem here: A lot of these downtime jobs will be pet projects of individual characters, which other characters are not involved in -- or even worse, which they would not want get involved in.

So the party needs to be "compatible" enough to do stuff together, the usual "it's just biz" excuse for why a team is a team probably would not float.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dutch-DK
post Apr 22 2022, 07:21 AM
Post #17


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 52
Joined: 26-February 02
From: The western side on the Danish side in the Oeresound-region
Member No.: 105



QUOTE (Lionesque @ Apr 19 2022, 09:58 PM) *
And if and when you do, there are people in the near vicinity ready to playtest it for you. Just sayin' (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Good to know. It is always a question of priorities and I have to admit that SR is not that high on the list. Should it be done I will try to remember you. Adhoc lice not to far in copenhagen and Bitten by the Bug is 400 yards away. So that would be hree players. Then my and Bittens son and Bittens new BF. That is a proper party.

Somewhere in a danish RPG grpup I got my hands on another homebrew system that build on those lines. I have to see where I stored it.

So many things to do and so little time to do them.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Lionesque
post Apr 22 2022, 06:43 PM
Post #18


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 139
Joined: 6-April 17
From: Copenhagen, Republic of Scandinavia
Member No.: 207,604



QUOTE (Dutch-DK @ Apr 22 2022, 09:21 AM) *
blablabla Maybe I'll GM something blablabla


PM SO much sent. I fed it extra electrons to make it run through the Matrix in double time.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dutch-DK
post Apr 23 2022, 06:25 PM
Post #19


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 52
Joined: 26-February 02
From: The western side on the Danish side in the Oeresound-region
Member No.: 105



QUOTE (Lionesque @ Apr 22 2022, 08:43 PM) *
PM SO much sent. I fed it extra electrons to make it run through the Matrix in double time.


Me GM'ing again..... I do not think so. I have had probably the best group of players, characters and personalities in a group. I am not sure I can do it again because of those players. An the way I set priorities in my life.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dutch-DK
post Apr 23 2022, 06:25 PM
Post #20


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 52
Joined: 26-February 02
From: The western side on the Danish side in the Oeresound-region
Member No.: 105



QUOTE (Lionesque @ Apr 22 2022, 08:43 PM) *
PM SO much sent. I fed it extra electrons to make it run through the Matrix in double time.


Me GM'ing again..... I do not think so. I have had probably the best group of players, characters and personalities in a group. I am not sure I can do it again because of those players. An the way I set priorities in my life.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 1st March 2024 - 05:35 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.