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> Help an "Oldie" who's now a "Newbie", Getting back into SR after 10+ years
joe12south
post Sep 16 2003, 03:32 AM
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I'm hoping that some kind souls will help me get up to speed on the current state of Shadowrun, and give me some advice about running a game in the Internet age.

First, some history:

I played Shadowrun a little back in high-school, that is to say when the first edition first came out. I wasn't a serious gamer and stumbled onto SR, really. I appreciated the detail and plausibility of the entire SR universe, even if the rules drove me batty. By the time I really got into it, I went away to college (art school.) Then came career, wife, kids ... you know the drill. I never played again. In the years since, my only connection with the genre has been the paperbacks. I think I've read every one that I know of -- the good and the bad. Today, I'm a creative director, VP of marketing @ an Internet firm. Creative is my first love, but I'm also very tech-savvy. I bought an XBox last Xmas (pun intended) and got sucked into Halo. Then, recently I rented Star Wars: KOTOR and spent way too many hours playing it, which made me think ... if I can spend two hours a night for weeks playing this, why couldn't I play Shadowrun? Does Shadowrun still exist? So, I spent some time googling and found FanPro, dumpshock and a slew of fan sites. Which brings us to September 15, 2003, 10:23 CST.

1) Is FanPro really doing anything with SR? (I'm going to play either way, but I'm curious.) The most recent stuff seems over a year old, and even then it looks like stuff they dredged up from FASA. Is there even 1 full-time person devoted to it? I'm not trying to be critical, just trying to gauge "official support."

2) I went to the local stores that might carry SR (Nashville, TN) and nary a one had anything. A bunch of D&D, some Star Wars, Tolkein, Vampires and a smattering of other stuff but not a single SR anything. Is this par for the course? Is SR a marginal entity? (Again, I love it regardless, just trying to get the lay of the land.)

3) If I'm going to play, it's going to have to be long-distance, and possibly time shifted. What tools are available. Are they worth the bother or should we just IM?

4) Because of the distance thing, everybody is going to have to have the SR3 rulebook. Can we reasonably play with only it? (Back in the day you really had to have all the different specialty books.)

5) Is it worth playing if you can only get everybody together a few hours a week?

I've got a bunch more questions, but I'll hold them until I see if anybody answers these. Thanks in advance for any advice. Apologies if this isn't the right forum for this post.
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Senor 187
post Sep 16 2003, 03:40 AM
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Forget about it, move on.
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Dragoonkin
post Sep 16 2003, 03:48 AM
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*sigh*

1. Yes, Shadowrun is supported. Several Fanpro people seem to post here (I'm just recently back into the game myself, so I know what you're going through). Very very recently, the book "Sprawl Survival Guide" came out, and before that "State Of The Art: 2063". There's also some German books, as well as reprints of the "core" 3rd Edition books.

2. I don't know, I can find SR without much trouble at two stores here...one has a great selection of stuff from the very beginning 'til now, and the other carries a random smattering...just seems to depend on the area.

3. Playing anything over IRC is always an option...it may not have the same "punch" of in-person, but I always find the games tend to stay much more on-topic over IRC too.

4. Well, you won't have the "fancy" magic, rigging, or decking rules...but you can do just fine with just SR3. It's just that, the "core" rules...all the other books are extras.

5. A few hours a week is all I play...one session every Thursday (now Wednesday) night, around 7:00pm-ish 'til Midnight or so. We get a middlin'-sized adventure into that.

Hope this helps. :D
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TinkerGnome
post Sep 16 2003, 03:51 AM
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1) New stuff is coming out fairly regularly. The gaming industry itself has changed quite a bit, and many companies have scaled back operations. Fanpro does a pretty good job, as far as I can tell. The most recent stuff is only months old, and more is coming soon. The storyline has made several twists in the recent past, but I was out of date long before FASA went under, so I have trouble telling which was what ;)

2) Yeah, unfortunately. I've heard tales of the bigger retailers not carrying SR because FASA is gone and they just haven't made the transition yet. Finding Earthdawn is a very similar story. In general, you'll need to go to a FLGS (friendly local gaming store) or order online to find the newer stuff. FLGS which don't stock SR are generally more than happy to order things for people who ask. Right now, it seems that d20 (ie, D&D) dominates because there are simply far more companies producing far more books for it and it seems to have more direct mass appeal.

Wizards of the Coast, who now own D&D have done some very interesting and powerful things (like making the core rules free for other companies to use) which may have helped the industry or may hurt it in the long run. In any case, SR sometimes seems to ignored in favor of more prolific producers of books (and profits for stores).

3) Right now, online roleplaying is semi-experimental. Lots of people are trying different things, but no one media seems to be all powerful. There are MU*s, play by emails, play by posts, and more direct methods available (which someone else is better qualified to point you to than I).

4) Yes, but the other books make the game nicer on many levels.

5) Sure. That's all most of us can manage, I think. I get to tabletop RP about 3 hours every two weeks or so, and it's still worth it.
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last_of_the_grea...
post Sep 16 2003, 03:52 AM
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Responding to your questions, in order...

1: Fanpro is supporting Shadowrun fairly well. If you check out their recent releases, you'll notice that they have been releasing a few supplement books and an adventure book or two every year.

2: I guess that depends where you are. However, most retailers will order in a book if you ask for it. Also, you can purchase the books online.

3: You may not have to play long distance. Dumpshock has a registry where you can see who plays in your erea. Other sites do to (RPGregistry.com coms to mind. I think that's the one I went to a while ago.

4: It can be played with just the GM having the book, but it makes character generation kinda rough. If it's played on the computer then the GM would pretty much have to supply stock characters. Live then it's a matter of time to make the characters. All you need is the core rulebook. Anything else is gravy. Very good gravy, but gravy nonetheless.

5: Yes!

To quote a wise man, "Have fun. Play Shadowrun."
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Connor
post Sep 16 2003, 03:54 AM
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Some quick answers:

1) The new stewards of Shadowrun are doing quite a lot with the system. It's at least as vital, if not more so than when FASA was in charge. In my opinion, the quality of the material, writing, topics, etc. has all improved over the years and seems to do so with every new release.

There's a thread in the Sourcebooks section of the forums talking about the upcoming release schedule and what's on tap. You can also check the threads there for info on recent sourcebooks that have been release. A complete guide to them can be found at http://www.shadowrunrpg.com.

Yes, there is at least one full-time employee on staff. Others can answer this question much better than me though.

2) It depends on the game store really. I'm in Tulsa, OK. My favorite game store has a hard time keeping any Shadowrun material in stock, and I unfortunately end up getting it elsewhere most of the time. One of my lesser favorites has a huge selection of Shadowrun material, I even found an old copy of the Germany Sourcebook there (not that it'shard to get ahold of I hear) as well as seeing a lot of other older books as well as a fairly complete selection of the new ones. You'll just have to check around and find the shop in your area that has the material, or go online.

3&4&5) I don't play online, so you'll have to find some people and see what they do. I know that there is some play going on in the Runs & Run Ideas section of the forums, so you might be able to join a game there.
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KosherPickle
post Sep 16 2003, 03:56 AM
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QUOTE (joe12south)
1) Is FanPro really doing anything with SR? (I'm going to play either way, but I'm curious.) The most recent stuff seems over a year old, and even then it looks like stuff they dredged up from FASA. Is there even 1 full-time person devoted to it? I'm not trying to be critical, just trying to gauge "official support."


Fanpro is coming out with new Shadowrun material all the time. Fanpro has released 11 products that are not FASA reprints since forming in 2001, and are slated to release at least six more in the coming months. To my mind, Shadowrun is as strong as ever.

QUOTE
2) I went to the local stores that might carry SR (Nashville, TN) and nary a one had anything. A bunch of D&D, some Star Wars, Tolkein, Vampires and a smattering of other stuff but not a single SR anything. Is this par for the course? Is SR a marginal entity? (Again, I love it regardless, just trying to get the lay of the land.)


All it takes for a gaming store to show interest in a product is for people to show interest. Talk it up. I think I've done a decent job of getting some interest created in the Northern Virginia area. I just don't have the time to get with everyone.

QUOTE
3) If I'm going to play, it's going to have to be long-distance, and possibly time shifted. What tools are available. Are they worth the bother or should we just IM?


IRC has always been useful for long-distance gaming. The "Runs and Run Ideas" board plays host to many long-distance games as well.

QUOTE
4) Because of the distance thing, everybody is going to have to have the SR3 rulebook. Can we reasonably play with only it? (Back in the day you really had to have all the different specialty books.)


Yes, it can be done. It may take a little imagination on the part of the GM, but it's entirely feasible.

QUOTE
5) Is it worth playing if you can only get everybody together a few hours a week?


<gives joe an odd look>

I couldn't imagine playing a campaign any other way. How often and for how long did you run sessions?

QUOTE
I've got a bunch more questions, but I'll hold them until I see if anybody answers these. Thanks in advance for any advice. Apologies if this isn't the right forum for this post.


Hopefully, you got some answers that'll help you make a decision. And this is definitely a relevant topic for this forum, so no worries.
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Pistons
post Sep 16 2003, 04:01 AM
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QUOTE (joe12south)
1) Is FanPro really doing anything with SR? (I'm going to play either way, but I'm curious.) The most recent stuff seems over a year old, and even then it looks like stuff they dredged up from FASA. Is there even 1 full-time person devoted to it? I'm not trying to be critical, just trying to gauge "official support."

Absolutely. Your first stop should be the official Shadowrun website. You'll be able to get information on:
* The recent books since FASA closed their doors.
* The contents of said books.
* A general idea of what's in the works.
* Some of the Frequently Asked Questions about third edition, the past, present and future of Shadowrun, and other miscellanea.
* And more. :)

You can definitely play with just the core rulebook. What you get after that all depends on what your needs are centered upon: advanced rules or more goodies, learning about changes in the (meta)plot, setting-specific info, etc.
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Abstruse
post Sep 16 2003, 01:08 PM
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Eight answers in ten minutes...that should answer your question about Shadowrun still being active :P

Seriously, I've spent about $200 in the past two months catching up on just the past two years worth of Shadowrun books. I'm now only 15 books short of owning every game book (not counting previous editions of the same stuff, like Rigger Revised or SSG2 vs. SSG1). Shadowrun's alive and well, and FanPro has three releases coming out before the year's out I believe (Mr. Johnson's Little Black Book, the Character Dossier, and Shadows of Europe, listed in the order I remembered them in :P )

BTW, the reason that no one carries Shadowrun anymore is that Shadowrun was a FASA game in everyone's minds. Therefore, when FASA went away, so did Shadowrun. The same thing happened with BattleTech until the MechWarrior mini game came out. And because the players thought it was gone, they stopped asking for new releases from the game store owners, about half of whom are gamers themselves and the other half are little old ladies who started a store with their son's collection of Spider-man and kept doing it but have never opened a game or comic book in their lives to actually read it.

You'll start to see a lot of people realize that Shadowrun's still around when they see the Duels figures for sale at Suncoast.

The Abstruse One
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TinkerGnome
post Sep 16 2003, 01:27 PM
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Being in Tennessee doesn't help much, either. Of course, out here in East Tennessee, it's pretty easy to find SR stuff at the game stores at the malls or the discount games store in Pigeon Forge. They even carry the FanPro editions of everything. Come to think of it, compared to some of the places I've been, we've got it pretty good around here.
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joe12south
post Sep 16 2003, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for all the replies! I knew that the fan-base was alive and thriving, so it's good to hear that the mothership is supporting SR, as well. (It's very hard to tell from the FanPro website because very little material is dated.)

What I'm planning to do is host a "meta-campaign." I'm going to GameMaster for the first time. While I must reacquaint myself with the rules, I'm hoping that I'll be able to make up for a little "dice fumbling" with very strong role-playing. (I am a director, so I'd better be good at what is essentially managing a creative process!)

The reason I have to play long distance is that I have two `runners committed to play who are separated geographically. (One lives in Pittsburgh, the other, Nashville.) I think that we will be able to get together in real-time for a few hours a week, but I plan on doing significantly more work offline to make our limited time together as productive as possible.

BTW, If I can't find existing online tools that do the job, I'm going to build a "live connected" die roller and map generator (using Flash remoting so that everyone can see what everyone is doing with their rolls, and so that everyone can see the changes to the map as I make them.) If I do create these tools, I'll make them available to the community.

Some more questions:

Q) Has anyone used OpenRPG to play Shadowrun? It seems possible, but I can't find anything SR specific about it.

Q) If I go the ICQ/IM route, does anyone have any tips for what works and what doesn't?

Q) Has anyone tried playing via voice-chat?

Q) I'm looking for at least two other players. I'll post a request in the correct spots once I write up the details of the game (meta-game, really) but I thought I'd start here. Like I said, I'll need tollerance while I get up to speed on the game mechanics, but I promise that I'm going to take great pains to provide an excellent corner of the Shadowrun universe to play in ... fleshed out with rich NPC's and many smaller runs that all support and build towards a much larger purpose. The only real qualification for players is that they are not "rule lawyers" and that they have the intent to stick with this campaign for a long time (stuff happens, of course, but the intent should be commit.)[B][/B]
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 16 2003, 06:41 PM
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For AIM, I typically use a chatroom. It works well, and there's a dicebot built in that can handle up to 15 dice at a time. The only caveat for online games is, make sure you can type relatively quickly ;)

~J
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joe12south
post Sep 16 2003, 06:44 PM
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So I assume the "dicebot" let's everyone see the results, eliminating the possibility of cheating?
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CloneAdam
post Sep 16 2003, 07:01 PM
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QUOTE (joe12south)
(It's very hard to tell from the FanPro website because very little material is dated.)

Well, I'm not so sure I agree with that. The Upcoming Products section says that three new books and three reprints are due out before the end of 2003 [one of them is at press right now], and the FanPro Releases section clearly says "Since forming in 2001, FanPro has released the following completely new products ..."

Also, the news entries that announce the release of each book are dated.

Should each book's individual page have the year/month of release listed on them? I tend to think this information isn't that valuable - if you follow the game line, you can tell what the new releases are, and if you don't follow the game line, you likely don't care so much about the date of the release as you do the contents of the book. [Although, perhaps the in character date for the books that are in character would be useful...]

I'll do some thinking on it, though; technically it's easy to display the year/month of release.
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 16 2003, 07:13 PM
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Yep, it does.

~J
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joe12south
post Sep 16 2003, 07:16 PM
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If you haven't been following SR, it's not immediately clear what was released when; if it really has been released; and whether it is really new or whether it was culled from FASA's unreleased material. (For instance, posts here on Dumpshock indicate that the "Year of the Comet" stuff is repurposed from FASA work done years ago.) No offense, but I stopped paying attention to "coming soon" dates on websites around the time of Netscape 3! ;-)

I'm not trying to discount the work that is being done, or cast anyone in a derogatory light. In fact, just the opposite ... I was ecstatic to find Shadowrun online! I'm just trying to get up to speed quickly and so I wanted to get the 411 on the commercial health of the product and what FanPro's intentions were.

I personally work with several brands (unrelated to the RPG market) that were long ago orphaned, have no employees assigned to them, but are still publicly marketed. I'm very glad that is not the case with SR.

So, again, to be crystal clear, kudos to FanPro and the online community that nurtured Shadowrun in the years since I lost touch! Myself, and my upcoming players, are indebted to you. This forum, in particular, has been instrumental in allowing me to jump back into the game in short order.
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CloneAdam
post Sep 16 2003, 07:24 PM
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QUOTE (joe12south)
(For instance, posts here on Dumpshock indicate that the "Year of the Comet" stuff is repurposed from FASA work done years ago.)

Thanks for the comments.

To clarify the Year of the Comet situation, Year of the Comet [and several other Shadowrun books, including Shadows of North America and Target: Awakened Lands] were already well into the writing stages when FASA closed down. They were obvious choices for FanPro to publish when they took over the line [especially considering that Assistant Line Developer Rob Boyle at FASA became Line Developer Rob Boyle at FanPro :)] - however, I wouldn't call Year of the Comet or Target: Awakened Lands "repurposed from FASA work years ago" - they were original products, not reprints or "update books." Shadows of North America was in some ways an update book for the Neo-Anarchists Guide to North America, but also contained a lot of new material and about 10 years of timeline updates.

Most of the books that FanPro is reprinting [with errata] are the core rulebooks - Shadowrun Third Edition, Magic in the Shadows, Man and Machine, the Shadowrun Companion, Cannon Companion, and [the now] Rigger 3 Revised. Some of the core sourcebooks - New Seattle, Year of the Comet, and a few others - are being reprinted if sales are strong enough.
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joe12south
post Sep 16 2003, 08:41 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. Does the FanPro version of the SR3 rulebook contain corrections and/or new info? If so, then I want to make sure I get it versus the FASA version (though since I have to buy it online I'm not sure I'll have a choice.)
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CloneAdam
post Sep 16 2003, 08:49 PM
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Each printing has added corrections. The Shadowrun 3rd Edition Errata list outlines all of the changes up until the current [14th] printing.
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joe12south
post Sep 16 2003, 09:05 PM
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Thanks. I'll try to find the 14th printing.
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Sepherim
post Sep 17 2003, 02:08 AM
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14?!! :eek: How many copies were made with each reprint?
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