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Musashi Forever
I have been reading through the Lone Star sourcebook and I just wanted to ask you all if you have ever run a lone Star campaign. One in which at least the majority of the PCs are Lone Star officers of one sort or another, not just Runners who are hired by the Star.

How was it? What kind of things made it interesting? What were the things (if any) that differentiated it from normal Shadowrun.

As a GM I think I would definitely like to run a Star campaign, but I am having a difficult time thinking of ways that would make it fun and interesting for the players involved. Playing as a Fast Response or SWAT team would provide a lot of combat and/or tactical thinking, but I donít know how to flesh it out more than that.

Any suggestions anyone could make on this issue would be great and very helpful.

Thank you all. ^_^
brohopcp
I'm a cop RL so if you need advice from that standpoint PM me. I'll have to check up on that book and see what differences there are in the future.
NightRain
Don't ask to be PM'ed brohopcp. Let him ask the questions in public, and answer in public. That way anyone else that wants to try the idea can see your ideas as well. Share the love smile.gif
Musashi Forever
Yeah PCP, don't be an asshole. sarcastic.gif grinbig.gif
brohopcp
What if I'm concerned about the love? What if I heard some rumors that the love is tainted? I might get some disease!!!!
NightRain
You're the one to be giving the love, so if it's tainted, you might need to see someone about that smile.gif
brohopcp
My love is the pure sweet rain of drop bear happiness. If that is tainted, then I don't want to be clean. love.gif
Fix-it
I would suggest running a detective campaign, as it may be easier to incorporate a long term plot.
Velocity
Or an undercover campaign, where they're passing as "real" shadowrunners or mobsters or whatever, all the while gathering info on whomever they're with.
SL James
If you're interested, get GURPS Cops and/or SWAT for background ideas. The stuff in SOTA: 2064 is dreck.

But having played as cops and feds in Seattle, it's... interesting. Patrol's actually kind of boring unless you like your games to look like T.J. Hooker or High Incident (or... *sigh* ... Third Watch). I like playing detectives, especially if none of them are Dips and then the players end up having to deal with them.
Dim Sum
Musashi, I'd second what SL James said about a Star campaign based on patrol cops - it *can be* fun if your players like the TJ Hooker feel, as SL so aptly put it, but it doesn't have a lot going for it long term unless your players are determined to play through an entire campaign as street cops.

What would be more interesting depends on whether your group prefers more brawn over brains or brains over brawn. I'm not saying brawn and brains are mutually exclusive; I'm just advising you to make that comparative assessment of your players. I ran a Lone Star SWAT campaign which the players thoroughly enjoyed and all of them want to go back to it now. biggrin.gif

Since everyone had military experience but only one had ever been a cop, I started with a simple premise: the PCs were all cops with different backgrounds and who had been on the force (Lone Star) for a couple of years before applying to join SWAT. The campaign would take them through SWAT training and they would have to graduate in-game so becoming SWAT officers was NOT a guaranteed thing. IF they graduated, the campaign would continue with their SWAT career and I intended to build up the story to a point where they would eventually be confronted with corporate politics and corruption within the Star and they would be given a choice to leave SWAT and become shadowrunners (or start a legit security company).

I used the SWAT training course as a role-playing opportunity for the PCs to get to know each other and learn to trust one another. I didn't have to "set up" any scenarios but the cliched "bickering that gives way to unit bonding" you see in most such movies actually happened. nyahnyah.gif The SWAT training course also served as a RL training tool for teaching them SWAT tactics - all of us are very well-read but none of us, not even the cop, knew much about SWAT tactics beyond what you see in movies or read in novels and the like. So I did a LOT of research on SWAT tactical procedures (2-, 3-, 4-, 5-man breach tactics, shoot-no-shoot policies, tactical travel/sweeps, etc.) tactical language and hand signals, weapons and gear. Once I familiarised myself with everything in detail, I would run them through a different aspect each week (we play once a week) after which their characters would be tested in-game. As they advanced in their training, they started doing trickier and trickier scenarios simulating things from high-risk warrant services to hostage rescues, from simple single-room/single-door situations to multi-room/multi-entry/multi-storey buildings, from large buses at an intersection to an aircraft on the runway. My players had a BLAST planning breaches, rescues, and then executing their plans. If the plan came off well, they would be really pleased with a job well-done. If it didn't, they would have a de-brief in-game with their instructor telling them where they went wrong or what could have been improved.

I dropped in a couple of events which put their skills to the test in "real life" in-game to spice up the otherwise "safe" training scenarios. One of the PC SWAT candidates was a once hugely famous but now fading trideo action star who signed up for SWAT as part of a reality trideo show to boost his sagging fortunes. Lone Star agreed 'cos it painted the Star in a good light and gave them free publicity. A big fan managed to sneak into the barracks and barricaded himself with a hostage and demanded to see his idol or he'd kill his hostage. A proper SWAT team wasn't able to get there before the deadline so some of the instructors and two SWAT teams-in-training (including the PCs) had to stage a rescue after the hostage-taker refused to be talked down. smile.gif

Anyway, the game was suspended for a while for various reasons (mainly 'cos everyone was busy or going overseas), just before the PCs' final test, like the one Colin Farrell et al had to go through in the movie "SWAT", so we never got round to the PCs being actual SWAT officers. That's one of the reasons why they want to go back to the game now but we're going to try out SR4 with an ordinary group of runners first before we decide what to do with the SWAT campaign.

There is a heckuva lot of scope for play in a SWAT campaign. smile.gif It's different in that the PCs are on the "good" side now and the SR universe presents a lot more challenges than a SWAT game set in modern day reality - beyond the usual high-risk warrant services, hostage rescues, you've got shadowrunners, toxic spirits, etc. to contend with. Magic and technology alter a lot of the security notions of today. I have to say, it was refreshing for both the players playing on the other side of the law and for me to run such a game. biggrin.gif I would personally recommend it any day!
Musashi Forever
Thanks a lot Dim Sum, sounds very exciting. I just hope that I'm a good enough gM to pull off somehting like that.

The problem with rnning a detective campaign is that I would have to write some sort of mystery, not exactly up my alley. It's a lot easier to write a scenario for a smash and grab shadowrun than a solve this case investigation.
Dim Sum
Um, I don't think you'd find writing a detective campaign all that hard if you can already come up with good SR scenarios with a lot of intrigue - it's basically the same thing.

You simply take a crime and map it out. For example:

Crime: Murder
Victim: Ashley Cummings, simsense porn starlet
Perp: Free spirit in human form: Jack Thompson [spirit name: Izsharrgrxx'akor]
Where: 2-bit trideo studio in Renton, Seattle
When: 2.00 AM, October 18, 2070
How: Engulfed and suffocated
Why: Ashley wanted out of her deal with the spirit
Timeline of events leading up to crime:
[insert as appropriate]

As you map out the timeline, add in the supporting cast of characters (the forensic team who may or may not provide accurate information, the victim's friends who provide juicy gossip about her whether true or not, others who had motivation to kill her, witnesses who may have seen or not seen the right thing depending on their own biases and points of view, etc.), throw in red herrings, some real clues which when put together begins to build a picture, etc..

Vary the crimes, the motives, the ways in which the crimes were committed. If you feel it's too overwhelming to run something really complex like homicides, stick the players in a "simpler" division like Robbery. That way, your experience in running a "traditional" Shadowrun game will give you an advantage because it will be easier to come up such crimes. spin.gif Once in a while, throw a spanner in the works like have a meddling Internal Affairs officer investigate the PCs; or have a powerful Yakuza oyabun or Mafia don offer their "friendship" in return for the PCs' help; or have an ex-con they put away in the past come back for revenge; etc..

After a while, it will become second nature and you'll have a kick out of running a "good guys" campaign (for however long your group wants to sustain it). Good luck - have fun! biggrin.gif
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Musashi Forever)
Thanks a lot Dim Sum, sounds very exciting. I just hope that I'm a good enough gM to pull off somehting like that.

The problem with rnning a detective campaign is that I would have to write some sort of mystery, not exactly up my alley. It's a lot easier to write a scenario for a smash and grab shadowrun than a solve this case investigation.

Detective Campaigns aren't necessarilary about mystery. Watch Law and Order: Criminal Intent. We know who did what from the very beginning, the detectives pretty much know who did it from the begining. The challange is proving they they did do it.

A Law and Order style campaign is probably the way to go if you are doing detective work, abouth more CI or SVU than the classic or TBJ.

Something really fun would be to have the detectives investigate runs that characters from previous campaigns commited, assuming that players from the previous campaigns are playing the detectives.
SL James
QUOTE (Dim Sum)
Perp: Free spirit in human form: Jack Thompson [spirit name: Izsharrgrxx'akor]

I take it you've been reading PA recently.
Musashi Forever
QUOTE (SL James)
QUOTE (Dim Sum @ Oct 17 2005, 09:54 PM)
Perp: Free spirit in human form: Jack Thompson [spirit name: Izsharrgrxx'akor]

I take it you've been reading PA recently.

Or any other gaming-oriented site. It is really amazing how the moron has talked to Gabe on the phone though.
SL James
Not really.
Musashi Forever
QUOTE (SL James)
Not really.

You really are not impressed by that?
SL James
Nope.
Dim Sum
Hahaha, nah, I don't read Penny Arcade - I've just not ever been able to get myself to like it much. smile.gif

Time has been something of a very limited commodity of late so I tend to only read two webcomics these days: www.pvponline.com and www.ctrlaltdel-online.com
Musashi Forever
I love PVP like a brother. I just got into CAD and I like it very much. cool.gif
Musashi Forever
QUOTE (SL James)
Nope.

Any particular reason?
SL James
Personal experience.
PlatonicPimp
QUOTE (SL James)
Personal experience.

Which is...

( Really, quit being cryptic. That's AH's Job. smile.gif )
SL James
Personal experience. If I wanted to tell you more, I would have.
Musashi Forever
Ok, thanks James.
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