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One thing I have noticed with my new GM is that there seems to be that missing element of discovery and exploration. For instance in AD&D you have chests, secret doors, dungeons to explore and that "what's behind that next door" type of feel. That just seems to be missing in our game I can't figure out why.

How do you keep that pedestrian feeling from creeping into your games? It's like nothing is new. Like when we do meets it's like: "well you drive down there and blah blah" it all seems so usual.


Maybe DS should start a "Save My Game" column.

Well, everything hides it's secrets. Let the players uncover it. And throw 'em a few D&D style bones once in awhile.

IE: When they're in a Shadowrun inside a megacorp, it won't hurt too much if they get a 'gimmie' detour into a prototypes storage room. Let 'em swipe something cool, that they can't identify. Then watch as they try to figure out what it is.
Ancient ruins of the fourth world.

Abandoned secret corp or military outpost.

Large-scale magical creations.

Strand 'em in a foreign country.

Back alley runs in unfamiliar cities.

Ignored parts of the barrens.

Orc underground.

Giant installations that went under. Plastic jungles, or that stadium in Atlanta.

Matrix locations.

Generally speaking, limit their access to transportation and communication technology.

SR is not really designed for dungeon romps, seems to me, but it can be done. The gratification that you're looking for may instead be found in fleshing out some really wild characters for them to discover.
You don't need dungeon romps to get a what's behind the next door kind of feeling. You can have a rather competent detective game that is all about finding and deciphering clues.

Any building can have secert passages and hidden vaults. Arcologies and corp enclaves are the new castles. Certainly, they would have some hidden places and hidden treasures just waiting for a runner to stumble upon. A penthouse apartment will certainly have a hidden safe somewhere.

There are also odd and unusual runs to stange and out of the way places. Imagine the magical wonders one could find in the lodge of a high grade toxic initiate.
Done properly the back room of that triad run chinese joint on first avenue or the hiddeen basement at the local watering hole can create plenty of suspense and wonderment. The trick is to put something truly out of the ordinary behind the door every now and then (suprise! dinner party with Lung for a special geomancy run in the private dining room at the previously mentioned chinese joint)
Big magic is hardly required to make things strange and unexpected. Just liven things up. Go ahead and describe the food people are eating in detail. When people go to a bar and order "blue" and get a drink that's blue-flavored; or when people pull the tab on their self-heating burritos; it becomes clear that they are in a world that is simultaneously different from our own and plausible.

People walking into Taco Temple ("Welcome to Taco Temple, I am hour high priest, Juan. Would you like Churritos with that?), or ordering hotel accomodations with their head, that's comprehensible but different from the ordinary. Once people get acclimatized to the fact that things are pretty strange in the Shadowrun world, then you can start throwing in the stuff that's strange to the residents of the Shadowrun world.

Once people understand that colors are flavors now and synthetic food is the rule, once people understand that RFIDs are in frickin stop lights so that you get a head display of when the light is going to turn green, then you can hit people with the monsters from beneath the Antarctic ice.

Frank's right. The more you focus on big, flashy events, the more you've missed the point. Wonder is about belief, and believing in a world is about creating something real. 'Meaningless' details can have more meaning than all your planned out plot and big, badass NPCs. The problem with a game that's lost its spark and sense of the unknown is probably that there isn't anything unknown. The unknown is not in a chest or behind a locked dungeon door.
SL James
QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
People walking into Taco Temple ("Welcome to Taco Temple, I am hour high priest, Juan. Would you like Churritos with that?),

All of the sudden I am reminded of trying to order at drive-thrus in L.A., and I want to laugh and cry.
you want wonder and that "whats behind the next door" feeling, i have one word for you


use it, inspire it,
but is it possible to create too much paranoia? in the game i run on sundays, i had this happen last night. after a quick stealth scout job, the person gets back, and as he arrives, i have everyone make perception checks, for a rather non-chalant drive by (i already knew that the vehicle wasn't going to see them, but i felt that i had needed something that was going to keep the story set up, as i set up the defenses rather poorly, a single gate, a high wall with 25 some feet of clear space infront of it, and the only access port was on the inside, and a camera pointed just beyond the gate) and then, all of a sudden, players were asking how this vehicle drove by us when they wee 1/2 km into the woods...

I have no recolection of them being 1/2 km in from the road, AT ALL. It was to my recolection that they were set up 1 km from the compound, off of the road, slightly, MAYBE i'd five them 50 meters or so, but, i think, and one other player was as confused as i was and beleives i'm correct, that they wigged out, and were afraid they were spotted, even though i made it obvious that the vehicle made no notice of them.
Straight Razor
I'm a little Odd. i like giving ppl(npc) secrets.
I'll ofen place random gags and odd ball stuff in the enviroment. the occational red haring is fun too.
Once I was running a game, and the team was driving / lurking around a corporate parking garage. they found a parking spot labled "reserver Vice president" Three spotts ofer there was another spot labled "reserver goons and shadowrunners"
Along the same lines straight razor was going I've been known to put "easter eggs" in my games, nothing really important more like the strange special feature found in some DVD's. I will also occasionally use a little known plot device or detail from a well known movie (example runners on a prisoner rescue had to recover there target from cell block aa-23) to keep them on their toes, if they happen to get the pop culture reference well enough to remember what happened things sometimes go much easier for them....
the red herring angle plays over real good in the group i play in. Our Gm just laid one on us big time, heres the sitrep.

were running "Dragon Hunt" and we broke into the "Cobalt Marie" at their back door, the mage takes and makes himself, the electronics expert and our pistols expert invisible and they go in while i'm sitting there with my shotgun covering the exit point. they get back to the rear offices and crack the door to one, and laying there is an old style steel safe, which of course being a potential "Shiny" they grab. they also manage to get into the tech room where all the files on corperate dealings are and make copies of ALL OF THEM. then we bug out.....later cracking the safe they find NOTHING....the safe was a red herring to take up there time and make them think they had gotten out with something good.
QUOTE (Solstice)
"well you drive down there and blah blah"

"Well, you're a little late 'cause the ghoul rights whackos are blocking off 38th again. That's okay, 'cause your Rapier is running smooth tonight. Along the way, you keep spotting those creepy holographic billboards that look like they're making eye contact with you.
You arrive at The Chicken Tree A Go Go. Last week it was a neo-goth bar; This week it's manga themed. All in all, it's a pretty typical night. That is, until you meet Mr. Johnson face to face."

(P.S. I said dungeon romps could be doable, but please don't think I was endorsing them. I just figured that's what he wanted to do.)

I also posted some comments on hidden Karma cookies a while back. Like a note in your adventure saying "any player that comments in character about the change in decor at the club gets a karma point."
I also find that doing some unusual runs will relieve humdrum quite nicely. For example, you can steal a prototype today. You can't go to a funeral today and discover that the corpse has dissappeared because it literally got up and walked off.

Creative runs keep even creative runners on their toes. Combine that with the descriptive elements mentioned above and everything ought to be a little more mysterious.
Kyoto Kid
As a player I've noticed this too.

As a GM, I like to inject "unknowns" and subtle clues into my missions. In particular, I tend to use the intrigue angle - the "wheels within wheels" concept. It's fun when at sometime during the course of the session, the proverbial lightbulb suddenly turns on and one of the players says, "That's what he ,meant when he said that." or "So that is why she was seen there".

It's also good to throw a few red herrings in just to see where the players take it. For example, Early on in the Rhapsody arc, several of the characters were convinced a prominent NPC doctor, and not the girl Leela was the primary target of Serb Intelligence. Instead of performing legwork to find the girl, they spent nearly a day shadowing him. By the time they realised their error she was already in an SSID safehouse in Belgrade being interrogated and the trail had nearly gone cold.
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