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OK, I'm getting ready to run a Shadowrun game for the first time(I've played before but never run); the basic premise is going to be that the PCs have a recurring gig with a Syndicate boss by the name of Cain, running various jobs for him that all seem to bring them into conflict with a high-ranking Corporate who goes by the codename Abel. Abel commands resources to rival Cain's and the two seem obsessed with vengeance against each other. The Big Reveal is that they're two former members of Echo Mirage, who each host a piece of the AI Deus's intelligence in them; the parts of Deus's personality want to reunite and can do so when they're free of the humans that they're hiding in(the premise needs to be expanded a bit to account for why they don't just log into the Matrix and suicide, I know). It could all lead up to the team being caught in the crossfire when eventually Cain loses control to his part of Deus, Abel does, or they manage to combine in one body.

So, I was wondering, what would be a good first run/session? I was thinking of them having their first job from Cain and having a run-in with a team hired by Abel, but do you think that's too much backstory to drop(Cain has an entire story about how Abel is obsessed because of a SpecOps mission gone bad, as does Abel; neither know that they're unwitting carriers of Deus) on the PCs in the first session? Should I have them work for various Johnsons before getting a semi-permanent gig? And how can I expand on the idea of Cain and Abel having parts of Deus hiding in their minds?

Also, how deadly is the new Fourth Edition system?
What's your overall GM experience? If it's little/none, I'm going to suggest that for your first session, you whip out something like Food Fight. Fun, simple, and without a whole lot of planning. If your group is new to SR4, this is an even better suggestion, since it gives you a chance to let your team roll the dice without having a real game be on the line.

SR4 is both more and less lethal than SR3. A lot of things which didn't hurt much in SR3 are now threats and a few things (like edge) make life a little easier at the start.
I have a good deal of GMing experience, just none with Shadowrun; before this I've run Mutants & Masterminds, Exalted, Werewolf, Vampire, Thrash, and D&D. My group is fairly experienced with roleplaying, but not with SR4. I'd still like to do something with my first session that doesn't feel like a throwaway(like Food Fight felt like to me when a GM started the campaign with it).
Also, when the book says you'll glitch a lot more, it means it. If the frequency that comes up on my dice roller is any indication, anyways. That certainly makes things potentially more lethal.
Well, you might not want to start the campaign with it. However, you'll be happy later if everyone gets a whack at the mechanics early on (probably before characters are really final) and knows what's going on. You might consider tossing out the sample characters and giving it a whirl (transfering the karma to their real characters, to make it worthwhile).

However, if you don't go that way, the best thing to do would be to start simple. Have you had any experience with SR: Missions (the campaign)? There are some good, easy runs in the first few of those that might work well as starting plots. They'd need some adaptation, of course, but the basic ideas are sound.

I would personally keep the backstory of the Cain/Abel thing under wraps for a while. For a first run, how about they are hired to break into a remote research facility and retrieve a certain data chip. They get there only to find that the data chip is gone and other runners have obviously been there (dead guards or the like). On their way out, they might run into the HRT heading to the site in response to the alarm triggered by the other runners.

Then the next run, something similar happens. Give them a few runs like that, along with successful ones, and they'll really hate the other team by the time they meet up with them.
Hmm, that's a good idea. I was afraid of dumping too much info on my players at once(plus it doesn't really make sense that a Johnson like Cain would allude to his "real" story all at once).
Heh, I'm a newbie GM surrounded by experienced roleplayers.
I'd definintely start simple. Start them off with a run or two, so they get a feel for how a shadowrun is supposed to go. Once they understand that, then you can start throwing in the complications. At the beginning, all you have to do is let them know that they keep making runs against the same corporation; or, if you want to complicate things a bit, let them make runs against different targets. Then an attack squad is sent after them-- and once the PC's deal with them, they discover that all their targets have been controlled by the same guy.

I like the names, BTW. wink.gif
I agree with Cain on a lot of that. However, one thing that's important is that if you're really basing the game around the players being on Cain's "team" and Abel being the other "team", that it has to become personal to the players. The fact that Cain and Abel don't like each other should almost become secondary after a while. The players don't like Abel. The players don't like the runners that Abel has tapped in an equivalent role to the players.

Sure, Cain shoots straight with them, over pays them a little, gets them good clean gear when they need it so they like him, but make the war itself personal to the players and the game will be a lot more fun.
Abel needs to do something vile to one or more players, in other words. Dead pet or family member should do the trick.

(tinker's post about making sure they also hate their counterparts made me think of Heroes Die where Cain is all like, "I don't care what we're doing as long as I get to kill Berne."
For their first run, I'd agree to do something nice and simple, but it can even be the first tie-in to this. Never mention Cain and Abel; just set it up so that they can, if clever, figure out it started waaaay back here. Have them... Well, here's the general run I'm planning to start my new group on: hire them to do an insertion into a sealed computer system. In mine, it's going to be planting a virus onto the video-editing computer for a small advertiser/broadcaster, designed to cut-and-paste... Embarassing video clips into a live broadcast the following week. It could just as easily be transporting a sprite on remote service, or whatever. I was planning on a small, one-story building with minimal (existing but not overwhelming) security; you can tailor it to be the 60th story of a skyscraper, add (or ignore) as much magic security as you need to make it interesting... But this could be Cain spilling some dirt on Abel on public trid, or something similar.
One thing I was thinking of, how does this sound; during their run, one player(I'm thinking my buddy who's going to play a Physical Adept, as I know him the best out of the entire group and could, if need be, ask him to play along with it for storytelling purposes; he's big into the story aspect of a game) gets separated from the rest of the group, and has a run-in with Abel(although he doesn't know who that is just yet). Abel attacks him, leaving him for dead, although the team manages to get him medical attention in time. I think it'll up the "oh shit" factor for the rest of the group, as in "holy...he's not kidding! He'll waste us all if we're not careful!"("He" referring to me as the DM), plus develop a serious hatred when they find out the mystery man is Abel.
One thing you might wanna try is having Cain be really straightforeward with the players as far as him working for SpecOps during echo mirage project. The reason for this is that consipiracies and things of a general mystyrous nature require a good deal of background knowledge for them to make sense. What you could do is have Cain require the runners to perform tasks that deal with some of the major pionts in the shadowrun history and as your campaign goes not only will they learn more and more about the world they live in, but also the how it got to be this way aspect and be able to interact with a conspiracy adventure more and more based off that knowledge.
For example
Adventure 1- The runners have to go and retrieve a pre-crash file on the seretech(now shiawase) and its activities from 1999 to 2029. this is stored in the form of an old mainframe style computer in some corperate facility.
Adventure 2- A biologist who is experimenting with VITAS requires protection, from an
assination attempt(from abels goons possibly)
Adventure 3- An old friend of Cain's has managed to sneak out some highly classified data behind the specOps missions that took place between 2010-2030 from goverment mainframes(on the Great Ghost Dance War and echo mirage). He now requires and extraction. (throwin more of abels goons)
etc. etc.

The basic goals is to
A) cover the basic types of runs
B) Provide them with enough background information that when you start throwing in the whole entire Cain, Abel and Dues conspiracy then it will make more sense and be more compelling.
C) Help flesh out the world they are playing in so, it just doenst biol down to a bunch of criminals with buff guns and magic who are blowing stuff up.
While the basic premise is pretty solid I would put it on the back burner if I were you. While having the group do runs for one person often can be rewarding, building your compaign around a single plotline can bottleneck things.

I personally come up with one or two primar plotlines (this Cain/Able one would be a great primary plotline) and then get some information from my players about their characters and weave stories from their backgrounds.

Examples being a brother who needs help with mob debts, an old enemy coming back for them or simply a "counter-part" villian that will test them in many ways.

Then from there you can weave in the Cain/Able story (or others) and make the overall story last much longer, and be more personally rewarding for the players.

Just my 2 nuyen.
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