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I was going over my initial campaign notes as we finished up our first adventure tonight and began our next one. It was then I was looking over the nation of Aztlan and thinking about incorporating a couple of adventures based around trying to thwart the government of that nation.

It then occurred to me that a good couple of adventures or maybe more might be devoted by a concentrated effort by the players to bring down the government. I paused at that thought for a second as it seemed distinctly non-Shadowrunish due to the fact that it took away from the Bubblegum Crisis 'we exist solely to destroy this corporation's machinations.'

I was curious how you thought about the benefit of Shadowrunners to being able to effect the entire geopolitical-economic landscape of their world. I don't think this is an issue in most campaigns as unlike many games, the Shadowrunners are not usually interested in attempting to alter the balance of power. They're instead focused on merely doing their jobs.

So is it possible to alter the world in Shadowrun and has it ever happened in your campaigns?
Calvin Hobbes
I've had a group manage to take down a great dragon, setting off the usual media frenzy that that entails, but there was nothing particularly world-changing after that. Another team managed to disrupt a nuclear reactor in the middle of the Confederate States, but its meltdown wasn't spectacular, and a lot of people got sick and a town was evacuated, but no one died... I think the best is the game I'm playing in, where we did DNA/DOA in reverse (tracking the berks who stole the formula,) thus guaranteeing that bioware remains solely in Aztechnology hands for a good, long time.
Cleaning up a government can be done. Changing the direction of a nation involves overcomming a lot of political inertia. It requires much more effort than a little political violence. Not even Dunkie could change the world. He was one of the Directors of Aztechnology but he was unable to change the general direction of Aztlan even if his efforts ultimatly led to the downfall of Oscuro.

The thing is that destroying governments usually guarentees that a very similar government will spring up in its place. The names will be different but the polititions will be just as corrupt and they'll build on the same social themes.
not in my games, they can't--not change for the better, at any rate. i'm open to the possibility that they can make things worse. being able to make large-scale 'good' changes, to me, undermines the cyberpunk basis of the setting.
If you are playing at a power level where you can make gigantic changes to the world you are far beyond the default upper street level to mid corporate power level and into the bizzare 'what were they thinking' novels power level.

At this level the ex-ganger, ex-shadowrunner, ex-vampire otaku Empress of Japan and heir to the Shiawase fortune is not out of place.

Reforms can be good and they can be bad.
Shadows of Asia has Empress Hitomi and her husband making huge sweeping reforms in Japan which makes the country much more tollerable for everyone. On the other hand, when Dunkelzhan, the most powerful magical being alive at the time and the most popular creature on the planet won the UCAS Presidency on a platform that promised sweeping reforms that would change the face of the UCAS and bring back some of the USA's former glory the only thing that the writers at FASA could think of doing to preserve the flavor of th eprimary setting was blow up to smitherines on inauguration day. Yes, they eventually brought him back to life as a free spirit possessing a cyberzombie but the damage had been done and the point was clearly made.

The difference between these two, besides the obvious fact that SOA was done by Fanpro, was that the Japan was a tertitary setting that was very difficult to run in by canon. Due to rampant and institutionalized racism it was downright impossible for any metahuman to do anything in Japan. The reforms have actually brought Japan more into line with the UCAS and made it a place where runners can reasonably make a living.

The reforms promised by the Big D, on the other hand, would have shattered the primary campaign settiing. The biggest issue, universal citizenship and no more SINless masses, would have made shadowrunning both more difficult and less appealing. Other programs that Dunkie supported would have led to better quality of life, less racism, and more respect for human rights within the UCAS.
Crusher Bob
Erm, one of the central themes of cyberpunk is change, quite often in the meteoric rise of people 'off the street'. Not only change, but the accelerating paces of that change, not only in technology, but in every other aspect of life.

We have:

Hardwired where a group of smugglers and their friends and associates change things.

Johnny Zed where a group of runners and the decker undergrounds overthrows and replaces the government

When Gravity Fails (and sequals) where a street detective rises to be the right hand man and heir apparent of one of the great shadowy powers of the world

And Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, The Cold Cash War, Streetlethal, and ...


added some more books

My shadowrunners are never able to do more than temporarily delay the inevitable. They can hamper one evil corporate plot, or protect one group of squatters, but elsewhere in the world 12 other corporate plots have been successful, and dozens of squatter groups of have been squashed. The horrors of the 6th world (both big H Horrors, and little h horrors) can be postponed, but not prevented indefinetely.

Well, aside from thwarting Oscuro during "Harlequin's Back," Rescuing Villiers and Damien Knight from a conference gone sour during "Wake of the Comet," and (accidentally) burning out Deus' escape hole during "System Failure," none of my team's actions really changed the world. (And in retrospect, I think that the world would have been better off if we had let Villiers die, at least in our campaign.)

Of course no good deed goes unpunished. Crash 2.0 wiped out almost all of our paper assets, which meant that our plans of opening up a nightclub/restaraunt/runner bar to rival Dante's Inferno were erased too. That group has since broken up.
I'm with Sicarius on this one. My players shouldent be out to change the world, 4 people, no matter how much magic, or how many guns, wont be making any major lasting changes in the world.
In my game no, heck they can't even make a lasting impact on their neighborhood.
Well, enough C-12 can make a big impact on a neighborhood... so dont say that too fast =p
QUOTE (Lindt @ May 30 2006, 09:03 AM)
Well, enough C-12 can make a big impact on a neighborhood...  so dont say that too fast =p

Yeah but it won't be a lasting one, someone will rebuild or the squatters will steal the rubble and move on with their lives. And remember theres always another gang where that one came from. grinbig.gif
I stand (sit) corrected.
I don't disagree with you that the C-12 won't make a big impact, and an equally big pile of rubble or crater, it just won't last though.
James McMurray
QUOTE (mfb)
not in my games, they can't--not change for the better, at any rate.

And I'm the one with the power trip? LOL


It could happen in my games. At one point I even started a campaign arc to make it happen but we switched games midstream like we usually do and when we came back to Shadowrun SR4 was out and everyone wanted to try new things with it. I'm not aboutt o run a Spacemaster campaign with the same general story arc. It's a series of adventures and runs based on Babylon 5. If you're interested a search for "Varelse" should find something on it.

If they set out to do it on their own it would be possible too, but would take a hell of a lot of work. The setup for the other campaign was such that the team was not the only group working towards chaange. Enacting any sort of major changes would probably require enlisting others to help.
I let the character have as big of an effect as we do. If they expend the effort the change the world, so be it. they just happen to not have the ambition to make their characters do that much work or make that kind of sacrifice.
Ice Hammer
For me, I like giving the characters an opportunity to impact and be involved in important events in Shadowrun through the runs that they accept, and in some cases, explain the changes introduced by the books, namely, Shadowrun 4 and System Failure. In one run, I had them try to intercept a gold shipment from Tshimshan, that was the Tshimshan government's last ditch effort to liquidate some of its gold reserve, in order to get more newyen flowing into their economy, which was currently in a major depression, and its government, on the verge of collapse from the citizens being on the verge of rioting and revolt from the horrible economic conditions that they are forced to live under. By the runners preventing that gold shipment from being liquidated by Tshimshan, they effectively made the economic situation in the nation worse, and opened the nation up for eventual assimulation by the SSC.

In another story arc, I have pitted the players against the New Revolution. And eventually, they will obtain intelligence on a run, that may impact their coup in November of 2-64. So, I really believe in letting shadowrunners have the opportunity to, at the very least, make a contribution in much larger changes.

For me I believe that the players can in fact actually change the world. By just giving the megacorporations a bloody nose, they manage to slowly but surely draw a line in the sand that begins to topple the house of cards they've made.

I'm keeping track of every dead executive, destroyed facility, and the like and taking note of how this is effecting the greater whole.
Wounded Ronin
In my games they can only change the world if they're 80s asian.
Definitely possible in some games, completely impossible in others. It depends wholly on the game being run.
Sure. For better or worse - better's just a whole lot harder. It's really hard to rally a force against a corp, let alone a force for social change.

But hey.... You never know, right? Shadowrunners are as close to heros as the Sixth World gets. And the Sixth World needs some heros, boy does it.

Or as the Mask of Zorro movie trailer put it, "When Justice has been Outlawed, the Just must become Outlaws."
It is not the role of Shadowrunners to change the world for the better, if you go with a raw cyberpunk theme. That's the purview of the trickle-up of impacts they have. It's the runners' role to stop things from getting worse. At least, that's where I see the heroism of the runners.

They don't clean up the Yucatan toxic zone, they enable the natives to have enough time to escape.

They don't blow the story of the UB wide open, their contacts' contacts' contacts do. They stop the UB from gaining a bigger foothold in Seattle than they already have.

They don't overthrow the corruption in Shiawase's upper ranks, they assassinate the guy who would make it worse.
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