Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: The Common Man
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Sir_Psycho
So we're shadowrunners, we live pretty crazy exciting lives. Gun battle one night, ritual sorcery the next, run into a colony of ghouls in the sewers, Crash into a cyberzombie in the halls of the "abandoned" research facility, assassin adepts come in your windows, towering corporations manipulating you, top-secret matrix hosts trying to fry our brains, not to mention that corp security guard just conjured a fire elemental and the all-troll shadowrunner team you're up against seems to be completely under the cover of an invisibility spell.

Extreme.

We're shadowrunners, we come across crazy shit on a day-to-night-to-day-to-night basis. But what about mundane stuff, what about the common man? And by common man I don't even mean that average, barely cybered, mundane corpsec with the wife and kids that you just blew across the hall. I don't mean the foolish teenage ganger who got to big for his boots who you left in the dumpster behind Crusher 495. I mean the average civilians, pedestrians, wageslaves, squatters, ford-americar drivers, restauranteurs, cab-drivers, waiters, bartenders (though not necessarily the ork with the combat shotgun under the bar who has a rough idea of most secret megacorp dealings), and etcetera and so on and so forth.

So in your games, do you come across the common man much? How do you portray them? What's the situation when it happens? What are the results? They don't even notice you're there, death toll is usually under 10? The guy who's americar you dinged in that chase comes up to you trying to trade insurance info?
Wounded Ronin
I just give them 3s across the board and make them act in sterotypical ways. Should a PC decide to blow one away randomly it would almost certainly work. They mostly exist to witness events the PCs perform or appear at inconvienient times. ("Sir, I'm a lawyer, and I can help you in court against whoever was driving that black Americar!")
Blade
They only have rating 2 move-by-wire and load their Ares Alpha with just regular weapon.

Other than that, I can't really tell. It depends on the person it is supposed to be. Most of them tend to be depressing people, though. So that the players can witness that being a wageslave in the 2070s is just being another cog in the machine (or another brick in the wall, to give it a 80s rock feeling).
2bit
Normal people naturally serve as foils for the shadowrunners. They make your players' differences stand out more. I use them to make players feel special, unique, godly, heroic, or like an outcast, witch, loser, or evil.
Thain
QUOTE (Blade)
They only have rating 2 move-by-wire and load their Ares Alpha with just regular weapon.

Other than that, I can't really tell. It depends on the person it is supposed to be. Most of them tend to be depressing people, though. So that the players can witness that being a wageslave in the 2070s is just being another cog in the machine (or another brick in the wall, to give it a 80s rock feeling).

The Wall was released November 30, 1979. So, it's a 70's rock reference.

"Wrooong! Do it agian!":grinbig:
Kyoto Kid
...I love throwing "John Q Normal" stuff in all the time, like Seattle commute hour traffic. There are certain times if the day even in RL it is pretty bad. If the runners ar caught on the Intercity or any major street between 3:30 and 6:00 it will be slow going. There have been times the team even missed the exit because they were in the wrong lane & couldn't move over in time. Ploughing through other vehicles is a good way to bring everything to a halt and Lonestar to the scene.

Many of my settings include interaction "norms". In the last session, I ran the team was in a large chain run coffee shop when a terrorist bomb went off in the nearby intersection. The mages ended up attending to the norms in the shop who were injured by flying glass rather than continue to deal with the NPC they were talking to. In another scene, a small group of protesters were outside the home of another NPC who they had a beef with, one even hit her with a thrown rock. The runners stayed cool & didn't gun down the norms but instead hustled the woman into their van & drove off.

I have yet to (and most likely never will) bring in a GD and only have one IE who is pretty much harmless (she just likes to tinker around with exotic technology).
Butterblume
There are a lot instances of the common man in my games. Most of the time, they are just background, unless the players choose to interact with them. But they are there, like the ever-present squatters in the barrens.
Thane36425
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid)


Many of my settings include interaction "norms". In the last session, I ran the team was in a large chain run coffee shop when a terrorist bomb went off in the nearby intersection. The mages ended up attending to the norms in the shop who were injured by flying glass rather than continue to deal with the NPC they were talking to. In another scene, a small group of protesters were outside the home of another NPC who they had a beef with, one even hit her with a thrown rock. The runners stayed cool & didn't gun down the norms but instead hustled the woman into their van & drove off.

I have yet to (and most likely never will) bring in a GD and only have one IE who is pretty much harmless (she just likes to tinker around with exotic technology).

I did something like this too, or I should say it happened to one of my teams. They were in a coffee house that acted as a front for a decker den in the basement. Most of the team stayed upstairs, while the decker went downstairs. In the interim, a group of armed men came in, some covering the customers upstairs and the rest going to the basement. A bit of a shootout down there and some customers getting roughed up in the shop during the ensuing panic. The team was ready to strike but they were after someone else. In the aftermath, after checking on our decker, the mage provided some healing to the worst injured while the Sammi, who had first aid, tended to some others. When Lone Star started arriving, the owners of the place got the team out before they got caught. This earned the team favor in the eyes of the regulars and made a contact of the owner.

Never used any IE save for Harlequinn and then only in the campaign books centered on him. Dragons also only came into play in published adventures.
cetiah
I don't do this nearly enough. I always remember things like that after the game, but anytime I have to run on the fly, Seattle becomes a ghost-town. smile.gif I remember after my first chase-scene, I was thinking about it, saying to myself "that would have been so much more interesting if there was a little traffic on the road." Especially since it was a bike vs helicopter scene, so my player could have pulled off some really cool stunts if I had thought about it during the game but I was focussed on "who's going to win" and the combat situation that was happening at the same time.

I'm going to try to add more "normal problem" stuff later.

Right now, though, most of the Johnsons are just normal people with abnormal problems who need someone who can help and don't know anyone else to call except this one girl they met at a party who mentioned she knew people who specialize in handling "immediate problems of an unusual, dangerous and discreet nature". Hell, most of them still use their real name when dealing with the runners.

I figure they won't get the corporate "professional Johnsons" until they've built up a little Street Cred. (Also, I assume the fixer has to build up a little street cred too, or maybe they'll have to find themself another fixer later who can get them more "professional employment.")
Wounded Ronin
I suppose that "normal" NPCs let you portray, in a Gary Larson style way, how the everday people of the Shadowrun world are pathetic and defficient in some way.

If tanned elves in platinum bikinis with rigid torpedo-like boobies are the zeitgeist of classic RPG fantasy, then flabby sedentary women with floppy pale boobies and datajacks are the zeitgeist of Shadowrun.
Snow_Fox
right, normal people are everywhere. regular contacts for the runners and populating the world they're in. the perople down the hall from their squat/condo. shop keepers and locals they know. filled worlds.
Pendaric
Always there. Some times a hinderence, sometimes a help, sometimes down right deadly in the Barrens but always throwing the shadows into relief by their bright shiny normalness.
Asheron
QUOTE
being a wageslave in the 2070s is just being another cog in the machine (or another brick in the wall, to give it a 80s rock feeling).


I think by 2070 it would another bit in the program.
Kagetenshi
Fortunately 2070 doesn't come for seven years yet.

~J
DV8
My group and I roleplay a great deal of downtime as well, and in those moments the run into Joey Normal all the time. Even when they're not on downtime they deal with normal people all the time. Whether they're sitting and waiting for their streetdoc to be available, or if they're waiting for their Johnson in a public place, normal and average people are always there.

I know that some people like to play their Shadowrun games mission to mission, not really playing downtime, but I feel it'd become more a combat and strategies game when you do that.

I still fondly remember The True Fašade, brain-child of Brother Justice, an in-character bulletin board for Shadowrun's "normal people." It was fantastic, and gave the world a lot of flavour.
Grinder
QUOTE (DV8)
My group and I roleplay a great deal of downtime as well, and in those moments the run into Joey Normal all the time. Even when they're not on downtime they deal with normal people all the time. Whether they're sitting and waiting for their streetdoc to be available, or if they're waiting for their Johnson in a public place, normal and average people are always there.

That's how I do it too.
Kyoto Kid
...I occasionally get a chance to do this as well. Most of the time however, it's "between runs" gear shopping/upgrading, mages binding spirits (though an interesting situation took place the last time this occurred), and the such.

I agree, there should be a life outside running.
Blade
Definitely

During the best campaign I've ever GMed, we spent nearly half the time (maybe even more) playing life outside the runs... We even spent whole game session playing out daily life (for Christmas time).

All the PCs lived in the same "building", and I had described each of their 50 neighbors. They were far more than just plain decoration...

Anyway, I'm getting nostalgic...
Kyoto Kid
...did one session which took place during the "Season" in the UK. The runners ended up attending the estate ball for the young woman they were hired to watch over. They got to see how the "other side" lived for an evening.

Oh, yes, there were a few clues relating to the overall mission dropped along the way just to see if anyone was paying attention.
Omer Joel
QUOTE (Grinder)
QUOTE (DV8 @ Jan 31 2007, 09:58 AM)
My group and I roleplay a great deal of downtime as well, and in those moments the run into Joey Normal all the time. Even when they're not on downtime they deal with normal people all the time. Whether they're sitting and waiting for their streetdoc to be available, or if they're waiting for their Johnson in a public place, normal and average people are always there.

That's how I do it too.

Me too, though this depends on the game. In my previous group we were doing high-action running, with very little downtime, especially since the group was large and had many young and inexperienced players who wanted alot of thrill. I currently run a one-on-one game for my girlfriend, and she likes talking to interesting NPCs (mostly non-runners) as much as she likes the runs themselves (if not more). So I've ended up detailing many personalities in the squatter-zone of Orting (deep in the Pullayup barrens), where her character - a street shaman -lives and does her first "runs".
TEKE
What has made my groups campaigns so memorable is the normal people. I like to mix it in with the regular runs to add depth. Two examples that come to mind are: once on a run my players were running security for a high class event. Through use of a cyberware scanner they noticed a young man there had a cyberleg. They cornered him and found out he had lost his leg in a car crash and he was the nephew of someone there. This really made them stop and go, OHHHHHHHH not only criminals have cyberware. My favorite moment though was for an magic initiation. I like some of my initiations to be played out as extremely sacrificing and difficult situations. I had a player whose character was catholic and as he was pulling into church a huge explosion went off. He ran in and started pulling out bodies and as he lined them up he realized if they didn't receive medical treatment soon they would die. There were 26 bodies. His initiation was to cast healing on as many as he could without dying. I took him all the way up to the max damage without death. He lost some and saved some, and remembers that as one of those great defining moments for his character.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012