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DrPeteCastle
I love the shadowrun universe I played and beat the Super Nintendo Shadowrun game and have read 4 of the new novels and the old Nosferatu novel. I wanted to play the roleplaying game this universe is centered on so I bought 4th edition on ebay and some dice. I wanted to play the game with my cousins who also have never played anything like a pen and paper game. I have never played or watched a role playing game before or much lessed play shadowrun pnp game before so I was clueless on the concept. I thought the 4th edition would help me some on how to play the game and how the roleplaying game concept works. I kinda understand that the gamemaster makes an adventure, controls the setting, nps, and the rules while the other people control their characters actions. The rulebook actually says "To learn more, find others who already play Shadowrun, and learn from them." Frag that drek. I don't know anybody who plays Shadowrun much less any roleplaying game (even dungeons and dragons). I have read a little more than halfway through 4th edition (right before the magic section). I feel absolutely overwhelmed, there is so much freaking detail, back story, and rules I dont even wanna know whats in the magic and matrix sections coming up. I feel like have to build a rocketship into outerspace using a Spanish instruction manual. This game sounds so freaking awesome but I feel like I dont know enough to gamemaster a game even with the "on the run" adventure book that i orded on ebay thats coming in(Im guessing that is going to be a vague outline).
Please help me! What should I do to get a better concept? Are there any videos of people playing on a website? Oh God please!. thanks!
Marwynn
Well I ain't god and I don't think he sent me but there are ways to learn the game.

First thing is to nail down the character movement system. How they operate in a space, running and such. This gives you a way to visualize the "game space".

Second, re-re-re-read the character creation parts of the book so you have an idea of the stats and what they're for. Do the same for the skills section.

Third, kill something. Read the combat rules section. Use two of the premades, or even just one of the premades twice, and have them move and fire at each other.

Have fun with it with your fellow players. My first few SR games were with the Street Samura premade character in SR4 killing and dying to the other players.

Do the same for the Matrix, then the Astral parts.

I'm a newbie at this myself, I've only dipped into the Matrix a few times and Astral space is a whole new pond for me to dip in. But I've played enough RPGs to have developed a bit of a tutorial routine when familiarizing myself with a new system.


And yes, there is LOTS to read.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (DrPeteCastle)
What should I do to get a better concept?

Slow but steady reading.
Buster
The Shadowrun universe is huge, so start in manageable chunks. If you're really into magi, like I am, just start with making a simple sorcerer and test play your sorcerer versus a pregenerated gunman (you play both characters). That'll teach you basic magic rules and basic gunfighting rules. Once you feel good about that, then build on that by maybe learning about spirits or astral combat or cyberware. I'm still learning about spirits and conjuring myself. I still don't know much about hacking or the matrix, so I'm reading all the forum posts about how to optimize a hacker or technomancer and starting from there.
Particle_Beam
Do not panic. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time, all it has to be is somehow fun.

Make little test-games for the various game mechanics, to see how your group understands them and where there is difference.
The archetypes in the basic rulebook are also good for exactly this situation. Let your group use them in the first place. Then, if you think that you have now a good enough grasp of it and the rules, go back to character creation and let the players construct custom characters.
Strobe
Something you can do to get a basic idea of how a role playing game plays out would be to look up your local gaming store. Chances are there is one within a reasonable distance. See if they run games (probably D&D) and find out if you can watch/sit in/join for a game or two just to get a feel of what it is like around the table.

From what you have written you have started with the story which is a good way to go. Better to have a feel for the game and then let the rules fall into place as you plan in my opinion.

Anyway, good luck with your game.

-Strobe
knasser
Oh wow! Welcome to the game, Believe me, this could be enormous fun for you. I wrote a small introductory adventure for Shadowrun which is here and it covers what to role in particular circumstances and is a reasonably low-risk beginner's run. There are also some other Shadowrun materials for new GMs on my site (the first link in my sig below). Help yourself.

And regarding the basic concepts of role playing games... As GM, your job is the following:

1. Sit on one side of the table with a screen so that the players opposite can't see your maps or your sheets covered in character statistics.

2. Describe the world fairly to the players so that the only thing they control (their characters) can act sensibly.

3. Play the part of all allies, villains and random people, using sinister accents and swooning damsel voices as appropriate.

4. Be fair to all players but stick to your guns. If they attack the dragon, it's not your fault if they die.

5. Come up with exciting plots and events. Pick a favourite movie or two, and steal shamelessly.

6. Occasionally roll dice behind your screen for no reason and chuckle. This drives players nuts. wink.gif

Hope this helps. Keep posting questions here on Dumpshock. We're all very happy to help.

-Khadim.

EDIT: On the Run is a good introductory adventure. It has a lot of good advice for running a shadowrun game. It does have a weakness that there are couple of places where it can go completely off the rails if the PCs don't do what you expect, but it's well worth getting.
Talia Invierno
Okay -- won't be the most popular suggestion here, but when I read about videos of people roleplaying, I realised the level of inexperience here. There is one thing that White Wolf (another roleplaying universe) does do well: and that's the comics at the back of the book. On one side the comic shows the verbal exchanges over the game table. One the other side, the comic shows what is happening in the game world. You'll see it at the very back of books such as Mage: The Awakening.

I mention this only by way of absolutely baseline introduction.

Really, it's impossible to get a feel for roleplaying on your own -- so it really is a good idea to get at least one other person involved, a friend of around your own age, to learn the structure with you.

One of you will be the GM. The GM is the one who imagines the scenario. As a very basic example, if a combat happens in a room, the GM is the one who has decided beforehand how big the room is, does it have furniture or other obstructions, what is its lighting, etc. The GM is also the one who decides what other non-player character (NPC) or creature lurks in the room, what they have with them, and what they will do when the player character enters the room.

The other of you will be creating a player character, or PC. This is the character who interacts with the world the GM has created.

The two of you will be sitting down at a table. You'll want some clear space in front of each of you: you'll be using this for reference papers, character sheets, and dice rolling. The GM may want a "GM screen" to hide some of his papers, because they are not supposed to be known by the player.

Thereafter, the player describes the actions of their PC, and the GM describes how the environment and NPCs he has created respond to those actions.

That's the essential roleplaying image. More later.
fistandantilus4.0
Couple of suggestions could be to try running a premade adventure such as On the Run which walks you through a lot of the game sections. You could also try getting in to some of the online games hosted here in the Welcome to the Shadows area. Just look for games that say "Recruiting".
sunnyside
Ok to understand yourself as the GM, sort of think of yourself as the NES/Genesis, only sexier and smarter.

The trick is that you have a verbal interface generally instead of a graphical one. So, if I remember the NES game right you'd start off describing them waking up on a table and the two doctors freaking out.

Instead of just clicking all over the screen a player would search the room (probably roll perception skill + intuition). If they roll well you tell them their character finds whatever useful stuff might be in there.

When they get into a fight and start punching some orcs you'd roll unarmed combat+agility vs the orcs unarmed combat + reaction and so on.

The big big difference between you and a videogame is that the players are free to do whatever they want, within reason. For example when dropped off in that dump a player character might just climb out over the rubble instead of all the stuff you otherwise have to do.

Since you're really really green I would actually might want to try having your players all start off as simple characters. Maybe give them a little cyber, but just a little. Maybe limit their initial money for gear and such to 10K. (so maybe only 1 or two players will even have a fake SIN).

If they eventually want to be a magic user give them the magician/adept quality, but don't let them spend any more points on magic. And maybe don't let them have any spells right at the start.

Characters can still easily spend that 400BP on stats, edge, races, qualities, skills, and contacts.

So when you start off things will be simple. Have them play gangers in the barrens who think they're tough enough to make it in the bigtime. Build up to magic and the matrix.


bibliophile20
QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
Okay -- won't be the most popular suggestion here, but when I read about videos of people roleplaying, I realised the level of inexperience here. There is one thing that White Wolf (another roleplaying universe) does do well: and that's the comics at the back of the book. On one side the comic shows the verbal exchanges over the game table. One the other side, the comic shows what is happening in the game world. You'll see it at the very back of books such as Mage: The Awakening.

Speaking of comics portraying RPGs, Weregeek is excellent.
tisoz
Welcome to the Shadows shows one way people play Shadowrun online. Find the In Character thread and its accompanying Out Of Character thread. It gives an idea of the interaction that goes on between player and GM.

Knights of the Dinner Table, KoDT, is a gaming magazine, but about half of it are comics which show gamers, usually sitting around a table. It might not be a video, and it is played to elicit laughs, but what makes it funny is it too true. I would recommend buying the earliest Bundle of Trouble available if you are interested in checking it out. The Bundle of Trouble is a good value as they combine several of the old issues with a few extra unpublished perks.

I was in the same situation as you. I started by reading a section of the rules, then playing a couple of made characters against each other to see how things played out. It helps demonstrate how the rules work. When I was comfortable I understood how a thing like melee combat worked, I then started experimenting with Ranged Combat, then added Sorcery, etc. until I was comfortable with understanding how things worked - even if I needed to frequently refer to the book. Repetition will instill familiarity and book references will get further and further apart. Even now, close to 2 decades of playing, I still refer to the rules now and then.
sunnyside
Actually It wasn't meant to help others but maybe

http://www.neoaxial.com/cgi-bin/yabb2//YaB...?num=1167166474

would be useful. It's an online game with me and a guy who really didn't know anything about shadowrun. Though he had roleplayed before. So lots of explanations are in there, and die rolls are right in the thread.

If you are careful you may also note that, yes, there are errors. You will also notice that the world didn't end when I made them.


I suppose if you wanted you could do something like that with me. Either with me as the player or you as the player (or alternating?). Though online stuff like that is relatively slow, so maybe just jumping in with your players would be better.

You could try whatever confuses you. Or I guess if you'd like you could try just running a sample something and ask if it was done right.

Actually you could do that here. People would quickly check it to see if it was done right.
DrPeteCastle
Thanks you guys are awesome, i appreciate all of your responses. Im starting to realize how much detail you have to put into making an adventure and the like. As a gamemaster, one of my duties is to basically fight/roll against the pc's with my npc's.(?) The character i attempted to make was a martial art adept that specialized in unarmed melee but that almost seems stupid because wouldnt most my confrontations just be them blowing me away with firearms? one more question/correction in combat- lets say i walk up to an aware unalarmed guard and want to punch him in the face. do i just roll unarmed+agility against his reaction+body or would I rule an initiation rolls first. im confused on that concept. (sorry the rule book confused me there)
Jaid
that sort of situation is where surprise rules come into play.
Talia Invierno
QUOTE
one of my duties is to basically fight/roll against the pc's with my npc's.(?)

One, yes -- and to create the entire environment within which the fight happens, and to describe it to the players so that they know how to move within that environment. In short, like sunnyside says, you're going to be what the NES/Genesis normally is preprogrammed to just show you and interact with you: smarter, because preprogrammed games aren't yet at the infinite possibility of the human mind.
QUOTE
The character i attempted to make was a martial art adept that specialized in unarmed melee but that almost seems stupid because wouldnt most my confrontations just be them blowing me away with firearms?

Dozens of uses for unarmed combat. Probably not the wisest thing to use unarmed combat in a firefight, but a well-planned ambush might let you close with your attackers long before they can bring their weapons to bear. (As Jaid says, see the Surprise rules: p.155-6.) There might be places where you don't want to be seen as armed, and where bringing weapons at all is risky: this is sometimes the case with a meet before a run, or with trying to infiltrate a sensitive corporate enclave. With high Unarmed skill, you're never without a "weapon".

Of course, if all other uses fail, there's always the classic bar fight smile.gif
QUOTE
one more question/correction in combat- lets say i walk up to an aware unalarmed guard and want to punch him in the face. do i just roll unarmed+agility against his reaction+body or would I rule an initiation rolls first. im confused on that concept. (sorry the rule book confused me there)

The guard gets to roll Surprise (Reaction + Intuition). This is an Opposed Test, which means that your adept also rolls Reaction + Intuition. If the guard gets more hits than your adept did, he gets to act. Otherwise, the guard loses the first Initiative Pass to surprise. (Check out the explanation of initiative right at the beginning of the combat section.)

(Modifiers: since the guard is not alarmed, he would not get the three extra dice for an alert situation. In a full ambush -- which this is not -- your adept would get six extra dice.)
tisoz
QUOTE (DrPeteCastle @ Jul 9 2007, 08:36 PM)
Thanks you guys are awesome

Godlike? Sorry, GMing can give one an inflated ego.

QUOTE
Im starting to realize how much detail you have to put into making an adventure and the like.  As a gamemaster, one of my duties is to basically fight/roll against the pc's with my npc's.(?)

That is correct. Also to referee. So remember to be fair and that it is not player vs. GM. The player and GM work together to tell a story, so another big GM reponsibility is to describe the surroundings, the weather, time of day, etc.. A good description of the environment will set a tone and help immerse the players in the story.

QUOTE
The character i attempted to make was a martial art adept that specialized in unarmed melee but that almost seems stupid because wouldnt most my confrontations just be them blowing me away with firearms?

That is the problem of bringing a knife to a gun fight. Keep in mind, if the player makes the same kind of character, you need to create situations where he can put the PC to use. Versus your creation would work.


[edit] too friggin' slow! [/edit]
Talia Invierno
And here I was, surprised that over half an hour had passed without anyone else having posted something detailed. Three minutes on an on-line board is practically simultaneous (very much unlike SR combat situations, of course wink.gif ).
tisoz
I'm not a stalker. Really.




















No, really.

I found it humorous we both also commented about describing the surroundings.

But really, I'm not stalking.
DrPeteCastle
lol ,tisoz. thanks, ill do some rereading and do some mini combat tonight. I swear the last question of the night. i just saw one dungeons and dragons video and the pc's where acting out their charater like a broadway show. i can see this to an extent but they were scarily into it. is this necessary or could they merely be like "my charater attempts..." how do u guys act out ur characters of pcs and gm's?
Talia Invierno
We were full of questions when we first started too, DrPeteCastle. In fact, we still are -- or else these boards wouldn't exist!
QUOTE
i just saw one dungeons and dragons video and the pc's where acting out their charater like a broadway show. i can see this to an extent but they were scarily into it.

*choke*

Yes, some players do get scarily into it.

In general, however, a rough three-way division exists between how different groups choose to play it.

Group A are the abstract players: my mage does this, my rigger does that.

Group B replaces the third person with "I" in their descriptions, but that's the extent of the acting.

Group C tends to speak IC ("in character"): "[to the GM] I'm gunning the engine. [to the players]Hang on, I'm going to ram them!" (plus much interaction between players "in character"). In general, you tend to see this level much more in the post-by-post games than in tabletop games.

There might also be a group D, the extreme roleplayers, but I haven't encountered it yet, and I'm not looking for it.
QUOTE (tisoz)
But really, I'm not stalking.

No-oo. Of course not grinbig.gif
tisoz
The fully acting out may have been Live Action Roleplaying. Usually, we stay seated, declare what our PC is doing, sometimes in first person as , "I am aiming and shooting the biggest one." Sometimes gestures are involved, like in the example pretending to draw a weapon, sighting your fist with extended forefinger and twitching thumb.

Really, it depends on the extent the group wants to play things out. Sometimes it is no more than, "My character uses his Automatic weapons skill." That is usually regarded as limited roleplaying though.

[edit] *shakes fist* Damn, you! Take longer to think; I'm an old man and getting feebleminded. *gets up to visit bathroom due to constant urination problem* [/edit] smile.gif
[additional edit] I see now. I took much more time due to my prettily formatting my reply and remembering the term LARPing. And not being totally familiar with SR4, had to make sure Automatic weapons was the new skill. But again, I am confounded by the similarity in the answer. Are you shooting thoughts at me? *rummages around looking for tinfoil hat* [/additional edit]
DrPeteCastle
Thanks Talia, that answer really relieves me those guys were crazy definitely group D, i think would fit in with group b. talker.gif
MaxHunter
First of all, welcome to the game! Don't panic, don't worry too much either, you are surely going to have lots of fun. ...And you are certainly allowed to make lots of mistakes, there is nothing similar to a RPG police, so feel free to improvise.

About acting character and all, it depends on what you and your group of players enjoy best. As in everything else with RPGs, there is no "proper" way to do it, it's a game, after all. So, if you and your people feel like saying "my ork does this and that" or if you rather act it out it will be fine as long as you are having fun.

In my gaming group it comes out as a mix of a little acting and some narrative. I am the Gm and I do like to act a little, do some voices and stuff, but not too much. I sometimes ask the players to describe their attempted actions in a more detailed form to clarify and to help the rest imagine the situation. So not something like "I shoot the guard" and more something like "I take cover with the wall and point my gun at the nearest guard, aiming to the head, two shots." or so.

It is important to always start any encounter with a nice clear description of everything you think the characters need to know. I also find useful to have players describe their characters, what they look like and all every time they meet before a run, in order to help everybody picture the situation. But that's just me.

I would suggest to start with a simple scenario, like a bar fight, or a gang fight to get a hold on the combat rules.

Cheers, and welcome to the shadows!

Max
MaxHunter
I am getting too slow for this, kids! Talia, tisoz: You BOTH beat me to the post. That's my fault for being so longwinded. Kudos for speed.

I must say I agree with both and consider myself and my group something like a C- group.

Cheers,

Max
tisoz
QUOTE (MaxHunter)
I would suggest to start with a simple scenario, like a bar fight, or a gang fight to get a hold on the combat rules.

Or a Foodfight!

I wonder if it has been updated for 4th edition and posted anywhere?
DrPeteCastle
cool. lol i also bought the first edition (for for fun basically) and read that back part "food fight adventure" for info if thats what ur talking about thats a good idea. how did u guys get ur shadowrun group rounded up and playing?
eidolon
Man, everyone took the good suggestions already. wink.gif

I'll just back up one of the most important ones (IMO):

You don't have to know the whole game, game world, rulebook, etc, the first time you sit down to play. Some of the oldest but still the best advice I ever got when I first started GMing any game was "you don't have to know everything at first, but try to have an idea of where to find it". Basically, don't expect that you'll know the effects of a particular obscure spell the first time you run, but have an idea of where to find the spell section.

Be up front with your players, always. Tell them "hey, I'm new to running this game, so I may need a few minutes here and there, but if you guys will stick with me I'll try to make the game as good as I can". That's all you can really do, regardless of how many games you have run.

You'll be fine. cool.gif


Oh, and welcome to Dumpshock.
tisoz
QUOTE (DrPeteCastle @ Jul 9 2007, 10:06 PM)
cool. lol i also bought the first edition (for for fun basically) and read that back part "food fight adventure" for info if thats what ur talking about thats a good idea.

That's one version. I think it was updated through all previous editions.

QUOTE
how did u guys get ur shadowrun group rounded up and playing?

This will tell you more than you want to know about how I have tried to round up a group and play. Don't let it discourage you though. I doubt if others had so much trouble.

QUOTE (eidolon)
You don't have to know the whole game, game world, rulebook, etc, the first time you sit down to play.

True, quite true. As I pointed out in explaining the delay in my post, I still look things up.
Talia Invierno
My turn to be slow. I plead computer crash as I tried to find the link. But tinfoil hat will not protect you against the Alleycat! vegm.gif
QUOTE
how did u guys get shadowrun group rounded up?

For me, it started with me watching a D&D group playing, then being invited to one.

Later, as the ways started to part, I decided to form my own group. (Usually it's assumed that whoever forms the group is the GM, but there are exceptions.) I put up an advertisement at my local gaming store and the university and college, got a few replies, and the rest is history. (A bit more detail is in the thread tisoz linked. Don't let that thread put you off, though wink.gif )

Have you checked out the GM/Player Registry on this board yet? You might find a group in your area.
tisoz
QUOTE (Talia Invierno @ Jul 9 2007, 10:19 PM)
My turn to be slow.  I plead computer crash as I tried to find the link.  But tinfoil hat will not protect you against the Alleycat! vegm.gif

Hah! Take that vile Alleycat. My evil thoughts worked.

QUOTE
Have you checked out the GM/Player Registry on this board yet?  You might find a group in your area.

Hey wouldn't it be great if DrPeteCastle were my new neighbor? Do you ride a loud Harley and come and go at odd hours?
DrPeteCastle
lol no that sounds like a shadowrunner .Yeah I checked the Registry there is not to many runners in oklahoma. im going on into my sophomore year in college so that flyer thing is a good idea (not for getting chics tho lol) . Yea i have a better understanding now i was getting down trying to figure that out on my own. that nintendo analogy helped this forum is awesome
tisoz
If you have a whole college of your peers, you should not have a problem getting a game going. That is prime gaming age and territory. Well, unless it's a bible college. That might put a damper on things.

And see, still no one wants to play with me. It's only a short one day drive to Okey city. smile.gif
eidolon
That seems to be how it is. I frequently note gamers in surrounding states, just beyond that "distance worth driving to game". I have yet to get a game going here, though.
DrPeteCastle
yeah but its cool. i just read ur story tisoz. thats pretty crazy lol. im gonna go get some shut eye. thanks again chummers
Crusher Bob
In addition to figuring out the written rules of the game, there are many unwritten rules that you have to figure out as well.

Here's some samples:

Setting the game expectations:

Things like how easy it is to achieve success in the game?
Compare, say, a James Bond movie where it's not really a question of whether Bond is going to win or not, but how cool he looks doing it compared to, hmm, draaawing a blank here, some other movie in which a lot of the story is the characters failing and the consequences of those failures.

How harshly failure will be punished?
The PC is running away from some guys over rooftops when he gets cornered. There is another building he could leap to, but it's a bit of a long way. He decides to make the jump, rolls strength + athletics, and comes up a few successes short... does he fall to his death? end up hanging by his fingernails? do his persuers grab him before he could complete his leap?

What genre conventions you will be using?
This determines what actions are appropriate. In The Matrix when Neo walks into the place full of guards and shoot them all down, it appropriate. Trying the exact same thin in say Die Hard will almost certainly get you killed.

Communications limitations.
Because the primary medium of 'showing' stuff in the game is by describing it verbally, there are a few pitfalls you have to be careful about. If you were actually meeting someone in a empty lot and he had brough hundreds of armed guards they'd be impossible to miss. If the player just didn't hear the sentence where the hundreds of guards were mentioned the don't see them at all.
DrPeteCastle
ahhh im shutting the computer off after this. (this forums stuff is addicting) yeah subtle stuff like that is important to know thanks. now that u mentioned that u reminded me when i was looking at the example characters there was so much detail on gear and commlinks and programs for the commlinks surely these precise details dont come into play.
Talia Invierno
In some games they do, in some they don't. One group I work with instantly converts everything into a carefully scaled grid, while my own group glosses over commlinks except insofar as to have it and to know signal strength (for jamming purposes). I still remember how that first group I mentioned got into an extended discussion (in Traveller, a space-faring SF game) about landing on a ringworld: something matter of course in most games, but, well, we worked out the physics of it -- and the ship ended up crashing. (Angular momentum and all that.)

It's only a matter of how detailed you want to play. Different groups will find different comfort levels where they can actually have fun without being drowned in detail.

@ Crusher Bob (and that link!):
QUOTE
“I wonder, when did D&D become a shopping trip? I first noticed it in 2002. But, it does seem to be a widely popular conception.?

It was a gimmick to lure in the female gamer market. *sage nod*

Where was that comment when I needed it earlier? spin.gif
Nocturne
Regarding the "not having to know everything about the game" issue... some role playing games are way more complex than others. Shadowrun is towards the "more complex" end of the spectrum, so until you get a few games under your belt you won't have everything memorized.

The important thing is to keep things moving and keep your players involved in the game. If you (or your players) can't find a specific rule covering something that happening in the game, don't let things bog down for too long. Attempt to make a fair ruling and move on. Make a note of the rules question and look it up after the game, or during a break. Let your players know that this can happen, and let them know what the "right" way was. Pretty soon you'll have a whole table of rules experts, and you can just worry about telling cool stories.
Buster
QUOTE (Talia Invierno @ Jul 9 2007, 10:39 PM)
We were full of questions when we first started too, DrPeteCastle.  In fact, we still are -- or else these boards wouldn't exist!
QUOTE
i just saw one dungeons and dragons video and the pc's where acting out their charater like a broadway show. i can see this to an extent but they were scarily into it.

*choke*

Yes, some players do get scarily into it.

In general, however, a rough three-way division exists between how different groups choose to play it.

Group A are the abstract players: my mage does this, my rigger does that.

Group B replaces the third person with "I" in their descriptions, but that's the extent of the acting.

Group C tends to speak IC ("in character"): "[to the GM] I'm gunning the engine. [to the players]Hang on, I'm going to ram them!" (plus much interaction between players "in character"). In general, you tend to see this level much more in the post-by-post games than in tabletop games.

There might also be a group D, the extreme roleplayers, but I haven't encountered it yet, and I'm not looking for it.

Exactly, some players like to play the game like improv dinner theater, but personally I always hated that (I also hate improv dinner theater). I'm not saying it's wrong at all, it's just not my thing. I'm definitely in the Class B group where I just say "I cast a fireball".

However, in the online play-by-post games, it's a lot of fun to use my creative writing skills and I'll get a lot more descriptive in what my character is doing and how they're doing it.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (DrPeteCastle @ Jul 9 2007, 10:28 PM)
is this necessary or could they merely be like "my charater attempts..." how do u guys act out ur characters of pcs and gm's?

Poorly-organized logs of most of our games, for your viewing pleasure. There are two games going on there, and they're SR3, but they should give you an idea of how a session goes for us. Of course, in-person games flow differently from chatroom games which flow differently from pbp/pbem games...

~J
Lilt
I probably fall anywhere from A to C, depending on the character I'm playing. I've also tried LARPing (Live Action Role-Playing, to reiterate) with Vampire, Legend of the Five Rings, Cyberpunk (not one of the best larps I've played, sadly), and a few others.

LARPing isn't that scary in itself, although there are people that take it too far.
[ Spoiler ]


C can be fun, particularly if your character is fun to play or has interesting quirks (like a voice you can do well). Many GMs like this style of play, feeling it adds to the game, and give action bonuses (a bonus die) or bonus Karma for good descriptions or in-character actions.

B and A are also fun, and lend themselves more to tactical combat situations where funny accents can get in the way. I'd expect it's the familiar way of doing things for people who've tried wargames before RPGs, and it's certainly a good way to describe actions if you're controlling more than one 'character' (including Spirits, Drones, Mind-controlled characters, Autonomous entities in the Matrix, ETC).
Rifleman
QUOTE (Crusher Bob @ Jul 10 2007, 12:02 AM)
Things like how easy it is to achieve success in the game?
Compare, say, a James Bond movie where it's not really a question of whether Bond is going to win or not, but how cool he looks doing it compared to, hmm, draaawing a blank here, some other movie in which a lot of the story is the characters failing and the consequences of those failures.

I've always put forth two Movies to explain this idea, but I've since expanded it to four:

Point Break, for the failure and break down of the gang
Reservoir Dogs, for how things can fall apart.
Sin City, For how you can win and lose
Pulp Fiction, Well, it's pulp fiction. It's the how to win, but with problems. James Bond fits in here.

Edit: Everything from here on I had additional thoughts right when I pressed the 'post ' button. nyahnyah.gif

In effect, it's the question of how much do you push a characters in the game. My advice would be to play it soft at the start, simply so you can get used to the rules as well as your players. Also it allows you to see how things can go with the players. From there, ramp it up gradually as you get used to the what people can do.

And don't be afraid to steal ideas. Just switch them up enough to surprise people.
OneSeventeen
One thing that really helped me (new to GMing) and my group (all new to Shadowrun) was that we built the characters in one session all together. This let us get each other's takes on various chargen rules, give each other advice or reminders or whatever. That was our first session.

The second session, I downloaded and read through (once) one of the Shadowrun Missions adventures and we just dove right in. I shamelessly read straight from the text, I made mistakes. We took a long time to look up rules we couldn't remember. About an hour before we were done, we hadn't gotten but a little more than half-way through it and had yet to roll initiative, so I scrapped the adventure and we just ran some combat against gangers (who died really fast; I advise using someone a bit stronger). We went into it all knowing it was going to be outside the "main" continuity and it was really helpful to have those dice rolls under our belts when we actually hit the ground. In fact, it turned out that I and another guy had been thinking about the armor rules all wrong and wouldn't have known it until much later, if not for that night.

Just kind of jumping in with your group and seeing how things work together can be a real asset, I think. And, really, if you misinterpret some rule, as long as you all misinterpret it the same way, it doesn't matter.


117
sunnyside
I'll second starting out largely outside the continuity. Either with a one off, or what I do , which is to start with the team getting to know each other in a SIM game. Typically they have a blast killing each other and baddies in characters, the hacker will roll to mess with the comlink running the sim and turn themselves into the Hulk. It's good times.
knasser

Seeing as you're new to GM'ing, I'll only add to all the advice here a few of the things that make a bad GM. These are things you want to avoid:

1. "GM PCs." This is a term for a character made by the GM that the GM thinks is oh so cool and he abuses his position as GM to show off his character. GMs should run NPCs. They shouldn't join the player's party to outshine the player's own characters. Players get one thing and one thing only - to be the centre of a story. Don't take that away from them.

2. "Rail-roading." This is a term for when the GM decides what is going to happen in the game and does everything necessary to make the players go along with it. An example would be the players decide to kidnap an important character and the GM didn't expect this. Therefore the cops suddenly show up to save the character and chase off the PCs. If the players can tell that this is what you're doing, i.e. there were no cops within five miles a few seconds ago, then it is "obvious rail-roading." If the GM can pass off the arrival of the cops as natural (perhaps the character has an internal commlink and had called them), then it is "invisible rail-roading." Invisible rail-roading is sometimes necessary to keep the adventure exciting and working. Obvious rail-roading really upsets the players. You've just taken the one thing in the world they do control (their character's choice) away from them.

3. Be consistent. If a character was a physical wuss half an hour ago, they don't suddenly become Bruce Lee when you need them to be. If you decide a rule works one way for an NPC, then it works the same way for the player. As GM, you are required to be fair. That doesn't mean that you have to be kind.... just be consistent. Doing otherwise takes away from the player's balief in the world (and their faith in your judgement).

Hope this helps. And let us know how the first game goes - we like to hear this stuff! smile.gif

-Khadim.
Talia Invierno
A last note, pending other specific questions:

You'd mentioned, DrPeteCastle, that you'd stopped reading just before the Magic section. Probably a good break point.

I'd suggest, however, that you skip forward to the "Running the Shadows" section. It may give more in the way of guidance overview to starting a campaign than we can.
DrPeteCastle
Thanks, I will. before, i just started reading the book from start to finish to get info but i know when i get done with the book and reread alot of it im gonna get stuck on alot of trivial details i cant understand. ill come back and bug you guys when I do. not to give u my life story but.. im going to newyork with my family in a week( staying in a hotel) so im trying to consume this knowledge and attempt the "on the run" adventure when i meet my cousins there.
FriendoftheDork
QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
We were full of questions when we first started too, DrPeteCastle. In fact, we still are -- or else these boards wouldn't exist!
QUOTE
i just saw one dungeons and dragons video and the pc's where acting out their charater like a broadway show. i can see this to an extent but they were scarily into it.

*choke*

Yes, some players do get scarily into it.

In general, however, a rough three-way division exists between how different groups choose to play it.

Group A are the abstract players: my mage does this, my rigger does that.

Group B replaces the third person with "I" in their descriptions, but that's the extent of the acting.

Group C tends to speak IC ("in character"): "[to the GM] I'm gunning the engine. [to the players]Hang on, I'm going to ram them!" (plus much interaction between players "in character"). In general, you tend to see this level much more in the post-by-post games than in tabletop games.

There might also be a group D, the extreme roleplayers, but I haven't encountered it yet, and I'm not looking for it.
QUOTE (tisoz)
But really, I'm not stalking.

No-oo. Of course not grinbig.gif

Hmm odd, I never imagined dumpshockers to be playing out of character that often.

I mean, after all it's a role-playing game, you would think that playing the roles were important to most players.

Sure, back in the day when I was 12 and picked up D&D and Middle-Earth we weren't really roleplaying, just making characters and hack'n slashing, with a few rare dialoges.

But these day's I haven't found a single group that doesen't roleplay at all.

Now I'm not going to say you suck you play the game wrong etc. like many elitist RPGers. If you're having fun then you've succeeded in the object of the game.

However, you not know how fun it can be with a little bit more immersive roleplay. Some can be uncomfortable at first, because of insecurity or just thinking it's awkward to act - don't worry most do at first.

Now.. I'd probably add several groups between C and D - C is only the first step toward roleplay while D is reserved for LARPers and storytellers.

Here's a bit about evolving the game in spoiler tag:
[ Spoiler ]


I've played pretty much every stage of roleplay there is, except of course professional acting. And I've found out that the acting is fun - for you and for the other players. You can even have fun without any rules or dice at all! Yeah, I was sceptical about that at first, but I gave it a shot and liked it, although I still prefer some system and dicerolling.

About stage C... well in our game we don't always yell IC (in character) what we are doing, because that would be silly. Usually only when there is a need for communication between the characters do we speak IC, apart from some combat taunts.

Our games usually enfolds like this:
1: We sometimes recap about last time OOC (out of character), and I (the GM) tell the players how much downtime has passed etc.

2. I introduce the adventure, sometimes by describing "fluff" such as weather, time, etc. It usually begins with a player getting a call from one of his contacts (fixer) or from a Mr. Johnson directly. The call itself is roleplayed.

3. The characters gather and talk about the missions shortly in character (often over the matrix, video conferance). After they all agree to meet the Johnson, they sometimes do some prep work (checking out the Johnson or the meeting place), but usually just go straight for the meet.

4. The meeting place is described to the players, as well as the Johnson and his bodyguards. Then the job is laid out by the Johnson IC, and the players respond in the same kind. Then the deal is negotated, and we usually skip most of that by rolling negotation+charisma instead of barting IC.

5. Planning phase. The players talk IC about what they're going to do, and then usually goes OOC about the details, while asking me about details, checking contacts, data searches etc. Sometimes it's hard to say if they're planning IC or OOC, as the dialogue may be a bit like this:
"Hey can you find out about the target on the matrix?" "Yeah, but perhaps bob should do it, he's got alot more dice in data seach than me."

6. Executing preparations: This means talking to contacts IC, infiltrating corporate buildings to get certain info, getting specialized equipment, or going to locations to investigate.

7. Main execution: The shortest phase of them all. This is the climax, where the runners go in guns blazing, words bluffing and/or programs hacking. Fights are usually resolved OOC, with a few IC comments. Getting away is also part of this.

8. Aftermath: This means meeting the mr Johnson again (handled IC again), fencing loot (if any) and getting paid and karma.


Although there is alot more said OOC than IC in a typical game, when we think back about it the most entertaining parts are the funny IC talks or well-played actions. For instance when our Face/Adept gunslinger started sweet-talking the kidnapped simstar and got her to believe the wildest story, and when the acoholic street samurai troll attempted the same and failed miserably smile.gif It's usually interaction between the players (and sometimes NPCs) that makes us all laugh and have fun, while lucky rolls or the gunslinger taking down 3 security guards in 3 seconds becomes ordinary.


Well, and if you want any DM tips I probably know tons - just PM me. I still make mistakes (we al do) but the noob ones I know and avoid.
tisoz
QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ Jul 11 2007, 12:03 AM)
Fights are usually resolved OOC, with a few IC comments.

I'm hoping you mean by rolling dice and not by actually spilling player blood.
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