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There have been a lot of threads recently about relative power level in different people's campaigns and some other threads have made the point that selling players on the Shadowrun universe is an important step towards getting everyone on the same page.

So, how do you play Shadowrun. Not what do you play. In my mind, ganger-level games and heroic Brainscan-level games are all equally valid. Sure, I have my preference, but that's pretty subjective. I'm more interested in which themes of the Shadowrun universe you play up and which you play down. How do the players interact with the rest of the world when they're not shooting/getting shot at?

One of the themes I always try to have as a backdrop in my campaigns is disparity. The gap between rich and poor is greater than it is today. Likewise, the gulf between the powerful and powerless. Shadowrunners are in a unique position in this caste since they have a relative amount of personal freedom but at the same time depend on other people for most of their livelyhood. Not every rich person is corrupt and evil and not every poor person is suffering with nobility, but the power dynamic is very clear.

I'm lucky in the sense that I don't get a lot of toasters living in their low lifestyle apartment cleaning guns between runs. This means that legality is really important (and its counterpart, concealability). About half my 'runners have SINs, which is odd. The flipside of this is no one even thinks about MMGs/HMGs/ Miniguns/Laser Weapons.

The scope of my campaigns tend to lie somewhere in the middle. Runners won't save the world, but they might save a neighborhood from a dirty bomb once. I want runners to feel like their choices and actions matter and affect the world(s) they care about, but I also want to maintain checks on their influence.

How about you?
Well, i don't know what you mean exactly....

but the characters aren't heroes (And since one of my players hate non-elves and hate mundanes, he ain't a hero, the other ones do anything for money) like the d&d heroes.....

D&D Hero: AHAH! A princess have been taken hostage by a dragon, he will probably polymorph himself and do hideous things! Or maybe he won't polymorph himself! ( eek.gif )... quickly! Let us save her!

SR Character: Hmmm...... a princess taken hostage by a dragon that will do naughy things to her? Ooooh, that'll get me some nyen over the matrix, better grab my videocamera!
We generally play to the 'action movie' influences. People aren't good or evil, they're rich or poor instead, but everyone's definately on the make in one way or another. We play the game world like its Ankh-Morpok - everyone follows the philosophy of enlightened self interest.
Personally, I play the game as "super hero", as I like to refer to it. I don't mean Superman/SilverSurfer, I mean characters who have the power of mind and body to make a stand for morality. I see the cyberpunk genre different than others, who see it as a dark shadowy place where you're faced with gritty reality and no chance to exscape from the gutter of life. Instead I see it as the place where Corps are so powerful that there's only 1 way left to get justice, and that's to become outlaws. What was that phrase in Mask of Zorro? When justice is outlawed, the just must become outlaws?

I call it a 'superhero' feel because people who play in Shadowrun games (at least the ones I've played or run) are alot more powerful than me. Some can be invis, use telekineses, others summon armies of spirits to do their bidding, others move so fast that the mortal eye can barely perceive it, and still others are so gifted in combat that Bruce Lee seems like a a kid playing on the playing field. That's superheroic in my eye, and when these 'super heroes' are fighting for justice (Performing Runs to right a wrong, joining merc groups to stop toxic spread through forests, taking out a blood/insect/toxic shaman, etc, etc), then the game has a 'super hero' twist that would actually make for a good comic book.

Secondly, I look at the books, I see characters alot of the dumpshockers would play after scoffing at the characters in my game and then look at the book and see that our characters are alot closer to the power level of those in the books than others, and also remember that the idea of the game is to tell such stories with the players as the main characters, and I realize (despite pressure to ignore such things) that 'power gaming' is part of good storytelling. Being better than joe-blow, with powers/equipment that would make a normal person gawk in astonsihment, is part of the fun. When stories are told, only a couple of the antagonist are beyond the character's league, and getting to them means getting past alot of minions that, by sheer numbers, luck, or good tactics, can defeat the characters. Defeating that great foe that the normal dumpshocker's PC would run from, being the climatical scene that ends a good chapter in a long book of which the players are characters in.

Anyhows, that's me/us, thanks for letting me ramble. nyahnyah.gif

I guess what I'm getting at is this: We all agree that the Shadowrun world is pretty cool, but there are lots of different elements to it. So many that it would be almost impossible for the best GM to balance them all. Which elements/themes do you choose to focus on? I go for class struggle and, depending on the group, morality. I downplay larger, world-shaking events (I haven't added SURGE yet) and higher levels of tech are very very rare. I enjoy a good "kidnap the researcher" yarn as much as the next guy, but the real focus of my games is choice and power dynamics.
Ol' Scratch
I prefer to base most of my games on the vibe of movies like Payback, Pulp Fiction, Snatch, From Dusk 'Till Dawn, Ocean's Eleven, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, and Boondock Saints... but using a setting closer to what's presented in The Fifth Element. Basically, the runners are on the lower end of the criminal food chain and have more interaction with the underworld than the corporate world. The games are also *very* runner-centric, with the metaplot (most of which I find a bit hokey in presentation though the ideas are fantastic) taking a distant backseat. After the underworld, the media, secret societies, and the government are the most actively used antagonists.

The impact of magic on the world is also a major theme when I'm GMing. It's what makes Shadowrun wholly unique in my opinion, and I really like to focus on it quite a bit. I'm also a big fan of plots within plots within plots (as you may have guessed by some of the movies I referenced as inspiration above), and I absolutely abhor the idea of hand-holding players through a game. If you game with me, you need to be able to think and be creative all on your own.

Corporate espionage and military campaigns rarely ever come up. I'm also *not* a fan of traditional cyberpunk literature of films and find the moods therein to be blase' and unimaginative.
Dim Sum
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein)
If you game with me, you need to be able to think and be creative all on your own.

Ditto. I prefer players to create fully fleshed-out characters who have their own motivations, ambitions, etc. so all I do as the GM is nudge them a little here, a little there, and be responsible for the overall development of events in the larger world. To help them along, I throw a spanner or two in the works, create sub-plots, etc. but otherwise leave them to their own devices.

Sadly, most players can't do this and rely very heavily on the GM to provide a plot, motivation to do anything, reward, and then repeat the whole process. sarcastic.gif
Same here. In my game, the runners are basically just living their lives. Nothing really ties it all together except for the fact that some of the PCs know some of the other PCs. I wish we had more player-motivated plots, but there are three types of people in the game. A few have their whole backstory with associated plot hooks, and those work out great. A few have no background and usually take the Amnesia flaw so I get to write that myself and it works okay. Then there are a couple that even I don't know the background to...
QUOTE (Sphynx)
a dark shadowy place where you're faced with gritty reality and no chance to exscape from the gutter of life.

Yup. That's it.
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