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Thadeus Bearpaw
Hi everyone, I'm relatively new to the Dumpshock forums and to the game in general. I'm not sure of board protocals and the like so I apologise for any infractions to that respect.

I had an idea for a noir-theme Shadowrun game to take place in the Pac-rim (principally Hong Kong but operating outward from there). I was thinking of startign the group out with less BP than normal (300 prolly but maybe 250), and having them start as an investigative firm. I want to maintain the feeling of the Sixth world but I want to ramp the grittiness, and mystery of things. I also want their to be alot more pounding the streets than raiding the corporate enclaves. I just need ideas for runs in Honk Kong that would facilitate this sort of noir, gritty feel. Again they'll be investigators but they can step out of those bounds as the campaign continues. I also would like runs that really apply plot hooks and the like. I've got a few ideas but I'd like to see what you folks thanks. Thank you in advance.
Welcome to the shadows chummer!!!

I suppose that with "I'd like to see what you folks thanks" you intended what we think, well it's a bit hard to have an idea about your game when you are so generic. I meen: Hong Kong, investigation, grittness, street level, not much. It can be a succes or a debacle.
But lets stop complaining and go down with some ideas:
  1. 400 BP are fine, an investigation type game will probably require alot of skills (stealth, social, matrix, knowledge, combat, technical skills for do it yourself) and contacts, street level meens not much high-tech toys (no milspech gear, lower rating, etc.) so skills will be that more important, just tell the player to spread instead of specialize.
  2. Keep the money low, have the player feel the need to make to the end of the mounth, to pay the rent, to conserve ammunitions, let them feel the gritness of being lower class people, it will make sweeter hitting the big time.
  3. Hong Kong is a very mystical place, awakened characters are probably the best (especialy because at street level good implants are not common), but don't make it the ghostbusters-noir.
  4. Hong Kong has a very "own" concept of social interaction, can bring to many plot hoocks (favors, backstabbing, influence, etc.), and can make the players on their toes, it's not a place for punks and social standing can make a whole lot of difference, as face do.
  5. Tempo is rocking the world.

Well I hope to have been helpfull.
Oh, by way:

Watch your back. Shoot straight. Conserve the ammo. and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon! Chummer.
On the subject of starting the PCs with less than the normal amount of BP, keep in mind that the average pedestrian on the street has 160 BP worth of Attributes alone (8 stats at 3 each), even before adding skills and other things. Serious thought needs to be given to the campaign before starting the player characters off in worse shape than the average junkie.
I will echo what has already been stated here by the others. 400 BP is not too many, especially when skills and contacts should play such a heavy role in the game. If you wnat to maintain grittiness, tighten the Nuyen and Gear restrications. Like allow them to only buy up to an 8 availability on items and spend 25 BP on nuyen. That will reign in most of the really tricky cyber/bio and gear that tends to skew games while permitting the characters to be 'equipped' to handle challenges through the use of skills. Often times, gear is what ends up taking the game from challenging to broken imo.

As for ideas, the various slums of Hong Kong are rife with possibilities. There are the Triads fighting for control of available resources. The Yama Kings are eating souls. And there are all kinds refugees flooding across the border for better security and jobs than in mainland China. If you haven't yet, pick up Runner's Havens. Since I haven't read it, I am not sure on Shadows of Asia, but Runner's Havens has a nice overview of Hong Kong and a little about the surroundings. Possibilities for jobs include missing persons cases for the poor and downtrodden who can't convince the Cops/Corps to investigate leading the team to criminality or worse (shedim, infection, organ legging, etc.). There is also two things unique to Hong Kong: Feng Shui and the network of friends thing (no book, so I forgot the term). These two open a number of possible run types that include changing/disrupting the Feng Shui of a location, gathering information on another person's group of friends or sabotaging a person's reputation through surveilance and/or falsifying data.

Just my few nuyen.gif for ya.
400 bp is not too much and you should definitely consider using the CharismaX2 free contact points, rule.

Shadows of Asia is chock full of great stuff, from culture to magic to yeah... anything you could want. The HK chapter in Runner's Havens is pretty good too.

I recently ran a campaign in the Pac-Rim so I'll probably post some of my notes later.
Thadeus Bearpaw
Thanks for all the responses. I have read Runner Havens and Shadows over Asia for those areas not covered in RH. What I was wanting to do is really take instanced investigative runs and have the players really motivate the plot, come up with leads and persue things. I want the game to appear organic as opposed to just saying, "you guys need to XYZ". Where is that 2X charisma rule or contacts? the deal with the BP cap is that I wanted firefights, and the like to be a lot scarier without changing the system, and yeah I didn't necesarilly want to gimp technology or spy kit but I wanted that stuff to seem alot more valuable to a player because of the percentage of spent BP to get it.. I wanted to make sure that karma acquisition over time didn't lead to a power spike, so starting them lower seemed natural solution to this without making about of amendments to the rules. I mean I suppose if Peter David can do super hero noir via Madrox and X-factor than the power levels of the character don't matter nearly so much as what they're doing. I just wanted to circumvent the standard, Fixer Johnson corporate politics story model and make the group alot more street focused. I wanted to give a given city alot more depth than a collection of locations or politics without PC compromising the power structures of the city or be putting the banhammer on actions by saying ah ah ah lonestar corporations, etc etc come down and kick you in the balls.
2X Charisma contact points is a house rule (built around the canon concept of Int+LogX3 free knowledge skills). It works well in games where you want everyone to have at least a couple of decent contacts. In my experience contacts are something that almost always enhances gameplay... whereas the same can't be said for bigger guns or more active skills. The key is to make them take interesting contacts, working them into their backstory rather than simply slaping down "Gun guy" "Magic Guy" "Big Gun Guy".

If you're worried about power creep than keep the karma low, 2-4 per game, spot karma as warranted. 400 BP makes for well rounded but powerful characters that can survive some of the more interesting troubles you can throw at them. Since this is an investigation based game I'd posit that you'll be able to keep them focused on the street by presenting them with problems that can't be solved by shooting someone 4 times in 3 seconds. Interogation, intimidation, etc. Killing this person kills your leads or will tip someone off to your presence in the area. Subtlety will be rewarded while ham fisted tactics will get you killed, arrested, or ignored.

I'd also cap starting avail (with exceptions for things like vision enhancement goggles and cerebral boosters) at 8. 8 Gives players a good spread of equipment but makes them work for the cool shit like .50 cal sniper rifles and boxes of grenades. Turning some of that equipment acquisition into gameplay can help flesh out those fixer NPC's and make them something besides vending machines. That's just my opinion though.

Seriously, make them buy contacts, buy interesting contacts spread throughout the Pac-Rim. If they seem reluctant remind them that their guns aren't always going to be able to come with them (Singapore) or that they might have a hard time buying bullets in bum fuck Fiji or something. Simply getting gear in some of the more remote (and magically active) places is a chore. Also highlight that it isn't always what you know but who, and that having a bunch of buddies that owe you a favor is probably more important than getting an extra IP or -2 AP.

I think it'll be all in how you frame it to your players.
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