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Chrysalis

I was going back through my CD collection and I found all my old Marilyn Manson albums. I was watching the Beautiful People video and that got me to think of another song, Ich Will by Rammstein, who basically rob a bank as a giant publicity stunt.

Looking through the material all I see is rules on guns and more guns. A few ideas for clothing lines: (right neo victoriana goth steampunk is so hawt these days) or (look what I bought in the earth collection shop! How does this differ from what you wear in 2008, well the sandals are not by Ecco) or the (OMG! I am standing out for wearing colors, quick back into the pinstripe suit).

I would kind of expect there to be more punk elements in Shadowrun. When was the last time a character walked into a bar to be met by a full-on freak show. How many people have room-mates that are tattooists who are into body modification and transcendentalism?

Personally, or at least how we have been playing it. The world is drab and boring with the occasional superhero out saving the world (god forbid he break type and wear spandex).

I want more drugs, I want more random violence. I want to have a reality TV show made about the characters, I want there to be hysterics, drama, and bullets. Less Shadows. Less sneaking. More brazen action. More burning like brilliant trash.

Pendaric
"Unitity! As one step together. Unity! You know its got to come."
Operation Ivy

This is one reason we stick with SR3, the transhumanist movement is present but not prevasive. Or'zet rap is coming in but not dominating the street.
Indivduality is the by word of style and anarchistic rebellion the currency of liberty.

Sometimes you just need to be punk as frag.
Malachi
Hey, if that's how you want to GM the world, there's nothing stopping you.
imperialus
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Dec 15 2008, 01:09 PM) *
I was going back through my CD collection and I found all my old Marilyn Manson albums. I was watching the Beautiful People video and that got me to think of another song, Ich Will by Rammstein, who basically rob a bank as a giant publicity stunt.

Looking through the material all I see is rules on guns and more guns. A few ideas for clothing lines: (right neo victoriana goth steampunk is so hawt these days) or (look what I bought in the earth collection shop! How does this differ from what you wear in 2008, well the sandals are not by Ecco) or the (OMG! I am standing out for wearing colors, quick back into the pinstripe suit).

I would kind of expect there to be more punk elements in Shadowrun. When was the last time a character walked into a bar to be met by a full-on freak show. How many people have room-mates that are tattooists who are into body modification and transcendentalism?

Personally, or at least how we have been playing it. The world is drab and boring with the occasional superhero out saving the world (god forbid he break type and wear spandex).

I want more drugs, I want more random violence. I want to have a reality TV show made about the characters, I want there to be hysterics, drama, and bullets. Less Shadows. Less sneaking. More brazen action. More burning like brilliant trash.


The thing is, the world is going to have as much 'flavour' as the GM wants, and that flavour is going to take on whatever sort of personality the GM has

You want more drugs? Run Ghost Cartels
You want a reality TV show? Play PITO'ed runners in LA
You want a post apocalypse style game? Send em to Chicago.

Take my group for instance. There are 3 of us who have at one point or another GMed and we have vastly different ways of viewing the world. There are good things and bad things inherent in each style.

GM1: Really likes crazy over the top crap. In one campaign our teams ride was a pimped out GMC bulldog with a hottub, wetbar, and LED paint that flashed Chinese zodiac symbols. We went to war with a triad because a couple of their goons scratched the paint. That little vendetta culminated with hijacking an airplane and pushing a fuel air bomb out of the cargo doors onto their main warehouse. Another time we got our hands on a chemical weapon that could kill most of Hong Kong, he just wanted to see what we'd do with it. His campaigns tend to be pretty short, and very spontaneous, they're kind of like brush fires. They get going really fast, cause massive amounts of damage, and then burn themselves out. There just isn't enough coherence to keep things going, and within one or two runs we've inevitably pissed off enough really powerful people that our characters are walking dead.

GM2: Really likes more structured campaigns. He likes taking a single organization, be it a gang, a military unit, or whatever and making the PC's part of it. He likes the control it gives him over the storyline (he's the most railroady of the GM's) and we tend to like the fact that the 'organization', whatever it is gives us a ton of cool crap that most runners never see. Our most memorable experience with this GM was the climax of a Knight Errant campaign where we ended up doing a HALO drop into the southeast asian warzone wearing powerarmour to burn out an insect hive.

GM3: (me) I'm the most 'traditional' of the GM's. I tend to lean towards black ops/professional style campaigns that follow the more traditional format of "Meet Johnson, Get run, Do run, Get paid/screwed, Rinse, Repeat." I generally do have an overall 'goal' but my primary interest is in creating a realistic world that the PC's can explore and bang around the edges of. The big downside is that it's easy for the PC's to get 'lost' or start going in radically different directions.
Sir_Psycho
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Dec 15 2008, 03:09 PM) *
Looking through the material all I see is rules on guns and more guns. A few ideas for clothing lines: (right neo victoriana goth steampunk is so hawt these days) or (look what I bought in the earth collection shop! How does this differ from what you wear in 2008, well the sandals are not by Ecco) or the (OMG! I am standing out for wearing colors, quick back into the pinstripe suit).

One of the things I find most interesting about shadowrun is that it's an exaggurated capitalist cultural wasteland, where money has either consumed and amalgamated culture and subcultures (Why do all those suits have mohawks?), effectively robbing them of any meaning and just turning them into brands.
QUOTE
I would kind of expect there to be more punk elements in Shadowrun. When was the last time a character walked into a bar to be met by a full-on freak show. How many people have room-mates that are tattooists who are into body modification and transcendentalism?

I personally like embellishing NPC's with interesting bits of ware, like the bartender in Neuromancer with an antique pink plastic cyber-arm with a claw grip. The NPC's don't need to min-max, or think about practicality or how conspicuous their body mod is, so seeing a guy with a half cyberskull and a single cyber-eye can bring out the alienating cyberpunk dystopia you want. It's the little touches.

My girlfriend's flatmate used to live with a body piercer. She's comparitively tame, with back scarrification, tattoos, nose piercing, one above her top lip, stretched ears, dermal anchor on her chest, and two nipple piercings (she has a thing about symmetry). Ben, the guy she used to live with has some pretty full on mods, such as a plethora of genital piercings.

QUOTE
Personally, or at least how we have been playing it. The world is drab and boring with the occasional superhero out saving the world (god forbid he break type and wear spandex).

I want more drugs, I want more random violence. I want to have a reality TV show made about the characters, I want there to be hysterics, drama, and bullets. Less Shadows. Less sneaking. More brazen action. More burning like brilliant trash.

I honestly don't think this is a problem with the game. Shadowrun games are collaborative and creative, it's not like reading a book or watching a movie, that you can quantify and criticize. If you don't like what's going on, mix it up. You clearly know what you want. Make it happen.
wind_in_the_stones
I think the game is reacting to the desires of the players. That, and everything you wish for, Chrysalis, is still available. One of Shadowrun's strengths is that it offers so much for so many different people. Sawed-off shotguns are still there. It's just a matter of playing it that way.

That's the tricky part. In my group, even if we start low level, the characters always work their way up the pay scale, and end up doing covert ops-style shadowruns on corporations - because that's what they want. You have to get the players to buy into your idea. You have to have characters whose motivations aren't add odds with them staying in the 'hood. You have to provide missions for them that are entertaining enough to keep them there. And maybe mess with them so they don't get the resources or the rep to move upward.
JonathanC
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Dec 15 2008, 12:09 PM) *
I was going back through my CD collection and I found all my old Marilyn Manson albums. I was watching the Beautiful People video and that got me to think of another song, Ich Will by Rammstein, who basically rob a bank as a giant publicity stunt.

Looking through the material all I see is rules on guns and more guns. A few ideas for clothing lines: (right neo victoriana goth steampunk is so hawt these days) or (look what I bought in the earth collection shop! How does this differ from what you wear in 2008, well the sandals are not by Ecco) or the (OMG! I am standing out for wearing colors, quick back into the pinstripe suit).

I would kind of expect there to be more punk elements in Shadowrun. When was the last time a character walked into a bar to be met by a full-on freak show. How many people have room-mates that are tattooists who are into body modification and transcendentalism?

Personally, or at least how we have been playing it. The world is drab and boring with the occasional superhero out saving the world (god forbid he break type and wear spandex).

I want more drugs, I want more random violence. I want to have a reality TV show made about the characters, I want there to be hysterics, drama, and bullets. Less Shadows. Less sneaking. More brazen action. More burning like brilliant trash.

It sounds like you want to be playing in SR Los Angeles. Plenty of reality show stuff with P2.0 shadowrunners, cultivating a 'look', and the fluff suggests that while there's still a place for cloak and dagger, the big bucks are in being a character and mugging for the camera while you're running.
Blade
A friend of mine ran a cinematographic run in L.A. The objective of the run was to kill someone on trideo and get the highest rating. (It turned out Mr. Johnson was an ex-oyabun who wanted to fake his death by killing a lookalike on trideo).

The runners ended up controlling the target with a posession spirit and staging the whole run, attaching explosives to a truck so that it exploded when it crashed, asking Knight Errants to send troops their way to add more drama while the team's face was busy contacting various corps to sell them product placement.
nezumi
I agree, it all comes down to the GM. The system as it stands really is geared more towards black shadowrun, with only a few nods still to the punk (although I suspect SR1/2 may have more of it). What would be useful to me, as a GM, is fan-based supplements to put some more punk in there. Maybe "ShadowPunk!" I never had a transcendentalist tattoo-artist room mate. My one room mate picked locks and stole stuff and the other one was a troll. So definitely, more resources would be very cool.
ornot
I agree that a large part of the theme or style is partly down to how the gm runs it, and secondly what the players want to do. My players seem to be mostly into quiet subtle runs with as low an ordinance budget as possible. They use a lot of social engineering and misdirection to earn their money. Two of them are into body modding, and have a bunch of tattoos and piercings, and have introduced me to the concept of subdermal implants among other things.

The way I play it is that body modification is more widespread than today, so the tamer forms we see today (tattoos, ear and nose piercing) are effectively the norm, while the kinds of people getting those things today get the more extreme stuff and 'ware for fashion purposes. Corpers have tattoos, usually with a theme common to their company, so their loyalty might even be recognised based on the tattoos they have. I've also taken to heart the wide availability of plastic surgery suggested in Augmentation. In my world few people are ugly or fat, and the clubs are always full of beautiful people, to the extent that it's not even relevant.
Socinus
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Dec 15 2008, 09:09 PM) *
I was going back through my CD collection and I found all my old Marilyn Manson albums. I was watching the Beautiful People video and that got me to think of another song, Ich Will by Rammstein, who basically rob a bank as a giant publicity stunt.

Looking through the material all I see is rules on guns and more guns. A few ideas for clothing lines: (right neo victoriana goth steampunk is so hawt these days) or (look what I bought in the earth collection shop! How does this differ from what you wear in 2008, well the sandals are not by Ecco) or the (OMG! I am standing out for wearing colors, quick back into the pinstripe suit).

I would kind of expect there to be more punk elements in Shadowrun. When was the last time a character walked into a bar to be met by a full-on freak show. How many people have room-mates that are tattooists who are into body modification and transcendentalism?

Personally, or at least how we have been playing it. The world is drab and boring with the occasional superhero out saving the world (god forbid he break type and wear spandex).

I want more drugs, I want more random violence. I want to have a reality TV show made about the characters, I want there to be hysterics, drama, and bullets. Less Shadows. Less sneaking. More brazen action. More burning like brilliant trash.

The system is designed to be done ultra-punk or ultra-sleek.

You can have missions that involve the Manson crowd or ones that call for James Bond. Look at it from the point of view of the Johnson.

If I want to have a rival exec knocked off, am I gonna drop 500K on a team of five trolls to kick down his front door and light up the neighborhood or am I gonna spend 200K on one guy with a damn good rifle to put a round in his head from the building next door then disappear?
JonathanC
QUOTE (Socinus @ Dec 16 2008, 06:43 PM) *
The system is designed to be done ultra-punk or ultra-sleek.

You can have missions that involve the Manson crowd or ones that call for James Bond. Look at it from the point of view of the Johnson.

If I want to have a rival exec knocked off, am I gonna drop 500K on a team of five trolls to kick down his front door and light up the neighborhood or am I gonna spend 200K on one guy with a damn good rifle to put a round in his head from the building next door then disappear?

Honestly, I might go with the Trolls. A professional looking hit makes it fairly obvious that it was a corporate move. They'll check his enemies list, and it's a fair bet that Johnson or someone he's working for is on that list. If 5 trolls pop into his house,wreck the place, and bail, then it just looks like some kind of thrill-kill robbery/home invasion.

Misdirection FTW. Wasn't the whole point of SR that you didn't want people to know who was behind it? That was a lot easier when Shadowrunners were a bunch of neo-anarchist conspiracy theory nutjobs with ties to radical environmentalists and social justice types. If all of your runners are ex-corps dressed like refugees from The Matrix who run every job with knife-edge precision and military-style jargon over their comms, well...holes begin to form in your deniability, and you might as well just send the Red Samurai and be done with it.
Glyph
Yeah, I kind of miss the pink mohawks and that old Wild West feel that early Shadowrun had - not that you can't still play it, it's just been downplayed a bit. But I remember one of the old pictures, showing these gun-toting punks who had hijacked the Lone Star APC, and they were taking it out for a joyride, with this terrified LS guy strapped to the hood - I kind of liked it when it was more like that. It's no fun, to me, playing the cold hard pros. Where's the moral dilemma? I like the clash of anarchist idealism meeting the realization that you're just part of the system in the end.
JonathanC
It hasn't been downplayed a bit, it's been practically stripped out of the game, and honestly, I don't know how to define when/where it happened.

I want to blame the gradual rise of magic and adepts over cyber, but that's not it. Even cyberware characters tend to be variations on the same mods (wired reflexes, muscle toner, smartlink, yawn). Perhaps it's Bioware and the move towards undetectable cyber; Shadowrunners who want to blend in with everybody else.

I'm blessed with a good mix of experienced and new players in my current game, and they're all great guys. But my favorite ones are the new guys.

One of them is a human "pit fighter"...in his original build, he didn't even buy wired reflexes. His main thing is having orthoskin so he can run around shirtless charging into bullets and punching people to death. He was caught in an ambush a few weeks ago and after taking 4 boxes of physical in the initial volley, he charged through the window they were shooting out of, dove through, and grappled the shooter. He is AWESOME.

The other new player is an elf smuggler with a coke habit. The character is similarly awesome, because both players are making their decisions at least partially based on "what would be awesome?".

Not "what would be most efficient?" or "What would amuse me personally, probably at the expense of everyone else?". Both players are also teenagers. Perhaps the problem isn't the game, it's just us growing old?
kzt
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 23 2009, 09:02 PM) *
Honestly, I might go with the Trolls. A professional looking hit makes it fairly obvious that it was a corporate move. They'll check his enemies list, and it's a fair bet that Johnson or someone he's working for is on that list. If 5 trolls pop into his house,wreck the place, and bail, then it just looks like some kind of thrill-kill robbery/home invasion.

Yup. Make it look like a couple of addicts broke-in and and killed him when it turned out the house wasn't empty.
kzt
QUOTE (Glyph @ Mar 23 2009, 10:04 PM) *
Yeah, I kind of miss the pink mohawks and that old Wild West feel that early Shadowrun had - not that you can't still play it, it's just been downplayed a bit. But I remember one of the old pictures, showing these gun-toting punks who had hijacked the Lone Star APC, and they were taking it out for a joyride, with this terrified LS guy strapped to the hood - I kind of liked it when it was more like that. It's no fun, to me, playing the cold hard pros. Where's the moral dilemma? I like the clash of anarchist idealism meeting the realization that you're just part of the system in the end.

You can do a lot of cool concepts like that, but you should also be starting each game session by creating new characters....
JonathanC
All of this has me pondering a jump back to 3rd edition...
Phylos Fett
I thought the whole Life on the Edge section of the BBB was supposed to help with setting?
The Mack
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 24 2009, 01:13 PM) *
Not "what would be most efficient?" or "What would amuse me personally, probably at the expense of everyone else?". Both players are also teenagers. Perhaps the problem isn't the game, it's just us growing old?


That's definitely a part of it.

Getting older often (not always) sees people becoming more practical.


It also has to do with your perception of "awesome". For me, James Bond has always been awesome.

Military precision, and "professional" types, have always been awesome.

Except for one game, way back in the day, when I was playing a Cyberpunk street level gangwar campaign I don't think I've ever voluntarily went for a florescent mohawk, overtly chromed out, flamboyant type character. It's just not the type of character that appeals to me to play. I'm quite happy to have that character in the group though, as it's fun roleplaying my very serious, professional style characters with someone's chromed, spiked skullcap having, dual wielding chainsaws into combat character (a friends character...didn't live very long rotfl.gif )

At the OP, I'd just echo what others have said.

In the end, the theme of the game is in the GMs hands.


QUOTE (Imperialis)
GM2: Really likes more structured campaigns. He likes taking a single organization, be it a gang, a military unit, or whatever and making the PC's part of it. He likes the control it gives him over the storyline (he's the most railroady of the GM's) and we tend to like the fact that the 'organization', whatever it is gives us a ton of cool crap that most runners never see. Our most memorable experience with this GM was the climax of a Knight Errant campaign where we ended up doing a HALO drop into the southeast asian warzone wearing powerarmour to burn out an insect hive.


Sounds like something I'd really enjoy. cyber.gif
Dream79
QUOTE (Pendaric @ Dec 15 2008, 08:21 PM) *
"Unitity! As one step together. Unity! You know its got to come."
Operation Ivy

This is one reason we stick with SR3, the transhumanist movement is present but not prevasive. Or'zet rap is coming in but not dominating the street.
Indivduality is the by word of style and anarchistic rebellion the currency of liberty.

Sometimes you just need to be punk as frag.

Yes the anti-conformist conformity.

If you want it play it that way. I think it just comes down to the world view and style of the times. Looking back things have changed quite a bit at an extremely fast pace in the past 17 years or so.
Cardul
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Dec 15 2008, 03:09 PM) *
I was going back through my CD collection and I found all my old Marilyn Manson albums. I was watching the Beautiful People video and that got me to think of another song, Ich Will by Rammstein, who basically rob a bank as a giant publicity stunt.

Looking through the material all I see is rules on guns and more guns. A few ideas for clothing lines: (right neo victoriana goth steampunk is so hawt these days) or (look what I bought in the earth collection shop! How does this differ from what you wear in 2008, well the sandals are not by Ecco) or the (OMG! I am standing out for wearing colors, quick back into the pinstripe suit).

I would kind of expect there to be more punk elements in Shadowrun. When was the last time a character walked into a bar to be met by a full-on freak show. How many people have room-mates that are tattooists who are into body modification and transcendentalism?

Personally, or at least how we have been playing it. The world is drab and boring with the occasional superhero out saving the world (god forbid he break type and wear spandex).

I want more drugs, I want more random violence. I want to have a reality TV show made about the characters, I want there to be hysterics, drama, and bullets. Less Shadows. Less sneaking. More brazen action. More burning like brilliant trash.


Chrysalis..thank you! I have been trying to think how to describe "Pink Mohawks"-style Shadowrun over "Tench-coat and mirror shades" style Shadowrun...and you just perfectly nailed it...thank you!
AWOL_Seraphim
Maybe I'm just slow (that's probably it wink.gif ), but I never noticed any shift from "chromed punk with guns" (back when I played SR2) to "black ops professional." Maybe it has to do with the way I define a shadowrunner: someone who, for one reason or another, takes a long hard look at the system and decides to tell it "frag you" and drops out. From my personal perspective, if that person wanted to blend in and do black ops in a professional way, he'd join a corporate security squad, Lone Star/Knight Errant/etc., or the army. Now, whether shadowrunning actually requires pink mohawks and enough chrome to blind people during sunny days would be, I think, every runner's choice.

Long story short, I guess there's room for both playing styles. If you want to make it really punk, I'm sure you can do it. In the campaign I'm planning, rap stopped being popular in the 1990s, and heavy metal and punk rock are quite popular in the 2070s, for instance. And that's just the beginning. smile.gif
Phylos Fett
I was thinking more about this last night (damned insomnia!) and it seems that the more sourcebooks that came out (starting back late in SR1 and a definite trend in SR2), the more info there was on security procedures and so forth; it became easier and easier for a GM to make locations secure so that shadowrunners had to try to get in and out undetected, and try to remain unseen.

As an example, when I was playing straight from the BBB in SR2, I had a player that had a cross-dressing ork sam as a character. The guy drove around in an old Kombi Van, with "Cortex Bomb" tattooed on his forehead, and was a real pyromaniac. Which was fine because it worked. But then, when I got books like Neo-Anarchists Guide to Real Life, Corporate Security Handbook, and Lone Star, there were all sorts of ways to screw with blatant 'runners. Over time characters started to get toned down, and act professional, get all the right gear to go full stealth, etc..

I guess things did become a bit clinical, but, I suppose, it was because everyone wanted to try out the shiny new toys in the new books (GM included). There is still a place for the over-the-top guys with pink mohawks and dressing like cowboys; it's all to do with the way you play the game. Just don't expect the GM/Johnson to offer them the big paying jobs; guys like that aren't going to be living in (traditional) Middle or High lifestyles, and won't get the jobs to pay for said lifestyles. They are going to get the more street oriented jobs, because that is the image that they portray, and the life that they lead.
Lindt
QUOTE (kzt @ Mar 23 2009, 11:23 PM) *
You can do a lot of cool concepts like that, but you should also be starting each game session by creating new characters....


See, the thing is that USED to be the game.


Glyph, I hear ya. A part of me really liked that style of CyberPUNK. Its hard to portray a setting where its really you vs 'the man', when 'the man' pays you thousands of ¥ to use rare and violent skills to their financial gain.
JonathanC
QUOTE (Darth Phylos @ Mar 24 2009, 09:25 PM) *
I was thinking more about this last night (damned insomnia!) and it seems that the more sourcebooks that came out (starting back late in SR1 and a definite trend in SR2), the more info there was on security procedures and so forth; it became easier and easier for a GM to make locations secure so that shadowrunners had to try to get in and out undetected, and try to remain unseen.

As an example, when I was playing straight from the BBB in SR2, I had a player that had a cross-dressing ork sam as a character. The guy drove around in an old Kombi Van, with "Cortex Bomb" tattooed on his forehead, and was a real pyromaniac. Which was fine because it worked. But then, when I got books like Neo-Anarchists Guide to Real Life, Corporate Security Handbook, and Lone Star, there were all sorts of ways to screw with blatant 'runners. Over time characters started to get toned down, and act professional, get all the right gear to go full stealth, etc..

I guess things did become a bit clinical, but, I suppose, it was because everyone wanted to try out the shiny new toys in the new books (GM included). There is still a place for the over-the-top guys with pink mohawks and dressing like cowboys; it's all to do with the way you play the game. Just don't expect the GM/Johnson to offer them the big paying jobs; guys like that aren't going to be living in (traditional) Middle or High lifestyles, and won't get the jobs to pay for said lifestyles. They are going to get the more street oriented jobs, because that is the image that they portray, and the life that they lead.

I have two problems with this:

1. It's penalizing players for being creative and trying to have some fun with their characters. Essentially, if you aren't playing Jack Bauer, you're living in a cardboard box.

2. As has already been mentioned, if you wanted a job pulled off with professional precision, you'd just use corporate black ops.
nezumi
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 23 2009, 10:02 PM) *
Misdirection FTW. Wasn't the whole point of SR that you didn't want people to know who was behind it? That was a lot easier when Shadowrunners were a bunch of neo-anarchist conspiracy theory nutjobs with ties to radical environmentalists and social justice types. If all of your runners are ex-corps dressed like refugees from The Matrix who run every job with knife-edge precision and military-style jargon over their comms, well...holes begin to form in your deniability, and you might as well just send the Red Samurai and be done with it.


Very strong point. Something I may begin using in future runs. "Your team is a group of neo-anarchists. Break into house X, trash the place, spraypaint it, and grab item Y." Not quite as cool as when they really believe it, but at least it's a push in the right direction.


QUOTE (Darth Phylos @ Mar 24 2009, 11:25 PM) *
I was thinking more about this last night (damned insomnia!) and it seems that the more sourcebooks that came out (starting back late in SR1 and a definite trend in SR2), the more info there was on security procedures and so forth; it became easier and easier for a GM to make locations secure so that shadowrunners had to try to get in and out undetected, and try to remain unseen.


QFT, kudos to the new guy. You're absolutely right. There's no space for a bright pink mohawk because a mohawk would be spotted from half a mile away and the Star would follow it specifically. Now you need to keep a low profile, because we, the GMs, have enforced it. Food for thought. Makes me (depressingly) have to reconsider my entire GMing style...
DWC
There's plenty of punk to be found in the muted, low key style. You're not part of "the machine". You're living in the cracks of society, pretending to be "part of the machine". Every time your decoy commlink gets bombarded with the spam so your real one doesn't, and you get to walk down the street without seeing Horizon's latest mind control campaign, you're given "the system" the proverbial middle finger. Every time you skew a targetted marketing system because you keep buying the same type of coffee with a different fake SIN, you're "sticking it to the man".

The shooting war for the soul of humanity is over, and the neo-anarchists and the cyberpunks lost. Now, the holdouts are trying to see how long they can stick to their principles and keep not doing what they're told. The pink mohawks are gone, discarded like the uniforms of a defeated army, but the warriors who wore them are still fighting. They do the corporations' dirty work because it's all they know how to do, but they're still outlaws, living outside of normal society, doing everything they can to avoid becoming part of normal society.
paws2sky
Its good to have these discussions form time to time - helps put things in perspective.

Speaking from my own experience...

When we played back in SR1 and SR2, we really put the punk in it. Runner groups looked like mobile freak shows and the GMs let us get away with just about anything because, well... why not?

Toward the end of SR2 - when we were burning out on the game - there was a player driven shift to play more professional characters. Ex-Corp pros became the norm. A couple were even on the official payroll, not-so secretly doing shadow work on the side. This was mostly due to a desire to do something different.

For the most part, my entire circle of gamer friends missed the entirely of SR3. We didn't give it a try until after SR4 was out. I always thought the tone of that edition was particularly dark. If nothing else, going from Laubenstein's bright water color archetype portraits (which I love even to this day) to the very dark portraits in SR3 set a certain darker tone. Some peopel in the group I breifly ran did the punk thing, some went more professional - its was about a 50/50 split.

And SR4 has just continued the darkness in a lot of ways. Heck, look at the BBB. All that green screams "The Matrix" (as in, the movie) to me. The portraits are still dark. By canon, there is constant video surveillance in all but the dodgiest part of the town, which makes walking down the street with your manic panic pink 'hawk not a good survival trait. Anyway, my current group seems to be leaning toward the professional side, rather than the punk side. Its not black ops, but its definitely a cut or two above street.

Ramble, ramble... yeah.

-paws
Yeah, that was pretty much stream of thought. Sorry.
Malachi
In my games there is a mixture of the two worlds. In the downtown (more "civilized") areas of town it's all about subtlety and professionalism where if the runners makes too much "noise" they're going to get LS or Corp Security on their heads in a moment. However, out in the barrens and other "fringe" parts of town (like Tacoma in Seattle) there is still a strong "gang punk" movement going. Shootings in the street from patched together car wrecks and firebombing with molotov cocktails is still the norm.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
By canon, there is constant video surveillance in all but the dodgiest part of the town, which makes walking down the street with your manic panic pink 'hawk not a good survival trait.

Of course, canon doesn't really state what hairstyles are common in 2072. It could be that bright pink mohawks are rather common among wageslaves and even exec, while only SINless trash have what we of 2009 consider 'conservative' hairstyles.
Angier
heck, it could be "in" to be pink mohawk while the real social drop outs try to rebel now by being "conformistic"
Wesley Street
Despite R. Talsorian's insistence, cyberpunk never had a thing to do with with the punk movement or punk rock.
Kingboy
QUOTE (paws2sky @ Mar 25 2009, 11:01 AM) *
Anyway, my current group seems to be leaning toward the professional side, rather than the punk side. Its not black ops, but its definitely a cut or two above street.


If my Face and the Troll Bodyguard have anything to do about it in the near future, coupled with the strong organized crime bent of Denver, Film Noir is probably the best genre descriptor (with a little James Bond mixed in if I can ever afford my vehicle mods smile.gif ) for our current game.

And we have a relatively interesting mix actually. We've got:
  • a true Ex-Corper (the combat medic)
  • a "raised in the slums trying to make a better life" corper wannabe (the bodyguard)
  • a club kid adrenaline junkie (the gunbunny)
  • an insane but useful homeless guy (the B&E adept)
  • a upper-middle class dropout who went on a disappointing mystical quest and is tired of being broke (the Face)



Demonseed Elite
I agree with the earlier poster who mentioned the players getting older. I know that when I was in high school playing Shadowrun, our group was often full of crazy, wacky ideas that were very impractical, but our GM let us get away with it anyway. Mainly because we were young and took the game a lot less seriously. I don't think the flavor of the game has changed drastically, but I think older gamers approach it differently.
paws2sky
If you guys want to play it that way, I'm game. smile.gif


-paws
I'll follow up with you in PM.
Phylos Fett
Another thing occurred to me last night (yes, I seem to do most of my thinking in bed - blame my 21 month old daughter wink.gif) - in both SR2 and SR3 Shadowrun Companion(s) they had a Flaw listed - Distinctive Style. Basically, if you wanted to be one of the green mohawk (as the books describe it) guys, it was considered a flaw, and you got extra BP for it; this seems to make this kind of appearance the exception rather than the norm.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
Basically, if you wanted to be one of the green mohawk (as the books describe it) guys, it was considered a flaw, and you got extra BP for it; this seems to make this kind of appearance the exception rather than the norm.

Distincitive Style is very subjective. In many areas of the Barrens, the guy that wears corp-approved attrire and sports a clean-cut professional look is the one that deserves Distinctive Style while the mohawk crowd might blend far more easily.
Phylos Fett
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Mar 26 2009, 10:56 AM) *
Distincitive Style is very subjective. In many areas of the Barrens, the guy that wears corp-approved attrire and sports a clean-cut professional look is the one that deserves Distinctive Style while the mohawk crowd might blend far more easily.


I always viewed the Flaw as being like a Talisman Geas for distinctiveness - minimum of 3 distinct characteristics, so it'd have to be a green mohawk, a Soviet armour jacket and a pearl handle Ruger Superwarkawk, for example...
JonathanC
QUOTE (Wesley Street @ Mar 25 2009, 09:37 AM) *
Despite R. Talsorian's insistence, cyberpunk never had a thing to do with with the punk movement or punk rock.

Says who? Contrary to popular belief, Cyberpunk didn't begin with Case and Molly either.
Enin
Maybe one reason that the setting has moved away from "punk" is that our pop culture today has done the same thing. When you think about it, this game was created when punk was still very popular and that was translated into the game. Now considering what's gone on recently in current events and pop culture, that has been sub-consciously transferred into the game setting.

Just a thought.....
Wesley Street
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 25 2009, 10:19 PM) *
Says who? Contrary to popular belief, Cyberpunk didn't begin with Case and Molly either.

Bruce Bethke.
The Mack
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Mar 26 2009, 09:56 AM) *
Distincitive Style is very subjective. In many areas of the Barrens, the guy that wears corp-approved attrire and sports a clean-cut professional look is the one that deserves Distinctive Style while the mohawk crowd might blend far more easily.


That's not how I see "Distinctive Style" functioning. I see it less as an indication of what you wear, and more of a nebulous quality that makes you memorable as an individual.

You can meet a lot of people who might all belong to the same sub-culture, wearing similar clothing and hairstyles, but there's that one guy or girl that just stands out amongst the rest.

Whether they wear a suit, dress like hippies or wear nothing but a cowboy hat and a diaper, something about them just sticks in people's minds.

At least that's how I see that quality working.




QUOTE (johnathanc)
Says who? Contrary to popular belief, Cyberpunk didn't begin with Case and Molly either.


Actually, that's a great example of the breadth of the genre however.

You've got Case, who's an extremely talented train wreck. You've got Molly, who's a pure professional (and my favorite type of Street Samurai, effectively a melee glass cannon), and probably represents what most of this thread is about as she is the type of slick, precise, yet not corporate owned type of pro that the OP sees the game has switched towards.

But outside of all that, you have your seriously fringe anarchists, like the Panther Moderns.

So they all exist, simultaneously, in this massive pastiche.


Nothing says you can't play neo-anarchist rebels (or terrorists, depending on your POV), but you can't really squeeze characters like that into the typical Mr. J offers job, team does job, crap ensues, team gets paid or gets played model. And it's hard to theme a game around reckless lunatics with pink mohawks who don't want to follow any rules or take hand outs from "the man".
Malachi
QUOTE (Enin @ Mar 25 2009, 08:25 PM) *
Maybe one reason that the setting has moved away from "punk" is that our pop culture today has done the same thing. When you think about it, this game was created when punk was still very popular and that was translated into the game. Now considering what's gone on recently in current events and pop culture, that has been sub-consciously transferred into the game setting.

Just a thought.....

I think this has more to do with the "disappearance" of punk than anything. A younger person playing Shadowrun today just doesn't identify with the leathers, chains, and mohawk style anymore. I do love the character they were going for in the original Seattle sourcebook, but in many ways when I look back at it now I just think: "it's the 80's." I'm interested to see the upcoming Seattle 2072 project for a more updated book that has the same feel.
Nath
Also, your average RPG player often has the shy and introverted nerd-type personality (hey, I'm one of those !). He feels a lot more comfortable with the idea of a black coat than with a pink mohawk, as far as identifying with your character matters.

And that was true even in the early 90ies (Punky Brewster does not count !)
Phylos Fett
QUOTE (Nath @ Mar 27 2009, 05:33 AM) *
And that was true even in the early 90ies (Punky Brewster does not count !)


Wasn't she an Otaku? silly.gif
HappyDaze
QUOTE
That's not how I see "Distinctive Style" functioning. I see it less as

Like I said, it's very subjective. cool.gif
silva
Nice topic.

I also felt the setting was getting less punk with each edition. Maybe thats why I disliked 4th so much. (except anniversary edition, this one I like). SR 1st and 2nd Ed were more like Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Akira, Strange Days movie, etc. And nowadays it is kind of Ghost in the Shell, Bourne Identity, Matrix, Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, etc.

But its a natural thing to happen, I think.

Even if im a huge fan of old 2nd ed and its great punk aesthetics (kudos to that ed art director, Jeff Laubenstein), I think the game must adapt to the new times. The cyberpunk genre had this huge appeal in the late 80 s till mid 90 s but after that It kind of lost the charm. if the game didnt adapt to new times and trends it would lose appeal with the new generation of players.
Ten Suns
If that kind of atmosphere is what you're going for, I can't agree enough with the folks suggesting that you play in LA. We've got an LA campaign going right now, and the vibe you're describing is pervasive. It's not just about being an efficient or inefficient criminal anymore. You've got to worry about the security of your regular identities, the image of your primary runner identities, the the rep of your alternate identities if you take non-public jobs occasionally, and the lines you hope nobody draws between them. If you're trying to get famous, you've got to figure out your gimmick and hit the big time while the window's open. If you want to keep it quiet and professional -- or, alternately, if you want to take a stand against the system -- you still have to worry about your image, because if you aren't managing it, as your street cred builds, the people you run against will start manipulating it for you. You have to play the game, but you also don't want to play it too well, lest you turn into another group of disposable "runners of the week."

To give an example, our running team started out doing Jackass-style "stupid human tricks" sims as a sideline to build buzz. Over time, they've evolved into Michel Gondry-style absurdist works that mix real, dangerous runs with outlandish drama (like when we stole armored diving suits and used them to film a fight sequence against a pit fighter in a shark suit in a high school gym decorated "Under the Sea" prom-style). A complete accident on a random-short-term job (we were hired to keep a band from performing, so we contacted their agent and turned it into a planned "kidnapping" publicity stunt) won us a higher-profile, higher-paying job as "heels" fighting a well-konwn runner squad. Now we're struggling with the issue of whether we can milk our new role long enough to get the money and rep we need to put us in a bigger league and let us do a face turn. At the same time, those of us who came from street backgrounds (about half) have to deal with the psychological impact of turning violence and theft into art, while the eggheads in the group worry about whether it's still art once the branding execs get a hold of it.
The Mack
QUOTE (silva @ Mar 27 2009, 10:40 AM) *
I also felt the setting was getting less punk with each edition. Maybe thats why I disliked 4th so much. (except anniversary edition, this one I like). SR 1st and 2nd Ed were more like Neuromancer, Blade Runner, Akira, Strange Days movie, etc. And nowadays it is kind of Ghost in the Shell, Bourne Identity, Matrix, Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, etc.


Stories like Neuromancer (and the sprawl Trilogy in general) and Blade Runner gave birth to stuff like Ghost in the Shell and the Matrix.

There's very little in the way of "punk" in the main characters of those stories, with more of them being "pros" than anything else (Molly, Turner, Deckard, etc.). So the setting never really changed, not in popular fiction anyway.
Cardul
You know, I was thinking, and I realized that a big part of the shift is the whole not jsut more professional attitude seen in SR, but also the rather noticable lack of people doing crazier things. I mean, when is the last time you read in a book that the character carried a baseball bat, and was in a melee, using it as a weapon, when someone threw a grenade and he hit it back at the thrower? That is kind of punk.

What about the sort of everyone is hitting the facility in a chaotic fashion, but, when you step back and look at it after the fact, you realize that the hit is actually leaving a sort of charred graffiti of some sort in the facility. That is sort of punk.

One of the problems, though, is: what defines Punk?
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