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Ok .. I am going to be trying out running Shadowrun 4e for the first time next week, and wanted to get advice from some of you out there that have much more experience.

To start the runners are in Denver, and I am using the SR Missions to start. I am sure that some of these will lead off into side missions that I can make up. My plan is to intersperse SR Missions with stuff that the characters lead off, and some Character specific missions (Enemy interactions, Notoriety, Faction hits, etc....)

I have been a freak lately reading the rules on combat over and over again, checking the characters trying to find flaws that the players may have not found.

What have you all used in the past to keep track of combat, faction, Npc's, time lines.

What should I be staying away from, or should I be using on a regular basis? I have told my guys about the use and the importance of Licenses, and fake SIN's.

I guess I am just kind of nervous running my first game and needed some advise from the more experienced player/GM's.

Thanks for any help,

Since you're using the Missions...make sure you know them. Be really familiar with the timelines and the situations in them.
My advice may not be the kind you want, but here my suggestions:

1) Keep the game flowing. Never let the awesome get bogged down in unneccessary rolls, and never let players feel like they can't do anything or don't know where to go.
2) In combat, targets designed to be killed should use big, impressive guns like shotguns, and be awesome and charge at PCs.
3) In combat, targets designed to actually be a threat should always move cover to cover, wear camo, use automatic weapons, and throw grenades. That's how you scare players.
4) If the combat matters, apply modifiers fairly and consistently. Modifiers matter.
5) Don't sweat flaws, and don't spend too much time writing down too much shit - the players will break it anyway. 5-6 index cards with salient plot points, clues, and how things should end up are more valuable than 10 full pages of notes.
6) For mooks, work up a couple of short templates. Improvise with diepolls if you have to.
7) Every game, give at least half the PCs a chance to shine and be invaluable. Give the players stories to tell in later months/years about 'that awesome thing' they did.
cool.gif Make sure you and all the players are on the same page with regards to how the game world works. Is it pink mohawk or black trenchcoat time? OR BOTH?
9) Don't be afraid to make suggestions with regards to karma expenditure. Nothing sucks like being stuck in a bombed vault when nobody has demolitions, especially if th plot does not involve 'turning all the PCs to chunky salsa.'
10) Have a soundtrack. Hell, have a theme song for each PC, too.
Lessons I've learn over the last 10+ years of GMing:
* Don't give out powerful equipment (unless your willing to use it to "screw" the PCs over later, ie it is part of a story arc)
* Keep the PCs poor but happy (like a drug you want them to come back for more)
* Try not to steer the story around one player, the group will do that for you.
* Be more about the story and less about the rules (play up the environment, the people the PCs interact with, and what the players are doing). If you can get away roleplaying out a scene instead of going to the rules, it will make life much easier for you.
* Use visual tools like a whiteboard/quick drawn diagrams when a visual description is too "technical" (I hate saying the car is 1m from the decapitated building on the left, it is just easier to draw it out).
* Know the rules (I think you have this cased)
* It helps to have a laptop or PDA with a spreadsheet on it of the players and any NPCs they will interact with in the near future (to keep track of initiative, damage, other info).
* Award karma at the end of each session (so you don't forget anything at the end of a campaign).

And most importantly:
* Have fun. Its just a game.
I'd suggest having a rough idea of the story line, and what important NPCs will do to react to a situation, rather than having a linear 'PCs-Do-'A' - TO -Get-To-B". In other words, don't plan on exactly what the PCs will do and make it mandatory to progression. If you have three different ideas of what PCs will do to get through a situation, the PCs will choose a fourth. They always manage to surprise, and you don't want your plot line caught flat footed.
what they said. grinbig.gif

a couple of things I have learned :

1)When you are need a second to think (or sometimes just for theatrics) grab a hand full of dice, toss em, and say something like"Hmmmm" or "HeHeHeHe" then pretend to do some scribbling on some paper that the players can't see. take a deep breath and work out where you can go next. Players tend to freeze at our table when this happens.

2) keep it fluid and keep notes. as others have said but it is worth repeating. If the players meet an npc, keep notes cause you might not remember that Ozark, the pimp, was wearing one red and one blue sock but somebody at the table surely will.

3) make a list of names before hand. then if you need a npc name you can just grab one off the list ,jot it down and assign it to a npc. I also do this with restaurants. band names, products,ect. As in" The meet goes down in a greasy spoon called"joe 3.0". Their ARO is flashing a special for "General Tso's casserole and baked beans". A flyer on the wall, somewhat out of date, announces the Come back tour of "Lenny and the squigmiesters" a rockabilly ballet dancing metal band that had a hit about 7 years ago called "me and my Utili-tutu." grinbig.gif

4) I try to pick one player per session for an "easter egg" . sometimes a piece of gear they have been drooling over or something just to give the character a little of the spot light. things i have handed out were multi-shot grenade launcher and a weird duel natured dog that bonded with the mage.

5) give karma for good role playing(even if it does screw up you plan for the game) and dont be afraid to let them suffer if they frag up. stupidity should always hurt.
Rule #1 - Never let the rules get in the way of having fun.

If you're gaming with your friends, they'll get over it if you goof something up. smile.gif

If the rules aren't working the way you want them to work, adjust them as need be. Try to avoid grabbing a rulebook during a game session. You can look things up afterward, if need be. Just focus on the story and having fun. Everything else is secondary.
QUOTE (the_dunner @ Mar 6 2009, 09:38 PM) *
Rule #1 - Never let the rules get in the way of having fun.

I totally agree.
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