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Hey gang.

Two weeks ago my regular group ended a campaign and afterward started talking about what we wanted to play next. Lots of great idea's were thrown out, but when the dust finally settled, much to everyone's surprise, Shadowrun was the final choice. I say "everyone's surprise" because it turned out that all of us were SR fans from way back but never really knew that the others at our table enjoyed the game as well. After looking at the different editions we decided to go with 4A, and I have jumped at the chance to GM it. We've already bought a couple copies of the main book, and each of us has agreed to buy one of the support books (Arsenal, Street Magic etc), which makes the owner of our FLGS very happy. This Friday I'll be taking everyone through character generation, and our plan is to start the game on May 22.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Do any of you experienced GM's have tips you would like to share on starting a new SR campaign?

I know that having Mr Johnson hire some 'Runners is an easy way to get a group together. What are some of the best group concepts you've used?

As we live just north of Seattle (Bellingham) the game will start in the Emerald City. Are there any exceptional starting missions or books from an earlier edition that you would recommend?

Any other suggestions would be most welcomed.
I'm fairly new myself, but I will heartily recommend Runner Havens (4th edition book). Seattle is more than a third of the book.
Start simple. The classic group of Shadowrunners who form a team to survive in the cracks of the corporate socity would work well as everyone becomes accoustmed to the year of 2070 or 2072 and 4th edition in particular.

If you're an experiened GM, it might be a good idea to formulate your first module, that way you can set a tone and a pace for your campaign. Incorporating your own set of regular NPCs, Johnsons, Contacts, etc.

I"m pretty sure somewhere in this thread, someone will post recommended written out adventures for you to use as well if you don't want to stress yourself out with coming up with a mission.
On the Run is a pretty good book to buy that will help you as a GM learn how to run the game. Unless your group develops their characters where they met each other some time in their background, then having their Fixer put them together (as a team) is the most common way to do it. I have quite often given each PC a free contact of the "central" Fixer in the campaign. Right now, my current group was put together by a portly troll fixer named "Tiny." Every time they call him, he's eating something greasy and unhealthy. Feel free to steal that character if you like.

I would also heartily recommend Ghost Cartels, especially if you purchase Runner Havens and Corporate Enclaves. Ghost Cartels is a campaign that takes the players on kind of a "tour" around the pacific rim, starting in Seattle. The campaign has an overall meta-plot that progresses and has a bunch of great adventures in it. They aren't "full" adventures like On the Run but they have the core idea along with maps and NPC stats, so a lot of the work for you (as a GM) is already done.

Emergence is another "campaign idea" book to think about, especially if you have a group of old-school Shadowrun players. Emergence is a "plot book" that details some turbulent events that happen in 2070 that are related to the new Wireless Matrix. The adventure ideas aren't as fleshed out as in Ghost Cartels but the book is still definitely usable.

Eventually you're going to need to create some adventures of your own (even if you're running a published campaign like Ghost Cartels). When you get to that point, you should check out the thread I've linked in my signature (shameless self-promotion). It's the "story" of how I developed and then wrote a complete Shadowrun with my group. It might help you get some ideas for creating your own runs.

Welcome back to the shadows!
I'd also recommend Runner Haven's for the Seattle portion. I guarantee that after reading through that entire section, you will have a handful of solid ideas for starting runs.

Whether you want to interact with Mafia, Triads, Yakuza, Seoulpa or Vory...its got your covered. Whether you want to mix it up with any of the couple dozen street gangs in the book, its got you covered. If you want to play corp tag with the dozen or so corps highlighted in Seattle, its got you covered. You can even plan runs to affect the outcomes of the governor race that is discussed. Plug in a handful of the district descriptions and sites to see and the like, and you have a solid backdrop for your Seattle operations. Not to mention there are a handful of Seattle adventure leads in the back of the book... I found it very helpful without needing any prior background or knowledge of the entire SR really gets you up and running from a GM-feel perspective.

I'd recommend one of the handy chargen's in the community projects forum. We've been using the daisybox app and everyone has had positive feedback on it.

The current campaign that we just started last night has the players working at Horizon Group by day and at night, running espionage runs against other corps. So its not a typical shadowrunning team, but we got off to a fun start. I set up the first "run" as a simple 4v4 match against another department in a 2-story office building. Since we haven't played SR in a little over a year, I wanted a nice, easy settling in adventure where the players will have an easy time and just get used to combat mechanics and a little bit of hacking. I don't want to bog them down with all the legwork details and planning...just straight up 4v4 combat in a controlled setting...let everyone shine a little bit, get the core mechanics comfortable.

Next mission will be more challenging, although I did give them karma-based objectives if they only use one IP for the 4v4, lose a couple rounds and win the match in an unorthodox way. So, if they just go in and shoot, they will win and get a little karma, but if they be creative and tone things down, they'll get even more!
Screaming Eagle
They re-made "Stuffer Shack" I'm not saying it will make a campaign, but if you're looking for a good rules shake-down/ fun evening you could do worse.
stuffer shack is good for that random meeting place

look at some of the old missions for seattle on Catalyse Labs website
couple of them are design to bring a group together and most convert to 4th easy enough

another thought, from the original "into the shadows" novel:
one of the stories involved a street samurai new to seattle meetiing up with an elven mage. The female elf mage offers the sam a place to stay (read squatter) for the night after he takes down 3 ork gangers. the squat is actually the rafters at a shipping company. Several other archtypes mixed in, also living in the rafters at night. The yakuza attack and set the building on fire, forcing the residents to fight their way out. After getting several miles away, the group have a talk and the Samurai points out that they have the start of solid shadowrun team. Some folks laugh at that, but then the samurai points out with the Yaks running covert ops, there will be a need for more shadowrunner crews...

so look at the backgrounds, lifestyle choices, and so on; and try to get the players to link backgrounds, or aleast have everyone end up at roughly the same point
basically have a reason some of the group may know or know of some of the others; maybe why they run the shadows

the runners are called to salvage a botched run (and this adventure does exist, I just can't remember the auther or website), in the middle of the run & the PCs are the only ones avaible
Stuffer Shack Map
The Jake
Keep it simple.

Street Level Campaign and start with Stuffer Shack.

Maybe a bunch of people that grew up in the Barrens together and formed their own close knit group.

- J.
Im going to second Malachi's suggestion about giving your runners a free central fixer contact. I have done it for every game I have run, and it works out great. I find giving them someone they can actually trust in the world of stupid untrustworthy people makes introducing the game to newbies much easier.

My only other important suggestion is to start making your secondary NPC characters far ahead of time. Sit down with a pencil and just scribble down 25 random PC ideas (social adept running from Yakuza, best ork decker you'll never meet, old school punk runner, rooftop delivery boy adept, mechanical genius with 'incompetent: intimidate' flaw, rat shamen conjurer, paranormal head case) and give them a once over. That way when you find your self needing an idea on how to bind a part of the run to another, you have a person who the team may have met before giving them a kick in the right (or left, or wrong, or in the nuts) direction. When your players suddenly meet up with 'Franky 5 fingers' again, they know what to expect and how much to bribe him, or that they should just break his arm this time. Shadow community isnt THAT big, you see the same faces from time to time. And if all else fails, they can still trust their fixer not to screw them.

Running the stuffer shack thing is always a great shakedown for a new group. Learn the rules and get the ideas down.
Wesley Street
I'll second (third?) using the Stuffer Shack mini-adventure as a good starting place. Your PCs swing by the store to pick up some grub, robbery goes down. The PCs find themselves working together to save their skins. Perhaps a potential fixer (Smiley from On The Run, maybe?) is in the store as well and hands out his card after the dust settles. After that, you could easily move into On The Run adventure.

Have fun!
Thanks for all the tips.

Stuffer Shack, Runners Haven and stating up my NPC's are already in the works.
Screaming Eagle
God I love Stuffer Shack.
Wesley Street
Who doesn't? It sets the tone for the entire game! biggrin.gif
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