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Ok folks, I recently got asked to run a Shadowrun game for some of my little brothers friend type people. Just so you know, I am 19, they are 17 so maturity should not be that much of an issue. However they come from a long term D&D campaign and I really want them to get into the mood of a dysopian future. And thus I turn to you, the Dump Shock community to suggest movies/anime/whatever that can help me make sure they know what I intend to put the poor little runners through grinbig.gif

So far I only really have Bladerunner, and thats because bar my brother none of them have actually seen it. I consider this a crime, one that must be fixed post haste. For the Hacker I have suggested Ghost in the Shell because of how hacking works in that, and fluff wise I have always drawn similarities. What else?

Game will almost certainly be Seattle based, dark and dirty with the Corps breathing down the runners necks. I do not expect all of them to survive. Just for referance.
the Daniel Cragg 007 movies
Bubblegum Crisis/Crash & AD Police files (just remind them there is no powerarmor in least not like that)
Johnny Nemonic
need BTL-ish drugs? Max Pain movie
Strange Days

there are quite a few "What movie is SR" threads. Seams like a new one every 4 weeks. those also have a ton of ideas.
Johnny Mnemonic.

Ghost in the Shell, though that might be a bit "bright."

There's a movies thread around here somewhere...
Ah, my Search-Fu must of just been failing me. Will go have another good look through. Thanks smile.gif
Robocop for the corporate background
Strange days for simsense and BTL
Nirvana and Avalon for the sprawl and virtual reality (not sure they can be found in English, though)
There is also a bit of japanese corps in Death Note.
Kitano for the Yakuzas
Cowboy bebop, just because it's awesome and they are nothing but runners in space
Minority report, for invasive advertising and the best street doc ever
It's not a movie/TV show, but Neuromancer is a good read, practically invented cyberpunk as we know it.

And check out the link in my sig. spin.gif
QUOTE (Traul @ Jun 20 2009, 10:08 PM) *
Minority report, for invasive advertising and the best street doc ever

I thought abouot Minority Report, but it's not exactly cyberpunk, it's just futuristic weirdness.

The doc is a good example though.
Heath Robinson
The old Pelham 1-2-3 is apparently very good.
The first episode (at least) of Eden of the East has some good Face stuff in it.
The Usual Suspects is excellent.
Children of Men is pretty good for setting tone and covers a multitude of environments for visual tone.
Lain is handy if someone expresses any interest in being a Technomancer.
Texhnolyze is significantly more lawless, but has some good material on gang styles.
Episodes 4 and 5 of the anime show Mnemosyne.
They have private detectives with an awakened-ish background, corporations, augmented (1.0), mixed (1.5) and virtual realities.
The magical stuff was too japanese for shadowrun, but still.
Many sexual and fetishistic themes.

Ghost in the Shell. Ghost in the Shell. Ghost in the Shell.
The movies - the first one (now there's a remade version called 2.0), the second one (ghost in the shell 2), and Solid State Society (based on the series)
The series - stand alone complex (season 1)
Stand alone complex - 2nd GIG (season 2)
Even the funny Tachikomatic Days at the end of each episode.
You have basically shadowrun without magic and omnipotent corps (only very potent). The governments take first place. The team, even though government-funded, are sometimes hunted as shadowrunners.
Major Motoko is a total cyborg, plus hacker goddess. I'm pretty sure they based the total cyborgs of shadowrun on her. "The Net is vast and infinite" is her catchphrase. And the Tachikomas are the most amazing drones/AI ever.
It has a weird underlying theme called "Externalization of memory". Most japanese use cyberbrains to communicate and interact (their version of commlink?), but the entire memory system is replaced
by the cybernetics. Hilarity ensues when hackers can control your mind and memories.

Don't forget Bladerunner. More philip k. dick books, and films based on his books, have a dark, brooding outlook that can enhance your understanding of the sixth world.
Mean Guns is one of my favorites.
Barb Wire is one of my wife's favorite movies for SR.
Heat, Ronin, and the Transporter series are other good ones.
if you can find a copy of the new Caprica (pre-battlestar galactica but done this past year or so, setting for next year spinoff) movie floating around the web, it does VR wonderfully.
It's got no spaceships in it, that I remember.
I know it's not what you asked, but I wrote a new player's FAQ document a while ago. I particularly had in mind people accustomed to other role-playing games when I wrote it. It is here if you want it. Pay particular attention to questions 6 ("how many hitpoints do I get") and 9 ("what can I get away with?"). smile.gif

People who haven't played an RPG before often pick up the game very quickly. People who are used to D&D often die horribly and quickly, ime. Priority one is to disabuse people of the notion that they can walk from room to room killing enemies in order and collecting their guns. Second priority is to disabuse them of the notion that they can walk through a shopping mall with a LMG in a gyro-mount and body armour.

For movies, you might want Banlieue-13 (Precint 13 in English, I think). No cyberware or magic and not that far future, but good atmosphere for the Barrens.
Bob Lord of Evil
Blade Runner (Theatrical release)

I don't think any other movie I have ever seen comes close to my vision of Shadowrun (not even Shadowrun canon). Anything else is simply going to come off as a distraction if you want to create the mood.

We sooo need an actual Shadowrun movie...done by a decent director.
The best introduction to Shadowrun I've ever heard, is someone on these boards who summarised it for new players as follows:

"It's shooting people in the face for money. With elves."
QUOTE (knasser @ Jun 21 2009, 09:28 AM) *
For movies, you might want Banlieue-13 (Precint 13 in English, I think). No cyberware or magic and not that far future, but good atmosphere for the Barrens.

Isn't that the movie based on Detroit??

And HEAT shows a SR from both the Runners and Law Enforcement side. (and only one Runner makes it wink.gif )
Zen Shooter01
The Matrix trilogy.

For corporate espionage and corporate culture, American Psycho and Michael Clayton. Also the little known New Rose Hotel, starring Willem Dafoe and Christopher Walken, based on the Gibson short story of the same name.

Blade Runner, of course.

Firewall is a minor thriller with Harrison Ford, wherein bank robbers take hostage the family of a bank's cybersecurity expert (Ford), to coerce him to allow them access to the bank's money...and it's set in Seattle.

For noir nihilism at the speed of a .45 slug, Way Of The Gun.
QUOTE (CodeBreaker @ Jun 20 2009, 10:01 PM) *
Game will almost certainly be Seattle based, dark and dirty with the Corps breathing down the runners necks. I do not expect all of them to survive. Just for referance.

There are two distinct groups of films:

* Those that reflect the setting, or aspects of the setting.
* The ones that tell you who shadowrunners are.

The fact of the matter is, all of the shadowrunner movies--the ones about who your character is and what they do--are crime dramas. Heist movies, really.

So let's begin.

  • Heat (10th Anniversary Edition for the commentary and background)
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Way of the Gun
  • Heist
  • Ronin (Which would have been a totally different movie if it wasn't rewritten by David Mamet)
  • Payback (Director's Cut)
  • Miami Vice (Remake. Director's Cut)
  • Thief
  • The Score
  • Point Blank
  • The Third Man (Welles epitomizes the mindset perfect in his dialogue during the ferris wheel scene).
  • Touch of Evil
  • Reservoir Dogs (for Keitel's character)
  • Goodfellas (If you listen to Hill's monologue at the end of the movie and it doesn't sound like your PCs, you're doing it wrong)

Given the considerable lack of really good crime/criminal references in Shadowrun you're best served with a dosage of movies by Mann, Mamet, McQuarrie especially since they do it so well.

There are also hundreds of noir crime novels you can check out, but the granddaddy of them all is The Hunter by Richard Stark/Donald Westlake. I am not exagerrating when I say that The Hunter should be mandatory reading for Shadowrun, and that it never gets mentioned is a fucking travesty. It's been made into a graphic novel that comes out this Wednesday, actually. And Payback and Point Blank are adaptations of the book. As one crime author put it, when you see Keitel in Reservoir Dogs or DeNiro in Heat they are doing their version of Parker. He's the professional thief, the arch-criminal. And over the years Westlake wrote dozens of books about Parker from the '50s until last year. Also, it and the other Parker novels are great because Westlake never fetishized the violence--something Shadowrun itself does--to the point where he'll spend several pages about Parker getting a forged ID and then Parker kills a dozen men in two paragraphs.

You can watch all the setting movies you want, and I'd just as soon put fucking Labyrinth on the list because it has weird Tolkienesque creatures like Shadowrun does. But the setting books are supposed to sell you on the fucking setting. That's the whole point. But there's really no good resource for how to be a criminal, not in the core book and not in Runner's Companion because there has never once been a single paragraph set down about the fact that your archetypal shadowrunner is a professional criminal: a thief who lives in the criminal underworld divorced from mainstream society who steals (and kills) for their own personal gain.

Speaking of which, Michael Clayton is hands-down the best movie about a fixer you will ever see. Robert Duvall's performance in The Godfather, Pt. 2 is a distant second. The problem is that "fixers" as the term is used in Shadowrun bear no resemblance whatsoever to RL fixers or fixers in another other genre or media.

Duplicity is also straight up a movie about corporate espionage--up to an including the fact that these people exist IRL and are in fact taken from the ranks of former intelligence officers for any number of national intelligence agencies. It's also a romantic-comedy, but so what. In fact, the writer/director, Tony Gilroy, should also be on the list for tradecraft since he wrote and directed both of these movies and also wrote the Bourne trilogy and Proof of Life, which is also an awesome movie that you can use to tactics and some ideas.

On that note, Stephen Gaghan's done some good stuff. But Traffic and Syriana are entertainment. It's not really useful to how to play a shadowrunner. How the GM runs the guys who hire runners, but you shouldn't watch them looking for ideas. Besides, the best ideas aren't in the movies. They're in the source material and in interviews with the spy who inspired Syriana (He mentions at one point in a Q&A for the movie about introducing Gaghan to a oil middleman who used to be in terrorism, and had not too long before escaped from a shootout with Mossad in Paris).
Ronin is the best movie I've seen for defining "what runners do." There's even a pretty much direct equivalent between the characters in the movie and the archetypes in Shadowrun.
martindv has a point there.
I just had a Fight Club flashback. No idea if it's original.
Image Norton's character as a raven shaman. And Pitt as Raven.
This is so awsome, i'm going to build a character based on it.
QUOTE (Mirilion @ Jun 23 2009, 09:45 AM) *
martindv has a point there.

Of course I do.

The standard concept that has been used to describe Shadowrun for the last twenty years has been some variant on the cyberpunk genre combined with the fantasy genre. Well, that's just wrong. The overarching premise, the foundation of character activity, the goddamn name of the game, is CRIME. That's our genre. That's the sea that the game swims within. Now, as far as setting goes Shadowrun certainly combines elements of the cyberpunk and fantasy genres. But it's not cyberpunk. And it's not fantasy. However, I can understand the confusion, especially when you look at the game material from the first edition and the second edition until about 1994 (Which, coincidentally or not is the year Earthdawn was introduced and forcibly retconned down the throat of Shadowrun's timeline).

At that time the material was cognizant of the fundamental themes of cyberpunk literature and referenced it in part through the creation of, and the filtering of in-game material through, the Neo-Anarchists. Just as example, the first chapter of The Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America is a Neo-Anarchist manifesto complete with a mini treatise on the economic principles of the Pareto distribution (which, ironically, has come to be a prominent economic principle as of late) and why it supported the campaign for neo-anarchism. Aside from that, the megacorporations and even the major political figures were essentially nameless, faceless brains at that head of these imposing economic and political monoliths. No one knew much about the CEOs of the Big Eight and frankly, what the fuck difference did it make? The chances of a shadowrunner encountering Richard Villiers in 2050 were nil. It wasn't going to fucking happen. Ever. Fast forward a decade and the campaign book First Run (which should tell you that it was geared towards starting characters) contained an adventure, Supernova, where starting-level runners meet Richard Villiers and his AAA megacorp's chief of security (who was another major plot character at the time), and face off against a cyberzombie (which was and remains one of the baddest motherfuckers as far as plot devices go). It almost bears repeating it's so fucking ludicrous. The starting-level runners meet Richard Villiers and his AAA megacorp's chief of security, and face off against a cyberzombie. That right there tells you all you need to know about how cyberpunk the game is.

Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction. The distinction from the sci-fi genre is that it focused on the way humanity interacts with science and technology, and in the face of its affects on people and society. It's evolved from the term made up in the 1980s into something far more encompassing than the story of a dark future where technology was a tool and an end unto itself, and in reflecting the punk asthetic and mindset created a world where technology became the great equalizer. In effect what he created was a study in man vs. technology. It's even been applied retroactively to encompass older science fiction works. But the punk part is also quite important, especially in a game like Shadowrun where the characters are members of the criminal underclass. But the punks don't simply eschew society like the criminal world that has been discussed so far. It is also subversive of the co-opted, top-down monoculture created by the corrupt and venal machinations of monolithic entities: megacorporations. This is why the shadowrunner world in the first five years was synonymous with the neo-anarchists. The megacorporations which they opposed, and fought against, reflected the corrupt right-wing, corporatist world which punk has always fought since its inception. They're fighting Mussolini's corporatism, a form of fascism that emphasized monoculture and a corrupt form of capitalism that was dominated by a coordination between the most powerful members of the state and the largest, most powerful corporations.

Those are the cyberpunks in Shadowrun. But, in case you haven't been paying attention, that doesn't reflect anything like the criminal protagonist of the crime genre. Frankly, the professional doesn't care for politics. They don't care what is sick or wrong about society that needs to be fixed or fought. The criminal, who is almost always a thief at his core, lives his own life free of ostentation. He isn't fighting society. He just doesn't want to get caught, and frankly there's no better way to draw attention to yourself than picking a fight with The Man. The thieves don't piss off The Man. The Establishment's got all the money, and if it's as corrupt a world as Shadowrun (which is actually a Dark Future setting) then there criminal syndicates integrated into the power structures of legitimate society--in which case, drawing attention to yourself and fighting the system makes you an enemy of people in your world who have no qualms about killing you, because force of violence is how "justice" (street justice, perhaps) is meted out in underworld disputes. In Shadowrun, the Japanese Yakuza are intrinsically linked with the Japanacorps and MCT in particular (They founded it) because that's how they roll IRL. But now they're spread across the globe on the coattails of the Japanacorps' global economic hegemony. Until the specific Yellow Peril concept popular in 1970s-80s fiction, the monolithic Japanese megacorporation and its Yakuza collaborators, was tossed aside around the turn of the century, this made being a cyberpunk a very dangerous, foolish enterprise for professional thieves; for shadowrunners. As the megacorp cultures diversified, so did their affiliated syndicates. And this made being a cyberpunk shadowrunner suicidal.

No, the missing ingredient in Shadowrun is crime.

See, for all of the focus on magic and technology—which in turn is at its base taken from stealing real world concepts and examples of both—and a lesser extent on the fact that Fourth Edition was designed to focus on a core story involving a group of characters who opine and act on the world around them through the collected fiction in the books, the fact of the matter is that Shadowrun is, as one person famously put it, a game where you play characters who shoot people in the face for money.

Well, it used to be anyway. Now, explaining exactly how or what the game is supposed to be (because like it or not, there has to be a default setting/premise or the thing just doesn’t work) is rather difficult. It’s difficult even though books have been written to specifically focus on the underworld over the years, but they basically read like Wikipedia entries of anthropological studies on criminal entities. There is a glaring hole in the work output and focus within the game on the basic element of the game—the criminal element, and the criminal character. This is a systemic omission of the game. Even when it was more true to its cyberpunk roots, crime was never really the issue. Cyberpunk wasn’t about criminals. It was a science fiction subgenre that pitted the relatively powerless against the powerful using technology as a defining concept of implementing plot elements and as the end unto itself.

No doubt this is due to the writing talent for RPGs comes from fans, and right now there is no crime genre in the RPG industry which can be directed across the industry towards a game like Shadowrun, which is ostensibly a game about playing criminals. There is not shortage of fantasy and science fiction fandom within the RPG playing, and writing, community. Those elements have been played way up over the years within the game with relatively successful results. However, there seems to be no place for the crime genre fan within the current Shadowrun line, or even for much of its history to be honest, to contribute. You can look at the list of Jackpoint shadowtalkers and notice that there aren’t a whole lot of professional criminals on that list. The one who most fit the role, Fatima, was killed off last year. That in a way speaks volumes about the very dearth of a focus on criminals and criminality.Riser is the other. A writer’s PC turned canon NPC, he has had no prominence whatsoever in Fourth Edition to date.

So, that’s the problem. There is a whole, rather exciting, fandom of the crime genre out there. But as far as it seems, none of it has any ties to RPGs, and thus none to Shadowrun. It is a staple of the mass market paperback field and has even expanded into the graphic novel and serialized comic book market through imhaprints like DC’s Vertigo (and now the Vertigo Crime imprint) and Marvel’s Icon imprint, which publishes the Criminal serial by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. IDW is about to publish the first graphic novel adaptation of the Parker novels by award-winning comic artist Darwyn Cooke. That said, the fictional material is out there in written form alone. Film and television have also mined the field pretty well for inspiration and outright production of content in or based upon this genre as well as its brother genre, true crime. With that in mind, this hopefully ongoing column is intended to address the very obvious lack of material on crime within Shadowrun.

BTW, I really, really do suggest listening to the director's commentary for Heat. I've done it several times in the last four years and YET it wasn't until the last time about a month ago that I picked up this line:
QUOTE (Michael Mann)
All fences are informants

And I couldn't help but think "And that would almost certainly make all SR fixers informants as well." Think about THAT.
Another movie that shows a run and how the runners don't have to shoot everything is Sneakers.
Bob Lord of Evil
QUOTE (martindv @ Jun 22 2009, 11:36 PM) *
But there's really no good resource for how to be a criminal, not in the core book and not in Runner's Companion because there has never once been a single paragraph set down about the fact that your archetypal shadowrunner is a professional criminal: a thief who lives in the criminal underworld divorced from mainstream society who steals (and kills) for their own personal gain.

So...what sort of criminal resource are you looking for?
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) is a favorite of mine.

Léon: The Professional is also good.

I just watched Michael Clayton.
It is now both awsome and associated with shadowrun in my mind.

He did seem a shadowrunner to me, a face/infiltrator type, rather than a fixer.
I mean, his boss acts as his fixer, sending him on all type of "runs" for various "Mr. Johnsons".

The two scary yet somewhat dumb bad guys reminded me of player characters.
Nemesis starring Olivier Gruner is right up there. It was made in 1993 and has cybernetics and cyborgs in it.

On a funnier note watch The Six Million Dollar Man or The Bionic Woman to get some idea of cyberware.
QUOTE (Mirilion @ Jun 23 2009, 07:43 PM) *
I just watched Michael Clayton.
It is now both awsome and associated with shadowrun in my mind.

He did seem a shadowrunner to me, a face/infiltrator type, rather than a fixer.
I mean, his boss acts as his fixer, sending him on all type of "runs" for various "Mr. Johnsons".

HE is the fucking fixer. That's what fixers do IRL. They fix things. Themselves. That's their job. If they need to hire someone else, what use are they?

Fixers in SR are like agents. Actually, that's what Dirk Montgomery called his fixer. SR fixers have no fucking bearing on reality. I'd sooner show a clip of Ari from Entourage to explain what a SR fixer is.

Also, I don't know what movie you saw but the two company bagmen were the shit. Do you really get what they did with that bomb? Gilroy explains in the commentary (Seriously. Listen to the damn commentaries) that the bomb was the same type as what the Albanians would use to make it look like it was made by the Russians because if anyone would have been thought to have run-ins with those fine gentlemen in Brighton Beach it'd be Michael, a known gambler with debt problems.

Honestly, the only reason he lived was the power of PLOT. But he was so damn pro that he knew his friend was murdered and stayed quiet for $75k because that was his job.

I mean... You get that the bald guy (From Ronin) was the most dangerous person in the whole movie, right? That movie is so smooth and subtle that it's ... I can't praise it enough.
They were pretty dangerous. It's just that their attitude reminded me of player characters, that's all. They ARE pretty scary, but it's like they don't role-play scary people very well.
Munich- come on he gets "erased" and "get's paid from a box noone knows about in a bank noone sets foot in" They are Shadowrunners working for a government.
Boondock Saints- The scene in the jail is kinda like an awakening and they become aspected adepts. Sorry forget the game term for now.
Rollerball- What I imagine when I hear the Combat biker.
Running Man- Ditto but more Urban Brawl.
Black Lagoon- Straight up shadowrun without magic. One of the best anime series' I've seen.

If the haven't been mentioned...

You should see Snatch. Funny theft flick.

And there's always Pulp Fiction. Might be good for a "sandbox" style game.

The Usual Suspects is a good example of a run gone bad, the fallout from it, and dealing with the law.

Maltese Falcon if you like your Shadowrun to play a film noir. (You should see it anyway though. Its a classic.)

QUOTE (Bob Lord of Evil @ Jun 23 2009, 03:44 PM) *
So...what sort of criminal resource are you looking for?

I don't know. The wall of text in my post would be a nice start.
Just watched Robocop again. Apart from the nostalgia explosion, the movie is surprisingly good.
A lot of cyberpunk references beside the obvious protagonist. I believe you can see an arcology outside the OCP main building, among other things.
Bob Lord of Evil
QUOTE (martindv @ Jun 24 2009, 07:16 PM) *
I don't know. The wall of text in my post would be a nice start.

Sorry I missed that you had responded here. At first I was with you in terms of what Shadowrun is...but there were other points of view in the thread that you started. I am more of the mind now that SR is a big tent that is really inclusive as to what can go on.
Duplicity, starring Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. Nice film. The film's mood is pretty light, though. You could call it a romantic spy comedy, probably.
Still, fits the general idea. Can't really say anything else without spoiling.
The Jake
If I had to pick one, Ronin would get my vote.

But Heat, Strange Days, Transporter, Leon, GitS - all these are relevant.

- J.

EDIT: Oceans 11 (heck, that whole series of films) also works.
Cred Denver
I thought this had the right look for several settings in SR. Also it has Vin Diesel

Babylon A.D.
Vin Diesel should play Karl Kombatmage, and you know it.
QUOTE (Mirilion @ Jul 8 2009, 05:27 AM) *
Vin Diesel should play Karl Kombatmage, and you know it.

Oh, hell yeah. cyber.gif

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