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Jeffrey Webb
Last Friday I ran a simple snatch-and-grab 'run with some of my players using Shadowrun First Edition just because I hadn't run it since three of the players (16 years of age) were born. We had two Shadowrun vets from the SR1 days plus me, and I had spent the week re-learning the SR1 rules for this event. Now, my memory was not clear as to what was 'wrong' with the SR1 rules from way back when - since we had quite a bit of fun with them back in the proverbial Day™ when SR first came out. It was kind of like getting a new edition of the rules, since I was re-learning things I'd forgotten all those years ago in preparation for this game.

THE BOOKS

I find my love for Shadowrun rekindled by re-reading the original core books. All of the elements that made me fall in love with the Shadowrun universe were here. My views on Cyberpunk are that to remain true to the original Cyberpunk literary movement as it applies to gaming, it is the future as seen from the 80s. My tagline for the SR campaign I'm working on is actually "20 minutes into the future... of 1987". I loved the artwork, the look of the books, the decker commentary on all the sourcebooks, the Native American influences that seem to be forgotten in the newer editions, the pervasiveness of Japanese influence that has also lost its bite. There is something that can almost be called "quaint" about the SR1 books themselves when compared to the modern books, but it just so happens to be exactly what I'm looking for in an RPG.

THE RULES

Here are my observations on The Rules. About 70% of it is identical to SR2, which is my default Shadowrun engine. I feel that SR3 got too fiddly and SR4, while posessing the quickest and cleanest rules set has misplaced the feel of the setting entirely. The dice pools are markedly different from SR2, with no combat pool to speak of in an offensive manner, and two seperate defense pools for melee and ranged combat. I actually like this quite a bit as it tended to make the actual combat skills even more important since you couldn't just dump CP dice into them on attacks.

Variable staging numbers were kinda fun to play with again. While they did add a level of complexity (which is why they were removed IIRC) it did make the choice of weapons and attacks a little more interesting as it made some weapons quite a bit more difficult to resist damage from. One of the most interesting things about weapon damages in this older edition was something that must have been recognized by players and GMs back then that I don't recall having a particular problem with before - but it stuck out to me now. The average firearms in the hands of the PCs weren't doing much at all against opponents with any kind of armor. Armor, under 1e, gave "free successes" versus weapons fire. This means a Ballistic rating of 3 will automatically stage down most heavy pistols one damage level, and weapons with a lower staging are mostly useless without some real skill dice backing them up. Even the Ares MP LMG one character was using wasn't as destructive as one would thing against a moderately armored corporate security team.

Magic. Oh, magic. We had a Combat Mage archetype in the team, and the Aztechs had one on their side as well. I'll tell you this, the spellworms were a whole hell of a lot scarier in First Edition. All combat spells started with a base damage of L, with their staging determined by the type of spell. Now, to me this was kind of intuitive, but not really. See, I believe the original intent of the variable staging numbers was that higher numbers meant an attack was harder to soak. This is true. But it is also true that it makes it harder to stage the damage UP... resulting in more damage being done in this game with the lightweight spells like Mana Bolt and Power Bolt than with the Big Ass spells. Why? Our mage hit a Troll Street Samurai archetype on the other team with a Manabolt. The target number was his willpower, which was 1. Enough successes were rolled to stage the damage up to D+3. His one die of willpower and six dice of spell defense from his own team's mage weren't enough versus a TN of 5 to drop it back past D. Thus the troll bought it from a single manabolt. Dead. Graveyard dead. Unfortunately the next round the Aztech mage did the same thing to our team's troll. Low willpower was DEATH in SR1 much more than in later editions. And drain was a lot simpler to soak, too. The mage casted every single action during combat, and never took so much as a single box of drain due to a good willpower and some magic pool dice. Oh, and sticking mostly to manabolts and powerbolts.

Initiative was fun, with the wonkier numbers for multiple actions. Doing it by 10s is easier, and the passes system in 4e allows everyone to act before second and third actions come up, but damn I missed the combat monsters being monsters and acting a coupla times before the slower characters could. It wasn't as fair, and wasn't as fun for the slower PCs, but it really did underscore how inhumanly fast wired and spelljacked characters were.

All in all, I can sort of see myself playing 1e again a coupla more times just to see if any more cracks appear in the Old Game. I, myself, had a blast playing. It really took me back. And with a new crop of Shadowrun players who haven't been through ANY of the modules or read any of the later game books, hell I can whip out the UB on them. Bugs are bad, mmkay? Or any number of old modules I own.

It might sound crazy, it might even be heresy... but we enjoyed these old games back in the day. They were flawed, they were broken, but at the time we didn't care. We rolled dice, we ate pizza, we had fun. And I think that can be done again, as a serious campaign or just for nostalgia and giggles. I love showing these young whippernsappers in our game club how we rolled back before they were born. And the wierd thing is - they love it, too.
Synner667
Mmmm

The wonder of cyberpunk, with magic !!
3278
QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 04:13 PM) *
I find my love for Shadowrun rekindled by re-reading the original core books.

That's what I do when I'm looking for inspiration, or edification, or trying to re-grasp the feel of Shadowrun. These books certainly had their flaws - some of them debateable; Shadowtalk, one-weapon-per-page, setting information so detailed it gave more information than a Michelin guide, these were all love-or-hate things - but they also had personality, atmosphere. The fact that the rules often made little sense was okay, because the rules didn't matter as much as the feel of the world. And for us, fixing silly rules was vastly easier than fixing a broken setting.

QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 04:13 PM) *
...the Native American influences that seem to be forgotten in the newer editions, the pervasiveness of Japanese influence that has also lost its bite.

Sometimes I feel like the new generation of writers are ashamed of some of the...stranger choices made during the game's development. The balkanization of the US and Canada into various nations, many of them native, is something it seems isn't embraced as particularly likely, which is ironic, since in 1989, nothing like that had happened on our continent, whereas today we have 25,000 Inuit living in their own territory of Canada.

QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 04:13 PM) *
Here are my observations on The Rules. About 70% of it is identical to SR2, which is my default Shadowrun engine. I feel that SR3 got too fiddly and SR4, while posessing the quickest and cleanest rules set has misplaced the feel of the setting entirely.

I have absolutely nothing against the current SR writers, and in fact most of them are my friends, but when you get down to it, the original developers of Shadowrun were the sort of people who wrote their own roleplaying game based on their own tastes, and did it well enough that many of us are still playing it 20 years later; that's very different from the sort of person who writes for a 20-year-old game. Not necessarily better or worse, but certainly the original developers were much more inventive, much more creative, much more interested in creating something new than enhancing something old. It's like the difference between the Beatles and a Beatles cover band; both may play the songs equally well, and in fact the cover band may even play it better, but there's something about the sort of person who creates something from nothing.

That said, much of the technical portion of the game is so very much better than it was back in the day. Tastes in artwork vary, and SR's has always been spotty, but much of the SR4a artwork is astonishingly good. The layout is tuned until it purrs, and while yes, a lot of that is "developments in page design and in computer programs to do page design," a lot of it is simple brilliance. The rules, while sometimes still bewilderingly convoluted or unreasonable, are systemic, well-thought-out, and the new basic mechanic is actually really fairly clever.

But when my group talks about prime runners, or noteable personalities from the game, or fictional events in the universe, it's all Dunkelzahn and Maria Mercurial and Hatchetman and Damien Knight and Bug City and Alamais getting a THOR round to the head. ["It's okay, he's fine!"] They never mention...uh, who are the noteable personalities in SR4 again?

QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 04:13 PM) *
Variable staging numbers were kinda fun to play with again.

That was one of those things we didn't think much of at the time, but were so happy was changed in SR2. "Yeah, I got four successes! Oh, wait, that's not enough to stage up the damage. Well, at least it'll be harder to resist!" Making the staging simply always be 2 was...convenient.

QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 04:13 PM) *
Armor, under 1e, gave "free successes" versus weapons fire.

And so did adept powers. wobble.gif What a crazy nightmare that became.

QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 04:13 PM) *
All in all, I can sort of see myself playing 1e again a coupla more times just to see if any more cracks appear in the Old Game. I, myself, had a blast playing. It really took me back.

I've been giving some pretty serious thought to running an SR2 game, myself. You can't open a page of these old setting books without finding a plot hook, and most of these pages have handfuls of them. I could run an entire campaign off a few pages of one of the NAN books, and it'd be good. Damn good. In this, SR2 [and 3, to a lesser degree] shares with Earthdawn, about which I always say, "I could GM for the rest of my natural life on just what they printed in the first couple of years."

Early SR is what cemented my ideal that setting matters vastly more than system, that character matters vastly more than the numbers on the character sheet. SR4, though technically brilliant, doesn't do that for me. In some ways, it was the flaws of old SR that gave the game its personality [and utter lack of profitability], and eliminating those flaws has created a brilliant but lifeless set of rules for dice rolling.

But I'm being an old man again. For those who enjoy SR4, for those who prefer it: good on you! We may differ in our opinions, but you're having fun at your table, and I'll be doing my best to have fun at mine. Have fun! Play Shadowrun!
Malachi
QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 10:13 AM) *
THE BOOKS

I find my love for Shadowrun rekindled by re-reading the original core books. All of the elements that made me fall in love with the Shadowrun universe were here. My views on Cyberpunk are that to remain true to the original Cyberpunk literary movement as it applies to gaming, it is the future as seen from the 80s. My tagline for the SR campaign I'm working on is actually "20 minutes into the future... of 1987". I loved the artwork, the look of the books, the decker commentary on all the sourcebooks, the Native American influences that seem to be forgotten in the newer editions, the pervasiveness of Japanese influence that has also lost its bite. There is something that can almost be called "quaint" about the SR1 books themselves when compared to the modern books, but it just so happens to be exactly what I'm looking for in an RPG.

Can you point to some specific elements that you think are missing from the newer sourcebooks that would bring back some of the "feel" from the old ones? For instance, what specific aspects of the book showed Native American or Japanese influence that you think is missing now?

I picked up SR right at the end of 2nd Edition, with the vast bulk of my time spent in 3rd Edition, so to me the game hasn't changed a great deal. I'm curious what some of the older players think has gone missing.
BlueMax
Malachi,

I think there is less of everything when it comes to fleshing out the universe.

As for where the details in question went missing
Art. The fashion in 2050 had a heavy native influence.
Archetypes. Hello, Tribesman? Tribal Warrior(Archetypes at back of Sprawl Sites)
Contacts. Tribals
References. I remember hearing about the Wildcats far more frequently

Stretching but hey every bit counts
Rules -- Various Etiquette skills, and if I recall some characters had the tribal variant.


In a rush but thats what I have floating at the front of my mind,

BlueMax


Malachi
Thanks BlueMax... here's a follow-up question.

Assuming that we can't go back and add "Tribesman" as an archetype to the core rulebook, how could CGL add more of that "old school" feel to future books?
3278
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 20 2009, 07:43 PM) *
Assuming that we can't go back and add "Tribesman" as an archetype to the core rulebook, how could CGL add more of that "old school" feel to future books?

This is a laudable goal, but a note of caution: in the same way you can't possibly ask a band with a whole new lineup to make an album that sounds like the band's original material, you're not going to get the "old school" feel back in Shadowrun with new-school writers. Sure, we could devote more pages to metaplot and setting information, start talking more about the NANs and use more Japan-centric cultural references, but that's just going to be the cover band playing old classics. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, I just wanted to inject a note of temperance into your gratifying constructiveness.
Jeffrey Webb
Well...

Showing some love with a sourcebook, even PDF only, for the NAN or tribes might be a good start. Such things haven't been published since 1e, IIRC. The art and layout of the old books had a Aztec / Tribal look to it quite a bit of the time. A major plot point in how the world became awakened had to do with the revival of Native American magics.

Aside from the use of Nuyen, the Japanese influence has been sidelined quite a bit. Imperial Japan basically owned the California Free State. Most of the AAA multinats were represented as massive Japanese Zaibatsu. Most of that is downplayed these days.
Malachi
QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 01:03 PM) *
Well...

Showing some love with a sourcebook, even PDF only, for the NAN or tribes might be a good start. Such things haven't been published since 1e, IIRC. The art and layout of the old books had a Aztec / Tribal look to it quite a bit of the time. A major plot point in how the world became awakened had to do with the revival of Native American magics.

Ok, sure. I definitely missed the Native American influence in the Seattle writeup in Runner Havens, but apart from that I don't know where else CGL couldn't put more tribal influence. I kind of think that those Core supplements should be kind of "generic." There wasn't a whole lot of Native American influence in the writing of LA, despite it actually being in NAN territory.

The biggest reason I want this discussion to happen now is because I think the opportunity for greater emphasis on NAN influence could happen in future sourcebooks, and I know CGL writers watch the boards.

QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 01:03 PM) *
Aside from the use of Nuyen, the Japanese influence has been sidelined quite a bit. Imperial Japan basically owned the California Free State. Most of the AAA multinats were represented as massive Japanese Zaibatsu. Most of that is downplayed these days.

Some of this, though, has been from the evolution of the metaplot. Back in the day, 5 of the "big 8" were Japanese: Fuchi, Renraku, Mitsuhama, Shiawase, and Yamatetsu. Then, through metaplot Fuchi dies with part become Novatech to become NeoNET, and Yamatetsu moves to Russia and becomes Evo. Now only 3 out of the "big 10" are Japanese. Also, Japanese control over CFS was withdrawn through metaplot as well.

So, there are metaplot reasons for the "de-emphasizing" the Japanese corporate influence, but maybe your saying you don't like the metaplot-driven changes? That's valid. In the interests of being constructive, what are some ways that you think Japanese cultural and corporate influence can continue to be "emphasized" given the metaplot changes that have taken place in the world?
Jeffrey Webb
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 20 2009, 01:29 PM) *
So, there are metaplot reasons for the "de-emphasizing" the Japanese corporate influence, but maybe your saying you don't like the metaplot-driven changes? That's valid. In the interests of being constructive, what are some ways that you think Japanese cultural and corporate influence can continue to be "emphasized" given the metaplot changes that have taken place in the world?


Hmmm... I guess this is where I clarify my position.

Metaplot doesn't bother me in and of itself. The changes to the storyline are arguably necessary to a game line that will continue to sell over time. That said, when a game is established to be X, and later becomes Y through changes in authors or advancement of metaplot, for many of the original players it is no longer X, the game they came to love.

To illustrate, Shadowrun to me has Deckers. They have a deck. They jack into the matrix. This is part of the genre. In 4e, we have wireless matrix, we have hackers, we no longer require decks and hacking can be done by he who affords the best gear, Computer skill notwithstanding. This is more than metaplot moving forward, this is a significant change to the feel of the genre. Now, one can say that it is unrealistic for the game to require jacking in, as the world is going wireless as we speak. Is it? Yes, I can now stream video to my phone - and it's nifty. But many wireless devices are still at a bandwidth premium. It could easily have been said that most applications of the matrix coul indeed go wireless, but full-on simsense decking still required jacking in due to the massive amount of bandwidth a human simsense signal required. There you go, the tech moves up, but the assumptions from the original game stay the same. Deckers are still deckers.

The Japanese influence, likewise, is part of the Cyberpunk genre to me as viewed through the Shadowrun lens. So is the inclusion of Native American influences. While the world moves forward, and the metaplot changes one must ask oneself if it was really necessary to minimalize or even ignor those influences to move the story forward. Shadowrun, as originally written, used a lot of these elements. Without them, is it still Shadowrun? It has become increasingly less and less 'cyberpunk' and more 'transhuman' in its presentation and outlook.

The 2050s should still be a valid mode for play, and a lot of the 'fluff' can be added by the GM and through the use of older sourcebooks and material. Some things, like Decking, would require quite a bit of conversion to work 'right' under 4e. IE - Okay, in 2e I needed three successes at a TN of 8 to pass this hacking test. How does that even equate mathematically in a system where TN is static and only threshold changes?

So part of my beef is changes made, but not because I feel they shouldn't be made - they probably need to in order to keep the game line fresh. BUT - that said, don't abandon your old school players by changing the world so much it's no longer recognizable as the one they originally fell in love with.

Take Battletech, for instance. Those of us who started playing in the 80s remember Techno-Feudal knights and Max Max technological backslide in machines that belonged to their grandfathers. Start in the 90s and you get Brave-New-Wordl Neo-Barbarians versus the still feudal, but no longer so knightly soldiers in mass-produced machines of war. Start recently, and you're looking at a Holy War complete with nukes and cries of "Jihad!". Players in the different eras tend to argue mightily which is the 'true' game, and the real vision of the universe. To try to alleviate that, the eras of play have been created and books support the various eras for play.

I'd love to see a book that focuses on the 50s using the 4e rules set. Give official rules for decking it old school, deepder discussion of Japan before their megacorps start to fall, make the NAN formidable again and provide some story hooks for NAN characters, that sort of thing. Talk about The Big D's first appearances, and his Holly Brighton interview. About Concrete Dreams and maybe include some Rocker-specific stuff since it fits more into that older style of Cyberpunk... I'd pay $50 for a hardcover setting book to pair with my Shadowrun 4e book. Hell, I'd pay another $50 for a hardcover reprint of classic modules updated to 4e mechanics. Paranoia did it, why not Shadowrun? Missing Blood, Harlequin, Queen Euphoria, lots of classic modules could be given a facelift and presented to a new generation of Shadowrunners as well as generate some revenue again for TPTB.

I guess it's not about rules, it's about feel. What Shadowrun is to me. And how it's no longer that in the new books, but could be again...
PaulK
For me, I liked the old SR1-SR3 explicitives. "Frag" and "drek" (while understood by all) were benign enough that I wouldn't mind letting my kids read them (when they get a bit older). With the explicit use of f* and the like, I think there is a disincentive to include younger kids who might otherwise enjoy the game.

Metaplot-wise, I always enjoyed the ED tie-ins. I really miss them as well as the "open mike" style comments from Shadowlands. That said, time marches on. I enjoy the new books too, but I'll always hold my 1st edition books in a special place in my heart. smile.gif

/Paul
Prime Mover
I loved 1st edition but having said that I have to put things in perspective for myself and my players. If you lived in the 1950's the 1970's "felt" different. Times they are a changing. It's more then just edition metaplot, time marches on. Thats how I play the current setting. That old "feel" is nostalgia for the old timers, but my newer runners know that time waits for no man/troll/elf/etc.... The entertainment, political and technological fronts have changed drastically and I think are reflected in the 4th edition setting.
Malachi
QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 02:02 PM) *
I'd love to see a book that focuses on the 50s using the 4e rules set. Give official rules for decking it old school, deepder discussion of Japan before their megacorps start to fall, make the NAN formidable again and provide some story hooks for NAN characters, that sort of thing. Talk about The Big D's first appearances, and his Holly Brighton interview. About Concrete Dreams and maybe include some Rocker-specific stuff since it fits more into that older style of Cyberpunk... I'd pay $50 for a hardcover setting book to pair with my Shadowrun 4e book. Hell, I'd pay another $50 for a hardcover reprint of classic modules updated to 4e mechanics. Paranoia did it, why not Shadowrun? Missing Blood, Harlequin, Queen Euphoria, lots of classic modules could be given a facelift and presented to a new generation of Shadowrunners as well as generate some revenue again for TPTB.

I guess it's not about rules, it's about feel. What Shadowrun is to me. And how it's no longer that in the new books, but could be again...

I don't know if that's going to happen. It's possible they might "up-convert" some old adventures for release as purely digital products, but I think the appeal would really be hit and miss.

So, setting aside the reprinting of old books or "resetting" the timeline back to the 2050's, assuming that they're not going to change what has already been done/written, what are some other ways that you think CGL could bring back the "feel" of Shadowrun that you're missing in future products?
Jeffrey Webb
QUOTE (Prime Mover @ Oct 20 2009, 02:23 PM) *
I loved 1st edition but having said that I have to put things in perspective for myself and my players. If you lived in the 1950's the 1970's "felt" different. Times they are a changing. It's more then just edition metaplot, time marches on. Thats how I play the current setting. That old "feel" is nostalgia for the old timers, but my newer runners know that time waits for no man/troll/elf/etc.... The entertainment, political and technological fronts have changed drastically and I think are reflected in the 4th edition setting.


While this is very true, do we not play roleplaying games set explicitly in particular time periods? Old West, WWII, Victorian, etc? This would be like wanting to run a Captain Kirk-era game as opposed to a Picard one. Same universe, different flavor and tech level. The arrival of TNG did not render pointless the desire to play in TOS. Same here.

I don't think the core books should be re-written or the current timeline invalidated, not at all. But a sourcebook about the older feel of shadowrun would be just a valid a product as "GURPS Old West" or "Victorian Age Vampire".
flowswithdrek
Thereís no doubt that there has been a change in feel to the cyberpunkyness that is shadowrun, and I also feel that some of that could be rekindled, the native American nations could use a face lift to sr4 for starters. Donít get me wrong, some of the metaplot has been amazing, the art is fantastic and the 20 anniversary edition is just great, and I prefer the SR4 game mechanics, but some things just seem to be not quite cyberpunk.

It doesnít matter what edition game I run, there is always one book that always appears on our gaming table, The Street Samurai Catalogue. My players just love to look through it and have been doing so since it came out.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Prime Mover @ Oct 20 2009, 01:23 PM) *
I loved 1st edition but having said that I have to put things in perspective for myself and my players. If you lived in the 1950's the 1970's "felt" different. Times they are a changing. It's more then just edition metaplot, time marches on. Thats how I play the current setting. That old "feel" is nostalgia for the old timers, but my newer runners know that time waits for no man/troll/elf/etc.... The entertainment, political and technological fronts have changed drastically and I think are reflected in the 4th edition setting.


I don't buy it.
The entertainment and political changes we have seen as Shadowrun moved on have more to do with Marketing, and the goals of the developers, then anything to do with the tides of time.

The game was made more global, and the cost was clarity of vision in what was a future setting in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, there were metaplot changes made to accommodate the desired marking changes. The game was made more Politically Correct and less fantastic. The second is sometimes mislabeled "more realistic". These changes have also changed the color of the game. Imagine being Politically Correct in 4+ languages and many more countries, that would bland things up certainly.

That said, I do play SR4A as it presents the 2070s and in a game set in 2050. Both are fun and enjoyable.


BlueMax
Iduno
QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 03:02 PM) *
I'd love to see a book that focuses on the 50s using the 4e rules set. Give official rules for decking it old school, deepder discussion of Japan before their megacorps start to fall, make the NAN formidable again and provide some story hooks for NAN characters, that sort of thing. Talk about The Big D's first appearances, and his Holly Brighton interview. About Concrete Dreams and maybe include some Rocker-specific stuff since it fits more into that older style of Cyberpunk... I'd pay $50 for a hardcover setting book to pair with my Shadowrun 4e book. Hell, I'd pay another $50 for a hardcover reprint of classic modules updated to 4e mechanics. Paranoia did it, why not Shadowrun? Missing Blood, Harlequin, Queen Euphoria, lots of classic modules could be given a facelift and presented to a new generation of Shadowrunners as well as generate some revenue again for TPTB.


I've seen a lot of people trying to update old Shadowrun modules themselves, and Food Fight seems to go over well. There probably are some sort of liscensing problems with an official update to the modules, but I'd love to play them if they were updated. Either way, the suggestion for official versions of the old rules with new dice mechanics sounds interesting to me. Having a system without classes (other than magic users) is nice, but having specialized equipment (cyberdeck or VCR) and the the knowledge to use them makes the characters seem like they are more special to me.
Synner667
It's just sad that the majority of Shadowrun material is from SR v2 - almost all the scenarios, with just updates for the sourcebooks.

It's not really surprising that for most people who've been playing SR for more than SR v4, the version they remember/identify with is SR v1/v2.

SR v1 didn't have much for it, neither did SR v3 - apart from updated sourcebooks to use the new rules.
Thanee
SR1 is a real gem. smile.gif

Though SR2 really made Shadowrun. smile.gif

Bye
Thanee
Malachi
QUOTE (Synner667 @ Oct 20 2009, 03:49 PM) *
It's just sad that the majority of Shadowrun material is from SR v2 - almost all the scenarios, with just updates for the sourcebooks.

It's not really surprising that for most people who've been playing SR for more than SR v4, the version they remember/identify with is SR v1/v2.

SR v1 didn't have much for it, neither did SR v3 - apart from updated sourcebooks to use the new rules.

For the record, I remember SR3 the best. We ran over 2 dozen adventures in the Blood in the Boardroom plot series, intertwined with the Renraku Arcology: Shutdown stuff, culminating in the Brainscan adventures. The group fell apart when I was loading up for Year of the Comet and Survival of the Fittest.

So do we have any other ideas for bringing some of the "old feel" into the current era of Shadowrun?
tete
While the flavor was great I would never run SR1 again, 2 maybe (skill web and spell locks are not something I would look forward to)... 3e sure. However I would play SR1 for a session or two and I would play SR2 or 3 indefinitely.
Synner667
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 20 2009, 11:19 PM) *
So do we have any other ideas for bringing some of the "old feel" into the current era of Shadowrun?

I think the 2 main things you need to bring an old feel are :-
Make it street level - characters were high powered, but they didn't live in the easy to do things, lots of contacts, lots of money, lots of gear world of SR v4
maybe generate characters using the old priorities way was better for that feel, because you really were limited on what you could have.

Make it grungy - life was hard, you got shot and it didn't heal in a few days, you didn't have access to all the goodies, you didn't have a stupid number of dice at character generation to succeed, etc, you don't have net access or easy food when you live in the barrens, gangs actually meant something, it cost a lot to get the shiny stuff, so not shiny stuff was the norm [you come from a streetgang, but you have cutting edge gear ??]

There's no need to change the gear, etc - there are scfi comics and cyberpunk set in much higher tech places that still are grungy, street level cyberpunk [altered carbon, mindstar, gridlinked, transmetropolitan, etc]

Interestingly enough, Talsorian/CP2020 had this problem, so they created what became Cybergeneration [as mentioned in the front of the stand alone version of the rules, I think].
tisoz
QUOTE (tete @ Oct 20 2009, 05:26 PM) *
While the flavor was great I would never run SR1 again, 2 maybe (skill web and spell locks are not something I would look forward to)... 3e sure. However I would play SR1 for a session or two and I would play SR2 or 3 indefinitely.

ditto.

I have no problem updating the SR1 adventures to SR2 or 3, but there was stuff that I was happy to see change from SR1. Rolling for every bullet fired in a burst or FA? No, thanks.
Prime Mover
I miss the epic plots and colorful antagonists of earlier editions, honestly don't get people pushing a more street level based game. From early on players were involved in globe trotting plots involving Immortal Elves, Great Dragons, rogue AI's and Insect Spirit invasion to name just a few.

(Ghost Cartels and the current Dawn of the Artifacts seem to be trying to return to some of that feel.)
Platinum
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 20 2009, 01:55 PM) *
Can you point to some specific elements that you think are missing from the newer sourcebooks that would bring back some of the "feel" from the old ones? For instance, what specific aspects of the book showed Native American or Japanese influence that you think is missing now?

I picked up SR right at the end of 2nd Edition, with the vast bulk of my time spent in 3rd Edition, so to me the game hasn't changed a great deal. I'm curious what some of the older players think has gone missing.


1. Japanese and Tribal influences were everywhere. White people weren't the overwelming majority.

2. Racism was a huge part of the game. If you were meta, it meant getting bounced out of bars, and extra brawls.

3. Bots and otaku didn't overrun the matrix, Deckers did. Ice would also hit you hard. (if you didn't pizza time it) It was also more of a manual hunt for hidden files instead of see how long your bot will take to find it.

4. Getting wired had benefits. When speed is king, your fastest street sam meant the difference of life and death. Burning out wasn't as trendy.

5. Losing magic could be very bad. Taking a deadly meant good chance of magic loss. People also seemed to have less swarms of spirits floating around.

6. NPC's with regeneration were to be feared!

7. Adepts and mages with foci were slower, but were the only way to overcome spirits/bugs.

8. You could deck naked.

9. Deckers did decking, riggers drove and mages stayed in meat space/astral space. Archtypes were more delineated.

10. Tom Dowd, Nigel Findley

SR2 is cyberpunk.
SR4 is cyberemo. It sits in a corner crying and cutting it's wrists for attention.
Platinum
QUOTE (tisoz @ Oct 20 2009, 08:20 PM) *
ditto.

I have no problem updating the SR1 adventures to SR2 or 3, but there was stuff that I was happy to see change from SR1. Rolling for every bullet fired in a burst or FA? No, thanks.


Don't forget countering. We had a bodyguard take out 30 gangers with counters.
3278
QUOTE (Thanee @ Oct 20 2009, 09:59 PM) *
SR1 is a real gem. smile.gif

Though SR2 really made Shadowrun. smile.gif

When SR4 came out and I was really, really disappointed with it, I revisited the old books, of which we have, I guess, every one. My idea at the time was to take SR2 as a base and add the few things I liked about SR3 [mostly rigger-oriented, but some rules here-and-there, as well]. I never did it, of course, because that would take lots of time and effort, and those aren't things I spend easily, but sometimes the idea still appeals to me.

QUOTE (Platinum @ Oct 21 2009, 01:26 AM) *
10. Tom Dowd, Nigel Findley

Amen.
ravensmuse
QUOTE (Platinum @ Oct 20 2009, 08:26 PM) *
SR2 is cyberpunk.
SR4 is cyberemo. It sits in a corner crying and cutting it's wrists for attention.

Some cheese with your whine? wink.gif
Ayeohx
Bradstreet and Alexander set the mood for me; that bastard Laubenstein about killed the vibe of the game for me with his pastel slapstick wonderland.

Okay, now that my standard vent is out of the way...

I loved the meta-plot until they went crazy with the Immortal Elves. "Everything that was ever cool or intelligent was done by an Immortal Elf in human guise!". Screw that, screw them. Nigel Findley was the man though. R.I.P.

3rd edition became strictly technical manuals with every bit of spirit that was Shadowrun strangled out of them. Without the Bradstreet pictures and the brilliant storyline the game became lifeless.

4th edition impressed me. Sure it was a White Wolf version of Shadowrun but I liked the system a heck of a lot more. These new devs are handling the evolution of technology and society as realistically as they can (IMO) and I'm totally digging it. I like the changes. Especially wireless! It makes sense to me. Cyberware starting to take a backseat to bioware makes sense too; you can see it happening in our world right now. I think the new writers are visionaries. They've got a good handle on tech and that's important to me.

The negatives with 4th?
I prefer my damage a bit more debilitating. Serious damage? One month in the hospital. But I understand the reason for changes and the advanced damage in Augmentation cleans up my problems here, for the most part.

The culture is becoming a heck of a lot more "white". The amerindians and Japanese are not as an important part of Seattle as they once were.

Metahumans seem to be getting along too well. I'm glad that the Seattle 2072 book is mixing it up with Brackhaven a bit even though it appears a little too forced.

Spirits and mages are crazy powerful. They use to be nukes, now, well, HOLY CRAP MAN!

Technological-freakin-overload!!! The game is becoming so detailed in technology that you need a PhD is Shadowrun to "correctly" portray the gameworld. The hacking rules are realistic in some ways, and while I'm a tech nerd, even I'm overwhelmed a bit. Drones are more plentiful than ever, commlinks, PANs, subscriptions, AI, agents, nanites, GAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

The lack of support when it comes to all of this stuff frustrates me too. The guys at CatLabs rule, I love these guys, they resurrected a dying game, but we need an easy checklist for new people who are trying to play this game. Seriously, does it say you need Firewall (or encryption or whatever) on your datajack anywhere? But people on the boards are fully aware of it even though the sample runners aren't. And that's another thing, those sample runners that are suppose to help newbs learn but they don't help at all!!! They're lack of gear will get you killed, even on milk runs! I heard Adam is working on the Runner's Toolbox, I sure hope it comes out soon and this list is in it. Cause this is my biggest gripe.

I think 4th edition rocks, sure I'd like some Bradstreet, but I'm proud of where CatLabs is taking MY game.

And yes, I'm ancient, and yes, I started with 1st edition.

Edit:
Oh, and most importantly, as a negative, the world doesn't feel as dark and hopeless. I loved that feel! Things are too bright and shiny. It occasionally has a teenie-bopper Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel to it.
Malachi
QUOTE (Platinum @ Oct 20 2009, 07:26 PM) *
1. Japanese and Tribal influences were everywhere. White people weren't the overwelming majority.

2. Racism was a huge part of the game. If you were meta, it meant getting bounced out of bars, and extra brawls.

Of the 10 points you mention, only these 2 are something that could be altered in future fluff supplements. The rest of the points you mentioned are fallout or perceived changes due to rules mechanics, and those aren't likely to change.

In starting this discussion I was hoping to generate some practical ideas for bringing back a "feel" in Shadowrun that some of the older players feel is missing. Assuming what has already been published will not be changed in any radical way, what can be done in future books to bring back those elements that are perceived to be missing? The above two are points that could be emphasized in further books.

Ayeohx, I agree with you on the IE-thing. After reading all the "King Arther was an IE, Merlin was an IE, Leonardo was an IE..." stuff I started to think "Geez, can't a regular human do anything anymore?"
Ayeohx
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 20 2009, 09:19 PM) *
Ayeohx, I agree with you on the IE-thing. After reading all the "King Arther was an IE, Merlin was an IE, Leonardo was an IE..." stuff I started to think "Geez, can't a regular human do anything anymore?"


Exactly!!! 'bout time someone understands. "Humans were just monkeys; elves rule!" So pissed off..

Anyhow, Malachi, to answer your question, I want the dark oppressive feeling to come back. Before Laubenstein... sidestepping rant... but you know what I mean. The awesome black and white pics of Alexander and Bradstreet hit the vibe perfectly. Dark with a bit of humor. We need that back. And the "wtf" factor is missing. Remember the Universal Brotherhood? Wow, that threw us for a loop. the game was dark and gritty. Now, while I love the realism, we need to stir more darkness back into the game. "Shadow" the game up a bit more, you know?

Edit: I know Laubenstein was there in the beginning but it was in contrast to the awesomeness that was Bradstreet and Alexander. In 2nd edition Laubenstein really got the spotlight and I started losing interest. 3rd edition art really alienated me.
Skip
I bought the first edition books when they came out 20 years ago (was it really that long ago?), and loved the feel of the game. The attitude of the game was just so different from the other games we played at the time. It had a real Hammet/Chandler feel to it, even more than Gibson.

As much I loved variable staging, it was a great idea for a video game, but back when the game came out a portable computer was a Compaq suitcase with a built-in 4 inch CRT green screen - so implementing it required a degree in applied mathmatics. I learned to cuff stuff as a GM thanks to the first edition.
MYST1C
QUOTE (Jeffrey Webb @ Oct 20 2009, 10:02 PM) *
Missing Blood, Harlequin, Queen Euphoria, lots of classic modules could be given a facelift and presented to a new generation of Shadowrunners as well as generate some revenue again for TPTB.

Funny thing - both Harlequin and Harlequin's back are currently remade for SR4 by the French SR licensee...
KCKitsune
You know I'm glad the NAN got diminished. I NEVER agreed that they could have held that much of the US after the GGD. I mean most of their big mojo slingers DIED at the end of the GGD, and they were still able to hold that territory... IMO, nope! Not going to happen.

I accept that other people think it was really cool, but honestly, the people at FASA made the NAN just because... no further thought went into WHY & HOW something like this could happen.
Ayeohx
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Oct 21 2009, 12:21 AM) *
You know I'm glad the NAN got diminished. I NEVER agreed that they could have held that much of the US after the GGD. I mean most of their big mojo slingers DIED at the end of the GGD, and they were still able to hold that territory... IMO, nope! Not going to happen.

I accept that other people think it was really cool, but honestly, the people at FASA made the NAN just because... no further thought went into WHY & HOW something like this could happen.


I guess that having a war to reclaim it would be really Non-PC IRL. smile.gif
I'm sure that would be on the news...

But, it's already done. It's part of the game world. Ignoring it won't help. And I can think of very good reasons that they were able to hold it. Chiefly the US didn't know that most of the GGD folks died and I don't think the US knew what it took to create such powerful magic.

Besides, I kind of liked the shamans and the amerindians. Shamans... remember them? But if ya can't summon fire elementals who needs ya? I guess 4th edition really over-homoginized magic. Of course, I haven't fully read Street Magic. It looked like they tried to add diversity back into the system.

I understand where you are coming from. There's a lot in Shadowrun that doesn't quite make sense but it was created 20 years ago. Back then we weren't quite the sticklers we are today. Geez, remember our cartoons? And Airwolf or the A-Team? Pretty unlikely events but during those times it freakin rocked.
hobgoblin
i suspect its not so much the game that has changed, as the players...

most that frequent this place seems to have started out around 2ed, where shadowrun was something odd in that it mixed high magic with high tech, and the characters where not heros but criminals for hire.

and at the time most of the world was unknown, as the history section of the main book had only covered UCAS and seattle (with some points towards euro wars, natural disasters and similar), so each time a new book came out it was truly new, new gear, new places, new magic (tir na nog dropping in path magic, awakenings introducing voodoo, virtual realities 2.0 basically replaced the matrix rules).

with SR3 and SR4 its been more of a repeat of SR2, especially on the gear side. with SR3 only the SOTA books really introduced something new, and SR4 have inserted new along with restatted old.

in the end, one is sitting there with a sense of deja vu if one have been with the game for a decade or more, rather then the experience of cracking open SR2 and reading the timeline, finding out there are 2 elven nations, half of USA and canada is one nation, while the other half is a patchwork of native run ones, that a dragon is running a megacorp, and a european one at that...

i guess one can basically say that the sense of wonder have dropped out of the books, and one is now opening them mostly to see what have been changed, rather then wondering what its all about...

and i would say that the writers cant really reintroduce that wonder back in the books, as its a issue with the players, not the books...
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Ayeohx @ Oct 21 2009, 02:46 AM) *
And Airwolf or the A-Team? Pretty unlikely events but during those times it freakin rocked.


I never liked A-Team all that much. I completely and utterly despised it and will never watch another episode EVER after the one episode when the A-Team was running away and were being chased by guys in a helicopter and it crashed into a cliff. I mean, on fire, there's no way in hell that ANYONE would have survived THAT... except people in the A-Team universe. The people got out of the copter almost none the worse for wear.
Jeffrey Webb
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Oct 21 2009, 03:49 AM) *
I never liked A-Team all that much. I completely and utterly despised it and will never watch another episode EVER after the one episode when the A-Team was running away and were being chased by guys in a helicopter and it crashed into a cliff. I mean, on fire, there's no way in hell that ANYONE would have survived THAT... except people in the A-Team universe. The people got out of the copter almost none the worse for wear.


Blame Standards and Practices for that. Just like the purple Klingon blood in Star Trek VI.

The A-Team, however, were prototypical Shadowrunners. And Hannibal was obviously an Immortal Elf... smile.gif

Oh, and put me down in the "I miss Tom Dowd and Nigel Findley" crowd. And the Bradstreet crowd. And the Bob Charette crowd, if there is one...
Prime Mover
QUOTE
Oh, and put me down in the "I miss Tom Dowd and Nigel Findley" crowd. And the Bradstreet crowd. And the Bob Charette crowd, if there is one...


I'll get in on that list too. Been rereading Secrets of Power trilogy. (wow that brings back memories) Also Nigel's stuff is always worth going back and looking at!
Warlordtheft
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Oct 21 2009, 04:49 AM) *
I never liked A-Team all that much. I completely and utterly despised it and will never watch another episode EVER after the one episode when the A-Team was running away and were being chased by guys in a helicopter and it crashed into a cliff. I mean, on fire, there's no way in hell that ANYONE would have survived THAT... except people in the A-Team universe. The people got out of the copter almost none the worse for wear.


Yeah, you should go watch McGuiver create a nuke with a pack of bubble gum and duct tape!
Joe Chummer
QUOTE (Platinum @ Oct 20 2009, 08:26 PM) *
10. Tom Dowd, Nigel Findley


Too bad Nigel Findley is sleeping with the fishes frown.gif
Joe Chummer
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Oct 21 2009, 01:21 AM) *
You know I'm glad the NAN got diminished. I NEVER agreed that they could have held that much of the US after the GGD. I mean most of their big mojo slingers DIED at the end of the GGD, and they were still able to hold that territory... IMO, nope! Not going to happen.

I accept that other people think it was really cool, but honestly, the people at FASA made the NAN just because... no further thought went into WHY & HOW something like this could happen.

Wow. This just sounds incredibly racist to me.

Y'know, considering all the terrible things white folks did to the Amerindians over the years -- breaking treaties, giving them smallpox-laced blankets, breaking treaties, shoving them onto reservations, breaking treaties, etc. -- and you still have a problem with giving them back some of their land, even if it's fictional? Give me a fragging break.
Ayeohx
QUOTE (Joe Chummer @ Oct 21 2009, 03:38 PM) *
Wow. This just sounds incredibly racist to me.

Y'know, considering all the terrible things white folks did to the Amerindians over the years -- breaking treaties, giving them smallpox-laced blankets, breaking treaties, shoving them onto reservations, breaking treaties, etc. -- and you still have a problem with giving them back some of their land, even if it's fictional? Give me a fragging break.


Hey, I didn't give them small pox! smile.gif

But let's not make this a race war. Seriously. I understand where he's coming from. With the size of the US military let alone all of the gun carrying Americans I'm a bit surprised the NAN thing worked out. I know a few folks that would rather die than give up their homes (most, now that I think about it). You'd have to come and fireball them yourself before they'd believe you can force them out with magic and a few volcanoes wouldn't scare them away. Some of us Americans can be "special" like that.
BlueMax
Screw reality, screw reason. Someone was nice enough to craft a wondrous world that we call Shadowrun.

I embrace it, in all its glory and ridiculous beauty.


BlueMax
Ayeohx
QUOTE (BlueMax @ Oct 21 2009, 04:14 PM) *
Screw reality, screw reason. Someone was nice enough to craft a wondrous world that we call Shadowrun.

I embrace it, in all its glory and ridiculous beauty.


BlueMax


No arguing with that man. But Laubenstein corner in Downtown Seattle has to go. In my gameworld it's constantly violated with grafitti and vandalism while the Bradstreet museum across the road is thought to be the pinnacle of turn of the century art. smile.gif
Malachi
QUOTE (BlueMax @ Oct 21 2009, 04:14 PM) *
Screw reality, screw reason. Someone was nice enough to craft a wondrous world that we call Shadowrun.

I embrace it, in all its glory and ridiculous beauty.


BlueMax

That's a key attitude. I have seen on these boards some people saying, "Don't give us a shadowy reflection of what exists now, be daring create something cool, new, and different!" Then I have also seen people rail against things that are "unrealistic": "That would never happen! They didn't do their research! That writer is stupid!"

Someone said earlier that it's not so much that the game changed, it's the players that have changed. More and more I'm starting to think that's truer to the point. Back when we started SR we were younger, maybe less educated, didn't chat on internet forums so much and so on. Now a lot of us have grown up, we're more educated and more skeptical, and we post on forums where some people are bent on pointing out every flaw to show how much "smarter" they are or something. I think if we really want the CGL authors to "wow" us and create that sense of wonder and excitement again, we need to back off on that "that wouldn't happen" kind of stuff.
Paul
Malachi do you write for the game? Are you a freelancer? Or an actual staffer? The reason's I ask are many, but include simple curiosity.
Ayeohx
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 21 2009, 04:43 PM) *
That's a key attitude. I have seen on these boards some people saying, "Don't give us a shadowy reflection of what exists now, be daring create something cool, new, and different!" Then I have also seen people rail against things that are "unrealistic": "That would never happen! They didn't do their research! That writer is stupid!"

Someone said earlier that it's not so much that the game changed, it's the players that have changed. More and more I'm starting to think that's truer to the point. Back when we started SR we were younger, maybe less educated, didn't chat on internet forums so much and so on. Now a lot of us have grown up, we're more educated and more skeptical, and we post on forums where some people are bent on pointing out every flaw to show how much "smarter" they are or something. I think if we really want the CGL authors to "wow" us and create that sense of wonder and excitement again, we need to back off on that "that wouldn't happen" kind of stuff.


I agree; for the most part. I think there has to be a certain caution taken when dealing with a franchise that didn't change much for a long period and then it's recently been rebooted. A lot of people were alienated. I'm sure most of us had the moments when someone pissed us of by mishandling one of our comic book or favorite story heroes:

  • Break Batman's back, screw you!
  • Kill Dunkelzahn, screw you!
  • Kill off <insert any hero>, screw you!
  • Kill off Jason Todd... well, okay. Thanks even.

But you get the idea. Gotta be careful if you want to retain your fanbase.

That said, you can't please everyone. You will piss off some people with changes just don't piss of everyone all at once.

One thing that does kind of bug me is that it seems todays writers have attempted to fix the problems of the past like Bug City, the Horrors, the Arcology, AI wackiness, etc. I understand that it's no fun writing for someone else's loose ends. But when you finish up one story you should introduce at least another story that is just as interesting. The ACHE and the AIs that live among us are rather bland in comparison. I can see these bits as important building blocks for some cool stories down the road, even in our own games, but I'm ready for some new metaplots. You know, some dark "holy crap" metaplots.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Ayeohx @ Oct 21 2009, 02:37 PM) *
No arguing with that man. But Laubenstein corner in Downtown Seattle has to go. In my gameworld it's constantly violated with grafitti and vandalism while the Bradstreet museum across the road is thought to be the pinnacle of turn of the century art. smile.gif

Mess with Laubenstein and you get a broken nose.

Heck, everyone in his art did.

BlueMax
BlueMax
QUOTE (Malachi @ Oct 21 2009, 02:43 PM) *
That's a key attitude. I have seen on these boards some people saying, "Don't give us a shadowy reflection of what exists now, be daring create something cool, new, and different!" Then I have also seen people rail against things that are "unrealistic": "That would never happen! They didn't do their research! That writer is stupid!"

Someone said earlier that it's not so much that the game changed, it's the players that have changed. More and more I'm starting to think that's truer to the point. Back when we started SR we were younger, maybe less educated, didn't chat on internet forums so much and so on. Now a lot of us have grown up, we're more educated and more skeptical, and we post on forums where some people are bent on pointing out every flaw to show how much "smarter" they are or something. I think if we really want the CGL authors to "wow" us and create that sense of wonder and excitement again, we need to back off on that "that wouldn't happen" kind of stuff.


Another aspect to remember is that there as a more "realistic" near future game. It was CP2020. Some of its fans are now playing, writing for and changing Shadowrun.

I totally agree with the "younger mind" aspect. As a scientist, I exercise my younger mind as often as I can.

I hope someday to get all of my last Catalyst order and then get Dawn of Artifacts. If anything lately has a hope for greatness, it is that series.

BlueMax
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