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I'm a bit of a newer GM, Having only run two short lived campaigns. My three or four players have never played this system before. Two of them seem very enthusiastic about playing, the other two, I'm not sure about yet. Three out of four of my potential players are experienced in D&D, one of my players are inexperienced all around.

So, long story short, I having been an experienced player, am allowing all character options in the books for SR4, and am teaching the players examples as we create their characters[Your character casts spells like this; roll this and this. Your character hacks with this. Roll this and this. Since you cast a spell, your character resists drain based on this here, resisting with this and this.]. Any other things y'all can recommend?
Could you be a little more spacific about what you're asking for? run ideas? problems to avoid? munchies to bring? This is a pretty gabby group but I htink it's unclear what you want.
The game is more fun when no one except the GM knows the rules and have no access to the books *g*.

Hm... have nothing more to say i think. Have fun.
I believe Adrian was asking about ways in general to accommodate new players. Like what to make sure to tell them, perhaps a suggestion for a simple run (Incidentally food fight might be good to get a basic grasp of the system).

I believe there are at least a couple of threads out there dedicated to this sort of thing, you might want to try exercising your data search skill and see if you can come up with something.

I would however suggest avoiding most of the non-core books for beginners. Unwired for example adds tons of complexity to the matrix rules that really isn't needed. For the most part the rules in street magic are only needed once your awakened get more powerful and start initiating and such. That said the adept powers and spells from the book are good additions.

Arsenal isn't generally needed either, the toys are nice but can get overwhelming. Same with augmentation. Leave it for later so that characters have new things they can look forward to getting after the game gets underway.
I was planning on running food fight. I think I will hold off on Unwired until later, but I have no problem letting them have at Street Magic and Arsenal. I'm mostly looking for Plot hooks and group cohesion tips.

A few common problems to avoid would be helpful.
Well, food fight doesn't really need plot hooks, it just needs everyone to come up with a reason for being at a stuffer shack (Shouldn't be too hard except for maybe someone with a high lifestyle, but even they might need to pick up something quick on their way to X).

As for future plot hooks, well, depends on the character. Easiest would be that someone noticed you doing X during food-fight and are offering you (And those other gun totting people) a job since you seem to have the right kind of skills and attitude.

If the person is for some reason very reluctant they could hold the footage they snagged as blackmail of sorts to twist an arm.

Group cohesion on the other hand can be very hard, SR perhaps even more than most settings, as one of the big rules is 'Watch your back and be careful who you trust'. One option is to simply say that the group has been running together for the past X months (Which is why they have such good skills and equipment) and so trust one another a good deal already. Another could be that the group gains a rep, but not the individuals. No one wants to hire 'sammy the street sam' but they do want to hire 'that group that happens to include sammy the street sam' and so they continue to get jobs together. The players are generally willing to put some effort into forming a group as well, and the characters have a vested interest in being on good terms with one another because it improves survivability.
FREE Quick Start Rules

Don't ask us, ask your players what they want.

We'll just guess wrong.
Put everyone in one room to make characters, so that they'll be somewhat adapted to one another, instead of being made for wildly differing genres.

Encourage them to come up with pre-existing ties between the characters (family, friends, prison buddies, army buddies etc.)

Pick a nice shadowrunner-esque movie to view before turning them loose on chargen.

Consider if you prefer BP build, karmagen or priority.

Make sure your players and you are on the same page of genre (street, high rollers, ice cold pro, pink mohawk, whatever), as well as on such things as how much public (lethal/nonlethal) violence is normal.

Help your players to avoid common first-time mistakes in chargen (no/low Perception for example)

Make sure each of the characters has a motivation to be a shadowrunner

I have some materials on my site that are geared toward new players. In particular, I wrote a Shadowrun FAQ that had players coming from D&D in mind.

To give players imaginations a bit of a bump, I also did a couple of illustrations to show what the stats in Shadowrun meant in real world terms: What Would Samurai Do? shows what augmented attributes are actually capable of. The [b]Comparison of Metatypes is a very simple highlighting of just how they differ. Both are good things to keep in mind when role-playing or thinking tactically. Samurai wants to jump out of a second floor window? Go for it.

You might also want to take a look at the Opposition Roster and the detailed NPCs. Also, the detailed locations might give you some run ideas or a bit of flavour.

If you're running Food Fight, or even if you're not, one suggestion that might be useful is to play the enemies with plenty of tactical smarts. Players will look to you for their lead in the game. If their enemies don't take cover behind furniture to inflict dice pool penalties on their attackers, if they don't circle round and shoot PCs in the back or set up a cross-fire from concealed positions on either side of the street, then the players will never learn to behave this way either. And they'll need to because as I've said before, Shadowrun is a game of eggshells armed with hammers. It is set up right from the start, for offense to be stronger than defense. That is why there is so much backstabbing, sneakiness, trust and betrayal in the game. He who shoots first shoots last. Well, mostly. wink.gif

My other two suggestions are: don't nerf hackers and don't nerf magicians. The first time a magician PC destroys your game, your instinct will be to run in fear and nerf them in the rules. Don't do this. Go back and read the rules carefully and realise just how many ways magicians can fall flat on their face. Particularly those that believe too much in the law of averages. As to hackers, resist the urge to have every system that actually matters offline and out of their reach. They're hackers, let them hack.

Also, ban Technomancers, because I hate them. smile.gif

Peace and be cool,


You could add a plot hook to food fight by adding someone to the market-a contact, maybe a potential Johnson "I like how you handled yourself" or even a police contact "You again? get outta here" or even "Look this isn't an isolated inbcident but we haven't got the manpower to handle this drek. go check out... and tell me what ya' find, and maybe I'll forget about the permitts you don't have for those guns."
These ideas are getting better with every post. And K, I'm reading through your site right now. Asc, I am actually requiring that my players have two ranks in perception. If they choose not to take, Well, I'm a fan of random, pointless perception checks. Keeps them on their toes. Snow, thanks for the tip on placing a plot hook in the FF. I think I'll be taking advantage of that. Well, most of CharGen occurs tonight. These players may need some luck.

Edit: Also, I don't plan on nerfing casters or hackers. If it's logical a system would be offline, it will be offline. There will still be ways of getting to it, just not from outside sources.

I only have one caster in the party as of now, and two hacker types. I don't think I'll take any steps to nerf him. If he does something stupid, he'll face the consequences.
When I started my first campaign, I printed out the section from Runner's Companion that talks about the roles on a team, and then had everyone make characters together. They talked about who was going to do what, and what jobs (like shooting people) they thought multiple people should have. Then when they made their backgrounds, I asked them what each of their characters' goals were.

Building in the goals to the runs can help people buy in to the game. After a few months, they started planning runs themselves. Working through contacts to find the items that they wanted but couldn't get through channels. The first time they succeeded at a job they planned from the ground up themselves, they were hooked for life.
Check out these Shadowrun Denver missions for some good ideas - they're set in Denver but most of them can be moved anywhere with no huhu. I am particularly fond of "Thrash the Body Electric" - the mission is basically "here is a factory, go wreak some havoc", so it is very open-ended.
Best thing I can add is use an NPC Hacker. A remote one if possible.

First it keeps the game going at full speed. SR 4 is better about that then any other SR edition, but it still slows the game down.
Hackers also make very good GM NPC voices since it is there job to go pull the background data. They then let the PC handle the face to face legwork.

They can also be ADD enough that someone (like the PCs) has to keep them on focus.

Or to paraphrase a good quote on dealing with Hackers:
"I don't care that is it scrap metal now, WHEN were you going to tell us about the giant floating ball of DEATH!!!!

It lets you skip the gritty details of the matrix and focus on getting the real world mechanics down. And it can be bad when a player knows the game system better than the GM and they have the advantage since they only really have to learn the basics and their specialization.

And even if a Player wants to go in to hacking having a remote hacker is always very useful.

I'd also say talk to your players and find out what they want. Be clear what type of game you want to run. Don't be afraid to let the players know they can rewrite their PC after four or five sessions because the characters roles and personalities will changes as the game shakes out.

Also for newbies, The GM has to provide both their sense of and their sum of experiences in the Sixth World. You need to let them know what they can get away. What is risky but might be worth it. And what will likely get them killed.

The whole Pink Mohawk (Escape from New York/cyberpunk dystopia where any thing goes) and Black Trench Coat ( Bourne Identity/Big Brother surveillance where if you are not a total Pro they will be able to find you.) scale needs to be spelled out pretty clear and they should have a pretty good idea where they can get away with what.
Dixie Flatline
QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Feb 20 2010, 06:45 PM) *
The game is more fun when no one except the GM knows the rules and have no access to the books *g*.

Hm... have nothing more to say i think. Have fun.

Hello Friend Computer! Of course I'm happy Friend Computer! Failure to be happy is Treason! Death to the mutant Commies!

Mutant Commie Traitor ! *points finger at Dixie*
QUOTE (Acidsaliva @ Feb 22 2010, 05:39 AM) *
Mutant Commie Traitor ! *points finger at Dixie*

I'm sorry, you do not have the proper clearance to point your finger. Please report to Level 12 of Alpha Complex for processing.
QUOTE (kjones @ Feb 22 2010, 12:31 PM) *
I'm sorry, you do not have the proper clearance to point your finger. Please report to Level 12 of Alpha Complex for processing.

Everything will be alright

Time to get back on topic though.
QUOTE (DireRadiant @ Feb 21 2010, 12:23 AM) *
Don't ask us, ask your players what they want.

We'll just guess wrong.

No, we would guess right. They would then just change their minds about what they want.
What everyone else has said about talking to the players before-hand is spot-on. Speaking as somebody who's failed to set expectations before, it's really important.

There's a number of different perspectives to get feedback on:
  • Do you prefer realistic or epic (encouraging bigger-than-life actions) gameplay?
  • Punk or Professional?
  • By default combat can get deadly very quickly (note previous comments about eggshells and hammers). With new players you're liable to have players dying quickly. Do they want it more surviveable?
  • Moral game (runners the good guys) or amoral, every-man-for-himself, selling your sister to Tanemous for your wired reflexes world?
QUOTE (Apathy @ Feb 22 2010, 10:58 PM) *
By default combat can get deadly very quickly (note previous comments about eggshells and hammers). With new players you're liable to have players dying quickly. Do they want it more surviveable?

Sorry, couldn't resist..
Professor Evil Overlord
This recent thread has a lot of useful advice:

As others have said - communicate with you players and decide, as a group, just what your version of the 6th World will be like.

Here's some quick tips -

1)Establish tone/style/setting right away. Preferably before you even do character gen so everyone will be on the same page. This cuts down on angry players who guessed wrong when building/designing characters.

2)Establish up front what a typical payout will be for a run and how many times per month the PCs can expect to be offered work. Your players need to know if they were offered chump change or a major windfall.

3)Don't let players (or GMs for that matter!) get overwhelmed by the amount of background information. Don't expect everyone to have read every book. Some players will, some players won't. Sometimes, especially with players new to the game, you'll have to spoon feed them information. That's partly what those knowledge skills are for.

4)Don't restrict access to the source material. Lend out your books if you can trust people to return them. Most of the source books are written in such a way that the information may not be accurate or even true, so you aren't really giving anything away by letting the players read books.
Crusher Bob
On the balance between nuyen and karma awards:

The marginal utility of karma and nuyen to advance your character depends on your character type. So, for example, a mage or certain adept builds can basically advance quite far in a karma only rewards game; while mundane characters are basically at the top of their (karma) game out of character creation.
A samurai with 6 million still has the firearms skill of 6 he started the game with; a mage with 6 million karma has a magic rating OVER 9000 biggrin.gif. A street sam with 6 million Y has delta-synaptic III (or whatever); a pure mage with 6 million Y has a nice beach house somewhere.
So, there should be a balance between karma and Y rewards that balances the advancement of both mages and mundanes.

2 The costs of living

The fake SIN tax.
Different styles of games require different amounts of disposable equipment. For example, how often do your characters change fake SINs, drop weapons and other equipment, replace damaged armor, etc? Depending on the style of game, there may be none of this, or it may happen every game. Because there is not a default style of play here, the default pay cannot be fixed, but instead must take into account these expenses.

The lifestyle tax.
Just as different games have different levels of expected expenses, different games also have different run frequencies. So a game that generates a run every in game month will 'tax' lifestyle costs less than a game that generates a run only every 3 in-game months.

Since the expected Y rewards listed in part 1 are solely for character advancement (for example, buying new cyberware) the average pay estimates must also include calculations for the cost of living, based on the assumptions of that particular game table.

Lastly, what combination of karma and Y seems to equally reward both magical and mundane characters?
The 2,500 Y per karma point is based on the BP conversion:
1 BP = 5,000 Y
1 BP ~~ 2 karma

So payments should look like:
~2,500 Y per point of karma awarded, net deductions for the expenses

If you want to run a street level game, limit BP in character generation and limit both karma and Y rewards. Limiting Y rewards while still handing out the normal amount of karma just leaves mages laughing all the way to the bloody sacrificial altar.

Showing some sample calculations for how the karma and nuyen awards across different game types are computed:

Street level game
Expected lifestyle is low (2000 Y a month)
Average adventure occurs about once every two weeks
Average karma award per adventure is 3 karma (each run typically completed in one short session)
Average necessary expenditure per adventure ~500Y per runner

So we'd expect each runner to be paid around (2,000/2) [lifestyle] + 500 (expenses) + (2,500x3) (actual Y reward) or around 9,000 per job.

Higher powered game
Expected lifestyle is high (10,000 Y a month)
Run occurs every 3 months
Average karma award per run is 12 karma (each run expected to take several actual game sessions)
Average necessary expenditure per runner ~25,000

So we'd get paid around (10,000 X 3) (lifestyle) + 25000 (expenses) + (12 x 2500) (actual Y reward) or around 85,000 per job.

Both games are getting their 'expected' 2500Y per point of karma award, but just quoting the average price per runner would tend to make you think that the higher powered game PCs are making off like bandits. Nope, still getting 2500Y per point of karma

What are necessary expenditures?
Stuff like fake SINS, replacing damaged equipment, of stuff dropped/burned because of evidence concerns. Bribes, transporation, fees to sub-contractors, etc.

The level of necessary expenditures depends on both your game style and the run in question.

Alternate Matrix rules available: here
QUOTE (Crusher Bob @ Feb 23 2010, 05:12 AM) *
Alternate Matrix rules available: here

Pretty interesting stuff, that. Shame the discussion went downhill so fast.
Beware the tendency to dungeon crawl. IME D&D players trying to move to SR without a pretty strong cadre of SR vets can easily lose momentum. They come at the shadows like a dungeon full of kobolds, and don't know what to do with all of the other stimuli flying around. It's a much more intricate world, and they're going to need some guidance on how to navigate. The NPC hacker would be very useful for this.

I'd be inclined to discourage first-timers from magic and the matrix, but with a whole newb groupthat's difficult. You still need all the bases covered. Insist that they read the entirety of the relevant sections in the main book and discuss it with them. Address system/rules/fluff confusion before it has a chance to pop up in play if at all possible.
The game I'm currently running is 1 and a half years old, with about 1 session month. I have run games before as well, but mostly in 2nd ed.

I'll be a +1 for the talk to the players and see what they want from the game.

D&D players might be more into the hack and slash and loot the bodies. Looting the bodies, may cause issues though, it takes time that most runners on a run don't have. You do not want to mess with a corp HTRT (High threat response team-think swat/delta force). Hacking and slashing just for the sake of it is upt to the flavor of you game, but a high body count should bring a similarly high interest from the law/corp/crime outfit.

WOD players: These guys will go for the intrigue more than the combat. Faces, mages and hackers/technos would be a good fit for the style of play WOD encourages.

Paranoia: Remind them they have no clones...and all will be well.

Non-roleplayer trying it for the first time: Keep it rules light. Don't worry about all the various possible modifiers, and keep the game moving.

As bad as it may sound, I have a filter for the random looting:

Armor: They aren't the same race. You have no use for it.

Weapons: Hardcoded biometric lockouts on the firearms.

We had a session, and to of my players made it. They both like it a lot so far. Now to convert the third player.
QUOTE (Adrian Korvedzk @ Feb 23 2010, 04:43 PM) *
As bad as it may sound, I have a filter for the random looting:

Armor: They aren't the same race. You have no use for it.

Weapons: Hardcoded biometric lockouts on the firearms.

We had a session, and to of my players made it. They both like it a lot so far. Now to convert the third player.

Just remember that most gangers don't have that good of gear even before someone put a lot of holes in it.

But hacker or any one with some hardware experience can break hardcoded biometric lockouts on the firearms especially if they don't care about keeping the biometric working.

Also any thing picked up like that has been involved in a serious crime and they have no idea just what other crimes the loot has been involved with.

I usually don't have to worry too much about it.

My players use a professional fence with a rock hard reputation. What he fences disappears for good.

Now they only get 10 to 20% of the value, but he grantees that the merchandise will not be traced back to them.

It will be wiped clean (again), be broken down, and distributed widely.

They don't get a lot for it, but they can sleep easy knowing it is gone for good.
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