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Troyminator
I am trying to create a run for my players and I get so overwhelmed when I sit down to do it. An early 4th edition book had a random generator (roll d6 on various tables). I did that, but don't really know what to do to put a run together after that.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Epicedion
This is a pretty big question, so don't expect a simple answer. Plus, everyone's going to have their own style.

If you want the bare basics, the "what do I do to put together a simple run?" style, you just have to identify the core components of a simple run and build them up.

1. The Target -- What is it? Where is it? Who has it? Who wants it? How much is it worth?

For basic runs, the target can just be a MacGuffin. One unit of plot stuffed into a plot-sized bag. This can be anything like an experimental military-grade laser emitter, or a prototype commlink memory unit, or a fancy piece of biotech, or the collected mystical writings of the Great Ork'et Metaphilosopher Shum'bug'no. It doesn't matter. Just pick something practically useless to the party so that you don't have to worry about them stealing it for themselves. That's the advanced course.

Then put together a minor write-up on who has it and who wants it. Use one of the Big 10, or make up a smaller company that's independent or a subsidiary of one of the Big 10. They have it. Some other company wants it.

Your write-up should look something like this: "Compuwerx, an independent software development company, has created a new optimized program to run the Seattle traffic grid and is poised to win the next multi-year contract to implement that program and provide service. Trafficom, a direct competitor, wants to hire a team of shadowrunners to steal all of the development notes for the project and then sabotage the Compuwerx system by loading an agent on it."

2. Contact -- How does Mr. Johnson contact the team? Where do they meet? How much does he offer? How much higher will he go? How much will he offer up front? What information and special equipment can/will he provide? How long does the team have to complete the mission? Are there any bonus objectives?

3. Legwork -- What kind of information can the team acquire through research, contacts, and physical/matrix/astral surveillance?

and

4. The Site -- What is the layout? Where is it? What kind of physical security does the site have (door locks, guard posts, cameras, fences, drones, etc)? What kind of Matrix security does the site have (nodes and their stats, security hackers, agents)? What kind of Astral security does the site have (combat mages and astral overwatch, wards, spirits, biofilm)? Where on the site is the target?

Legwork and The Site need to be considered at the same time. It's easiest to mostly design the site first, and then write down a list of basic facts about it. Things like "there are X guards, they change shift every Y hours," and "two mages keep constant astral overwatch, alternating every hour so that one is always on shift," and "the main office is only accessible via elevator with the right keycard, but none of the interior doors have anything other than basic privacy locks."

These are the tidbits that characters can learn via legwork. How creative they are with what they do is going to determine what they can find out, so the best way to go is play it by ear. They might learn the guard schedule by setting up cameras and monitoring them for a week. They might learn it by hacking the security network from the coffee shop down the street. They might learn by bribing a What they learn and how they learn it is going to depend a lot on what they want to know.

5. The Ending/Twist -- How exactly does Mr. Johnson plan on screwing the team at the end of the day? Does a third party offer them extra cash for a double-cross? Has the team pissed off someone with the resources to spend on tracking them down? Did Mr. Johnson lie about the target, and does the team find out about it in the middle of the run? What are the repercussions of the run?

-------------

These are just basic elements of a basic run. Once you've got these things figured out, you can then keep building to make this thing as complicated as you like.
ggodo
QUOTE (Troyminator @ Mar 22 2011, 08:26 PM) *
I am trying to create a run for my players and I get so overwhelmed when I sit down to do it. An early 4th edition book had a random generator (roll d6 on various tables). I did that, but don't really know what to do to put a run together after that.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


My method is to plan in 'acts' that may not need to occur in any order. I'm a big fan of the nodal method of GMing with setting up a few things to do, then letting the PCs decide the course of action. I jot down some keywords for NPC personalities and motivations, and play act the rest. Always keep some mooks of assorted flavors on hand in case a fight starts, and figure out how ood your players are at the game when designing security for them to crack. Some players don't take security systems into account.
phlapjack77
QUOTE (ggodo @ Mar 23 2011, 01:57 PM) *
My method is to plan in 'acts' that may not need to occur in any order. I'm a big fan of the nodal method of GMing with setting up a few things to do, then letting the PCs decide the course of action. I jot down some keywords for NPC personalities and motivations, and play act the rest. Always keep some mooks of assorted flavors on hand in case a fight starts, and figure out how ood your players are at the game when designing security for them to crack. Some players don't take security systems into account.

Adding on to this, I tended to get tripped up as a GM when the players would go off the rails, and ask for specifics about things I hadn't prepared for, like where the bartender lived so they could follow him home, break into his apt, etc.

I think it's worth it to build up a "library" of standard mooks, complete with descriptions such as carried gear, where they live, etc. Same for many types of buildings, like apartments, bars, offices, etc.
ggodo
QUOTE (phlapjack77 @ Mar 22 2011, 10:06 PM) *
Adding on to this, I tended to get tripped up as a GM when the players would go off the rails, and ask for specifics about things I hadn't prepared for, like where the bartender lived so they could follow him home, break into his apt, etc.

I think it's worth it to build up a "library" of standard mooks, complete with descriptions such as carried gear, where they live, etc. Same for many types of buildings, like apartments, bars, offices, etc.


Yeah, when I get bored in class I write backgrounds for background type characters. I'm slowly accumulating a veritable city of NPCs just so I can have some onhand when asked. iI this sounds like daunting work, know that you can totally rip off the sample chjaracters in the book for stats and gear. Mix it up a bit for the backstories and go for it.
Epicedion
Yeah, an important rule is: never throw anything away.
Critias
I tend to picture an awesome scene, and then work backwards. If I think a firefight on top of a moving truck would be cool, I figure out a mission that would make it likely to happen, and build back from there. I think about what could be on the truck and how it could link to another adventure, I figure out who the PCs are fighting to get the truck and how that could link to a prior session, I think about who hired them to steal the truck and how that could lead to a prior session...etc, etc. Work out a cool place for a Meet, think of a how to handle a few other ways they could try to steal the truck, and then I get ready to wing it -- because, invariable, Shadowrun PCs will figure out something you didn't think of, so it pays to keep some generic NPC stats on hand for when they blindside you.

Be ready to roll with the punches, and concentrate on telling a good story and making sure the PCs have fun, more than you worry about the niggling details and train-track specifics of a certain 'run. Be ready to modify it on the go, go into the game understanding they'll think of something you didn't, and just have fun.
Epicedion
Oh, and if your players ever start following a better plotline than you initially wrote, there's nothing wrong with going with theirs and not telling them how wrong things went.

Also, sometimes you'll present a scenario and, going on nothing other that luck and intuition, one player will totally nail your projected plotline. This can happen no matter how crazy and weird your plot is. One SOB is going to say, "If this run ends up being us recovering Lofwyr's smoking jacket from a Renraku corporate geisha's carry-on luggage on the 6:37 flight to Boston, I'm just gonna start shooting everyone." And it'll be absolutely true. Try not to look surprised, and just roll with it.
phlapjack77
QUOTE (Epicedion @ Mar 23 2011, 04:09 PM) *
Oh, and if your players ever start following a better plotline than you initially wrote, there's nothing wrong with going with theirs and not telling them how wrong things went.

This. Totally don't be afraid to take credit for a plot-twist that you hadn't originally planned smile.gif
bluedao
I'm fairly new to running too. But I'll put in my 2 nuyen.gif . First mission I ran went well from the players stand point but horribly wrong from mine. 2/3's of my plot had to get ignored since they went in a couple different directions then I thought of. Which taught me the valuable lesson of don't over think it. Like others have suggested, create a story, have the npcs and places to populate it but your players will drive you nuts if you try to plan it out to detailed. Also as others have stated, steal from your players, they'll never know (lets hope mine don't read this thread). Steal from dumpshock. Personalize it, I've got one pc who has a personal hate on the azzies so their now a chief player. I've got another who is a thrill seeking close combat specialist so now my pit fight below the bar has some background and future story to it. My last pc is in for a few personal surprises too but I'm still flushing them out. And one more thing, do NOT fall into the trap of raising the stakes constantly. It's really tempting to have the characters take on awesome tasks that save millions, or maybe kill millions, but then your stuck Either every mission impacts the world, and suspension of disbelief breaks, or you're players go from hot stuff to doing milk runs again which has its own problems.
Blade
I do it like Critias.

Something else to take into account is your players and PC. If you know they play Shadowrun mostly to shoot things in the face, make an adventure with plenty of shooting in the face. If they prefer complex corporate intrigues, insert complex corporate intrigues...
nezumi
I start with the players first. What gaming style do they enjoy? Lots of planning? Shoot-outs and explosions? I base my plot around that.

Next I focus on the characters. What roles are they heavy in? What are they light in? That determines the nature of the challenges in the mission.

After that, I have two ways of making a mission, from the bottom up, or from the top down.

Bottom-up involves doing as Critias described - I think of one or more 'cool scenes' and contrive to pull them together, always bearing in mind the notes above.

Top-down involves figuring out broadly what sort of a mission I want (Smash 'n grab, extraction, etc.), then creating characters and background, then focusing on scenes and props.

I think almost more important though is what NOT to do when planning an adventure:

Don't stick to a hard timeline for events. Events happen when it's awesome for them to happen.

Don't overplan - most of the material won't be used. Don't underplan unless you like improvising.

Expect the players to always rush forward when you expect them to retreat, retreat when you expect them to press on, lag when you think the path is obvious, and turn left on roads with no turns.
Troyminator
QUOTE (nezumi @ Mar 23 2011, 08:22 AM) *
Expect the players to always rush forward when you expect them to retreat, retreat when you expect them to press on, lag when you think the path is obvious, and turn left on roads with no turns.


This SOOOOOOO describes my group.

Thank you all for the hints. I appreciate them. Keep them coming
Wesley Street
You want to know what would be really easy? Take an existing SR adventure from 1st or 2nd ed., file off the serial numbers, and change the stats to match SR4. The funny thing with RPGs is that you can throw the exact same situation at a group of players but if you re-skin it, it feels new. Once you've done that a couple of times you'll start to understand the basic SR story adventure structure and be able to plot your own to meet your group's needs.
Blade
QUOTE (nezumi @ Mar 23 2011, 02:22 PM) *
Don't stick to a hard timeline for events. Events happen when it's awesome for them to happen.


I don't completely agree: having the Lone Star SWAT raid the mafia's drug factory just when the players decide to go there might be awesome. But it's quite unlikely. Having it happen once is okay, but if it happens too many times, everything might feel a little staged (which might be the case, but then it's not a problem).

Plus, sometimes you can have awesomer scenes happens because the SWAT have already attacked the place by the time the PC get there, or have the SWAT attack just after the PC left or have the PC blow up the place before the SWAT can get there, or have the SWAT get ready to act just as everything is blowing up...
Deciding that the SWAT will arrive at 2'o'clock on the second day of the run can lead to any of these situations depending on how the players act. It can also be a way to make it harder for the players if they took too long doing things or on the contrary, give them a hand if they lag behind and you want them to get back on track so that you can get to a more interesting part of the adventure.

Let's say you decide this:
- Day 1 - 10:00PM: The runners are hired to get the list of undercover Lone Star agents. M. Johnson, officially from the Mafia, is actually one of the Lone Star agent. He was ordered by the mafia to hire runner to get the list so he has to do it, but at the same time, he tries to warn everyone.
- Day 1 - 11:30PM: M. Johnson is in a safe place so he calls the undercover agent in the mafia's drug factory. That agent reports back to his boss and asks to get out of here FAST.
- Day 2 - 01:00AM: The Lone Star boss has got the authorization to raid the drug factory. The undercover agent is to "get arrested" with the people working there.
- Day 2 - 01:45AM: The SWAT is deployed and waits for go signal.
- Day 2 - 02:00AM: The SWAT agents get the go signal.

If you decided that the SWAT would attack just as the PC got there, it would have been strange if that turned out to be the first place the PC investigated or if they only went there 5 days after the beginning of the investigation. Or you'd have players tell you: "How come we didn't notice them?" because you'd have forgotten to take into account the time it takes to deploy. Of course, you could always come up with explanations, but then you'd have to make sure they don't break anything else that has happened before. Sticking to the timeline (as long as the PC don't blow it up to pieces) is easier and can lead to fun situation you'd never have thought about.
jaellot
It might just be my group, but for me a session of any game generally involves me introducing a plot idea, in a natural way, and watch the entire world implode as the group begin to ponder out consequences I could never have imagined in a million years. Or they go in a completely different direction, or even don't go for the plot hook.

An off-genre example; In a 7th Sea session I planned on a sea serpent attack. Big, nasty, and it was going to eat people all over the place. Instead, at the very start of the session, a love triangle went KABOOM. Duels left and right, honor sullied, honor repaired, stabbings and bets from the crew flew wild. One of the best sessions I have ever ran. And I honestly had nothing to do with it.

I guess the moral of this story is a repeat of something that's already been said; you can't prepare when the party goes horribly off track. Just roll with it, and keep your cool. If what they propose seems doable, let them try for it. If it's absolutely off the wall, let them know that, too. And if you need a minute to get your shit together, tell them. You are but one person, running an entire world.

It does come down to knowing your players, too. My group has made it clear they won't do wetwork. Fine. I don't waste my time, and eventually theirs, working up a Run based on sniping some dude. But I might work up a Run where they are to protect a target, or track down the hitmen before they do the job, for example.
James McMurray
Depending on how much time I have, I either do node-based adventure design or toss together a quick five room model. The former is great for getting a meshed web of information and scenery for the players to move around in until they finally reach their goal. The second is much more straightforward and tends to have some railroading aspects, but it gets the job done and easily fits a run into a single evening. In any case, I try to keep the following in mind:

  • Only stat up the bare minimum: system ratings, NPCs, payout, etc. There's no telling where the players will eventually go, and the less you can get away with the better off you are.
  • Know what the PCs are capable of. If the three combat gurus have 20+ dice pools, end-game NPCs need to be able to withstand that. And vice versa, if the group is maxed out at Pistols 12, don't send them up against cyberzombies with the expectation that they'll win. I keep a combat spreadsheet so I know what an NPC just below them, even with them, and just above them looks like. Having that info on hand also means I can quickly make up opponents should they do the unthinkable and run off to Africa with Paris Hilton (which they did once, albeit not in a Shadowrun campaign).
  • Make sure they have spots to shine. I forgot this on our last run and every fight involved at least one prime runner that was superior to the PCs. It bit me on the butt with an unhappy player, so I'm keeping in at the forefront of my planning for the next run.
nezumi
QUOTE (Blade @ Mar 23 2011, 09:04 AM) *
Let's say you decide this:
- Day 1 - 10:00PM: The runners are hired to get the list of undercover Lone Star agents. M. Johnson, officially from the Mafia, is actually one of the Lone Star agent. He was ordered by the mafia to hire runner to get the list so he has to do it, but at the same time, he tries to warn everyone.
- Day 1 - 11:30PM: M. Johnson is in a safe place so he calls the undercover agent in the mafia's drug factory. That agent reports back to his boss and asks to get out of here FAST.
- Day 2 - 01:00AM: The Lone Star boss has got the authorization to raid the drug factory. The undercover agent is to "get arrested" with the people working there.
- Day 2 - 01:45AM: The SWAT is deployed and waits for go signal.
- Day 2 - 02:00AM: The SWAT agents get the go signal.


Indeed, creating and sticking to a hard timeline does make the world feel more real. The trade-off is, it takes a lot of work, and almost always ends up being irrelevant. In your situation, my PCs would either wrap up the whole mission by 2pm on Day 1 (so the SWAT team is no longer even relevant, and never adds to the story at all), or get caught up in the Don's four mistresses and is tracking down geneologies in Venezuela, so they only get to the warehouse by Day 5 when all other leads have been explored, and now the warehouse is empty (so the SWAT team is only relevant in sofar that it tells them the princess is in another castle).

If you are thinking 'it would be awesome to have a shoot-out in a factory', it's almost guaranteed NOT to happen with a static timeline like this. Just between 10am and 2am there are 16 hours for the PCs to hit the warehouse or otherwise get themselves stupid. If you want the SWAT/PC shoot-out, you either need the PCs to trigger the SWAT team coming, or to 'happen' to run into them (whether it's at 2am or 10am).

I wouldn't even use that setup for the fun of 'your target WAS at the warehouse, but now is in LS jail'. For that, you're still doing setup work, writing out the jail and all that, but I would give better than even odds that, whatever you anticipate, the PCs do the opposite.

The only way I'd go through all that fuss of a timeline like that is if I want the warehouse to get destroyed, but don't care when, or if I want a shoot-out in the jail and they can reach it EITHER by following Warehouse Agent (who is arrested) or Agent B (who is arrested at another locale).


jaellot is right when the players are proactive. Even when they aren't, I generally roll with it. I don't believe in red herrings. If the PCs believe the agent is the Don's mistress from Venezuela, I either tell them straight out they're wrong, so don't waste the game time, or I rearrange the plot so the mistress is an agent.

Players are weird.
Belvidere
Know this: A GM will plan out four ways for a mission to go. Players will always pick the fifth.

I've learned that improv is the utter key to SR GMing. That and bookeeping. Players get a little upset when a mook had a 12 dice pool last week and 14 the next week. grinbig.gif
ggodo
QUOTE (nezumi @ Mar 23 2011, 07:41 AM) *
jaellot is right when the players are proactive. Even when they aren't, I generally roll with it. I don't believe in red herrings. If the PCs believe the agent is the Don's mistress from Venezuela, I either tell them straight out they're wrong, so don't waste the game time, or I rearrange the plot so the mistress is an agent.

Players are weird.



I don't give Red Herrings, my players create their own. It's really amazing how paranoid they can get even when you explicitly state whether something is true or false.
Method
You might find this useful. There was a more polished version in the first issue of Dumpshock Datahaven <single tear> but all the key points are there and some good discussion.

I'll try to elaborate on my method form actually designing an adventure later if I have more time.
Warlordtheft
QUOTE (phlapjack77 @ Mar 23 2011, 02:06 AM) *
Adding on to this, I tended to get tripped up as a GM when the players would go off the rails, and ask for specifics about things I hadn't prepared for, like where the bartender lived so they could follow him home, break into his apt, etc.

I think it's worth it to build up a "library" of standard mooks, complete with descriptions such as carried gear, where they live, etc. Same for many types of buildings, like apartments, bars, offices, etc.


If they do that, wing it! This is were the descriptions of the skill rating and attribute level comes in handy. I tend to take that and run with it.

phlapjack77
QUOTE (Warlordtheft @ Mar 24 2011, 03:50 AM) *
If they do that, wing it! This is were the descriptions of the skill rating and attribute level comes in handy. I tend to take that and run with it.

But winging it is hard! smile.gif

For me, it was the fine, nitty-gritty details that the players wanted. It got difficult to wing every NPC's equipment (needed lots of detail, here), the layouts and security and matrix of every single location, etc. So having a library of mooks, locations and objects helped me provide the details they wanted.
kzt
QUOTE (Critias @ Mar 23 2011, 12:52 AM) *
Be ready to roll with the punches, and concentrate on telling a good story and making sure the PCs have fun, more than you worry about the niggling details and train-track specifics of a certain 'run.

PCs can have fun or not, but if the players don't enjoy the game it won't be a very fun game to GM.
kzt
QUOTE (Wesley Street @ Mar 23 2011, 06:45 AM) *
You want to know what would be really easy? Take an existing SR adventure from 1st or 2nd ed., file off the serial numbers, and change the stats to match SR4. The funny thing with RPGs is that you can throw the exact same situation at a group of players but if you re-skin it, it feels new. Once you've done that a couple of times you'll start to understand the basic SR story adventure structure and be able to plot your own to meet your group's needs.

Dig into the 1st or 2nd set of missions. Make what changes you feel makes sense, or run them as is. http://www.shadowrun4.com/missions/downloads-season-1/
Abstruse
My method (and that's all pretty much anyone is saying here, their methods...take what works for you and leave the rest) is to come up with motives for all the key players.

Johnson: I need to accomplish goal A. In order to do so, I will hire a team and tell them I need them to do X (where X can be straightforward or just one step in the plan for A). Once they accomplish X, I will do Y (which can be anything from paying them and waving bye to double-crossing them to anything in between). If they don't accomplish X, I will do Z.

Target (extraction): I work for or are being held by Corp A. I want to or don't want to go to Corp B instead. I will do X to encourage/prevent that.

Target (execution): I don't wanna die!!!!

Target (exec of target corp): I know or don't know A is happening. I will perform acts B, C, D, E, and/or F to prevent it.

After I have that down, I then go about planning out the location. I'll draw up a general blueprint of the area and a specific floorplan of important places (where fights are likely to break out, where the prototype/extraction target/MacGuffin is located, etc.) I'll plan out what security is where for what reason.

I'll tell them exactly what they know starting out, then let them do whatever legwork they need to do. Then I let them do the run as they want to with the information they have. I'll adjust as necessary for the PCs doing weird/stupid things like tipping off the other company or trying to sell the MacGuffin to another corp or whatever.

This strategy works well for me because I'm good at improving on the table. For others, it may not work. However, I really feel this is the best method for Shadowrun because there are so many ways that your PCs can completely screw up your plans. Like someone said, they will ALWAYS turn left when you expect them to turn right, turn right when you expect them to turn left, retreat when they should attack, attack when they should retreat, etc. etc. They say "No good plan survives contact with the enemy", and while this is good advice for your players, it's ten times more important for you as GM.
CanRay
I just steal from movies, TV, books, and bad dreams... Then add more violence until I feel the group will be challenged.

Well, except for the bad dreams, those I dial back. If what I say scares some people on the board, my Nightmares would have you banning me.
eyeBliss
A bit of a tangent here, but has anyone started some sort of NPC depository?
redwulf25
QUOTE (eyeBliss @ Mar 24 2011, 10:07 AM) *
A bit of a tangent here, but has anyone started some sort of NPC depository?


That would be awesome. If there isn't one already I would strongly encourage creating one.
Epicedion
I keep my NPCs on google docs, organized in collected files by affiliation. For example, I have a Knight Errant Threats document that contains stat blocks for regular KE intsec, KE security hackers and riggers, KE security mages, and KE armed response teams.

That Knight Errant Threats file is also good for fudging random security if I don't have another applicable file. Mostly I build these things up as I need them, and the number of options I have keeps growing.

Highly interactive NPCs (like team contacts or prime runners) get their own NPC -- <Name> -- <Role> document. Something like:

NPC -- Art Vandelay -- Smuggler

or

NPC -- Drekhed -- Ganger
CanRay
People should feel free to use my Accountant From Hell as an NPC. He'd be great as a Money Launderer Contact. Always useful.
James McMurray
QUOTE (Epicedion @ Mar 24 2011, 04:12 PM) *
I keep my NPCs on google docs, organized in collected files by affiliation.


You know, one of the great things about google docs is the ability to make a file publicly viewable but not editable... Just sayin'. smile.gif
Tiralee
As mentioned above: Be Flexible.

If you give your players something simple to do, like protect a mom-and-pop store from a bunch of gangers, let the players figure out what's going to happen.

1: They defend the store, collect the cash and go home. (Uninspired players, by-the-book mission, use mooks of known quantity - you should do better than this.)

2: They recognise that ganger's don't have that sort of gear and/or their clothing/colours/signs are whak - something's not right here, develop, legwork, roleplay, guard. (Players have Good perception rolls, use of background skills, etc. Let the players figure out that additional skills, logic, smarts, etc, pay off in spades.)

3: Why on earth would a crap-hole like this hire your nova-hot runners? Oh...it's a front for Mafia/Yak/Triad/X Corp/Tribal Interest group/Insect Spirits...Make it seem like a simple discovery, then let their imaginations paint a horrible future for them... (More experienced players, they know some of the lore, well...enough to expect the worst)

4: Have them hit by not 1 gang, but 6, with bullets, spells and vehicles flying about. (Pink Mohawk Rock and Roll, Forever!)

5: Have them survive the run, then find their employer ritually slain with a hardcopy flimsy of the team with their eyes cut out and "you're next" written on the ground next to the pic with a piece of the victim's liver. ("Survival" players, let them work out who want them dead, past betrayals, etc. All for a good time:))

Frankly, if you're light on your feet, your players will drive the adventure, unless they want to sit there and be entertained. Then it's break out the x-box and play call of duty.

-Tir.
Troyminator
You guys Rock. Thanks so much for all of the ideas!
CanRay
QUOTE (Troyminator @ Mar 25 2011, 12:20 AM) *
You guys Rock. Thanks so much for all of the ideas!

Just wait until you get our bill. vegm.gif
Eratosthenes
As others have said, the ability to improv is important. Players will almost always surprise you with how they figure out something. Or in how they can screw things up. biggrin.gif

I tend to start with a germ of an idea. Like I want the run to center around a new vehicle prototype. Or the secret dealings of B-list simstar. Or deal-making in the Urban Brawl scene.

Then I figure out what parties would be interested, or would have an angle.

Then I figure out how they could use a runner team to further their interest, be it a smash-n-grab, data steal, bodysnatch, etc.

I try to focus on the motives, and big pictures, and stat up key NPCs and sites (like the office building they'll need to infiltrate).

After the bones are laid out, I work out twists, fun details, and/or complications.

An Example:

I want to work out a simple sabotage mission for new runners. Break into place X, burn it down, and leave. So I need some players.

Crime syndicates are great for this, but simple corporate sabotage works too. So I pick Company A. They're a small local manufacturer of commodity X (in this case, let's say they're shoes; this is a relatively minor detail that can be fun). The new spring line is out soon, and Company B wants to delay the shipments from Company A so they can get their own line out before them. Standard stuff, in the Shadowrun universe. So Company B's going to be hiring some runners to break into the warehouse and destroy the goods.

Complications? Maybe the goods are distributed from several warehouses, meaning the runners have to hit several sites simultaneously. Maybe there was a last minute change, and the goods are already en route. All decent. But I'd prolly go with the actual commodity being vapor-ware: Company A had other problems, and couldn't get the product finished in time, or were doing it to force Company B's hand. So no product actually exists to destroy. This could be good, or bad, for the runners. Maybe they get paid to do nothing. But odds are they'll be in a panic, thinking they screwed up somehow, and need to track down the real product. The runner's reactions are hard to predict here, so some tentative possibilities would need to be sketched out.

Only thing left is to ensure everyone in the group has something to do: the hacker has something to hack, the sam has someone to shoot, the magic has some magical threat to deal with (even if it's a simple ward/watcher/spirit).

And that'd be a simple, straightforward run. And it could lead to more complicated ones: Company B now wants the plans for A's product. Or B wants to extract A's lead designer. Etc.
Warlordtheft
To me, one of the biggest adjustments players and GM's from the game that causes cancer have is that Shadow run is not encounter 1 got to 2 go to 3 ect. It is more of a sanbox type game.

Things often go off course or that uber secrete plan-that you thought was so clever, a bright player might figure out. If the PC's do something that make the adventure go from pucker factor 10 to pucker factor 1, let it go. They are just as likely at somepoint to make that pucker factor 1 run go to ten. Also--keep in mind the relationships PC's have with their contacts. That loyalty one contact will be a 3 or higher if you save his life. And don't be afraid to ask for all the PC's contacts and use those as adventure hooks.
squee_nabob
QUOTE (Tiralee @ Mar 24 2011, 08:23 PM) *
5: Have them survive the run, then find their employer ritually slain with a hardcopy flimsy of the team with their eyes cut out and "you're next" written on the ground next to the pic with a piece of the victim's liver. ("Survival" players, let them work out who want them dead, past betrayals, etc. All for a good time:))


Don't do this too often. Characters may become disenchanted with shadow running if they never get paid for it. Money is a poor sole motivation, but if they donít want to get paid theyíd probably just become terrorists/activists/not shadow runners. Also players tend to be proactive about this. I know my group would immediately start with the Spirit searching, data searches, Sleuth Sprites, and Submergence Realm trips to get the drop on who wants them dead. Thatís not a reason to not do it, itís a reason to prepare that information ahead of time.
CynthiaCM
This tip may or may not be of much help to you, but I'd recommend taking an episode of the Rockford Files (another similar show should work too) and reimagining it for the Shadowrun setting. Some of my best runs have been crafted this way. It sounds silly, but that show is a gold mine for Shadowrun GMs. Aside from having the core of a great plot already created for you, you also have the benefit of a story structure. This means that there are two less things you have to worry about.
CanRay
The TV show "Leverage" is great for stealing "Hooding" 'Runs.
ravensmuse
"There are three possibly outcomes to any Shadowrunning scenario: the two the GM comes up with, and the third the players execute."

Winging it is bar none the skill to learn and hone, for any roleplaying game scenario. Your players will come up with the most oddball ideas, and sometimes, they'll be so awesome you can't help but utilize them. Run with it, and you'll never know where you'll end up.
CanRay
Four, actually... The three you mentioned, and what really happens in the end.

We really didn't expect things to blow up over the tainted SoyCaff.
Troyminator
QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 26 2011, 10:14 AM) *
The TV show "Leverage" is great for stealing "Hooding" 'Runs.


I Love the show Leverage. From the first episode I thought it was Shadowrun, just with a Utopian outlook.

but I'd recommend taking an episode of the Rockford Files

Another show I loved. I rememer (vaguely) watching the originals on TV. (Yes, I'm that old).

Be well!

ps I can't figure out how to use multi-quote
CanRay
Manually, as far as I've been able to figure out. dead.gif
phlapjack77
QUOTE (Troyminator @ Mar 28 2011, 12:55 PM) *
ps I can't figure out how to use multi-quote



QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 28 2011, 01:00 PM) *
Manually, as far as I've been able to figure out. dead.gif


For each post you want to quote, click the "Multiquote" button, then when you're ready to post, click "Add Reply".
redwulf25
QUOTE (Troyminator @ Mar 28 2011, 12:55 AM) *
I Love the show Leverage. From the first episode I thought it was Shadowrun, just with a Utopian outlook.


The first episode my reaction was "Oh my god, they just got screwed over by the Johnson!"
CanRay
QUOTE (redwulf25 @ Mar 28 2011, 12:09 AM) *
The first episode my reaction was "Oh my god, they just got screwed over by the Johnson!"

Mine was, "'Run's over, the Johnson screwed them."
redwulf25
QUOTE (Troyminator @ Mar 28 2011, 12:55 AM) *
I Love the show Leverage. From the first episode I thought it was Shadowrun, just with a Utopian outlook.

but I'd recommend taking an episode of the Rockford Files

Another show I loved. I rememer (vaguely) watching the originals on TV. (Yes, I'm that old).

Be well!

ps I can't figure out how to use multi-quote



QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 28 2011, 01:00 AM) *
Manually, as far as I've been able to figure out. dead.gif



QUOTE (phlapjack77 @ Mar 28 2011, 01:09 AM) *
For each post you want to quote, click the "Multiquote" button, then when you're ready to post, click "Add Reply".


That explains why I wasn't able to get it to work earlier. Most places I've used it you click multiquote on all but the last one and then hit quote on the final one you want to quote.
Method
Many people seem to be reiterating that improvisation is essential to creating runs. Maybe we should provide some tips to that end. Here are a few off the top of my head:

-- Know he rules. If there are parts of the rules that you struggle with or don't make sense (ahem... Matrix <cough>) use a limited rule set to start and add things in gradually. An easy way to do this is to stick to the BBB until you have a good handle on the system.
-- Use cheat sheets, GM screens or compiled tables to quickly sort out weird situations as they arise.
-- Create databases of contacts, NPCs, mooks, Matrix systems, locations, maps, ect. Go lurk in the Welcome to the Shadows section for ideas.
-- Steal from your players: sometimes the crazy shit they come up with is better than what you had planned. Just go with it. Also, familiarize yourself with their characters. Know what gear they have, what thier capabilities are, their contacts. Sometimes when things are veering off course you can use a PCs to give you direction.
-- Create a mini-sandbox. You can never predict what your players will do, but if you spend some time fleshing out the immediate setting for the adventure (the corp facility, Stuffer Shack, enemy gang hideout, art museum, etc) you will find that the players can do whatever they want and you will have a quick response. This works best if the area is intrinsically contained (underwater habitat) or otherwise limited in scope.

Anybody have other ideas?
Abstruse
QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 28 2011, 12:11 AM) *
Mine was, "'Run's over, the Johnson screwed them."

I just got into the show, so mine was "THIS IS A DAMN SHADOWRUN GAME!! Make Elliot a troll, Parker and Sophie elves, and find some way to shoehorn Fiona from Burn Notice in there to pink mohawk the place up a bit, and it's every friggin' Shadowrun team I've ever played with!!" My second reaction was similar. I've never seen a show that left me cackling as much as Leverage since Burn Notice. Not surprising, I've never seen a show that reminded me as much of Shadowrun since Burn Notice...

Back on topic...ummm...watch a bunch of Leverage and Burn Notice. If you don't get a dozen ideas after a little weekend-long marathon...well, find someone else to GM the game?
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