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Moonstone Spider
Here's a situation I'm in: There's another forum I visit every now and then. It has a role-playing section where the gamers usually play DnD. I've convinced some of them to let me introduce them to Shadowrun.

Now my problem is, I want to do so effectively. That means I have to get them to build characters when they have no idea what build points are and think you "build" a character by rolling 3d6 seven times. I have to somehow get their minds wrapped around the idea of playing criminals in a world with both magic and high technology, without HP, without Classes, etc. How can I do this without having to post a 50 page message of information?

So far I figure I'll stick only to BBB for the rules but use sum-to-10 for building, no metavariants, no SURGE or Drakes, no Shapeshifters, no Otaku. But I don't know how to get enough information to them to make them able to actually perform a run, without overwhelming them with too much.
DON'T have them build characters. That's not the way to start. Have them pick an archetype or premade character that looks cool to them.

Ex-mercenary, Ex-Navy Seal, Ex-Corporate Enforcer, Ex-Mafia Enforcer, Ex-Smuggler, Ex-"Million Dollar Deal Maker", etc.

You, the GM, play a magician, but keep your role limited. For example, use it to Treat other characters, or give them Clairvoyance or Clairaudience. If you do Astral Scouting, make it take 1 second of time for the players and then tell them the result (e.g. "I was gone 20 minutes, during which time my body ...")

After they are hooked, then they can build customized characters. But make them read the rules for making characters. You don't take the time to describe it. If they aren't willing to read the rules for building a character, they aren't yet hooked. Help them apply the rules.

It'll help a lot if you get some experienced player to run a Face character, as talking and legwork can be non-obvious to D&D players and most easily learned by seeing it done.

I have Archetypes in a form ready for printing if that'll help you get going with them.
no metavariants, no SURGE or Drakes, no Shapeshifters, no Otaku.

This may be off topic but can someone explain drakes to me and tell me what book they are in?
Herald of Verjigorm
Drakes are an interesting product of dragon ritual magic. There is SR information about them in Threats 2 and in Dragons of the Sixth World.
I'm going to definatley second OurTeam's suggestion.

Write up a little blurb about each archetype. You can tell them archetype's are similar to the classes they're used to. Don't overload them with information.

Give them a brief history of events that led up to whenever you start (i.e. Awakening to 2060). Hit the major highlights. The Awakening itself, perhaps explain the Great Ghost Dance, and how in the turmoil of magic returning to the earth many of the nation broke apart and new nation came to be. Corporations took advantage of this weakness and expanded their power to levels approaching and in some cases surpassing national soverignty.

You might tell them that the mood and atmosphere of the world is similar to that found in Bladerunner, or Johnny Mnemonic (yes, it's not a great movie, but it does have some things to point to and the into "Corporations rule the earth" or whatever fits very nicely with bringing people up to speed), or whatever your favorite cyberpunk/dystopian future movie is.

Explain the basic mechanics of the system. What each of the attributes and skills of their characters are used for. Maybe even go through a few mock battles or something prior to the game. Although if you're playing on a forum you can probably explain as you go without affecting play as much as you would in a table-top environment.

If you can, point them to some of the Shadowrun artwork on the web. There are some artists at that have some of their Shadowrun work viewable there, as well as the Shadowrun Image Archive for sourcebook covers. Find a few you really like and point them there for a visual.

Keep the game simple. Perhaps some sort of basic coprorate espinage. You can explain a set up like this easier. They are above-average criminals living on the edge of society doing the corporations dirty work. They get paid well for their services, but are deniable 'assets'. You can point to other movies here, like Mission Impossible (deniable assets, infiltrating without a trace, etc), or a crime movie like The Score.

Don't overload them with too much information. Give them a few pieces at a time. Start with the timeline of events and build up from there. Answer their questions as you go, and give them time to get things settled before moving on to the next bit of information.

And keep it to the basic BBB archetypes. If someone REALLY wants play a mage take them aside and give them additional one-on-one with regards to the magic, but only if they seem capable of handling it. If not, tell them to play something simple for the first go around and watch your NPC mage and how he does things as an example and guide to follow in the future.

Above all, make sure they have fun!
Ditto to OurTeam, but hand em the twenty question from the SRC along with the achetype selection and explain how the setting generally is if they need help

"Hmm, ganger...ex gang leader? Are there gangs in shadowrun?"
"Cool, i want to be this fallen angel kind of ganger who's very vicious and..."

Make them fall in love with the storytelling/setting first. Unless they happen to the be the munchkin variety of D&Ders, in which case...uh...good luck.

Emphasize lots on the difference of SR and D&D. Magic, but no ressurection. Building a social character can equal as much as a combat one, you get the idea.

Edit: Conner beat me to it and said it better than me ^_~
Also feel free to point them to the Official Shadowrun Webpage and have them read the timeline/How It Came To Pass and other intro material...unless you want to keep things secret from them (Bugs, The Enemy, Otaku, Dunkelzahn's election/death, RAS/Deus, SURGE/Shidem/YotC, etc). Shadowrun is, IMO, sold on its world. Shadowrun has one of the most well-developed game worlds I've seen in an RPG with lots of interesting stuff and no clear-cut good guys/bad guys.

I'd also recommend giving them pre-made characters to choose from. In my experience, it takes your average D&D gamer over 18 who hasn't played Shadowrun/V:TM/other "choice-based" character creation games (rather than "dice-based") at least 2 hours to make a character and understand what they're doing when you're physically standing over their shoulder. Hell, it takes me 30 minutes to an hour to make a character and I've been playing for 12 years (then again, 98% of that time is buying gear...) I'd also recommend YOU making the characters for them rather than using the book archetypes. The book archetypes are a bit weak compared to characters made by someone who knows what they're doing.

I would say magic uses are okay, but I might limit them to adepts/sorcerers. The magic rules aren't that hard at all until you start laying MitS advanced rules on them. Decking and rigging, OTOH, should be done by NPCs until they get the hang of the rules and someone shows great interest in playing that type of character.

The Abstruse One
I'd actually recommend handing out a photocopy of the SR2 (if available) history o' the world, just because it's less spoiler filled, if your game takes place earlier than 2058.

Go with Archetypes or characters that you made yourself. It takes a long time to make characters, and Shadowrun is one of the longest (prize is still MERP; 4 hours of hell just to play a game that didn't really jive). If you have all kinds of sourcebooks, e.g. MitS, Germany, CC, R3, M&M, etc. than it's a long, long road. Best to do that on your own.

Basically, make some muscle guys, each one being unique in some form or fashion. A mage who knows he can cast spells and has an idea of the astral is okay for starters; don't make him an intiate or even let him see what's in MitS.

For plot, either go with a gradual thing or maybe throw in a bug hive. Helps them see a bit (or a lot) of combat (mainstay of D&D compared to Shadowrun IMO), but it also give social opportunities as they try to find out about the hive, while also removing the mage from having character knowledge the player doesn't.

Main things for them to see:

A vehicle Combat
Lots of social interaction
Hints of magic, decking, rigging
Ideas of the megacorps, shadows v. open

Just my opinions. Hope you find them servicable.

1) Have them pick archetypes from the book. Do not make up characters for them for the following reasons:
a) A picture is worth a thousand words.
b) The archetypes are extremely well rounded and are able to accomplish any task. This does mean that are not powerful in there area of specialization though, but they will not notice.

2) Give them any easy first job that will not require a lot of planning. Stress the social situations by showcasing NPC's they would never see in D&D. Good jobs for this should be things like guarding a VIP, smuggling/courier work, and detective work.

3) Limit the combat engagements to rules that you can explain quickly. Be very prepared for all situations so that you do not need to look anything up or take time to explain rules.

4) Easy stuff to teach: Legwork and social interaction, melee combat, and matrix intrusions that do not require combat.

5) Try to break it to them that getting hurt is poor management of their character. Similarly, threatening your friends and contacts is not a good idea.

6) Do not worry about the long term until you can tell they are salivating for more.

Personally, teaching new people about SR is one of my favorite GMing things to do. They often bring up new questions that make you rethink the basics. Getting back to basics is never a bad thing.
keep it simple...
after explaining what shadowruners do, I would have them all write a modern day back history. Then take their history and re-write it to fit the shadowrun world and make that character for them including gear. Anyone who made a computer cracker, explain to the player that the rules are complex and you will slowly introduce them. For the first session you can just make it one simple test. Give another PC magical powers but dont let them know it . Do things like the fireball passes over you and you feel fine. Over time you can introduce magic in this manner. Characters will die, especialy comming from the D&D end. So they will get chances to make thier own characters. Put them in situations where firing a gun is extreamly bad. Natutral gas plant is my favorite. Above all else make the world come alive with detail. Don't worry about any big picture start really small posibly like robing a local stuffer shack and I dont mean food fight thats alittle silly, but the map is nice. Best wishes smile.gif
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