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Hi everyone,
I was just wondering how many here run more of a sandbox kind of Shadowrun? Where the story for the most part is based on decisions and consequences good or bad. Sure you have runs but you can or do scope some of your own jobs. Also do you or your GM go round robin where players are not in a group maybe doing side stuff on there own? Basically Sally's setting up a meet with a fixer to get her hands on some foci while Rex is down at the local watering hole getting drunk on his day off and trying to score some btl's. NeonSkater is surfin the trix looking to steal some paydata. Meanwhile the GM is going around the table giving people a few minutes to act where they are, and what they are up to.
It's been forever since I've actually run anything, but sandbox is a great notion, hard to actually pull off. And you really need players who are good at creating their own jobs/plot hooks/interactions. Some players actually prefer a bit more structure. Sometimes I have been in "open" games and had times where I was floundering, at a loss for what to have my character do.

I think I tend to start out with more structured adventures, but let it go in different directions if the players do something different than expected. I try to make it character-generated as much as possible - in other words, not have "This happens, then this happens, then they have the final confrontation with the nuclear-armed terrorist leader". Instead, I will figure out what the NPCs are trying to do, and what their motivations are. The advantage to this is that you know how they will react when the plot goes completely off the rails. So the twitchy street samurai kills the main villain in their initial encounter. Well, okay, his lover plots revenge, his two lieutenants fight it out to be the new boss, his ally sees this as the opportunity to take over the divided organization, and the black market arms dealer panics, tries to sell the stolen nuke to another buyer, and winds up getting arrested. The game doesn't sputter to a stop, it just changes.
I've found that for us the only way to do a game all sandbox-y is to do in on a pbp or something similar. Otherwise it detracts from the direction to much and is too hard for the GM to keep a handle on everything. With so many things cooking it's hard to give each one the necessary attention, embellishment, and so on.

For table top I usually find it easier to keep a unified direction, with the occasional tangent as necessary. Sometimes other players have a good time watching someone else have their escapades (especially when things go horribly/hilariously wrong). In the mean time they can grab some chow, edit a character, whatever. But otherwise, when doing a table top your time tends to be more limited. Make the most of it.

PbP let's you do that a little more, get into the random details, explore a derailment or random side job, etc. Conversely, for a more directed game with a fast pace, sometimes PbP can be harder. All depends on what you're looking for.
I agree with what Glyph wrote.

I'll also add that for me, the most successful sandboxes aren't the one that started off as sandboxes. They've always started with regular missions, to get the team in place and let the players get comfortable with their characters, and it's only after a few of these missions that some patterns emerged, that the plothooks of some character's backstory became relevant, that characters got goals and then the ratio of mission/sandbox gradually lowered on its own.
I would love to master a Sandbox game,
but I have always had the problem of low player initiative,
which forces me to railroad them a lot.
They seem to want this.

I certainly would welcome the challenge though.
The long term games I run are usually part sandbox.
One-shots are not really on rails, but a lot more stringent than any long term campaign.

What does "part sandbox" mean?
It means that I do prepare story and even shadowruns, but I also let players do what they want. More often than not the consequences of these actions lead to stories all of their own, or spawn new inspiration for me to write.
You can do what you want in my games, but I'm a firm believer in action and reaction, so if you go full-out pink mohawk, the hammer will often come down very soon.
I have ran a few different groups over the years on different systems not just shadowrun, but looking back on it all i think it was Vampire the masquerade that forced me to do the whole thing person turn vrs group turn, they literally had characters that in no shape or form would be in a group together and still keep the whole thing from turning into a PvP session Giovanni, Venture, bruja and a gangrel and they all were older generation vampires to boot. So yea that's how i picked up being able to break up the group mind and learn to do the whole whatcha doing?, and move down the line to the next person. Was fun because people were screwing each others resources and stuff up left and right.

I found with Shadowrun it works because some people want their characters to do stuff, i want gear i want to do this, Bob wants to eliminate a rival on the sly ect ect. Yet they will have to do things like missions or what not together.
So if i may give some tips of what worked for me and some of the other people who GM'ed a game like this.

1.Grab a setting book take notes on where stuff is and the timeline, who's who, as far as organized crime, corporation's and how law enforcement handles policy.
2. Flesh out the main NPC's (like Fixers in the area for example) put them on index cards and grab maps of buidlings
3. Have the characters all start in the same basically the same area. Lets use Auburn in Seattle for example. You don't have to build a whole city just use east side west side ect. You don't have to have a huge phonebook of addresses or weird city blocked maps. Do a couple blocks around some ones pad Jonsons littleblack book has a section on how to do that. So they get a neiborhood feeling of what's where. Again you don't have to map it all perfect just a basic N,E.S.W
4.Index card stat blocks for cops gang banger what not so you can randomly roll and pull up an encounter instantly for a group or a person depending.
5. Use a graph piece of paper that's either laminated or in a plastic sleeve so you can keep track of time. Sometimes a person might speed up time because they are fixing a drone or car what not it fine when you come to them explain briefly where they are on the project and they get a com call from a contact or you say so you just got done fixing bla and now your hungry. Time your switch players to a couple of minutes like 2 or 3ish.

As long as you don't over due trival details but keep the details like who's who, what's where a person can feel like they are there in a neiborhood or at the local diner. This also makes players flesh out there characters a little bit more by having to sometimes go it alone. Basically a powergamer has a real hard time with Grok smashes but Grok cant do anything else but smash. That's great Grok you smash we got that part, now negotiate for that assault rifle you wanted. Yea the fixer brought 5 guys he knows your reputation for Grok smashes.

QUOTE (Bertramn @ Dec 16 2014, 05:45 AM) *
I would love to master a Sandbox game,
but I have always had the problem of low player initiative,
which forces me to railroad them a lot.
They seem to want this.

I certainly would welcome the challenge though.

Do your players know the setting well? Maybe they don't realize what sort of havoc their PCs could be creating, lol.

Do your players treat it as a tabletop video game? Are your players invested in their PCs? I am trying to guess what may be the problem because everyone I've played with that knew a bit about the setting seemed to want to influence some part of that setting. I have seen several PCs start up programs of some kind in the Barrens.

Maybe you could give them something that isn't directly usable on a run and they will explore it. Have them hang out/put in face time with some of their contacts. Have them go to some form of recreation and not have it be a lead in to a run. Or go to a bar where nothing happens but they watch some sporting event and have a few drinks. Have them go shopping, just don't turn it into Food Fight.
My GMing style for campaigns is fairly sandbox. I can feed the players a couple runs to establish their characters, and by that point they've started enough trouble for themselves that it naturally snowballs into more things to do than anyone can handle. grinbig.gif The 'GOTCHA' moment for a sandbox-style GM is the point at which your players start to emotionally react to what's going on in the world. Once they're angry at the villain, or scared of the corps, or outraged at how some street slag's been treated... well, they write their own plot from there. My absolute favorite campaign started off with the rigger's batshit crazy dwarven fixer sending them out to fetch nose of his daughter's shady ex-boyfriend... with a pair of bolt cutters.

Just provide a world, and some arbitration. Shadowrun's setting is so rich and full of conflict that the PCs will make their own.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
We are a mix between Sandbox and Story. We come up with individual runs about 40% of the time, and then follow the main story arc the rest of the time. Seems to work out well. Sometimes you just have to do your own thing. smile.gif
We are pretty good at enforcing the Sandbox. Rails can't usually withstand the application of generous ammounts of dasplosives anyway . .
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