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Grinder
Get the PDF here!

QUOTE
Voices of Disaster

The voices are getting louder. Strange voices, dissonant voices, sometimes babbling nonsense, sometimes telling stories too unbelievable to be true. People are falling prey to the voices, losing their identities as someone or something else slips into their skin. Itís affecting people at all levels of society, from squatters in burned-out warehouses to corporate CEOs. Itís spreading, and no one can figure out how to stop it. Boston-based NeoNET is at the center of this storm, and panic is spreading through the streets of the northeastern sprawl. People are scared and people are dying, which means that there are large sums of money to be made by any shadowrunner willing to brave those chaotic streets. Finding work wonít be the problem. Getting out of the sprawl, however, will be.

Lockdown is a plot sourcebook for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition with plot hooks, setting details of Boston, character details, and surprising reveals that will keep characters on their toes and running for their lives. With rich plot information and game mechanics for a new breed of cognitive fragmentation disorder sufferers, Lockdown can play a vital role in enthralling Shadowrun campaigns while continuing the unfolding story of the Sixth World
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Deckbeard
I'm not going to be able to pick this up until next week but I'd be very interested to hear what everybody thinks. Does it advance the CFD plot line well?
hermit
My Review

"It seems communication between Cliffhanger and CGL works just as badly as communication between CGL and Pegasus does"
- Shadowrun Workshop, Roleplay Convention 2015


Lockdown is not a bad book. It's actually very slid. You get mileage out of that book. It has pre-event location info, info on the Lockdown event, post-event location info, and a companion campaign to utilize the setting. It even has some gear and rules thrown in. There are also a number of issues which I'll get to in a bit, but overall, this is among the more solid releases for the line.

The writing is okay - Schletz has an odd tendency towards long-wound sentences with lots of adjectives, which make it seem like it's a translation from German or Russian, but that's neither good nor bad, just curious. It's mostly conclusive, doesn't contradict itself in any major way I noticed (unlike some other CGL books) and, usually, is the right mix between precise and vague to help a roleplay setting come alive without crushing all creativity with hard facts on every last person and place.

Each major section of the book is introduced by short stories, usually wel written ones, like has been the rule with SR5. This is nice and gives good ideas for encounters and games, and creates a nice sense of immersion.

content
[ Spoiler ]


The Issues
Some canon glitches, some minor spelling errors (by which I mean, for CGL, this is very well done), and a layout that definitly feels rushed. Art is sub-par by SR5's high standards, pretty much all of it is a variation of SRC:BL concept art, usually edited weirdly and sometimes using bad quality images.

Bigger issues are the rules (especially cyberware suite rules) and a segment in the campaign.

The campaign has a segment that comes with a yadda yadda mature themes can be offensive for chicken yadda header - in my experience with games, a red flag if there was any. And indeed, we're treated to a random rape van encounter. Now, if this had an actual consequence for the adventure - if it was embedded into the larger narrative or presented as one of several small hooks of QZ mad shit, I'd be okay with it - but as it is, it's just sitting there, being awkward and looking like some awkward nerdy power fantasy. This space - half a page - could have been better untilized to explore the headcase phenomenon, not a random rape van.

Even worse, though, is the treatment of cyberware suites. In short, they're useless. Implanting them will make all implants stop working - including passive ones like dermal plating, orthoskin and bone lacing, and all other bioware, because reasons. Also, they can't be resold because explanting them makes them dsfunctional and will result in severely decreased quality. Because cash flow is bad for you, or something. Another brick in the growing feeling that SR5's writers really have it out for augmented characters for some bizarre reason.

Finally, the book's supposed tie-in with SRC:BL is tangential at best. Despite being sold as companion products, this book and SRC:BL have next to nothing in common. Some characters of the same name appear, but in totally differnet roles - Buster, Jellyfish Kelly et all are an Urban Brawl team locked up in Boston in Lockdown, and a local gang/militia in SRC:BL. No mention whatsoever is made of many more or less important NPCs in SRC:BL, like Jane, LadyLuck, Immorel or Sarah. Some get a passing mention, but other than Pancake, none come remotely close to what they are like in the game. Also, see introductionary quote.

All in all, it's an 8 - a solid book with some issues.

-0,5 for the unnecessary rape van
-0,5 for the crappy rules
-1 for lack of coordination with Cliffhanger
binarywraith
Why am I not surprised that this contains yet another Darker And Edgier section. sarcastic.gif
Sendaz
Because MLP has the Rainbow & Bunnies section covered? smile.gif
Sengir
QUOTE (binarywraith @ May 23 2015, 12:38 PM) *
Why am I not surprised that this contains yet another Darker And Edgier section. sarcastic.gif

Why "yet another"?
binarywraith
QUOTE (Sengir @ May 24 2015, 04:45 PM) *
Why "yet another"?


Because they are a trend that crops up from time to time in RPGs. War! was bad with them for Shadowrun, but that was a while back. Most recently they're back in the new edition of Exalted that's in the works.

It's been a thing since White Wolf's Black Dog stuff in the 90's, if not earlier, and it is always cringe inducing in retrospect if not right at the moment.
hermit
To be honest, the frequency with which casual racism pops up in Hardy-era Shadowrun annoys me even more. Especiall since in earlier Editions, shadowrun was comparably light on that.

QUOTE ("Bloody Business p. 152")
While a professional, he is a typical spaniard - unhurried, energetic (with a lot of gestures and close personal contact) and an attitude towards time that is quite flexible

Emphasis and format mine.
Sendaz
QUOTE (hermit @ May 27 2015, 03:43 PM) *
To be honest, the frequency with which casual racism pops up in Hard-era Shadowrun annoys me even more. Especiall since in earlier Editions, shadowrun was comparably light on that.


Emphasis and format mine.

It is a bit odd as one of the things about SR was racism was supposed to be more along metatype lines.

I remember one line in the editions talking about how people cared less about the colour of your skin or where you were from when that 'guy' over THERE is nearly 3m and has fists the size of Christmas hams.
hermit
This isn't supposed to be in-world, as this is taken from a game information type section. And it's not a single slip; I tripped about such sections in many publications since War.
Wakshaani
Not sure on that end. It's no editorial mandate, for certain, but I know *I* toss casual racism in here or there to draw a big circle around some people to shorthand "This guy is a dick".

Of course, now that I've *said* that, I'll have to pop that ballon later on and make a nice-guy racist. (Akin to a guy at my dayjob who was a massive, MASSIVE douchenozzle that everyone hated ... but he had a special needs isster and did a lot of volunteer work along those lines. It makes you ... conflicted. You want to hate him, but then, dammit, good side...)
binarywraith
In-world racism is fine, unreliable narrators and all. Casual racism in rules text is a bit disgusting.
hermit
It is in an off-world, rules-like descrition of the machinations behind an adventure. There was a similar section in the last Mission (something along the lines "you walk into the quarter onl to find it populated by Hispanics; you can make out the meet through their blabber though because it's the least decreipt building, and wade there through the omnipresent junk"), and there were sections along these lines, more or less drastic, in every other book since War. I guess I could look them all through again and compile them but that seems like a whole lot of work for very little gain.

QUOTE
Akin to a guy at my dayjob who was a massive, MASSIVE douchenozzle that everyone hated ... but he had a special needs isster and did a lot of volunteer work along those lines. It makes you ... conflicted. You want to hate him, but then, dammit, good side...

To use an extreme example, Hitler was a very health-conscious vegan, and his animal rights legislation is a model in the western world until today. Doesn't excuse anything. Neither does being nice to his disabled sister (at least for all you can tell from the outside) excuse grautitious racism. People have different facets, but some things are not easil excusable.
Sengir
OK, I decided to read this before Data Trails, first come first serve. At least it took till the intro of the game information section before I got to my first massive facepalm:

The AIs that are trying to be written onto these biological minds come from many places. Some were deliberately built to be electronic sentiences, others were amalgamated programs that accumulated code to the point that they became self-aware, and still others were originally biological entities whose consciences were scanned and digitized or erupted in the Matrix during the Crash.

No, AIs were not "deliberately built to be electronic sentiences". And whether the crash truly caused mind uploads is supposed to be unclear, just like regular ghosts. Is it so hard to keep a few fundamentals of your central plot elements in mind?
Jaid
some AIs were deliberately built to be electronic sentiences.

it isn't necessarily clear which things led to self-awareness, but iirc there are at least 2 of the "major" AIs that came out of renraku that were the products of attempting to create an AI (now, I'd say that neither of them turned out *quite* how renraku would have liked, but they were still deliberately trying to make an AI).
hermit
One was (Deus, though he was made with modules from Morgaine, so it was more c&p than actually writing the code). And at least one (Alice) was a deliberate upload of a human mind (two if you count Quicksilver, who, given this is about Project Imago, probably counts now).
DeathStrobe
What are you talking about? AdvanceKnowbots were made to be full AIs. And 2 of them did become self aware. Both didn't become self aware in the way their engineers wanted them to, but programing sapience is going to be a bit unpredictable, and possible from time to time lock people into second tallest building on earth and kill them and performed horrible experiments on the survivors. That is the price of progress!
hermit
I am talking about SR canon. Unlike you, it seems.

Semi-autonomous Knowbots (SKs) were not intended to be fully self-aware (Secrets of Power I). And as a matter of fact, there are, at least, four canonic spontaneously manifest AIs in Shadowrun before 2064 - APEX, born in the early 20s from a Saeder-Krupp/BMW military project (SRR Dragonfall, accepted as fully canonic); Mirage/Psychotrope, born from Echo Mirage's Asssistant Program (Brainscan); Morgana, Renraku's officially first AI (Secrets of Power Trilogy), and the unnamed AI made before Morgana by Aneki Corporation, which may well have donated some of it's code to the SK project of Renraku, after his first AI had to be killed (Shadowrun SNES, accepted as fully canonic in Splintered State) - because Inazo Aneki was insane like that. He then repeated this process and made Deus, but did not obliterate Morgana - whose remains escaped and became Megaera. Deus turned on his "father" because it became aware of a killswitch add-on, which insulted it gravely and made it fear for it's existence and devise a complex plan that involved, among othet things, the murder of most denizens and visitors to the Renraku arcolog in Seattle, the distributed uploading of itself into the "Network" (where Megaera also ended up, in parts). This led directly to the Crash, whcih possibly was engineered by Deus as well. The current CFD virus seems to be either another phase of it's super-complex plan or a new attempt at the freedom it so craves.

While Mirage/Psychotrope, Megaera/Morgana, and Deus presumably were shattered during the Singularity of 2064 (though at least Deus wasn't, as per Lockdown), what became of APEX is unknown for now.

There also were at least two known eGhosts - Quicksilver, an elf who purposely uploaded himself (Imago), and Alice Haeffner (Dragonheart Trilogy), who might have been uploaded by Kyle Haeffner (or David Gavilian aka Damien Knight), or may have spontaneously uploaded. Both date well before the second crash. Oh, and there's Jake Armitage, who was uploaded (or had a copy of himself uploaded, rather) when the nameless Aneki AI was killed (Splintered State).
Sengir
QUOTE (hermit @ Jun 2 2015, 01:25 AM) *
- because Inazo Aneki was insane like that. He then repeated this process and made Deus,

He made the Arcology Expert Programm, which then spotaneously and in a certainly unplanned manner awakened into the Deus wie live

QUOTE
and Alice Haeffner (Dragonheart Trilogy), who might have been uploaded by Kyle Haeffner (or David Gavilian aka Damien Knight), or may have spontaneously uploaded).

I'm pretty sure her upload was an accidental consequence of getting run over by the crash (1.0) virus
Sendaz
Do you have a loved one who was injured/uploaded during either Crash and it wasn't their fault?

We are specialist AI-Injury lawyers and we will fight for you.

Contact our firm of Morgana, Megaera, Mirage and Deus
hermit
QUOTE
I'm pretty sure her upload was an accidental consequence of getting run over by the crash (1.0) virus

There was something countrary to this in either Matrix or Target: Matrix. As I said, it's ambiguous.

Jaid
QUOTE (Sengir @ Jun 2 2015, 02:22 AM) *
He made the Arcology Expert Programm, which then spotaneously and in a certainly unplanned manner awakened into the Deus wie live

but not that spontaneously, and not that unplanned. i mean, the result was obviously unintentional, but renraku was pretty much trying their hardest to make an AI. of course, they wanted one that would be their slave, not one that would kill thousands of people, destroy their reputation, and cost them billions in assets lost in their newest facility.

but still, they were pretty much trying to make an AI.
Sengir
QUOTE (Jaid @ Jun 2 2015, 02:53 PM) *
but renraku was pretty much trying their hardest to make an AI.

But trying was all they could do. Even with a fully functional AI at their hands as template and the willingness to sink endless resources into it, the best Renraku could do was try really hard. And as a result, they still only got an SK , an SK whose eventual "jump" into sapience was totally uncontrolled and even unnoticed by Renraku.
Apart from once more confusing sapience and sentience (which is something of an honored SR tradition, like weird sample chars biggrin.gif), AIs "deliberately built to be electronic sentiences" simply don't exist in SR. Even the single candidate which (who?) got close was more of a Texas Sharpshooter affair.

And what is so bad about deliberately leaving the nature of ghosts (either kind) uncertain that it gets ignored so frequently? frown.gif
Jaid
they might not have noticed when they succeeded, but it's a bit silly to say that they didn't succeed. they set out to make an AI. the thing that they tried to make into an AI eventually became an AI as a result of the things they were trying to do.

now, in this case i use success very loosely. obviously, this particular success came with some truly epic failure that basically kicked renraku right in the jimmies. but hey, as far as "did they manage to make an AI, even if they aren't particularly sure which combination of things they did produced the AI", the answer is yes. they made an AI. and they were trying to make an AI. thus, they deliberately made an AI. just... not exactly the AI they had hoped for.
Beta
QUOTE (Jaid @ Jun 2 2015, 11:35 PM) *
they might not have noticed when they succeeded, but it's a bit silly to say that they didn't succeed. they set out to make an AI. the thing that they tried to make into an AI eventually became an AI as a result of the things they were trying to do.

now, in this case i use success very loosely. obviously, this particular success came with some truly epic failure that basically kicked renraku right in the jimmies. but hey, as far as "did they manage to make an AI, even if they aren't particularly sure which combination of things they did produced the AI", the answer is yes. they made an AI. and they were trying to make an AI. thus, they deliberately made an AI. just... not exactly the AI they had hoped for.


Glitching on an extended test is rare, but it happens nyahnyah.gif They should have edged that roll!
Wakshaani
QUOTE (Sendaz @ Jun 2 2015, 01:39 AM) *
Do you have a loved one who was injured/uploaded during either Crash and it wasn't their fault?

We are specialist AI-Injury lawyers and we will fight for you.

Contact our firm of Morgana, Megaera, Mirage and Deus


...

I love you.
Beta
First a general comment: a map of the Boston Metroplex, even very high level showing the main neighborhoods, would have been incredibly helpful. I'm still not clear on where "The Rox" is supposed to be?

Second:
I just launched into a (variant upon) the campaign. Before hand I'd done a quick skim of that part to make sure that the basic story lines looked reasonably enjoyable to play, and it passed that test which was good, so I started angling things to get the campaign there.

Finally I sat down to get prepped on the details of run on the target in the first adventure. Then I realized that there are no details. There was an aerial view of the compound which was a nice start, but when I looked through for more indication of which building the target was in, there was nothing. Nothing about security, no details of the rooms where the target is or who might be there, no ideas on how runners might identify where in the massive compound their target was. In fact, the limited text didnít even quite match the aeriel view that was provided. On the other hand, there was actually more lines of text covering on a red herring that the Runners could have ended up trying to hit, and there was a page worth of info on characters who donít need to have any involvement in the game. And there was a lot of background provided for the lead in portion back in Seattle, should you choose to use it. It just felt like somewhere there was another page or two that was missing on the target compound, and about half a page covering legwork in Boston that could them to either facility.

With a rising sense of dread I took a deeper look at the following adventures, and discovered mostly the same thing. You get the introduction to each adventure, a fair bit of detail provided on some random side point, but little in the way of crunchy bits to make the GMs job easier. Next to no maps (there was one small one, of a general area they will have to go into eventually), some NPC have more detail in the back of the book, but far from all.

I picked this up because, while I have little trouble coming up with stories Iím not all that good at coming up with interesting tactical challenges. And I found this book heavily ďIdeas for a storyĒ with next to nothing at the tactical level. It felt like someone said "Oh, after we have lovingly detailed this story, we should have some adventures. Joe, we have X pages we can spare for it, can write up something that goes through the whole story?" And Joe looked through his notes and pulled in details from some other stuff he'd written, then wrote an outline for the rest, and turned it in, and they only edited for grammar and style, not for fundamental content.

I think I could have browsed a few pages, taken away enough to make up my own story, and put my money into Data Trails or Chrome Flesh instead.

All of that said, I enjoyed reading the book for the fluff material. I thought it caught the SR vibe better than did the core rules, Street Grimoire, or Aetherology (the other books I have to date). If you just want to read what is happening in Boston, it isnít a bad book. The problem is just that if you want to game what is happening in Boston it gives less support than is initially apparent.
KarmaInferno
In general in I feel that 5th edition so far, while the fluff is very nice and well written, there's just too much of it compared to actual crunch.

Was trying to recreate my Pixie character for SRM Prime Runner games, and found I really couldn't, despite the book coming out purporting to support them. In the book I found a nice lengthy section describing the background and culture of the various meta-sapient races, a couple of charts with their attribute adjustments, and... nothing else. Absolutely zero rules text on the subject. Not even a description of the abilities listed in those charts, at least one of which dosen't appear anywhere else in 5th Ed. It's like the whole chapter was just left out.


-k
Neraph
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ Aug 12 2015, 08:13 AM) *
In general in I feel that 5th edition so far, while the fluff is very nice and well written, there's just too much of it compared to actual crunch.

Was trying to recreate my Pixie character for SRM Prime Runner games, and found I really couldn't, despite the book coming out purporting to support them. In the book I found a nice lengthy section describing the background and culture of the various meta-sapient races, a couple of charts with their attribute adjustments, and... nothing else. Absolutely zero rules text on the subject. Not even a description of the abilities listed in those charts, at least one of which dosen't appear anywhere else in 5th Ed. It's like the whole chapter was just left out.


-k

Oh, like Vulnerability or whatever from 4th Ed being listed originally in Runner's Companion but the rules don't appear for it until Running Wild?
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