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As the subject line states, I’m planning on running (with varying degrees of fidelity) Harlequin’s Back, in my SR5 game. Converting stats and the like is easy enough, as I’m more interested in using the spirit of the thing more than making an exact mechanical replica.

But I have one question. If I throw canon overboard and say that the ‘hot spot’ created by the Ghost Dance was only becoming a major danger point in 2076, does that really interfere with much other history of the game world? I would re-write things such that the DC rift had allowed some ‘others’ to cross over, leading to the ‘scouting’ that identified the hot spot, hence the efforts to build the bridge. There may have been efforts to diffuse the hot-spot, but after no success another solution is required.

Would that actually break any other major historical points? (I missed most of the history between 2051 and 2075—I don’t think anything else really depended on the events of Harlequin’s Back, but I could be wrong).

And while I'm posting....if anyone has memories of running or playing that adventure, any particular advice of things to do or avoid or to change from how it is written?
AFAIK, Harlequin's back is about Harlequin and the runners to bring Talia protect earth from an early arrival of horrors. Afterwards, Dunkelzahn has to sacrifice himself to definitely close the rift.

IMO, you'd simply have to reverse the situation. Dunkelzahn closed most of the rift but he needs Talia's help to close it definitely. Add Dunkelzahn too to the start/ending of the scenarios and you have something pretty much in line with the canon universe.
I would leave Dunkelzahn's involvement out of it entirely: it's de-protagonizing to whatever sacrifices the players make, it removes the mystery of why he died and how, and there's no reason for the runners to find out about it anyway, IMO.
I have very fond memories playing this campaign with two different groups. Both times retiring the characters afterwards. This is maybe the nicest SR plot line in my view.

The issues that I faced both times where:

- that the campaign is very long, and difficult, mainly due to the disorientating effect that jumping from plane to plane has on the players.

- second that the theme of self-sacrifice that mermeates all parts of the campaign and of course dominates the ending is quite foreign to mercenary, money-grabbing scumm like Shadowrunners smile.gif

In spite of the quality of the material I found it difficult to keep the team motivated and focused on helping. Eventually no one wanted to volunteer.

Also, be aware that the amount of Karma awarded is very high and may make the characters too high powered afterwards.

Good Luck!!!!
I'm knee deep in it so far (in the first metaplane, "Aftermath") Notes so far, which could potentially be useful for anyone else looking to run the adventure:

Attributes have been interesting. At first I just set both agility and reaction equal to quickness, and intuition and logic equal to intelligence. But then I realized how much higher typical stats were in second edition than in fifth. Run of the mill human soldiers with multiple sixes in their stats, for example. And looking back at the SR2 rules, top priority in stats let a human average 5 in their attributes, while the top priority in SR5 gives an average of 4. So far I’m tending to keep the primary stats for major characters about as written while lowering their other stats by one, but I’m putting general spear carriers closer to what you’d see at an equivalent professionalism level in SR5.

Somewhat similarly, the fact that spells no longer have forces seemed at first easy to deal with—just ignore the numbers after the spells—but after hitting the situation I realized that those were in fact a power slider that I couldn’t just ignore. That someone had a force 8 spell meant that they were deadly, for example. So now I’m looking at spell power levels and thinking about what to do with the character to represent that (such as giving them a focus—something that seems to have been less common in SR2).

I made a literal translation of the karma pool to edge (people still have their usual edge stat, if adding it to a roll, but the number of points of edge available for the whole arc is per the special karma pool rules in Harlequin)

In Aftermath I interpreted the SR2 adjustments as follows:
- I lowered the DV and AP of bows and crossbows by one, to allow for lower tech materials
- I gave everyone half their pistol skill added onto their throwing, half their automatics added onto crossbow, and half their longarms added onto bows. So for the most part the party’s combat skills are lower than usual, but they can do things
- Spells operate as usual, other than all drain being physical.
- For spirits I raised the drain of summoning by 1 and made all drain physical—but made the drain of dispelling one less than usual (but still all physical). I wanted to limit the impact of spirits, given that mundanes would have even less ability than usual to deal with them. This makes it risky to summon bigger spirits, and easy to get rid of opposing ones. So far this has mostly made spirits a fleeting, tactical, option rather than a battlefield controlling force of nature. We’ll see how it plays out in the big final battle.

In terms of game flow, there is a lot of narration and role-play in the early part. If I were doing it again I think I’d try to figure out a spot for the player characters to have some agency and grab the spotlight for a bit—it may be Harlequin’s quest, but it is the players’ game. Perhaps have a figure seen skulking on the rocks overlooking the ritual site that they have try and hunt down. That would be Dark, and perhaps have some carry-over benefit from anything they managed to do to him at that point.

When running Aftermath (the first metaplane adventure, where you are helping a beleaguered compound in a post-apocalyptic Seattle) after a lot of ‘getting to understand the situation’ stuff, there is a scene a bad guy sorcerer sacrifice a captive and use that boost to power a ram spell which blasts open the gates of the ‘good-guy’ compound--but then the bad guys walk away. After so much time with no ability for the players to control the situation, no way this was going to happen—“I’m itching for action, and he just sacrificed someone for evil blood magic—he is going down!” “But he’s an envoy!” “He attacked the Enclave, and sacrificed one of its people. A white flag doesn’t cover that!” I would imagine that a lot of groups would have that reaction—which would be less of an issue if the write up had him stand farther from the walls. He stopped in easy bow range, and his invisible barrier wasn’t that hard to dispel. Rest in pieces Engrath (not sure I remember the name correctly)--nobody will miss you. If running it again, I’d have him standing a good bit farther back, where he can more quickly skip out of easy arrow/bolt range.

As I play through the rest, if I find things that I think are worth warning about, I’ll add updates here.


On a purely ‘what happened in my game’ note, this twist has interested and amused me--we’ve ended up with a surprise addition to the party.

The shaman in my game has been saving up karma for ages to gain an allied spirit. He’s done the initiation quest to get the formula (I used the ‘wild west’ setting from Harlequin’s Back, creating part of the justification for why he was chosen for this) and almost had enough karma saved. I’d intended that at the end of the ‘Fistful of Karma’ section he’d have a chance to do the binding, and have the benefit of an allied spirit for the following sections.

However when dealing with the Dweller at the Threshold I played it that DatT brought up misdeeds that each of them had done, then challenged them to show that they were worthy by asking what good they had done, and what skill they used to do good. Then they had to do a challenge, where the difficulty was cranked up very high. The shaman claimed his good relations with spirits as the basis of his ability to do good, and then due to some lucky rolling and liberal use of karma he managed to summon his favorite spirit—the one he is planning on allying with—and stay conscious (one box left on his stun track). So I said what the heck, and now the spirit is going through the whole adventure as an NPC (a ‘human’ with a few skills and innate abilities based on the spirit powers and abilities).

I think now the allying ceremony might happen on the bridge, at the very end if they stay to defend Thayla. But we’ll see how everything plays out.

This is all sorts of entertaining, keep us updated.
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