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I got interested in Shadowrun around 1991 or so when I stumbled upon the Shadowrun novels. After reading a few of them, I purchased and played the video games on super nes and genesis. I really enjoyed the video games and the books and to a limited degree continue to read them. I had seen advertisements for the rpg in the back of some of the novels, but could never find the core book in stores. Coming from a video game background, I never really understood how it was possible to play a game with only dice and paper.

Well recently, I've started to get interested in Shadowrun again. My girlfriend works at a bookstore, and while visiting her there last week, I noticed the third edition core rules. Of course I picked it up and flipped through it, and it seemed very interesting to me, so I bought it. I'm about 130 pages or so into it, and I'm starting to feel a little discouraged.

The rules seem very complex and a bit overwhelming to me. My background in math is horrible, and the rules seem to be based very strictly on math principles. I have no previous experience in these types of role playing games to fall back on. I don't know anyone else that plays this game, and frankly have no idea how to get started in the game. I've always had a soft spot for cyberpunk and fantasy, and I really enjoy stories from the Shadowrun universe, but after reading through some of these rules, I'm not sure how I should proceed.

My question is, do you guys think I should continue to try and get into this game, and if so, how the heck am I supposed to get started?
Glad to see you're interested. I have a few pieces of advice for you.
  1. Don't be discouraged if the rules seem complex. They are complex because they attempt to model real life as closely as possible. SR is even more complex than most pen and paper RPGs in that sense. If you grasp the basics, you're a long way toward learning the rules, though. Don't try to memorize or even understand everything the first time through. Just know where to look to find it later... when you get into a game, lots of stuff makes more sense.
  2. Most of your math is on the front end during character creation. Beyond that point, it's primarily just addition and subtraction. You can cut down on that initial math using a character generation program. Generally, you don't try to do a lot of the math without the tables in front of you, anyway.
  3. The best way to learn is to play. What's your location? Local game shops might be a place to start, or if you have local conventions that'd work as well.
[edit] Oh, yeah, and like Herald says below, you can always ask us questions. There are lots of people here who love the sound of their own typing and will answer most questions with a short novel wink.gif Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But not much. [/edit]
Herald of Verjigorm
Get the main book (as you already have), and start asking questions. We only have a few drek-heads who insult people for asking sincere questions.

It's good to start looking at just the mundane rules. Ignore the decking, rigging, and magic until later. Most of the rules don't need more math skill than addition and subtraction, but there is some multiplication and the occasional root.

When you find something dificult, ask and many of us will try to help.
Echo that. The best way to get into it is to just play. Once you start playing, all the rules will begin to fall into place. When I started playing I screwed up a lot of the rules and fudged a lot of stuff the first few times out, but it didn't really matter because me and my friends had a good time. That's really the important part. After a couple more games we got more used to the rules and how they worked and then it was even more fun. It might be easier if you can find a more experienced player at a gaming shop to talk you through things or help run your first couple of games, but if not, don't sweat the rules all that much - just jump into the setting and have fun. cyber.gif
Swing Kid
Start out with a team full of Street Sams. Teaches you the basics of the game (initiative, dice rolls, modifications, etc, and most importantly, character death). Whoever is GMing should keep the team out of the more complicated runs (like espianage or extractions). It is also a good way to learn the rougher side of the sprawl. Then, when whoever the brain is of your group (we all have that guy) starts reading deeper into the trickier character types, like Riggers, Deckers, and Mages, let him be the first to bring in one of these types of characters. This will challenge the GM without making him (or her- sorry ladies) learn every aspect of the game at once. The others will follow. cyber.gif
Well, thanks for the help guys. I really don't have too much of a problem with most of the rules. It's just the combat, matrix, rigger, and magic stuff that's confusing. I really want to create a stealth type martial arts oriented character but when I tried that, I just got really confused. Maybe street samurai is the way to go for now after all.

I do have another question though. Does anyone here have any advise on getting people interested in playing this game? I'd like to start playing with some friends, but I know I'd end up having to be the game master, and I've never done anything like that before. Any advice about that?

I don't know, maybe I'm going too fast. I guess that's just how I am. You guys know how it is, once you start learning, you kind of just want to jump in and play. I'm thinking that I'll pick up the First Run book, and go from there. Oh yeah, I know this is a stupid question, but can anyone tell me what a campaign is? I see that word around here alot, but since I know nothing about rpg's I'm not sure what that means.
Okay, let's go with some teminology smile.gif

game, session, or game session -- A session is a period of play which is generally done in one sitting. Some groups might take a meal break in the middle (or more, if it's a really long session). In a convention setting this is generally a 4 or 5 hour period of time. In a home game, it can run from 2 to 24 hours, depending on the available time and group stamina. Personally, my sessions run about 4-5 hours.

run or scenario -- A cohesive chunk of game play which is all oriented around a single task [edit] or one series of events [/edit]. A typical scenario might encompass meeting a Johnson, performing a run, and the aftermath of the run. No judgement about time is made, and a single run can last several sessions or just one.

campaign -- A set of cohesive scenarios with a common game world (ie, the events of one game affect the world itself, which is then different for other games in that same world). Generally, a campaign is about the same characters on several runs, but some characters may die and be replaced or there may be "side stories" which involve non-main characters.

Finding a group can either be easy or hard. Asking around at the local game shop is about your best bet if you don't want to bite the bullet and GM yourself. You can also try posting to one of the various online forums where you can attempt to find players or GMs.
I'll tell you not to bother with the matrix rules to start-off with. Leave vehicle combat out of the first few runs too.

The vehicle and matrix rules are 'realism' and flavour systems respectively. Even many experienced GMs rule 'no deckers' in their campaigns simply because they can take time away from the rest of the group.

[edit] First-run would be a great idea, there is one run in it that people advise against though. [/edit]
Thanks for the terminology. I think I understand now. How long does a campaign usually last? Also, is it nessesary to create new characters for every single run if I am not playing in a campaign? Sorry for all the newbie questions, but I honestly don't know where else to ask.
When it gets down to it, the length of a campaign and the like are GM specific questions. Campaigns can run months or years, depending on teh group, and some GMs are more than happy to have the same characters in various not-connected runs. In general, if you're using the same characters, you're probably in a campaign (which means you get to keep karma and cash earned on the last run to make your character better, etc.).
as a small distinction, a campaign usua;;y has a theme. I GM almost all the time, and I have no problems with players playing the same cahrechters in unrealted runs. after all shadowrunners are mercenaries. the only reason they work with others is to get the job done.

think of it like this, a campaign is a novel. a run is either a chapter or a short story. a session is a few pages. how many sessions make up a run, or a campaign depends on your author (GM and players)

-Mike R.
Thanks Fahr, your book analogy sums it up perfectly for me. I guess building a campain is pretty tough. Is that what all the other books are for? I assumed they were single runs for each book, but I don't really know. Since my girlfriend works at a bookstore, I can get her to order anything for me as long as it isn't out of print. What do you guys suggest starting out with? I already know about first run and will most likely begin with that. Is there anything online that might be cool to start with, or other books?
The other thing to mention is that you can play online right here at dumpshock. One of the other forums on this site is named "Welcome to the Shadows" and there are always a lot of games running at any one time. I have one finishing up and I'll probably start one or two in the near future. Just want for threads labeled "OOC" (short for Out Of Character) that don't have a lot of posts in them.

Generally, spots in the game are first come first served, so it's a little difficult to get in, but with a little perseverance you can find one to play in. In fact, if you want to, I'll reserve you a spot in an upcoming game that I'll probably get started in a few days!

The good part about gaming online is you can think about what you want to say/do in between posts. Since people generally only post once or twice a day, unless you're really a die hard dumpshocker wavey.gif, you have 20 hours or so in between posts to hit the rulebooks and look something up that you don't understand. The downside is that you can miss the thrill and emotion of gaming in "real time."
Welcome to the world of SR. Please keep arms and legs in he car while in motion. Don't deal with dragons, trust no one, ghouls aren't all bad, good karma is your best friend, and don't get into drinking contests with trolls.

About 130 pages into the book huh and you think its complicated just wait till you hithte matrix section. I've been running for a while and have read the book back to front dozens of times and I still have to look up rules.

The best thing to do to learn is find some people who play and see if you can join or sit in on a couple sessions. Look in local game/comic shops some times there are bulletin boards you can post on, alot of groups look for fresh meat......errr i mean new players.

Anyways good luck and I hope you enjoy the weird world of RPG'ers you just enered.

Mr. Man
QUOTE (idolone)
I guess building a campain is pretty tough.  Is that what all the other books are for?

There are different kinds of sourcebooks for Shadowrun. Aside from the adventures (such as First Run) they can be (very roughly) divided into books that contain new rules and books that contain new background information. Here are some examples:

Current "Rules" books
  • Shadowrun Companion - Rules expansion for the system core
  • Cannon Companion - Rules expansion for weapons
  • Rigger 3 Revised - Rules expansion for vehicles
  • Man and Machine - Rules expansion for cyberware
  • Magic in the Shadows - Rules expansion for magic
  • Matrix - Rules expansion for decking

These books contain primarily rules, with very little in the way of world context. So while you can find out the stats for a new weapon, you won't know if you can get a permit for it in Germany.

Current "Background" books
  • Dragons of the Sixth World - All about dragons
  • New Seattle - All about Seattle
  • Shadows of North America - All about North America
  • Year of the Comet - The strange events surrounding Halley's Comet in 2061
  • Target: Matrix - All about the matrix

These books contain primarily background information, with very little in the way of rules. So while you can figure out the perfect place in Seattle to go when you want to steal a car, you won't know what skills and equipment you'll need to pull it off.

This is (as I said) a very rough division. There are some sourcebooks that strike a nice balance between rules and background (such as "State of the Art 2063").

The most important thing to keep in mind about all Shadowrun sourcebooks is that they are OPTIONAL. Don't ever feel like you have to buy them. If you really get into the game and start playing it regularly, then start checking out some of these books. Don't be like me nine years ago and get addicted to buying Shadowrun books even though you can't find anyone to play the game with. wobble.gif

The best way to find books and players in your area is to look in your yellow pages under "Hobby Shops" and "Comic Books" then call each place and ask if they sell RPG books. Visit the ones that do and check their stock for Shadowrun (don't forget the used bin). Then look around for a cork board where you can put up an ad indicating that you're looking to play Shadowrun (or respond to a GM looking for players).
Mr. Man missed the Sprawl Survival Guide, which is a really good background book (not a rules book). [edit] I just noticed he wasn't trying to give a comprehensive list. [/edit]

One thing you'll find when you start getting into the cord core addon books (ie, the primary addons which expand the rules in a large way, Cannon Companion, Man and Machine, Matrix, Rigger 3, Magic in the Shadows, the Companion) is that they reference each other a fair bit. It'll be annoying at first, but once you've got them all you'll easily see why they're broken up that way and cross referenced the way they are. Usually, at least.
If you're wanting to try and get some of your friends interested you might think about picking up Sprawl Survival Guide actually. It'll give them a nice intro into the world and the game without having to read all the novels and such.

Good luck with bringing your friends into the game. It's what I did years ago and I ended up not being the primary GM for more than five years. So, you never know really...heh.
Number 6
QUOTE (Dashifen)
I'll probably start one or two in the near future.

YGPM grinbig.gif
I dont really have anything to add that someone else hasn't said better than I could but This thread might be something worth checking out until you get all of your friends hooked.
Well, welcome aboard! Another soul converted...

Yes, if you really want to go and buy a book the first two books to get would be the Sprawl Survival Guide and the Shadowrun Companion, in that order. (in my oppinion)

the Sprawl Survival Guide gives some excellent insight in the setting and everyday life of people living in the sixth world. It's a great help for GM as well as players. The Shadowrun Companion gives some optional rules for handling things that have been left out or only lightly touched in the core rulebook like enemies and contacts of the characters, character advancement (Karma, training, etc), an additional character generation system (the uild point system, which is the best in my opinion but there's some discussion about this). There's also some advice for the GM on how to run a decent game, how to structure runs and campaigns as well as different ideas for campaigns.

And, for one, if you're the only one interested in your area and you're trying to convert a group of friends be prepared to be the GM. It's a challenge but it's really not that bad. You just have to free yourself of the imagination that you absolutely have to know all the rules by heart. You should also free yourself of the idea that anything about the game is set in stone. As a GM you are free to omit, change or add rules as you please. You can define the game world in any way you please. The only premise is that you have to agree with your players about this and keep it consistent during the game.
Unlike a computer game, you are not stuck with one defined set of rules. You are free to do as you please, your imagination being the only limit.

And if you feel confused about anything, go ahead and ask specific questions. The more specific the question the easier it is for us to answer it.
QUOTE (MrSandman666)
Well, welcome aboard! Another soul converted...

You mean another soul corrupted... vegm.gif

Sorry, no native English speaker wink.gif
Originally I meant to write "...drawn to the dark side of the force" but that seemed a beet too harsh and geeky to me biggrin.gif
Haha, I've been playing SR for a few years now and we still haven't touched vehicle combat. Well, not more than once. It's just like "They're in a car...abandon chase..."

One day we'll get it.
QUOTE (D.Generate)
Welcome to the world of SR. Please keep arms and legs in he car while in motion. Don't deal with dragons, trust no one, ghouls aren't all bad, good karma is your best friend, and don't get into drinking contests with trolls.

...or night-club owning dragons. Amazing how crunchy mages are though...

Shadowrun looks a lot tougher to learn than it is. Just start out by making a character or ten until you get the character generation rules down. It can be a lot of fun actually. Street Sams (Street Samurai, combat specialists who are heavily modified with cyberware) are the easiest and yet the most time-consuming to make because you're always spending a huge amount of time spending your money. Adepts (characters who use magic solely to enhance their physical capabilities rather than cast spells or summon spirits) are pretty simple too, but a lot of the concepts may ellude you at first.

After you're comfortable in making a character and can do it in a single sitting (I've been playing for 12 years or so and it still takes me an hour or two to make a character sometimes), then try running a basic combat. Just grab two of the characters you made and try fighting them. Keep doing this until you're not reading rules, but just referencing tables.

After you've gotten to this point, start reading the rules on magic. It can seem very complex, but if you read it through two or three times, it'll start to click. The reason I say magic over decking or rigging is that you can play a game without decking or rigging, but magic is what makes Shadowrun Shadowrun. After you start getting a grip on magic, try making a mage or a shaman character, then fight that character against one of your street sams. Now you might want to try making an adept if you didn't before and fight him. Now you should have at least a pretty good grasp of character creation, combat, magic, and the strengths and weaknesses of the various character types.

Once you've got this down, read all you can about the background and world of Shadowrun. Even if you've read the novels, they seem to leave out a lot of things. The primer at the start of the book is great. About this time, you should be able to play a simple game. Either get some friends together and start trying to teach them, or best try to find people in your area who already play the game. Explain you're new to the game and ask if you can sit in on a session. For simplicity, play a street samurai again just because they're the easiest to play. You can sit there quietly watching the others and learning what they do, but still have fun playing in combat.

The major difference between playing the Shadowrun RPG and reading the novels or playing the video games though is the idea of role playing. You're basically doing a form of light improv acting, playing out the role of a character. This character can be anything you want within the limitations of the setting, the rules, and what your GM (Gamemaster) allows. You control his fate, and you decide what he does, how he speaks, stuff like that. You're not reading some pre-programed dialogue or watching other characters do the work, you're the one doing everything. You're part actor, part writer, and part director.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun. And when you're first starting out, don't worry about creating the most bad-ass character you can. A lot of the topics on this board talk about whether to get this cyberware or that cyberware, whether to get this spell at Force 4 or Force 5, whatever. Don't worry about all that crap now. The only thing you need to remember is always get a lifestyle for your character, always buy ammo and spare clips for your gun, and always get some armor. But the best way to learn is to just experiment and screw up. Don't let anyone tell you you're stupid or anything like that (I've actually seen this kind of behavior for gamers). You're still learning, and remind them we've all done incredibly stupid stuff when we were starting out just because we didn't know everything then.

And we still do stupid stuff even when we DO know everything...("I'll challenge Perianwyr to a drinking contest to kill time." What WAS I thinking?!)

The Abstruse One
QUOTE (MrSandman666 @ May 12 2004, 09:54 AM)
Sorry, no native English speaker wink.gif
Originally I meant to write "...drawn to the dark side of the force" but that seemed a beet too harsh and geeky to me biggrin.gif

Too geeky? For around here!? I don't think so, my freind. biggrin.gif
Okay, now for the actual stuff:

Abtruse just gave one of the best step by step "How To's" for Shadowrun I've ever read. Echo everything he said.

Also, always feel free to post questions about rules and/ characters here. Most of live for the chance to help crunch out new charaters (I've gotted several great ideas from other DSers requests for help).

Welcome aboard! Good luck, its rough out there!

edit: I just thought of something else, Dashinfen suggested trying to get in on a Forum Game (Welcome to the Shadows). I recomend this as well and you can get a pretty good idea of how runs work by reading through some of the threads there. OOC Out Of Character)Threads contain mechanics and chit chat between the players. IC (In Character) Threads are the actual roleplaying. Open each in a seperate window and refer back and forth from what is posted in the IC to how the mechanics work in the OOC.

Have fun!!
Thanks for the help guys. I finished the book, except for the magic, matrix, and rigger rules. I guess I'll start trying to create characters. I think I'll experiment a little before I get into a game. The one part of character creatioin that is really confusing to me (so far) is knowledge skills. I tried to create a real basic character last night, and that's the part that I had to stop on. I understand how the knowledge skill points are calculated, and that they are grouped by class (street, background, etc), but beyond that, I'm not sure. I think I'll re read that section tonight and give it another crack. In the meantime, thatnks for all the help.
Herald of Verjigorm
Knowledge skills can be anything. The groupings are usually irrelevant, a few optional rules (all I can think of is the illiterate flaw right now) make them matter.

You want to know about guns but not have any skill using them? Background knowledge skills in guns.
You want to know about what little animals can eat your soul? Parazoology. Or standard zoology and deal with the +2 to the TNs.

Pick whatever makes sense for the character idea, there is no comprehensive list of knowledge skills.
QUOTE (kevyn668)
QUOTE (MrSandman666 @ May 12 2004, 09:54 AM)
Sorry, no native English speaker wink.gif
Originally I meant to write "...drawn to the dark side of the force" but that seemed a beet too harsh and geeky to me biggrin.gif

Too geeky? For around here!? I don't think so, my freind. biggrin.gif

Don't scare the guy so quickly, give him some time before that. nyahnyah.gif

And never, ever, tell him about AH and BD. wink.gif
Ah, knowledge skills are fun!
Don't let yourself be intimidated by the categories and toss them right out of the window! As has already been stated, they don't matter for most of the time. Knowledge skills is where you can let your imagination run wild. It's basically free points to flesh out your character. Knowledge Skills can actually be usefull (Security Systems, Mafia Tactics, Seattle High Society) or just fun and flavor (Best Bars In Town, 20th Century Comic Books, Troll Jazz Bands, Gardening...)

Another thing to remember about Skills, especially about knowledge skills: unlike in a computer game you are not limited to the skills listed in the book. You can always add new skills if you feel that the skill doesn't exist already. For knowledge skills this is particularly easy. For active skills you might wanna thoroughly check whether that certain area isn't covered by another skill yet...
The groupings only matter with some of the edges and flaws in the Shadowrun Companion, which is something you shouldn't worry about until you're more familiar with the rules (though it does have a wealth of info including one of the BEST in-character primers on shadowrunning in general I've seen). With knowledge skills, you just pick whatever you want your character to know. Chemestry, Chess Strategies, Elven Wines, Best Pizza Toppings to Go With a Particular Movie, Dragon Culture, Corporate Politics, etc.

You can specialize just like in regular skills, but this can be a bit confusing. The difference between Elven Wines and Wines (Elven) is that you know all about Elven Wines with the Elven Wines knowlege skill, having focused solely on those. With Wines (Elven), however, you would know about all different kinds of wines, but you'd know much more specifically about Elven wines. Subtle, and probably something you shouldn't worry about too much yet.

You can also get "theory" skills for most active skills. The Knowledge skill for Sorcery, for example, doesn't help you in casting spells, but would help in knowing the technical name for a spell is, how (in theory) the spell works, the difference between a Physical and Mana spell, etc. The Interrogation Knowledge skills would let you know all about different Interrogation techniques and the history of the art of interrogation, but wouldn't help you actually interrogate someone. Basically, the difference is between having read books on the subject and actually having PRACTICED it.

But Knowledge skills are where you get to have fun with the character, expanding his/her background.

The Abstruse One
QUOTE (idolone)
It's just the combat, matrix, rigger, and magic stuff that's confusing.

Let me first say that I'm REALLY glad to hear you're going to be joining the fold of SR players. =) Also, the people who've posted before me have had some great points and advice.

The best way that I've found for learning combat mechanics is to make up a sample combat scenario, and run it through yourself. I recommend the cliche'ed (but handy!) Lone Hero Versus Several Goons approach. Give some ofthe goons pistols, some SMGs, maybe a shotgun or two ... with laser sights, smartlinks, and even no-aiming-aids.

Do this run on your own, writing down what needs to be done, what the base target numbers are, what the modifiers are (and why), and then what the final target number is ... then do yourdice rolls, note the number of successes. Then stage damage accordingly,etc -- just as in a real combat, but YOU are doing it all, AND keepingtrack of it.

I did this once, as a test of a character's "concept", and ended up with an HTML file. My rolls and TN notes are in the comments, if you view the source: (Shameless plug, i know, lol). If you are time-starved, try saving the HTML file locally, and viewing it in Notepad to read the comments as you go.

On learning Matrix rules: I learned a LOT from The idiot's guideto the matrix. (It's long but a good read.) I feel like i know nothing about the matrix, and that's after reading all of VR 2.0 and the SR3 core book matrix rules. I want the Matrix book. smile.gif

Good luck! Remmeber that you don't needto have a riggeror decker in the team as a PC if you as a GM don't want to. smile.gif Make them an NPC. smile.gif
Don't let the complexity worry you. I started gaming with Shadowrun and haven't (yet) regretted it. The rules are a bit complex but for an abstract they do some decent modelling.

Basically learn to master how to roll dice and know which dice to roll. If you're looking for a group, check out the registry on the general gaming portion of this site; I've had a few hits in looking for fellow gamers (a lot more than on which is altogther a tad disheartening).

Just know the chapter about concepts down pat, what a pool means and the different dice tests. The rest can be looked up (one of Albert Speer's favorite ideas). The magic, matrix, and rigger rules require some sitdown time in order to figure out just what they amount to and how to get something to work.

In general, RPGs are a "we learn by doing" type of thing. I'm running a game at the moment and I still have to look up the rules and make sure that something is right. Get some exp. with Shadowrun under your belt and see how everything hangs together. Everything becomes clear after that point, or failing that, at least usable.

When first learning combat, I think it's better to start out with a one-on-one battle, then start building from there (two-on-two, three-on-two, three-on-five-on-four, etc.) Start out simple, then start working out the complexities once you get the basics.

The Abstruse One
Yep, building a true campaign is pretty tough, something I still haven't gotten the hang of. Something about far reaching plot themes and hooks within hooks and all those wonderful literary metaphors that I do so dislike.

Welcome to dumpshock, here is your dikoated ally sprit manifested in an AVS, and yes, you can have sex with it.
W00t Ive been .sig ged! =)
Okay, I think I understand knowledge skills better now. I thought the categories were important, but I guess they're just to give players an idea of the types of knowledge a character can have. About the background knowledge though, does background knowledge in a skill you already have take up knowledge points? For example if my character has skill with edged weapons 6, according to the core rules, the background knowledge on edged weapons can be 3 (1/2 of skill). Does that take 3 knowledge skill points, or is that a given? Also, how are knowledge skills used in a game? I'm going to look at a game in the forum here (like someone suggested), and see if they're used there. From what I understand, they can be used at the player's or gm's discression when making open tests. Not sure though. Anyways, thanks for the help guys. The advice here is and has been extreamly valuable to me.
Kanada Ten
Background skills do not take skill points if one has the active skill first.

Jerry is waiting outside of a hi-rise watching for a certain tenant. He spots the mark pulling into the parking lot and notices a Speed Coma sticker on the bumper (Perception test). Jerry needs to keep Deborah busy while the boys finish searching her apartment so he nonchalantly walks towards her (Stealth check). He then trys to start a conversation, but he wants it to seem natural (Negotiations Fast Talk). Because he thinks she likes Speed Coma, Jimmy trys to steer the conversation to heavy metal music and keep her talking (Etiquette with complementary Heavy Metal). Amazingly they hit it off. While talking, Jimmy trys to find a way to get her to leave with him (Negotiations with complementary Psychology). Deborah happens to be trying to quit Novacoke and is having a hard time with it. Jimmy exploits the weakness by saying he can get some right then, if she wants (Drug Dealers check).

Heavy Metal, Psychology, and Drug Dealers are all knowledge skills.
Hi! Welcome to the Sixth World, I hope you enjoy your stay.

I don't have much to add that hasn't been said already so I'd just like to reinforce what some people have already said:

Knowledge skill categories are essentially meaningless, just grab whatever knowledge skill takes your fancy (Troll Trash Metal Bands, Conspiracy Theories, Origami, Treasures of Lost Atlantis, Dragon Cuisine, whatever...) and ignore those categories.
(BTW, like Kanada said those background skill points are a freebie if you already have the active skill)

Make a few characters to begin with until character creation makes sense to you, I do this whenever I'm starting out with a new RPG and it really helps to get a feel for the system.

You can easily skip the Rigging and Decking rules for the time being (I know a lot of people who've played for a long time that do the exact same thing) but I think you should make an effort to integrate Magic as soon as possible (Magic is what makes Shadowrun different from any other futuristic/cyberpunk setting), but only after you think you've understood the general Combat and Skill rules, no point in rushing it if you haven't got the basics down yet.

And do feel free to post whatever questions you might have, it's what this board is for, after all.
When I was a kid, I remember my brother playing the Sega Genesis Shadowrun game and having the second edition rulebook down in his room. Being the younger brother, everything my brother did was made probably 2 times cooler than it ever should have been, and even though I'm 19 rather than 9 now, I still have all these unexplored interests in things he used to do (various hard drugs, for example) that randomly come back to me. Shadowrun is the most recent of those interests.

I've never played any other pen and paper RPG. I read one Shadowrun novel about 8 years ago. I'm sort of trying to play through the Genesis game, and when I was 14ish, I played the Super Nintendo game (but not to completion, if I remember right), but I hardly remember it. Long story short, I'm not exactly attuned to the Shadowrun universe. I have recently, however, picked up the third edition book and read quite a bit of it. It's tough to get a grip on all of it and consistently apply all the rules all the time, but I can handle individual concepts just fine.

In other words, I'm in pretty much the same situation now that idolone was in last May, so rather than start another thread where people give the same advice, I figured I'd just post on this one. I read the advice everyone gave him, but moving forward from that- when joining a game here on the boards, is it possible to join one that's been going for a while, or should I just wait for a new one to pop up? And is it feasible to play Shadowrun on here with just the 3rd edition book? I don't want to plop down more money for books and whatnot if I've never even played the game. I know my friends would most definitely not be interested, so I'm pretty sure I'll be playing online only (unless that store I bought the book at decides to host SR games...), but it seems like the people here have all the books.


Oh, and idolone, if you're still on here at all, how has playing SR worked out for you?
Herald of Verjigorm
I still reccomend RPOL for gaming. It's specialized forums and built in dice roller are generally much better for actual play than the relatively low frills forum format here. However, it also seems to have a high game-death rate, so keep in mind that a game may end with little or no warning.

As for only having the main book, it just means your collection of options is a bit more limited than if you had the whole bunch. You can still make viable characters.
I'm also new to the forums and the SR Universe, having just started 2 months or so ago. The group i'm playing with decided to switch to Shadowrun because it sounded pretty neat and is different than the normal hack'n'slash D&D that we play on other days. So far we're having a blast and I really like SR since you need to think a bit more before you engange in combat, not to mention all the crazy stuff you can do with modern(ish) equipment.

I've accidently started the Great Seattle Fire of 2064 (as my mates call it) last game when a helicopter I shot down crash landed into a giant fireball and started a fire that would destroy over several blocks. Another helicopter also exploded, very unfortunate for the Renraku goons near it who were turned into human torches.

Also, ALWAYS remember to get behind cover if you get into a fight, it'll help cut down on your hospital bill and prevent unwanted body ventilation.
Wounded Ronin
Personally, I wouldn't recommend First Run for beginners. I think that the difficulty level is too high for total beginners. Secondly, I think that it's too complex for beginner GMs. Like, IIRC, every time someone misses a shot in the Stuffer Shack the GM is supposed to roll on a table to determine what kind of goop flies around from the shelves. This is adding in another roll and rules lookup, in effect, every single time someone misses a shot. A starting GM dosen't need that; he/she will have enough table-searching just from regular combat.

[ Spoiler ]

EDIT: Thanks for the tip.
Spoilertag is your friend. spoiler and /spoiler, wrapped in square brackets.

I do agree with you that First Run seems pretty tough for newcomers since we are still getting used to playing a new system so different from what we are used to, but despite our initial disaster we have learned from our mistakes..such as making sure everyone can communicate with each other. Comms gear is definitely on our shopping list.

[ Spoiler ]
Eh ... Food Fight has been a staple 'first run' since its inclusion in very first Shadowrun Core rulebook (SR1). I didn't then, and still don't see it now as being too difficult for any GM that has read through the rules. As with any new game, the players and GM have to be patient and accept that there will be a lot of page-turning and chart-searching until they are more familiar with the system. This is the case no matter what scenario is chosen.
Shadowrun is, all things considered, a fun RPG even if you do'nt know the rules. The combat system is much simpler than D20's (The better you are, the more dice you get. The harder the task is, the higher you have to roll.), and is enjoyable even if you have no idea what the blazes you're doing. On my first run (Food Fight) I managed to mana-frag a really big guy without breaking a sweat, and was the only player who had enough common sense to grab a Katana from one of the dead guys on the way out. Making a few characters is a good idea, as is thouroughly reading the "combat" section of the book; it contains most of what you need to know to prevent yourself from becoming very dead very quickly.
QUOTE (lovernotfighter @ Jan 2 2005, 01:14 PM)
<snip> when joining a game here on the boards, is it possible to join one that's been going for a while, or should I just wait for a new one to pop up?

Unless an ongoing game states they are looking for more players, they are usually closed games. Waiting for a new one is a better idea. Having a character or two in mind, and perhaps statted and a background is a good idea, too. When a game gets announced, don't get demoralized by the 6 or 10 people that immediately call dibs. Some people express an interest in every game that comes up, but don't follow through with getting a character submitted.

Living in the Shadows is one game that is ongoing and accepting characters as time goes by.

  And is it feasible to play Shadowrun on here with just the 3rd edition book?  I don't want to plop down more money for books and whatnot if I've never even played the game.  I know my friends would most definitely not be interested, so I'm pretty sure I'll be playing online only (unless that store I bought the book at decides to host SR games...), but it seems like the people here have all the books.

You are one book ahead of some of the players I've seen who have no books. Playing online is slower, so a rule question can easily be answered Out of Character.

You might see about putting up a note about starting or joining a group at the store. Many of the stores I've been to even provide space for playing. After all, you are promoting their product by giving a live demonstration.
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