Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: "green/(street level?)" setting: question
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
GREGi
Hi everyone. Just a quick question.

Our group is thinking about transition from 3rd edition to a more recent one and we would like to start as more "green shadowrunners" than we did before (the idea is to play through the part, when we become proper runners, rather than start that way). So the question is ... are there any rules for this setting? I was looking through the core rulebook (SR4) but didnt find anything. We thought about creating our own "minirules" for this, but then the "gangers crushed by spirits of our magicians" problem popped up, and if there are any rules for reasonably limiting awakened characters to a +/- same level such as mundanes (which are relatively easily limited, as they depend so much on nuyen.gif ) , I would be really glad.

Also one more thing. And i know there has been many topics on this so I am sorry biggrin.gif ... SR4 or SR5 ... which would you recommend more, or which would be more suitable for this kind of game? (right now we are more inclined towards SR4, as it is finished IIRC, but honestly we might end up back with the 3rd) Kind of a jungle for me, as we were playing SR3 for last couple of years.

Thanks!
bannockburn
I usually recommend 5E if you don't already have 4E products. It also has street level rules "baked in", yet those come with their own problems (usually meaning, as is traditional, that magical characters have even more of an advantage towards mundane characters).

This being said, both editions would be completely suitable for the setting you propose. You'll need to tweak a bit in either case, but both are usable.

Personally, my own bias is towards 4E, since I feel there are the following advantages:

- If you use Karma creation rules (from the Companion), you have a creation system that seamlessly continues into character advancements. The costs are the same in creation as they're later.
- As you said, the system is "complete", meaning that all books are available. I'm not too up to date with SR5, but it could be that there are books still missing, like the Technomancer supplement. You'll have to ask someone else about the completeness of SR5 though, so take my opinion on this with a grain of salt.
- Most importantly: You do not have to front load cyberware in character creation as is the case in SR3 and SR5 both. It is much more feasible for new characters to slowly earn enough money to buy implants or commlinks than it is in the other two systems, where the costs are pretty high and it takes a long time, while supernatural character archetypes have a much easier time to get new goodies.
JanessaVR
@GREGI:

No question, go with 4e. As for "greener" characters, well, reduce the starting BP and set a lower cap on Attributes and Skills.
Larsine
I have all editions of SR, and I would go with Anarchy, which is the least rules heavy and the most role-playing (as opposed to roll-playing) ready rules.
Tecumseh
I'll throw my vote in with Larsine. I've played every edition over the last 24 years and Anarchy is worth considering, especially if you prefer a game with the emphasis on the narrative and character development. Anarchy has good rules for starting green and then advancing at a good pace. I like the karma costs and pace of progression much more in Anarchy, to the point where I'm trying to figure out how to mirror it in my non-Anarchy games. I also think the gap between Awakened and mundanes is less extreme in Anarchy, with the notable exception of summoning, which needs a firm hand (which, to be fair, is also true for SR4 and SR5).

If you like the crunch and the dice-rolling then I would vote for SR5. It has holes and gaps of its own, same as every edition, but I consider it an improvement on SR4. Reasonable people can and will differ about this. I've enjoyed every edition, including SR3 and SR4, and you probably will too.

I've run ganger campaigns in both SR4 and SR5 and I thought it was easier in SR5 (but still not as easy as Anarchy). If you make a decision about which edition you want to use then I can give you specific mechanical advice for either one. In the back of my mind I've been working on Uncle Tec's Guide to Low-Powered Shadowrunning, but it isn't complete yet. Here are some things to consider though:


Dice pools
Don't try to limit skill ratings, as there are too many ways around that, including Attributes, Magic, and equipment bonuses. Instead, try to come to an agreement with your players regarding target dice pools.

However, donít try to keep your dice pools too low. If you do, there are unintended consequences, such as dragging encounters out to ungodly lengths because your basic dodge pool + cover bonuses are greater than the dice pools of the shooters. This might be realistic but makes for incredibly slow gameplay. Low dice pools will also result in more glitches and critical glitches, for better or worse.

One way around this is to reframe the definitions of what a certain skill level means or what a given dice pool is equivalent to. If you want your runners to have dice pools of N, then give cops dice pools of N+2 and organized crime soldiers dice pools of N+4 and so on, regardless of what the sample NPCs say their stats should be.

Availability
Capping Availability is a one way to keep things street-level so that the players don't start with milspec tech. However, note that street-level isn't exactly synonymous with low-powered. There are assault rifles at availability 4R, which is the same as Ö hold out pistols. On the flip side, armor jackets are availability 2 and those can be equally unbalancing (in the other direction) if nobody has good weapons.

Nuyen
Limiting nuyen is a natural way to make sure the runners don't start with every toy they want, but note how this disproportionately affects mundanes vs. the Awakened. In SR5 it also nixes deckers, so if someone wants to play a decker then it would be wise to gift them a low-level cyberdeck to start with even if it doesn't conform with the nuyen rules.

Also note that progressing with nuyen isn't very fast if you used the published guidelines for run payments. You will likely have to loosen these unless you want a very long-term campaign where you have to save for months for each purchase or upgrade. I would recommend having equipment, including cyberware and bioware, be a part of the compensation package for runs so that the players can progress at a reasonable pace.

Magic
If you've limited nuyen then you also need to limit Magic so that adepts donít rule over others. Summoners can be unbalancing, as spirits are cheap and potent even at low Force. Spellcasters are less of a concern because they need Magic to hit and there are only a handful of useful, unopposed spells. Personally, when I run low-powered campaigns, I cap starting Magic at 2. Note that this does not resolve the issue of the Awakened progressing much faster than mundanes via karma, which is a separate thorny issue and one of the reasons I like Anarchy.

Edge
Edge is a superpower and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Mr. Lucky can be hugely unbalancing in a low-powered campaign, especially if youíre trying to keep dice pools low. Someone who can add 7-8 dice to dicepools in the 10-12 range seven or eight times per game will be overly powerful.


There are positive effects to having all these restrictions in place though. Having caps that are easy to hit gives the players leftover resources to spend and the tacit permission to diversify their characters, often making them more realistic. My favorite PC of the last two decades was a low-powered ganger that was well-rounded and diverse because the chargen rules didn't let her be super-specialized. I was able to specialize her after play started, but she had a nice, broad base to grow from, rather than being pigeonholed from the first run by chargen min-maxing.

Hope that helps. Again, if you decide on SR4 or SR5 I can give you more concrete mechanical suggestions for each to complement the theoretical goals outlined above.
Medicineman
QUOTE (Larsine @ Jun 19 2017, 11:08 AM) *
I have all editions of SR, and I would go with Anarchy, which is the least rules heavy and the most role-playing (as opposed to roll-playing) ready rules.


THAT is quite a Good Idea wink.gif

but if you have to choose between 4A and 5th Ed.....
Hmmm,I personally prefer 4A over 5the ed ( or even more a Mix/amalgam from both edtions to pick& choose the best rules ! )
BUT the 5th edition is newer , there will come a lot of new Stuff and Books are a bit easier to obtain (and here in Germany much cheaper than the old SR4A books, but I guess thats not the case in the US ? )
so from this point of View 5th ed is to be prefered


Wooops , I nearly forgot smile.gif
QUOTE
we would like to start as more "green shadowrunners"

DO ( ! ) NOT (! ) go this way ( it only leads to Trouble and Sorrow respectively Powergaming and Frustrations ! )
If you cut the Building Points etc. lots of Players tend to specialise their Chars even more avoiding points for Background (like Knowledgeskills etc) thus making only bland Chars ( Teflon Chars it's what they're called in the US ,right ? ) or one Trick Ponies ( Because the Points weren't enough for a second Trick ) and cutting down the Points only results in ....less able Chars so that you, the GM, has to tone down the NPCs too or you risk a TPK !
And the Group/PCs haveess chance to avoid it (because less BP means less Attributes and/or Skills or Edge, etc.)
which ends in more work / more customizing for You as a GM but only for the same result. ( OK, No AK 97 for the Ganger or He'll kill the Streetsam, so I guess I have to give him a Sharp Knife ,a broken Bottle and a Hold-Out....)

You already get too few Points for Knowledeskills in Vanilla SR (ImO) you get even less in a Streetrunner's game !! (!! )


Just stick with Vanilla/Standard Chars and explain to the Players that you want to start the game a bit Lower and ask them to ....tone down theirs chars a bit ( if its done voluntarily you'll get more interesting Chars with Hobbies,etc instead of "forcing" it to the Players)

with a German Tanz
Medicineman
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Medicineman @ Jun 19 2017, 09:40 PM) *
but if you have to choose between 4A and 5th Ed.....
Hmmm, I personally prefer 4A over 5th ed (or even more a Mix/amalgam from both editions to pick & choose the best rules!)
BUT the 5th edition is newer, there will come a lot of new Stuff and Books are a bit easier to obtain (and here in Germany much cheaper than the old SR4A books, but I guess that's not the case in the US?)
so from this point of View 5th ed is to be prefered

Just buy the PDFs from DriveThruRPG. They're all there, and currently cheaper than they were in print. Why does anyone actually buy paper books anymore? I just don't understand it. Heck, I'm trying to remember how many years it's been since I last purchased a hardcopy gaming book; I think it's coming up on a decade.

Medicineman
QUOTE
Why does anyone actually buy paper books anymore? I just don't understand it.

I do because I'm Oldschool .
And because I take a little pride in showing my books from 35 Years of Gaming ( Showing Books that I bought from the Ala Moana Mall in Hawai, or the X-Men Comics that have
an autograph of John Byrne,etc)
I also do all my Character sheets by hand to individualize them.
( I also prefer to own console Games or BlueRays/ DVDs instead of loaning them)
maybe its a Generation thing ... or a German thing ? I don't know smile.gif
QUOTE
I'm trying to remember how many years it's been since I last purchased a hardcopy gaming book


German/Pegasus SR5 Books cost only 20 Ä wink.gif
any other RPG books I buy on Flea markets (DVDs and Blue Rays too ! DVDs are 2-3 Ä if You know how to bargain and Bluerays 4-5 Ä each )
or RPG Forums from the Players themselves as used Books

with an Oldschooldance
Medicineman
Sturmlied
If you want very roleplay heavy game with little rules the best thing I can recommend is Fate Core... a completely different system but one that does one thing perfectly... getting the rules out of the way of good roleplay.

It works with every setting, I am currently playing a horror / monster hunter setting inspired by Delta Green and the Supernatural tv series. But I also did a short game based on Duck Tales with two friends and their kids a few month back... that was fun : )

Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jun 19 2017, 11:40 PM) *
Just buy the PDFs from DriveThruRPG. They're all there, and currently cheaper than they were in print. Why does anyone actually buy paper books anymore? I just don't understand it. Heck, I'm trying to remember how many years it's been since I last purchased a hardcopy gaming book; I think it's coming up on a decade.



Old School preference for Real Books, coupled with a lack of portable electronic device capabilities. *shrug*

Fate is indeed a lot of fun, Sturmlied, though I prefer the slightly more Crunchy "Dresden Files" Fate system. Love Fate Core, though.
Tecumseh
I like paper books for actually sitting down and reading through. I stare at glowing screens all day as it is, so I prefer to do my reading on paper if I can.

I like PDFs for looking up rules, especially at work (shhh). The search function is also a huge help.

Back on topic, I agree with a lot of Medicineman's advice about not necessarily restricting starting build points in order to produce lower-powered characters. This is especially important in SR4, where limited build points create "one trick ponies (because the points weren't enough for a second trick)" as Medicineman succinctly summarized. The favorite character I mentioned was 400BP (full powered) but with restrictions on how it could be spent, like capping Magic at 2. Again, that's what gave me the freedom not to spend an additional 30-55BP on Magic and instead spend those on other skills and qualities that made the character much, much more interesting.

I also agree that knowledge skills are far too limited in SR5. I give lots more than what the book suggests, which adds a lot of flavor to characters and is in no way unbalancing.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jun 20 2017, 05:52 AM) *
Old School preference for Real Books, coupled with a lack of portable electronic device capabilities. *shrug*

Get a 12" tablet. I carry the equivalent of multiple bookcases full of gaming books around all the time.
GREGi
Thanks for all the replies!

@Larsine

I quickly looked at the SR:Anarchy and I dont think that its right for us. I can see the reasons why some groups use it, but we dont mind that SR is in other editions rather complex. Hell, in some cases its even a good thing, one can say that sometimes its too complex (looking at matrix rules for 3rd I 100% agree) , but on the other hand i love the rules for making custom weapons, vehicles, etc ... One could say that thanks to the complexity, you sometimes add another layer of roleplaying ... in the end the roleplay is something entirely in the hands of GM and his group.

@bannockburn

The karma system is interesting and I really like the changes in the prices of equipment for 4th edition, the prices in 3rd were really too high in the books and with the changes in 4th it looks like the progression is a much more fluid process than in 3rd, where every solid piece of cyberware cost 100 000+ nuyen.gif


@JanessaVR

Its really more convenient to get PDFs xD of course, but still I agree with Medicineman and Tymeaus that its nice to own a hard copies, sometimes its even practical when we were playing in my friends cabin that didnt have electricity xD + the atribute/skill cap is something that we will keep in mind.

@Tecumseh

In the end I think that for now we will try the 4th, not a problem to transfer to a fifth some time later:) ... so if you have any mechanical ideas for this setting, I would be glad to hear them.

@Medicineman

It always depends on the deal between the GM and players, and I hope that our group will stay clear of too overspecialized characters, but I can totally see your point, it could be a problem.

@Sturmlied

Trying to keep to the SR rules, but I am familliar with Fate.I would have never come up with a setting like Duck Tales xD but it sound like a lot of fun xD

GREGi
QUOTE (Tecumseh @ Jun 20 2017, 06:10 PM) *
I like paper books for actually sitting down and reading through. I stare at glowing screens all day as it is, so I prefer to do my reading on paper if I can.

I like PDFs for looking up rules, especially at work (shhh). The search function is also a huge help.

Back on topic, I agree with a lot of Medicineman's advice about not necessarily restricting starting build points in order to produce lower-powered characters. This is especially important in SR4, where limited build points create "one trick ponies (because the points weren't enough for a second trick)" as Medicineman succinctly summarized. The favorite character I mentioned was 400BP (full powered) but with restrictions on how it could be spent, like capping Magic at 2. Again, that's what gave me the freedom not to spend an additional 30-55BP on Magic and instead spend those on other skills and qualities that made the character much, much more interesting.

I also agree that knowledge skills are far too limited in SR5. I give lots more than what the book suggests, which adds a lot of flavor to characters and is in no way unbalancing.



I see your point, the caps on atributes and skill while keeping the points could solve a lot of issues, thanks.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jun 20 2017, 11:17 AM) *
Get a 12" tablet. I carry the equivalent of multiple bookcases full of gaming books around all the time.


Cannot afford it, so... I do what I can.
Beta
On the tablet / pdf discussion, I bought a 7.8" E-reader earlier this year (kobo Aura One), and have been able to E-reader all the SR5 books on it (finally reading all the fluff parts I'd never had the patience for on a laptop). I wish the books had all white margins so that the 'zoom to content's feature was useful as the text in full page view is just barely big enough for my terrible eyes, but big enough it is. The e-ink screen is so much easier on the eyes than LED!

As to green / gang setting, a few thoughts. Player buy in is huge, to make characters that fit. Consider an accelerated learning curve for a while, to show that while they are green they are learning quickly. Reserve the right to approve all gear of moderately high rating, and maybe limit how much higher rating gear they can get. Look at the rating on spell formula too, when looking at rating, some are easier to get than others (ie health vs combat). Limit lifestyle to low or less.

Good luck and have fun!
Tecumseh
As a preface, my low-powered 4E campaign was a ganger campaign. Step one is to figure out if you want to start out as street scum or if you want to be a bit up the ladder closer to rookie shadowrunners.

BP
As stated above, I would use the standard 400BP but with restrictions on how it is spent.

Attributes
Cap on Edge between 2 (ganger) and 4 (trainees).

No other caps other than the standard restriction that no more than 200 BP is spent on Attributes. Alternatively, if you want to represent the raw talent that the team has - their diamond-in-the-rough potential - then you could raise this to 230 BP.

Magic / Resonance
Cap between 2 (ganger) and 4 (shadowrunner-in-training). Any essence loss leading to lost Magic or Resonance also lowers the cap.

Skills
One active skill at 5 or two skills at 4 to begin. All the rest, including skill groups, must be rating 3 or less. This can get tweaked up or down based on ganger vs. junior shadowrunners.

No knowledge skill caps. Encourage them to spend spare BP on knowledge skills, perhaps at a discounted rate.

Qualities
The standard cap of spending/earning no more than 35 BP on Positive/Negative qualities works well. I personally like Qualities a lot so I remove the absolute cap and say "You can go above the 35 BP limit, but the net difference can't exceed 35 BP." In other words, you can take 50 BP of Positive Qualities if you also take -15 BP of Negative Qualities.

Nuyen
Cap between 10 (ganger) and 25 (apprentice).

Availability
Cap between 4 (ganger) and 8 (greenhorns). No restrictions on legality code (R or F). Restricted Gear quality will let you add +4.

Initiative Passes
A gentleman's/woman's agreement that nobody starts with more than 2 IP in the physical world with a commitment that you'll keep the opposition appropriately balanced. This prevents an IP arms race and again provides freedom to diversify.

Contacts
No caps. Encourage them to spend spare BP on contacts.

I think that covers chargen. Reasonable people would point out how long it would take to earn enough karma to improve the atrophied Magic, Edge, Resonance, etc. There is some truth to this. One way I've worked around it is to provide straight skill points or attribute points as run rewards, in addition to karma. For example, after their first run they earn +1 attribute point, but it has to be spent on their lowest attribute. After a few more runs, they earn another +1 attribute point, which can be spent on any attribute. Then do something similar with skills / skill groups, etc.

Alternatively, you can award big blocks of karma at certain thresholds. So, after their first campaign arc, they earn 25 karma and •25,000 and the game fast-forwards 3-6 months. Note that the Awakened can progress faster with karma, so allow mundanes to convert their karma to nuyen. This can give the satisfying feeling of advancement while still giving the characters roots, and solid origin stories of "remember when I couldn't peg a flea's ass at a 100 meters with both eyes shut?"

You get the idea. Let us know when you end up doing. I'm always curious to hear what works and doesn't work for other groups.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jun 20 2017, 01:40 PM) *
Cannot afford it, so... I do what I can.
Carry around a backpack full of books so valuable that if someone stole it the charge would be Grand Theft Literary. wink.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Jun 21 2017, 12:08 PM) *
Carry around a backpack full of books so valuable that if someone stole it the charge would be Grand Theft Literary. wink.gif


Indeed. smile.gif
Happened once before. Lost all my 3rd Edition Books (All of them) frown.gif

Took a while to rebuild them.

I have PDF's for when I am at home, but when abroad, I generally only take the core books these days. smile.gif
GREGi
QUOTE (Tecumseh @ Jun 21 2017, 06:05 AM) *
As a preface, my low-powered 4E campaign was a ganger campaign. Step one is to figure out if you want to start out as street scum or if you want to be a bit up the ladder closer to rookie shadowrunners.

BP
As stated above, I would use the standard 400BP but with restrictions on how it is spent.

Attributes
Cap on Edge between 2 (ganger) and 4 (trainees).

No other caps other than the standard restriction that no more than 200 BP is spent on Attributes. Alternatively, if you want to represent the raw talent that the team has - their diamond-in-the-rough potential - then you could raise this to 230 BP.

Magic / Resonance
Cap between 2 (ganger) and 4 (shadowrunner-in-training). Any essence loss leading to lost Magic or Resonance also lowers the cap.

Skills
One active skill at 5 or two skills at 4 to begin. All the rest, including skill groups, must be rating 3 or less. This can get tweaked up or down based on ganger vs. junior shadowrunners.

No knowledge skill caps. Encourage them to spend spare BP on knowledge skills, perhaps at a discounted rate.

Qualities
The standard cap of spending/earning no more than 35 BP on Positive/Negative qualities works well. I personally like Qualities a lot so I remove the absolute cap and say "You can go above the 35 BP limit, but the net difference can't exceed 35 BP." In other words, you can take 50 BP of Positive Qualities if you also take -15 BP of Negative Qualities.

Nuyen
Cap between 10 (ganger) and 25 (apprentice).

Availability
Cap between 4 (ganger) and 8 (greenhorns). No restrictions on legality code (R or F). Restricted Gear quality will let you add +4.

Initiative Passes
A gentleman's/woman's agreement that nobody starts with more than 2 IP in the physical world with a commitment that you'll keep the opposition appropriately balanced. This prevents an IP arms race and again provides freedom to diversify.

Contacts
No caps. Encourage them to spend spare BP on contacts.

I think that covers chargen. Reasonable people would point out how long it would take to earn enough karma to improve the atrophied Magic, Edge, Resonance, etc. There is some truth to this. One way I've worked around it is to provide straight skill points or attribute points as run rewards, in addition to karma. For example, after their first run they earn +1 attribute point, but it has to be spent on their lowest attribute. After a few more runs, they earn another +1 attribute point, which can be spent on any attribute. Then do something similar with skills / skill groups, etc.

Alternatively, you can award big blocks of karma at certain thresholds. So, after their first campaign arc, they earn 25 karma and •25,000 and the game fast-forwards 3-6 months. Note that the Awakened can progress faster with karma, so allow mundanes to convert their karma to nuyen. This can give the satisfying feeling of advancement while still giving the characters roots, and solid origin stories of "remember when I couldn't peg a flea's ass at a 100 meters with both eyes shut?"

You get the idea. Let us know when you end up doing. I'm always curious to hear what works and doesn't work for other groups.


That is actually quite good! Thanks ...
I will save it for later and potentially let you know, but from the looks of it I think that it would work pretty nicely ... sadly the reality in our party is different now, although I would love to try it frown.gif ... maybe someday.

The idea of restart (along with the transition to 4th ed) was brought up to the whole group and the support towards it was less enthusiastic than I expected. Nobody has problem with the transition, but it looks like that they got pretty used to their current characters (needless to say, they have some cool runs completed and some past and karma behind them with high rate of survival among them) so I kind of understand. Guess it would be bad to force it upon them, it should be fun for everyone in the end right? So it looks like we have to somehow transit the characters to the new edition, which isnt that much of a problem as I learned so far if you use a little creativity.

Looks like its back to hurting the corps, toxic shamans and other adorable antagonists with customized gear, alpha grade cyberware,high force spirits and foci ... in the end as long as you play SR its fun no matter the setting smile.gif!
Tecumseh
If people are feeling connected to their characters and don't want to start over from scratch then keep the characters and put them in fresh situations or new locations.

If you've been in urban settings, try some rural episodes. (Sprawl Wilds has stats for both SR4 and SR5.) If you've been running against corps, have them get involved with a mob war. If they've been hacking Zurich-Orbital and other elite shenanigans, have them carve out a fiefdom within the Barrens (for, you know, reasons). If you need to up the challenge, both Kalanyr and Urubia (adult western dragons) have interests in the Redmond Barrens. Nothing puts uppity shadowrunners in their place like dragons.

If they're good at killing everything in sight, put them in scenarios where killing isn't the goal, or even desirable. Dropping a bunch of killbots into the middle of a situation which requires finesse, politics, and nuanced negotiations between multiple competing interests can inspire the characters to grow in new directions rather than just continuing down the paths of their specialties. That lets you preserve the characters and their histories while also letting them grow both mechanically and in terms of new stories.
GREGi
Well, the group considers itself pretty badass, but there is still some running to do till we take the fight to the dragons or into space xD

I can say that rural episodes are great. For example we had one adventure involving an old submarine on the cost of Salish-Shidhe Council and it turned out that winter survival is something entirely different than running in the streets of Seattle. Overall we try to spice things up pretty often with new ideas and places, so its not exactly a problem (but thanks for the Sprawl Wilds reference, I didnt know about that one).

The fiefdom idea in the Barrens sounds very good! And if there are dragons involved, whats there not to like ...

As I said, I only thought it would be interesting to try to play the game from a different angle, alas I understand the desire to keep the somewhat experienced characters. But honestly one can come up with tons of interesting plots and adventures and its very hard in my opinion to not take advantage of the great shadowrun universe and just minimalize the whole running experience to session where the basis of the plot is always similiar like hitting some corp blacksites over and over again.

So in the end it was not about us bored by our current game, it was more about my unsatiable curiosity xD
SpellBinder
Different angle made me think about a brief "Gutter-run" game a friend ran. In the previous game the players really screwed up and they incidentally let a nuke get detonated on Council Island, and the resulting blast & EMP knocked the metroplex down to a feral city. The Gutter-run game was him making up characters for the players that were like your typical wageslave and such suddenly in a post-apocalyptic setting.
Savar
QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Jun 22 2017, 10:09 AM) *
Different angle made me think about a brief "Gutter-run" game a friend ran. In the previous game the players really screwed up and they incidentally let a nuke get detonated on Council Island, and the resulting blast & EMP knocked the metroplex down to a feral city. The Gutter-run game was him making up characters for the players that were like your typical wageslave and such suddenly in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Sounds like fun
JanessaVR
I confess I've haven't really seen the appeal of low-level gaming in years. A few years back, one group of our characters helped the CAS re-take the part of Texas lost to Aztlan. Now that's helping to make a difference in the game world; we assisted in an effort that literally re-drew the map.

Compare that to the published adventures - where your job is run packages across town for minor gangs...for a few hundred nuyen, if you're lucky. Whee...so much fun...I can hardly contain my excitement. If you've run one low-level campaign, you've run them all. Your group is a bunch of insignificant punks who will get treated like garbage by everyone. Rinse and repeat - indefinitely.
GREGi
heh ... Shadowrun Apocalypse biggrin.gif

QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jun 22 2017, 06:16 PM) *
I confess I've haven't really seen the appeal of low-level gaming in years. A few years back, one group of our characters helped the CAS re-take the part of Texas lost to Aztlan. Now that's helping to make a difference in the game world; we assisted in an effort that literally re-drew the map.

Compare that to the published adventures - where your job is run packages across town for minor gangs...for a few hundred nuyen, if you're lucky. Whee...so much fun...I can hardly contain my excitement. If you've run one low-level campaign, you've run them all. Your group is a bunch of insignificant punks who will get treated like garbage by everyone. Rinse and repeat - indefinitely.


Yeah, I see your point. Its true that "higher level" campaigns have a lot of interesting stories to offer which are more variable than running packages in the Barrens. Needless to say, there are also interesting ideas in my head suitable for the street level ... but I know what you mean.

We are playing SR for years, but I still feel a little out of place when creating runners. Before SR we were playing our national variation of DnD and as usuall you start of as a village boy/girl in a quest for gold and glory to put it simply xD ... so creating an already experienced runner with some history behind always felt a little weird. And the street level could be a good ground to try to build these characters from the beginning of their career.

But on the other side, if players put some effort into their character history and background, engage in a good roleplay and ideally some elements from their past project into the current runs on some occasions, than its in my opinion the second best thing.
Tecumseh
I've played and enjoyed games at all power levels, high, medium, and low. It's fun to play a high-powered game where your actions affect the game world. It's fun to play a regular campaign where you can stick it to the Man. I also really enjoy low-powered games, mostly because of the constraints, which breed creativity.

A couple years ago, someone on the official forums asked me why I like low-powered games. These are the answers I gave:

1) They're great for gritty trenchcoat games. You're the dregs of society, fighting to survive. This strips away a lot of the polish of the game and lets you focus on the game world. You're not worried about your next piece of cyber; you're worried about where your next meal is going to come from, or where you're going to sleep tonight. This really allows both the GM and the players to explore the setting, which can be incredibly interesting if you want to dig into the nitty-gritty narrative details of the Sixth World. These games often location-specific, like a certain neighborhood, which allows you to develop the surrounding streets to the point where they are another character.

2) You can make a mini-game out of the players trying to improve their lifestyle as they claw their way up. Provide incentives, both positive and negative, for the players not to skimp on their lifestyles. If you have players who enjoy managing the details of their character's lives, you can dive into the trade-offs they have to make as they manage their finite resources (not just money, but time and blood too).

3) Low-powered games are great for sandbox games in the sense that they can offer really good continuity and story-telling. If the players are primarily operating out of a certain neighborhood then that can provide a ready supply of ongoing opponents and recurring personalities. I make a detailed map that the players get to know well. I mark out the local powers (gangs, organized crime, independent operators, ghouls, etc.) and their relations to your players. Not all confrontations have to be physical; with an established cast of characters you can introduce political machinations that shift and play out over time.

4) Similarly, I find it's easier to promote player agency in low-powered games. You can get out of the cycle of all the jobs and tasks coming from the GM. If you have players who are entrepreneurial and ambitious then they can generate their own plots and the GM can adjudicate how the game world reacts. What does the local gang do when you claim a block of their turf? How does the Mob react when you hire the locals to start an ammunition factory in an abandoned warehouse? What do the players do when the locals run off with all of their raw materials? And so on.

5) As a GM, there are a lot of opportunities to make your players feel. You can put them in unfair, unjust situations that they are unable to correct, at least not with direct force. Low-powered campaigns favor resourceful players who can think creatively and find clever solutions to problems. I would compare it to "how would a manipulation mage handle this situation, rather than a combat mage?" If you have players like that, this campaign will be awesome.

6) Starting low-powered can also lead to rapid advancement. If you and your players enjoy that sweet, sweet dopamine hit of improving your characters, then low-powered campaign provide plenty of opportunity to see meaningful improvement relatively quickly.

There you have it. I could probably write similar breakdowns for high- and medium-powered games too, but since we're discussing low-powered games I thought I'd share my perspective. I think they're great... just like all Shadowrun games.
Kren Cooper
Very much approve of and agree with Tecumseh's post above.

When we're generating characters (we're still playing 3rd ed), I normally *insist* that players complete the 20Qs from the SR3 Companion, to actually define a character, rather than turn up at the table with a bunch of stats and gear. Most of the time, I encourage people to do the 20 questions FIRST, before putting any stats down on page. If you define the character, their background and the reasons why they do what they do and what led them to the starting point of the run - then an awful lot of the stats, skills and gear falls into place naturally - at least in my opinion and experience.

Depending on what you want to do, and how your players would react - another way to do a low level campaign is to give them a starting point - describe the run down neighbourhood that you will be playing in, and the general feel of the game world, and ask them to do a 20 questions sheet. Encourage good levels of detail, and tell them that you will translate the character they have designed from words into numbers. If they want to specialise in something, they need to emphasise how that came about - and what suffered as a consequence of the time/effort/energy they used on that specialism.
An awful lot of the balancing can then be done by you behind the scenes, to bring everyone into line. Yeah, sure - you started the Decker off with a Sony CyberBlast 9000 deck - but the player doesn't know about the 5 stress points on the CPU, the wobbly heatsink and the malware infesting 3 of his core programs. The mage starts off with a potential magic rating of 6 - but he's only trained / exposed enough to magical concepts to have an effective rating of 3, limiting spell force and available spells. Every time they earn karma and the mage does something noteworthy - or takes heavy drain perhaps, they "unlock" more potential.
If your players trust you, by moving the rules away from the game / character - they can focus more on the story and the experience, rather than min-maxing their characters. And if you apply creative rules and upgrade paths to them all, then even your experienced players will be slightly off-balance and rediscover the joy of exploring and learning how things work - and as per point 6 above, get that sweet dopamine hit.

I did this with my "monks" campaign, where all 5 players were all phys-ad monks from a far-east monastery. I did the core stats, gave them all stealth, athletics and a martial art skill at a reasonable rating. Each one was assigned a broad role (the leader, the scout, the researcher, the melee specialist etc) They got to design the back story, active and knowledge skills around their role, and then I assigned their phs-ad powers.
Ended up with all roughly the same power level, all with a unique skill mix beyond the common core. Each one got a "special" unique flavour item assigned as per their role. Each one felt their character belonged to them, and they understood it - but it fitted into my sandbox jigsaw picture nicely and had no unbalancing gear / stats.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012