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Recently, I've come to the realization that I don't have a solid handle on how to manage a campaign on the nuts and bolts level. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I started RP'ing with Dungeons and Dragons, which has had an effect on my perspective of things. In particular, any ideas I have as far as campaign concepts tend to culminate in 'take over the world' plots, which don't seem to be as good a fit for Shadowrun as the aforementioned D&D. I've started going over published modules to get a better idea for how to fix this, but it doesn't help as much on the more macro scale.

So what all does everyone here do when working up a mission, or a whole campaign? Are there any modules that I should take a close look at that are particularly well written?
The first question to ask is what power level do you and your players want to run at? Just some street punks, nominally experienced runners, or prime runners? Sounds like you don't want to run at very high levels. What kinds of adventures do your players enjoy? Do they like carefully planned heists and intrigue or more "action movie" scenarios? (Black Trenchcoat or Pink Mohawk?)
Prime Mover
I freeform about 90% percent of my SR games. Two things that help me immensely theme and motivations.

What is the theme of my game street, corporate, mystical etc.. Once I have a theme its easier for me to conceptualize the opposition I'm going to need to put in players way.

Motivations of npc's this includes everyone from Johnson, Corporate Security to the wage slave with a Die Hard complex. Fleshing out even minor npc's with just a few words can make for a memorable encounter. This is always a great way to add red herrings or mission highlights.

And above all else there's always that great writing advice....if things really start to drag, someone kicks the door in !
Koekepan stops pounding the edge of his stable drone's manure shovel, and sits back. While considering the question, he wipes a droplet of sweat off the tip of his nose, leaving a dark moisture mark on his flannel sleeve. The sleeve in turn leaves a dark stable dust smudge on his nose.

"That's real easy. I mean, it's big, but it's easy once you figure out one big thing: what kinda crew you have? Some folks just want to fight one monster a week. This week, a berserker troll gang. Next week, a free spirit. Next week a rogue corp exec. That's easy. Just put up a random generator, and generate you some monsters. Not a lot of planning needed.

"Some folks want to save the world. Me, I'm not so sure it needs saving, and I'm not so sure it should be saved, but they got that itch. Some ways, that's easier, cause you only need one monster, see? The one that's gonna eat the world. It's big, it's bad, and it has a taste for the blood of worlds. Now, there's no way they can beat it - except one way, and that's a plan so crazy it just could work. They gotta feint left, dodge right, crawl through some sewers and put the fluffy bunny on top of the easter egg. That's the harder part for you, because you gotta figure a way so slick that the world-eating monster won't see it, won't stop it, and will get stymied. That there's the skeleton of your campaign, because it's a series of widget hunts. Maybe they like to discover the world-eating bad guy themselves, then you first need some events that show them a claw of the monster. That goes on your skeleton too."

Koekepan flips a switch on the drone, and it rumbles off along the rough stable floor with its newly-straightened shovel to clean up manure and other stable debris.

"You have to remember that each step of the world saving business needs to succeed. Not that they look as if they're succeeding, but they need to come away with that one widget, or detail, or piece of news that gives the next step. You can fake some of it with fixers and stuff, but even so that next step needs to be laid out. This makes it easier for you because every step defines the previous, and leads to the next. Some steps might be done in any order, and that's fine because you leave them the illusion of autonomy.

"The problem with saving the world is you can't really repeat it. You see, if you do, it becomes extended monster of the week. On the other hand, you get pinned into a narrative corner, because you have to keep raising the stakes and tension with every step. Lot of work. Still, not the heaviest work that I know of.

"You see, some crews want more context than a monster every week, and a less forced path than the world-saving story. That's where you have to do lots of dirty work, building a world. If they want to be fish in the lake, then you have to build that lake yourself. To do that, you need a few things. First, you need a list of players. Corp execs, government bigwigs, fixers, dealers and so on. You need a population.

"Next, you need the structures of power. Corps, policlubs, gangs, everything. Link your players with your structures so you can pull them together. After that, you'll need some kind of map. What's where, who owns what, and how locked down is it all?

"Finally, you need motivations. Who are rivals? Who loves each other, who hates each other, who wants what? That right there is the lake in which your crew swims. And between sessions you have to work out what changed. What moved, who got hurt, who's on top, and who's desperate? If your crew are swimmers, these are the waves that they need to catch.

Koekepan sighs, stands up and twists his hips a little to work out the stiffness before hanging the baby sledge back on the wall. "Of course, that there's just the bones. You need the meat too. Every session you must know what they're doing. If they're going up Boot Hill, you must know that there are thirty bad hombres up there with hawglegs. And the gravestones will crack after ten shots, and fail after twenty. But that's the detail stuff - I think you got that already.

"Honestly, can't go wrong with the Keep on the Borderlands. Even there they offered the meat, and some skeleton, with no world to save."
Definitely a fair bit to mull over here. As for group, I'm currently between IRL groups at the moment; last game was PbP that just fizzled. I did learn some things in the doing, but it felt after the first scene like a bit of a death march to keep things going. Thinking it over, it's probably because I got too into something that seemed interesting at first, but I started punching holes in things and became dissatisfied.
I start with an idea of what happens in the main plot, with an idea of a B plot (maybe more, depending on how likely the players are to dislike your plots and go do something else) and a timetable. Solid goals like "the characters learn about X plot and stop it" or "the characters set up and defend X for themselves/their community."

Then I throw it into a skeleton like this: That sets the pacing. That example can feel aimless at first due to the lack of early plot runs, but it lets you know to combine world-building/exploration with the plot.

Then I add a theme (I had a character who was a Wiccan, so I went with Wiccan holidays/seasons) and adjust the skeleton to fit. Cowboy Bebop's idea song titles for each episode could also work, with each plot (or maybe each year) being an "album." The idea here is to give yourself a structure and a feeling you want to design for (at least as a possible way the run can go). It also gives you an idea where to go for inspirations for your runs.

I don't usually have a solid plan of what will/can/should happen more than one or two games in advance so I can roll with the way the players want to play. Shadowrun is a lot more open than D&D, and runs go off the rails pretty quick if you try railroading. It's also a bit more episodic, with plots growing slowly, and more side runs.
Huh. I had called up a bunch of threads like this earlier, and as it turns out I had also nabbed that exact reddit you posted, Iduno. Small world.

That's definitely a sign I need to look over it, then.
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