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I'm a long time Earthdawn player, and I'm interested in what Shadowrun has to offer.

Why is it worth buying and playing? Tell me why it's so great!

(I asked this question over at RPG.Net, but didn't get much response).
If you want a game that mixes high fantasy with science-fiction, there is no better setting in my opinion. Also, the fact that it takes place a mere 60 years in the future can be interesting and my group has always enjoyed that aspect of it.

And if you're an Earthdawn player you might look at the recent thread on doing Earthdawn/Shadowrun crossover games. Playing with the metaplot crossovers could be something to use at some point and keep some of the Earthdawn familiarity about it perhaps.
adamsmith wrote:

(I asked this question over at RPG.Net, but didn't get much response).

Hey! That's not fair… wink.gif

What more would you like to know about Shadowrun?

This is what i posted at the forum:

From my own experience, everyone that plays it seems to like it. Twelve years ago none of my players haven't even heard about it, and now they are all fanatics.

Some of the strong points of Shadowrun are:
  • The Sixth World—i.e. the Shadowrun universe—has been very detailed through the past ten odd years. It's an intrincate and gritty place to live.
  • Action movie feel. You get to do cool things à la Mission: Impossible. cool.gif
  • The organic magic system.
  • The flexibility of the different character creation systems.
  • The sheer feeling of power you get when you roll 18 dice toghether. biggrin.gif


Go the Official Shadowrun Site and read some of the fiction, also. You'll get a feel for the Sixth World. You will also be able to find the timeline of events there.
Sorry Karmacoma, it's just that RPG.Net is usually so much more rabid that that!
I really appreciate your feedback. embarrassed.gif
Ancient History
If you do decide to get into SR, I have a list of SR/ED cross-overs that ye may find helpful...among other things, like my Sperethiel Dictionary.
adamsmith wrote:

Sorry Karmacoma, it's just that RPG.Net is usually so much more rabid that that!

Yeah, I know. Steve Kenson, one of the main Shadowrun writers also uses to hang out on, it's also a very nice community.

I suppose that the Shadowrun feeling is very difficult to explain. I have also seen through the years that it is also a love/hate relationship thing: either you love it or you hate it.

Most of the charm of Shadowrun lies on the world and the feeling of the setting. The rules were not more or less fixed until the current third edition. Now they are both more consistent and inteligible. They are not really difficult to catch but there are a lot of them with a lot of subtle points.

If you haven't ever played a game of Shadowrun you should know that the actions are resolved through a dice pool/target number system. All of the dice are standard six sided dice, no fancy polyhedrals this time. You usually roll as many dice as your skill score plus some dice from an appropriate pool and try to beat a target number. For every die that scores the target number or bigger, you get a success. And that's the basis of all other mechanics.

Maybe you checked the Shadowrun site as I said before and it was off-line or you weren't able to get around. I noticed that the maintainers were in the process of making some changes. He fixed the looks of the site [Hi Adam and Brian, thank you, much nicer now with Safari on Mac OS X wink.gif]. So here are direct pointers to some interesting sections:And I think that's enough reading for at least an evening. If you like it and would like to know more then you should get the main rulebook where you would be able to get the basics of both the world and the game, and as I said earlier both are very rich.

And of course: Shadowrun is fun! Most runs are usually a blast! biggrin.gif
Gyro the Greek Sandwich Pirate
Yes, if you do start with Shadowrun and want good info and insight into the inner workings of the game politics, stop by Ancient History's site. There's simply nowhere better outside the minds of our friends actually writing all this crazyness up.

Like if Ancient History was Mulder from the X-Files, only Mulder knew exactly what was going on the whole time and...and...he had a ray gun. Yeah. A ray gun. Made out of aliens.

Shadowrun? Whatever do you mean? Who's shadowrunning? I'm here selling kittens...

*this guy is with Lone Star chummers, I just know he is*

Crusher Bob
Fully automatic, move by wire kittens, that is; but still terribly cute.

AS for SR:

The system is relatively simple
There are in game rules for most things you would want to do
Having gone through 3 revisions already, the rules are beginning to be worded in an understandable manner
The setting has plenty of depth and detail (and some of the setting books like Seattle and sprawl sites are quite nice)
It's better than Rifts which in one of the few 'famous' games that has the same sort of feel (Feng Shui, Bureau 13, Con X, etc while having a similar setting, are really in different genres)

The system is not very good mathematically (hard to predict, etc)
The rules are somewhat dis-organized, being spread between several source books
The economics system (process, etc) is not very well though out (and the prices of things tend to be very important to the PCs)

Plenty of people seem to have a pretty good time replacing the SR 'basic' rules with the Silhouette system (Heavy Gear, Tribe 8, etc).

In short SR is largely a game you play for the feel. If the magic/cyberpunk combination doesn’t interest you, you are probably better off with another game.
Why we love Shadowrun (Trying to cover all aspects here, not a single point of view):

1) Lotsa dice. Lots and lots of Dice, and nothing gives you a feel of true power more than grabbing 42 dice and rolling them while shouting "Take that ya fraggin piece o' ..." nyahnyah.gif
2) Power. It's one of the few games where, if you so choose, you can start out kicking major ass. nyahnyah.gif
3) Magic AND Cyberware. It literally covers any type of character a player would want to play short of a SuperSan.
4) Morality. Most players play bad guys, and it's perfectly ok, the system was actually intended for you to be 'bad', inm a Robin Hood, lawbreaking kinda sense.
5) History. Check with AH on this, some people just love finding all the tie-ins between ED and SR. And there are a ton.
6) Character Generation. You can make a nice simple character in as few as 5 minutes, or spend days min-maxxing your character, everybody is happy because that covers pretty much anything.
7) Planning. (personally, this is the reason I got hooked) Unlike other games where you wade in, hack and slash, and wade out over the corpses of the fallen. Shadowrun is a game where you spend more time planning how to do the Run than actually doing it. Nobody is sitting back bored waiting for their 'turn' (unless you allow Deckers) but are excitedly grouped together going over blueprints and other schematics on how to break into a place and accomplish what's needed without anyone even knowing they were there.
cool.gif Dice. Lots and lotsa dice. nyahnyah.gif

One thing not really mentioned is the fact that shadowrun has a metaplot, that is, there's constantly new 'time' happening in the shadowrun universe. This lets FASA have events dramatically continue the history of the game every few sourcebooks. For example, one event that happened a 'while ago', let's say, bioware, becomes 'commonplace' later in the metaplot. This also allows shadowrun to continually evolve, with new megacorporations appearing and disappearing, and even gives you the chance as a GM or player to feel like you're changing the world...and then read about those changes in the next sourcebook biggrin.gif

Downside: Conbat takes a long, long long time. Did I mention long? 9 seconds of combat, without a well trained group (GM and players) can take a whole hour wink.gif At least there's lots of dice rolls to keep you interested smile.gif
Person 404
Speaking personally, I'd say the setting and the mood are the big draws. I like the rule system a lot, although since I started reading these boards it looks a lot less solid than it used to...

In any case, as has been stated, the setting is interesting and well-developed, which is a major factor. One of my favorite things about SR is set up so that you can easily run campaigns with a certain 'feel' or in a certain genre with very little extra effort, avoiding clashes with the overall feel. A Shadowrun campaign can easily fall into horror, noir, political intrigue, high-powered asskicking, gritty street-level struggle, magical exploration, or classic cyberpunk, and none of these really break the setting. It's a wonderful tool.
adamsmith: forget what everybody says. Honestly, forget about it. You have showed enough intent by posting here and on that you're going to give it a try anyway, even if it's just to read through a few chapters of the Shadowrun Third Edition rulebook. Base all the conclusions that you'll draw upon your own experiences, instead on that of others. It wouldn't make any sense to listen to any of the people here, or on because every gamer is different, expect different things, etc.

Go and invest a weekend or two to read up on some stuff, maybe play a session or two, and then come back to tell us what you think of it.
What I love personally is the wide range of gamestyles you can play with the Shadowrun rules. In other games, you're kinda limited in what you can play as the rules are written solely for a specific type of play (Vampire is politics and role play heavy, D&D is made almost solely for hack-and-slash, kick-in-the-door style play).

In Shadowrun, you can have a super-political role playing experience in high society and governmental politics where you rarely encounter combat, a stealth-based game where you're sneaking around doing all sorts of fun stuff like trying to break a guy's neck without letting the other guards know you're doing it, full-out wars with big guns blazing (anywhere from the middle of downtown Seattle to the desert wastelands of the Middle East), street level games where you're scrounging for food and fighting gangs, super-powered games where you've got the most top-of-the-line gear and affecting events on a worldwide level, magic-heavy games where you're fighting magical beasts and mages, tech-heavy games where you're jacking into the Matrix and running combat drones, pirating adventures on the open seas, jungle mercenary games where you're fighting through dense foliage, or games in the middle of the sprawl of a big city.

All of this can be done without modifying the rules or coming up with 20 pages of house rules like you need to usually do with other systems. You can play almost any type of game you want all within the rules AND the setting of the game. You have even more options if you adjust the canon setting to whatever you want. I've had lots of fun running a more space opera like game set in a world similar to Cowboy Bebop using the Shadowrun rules.

The Abstruse One
Black Isis
Shadowrun's setting has always been the big draw for me -- I really love cyberpunk, I have since I read Neuromancer, since I saw Blade Runner and Max Headroom...and the fantasy part (even though in my games, I try to downplay the magic angle a lot) can add just the right hint of the strange and unexplained. The setting is very well fleshed out; almost every aspect of life has been written about, somewhere, at some time, in one of the Shadowrun sourcebooks (granted, a lot of the ones I still have are now out of print).

Shadowrun is adaptable to almost any genre -- like action? It's easy to have a Mission Impossible-type campaign where the characters are breaking into top secret corporate labs every week and swinging away in the nick of time. Like horror? It's easy to do a horror oriented campaign -- just set your game in Chicago, during the Infestation (or better yet, just prior to it) or in the Arcology, or during the rise of the shedim. Like intrigue? It's pretty easy to set a campaign in a web of corporate or government politics. Like two-fisted pulp serials? Have your characters fight the Azzie blood mage conspiracy and their unholy minions, fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

That said, I am not the biggest fan of the Shadowrun game system -- I use Silhouette CORE rules myself, but eve the Shadowrun main system is not bad; I prefer it to d20 or White Wolf. And if you liked Earthdawn, finding the tie-ins between the two games (or making up your own) is a lot of fun too.
I've never played Earthdawn so i don't know it's "Hostality", but i can say this:

In shadowrun, Being smart is EVERYTHING chummer....

In a few games *coughd&dcough* you can fight a horde of skeleton dragon liches and make it out with a scratch, or you could take hundreds of damage and still move on like nothing. NOT in shadowrun! A shot with the most worthless piece-o-drek gun there is could down a legendary Cybersamurai, a single spell cast through the binoculars of a shaman could kill the troll that can take shotgun blasts without blinking, if you want to cover every aspect of the game, you gotta be smart! When you have killed a hundred guards and taken "L" damage (Berserk anyone?) the GM will want to take you down to earth, using a single free toxic spirit will do, imagine your characters fear when his/her shots goes "Ping" of the huge, tentacled mass of slime and vines in front of him/her!
Your mage took out a whole slew of spirits? that's good, now take 14D from the sniper please.....

The Shadowrun system is DEADLY!
Wow. What an amazing range of posts. From the most munchkinly to super heavy role playing. If the origingal poster read these all he should be sold. Although I hope he does play and come back and tell us his thoughts. That would be really interesting.
I'm sold. I'll give it a try. Picking up from my FLGS today.
Good, now take our other bit of advice too: Let us know what you think.

The Abstruse One
QUOTE (adamsmith)
I'm sold. I'll give it a try. Picking up from my FLGS today.

And you know where to ask for help, too. wink.gif

And now that I remember… sarcastic.gif Hey FanPro! We've got another one! Send us our commission! biggrin.gif
*looks at title*

*considers the demand*

OK, you've got all your original organs, right? I figure we might be able to get a good price for that ass in Redmond, but lemme call my fixer and make sure...
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