Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: SR 1 and SR 2
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
All this talk about SR 4 got me thinking, what was sr like back in the days of 1st and 2nd edition, esp. 1st? I think I played a bit SR 2, but I am not sure. What was the rulesystem like? What was bad, what was good compared to SR 3 (and SR 4 of course)... What were the first big events happening "inplay", what was history all the time? And what other interesting stories can be told about those former editions? I hope others are interested to hear this, too!

Would be nice if Fanpro or who ever is in charge could put up a pdf version of the first BBB smile.gif For archeological reasons only, of course!
Wow, big question really.

To me, most of SR takes place in the 50's still, during these two editions.

Historically, we have Bug City and the Cermak Blast (Nuking Chicago)..

Dunklezahn's election and subsequent death.

And, love it or hate it, Harlequin and the horrors metaplotline, in which the cops were bad, the Azzies were worse, and immortal elves came out of the closet.

That's just a little bit too...

Ruleswise? The biggest thing is that SR1-2 had a slightly tweaked initiative. That is, when you rolled an initiative with extended actions, they all take place first, and the initiative was a countdown, not so much of a pass system. (i.e. I roll a 27 (twinked), I go on 27, and 17, before that poor sap who rolled an 11 goes )

The other part was the grounding of spells though foci. Having an unmasked active foci was just begging to have a mage send a spell through it to the physical plane an have it fry the focus and the runners at the same time.

There's a lot more, but I'll let someone else get to them... I have to get back to work..... sarcastic.gif
The difference between SR2 and SR3 is really, fairly minor. Initiative WAS a lot crazier, as has been pointed out. Everyone wanted to get the highest initiative, as a consequence, since a character could reasonably get 6 or 8 simple actions before your average Joe got ONE. You can imagine how bloody things got in those cases.

I've glanced over SR1. There were some big changes there. Damage codes had variable staging (as opposed to everything staging at 2 in SR2/3) which is why you see funny damage codes like '6M3'. Armor counted as automatic successes. I seem to recollect that full auto was a bear. There were a number of little problems here and again that made it a bit too easy to be an uber munchkin. From everyone I've talked to, the jump from SR1 to SR2 was largely a good one. From SR2 from SR3 was minor enough that no one really complained too loud, but it's not uncommon to grab aspects of SR2 and put them into an SR3 game (nor especially hard).
I never played SR1, but I've got the rulebook. (And if you want it too, Stiggybaby is still selling it for a few bucks.) I did play SR2 for several years before SR3.

SR1-->SR2 was definitely the bigger jump. SR1 had a hosed damage system where any armor at all would practically let you walk through a storm of bullets. IIRC neither decking nor rigging were especially defined until Virtual Realities and the Rigger Black Book, and both of those systems were a lot more exotic than the current ones. (The VR rules in particular essentially forced GMs to write an entirely separate adventure in the Matrix, with rooms and everything. It was vivid but ridiculously time-consuming.) Those rules, alas, carried over into early SR2 until they were once again redefined in supplements. I also can't remember how magic worked, but I remember it was different. >8->

SR2-->SR3 was subtler. The biggest change was the skills system; SR1/2 used a "skill web" where every skill was related to every other one, and you could default up the chain or drill into concentrations and specializations, and none of it related to attributes. It was actually quite elegant in its own way, but it was complex, and the SR3 skills chart is a lot simpler to understand. The only major combat change was the initiative fix (which a lot of street sam players cried havoc about). Magic in SR2 had a ton of dice pools which were all based on your skill ratings; SR3 simplified that, and also rewrote the metaphysics such that walking around with a focus was no longer a sign that said "HELLO! FIREBALL ME FROM ASTRAL!"

Other than that, there were some minor racial and chargen tweaks, but mostly SR3 was just an excuse to repackage the newer, mostly-better Matrix and rigging rules and clarify some things that were confusing to people. I've been telling my players for the SR3 campaign I'm about to start that if they already have SR2, they needn't buy SR3 unless they want to; I can just hand them a copy of the new skills table and they'll have most of what they need for chargen.

SR3-->SR4, of course, looks as if it will throw away virtually everything in terms of crunchy bits. It's the first time the core dice mechanic has changed. I make no judgments right now whether the change is better or worse; I've simply decided that I'm in no hurry to pick it up just yet, as SR3 is keeping me happy.

Ancient History
Initiation made some big changes through the editions. A few metamagic changes here and there, but only two metamagics were every completely nixed. A few spells came into being, disapeared, reappeared and disapeared again.

The Matrix switched to a more computer-skill oriented system than program-oriented, which coinicided with the switch from cheezy blocky art to smoother graphics. Otaku abilities were revamped to make more sense. UMS nodes gave way to sculpted trigger-alert systems.

Rigging really didn't come into it's own until second edition, and third tweaked a few things without major changes.

Martial arts, natch. Bit of a change there. It was nice to be able to build your own gun.

<sigh> Memories...
I started playing just when SR2 came out and as a result, never played SR1, but have many of the adventures. Like others have already said with SR2, the inititive was completely different and so was the Matrix. Also with character improvement and karma, attributes were ridiculously easy to improve, now it actually costs something. With the cyberware the cost of alpha and betaware was a lot higher. I think x4 for alpha and x7 for beta. Delta came out just before they changed to SR3 but I think it was at a x20 mark up. I think in SR1 they only had alpha and no bio, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not sure how the bio index was but I remember it being different. Initiation was a little different for mages too. I remember they had a grade zero, but don't remember the specifics.
As far as plot lines go, I remember the Universal Brotherhood and Renraku arcology were the big things. So were both Tir nations and the elves. Then of course the elections and of course Dukie's will, followed by the Fuchi breakup and the new corps Wuxing, Cross, and Novatech.
Something I remember from SR1 was only being able to increase Attributes a single point after chargen. All this talk about caps had me worried SR4 might decide to go that route.

Ahhh 1rst edition. I remember it well, sorta. I especially liked the indestructable armor. I remember one of my players going toe to toe with another Street Sam. They were pumping Semi-automatic rounds into each other at point blanc range, and inflicting a point of light damage a turn. heh. The first game we played in 2nd edition, the same samurai got shot by an elf with a predator, and was seriously wounded. Took the player completly by surprise.

Also, is I recall, you rolled a seperate test for every bullet individualy. So multiple people going full auto was a dice rolling nightmare. And, IIRC, you rolled dice for armor as well. Just couldn't have enough D6's.

On another note, I do miss the old ways when Street Sam appeared on the scene, you could all kiss you ass goodbye. Thats why in my current game I still use the old initiative system. Keep you heads down boys and girls.
Lets not forget the adept power: Automatic successes. biggrin.gif
that was unbalanced in 1-3rd ed because of the variable TN thing. in SR4, it actually wouldn't be unbalanced at all (properly priced).

not that that has anything to do with the current conversation.
I started with SR2, and I still think it is my favorite. sr1 had some strange countering rules. (one character knocked out 13 guys with that rule in 1 turn)
Decking was cumbersome in both 1 and 2. Rigging didn't superceed all other actions. Everything happend according to initiative turns. Sammies were the edge, they were fast, and went in guns blazing. Adepts (called Physads back then were melee death machines, and had more of an artist athelete feel to them) This was before their powers duplicated almost every piece of cyberware.

Speed was really important. Either you were on the edge, or your died.
The combat system was deadly. Anyone could die in 1 shot.

SR2 started the whole metaplot paradigm. It started with immortal elves running the world behind the scenes. The power then switched from elves to dragons. Before that, corporations were the powers, and everything had a bladerunner feel.

Now anything magic seems to rule the shadows, from Technomancers to Adepts... etc... Shadowrun seems to have lost it's techy feel. (at least to me.)
SR1 had pictures of the metatypes in their underwear. It all went downhill from there. biggrin.gif

The combat system was fun, if a bit funky. Damage codes like 3M1 (target number, default damage, "staging number" aka the number of successes necessary to increase/decrease the damage). Dropping the staging number (or rather, settling on 2 for everything, effectively) made things a lot easier.

Wired reflexes were necessary. otherwise, those street sams would get four actions before you could twitch.

They took away the turn to goo spell that was in SR1. Though I hear it's back in SR4. wink.gif
SR2 started the whole metaplot paradigm. It started with immortal elves running the world behind the scenes. The power then switched from elves to dragons. Before that, corporations were the powers, and everything had a bladerunner feel

Nitpick; Harlequin is a first-edition book. You might be talking about Tir Tairngire, but the actual IE metaplot seeds were laid in SR1.
Wounded Ronin
I'm still devastated that they took out Grounding. Nothing was funnier than the whole party exploding three times because some n00b had a weapon focus.
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
I'm still devastated that they took out Grounding. Nothing was funnier than the whole party exploding three times because some n00b had a weapon focus.

Quoted for truth. That was soo much fun. My group still uses the 2nd ed initiative, because it just seems more right.

P.S. Turn to Goo 4 evah!
I never played SR1, but I've got the rulebook. (And if you want it too, Stiggybaby is still selling it for a few bucks.) I did play SR2 for several years before SR3.

Same here, ordered it from there to.
The Munchkin edition timeline:

SR1 - Indestructible trolls in long coats with katanas and wired reflexes. Couldn't stop them except with excerpts from the School of Napalm.

SR2 - Indestructible cyber zombies with negative essence and torso mounted Vindicators.


SR4 - You guess is as good as mine...
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