Friday, July 11, 2014


To paraphrase William Gibson, Shadowrun is basically cyberpunk with D&D slapped on top. There's a lot of things that can be seen as parallels in D&D games that show up in shadowrun.

Gangers = Kobolds
Corporate Security = Orcs (sorry tuskers!)
HTR = Ogres
Dragons = Demi-gods

Then you have your typical Dungeon aspects. You have to go inside the dungeon (R&D lab), look for the artifact (the McGuffin), deal with the monsters (Guards), traps (security systems), escape and enjoy ale and whores (ale and whores).

One of the long time problems Shadowrun has run into is people that just cannot break away from the kill/loot methodology of typical RPGs. They gun down a ganger and want to know "What has it gots in its pockets?" Who cares, its a kobold, are you going to need those few copper pieces you find? Sure if you come across something worth while (a cyberdeck, some hard to find/expensive piece of gear) go for it. Just know in 5th edition changing "ownership" is a LOT of work and takes a LOT of time. Also, if you fail you've got the fuzz on the way.

Then there's the Gotta Kill 'Em All mentality. As a good friend of mine pointed out recently, "If you need to shoot your gun on a quiet run you've already failed."

Take this example:
 The team has managed to sneak into a office building, but they're stuck with no way to get past a security panel. They need a keycard, or someone with the code to open the door. No one in the group is especially techie and the Johnson said this needs to be a quiet job, so no blasting the door open. The team hears someone on the floor above and heads up to investigate. The Face quietly assures the group that he'll handle it. So the team hunkers down poised to spring should things go south. The Face goes up and tells the guy he met he lost his badge and needs help replacing it. He's dressed in street punk clothes, he's inside a building that he shouldn't have access to without a badge. Naturally the NPC finds the situation a little suspect. Seeing that talking isn't working out as planned the Face moves to the unannounced plan B. He kills the guy with a monowhip.

So now the quiet op has gotten very, very loud and very wet as the corporate guy's DocWagon contract goes off and security is alerted his biomonitor just flatlined. The guy's badge was looted and the Face says, "Well it worked," only to be backed up by the Mage saying, "We got the badge didn't we?" At the cost of half the pay for the job. At the end of the session the player said, "I just wanted to use my whip."

There's a time and a place for combat, there's plenty of situations where its kill or be killed. If a job doesn't call for people to be murdered, don't cause undue problems for the rest of the team by killing people because you want to try out your new +3 magic

If you feel you are not getting paid enough for shadowruns tell the Face to negotiate. If the Johnson refuses to negotiate talk to the GM. If you feel like you need to loot every kobold you come across just to afford ale and and simsense then payouts or player expectation needs to be adjusted.

In closing: Shadowrun isn't a kill and loot game, its about being professional high-tech criminals not street thugs mugging people for McDonalds cash.

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