Pen and Paper RPG House Rules

Making our favorite games even better

Shadowrun musings

Shadowrun for an RPG has an high learning curve for most people used to d&d or white wolf whether as a player or GM. A big problem for newbies is getting a feeling for the world and the concept of what a shadowrunner actually is or can be. Not everyone can cut their teeth on the game with the benefit of a group and GM steeped in the lore of the world and no one wants to feel like an idiot even if they have a GM who grew up in Seattle during the creation of first edition.

My suggestion to improve that would be for Catalyst to release two pdf’s to rectify the problem. A ‘Neo-Anarchist’s Guide to being playing a Shadowrunner’ and the ‘big black book of Shadowrun’.

With the first PDF a short breakdown of the world of shadowrun from the POV of the common archetypes stolen from previous works and a quick breakdown of types of runs plus the Mr. Johnson, fixer, and contacts relationships.

A great addition to this would be Attitude which did a great job of providing fluff that enlargened the shadowrun world. Various other products could provide tidbits like parts from each of the previous editions core books like the thaumaturgical guides/street magic, matrix/unwired, rigger, and augmentation/sota that focus on things from a runner’s perspective in particular those within that specialty.

Blurbs from various location books like New Seattle could be taken with parts of the sixth world almanac and explain the geography of shadowrun while focusing on things not from a meta level or from a GM’s perspective but from a player and on a cursory level.

The idea is that with reading this book a player could get fairly quickly a pro’s understanding of the world and compete if not on the same level with prime runners who have seen editions come and go.

The GM book could take the less fluffy parts from the fluffy books to help with understanding the world from a fixer’s, a Johnson’s, a threat’s, and a large organization’s POV like the megacorps and the secret societies and governments. That way the gm can better step into the shoes of key NPC’s to roleplay better and react better to the players.

Bits from the sixth world and the location books can give gm info for the world. Bits from the core books could help with dealing with the various specialty characters and help with challenging the players with interesting rigger threats or on how to run a toxic shaman camp or an insect hive.

By making the two books as pdf’s they would lessen the cost of development and by pilfering at least three quarter’s of the books from previously made books it would be inexpensive with the greatest difficulty being in editing and selection of good passages.

Beyond these two books I would like to see more extravagant gear like body armor made with Kevlar weave and wyvern scales or swords crafted out of a dragon’s claw and with monofilament edges. A flechette gun that used ammo from an awakened porcupine would be interesting.

I would also love to see more earthdawn style artifacts such as the combat Axe that a troll runner has had for a dozen runs that decapitated two Ancients in a single strike and has been tailored to the troll and is famous amongst the runner/ganger local community developing small magical abilities or bonuses like a +1 to intimidation when Axe is prominently displayed which can be unlocked with a small application of karma. Or a decker gets an hold of the original deck shell that the dodger or captain chaos learned on and he updates with the latest tech and spends so much time and energy/karma on the project that he ends up arousing a +1 bonus to writing new programs.

Also little permanent magic items with only a story effect and non ‘runner’ type items would be great like a crystal that acts as a magical light bulb for pretentious mage abodes, a wall that can turn opaque like an one way mirror, or reveals the astral and more use of the book parageology.


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