Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Year of Shadowrun

I saw this announcement a while back and I haven't seen a ton of comment on it so I thought I would throw out my own thoughts on it. The short version: The whole Mayan Apocalypse thing was something I first heard of back in 1989 when Shadowrun came out and used that as the date that things went really different from the real world, as magic returned and brought back dragons and elves and stuff. Apparently the passing of that date has spurred a reboot of the entire Shadowrun product line for 2013.

They're starting off with a collectible card game. Those are not really my thing anymore, so no strong opinion here other than some surprise that enough money can still be made at these to make it worthwhile. Magic, sure. Everything else seems like really small potatoes.

Then this summer we get 5th Edition of the RPG. I suppose it's about time since we're about 8 years into 4th edition. The bullet points:

  • Grittier and Deadlier - I don't know, our games always seemed pretty deadly. Were players asking for more of this?
  • Streamlined Matrix - I think this phrase is required for every edition. Maybe it is this time.
  • Increased gear options - I have at least 3 feet of Shadowrun books and I'm sure that almost every one of them has some kind of gear in it. At some point don't we just get to "Nanotech" and the real world effectively becomes the same as the Matrix in the older editions where you can move/look/fight however you wish?
  • Faster Character Creation and More Player Aids - sure, OK. I never thought character building was all that tedious in the first 3 editions but maybe I'm old school now. Wasn't that what the archetypes were for?

I don't want to come across as being down on the game, and I probably did up there. I've played and run a ton of Shadowrun but I sat out 4th edition because I just didn't feel the need. Now the older Apprentices are getting interested in the idea and here comes a new shiny edition - I probably won't be sitting this one out. It may be time to get sucked into this game one more time.

In the fall we get a tactical miniatures game, because we need a new one about every 3 years to rise, fall, and hit the discount bins as warhammer keeps on chugging along. I'm probably more interested in this than the card game but mini's are pricey, take time to paint, and take up space afterwards, so my interest level is "skeptical".

Spring of 2014 - a Euro style board game - not my thing either.

"Shadowrun Returns" a PC RPG ... set in 2054 ... OK I'm interested. A Shadowrun that approaches Skyrim/Fallout 3 levels of immersion? I could go for that. Summer 2013 ... I'll be watching.

"Shadowrun Online" - a Shadowrun MMO? Not sure those are my thing anymore but I will probably at least look this one over. and - apparently some sort of in-universe web page similar to the Traveller News Service in the old days of The Journal ... only online ... for Shadowrun. Not sure how this adds anything to the game or the universe but OK. - possibly overkill at this point but the video is kinda cool

Anyway, that's a lot of stuff! I'm glad to see a game (and a setting) I like gearing up and jumping back into the fray in a big way - If they succeed than it's great and i they fail then they fail in a big way and at least no one can say they didn't try.


Lead Legion said...

Shadowrun computer games that aren't crazy rubbish first person shooters? I'm well up for that!

Blacksteel said...

Yeah I never really could get into that last one but these look like a more serious effort with more control and input by people who care.

I also thought it was kind of ironic that the Shadowrun computer game was sold by maybe the biggest tech corp in the world at the time. Kickstarter seems like a much more in-the-spirit-of-the-setting way to go.

Jason said...

I've managed to find two Shadowrun novels recently while thrift store shopping.

Firstname Lastname said...

Shadowrun is awesome but I don't like the dice pool thing. Too swingy, too easy to minmax. Also they need to come up with better archetypes:

Tank-Drone Rigger: He controls a few armored drones with suppressed, recoil-less HMGs and if they die you're just out some money.

Chipjacker: Take any cyber-guy and give him a 4-slot chipjack and a case full of rating 6 skillsofts. It's not "I know Kung Fu" (you'd need expensive skillwires for that), it's "I know all the Science, Theory, and Language skills for 0 karma and 0.2 Essence."

Super Physad: At chargen he's got 20 dice for his Unarmed Combat (8 skill (specialized in cyberspur), 6 physad skill boost ability, 6 weapon focus) using Retractable Spurs that are changeable when extended so there's no cyberware/magic dissonance, with damage 10M (6 STR and a spell lock +4 STR) against the weaker Impact armor rating. That doesn't mention the full suite of stat spell locks and Increased Initiative, Armor, and Bullet Barrier spell locks. His chargen priorities are Resources - Skills - Magic - Attributes - Race. If the GM lets you use the Grimoire at chargen he can spend more money on the weapon focus and less karma, letting him take a couple levels of Initiation. This guy can easily reach Initiative 7d6+9 which means the run-up to melee is not a problem.

Basically the GM has to use common sense and say the character won't work in his game. But the less-insane versions of these archetypes (Rigger with some armored drones, physad with a WF) are just really powerful.