Seattle Metroplex, United Canadian and American States. 2075. Events of the past 75 years have introduced advanced technology allowing for cybernetic implants and creating whole virtual worlds. Magic has returned and brought with it mythical races and dragons. But they’ve also created a world where gigantic corporations are essentially their own nation states that dominate even the countries where they operate. North America has fractured into several nations. The common person either conforms to the system and is often employed, housed, educated and tracked by corporations or they live outside the system where they are essentially invisible and left to the rule of gangs and criminals on the edge of society.
“Watch your back!
Never deal with a dragon!” – The unofficial Shadowrun motto
A Shadowrun Campaign
Your characters are shadowrunners. Shadowrunners choose to live outside of the system (although they may not always have been) and are essentially freelance contractors. They take jobs that corporations, governments and powerful individuals need done without getting their hands dirty. They also take jobs to help the common person, expose corporate injustices, and sabotage schemes that endanger the public.
Your characters are established runners. Not newbies, not veterans. You come into the game with enough reputation to get a job and some contacts from your life prior to the campaign.
I’m going for something with a strong overall story, but I don’t want to railroad you into taking one path through it. One of my biggest goals is for it to feel like the world is still happening around you while you’re off doing your thing. Also, of course, I want it to be fun. If there’s something you’re not enjoying, or isn’t clicking for you or you’re not enjoying your character as much as you thought you would and want to change, let me know. There’s a lot of ways to go with Shadowrun, so don’t think we’re stuck on one track.
I think I’m going to set up a site for the campaign that should make it easier to keep track of information in the game. Obsidian Portal seems pretty useful, but I’ll let you know.
Generally you get your jobs from one or more Fixers. Fixers are talent scouts, agents, and fences. They’re the people who know people and know how to get things. The client, generally known by the euphemism Mr. Johnson, usually contacts a fixer with the details of their job and the fixer then farms it out to one of their teams. Once contact is made, your team meets with Mr. Johnson to get the details. Of course you’re going to want to check some things out on your own, whether it’s confirming that the mafia really does have Mr. Johnson’s daughter or if the security at the corporate warehouse is as lax as you’ve been told. Once you’re ready, you’ll plan out and execute the mission. If you’re lucky things go smoothly and you might even steal some additional pay data or loot. If you’re unlucky things go sideways and you barely escape with your lives.
Example mission types are burglary, breaking shit, extraction or insertion, delivery, protection, hooding (as in Robin Hood), or misdirection. You’ll often be targeting Megocorporations or other large organizations. You’ll contend with their contracted security or their own in-house security teams. You might need to get through gang controlled territory or wilderness filled with awakened creatures to get to the job site.
You guys should decide together the template of your group. Have you worked together as a team before? Have you done it regularly? Maybe you’ve always been a team. Do you like one another?
Regardless you should decide on your group morality, so even if your character’s morality differs slightly he knows what is going to be acceptable by the group. It doesn’t your character can’t disagree, but at a player level let’s get on the same page. The ole Paladins and pirate ships clause. Will you take any job that pays? Are you willing to do bad things to bad people? Are you only interested in helping the little guy and will turn down any corporate jobs?
A balanced team is definitely nice, but not required. You can hire a decker to do all your hacking if needed or just not take jobs that rely on those skills. Give some thought to what, if anything, your character did before shadowrunning. Who do you know? Some of those people are going to have skills you need and be willing to help you and be your contacts. You don’t need to go very in depth with your background, but if you want to, that’s cool too. If you have some lingering plot point from your background, it can be something you bring to the team as a job.
Examples characters start on page 112. The book is on Dropbox.
To make your character you’re going to assign a priority to each category. So you can only have one item from rows A-E. If you want to be a full magician with a Magic rating 6, you can’t also start with 450,000 nuyen to spend on gear.
Metatype: Your race, in normal RPG parlance. The number in parenthesis is how many points you have to spend on special attributes – Edge, Magic (for spellcasters/adepts) and Resonance (for Technomancers).
Attributes: This is the number of points you have to spend on your attributes on top of the starting values for your race. Attributes have a limit, which you can’t exceed (at least not to start.) The Attributes are Body (physical toughness), Agility, Reaction, Strength, Willpower, Logic, Intelligence and Charisma. You also have Edge which is more or less your luck and can only be increased (at creation) with special ability points from your metatype selection. Essence is the measure of your metaphysical purity. Installing cyberware decreases your Essence which will also decrease your max Magic, if you have one.
Magic or Resonance: This determines your starting Magic attribute (modifiable by your special ability points from your metatype). There are a few types of magic users. Adepts use magic to increase their own bodies and abilities. Magicians are your typical casters. Aspected magicians are limited to one field of magic, summoning or spellcasting or enchanting. Mystic adepts are a combination of magicians and adepts.
This field also determines your starting Resonance for a Technomancer. The resonance stat will determine your attributes inside the Matrix.
Skills: The first number is the points you have to spend on individual skills and the second is the number you have to spend on skill groups. Skill groups is essentially buying skills in a bundle.
Resources: How much moolah you have to spend at character creation. You can keep no more than 5000 to add to your starting cash (determined by the starting lifestyle you purchase.) Anything more than that is lost. You can convert up to 10 Karma (see below) for 2000 nuyen each (so up to 20,000) but you can’t convert money into Karma.
Karma: Karma is the XP of Shadowrun. You start with 25 Karma to spend on things like positive and negative (which grant you Karma) qualities, contacts, spirits and spells (for magicians) or sprites and programs (for technomancers.) You’re limited to 25 points of positive and 25 points of negative qualities.