Shadowrun: Modern


  • Creator

    @deadculture said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    @Thenomain I think a Shadowrun without metahumans would be pretty fucking great. You're looking into a Cyberpunk possibility. I know that @somasatori and I would be more than happy to assist. We're both avid fans of the literary genre.

    Yeah, I'd be more than willing to help with the world-building, if you need it, Theno. Also, I'm running a table-top SR game, so I've been pretty entrenched in the rules lately. Just give me the word & all. DC would also be a good person to ping on this, since he's probably one of the only other people I've met who's looked at the cyberpunk genre in an academic fashion.


  • Admin

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    Hopefully people can see why I didn't start with my plans until I got a good survey response.

    Yes, but it's also true most people show up to express an opinion if they have one in the first place (I might neither agree or disagree with your take on Shadowrun but could still be interested in giving it a try if it was available) for example - so a survey like that shows you those who have strong views.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    Hopefully people can see why I didn't start with my plans until I got a good survey response.

    Yes, but it's also true most people show up to express an opinion if they have one in the first place (I might neither agree or disagree with your take on Shadowrun but could still be interested in giving it a try if it was available) for example - so a survey like that shows you those who have strong views.

    Yeah, but I wanted their views, not their response to my views.

    For instance: Fuck Dragons.

    For instance: Shadowrun without Metahumans (or Post-Cyberpunk Magika) could be the bomb.

    Neither of these answer the question: What is Shadowrun? Also, the question "What is Shadowrun?" would have been horrible because nobody, then, is expressing their desires, but arguing over what it is and isn't.

    Nope, I did it the best way I knew how, and seeing how the discussion evolves the second I put in my views, I'm glad that I did it that way.


    I'm not sure what the term I'm looking for as mood for the game. "Cosmopolitan" is not right, because it implies more inclusiveness than I want. "Metropolitan" is much closer. The world is going to devolve into a more city-state mentality due to the limits of resources and an increase in restrictions from all sides, political and economic. I would love it if the Shadowrun Seattle was different than Shadowrun New York different than Shadowrun Paris.

    You know, like the world works now, but for different reasons and to different outcomes.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    I would love it if the Shadowrun Seattle was different than Shadowrun New York different than Shadowrun Paris.

    SR already has that to some degree. Denver. Seattle. London. Boston. Berlin. New York. Atlanta. These are cities covered by the existing sourcebooks that are very distinct from each other. To say nothing of the really different places like Chicago (invaded by bug spirits) and Hamburg (flooded like Venice) that have their own very unique settings.


  • Coder

    @faraday

    I haven't been involved in Shadowrun since 2nd Edition, and while I thought it was Denver that was the epicenter of the BUG SPIRITS!! invasion, the idea that all spirits are animistic is one of the things I'd like to kill off. Also, that bugs are evil. For a magic-world Other, we turn to the octopus. (Kidding, @Chime!)

    The sourcebooks were touch and go for me, just like the doubt in the back of my head that always said, "Seattle is the epicenter of a great sprawl because ... why exactly? I mean, it's just Seattle." (And I live in Columbus, the Midwest's Seattle.)


  • Coder

    @Thenomain -- No it was definitely Chicago. The location where the nuke went off in Burning Bright was at the FASA offices on Cermak. All spirits aren't animalistic in SR, though, and if you buy the basic idea of overpopulation-induced sprawls, Seattle makes as much sense as anywhere to be a metroplex given its proximity with a bunch of other cities.

    But eh... I confess to being overly invested in the SR sourcebooks (shameless proud plug) so I'm probably not the best person for an objective opinion.

    Back to the original topic though, I can't help but wonder... if there are so many things about SR that you don't like, why do SR at all? Why not make it wholly original? SR has almost 30 years of history behind it so I think you're really going to be fighting upstream with prior expectations. The people most likely to be "woot! SR!" are probably just as likely to be put off by an alternate take.

    It reminds me of the reimagined Battlestar series, which I think succeeded in spite of fans of the old series, not because of it. It probably would have done just as well (if not better) had it just been something else.


  • Coder

    @faraday said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    @Thenomain -- No it was definitely Chicago. The location where the nuke went off in Burning Bright was at the FASA offices on Cermak.

    Not familiar with it, just the adventure module that introduced the Insect Spirits.

    All spirits aren't animalistic in SR, though

    News to me? Rock spirits, building spirits, fire hydrant spirits...

    and if you buy the basic idea of overpopulation-induced sprawls, Seattle makes as much sense as anywhere to be a metroplex given its proximity with a bunch of other cities.

    Yeah, but it's ... it's Seattle. c.f. Columbus, Ohio. It's central to quite a few major urban areas, but it's Columbus, Ohio.


    Back to the original topic though, I can't help but wonder... if there are so many things about SR that you don't like, why do SR at all [...] It reminds me of the reimagined Battlestar series, which I think succeeded in spite of fans of the old series, not because of it. It probably would have done just as well (if not better) had it just been something else.

    Yes. This is it exactly. They did it out of love of BSG specifically and the genre in general and looked at it and said, "What if we do this." I'm going to hazard (without checking) that the BSG reboot was phenomenally more popular than its original.

    Because Shadowrun needs a facelift, and facelifts kind of suck so why not do full-body reconstructive cyborgization? And while I'm sitting on my pasty white butt, dwelling on a Soapbox thread that's months forgotten, why not prod at it?

    And most famously: Because it's there. How close can its soul be captured and re-cast? Sure, the BSG Reboot didn't do it perfectly, but the original BSG had time enough while running away from the genocidal Cylons to stop by a bloody casino planet.


    Believe me, I'm concerned that I'm throwing grit and grime on Nerps. (Also, Nerps fer chrissake.) I don't think Shadowrun was ever really meant to be this complex and deep world, which may be why some big people have turned it into this complex and deep world. And I know you're saying, "But sourcebooks, etc." Yeah, every writer wants to keep the lights on, and if it wasn't for the Cyberpunk genre getting sucker-punched by World of Darkness, we would be complaining about them being as bad as TSR/WOTC for barfing forth supplements.

    Tho speaking of D&D, the Volo's Guides were excellent pieces of work.

    I loved Shadowrun when I was younger. I can't imagine playing it now because of its cartoony, innocent 80s-like take on the world.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    All spirits aren't animalistic in SR, though

    News to me? Rock spirits, building spirits, fire hydrant spirits...

    Absolutely. "Spirit of Man" covers the building spirit (fire hydrant maybe not so much). "Spirit of Earth" covers rocks and prairie and and stuff. "Spirit of Beast" is the animal ones. Then there are the wacky ones like toxic spirits and blood spirits. I'm using the 5th Ed terms because that's the rulebook I have handy, but I remember using "Spirit of Man" in urban environments in 2nd Ed too so it's not a new concept.

    Because Shadowrun needs a facelift, and facelifts kind of suck so why not do full-body reconstructive cyborgization? And while I'm sitting on my pasty white butt, dwelling on a Soapbox thread that's months forgotten, why not prod at it?

    Because if you do enough of a reconstructive cyborgization, it no longer bears anything but a passing resemblance to the original. That's how I feel about the new BSG. It's awesome. It's better than the original. But it would have been just as awesome if they hadn't used the BSG name at all. All they gained from copying the original were some people/place names and the general gist of "aircraft carrier in space after robotic annihilation".


  • Coder

    Things I Love about Shadowrun:

    The history leading up to the first rulebook is a mix of very real and insanely wild fantasy. I'm sure somewhere along the line they wrote who lead the "Ghost Dance" and that they were a powerful mage from the previous era, etc., but without any explanation it read to me as thus:

    The world exploded because someone opened up magic and let it in. The people who did so were Native Americans because why not and also some other games around the same time period did it and also also half the creators was really into it. Anyway, because of this the Indians shook down the American government with pretty real threats of destroying a lot of things and so they took a lot of their land back.
    Meanwhile, gigantic magical disease warping bodies and pushing bone through skin and teeth, and some babies were being born pretty and pointy-eared. Also dwarves. People freaked, and time marched on.
    Also, Cyberpunk. Megacorps. This is our Fantasy Love-Letter to Cyberpunk 2020. We have some ideas but on the whole we think this is a really cool idea and also have you seen this young artist we have? He is a-maz-ing.
    Here are some ideas we came up with and some basic systems. Go have fun.

    The mood of this can be used to explain how World of Darkness came about, too, but that's not about WoD. It's about me, Thenomain, playing an Elven Decker with a Talis Cat named "Bob". (The cat didn't have a name for himself. The character called him Bob, and that was that.)

    Cyberware and Fighting The Man and Pew Pew Fireballs and it was a fantastic stage for a lot of make-believe.


    Part of the problem about being into cyberpunk (game, genre, whatnot) is that you're probably inwardly kind of angry and maybe over-thinking the unfairness of the world too much, and then they released Earthdawn and said, "This is what Earth was like before the modern era," and that was the beginning of the end for me because in my silly joy was inserted a seed of seething betrayal. Earthdawn is a fine game, but it's about this time they started inserting super-figures, a la WoD's Baba Yaga, people who control the ebb and flow of the game world and that person is, frankly, not you. Oh they've also been hiding in a world without magic this entire time. Nevermind about the common record, just accept it.

    Nnnnnooooope. Magic may have been magic, but it was something that could be studied, something that was codified and taught. Magic was, if you'll all excuse the comment, a science. Then I started investigating the game for its internal consistency and kept losing it. Contained stories were and still are quite refined and interesting, but the budding metaplot pushed me further and further away.

    I kept out of all the Shadowrun discussions here because people enjoy it, so why should I ruin it with my bad mood about it? (Sure, I'll do that about WoD, but I'm invested in WoD.) Then the fateful argument about some poor woman who wanted to make a Shadowrun game, and it went entirely off the rails talking about wi-fi. That stuck with me for a long time, because ones investment in what they love is a hot-button issue, because science-fiction (even science-fantasy) changes with culture, and because I started to deconstruct what happened between me and Shadowrun starting with finding out what happens between you and Shadowrun. ("You" the reader.)


    What is Shadowrun to me: Fantasy magic overlaid on our world, projected into a semi-dystopian near future.

    Science fiction in its form of magic as culture shock.


  • Coder

    And now, double-posting time! Since @faraday decided to post while I was pontificating (sans pontiff).

    @faraday said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    All spirits aren't animalistic in SR, though

    News to me? Rock spirits, building spirits, fire hydrant spirits...

    Absolutely.

    c.f. Animism.

    Because Shadowrun needs a facelift, and facelifts kind of suck so why not do full-body reconstructive cyborgization? And while I'm sitting on my pasty white butt, dwelling on a Soapbox thread that's months forgotten, why not prod at it?

    Because if you do enough of a reconstructive cyborgization, it no longer bears anything but a passing resemblance to the original. That's how I feel about the new BSG. It's awesome. It's better than the original. But it would have been just as awesome if they hadn't used the BSG name at all. All they gained from copying the original were some people/place names and the general gist of "aircraft carrier in space after robotic annihilation".

    Theseus' Paradox.

    There are five version of Dungeons and Dragons. There are three-to-five versions of World of Darkness. There are how many versions of Shadowrun. One of these has no game world to start over with. One of these makes minor changes. One of these starts from scratch at least once. Is D&D 5th not D&D? Is Shadowrun 4th not Shadowrun? Is ... new World of ... Darkness ... 2nd ... whatever whatever ... not WoD? (Okay, it's CoD these days, but let's not go there just now.)

    There was a game released that was called "Monte Cook's World of Darkness". Was that not a WoD game? A lot of people said it wasn't, because it wasn't, because it was something entirely different, but it was a World of Darkness game. The World of Darkness suppliment "Mirrors" was all about how to make it not the same world. Is that not World of Darkness?

    You can't tell me that I'm not creating Shadowrun just because I'm not following 30 years of footsteps. There is too much precedent that this is not how it works.


  • Coder

    Part of the problem is the perception of the player I think.

    Elves in SR aren't all Tolkeneized(sp) and whatnot in general. One of the most vocal elf npc's is a drug addict junkie rigger with cyberware in her head to control vehicles. She's not magic, she's not high society, far from it.

    Part of the big things about metahumans is that it takes racism to a different level. It's less about skin color and more about actual race for the most part (There will always be bigotry though). Orcs and trolls get a bad rap, dwarves get made fun of but for the most part nobody really hasa problem with except for the human extremists, elves are pretty and so are generally more acceptable to humans, but orcs, trolls, and dwarves still can give them a hard time, and like all aspects of humanity there are people in every race who hate the other races.

    For example: The Ancients is thousands of elves, stretched over north america, who are a bad ass biker gang. They aren't your typical tolkein based elves.

    There are a few, like Harlequin, Erron the Scribe, and a few others who stretch back to Earthdawn who would fit the tolkein mold, to an extent (Harlequin definitely doesn't) but you can safely remove those elves and not break the game imho.

    When I think of ShadowRun elf I think of Dodger the Decker, Turbo Bunny the Rigger, Netcat the Technomancer etc. I don't think of Glorfindel.

    Maybe that's just me tho.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    c.f. Animism.

    Oh, animism, not animalism. Important distinction :)

    You can't tell me that I'm not creating Shadowrun just because I'm not following 30 years of footsteps. There is too much precedent that this is not how it works.

    I don't know about WoD but as you said, D&D didn't have a world to toss out, and Shadowrun changed the world in an IC-organic way by explaining it with the Crash of 2064. It didn't chuck out the game world and erase everything that had come before. (And it still managed to piss off a whole lot of long-time fans by doing so, incidentally.)

    Anyway, I didn't say you couldn't do it. I just said maybe it wasn't the best idea. Hollywood loves to reboot things to get that brand recognition but it gets a little stale. I'd rather just see something new than keep track of which version of Wolverine I'm watching. It's a personal preference, not an absolute.


  • Politics

    I have wanted to chime in, but I'm not as big a Shadowrun buff.

    I am, however, a big Earthdawn buff, and I never saw it as a prelude to Shadowrun, for some of the reasons @Thenomain pointed out, and for a number of my own. It just seemed that was some sort of FASA concoction that was hard to believe, in the same vein as how the same accident that caused Daredevil's blindness also created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

    I'm somewhat fascinated by the concept of a less sprawled setting -- a place out of the city from which Runners launch their assaults. If modern terrorism has shown us anything aside from the terrifying things we will do to each other, it is that it is possible to wage war against a megalithic monstrosity from the borders and shadows. You don't have to be in Chicago to launch an attack on a Corporation located there; much of your prep work can be done through hacking from a remote location like Dayton just prior to a surgical strike from within.

    Anyhow, I'd support efforts to make the game. It could be very interesting.



  • This may be belated, I'm slowly catching up ....

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    The mood of this can be used to explain how World of Darkness came about, too, but that's not about WoD.

    I think this was the whole point of the entire history, 4th Age of Earthdawn to 6th Age of Shadworun. Earthdawn was fighting the horrors, brave new worlds tuff, and it being left at the horrors never truly went away after 4th Age. WoD is there, there are horrors living in the world between 4th age and the 6th age following the Ghost Dance. They are legends, pseudo mythical things, any zoo they can be anything really. Fae, vampires, the krampus, take your pick. They didn't compete with other modern horror systems, and took the book ends, distant past and not so distant future.

    I think Ghost Dance just blows it back up, reopens magic, brings the 6th Age early. It also leaves it out there that while Horrosr stayed, they are worse things that will be coming beyond dragons and the bugs before too long. All the shadowrunning is training for the worse things on their way, moths coming to the beacon which is Earth in a magic phase.



  • And, probably only me, but if you're going for completely new face on the fantasy elements, don't just remove Tolkien feel to elves and dwarves, look at a new culture that is less Euro-centric. I already pointed out if see 'unique modern fantasy' to describe a non-WoD game, it ends up still having that feel of Wod to me. Go for something completely different; if I wend different, I'd go middle/near eastern ... http://musoapbox.net/topic/1050/near-and-middle-eastern-persian-centric-urban-fantasy.

    If you go more classic European, its just gonna feel like futuristic WoD to me. Sure you can go classic elves, true Nordic dwarves, they're pretty scary, but its going to sound like changeling to quite a few people (or Pendragon to me, they were all in there before WoD came out). They went more classic, but now a lot of folks are more familiar with it than when it was fresh in WoD.


  • Pitcrew

    There are ways of making a game set in Europe in a cyberpunk setting feel less American, and that is just to insert heavy elements of their local culture in it. For instance, if you set a game in Neo-Marseilles or what have you, they could still be speaking Provencal after whatever leveled the original Marseilles caused a certain resurgence in Aquitanian separatism/nationalism to resurface.

    Or, perhaps, if you set it in Salamanca, or Granada, certain historical and cultural elements in both of those cities (which are located in Leon and Granada, unsurprisingly) offer a different flavor than 'American sprawling city du jour'. Nevertheless, none of that would make for what truly makes cyberpunk enjoyable, and it's the sort of tasteless uniformity that all the corporations impose, all 'round the globe.

    I think it is entirely possible to make the fantasy element of magic be the rulebreaker without fantastical creatures, @Thenomain -- it won't take much work, either. It could be your elven decker could be changed into a human decker who somehow casts illusion spells and those fuck up the ICEs that are supposed to keep you from the secure system you just broke into. It could be your character once thought of becoming a Solo, but suddenly something happened and instead they acquired body-enhancement magics and that made them far more effective in their natural form than any cybernetic implants would complement them with.

    Others may say what they will, but the meta-human element of Shadowrun when it comes to orcs, elves, etc., only doesn't break cyberpunk immersion (as I call it) when you're really into the setting. After sometime, though, for people who like cyberpunk for itself, it sort of makes them hesitant. Then again, there could be a sort of happy medium there. The more soaked in magic you find yourself in, the less human you become, as the same would apply to cybernetics and over-use of them. After all, when a man is more machine components than man, is he really a human anymore?


  • Coder

    @faraday said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    Oh, animism, not animalism. Important distinction :)

    What? I didn't say...

    ... Oh goddamn it, iOS auto-correct. Er, yes, animism. Animistic. Animaniacs.


  • Pitcrew

    I would say the primary thing that separates Shadowrun from Cyberpunk aside from the Genre Mashup is that Cyberpunk is in a big way about isolationist loners, exceptional individuals (usually white men, if memory serves, but you can say that about a lot of Sci-Fi) weighed down by a monolithic, oppressive system, and looking to defy the Powers That Be, to varying degrees of success.

    Shadowrun has the same element of being an exceptional individual pushed to the margins of society, but is ultimately about finding others on the ropes just like you, and coming together - maybe for revenge, maybe for answers, maybe because you can't let your friend go alone, maybe just for the nuyen to get the hell out of the sprawl.

    Cyberpunk is about isolated examplars - Shadowrun is about individuals isolated by society who find something meaningful in one another - one of the core precepts of Shadowrunning as defined by the first generation of Shadowrunners being "Find Your Own Truth."


  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    Yeah, but it's ... it's Seattle. c.f. Columbus, Ohio. It's central to quite a few major urban areas, but it's Columbus, Ohio.


    I think a huge reason of why Seattle is grunge. SR 1 game out in I think 89 possibly 90 or 91, either way it came out when bands and a music style based in Seattle were not only starting to get huge they were starting to get huge with a disaffected sub-culture, Grunge really didn't hit mainstream music stations til around 92.

    Now that I think about it you could make the argument that instead of cyberpunk that the first edition of SR was more cybergrunge. It lacked a lot of the punk ethos that you see in Gibson's writing.


  • Pitcrew

    @The-Tree-of-Woe said in Shadowrun: Modern:

    I would say the primary thing that separates Shadowrun from Cyberpunk aside from the Genre Mashup is that Cyberpunk is in a big way about isolationist loners, exceptional individuals (usually white men, if memory serves, but you can say that about a lot of Sci-Fi) weighed down by a monolithic, oppressive system, and looking to defy the Powers That Be, to varying degrees of success.

    Shadowrun has the same element of being an exceptional individual pushed to the margins of society, but is ultimately about finding others on the ropes just like you, and coming together - maybe for revenge, maybe for answers, maybe because you can't let your friend go alone, maybe just for the nuyen to get the hell out of the sprawl.

    Cyberpunk is about isolated examplars - Shadowrun is about individuals isolated by society who find something meaningful in one another - one of the core precepts of Shadowrunning as defined by the first generation of Shadowrunners being "Find Your Own Truth."

    Uh.

    Raven (Snow Crash villain and loner) -> Inuit
    Virek's henchman -> Mexican
    Hiro (3Jane's ninja) -> Asian
    Maelcum (The guy who did the Straylight Run for Chase) -> Jamaican
    Hiro (Protagonist, Snow Crash) -> Asian/Black

    Cyberpunk itself puts a lot less stock on your race and a lot more stock on the loneliness of the setting. It is true that Case, Bobby and the solo whose name escapes me right now were all white, but to say that most of the loner characters are white men is ... unwise, to say the least. If your concept of diversity is skin-deep, I don't think you'll find much of a problem in cyberpunk tropes.


 

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