Saturday, December 22, 2012

82 Days Till GaryCon: I Want To Play... Shadowrun.

So, how did that End of the World thing treat you yesterday?

Yeah, truth be told the Mayans used the word world as a synonym for era. So while the Fifth World came to an end yesterday, the Sixth World began today. It is the dawning of a new time.

How do I know this? Simple. I played Shadowrun.

While I started with D&D and Marvel and currently play HackMaster, the majority of my gaming time was devoted to running a Shadowrun campaign for my brother and his friends that lasted a lot longer than most gaming groups do. We ran the gamut of all character archetypes and mission scenarios, and throughout it all, it never got boring.

Shadowrun is a cyberpunk meets urban fantasy role-playing game that was originally put out by FASA and has changed hands a few times since I stopped running it after the change from 3rd to 4th edition. The main setting is a dystopian future of the mid-to-late 21st Century. A series of disastrous events at the start of the century result in a radical reshaping of the world, especially North America.

Also, for reasons that few can understand, magic has returned to the world. This coincides with people changing into dwarves, elves, orks and trolls. By the time things 'settle down', magic and cybernetic implants are commonplace. Almost all computer work is done via virtual reality. And most importantly, the largest corporations in the world exist as micronations within the countries that they do business.

That's where the players come in. These 'megacorps' are in such violent competition that they hire mercenaries to perform covert operations, or 'shadowruns'. And that is where the players come in.

This was the first game I played where you really weren't encouraged to be the good guy. Granted games like D&D and Palladium gave you the options to be evil. But Shadowrun's premise is that nine out of ten times, your character is kind of a scumbag. You are willing to work under the table for large faceless corporations as a criminal with the knowledge that of all goes wrong, your employer and your target have no problem killing you. And on top of that you usually don't have the desire or the ability to be a respectable member of society. You do your job, buy your gear on the black market and dodge the cops every step of the way.

Now, my players did tend to veer towards the moral side of the moral/amoral/immoral spectrum. But just as often, they caused mayhem for everyone around them. Near the end of the campaign, they were basically setting themselves up as a small army with a 'legitimate' business as a cover. A criminal enterprise in the making, paid for with theft, destruction and death.

And it was a lot of fun.

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