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Shadowrun/cyberpunk system questions

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My intention is to find a system that allows me to run a cyberpunk game. I'm wondering how well the Shadowrun system will fit the bill for what I'm wanting. One of the big things is that I want it to be fairly lethal, with the possibility of a single injury crippling or even killing a character. I know Shadowrun is capable of the lethality caveat, but there's a few more things I'm wondering because there are certain parts of the setting that don't fly well with what I want to do. Basically, I want to run a Neuromancer-style cyberpunk game, and I'm just not sure if Shadowrun can be shoehorned into that role or if I'd be better off with another system.

 

1. If I were to start buying Shadowrun books, which version would you recommend? I've flipped through 3rd and 4th editions through certain less than legitimate means, but I don't know enough about how they actually play to make a decision between either of them.

 

2. How well does Shadowrun handle things like vehicle combat, chases, and remote combat(drones and such)? Does that kind of thing flow fairly freely during a session or does it have a habit of making things grind to a halt and take forever? I've heard that the decking rules can cause a game to grind to a halt for everyone except the decker, so a lot of people modify those rules. I don't want everything to be houseruled like that though.

 

3. How hard would it be to strip magic out of the equation? I'd just like to have more of a regular cyberpunk game rather than D&D with computers.

 

3a. Given that I want to strip magic from Shadowrun, would I be better off just grabbing a copy of something like Cyberpunk 2020 or GURPS? I've already got the GURPS basic set and High-Tech books, so I've got a start there, but building everything from scratch isn't exactly my forte.

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CP 2020 all the way, especially if you are going to strip the magic out. mechanics are a simple stat + skill + 1d10 (which can explode). there are no set roles/classes (well there are but you can always make you own... each role consists of 9 skills and a special ability). the whole system is very tweakable.

 

besides the main book I recommend wild side and the chromebooks.

 

the only downfall to CP2020 is the same as shadowrun, the decking/internet rules are horrible, and were designed at a time where the internet consisted of BBSs

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CP 2020 all the way, especially if you are going to strip the magic out. mechanics are a simple stat + skill + 1d10 (which can explode). there are no set roles/classes (well there are but you can always make you own... each role consists of 9 skills and a special ability). the whole system is very tweakable.

 

besides the main book I recommend wild side and the chromebooks.

 

the only downfall to CP2020 is the same as shadowrun, the decking/internet rules are horrible, and were designed at a time where the internet consisted of BBSs

Our childeren were snickering about the Shadowrun 2nd ed. intenet rules when they were eight years old. My husband was rolling his eyes about them even when they came out.

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CP2020 has a nostalgia factor. But yes, the tech is ridiculous in light of modern day tech.

 

Shadowrun I'm not hugely familiar with. The system is kind of fun with fists full of dice. There is a 5th edition coming out soon -- I think they're running previews at Origins. I'd give you a report, but every intro event was sold out in 30min :\

 

There's always GURPS for crunchy tech. The in-print-ness of various GURPS books though is spotty. Getting them in PDF though works well.

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CP 2020 all the way, especially if you are going to strip the magic out. mechanics are a simple stat + skill + 1d10 (which can explode). there are no set roles/classes (well there are but you can always make you own... each role consists of 9 skills and a special ability). the whole system is very tweakable.

 

besides the main book I recommend wild side and the chromebooks.

 

the only downfall to CP2020 is the same as shadowrun, the decking/internet rules are horrible, and were designed at a time where the internet consisted of BBSs

Our childeren were snickering about the Shadowrun 2nd ed. intenet rules when they were eight years old. My husband was rolling his eyes about them even when they came out.

 

but in light of how the internet worked in the late 80s, it made sense (just poorly implemented) back then everyone had their own node (BBS) which called out to other Nodes when needed, AOL at the time was the worlds largest BBS, followed by prodigy

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As big a fan as I am of the genre in general, the tech disparity between what they thought back then would be possible in the future and what is possible today is pretty big. I suppose the best way to look at it at this point is as a parallel universe rather than futuristic fiction.

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Yes, hacking is still inelegant in SR4 (though an improvement over previous editions); SR5 is supposed to take another crack at it. As much as I like Shadowrun, if your goal is to strip out magic, then I'd not recommend it. Part of the internal balance of cybertech in the game is the way it interacts with magic.

 

~v

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Do you want fluff or do you want simple mechanics? Because FATE for example can do future tech just fine, if you want a game where it's more about what you can do and how it changes the story, rather than endless fiddling and juggling of cyberwear, weaponry, ammo types, cash and skills.

 

EDIT: Shadowrun can be shoehorned, but if you strip it down to more of a hard sci-fi you're pretty much only using the dice mechanics, and might as well go with... pretty much anything? Savage Worlds, GURPS, FATE, etc. What system you want depends on if you want to trawl through lists of gear looking for bargains and synergies, or define cyber as part of your character's abilities (using SW or FATE re-roll and roll boosting mechanics for example).

Edited by smokingwreckage

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CP2020 is the way to go. You'll have to do some work on the netrunning and we've mostly got it working better. Take the "dungeoneering" feel out of the net, treat it like "magic", Have ways for non netrunners to go on serious full dive runs, and remove the one-ups-manship of infiltrating systems. Not a small task but very doable.

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I'm mainly looking at mechanics, but existing lists of equipment are always something good to have.

 

I have no problem with bad hacking/internet rules, because I have a feeling I'll be changing them a bit anyways. Believe it or not, while I want a cyberpunk game, I kind of want the hacking to be more like the fantasy rogue's lockpicking and trap disabling. Something that can be done by other people, but the guy who's dedicated to it does it best and can pull off certain tricks that others can't. He might have some tools(a good laptop and decryption tools) that make him better at what he does, but in the end it's mostly his skills at what he does that makes it work.

 

I guess one way to describe what I'm thinking of, in terms of how I want the game to feel, would be The Sprawl Trilogy mixed with some Ghost in the Shell. You've got a whole bunch of advanced technology, including full-cyborgs and their mechanically enhanced abilities, but someone with the right skills can take them down in a fight. Some parts of the world will be gritty, dirty, slums and wasteland, while other parts will seemingly be the shining pinnacles of civilization. I want their to be lots of opportunity for dirty politics and corporate shenanigans, but I don't want corporations to be the lords and masters of the world so much as just extremely powerful players who happen to have their own secretive black ops groups(or even military units on a side payroll).

 

So I guess I'm really aiming for more of a post-cyberpunk style of setting, while trying to retain a bit of the original cyberpunk feel, but I need to find an existing ruleset that lets me rather easily accomplish that goal.

 

And, on that note, after looking at CP2020 some more, I saw that there was a 3rd edition that came out around 2005-6, and what I read said that it leans more towards post-cyberpunk. Do any of you have any experience with Cyberpunk V.3?

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And, on that note, after looking at CP2020 some more, I saw that there was a 3rd edition that came out around 2005-6, and what I read said that it leans more towards post-cyberpunk. Do any of you have any experience with Cyberpunk V.3?

 

stay far, FAR away from v3, it was horrible

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GURPS makes a cyberpunk book (at least they used to). The one time I ran a CP campaign, that is what I used, to pretty good effect.

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V.3 was more of a biotech/future fantasy/mutant gangs game. If you want cybertech, cyborgs, and a Ghost in the Shell feeling then stick with 2020.

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Eclipse Phase is very very good as is Interface Zero 2nd ed. which is powered by Savage Worlds Deluxe. Alpha Omega is also very good algthough it leans more in the direction of Gamma Worlds meets Blade Runner.

 

The best thing about Eciipse Phase is you can try it out for free 'cuz it was published under the Creative Commons license so you can legally obtain it by downloading it off a torrent. If it turns out you love it (and chances are you WILL) then you reach for your wallet. The books are beautiful, well-written, and the system is very intuitive as it's percentile. Characters are point based and there are lots of axes of customization right including skills/specialties, specialties, cyber/bioware, morphs i.e. bodies you can purchase, and a brilliant reputation system that rewards you for using the social networks of the future. The setting rocks and you can run down and dirty survival games in the retched hives of mega habitats, corp wars like in shadowrun, there's planetary exploration, portals to other worlds, and rogue AIs called Titans that went frankenstein killing 90% of the earths population so there's also the horror-post apocalyptic vibe. In short, it's an excellent system.

 

I've heard good things about A State but I don't own it.

Happy hunting chummer,

 

>>ReaperWolf

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I had never heard of any of the systems just mentioned, but I'll definitely have to check out Eclipse Phase if it's under a CC license. Being able to freely browse the rules is something that's always a plus in a game's favor, and a large part of the reason why I like Pathfinder and D&D 3.x as much as I do.

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