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Shadowrun Sixth Edition?

Billy_Whisper

I live in my head
Validated User
Okay, so I've been super negative about the beginner's box so far. Let's talk about some things I really like about it.

Art. The art is consistently good, with only a few weird pieces here and there. There's lots of teal and rich hot pink, as well as blacks and yellows. Wih the exception of the one-eyed guy on p.16 (who looks more like he belongs in Battletech) all the art just screams "Shadowrun." The character profiles on the cover of the covers of the dossiers are good - I suspect they're done using that "digital paint over posed 3d model" technique. There's a certain impressionistic style to them, which I like. Also, I love Yu's suit, a very shadowrunny blend of classic and futuristic. I also like Rude's messy topknot, Frostburn's long swoopy skirt, and Zipfile's blueberry lipstick and glowing coat liner.

Character Dossiers. So, these have some editing and proofreading issues (which I won't get into), but the dossiers have some elements that I haven't really seen, as well as some really solid writing and roleplaying prompts. Page 1 is the cover I mentioned above, with the picture of the character and some pithy quotes. The second and third pages are the character sheet, in which the character's stats are listed as well as a legend that gives the player a reasonably thorough explanation of the basic rules and what each block of stats does. At first I thought it was too busy, but I came to appreciate it later. Page four is the Profile, which lays out the character's background, preferred tactics, and roleplaying tips. There are also three smaller sidebars in list format: vital contacts, favorite contacts, and favorite downtime activities. I found these sections to be very well written - punchy and to the point, with character hooks that are evocative and interesting. Highlights include:

-Zipfile the dwarf neo-anarchist, who talks a big game about tearing down the system, but has never actually fired her gun at a person before.
-Yu, the elf face, is so good at his chameleon act that his fixer has him moonlight with another shadowrunner team that specializes in corporate infiltration.
-Frostburn, the ork fire-and-ice themed combat mage, is "team mom" and she hates that its true (I like that the fire/ice character is portrayed as level-headed, rather than bi-polar).
-Rude, the troll street samurai, only remembers the past 4 years of his life. Apparently, getting his memory erased was some sort of reward for previous service. His lack of memory exacerbates his lack of empathy, making him an effective but untrustworthy legbreaker.

On the subject of Rude, there's a delightful little rider at the end of his background section, repeated here word for word:

Note: Players, please talk to your gamemaster and the
rest of your group about what level of selfishness and potential
betrayal is appropriate for your table. Playing an
asshole is never an excuse to be an asshole.

I could not agree more.

What follows in pages 5-7 is something kind of brilliant: a simple example Shadowrun, starring the four characters above, told in a narrative way, but split into phases (Meeting Mr. J, Planning and Legwork, Doing the Job, and Getting Paid) and accompanied by sidebars that break down the narrative action into game mechanics. Each character dossier has a slightly different interpretation of the run (as each team member is doing their own legwork and job actions) which is a nice touch - they could have written a boiler-plate run that gets repeated in each dossier, but they didn't. I really like this section - the run is really simple, but it communicates the "what" and "how" of Shadowrun better than just about anything I've read. One of the things I really enjoy about this sort of thing is that it communicates how the developers intended the game to be played. If I were fresh to the game, I would walk away from the example run section with a strong idea on how to jump in and play.

Page 8 is a summary page that lists a bunch of tables (sample actions with calculated dice pools for the character, combat summary, initiative summary, possible edge expenditures, etc). It's functional and compact, the way I like my summary materials.


I'll be taking a closer look at the adventure int he box a little later on. I'm hoping that there are more things to like. I also hope that the above observations gives a more complete view of the product - I've realized that my complaints so far have been very focused on minutia of the system, which isn't what the game is all about. I'm still angry about all that stuff, but it's good to try and find the beauty in everything, right?
 

squidheadjax

Social Justice Cultist
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I'll be taking a closer look at the adventure int he box a little later on. I'm hoping that there are more things to like. I also hope that the above observations gives a more complete view of the product - I've realized that my complaints so far have been very focused on minutia of the system, which isn't what the game is all about. I'm still angry about all that stuff, but it's good to try and find the beauty in everything, right?
Unfortunately, the system is what would see far more long-term use at table.
 

Tambourine

Spirit Princess
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system? My impression from friends, who are more long-term Shadowrun fans than I am, was that people tend to play Shadowrun because of the setting, with the system being a neutral factor at best.
 

ihatevnecks

Registered User
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system? My impression from friends, who are more long-term Shadowrun fans than I am, was that people tend to play Shadowrun because of the setting, with the system being a neutral factor at best.
My group did. I definitely had to be in the right mood to sit through making a character in the newer editions, but the game's always been as much about how the system represented the setting as it was the setting itself (especially in newer editions as I kinda hate most of post-3rd SR).

Just seeing some of the new rules - the way they've turned armor into nothing more than an edge farm, and turning the races into cosmetics only - makes the game less Shadowrun to me.
 

Matt.Ceb

40 Years of Unknown Pleasures
Validated User
SR 1-3 I played because the system was amazing and gave mechanical support for truly cool moments.

Starting with SR4 I... More or less stopped caring about the system.

But a bad system will still hurt the game. (And no, I'm not willing to play the SR setting in another rules system. I just... Don't do that.)
 

squidheadjax

Social Justice Cultist
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system? My impression from friends, who are more long-term Shadowrun fans than I am, was that people tend to play Shadowrun because of the setting, with the system being a neutral factor at best.
No, but yes. I mean, I consider 4e to have improved in playability over 3e, and 5e (despite some issues and overall lackluster supplements) to be the least painful iteration so far. If 6e is the mess it looks shaping up to be, then I have no need for it for redundant fluff, and I have 5e almost complete in Herolab already so I'm not going to pay for crap just because it's new.
 

Billy_Whisper

I live in my head
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system? My impression from friends, who are more long-term Shadowrun fans than I am, was that people tend to play Shadowrun because of the setting, with the system being a neutral factor at best.
It's a difficult question. I do know people who refused to play Anarchy because it wasn't crunchy or granular enough. For many (me and my own team included) Shadowrun has to have a good enough system to allow for problem-solving in a more simulationist way, because shadowruns are a puzzle box. You need to have consistent tools, and mastery over those tools, for the solving of the puzzle box to be satisfying. Character creation is a minigame all of its own that my players and I find a fun challenge in its own right. For it to be so the system needs to be a certain level of good and complex.
 

yukamichi

Unregistered User
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system? My impression from friends, who are more long-term Shadowrun fans than I am, was that people tend to play Shadowrun because of the setting, with the system being a neutral factor at best.
I don't really consider the two to be distinct entities. The system brings life to the setting in a way that would be lost if done using another less complex system. I mean, otherwise everybody would have switched over to Anarchy, right? Or converted SR over to their own less headache-inducing system long ago and stopped buying new editions.

Sometimes counting every bullet in a full-auto burst adds something to the game that "firing your gun with advantage on the attack roll" (or whatever) does not.
 

kalil

Registered User
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system? My impression from friends, who are more long-term Shadowrun fans than I am, was that people tend to play Shadowrun because of the setting, with the system being a neutral factor at best.
I really like the SR5 system and do does my players. One of them once told me "you know, when we play Shadowrun it really feels like we are IN a real gun fight". That is high praise for a system if you ask me.

As far as I can tell from SR6 the system is just as fiddly as it always was (seriously, the nine million matrix action are a problem. Dice pool modifier for poor lighting is not) but with the enormous weight of the edge system added on top.

Am I, as GM, supposed to track edge for every single NPC in a fight individually and decide from a list of like 10 different options if and how that edge is used. FOR. EVERY. SINGLE. ACTION?

Just the thought of that makes me die a bit on the inside. Wasn't GMing SR considered difficult enough without adding this monster?
 

Wolfgang von Bek

Eternal Champion
Validated User
Does anybody actually play Shadowrun because of its system?
. I did, back in the 90's when my only other option was 2ed AD&D.

I'm kinda up in the air as to if I will buy in to 6th. I am really happy with the reduction in the Importance of armor though, in every game I've played almost every character had highest level of available armor on at all times and It kinda distorted the feel of the game (somehow an Armani suit with trench coat gives more protection that unconcealable security armor)
 
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