A Shadowrun Apocalpse World hack

edited October 2013 in Story Games
This blog post got me interested in seeing a Shadowrun hack focused on the harsh low life on the barrens and dirty streets of Seattle.

I know there is a Shadowrun hack already floating around called Sixth World, and its awesome. But I think its too "Dungeon Worldy" for my tastes. I dont dislike DW per se, but I find it too fiddly. I would prefer a hack thats more grounded on the original Apocalypse World both on its simplicity and also on its crazy scarcity and intraparty conflicts. It would be about dysfunctional runner teams desperately scratching the Seattle shadows for that bonus nuyen to pay the monthly bills. Is there some hack like this ? Perhaps some good soul experienced in AW hacking could create it for me ? (bonus if it came with John Harper-like awesome layout and char sheets! ;D )

Alternatively, what suggestions do you guys have for making a hack like this ? What to keep, what to ditch, etc. It would give a good brainstorm.

Comments

  • Sounds like you might find The Sprawl worth a read-through. I doubt that is the latest iteration of the rules, though. Maybe @Anarchangel might be able to help.
  • Funny enough, I actually JUST posted a different Shadowrun hack today, using Inspectres ( http://bankuei.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/shadowrun-via-inspectres/ ). The rules changes were super minor and easy to do.

    That said, good luck on finding/making an AW hack. The two pitfalls I've found (while working on my L5R one a while back) is that it's easy to start just shoveling out Moves when you don't need them, and when it comes to character booklets, try to go for the core spirit of the thing but not mirror everything from the source game.

    Chris
  • edited November 2013
    My rule of thumb for any hack of AW is:
    Source material, source material, source material.

    What i mean is, sit down with the source material (TV episodes, books, comic) with a notebook (or laptop or tablet or whatever) and go through and take *lots* of notes. Maybe this is harder, porting from another game instead of existing fiction?

    Anyhow, figure out who the protagonists (PCs) are. That's step 1, of course.
    Each broad type of PC can be a playbook, I guess.
    Then make notes of all of their actions. Try to generalize them, some.
    If there's something everyone or almost everyone does, it's probably a basic move; if not, it's probably a playbook move.

    Once you have your basic moves, you can figure out your stats (if any!).
    From the notes, you can extrapolate other playbooks / playbook moves or basic / special moves as needed, and figure out how gear and harm work (if any?).
    This can help you branch out some, so as not to be only hyper-specific to your primary source.

    Finally, keep notes of everything that happens to / around the PCs. Again, generalize if you can.
    These can be your jump-off point for MC moves.

    Once you have you playbooks + moves and MC moves, you can figure out your framework for play, like fronts/threats/principles/always say and so on.

    [PART 2]
    Sorry if the above wasn't very helpful to your exact queries.
    In terms of what to keep / ditch, it's hard to say without a good analysis of your source material.
    However, a good tip is to not tie yourself down to the existing moves.

    In terms of your stated goals (crazy scarcity and intraparty conflicts; dysfunctional runner teams desperately scratching the Seattle shadows for that bonus nuyen to pay the monthly bills) I see need for at least:

    - good structure for PC/NPC/PC triangles (this helps move up intraparty conflict
    - make it easy to spend and hard to gain resources (this pushes up scarcity) : you can do this in your gear / commodity pricing, but put it in moves is best
    - a story or mechanical framework which discourages settling down and getting comfortable

    Right up front, you need to establish that the characters are constantly being pushed. In debt, being chased, owned by someone.
    There's no easy path unfortunately. I'd help with more specifics, but I really don't know Shadowrun...

    [EDIT] TLDR: Find out who the PCs are (playbooks/archetypes), what they all do (basic moves), what each does uniquely (playbook moves), and what happens to them (MC moves), then build from there

    - Alex
  • I'm just going to reinforce Chris's point: just because Shadowrun cuts things along certain lines and has certain stats doesn't mean you need to match. Look for the essence of Shadowrun, the archetypes you really see rather than the ones the original game SAYS are archetypes. And focus on what parts of Shadowrun you (personally, as designer) think are the important elements of the game to keep, even if they're different from what the original game writers wanted to hone in on.

    And look at The Sprawl, as Akchizar said. It might be what you're looking for. If not though, design your own thing, there's room for multiple Shadowrun hacks out here.

    That's all the thoughts I have right now. Looking forward to what you come up with!
  • I've read but not played The Sprawl, and thought it was really well-done. It's definitely more AW than DW, so you should check it out for sure. Cyberware in particular was handled in a neat way, if I remember correctly.
  • The phrase that came to my mind was: "The apocalypse happened to us, not them. Let's go show them what it's like."
  • Mmmmmmmm fucking hell John!

    Brilliant as usual.
  • Used AW for gang-level SR very successfully in the past (living in the Barrens = post apocalyptic) and played some very fun Sixth World. But I've also been feeling the need for a more AW version of SR. The Sprawl is very good, but after 20 years of play it doesn't quite match my feel of SR. I think this is the problem - because I've strayed from the source material I feel like I need a custom game to deliver the SR I want. Very keen to see alternative versions of AW SR so I can leverage it to hack up exactly what I want.
  • Are you exclusively looking for an AW hack?
    Or is another modern system ok too?
  • You can snag the latest beta of The Sprawl here: ardens.org/category/games/sprawl/. The system around gigs is particularly tight.
  • Thanks for the help and tips, guys. Youre awesome.

    Im just reading The Sprawl and.. WOW... its impressive, and totally fitting to Shadowrun because of its mission-based nature. In fact, I would say its already a Shadowrun hack if not for the lack of magic. BUT, I still think its a little too fiddly for my group tastes. I think I will base my hack on it but trim some parts to keep it more simple. Soon I hope to give more specifics considerations here.
    I'm just going to reinforce Chris's point: just because Shadowrun cuts things along certain lines and has certain stats doesn't mean you need to match. Look for the essence of Shadowrun, the archetypes you really see rather than the ones the original game SAYS are archetypes. And focus on what parts of Shadowrun you (personally, as designer) think are the important elements of the game to keep, even if they're different from what the original game writers wanted to hone in on.
    This is exactly my line of reasoning. I always thought Shadowrun as a game put too much focus on fiddly resolutions mechanics, when it should have focused on what really bring its premise to live - which I think Apocalypse World (and now The Sprawl hack) coincidently does much better through the kind of color-based rules seen on the way certain archetypes tap the fiction (the Operator/Fixer "gigs", the Hocus/Gang Leader "followers"), or in the way certain conceptual procedures tap it too (like AW "Barter" or Sprawl "Cred", "Street Cred", "Notoriety", etc).

    Lets see how it goes. Thanks again for the help. Keep it coming, guys. ;D

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