Shadowrun has Beaten me

edited July 2006 in Story Games
I just finished running my second session using SR4 and it has really and truly kicked my ass. I cannot think of a game I have done as half-assed a job on, and it's because I'm constantly trying to find rules for STUPID THINGS and it is driving me up a wall.

I would like to round out the game, so I'm considering a system swap. Now, there are plenty of systems that are flexible enough that they _could_ be used, but I have no desire to reinvent the wheel. I'm playing Shadowrun for old school reasons - it has big guns and you get to shoot them at monsters.

As such, I'm not looking for, say, Sorcerer or PTA, even though you could do a great cyberpunk game with either. Best contender in my mind at the moment is something like tri-Stat, but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for something that's workable for both the genre (Shadowrun - it really is it's own thing) and the old school sensibility I'm going for (Big guns! Ninjas! Dice and shooting!)

-Rob D.


  • Heroquest.

    Dogs in the Vineyard.
  • I've had really good experiences using Cyberpunk 2020 for Shadowrun. You will need to kludge together some magic but that's basically it (consider the races as mainly there for color -- the big BODY guy is a troll, the high APP guy is an elf).

  • From what I understand, Burning Wheel was originally a Shadowrun mod.
  • It's a somewhat off-beat suggestion, but would WUSHU do the trick? It's pretty much all color and pacing, and you get to roll fistfuls of 6-siders.
  • Posted By: Vaxalon
    Dogs in the Vineyard.
    Oh. Come. On. Seriously? All I can think of is tongue-in-cheek: "Instead of Towns you Save from Sin, you have Corporations you Loot for Money."

    But to the main point, I can totally see running with Tri-Stat (even BESM with that modified rule for combat where you can lower opponent's attacks and the like). If you want something a little gritter, I suggest Blue Planet rules (but there's no magic in there).

    I would LOVE to say "The Shadow of Yesterday", but you'd have to do a hell of a lot of work to make thematic keys/secrets.

    I'm seconding Heroquest, but there's only one die you roll for that, and so it won't have the impact of SR4. But you can have an Executive with 20 Corporate Power and Resource go head to head with someone with a 20 in Magic or Guns, and be an even match. That always turns me on.

    Maybe... Exalted? With Firearms instead of Melee?
  • Perhaps the prior edition of ShadowRun?
  • I had a good deal of success porting Keys over to Cyberpunk 2020 with minimal (read: rule out setting-specific stuff) effort. It also helps that CP's Improvement Points can translate directly into Key-driven points. None of my players had played TSoY, but all had read/skimmed/heard of Keys, so I had no problem getting folks to buy in to the idea.

    It worked so well that I considered porting the rest of TSoY over for CP. Love the game, love the setting, hate the shopping.

  • I'd look into Cinematic Unisystem. Works well enough in Buffy for ass kickage and is very streamlined. It'll take a bit of finesse to marry it too SR though.
  • Why not nudge Adam Dray about Verge? It's in-genre, after all.
  • Verge is awesome, but it's a level of hippieness that would be hard to jump into in the middle of a Shadowrun campaign (the relationship maps stuff, etc). Also, it uses (IIRC in the new version) cyber and stuff in a way that wouldn't give players that dice feel like SR4 (not as simple as PTA, but more like Aspects in FATE).

  • I like BTRC's "EABA": It's a sim system with a feel on *slightly*-cinematic mostly-realism. There's a free lighter version ("EABAnywhere": that's its own thing, but you could read that and get an idea. You roll a bunch of d6s, take the highest 3, and and beat a TN. It's a bit more rulesy than most, though; I'm not sure if the startup cost (in time) is worth it for a game in progress.

    I think Wushu could deliver on the Ninjas/Dice/Shooting criteria, but it's still makes for a different game than Shadowrun.

    Donjon might do really well though. (Dungeoneer? Runner? Same diff.) It lets you use superloads of dice, and if you want to stick with d6s, you could just use the d2 rule for all those. Conversions will be ultimately minimal and cosmetic.
  • What do you want to do? What do you like about Shadowrun?
  • Thanks to all for some solid suggestions.

    To clarify, there's a reason I'm dodging Dogs and the like, and that ties into why I'm doing Shadowrun. There's an absolute desire for some amount of old school number crunchy hit pointy cool gear play. The problem is that SR4 has proven far clunkier than even something like D&D3/3.5. As an example, TSOY is probably a near perfect match _if_ I had the kind of time necessary to crunch up some Shadowrun Specific components. I suppose I may be lookign for a SR Heartbreaker.

    Digging up my Buffy and CP2020 stuff looks like the next path, see what that suggests. Anyone know if any of the AFMBE books are cyber-y?

    -Rob D.
  • Shadowrun, huh. Funny -- I've found that out of the Crunchy Ones SR4 is about the easiest to manage.

    Can you give us some examples of stuff that didn't work out for you?

  • I've played a couple of sessions using D20 Modern for a modified Shadowrun setting, and it worked pretty well. Well, we threw in some bits of D&D for more of a high-magic feel, but it was mostly D20 Modern.
  • I had a longer response with my specific gripes, but I deleted it, because I don't want this to be about what I think is wrong with SR. It's not working for me, but I totally get that it works fine for others. Nature of the beast. :) I can only say that I'm comfortable with a _lot_ of systems, including every system on this thread (except Blue Planet) and I'm not trying to take a swing at SR (as best I can), I'm just looking to capture the Kewl with something else. :)

    As to d20 Modern, I've always kind of dug it since Shadow Chasers showed up in Dungeon magazine. Anyone know of a good supplement for cyberenetics for it?

    -Rob D.
  • edited July 2006
    They released the d20 Future sourcebook. I never got around to buying it, but it claims to have cybernetics in it.

    Edited to fix the link
  • Please ignore any please who said TSOY to you. It's not what you want.

    What you do want is "True20": You've got awesomely cool magic, cybernetics, and old-school vibe combined with a system that's actually slick and works well.
  • Hmm. I keep eyeing the True20 book, but I've been leery of picking it up because I already own Blue Rose, and I've been suspcious of the amount of overlap. I mean, I think the system's slick as hell, I just don't want to buy something I already own.

    Generally, is it worth pickign up true20 if I already have (and like) BR?

    -Rob D.
  • Honestly, I don't know - I've got Blue Rose. I know they changed the skill system some, which is a bummer, and there's more info on more setting-generic feats and powers in True20. But, heck - the True20 cybernetics book is a PDF, and you could get it cheap and add it to Blue Rose for Blue Shadows, the game of gritty urban romance fantasy, which actually is kind of a genre, with writers like "Laurel K. Hamilton":
  • One thought, you say you don't want to identify what doesn't work for you with SR4 out of respect, however, if you share what doesn't work, it will be easier to suggest alternatives that will work better. There's no sense in switching to a different system that has the same problem...

    What strikes me as something useful from all of this is good reviews of the available crunchy oldschool games with the understanding that has been gained through all these new fangled story games. Crunchy old school certainly still has a place, but it definitely can learn from the new fangled games, and knowing which games have picked up a thing or two would be valuable.

  • If you want to Bring the Crunchy, I'd suggest Spycraft 2.0, one of the best d20 implementations ever. Its espionage/tech/action focus and clear mission-design rules would be a good fit for SR, methinks.

    A cyberpunk supplement is on the way, but the Crafty Games forums and the old AEG forums have tons of supplemental material (magic, cyber, psi) from the game's authors.

    I'd suggest grabbing the PDF, as it's been errata-ed and has a re-organized Gear chapter.
  • Verge isn't right for high-action ass-kicking focus, no. Why aren't you using FATE for this?
  • With FATE you don't get the "dice-as-a-metaphor-for-awesome-power" effect like with SR4 or Star Wars d6 or Exalted (You always roll just 4 dice).

    Oh, how about Star Wars d6? WEG came out with a new "d6 Fantasy" "d6 SF" system as well, you might be able to pick them up cheap on eBay (as they're not worth paying $30 each for).

  • Posted By: AndyWith FATE you don't get the "dice-as-a-metaphor-for-awesome-power" effect like with SR4 or Star Wars d6 or Exalted (You always roll just 4 dice).
    Hmm... Burning Empires peppered with a little Burning Wheel? Not quite SR-level fistfulls of d6s, but fistfulls of d6s nonetheless.
  • Iago: I'd say take a look at the true20 pdf. There's enough differences to Blue Rose to make it worthwhile (they fixed/changed some things as well).

    frank: Mutants and Masterminds has a Capes-like mechanic now: You need to take things that complicate your characters life and play like them to get Hero Points, which are used to make your character cool.

    The d6 games are fair and nice as well. Also available as pdf if you want to sample before dishing out the bucks for the hardcover.
  • It seems to me like al the fun of something like this would be coming up for the stats for all the goodies. Start with your favorite system that has many dimensions for different pieces of gear and start creating.
  • edited July 2006
    Add me to the list of those who'd like to know what went wrong with your SR4 game.

    And Runner Havens is finally out! :P
  • For some reason I couldn't get to the WotC site yesterday. Anyway, I found the D20 Future SRD, so you can check it out and see if that's what you need.
  • My personal go to system for the old school feel without a lot of clutter is Savage Worlds. You can grab the test drive rules to get a sense of what's on offer. The best feature of Savage Worlds for me is the huge number of fan conversions of other game settings to Savage. Unfortunately the only direct Shadowrun conversion I could find on a quick Google is in french, but there is plenty of cyber stuff which would be easy to combine with the fanstasy races to get your basic SR mileau going.
  • Another one where I have buyer's hesitancy. If I have the first ed of Savage Worlds, what would I be getting out of grabbign the 2nd?

    -Rob D.
  • The only thing you'd get would be layout that is slightly less eyebleeding and properly kerned fonts.

    If you already have the first printing, you can get all the changes in a freely downloadable PDF (second item on the page, right under the character sheet). Basically tuned and tweaked edges and powers for the most part.
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