1) Battlegrids. We've used the square grid usually in terms of feet. What do you find is the best way to handle combat movement and distance? I've read on the forums that some people have suggested using a whiteboard but I dont think that'll fly with the group. Any suggestions? 1m= 1square?
2) I'm so used to a MM so i'm a little confused on designing enemies and encounters for them to face. Is there some sort of guideline like CR in DND? Or is it more freeform and you hope the players make the right decision to flee or fight? I have read about professional rating but if there's anyone out there that can give me a more solid answer that'd be great!
3) Regarding Contacts, I don't want the players to have insane contacts right from the start. Has anyone found limiting the amount of points to be spent on contacts successful? If so what limit? We are going by the standard 400 points.
As above if you have any misc. suggestions, please don't hesitate to say. Any help is appreciated!
1.) Shadowrun is much less nickel and dime tactical than PF is, IMO. No 5-foot steps being crucial, no worrying about threatened spaces and 10 and 15' reaches, etc. etc. We're a highly tactics oriented group, and when we play shadowrun we use a white-board. The GM should have his master map with a grid (in meters) for reference - to tell PCs ranges and distances to move and such, but seriously, you don't need a grid for the battles in shadowrun, you'll only slow yourself down
if you do. I'd highly encourage you and your group to loosen up in this regard, let it be slightly more free form.
2.) Just remember the rule of threes. Three dice up or down from where your group's pools are is a standard step in difficulty. Six dice is a BIG step. 9 and you're in completely different leagues. I hardly even stat out enemies any more, I just know that if I want to give them a decent challenge but not endanger them, I'll have the enemies pools be throwing 3 fewer dice than an analogous pool in the group. If I want 1 BAMF in the opposition, he'll have 3 dice more than the average PC would in that pool, etc. If they should walk over these guys, about 6 dice less. Does that make sense? That said, I would absolutely recommend dlding and printing out these
pdfs and utilizing them (specifically the NPC Record sheets for this case) and statting out some of your own Prof 1, 2, 3 etc. NPCs based off of those in the book (but slightly better
Also, remember that Initiative is the most important thing in SR combat, if you want to have any chance of challenging your PCs (without killing them), the NPCs must have a comparable initiative. After that is BOD and Armor for damage soak. NPCs with equal Initiative and Armor to your PCs should be able to make 'em sweat, even if they have worse Attack Pools.
All that said, SR combat is particularly volatile, it's really easy to accidentally kill your PCs, a crit-glitch at the wrong time and it's over for that guy, and there is no Raise Dead, Resurrection or Reincarnation in SR
3.) Limiting any starting Contacts Loyalty and Connection to 4 is pretty standard.
I'll tell you the same thing I told another new GM in another thread recently: Single most important thing as a new GM; don't be overly concerned with trying to provide your group with "adequate" mechanical challenges. i.e. don't worry if you get going and things seem "too easy", make it cinematic, make it fun, and let the runs be epic and awesome. You can worry about dialing in the dice later. Focus on learning the systems (Combat, Magic, Hacking, etc.) and having fun.