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I want to love SR6...but I dont know how.

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Hello all, Im looking for advice.  I may be looking at SR6 through the wrong lens or unfairly and need those of you who have more experience than me to bring guidance, clarity and rational to my observations.

NOTE:  Years ago I posted a similar post about Masks of Nyarlathotep for Call of Cathulhu because I just didn't get why it was good....after reading the replies to my post with an open mind i later ran that campaign (well the 1st 26 sessions) and absolutely LOVE it!  I say all that to say this.  My concerns, confusion and perhaps disappointment come from an open minded and good natured place not a place of antagonistic aggression.

Where I'm coming from:  I played SR2 a little back in the day and SR3 for a year or 2 when it was new and HOT but never ran either of those games. I ran the starter adventure for SR5 but it did not fit my group at the time so we did not continue with it. 

In the last 3 or 4 weeks I have caught the SR bug BAD and fallen down the SR white rabbit hole big time.  During that time i have read the following books in this order. 

Part of SR 20th anniversary core book.
Part of SR2 core book and ran a few mock combats.
Part of SR3 core book
All of SR6 core book
Assassins Night
Most of Kechibi Code
Renraku Arcology Shutdown
Free Seattle PDF
Battle Royal PDF
Cutting Black
Im currently on night 5 of the 30 Nights Campaign.   
NOTE I have read several of the SR1 & SR2 adventures years ago.

Ok, so now that I have fallen down the SR rabbit hole, I have spent quite a bit of $$ on SR6 and I really want to like it but im having some issues.  Im not talking about mechanics as I have not emotional allegiance to any edition of SR since I have been so removed from the game for so long and am basically coming in at SR6....ignorance is bliss i guess?

My Preconceived ideas about Shadowrun are that the setting/game is gritty cyberpunk, street level missions for or against the Corps....Based in Seattle.  I mean Seattle is the assumed setting for SR right?

Well, what im finding is thats not the case. Cutting Black (love the fiction in this by the way. Super fun read) talks all about Detroit.....and St Louise.....and Atlanta.....not really much about Seattle.  Ok so my thought is that Detroit's battle with the bugs was really cool.  Surely 30 nights goes into that conflict and is all about adventures during that time.  NOPE!!  30 Nights apparently takes place in Toranto..... So my confusion mounts.  Also Assassins Nights takes place in Barcelona if i remember correctly...and I dont remember where Kechibi Code is but i think its rather world spanning as well.

Im not sure if i am judging SR6 fairly because it looks like it is not what i assumed it was.  It not SR6's fault if I want Ice Cream and SR6 is a steak....Doesnt matter how good of a Steak it is if I only want Ice Cream i will not be happy with steak....

To be fair there is a lot that i like about SR6.

1st think i noticed was the art.  I really like a lot of the art... I wish there was more even if it was B&W.  I also kinda dig the Pink and Black....dont know if that is subtle nod to Pink Mohawk and Black Trench coat or not but its cool.

It looks like Deckers will actually be playable which is not something i remember being realistic in SR2 or SR3. So that is awesome!

I like the Priority System...this was something that was cool and set SR apart back in the day and i appreciate that they have kept that.  I think its cool.

A Few things i dont like. Again none of this may be fair and i may be out of touch.

1 - getting a big action hero vibe instead of a gritty street level survival things are deadly vibe.  I get this from the fiction and the cover art... Characters are not afraid of horrible things that go bump in the night....just angry and inconvenienced.  Perhaps actual play works out differently.


2 - Everything is friendly now...there are friendly Ghouls, Friendly Dragons and......Friendly Bug Spirits.....Really???  Perhaps this is something that started in a much earlier edition and I was not aware.

3 - Plot sourcebooks.  I know this is not limited to SR6 and i want to be clear i am not complaining about the writing quality of Cutting Black as it was a ton of fun to read....i read it in like 3 days... But i cant help but think.....couldnt this have just been a novel.  I mean there are no adventures in it.  Sure there are adventure seeds but their are adventure seeds in novels too.  I mean how do you guys use these Plot Sourcebooks?

4 - Campaign books.  I REALLY LOVE the opening story in Assassins Night.  I was sooo hoping that the person you were supposed to assassinate or not assassinate was going to be the mystery character at the beginning but nope.  The pacing of this is a bit slow...or at least it feels that way.  I would not really call this a campaign....this imo a collection a broad stroked story seeds.... The GM has to do a LOT of work with this to run it.  If i am wrong PLEASE tell me I want to see what i am doing wrong.

5 - coming from the outside looking in it seams like nothing is rare or special anymore.  Dragons are everywhere, Bug Spirits are friendly, Ghouls are vegan and running for office....I dont even think there is a separation between Hermetic Mages and Shamans that true.

6 - No Modules -  As far as my research can tell SR5 had about 10 adventures printed.....thats not a lot but its something for the new GM to get their feet wet and established in the setting before they need to create their own....I dont really see that with SR6.   Battle Royal is really just to teach how to roll dice and Freeing Seattle (yay its in Seattle) is something but I would not consider it on the same quality as say Splintered State.

7 - I dont see a good entry point for GM's new to the SR universe.  Sure there is a starter set but that is not a substitute for a legit adventure set in Seattle and perhaps a line of adventures ( 1-3 ) to really get a new group started.

Thanks for letting me ramble.  I really appreciate anyone who is kind enough to critique my view.  I really want to love SR6 (im already heavily invested) I just dont know how to look at it differently....yet.  I want to see it in a better light.  A light that i can appreciate it for what it is instead of perhaps what i thought it was.

Shinobi Killfist:
Some of this can't be really argued, you read it how you read it.

1. Tone I think that does seem to be the tone being pushed from my readings of it, but each table sets the tone for their games. Mine would end up grittier and more street level in feel. The setting is not Seattle specific, though that was the I guess default for multiple editions.

2. I think its pushed more as a normal idea now, it always existed but was seen much more as the exception to the rule. Outside of mantis spirits I can;t think of any "friendly" bug spirits and friendly may be a stretch more that they eat other bugs, so enemy of a enemy. That being said I'd dipped out of a lot of 6es lore.

3. Maybe, that's a business decision. But novels don;t feel as easy to reference and use as a GM to me.

4.  Yeah they are big on story seeds, I'd like more meat to things like this as I'm lazy, the seed part I can come up with but the meat and potatoes takes more work. I'm old and tired so there is only so much time I want to put into prepping for game night.

5.  They may be hitting a everything is special so nothing is point. And yeah the difference between hermetics/shamans is all but gone.

6. I feel that is a big failure on their part.  They should be cranking out mission level adventures and putting them up for free or at a nominal cost. Its basic marketing for the game, don't add art to save on costs but give people content to work with. They have some up, but it was/is really slow going. And last time I tried to get them it was a pain in the butt. New players especially will have a hard time crafting adventures given the system and unusual setting.

7. See 6, yeah its rough on the new DM.

SR 6 is decent, no harder to DM than any other, but it is a bit easier to run than others.  I think the Shadowrun Missions books for 6 are like adventure modules, there are a couple on Drivethrurpg.  But I find most Cyberpunk theme games, require a lot of input from DM's to write.  But yeah I have had the bug too, I jumped to Cyberpunk Red, but I love the SR Universe too much, plus I invested quite a bit into SR6.

The SR bug never really goes away ... it can lie dormant for decades but you never know when it will flair up again!

re: "everything is friendly" I think there are three things to keep in mind:
- those things have been around for long enough that the current writers are probably enjoying writing the exception to the rule, assuming that people know the 'rule' of how such things are
- there has always been some of this in the game.  Look at Dunkelzhan, the great dragon who was elected as president of the UCAS. And early in the books about Chicago I think there was some fairly civilized ghouls in one part of the city (been a while since I read Bug City, I could be wrong about when they were introduced). 
- I think it is more a question of what the writers have focused on, rather than a major change in how things are

Seattle has always been the default setting, but Chicago was developed as an alternative during (I think) 2e, and Denver in 3e?  Native American Nations volumes 1 and 2 came out during 1e, and Shadows of Europe and Shadows of North America were 3e.  The game has been trying to move beyond Seattle for a long time.

In matters of tone, in 6e I think they made a deliberate move back towards the neo-anarchism that was first developed in the 2e period, where valiant punks are striking back against the powers that be, cooperating with each other to make viable lives and societies outside of corp control (all while taking money for jobs from the corps, of course).  I thought 5e had a little darker tone through most of its run, until it started moving that way in the final few books.  Just my feel, I can't really point to evidence of all that.

Shinobi I agree with everything you said there.

I'm the type of player that skims over the plot stuff, probably won't read any of the fiction, and spends 90% of their time reading the gameplay stuff.  So I can't comment on lore things in this edition. 
They definitely are spending a ton of time on non-Seattle locations this time though, even though they are also shaking things up back in the Emerald City.  Speaking of which, I expect we'll get lots of new plot hooks and stuff in the Seattle book coming out this year.  Hopefully that ends the Seattle dry spell.  Shadowrun development has tried to hit lots of different locations around the world... this may be because it wants to get a more global, jet set spy thriller thing going, but personally I don't think this is a great idea for them because they just flat out don't have the production capacity to support an expanding world and a dynamically changing one.
I mean, Pegasus seems to be doing good covering Germany and central Europe, maybe Catalyst's time would be better spent spiraling out from Seattle - revisit Portland, do a setting and campaign book for the SSC (Why has Vancouver been ignored all these years?) and then come back to SF and LA.  I mean if you're going to do cities, do the ones that matter most in the corporate world. 

When it comes to adventure modules - Yeah, no kidding, sometimes I wonder if the Catalyst folks have ever drawn an rpg map in their life.  I can't remember the last Shadowrun module I read that was more detailed than some story beats.  The line developer is a fiction writer, I'd wager a lot of the freelancers are also writers first.  The modules are organized like fiction, which is why you get stuff like in 30 Nights where some groups and NPCs that would be important to your starting location aren't mentioned until one of the chapters calls for them.
Ah sorry, got me complaining. 

--- Quote ---4 - Campaign books.  I REALLY LOVE the opening story in Assassins Night.  I was sooo hoping that the person you were supposed to assassinate or not assassinate was going to be the mystery character at the beginning but nope.  The pacing of this is a bit slow...or at least it feels that way.  I would not really call this a campaign....this imo a collection a broad stroked story seeds.... The GM has to do a LOT of work with this to run it.  If i am wrong PLEASE tell me I want to see what i am doing wrong.
--- End quote ---
Nah you're not wrong - 30 Nights is worse in this regard (I am running 30 Nights right now) because it's less organized than Assassin's night, but they're both broad stroke story seed kind of campaigns.   Assassin's Night at least has clear delineations between its subplots (even if you have to read it cover to cover to learn that) and when I run it, it'll be a much more truncated version of the story, with just one of the three major subplots - I'll probably even move it to Seattle.  After spending 8 mos in a new city, they'd probably like to get back to Seattle.  Unlike 30 Nights, I think Assassin's Night can be moved to another city without a complete rewrite.


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