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Starting a campaign with a party new to SR.

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and_triage

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« on: <04-30-11/0355:47> »
so yeah i'm starting a new campaign monday night for a group of 4-5 players that are somewhat new to pen-and-paper but completely in the dark about shadowrun. i've already taken some measures- like printing up a slang guide, maps, and things like that. i helped each player roll up their character and addressed issues as they came up. the BP creation system is very alien to them. anyways, can anyone give me some advice? i'm not used to playing with non-vets.

and if there's anything out there besides the quick-start rules that explains the die-rolling mechanic in brief, can someone point me at it? that'd be a handy printout for the party.

James McMurray

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« Reply #1 on: <04-30-11/0637:31> »
The Runner's Toolkit has some nice cheat sheets.

I recommend making the first session something very simple like Food Fight or On the Run. You'll want at least one run that's designed to teach the rules without worrying about how to bypass a maglock keypad, what happens when a node you're hacking is protected by a technomancer, etc.

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Rascal

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« Reply #2 on: <04-30-11/0820:37> »
Just keep vomiting the setting at them, covering them in so much shadowrunnyness that they will have trouble moving about without using the stuff you tell them. Hopefully they will be all "Can I do like this?" and "If I do that, will Knights Errant be able to track me like this?", answering questions is always better than just piling rules over their heads...
"If you donīt stop driving through walls Iīm going to start rolling for the van to explode - this is an American game!"

Xzylvador

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« Reply #3 on: <04-30-11/0903:22> »
There's a slang guide? Where??!

Blond Goth Girl

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« Reply #4 on: <04-30-11/1100:45> »
Definitely start with a simple mission.  My fave for newbies is a simple courier run.

My suggestions:  Have some important NPCs pictures.  Print and paste on 3 x 5 cards and when the NPC is speaking hold up said card.  In the case of meta-races not much is handy so make due.  Play some mood music - industrial synth is my choice.  Layouts from an architectural magazine helps a lot.  While you might pay $5 for a good one, the amount you get along with the detail gives more bang for the buck than surfing and printing IMHO. 

And don't forget scene descriptions - most important.   Engage the senses: Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.  IE - The team says they go into the druggies apt.  GM - "Within the dilapidated shack, you see 30 yr old drone parts piled in a corner covered in cobwebs, stained couches with torn stuffing fill the other corners, the stench of molded food wafts in the air.  A occasional gunshot in the distance and an argument nearby can be heard.  Walking through the apt, your shoes slightly stick to the tacky linoleum floor broken only by the crunch of used needles beneath your feet."

If you have difficulty with description and/or only go visual, use a writer's cheat sheet.  Write down all five senses and try to use each in your description of a locale. 

CanRay

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« Reply #5 on: <04-30-11/1130:34> »
There's a slang guide? Where??!
Here.
Si vis pacem, para bellum

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John Shull

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« Reply #6 on: <04-30-11/1505:01> »
Just keep vomiting the setting at them, covering them in so much shadowrunnyness that they will have trouble moving about without using the stuff you tell them. Hopefully they will be all "Can I do like this?" and "If I do that, will Knights Errant be able to track me like this?", answering questions is always better than just piling rules over their heads...

It also helps to use character-centric description to paint them into their characters view point.  Everyone sees things in reference to their experience.   In example:

The shadowrunners are rising into a access point of a target.  They seem uncertain and poke each other about who goes next.  One hesitantly says he will take a look.

Your group rises out of the underground grate inside the loading dock one by one.  The Merc, Jack, has one foot on the ground and slinks back to the wall close by to the north.  He is bent low to minimize his profile, he has a distinct military look of military with his weapon locked in tight to his shoulder and sweeping it to each corner as he exaimines the empty room.  What do you do now, Jack?

Stuff like this gets the ball rolling.  Sometimes you sell your goup to themselves so they can give the character what they got.  Espically to set scenes, make your way through slow spots, and get ready to mix it up later.   
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.  --Sun Tzu

John Shull

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« Reply #7 on: <04-30-11/1642:05> »
One other point I meant to highlight was to keep putting the scence to them in context of their skillsets.   Every group will see the world in different ways.

Your team has a technomancer, more than half your discriptions are going to be about her riding the waves and whirlpools of signals that envelope her.  Information, useful and random, is ceaseless flowing.  Reality thus shows up suprisingly to them, like many people who text walk out in the world today. 

Faces fit in, start wheels moving and garner info.  Exactly how is the play of the thing.  The big guy thinks he runs things but the leather girl at the pool table actually does, they have been hurting since their last weapons dealer went away last week,  and/or bartender keeps a 990 under the draft taps.  They also draw attention at times and can wander into deep water without noticing it.

Mages can see astrally, use phsycometry, have esoteric skill sets, and are often back out of the way to see whats going on.  They also want to out think most their problems usually.  Shamans have the essence of their totem driving them.  How would a bear see this guy, etc.  They are quirky and nutty.  Like the technos before but with magic world radiating off the real world in very different ways.  Like how healthy people are, magic active in an area or on a person, etc. 

Riggers are living in their office, their thrill ride, and their pride and joy.  He also sees the city differently as its a series of routes to get from place to place.  Everyone he looks at he is comparing his ride to theirs.  He may not let teammates in his ride with slushies or smokes and judge anyone disrepecting their ride.

It is fun making those adjustments and telling the stories through the characters eyes.  Every piece of flavor on the character sheet can be used to bring out the play in the game.  Put them on the spot. 

 
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.  --Sun Tzu

Canticle

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« Reply #8 on: <04-30-11/1723:00> »
There's a slang guide? Where??!
Here.

I like this one better. I has a lot of options. Throwing in other words depending on the setting also helps.




Mod Edit: Fixed link code.
« Last Edit: <04-30-11/1805:56> by FastJack »

Walks Through Walls

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« Reply #9 on: <04-30-11/2125:24> »
I would recommend starting with food fight. It only takes an hour or two to run, and introduces things nicely. I just ran it for my new group today.
1 had never played and the other two hadn't in several years so they were rusty on the rules.

It went really smoothly and everyone got a good feel for the rules. The mage even saved the life of the one guy that the weapon specialist had double tapped. (And almost killed himself in the process) so they got a feel for fighting, magic and healing.

It is a good intro then go for a pretty straight forward run for the next one. I like a simple data steal or snatch and grab of some tech toy personally.
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John Shull

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« Reply #10 on: <05-01-11/0034:00> »
I would recommend starting with food fight. It only takes an hour or two to run, and introduces things nicely. I just ran it for my new group today.
1 had never played and the other two hadn't in several years so they were rusty on the rules.

It went really smoothly and everyone got a good feel for the rules. The mage even saved the life of the one guy that the weapon specialist had double tapped. (And almost killed himself in the process) so they got a feel for fighting, magic and healing.

It is a good intro then go for a pretty straight forward run for the next one. I like a simple data steal or snatch and grab of some tech toy personally.

Food fight is a good run.  It is a fast fun time.
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.  --Sun Tzu

Canticle

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« Reply #11 on: <05-01-11/0958:51> »
Food fight is a good run.  It is a fast fun time.

Food Fight is more of a combat than a run. Not much happens beyond momentary violence.

Walks Through Walls

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« Reply #12 on: <05-01-11/1046:34> »
It isn't a full blown run, but it is a great primer for learning the rules. A face can try to talk their way out of it. The hacker can hack the matrix and magic and gunfire are front and center.

It also gives the flavor of the setting, and that some corporations are like institutions in the setting. There is a stuffer shack on almost every corner and they are all the same, but that is a good thing right?
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CanRay

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« Reply #13 on: <05-01-11/1121:02> »
Food fight is a good run.  It is a fast fun time.
Food Fight is more of a combat than a run. Not much happens beyond momentary violence.
Yes, and then the punks show up.

Or at least, that's how it ended up with my group.
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Rascal

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« Reply #14 on: <05-01-11/1212:30> »
Iīll be using the Food Fight pretty soon even with a group that has been playing for a year, just because itīs a nice little quirky combat-scene very classic to Shadowrun. And also a nice way for me as GM to gauge the new charactersī battle potentials.
"If you donīt stop driving through walls Iīm going to start rolling for the van to explode - this is an American game!"