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Considering Running Missions

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All4BigGuns

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« on: <03-27-12/0118:26> »
As stated in the title, I'm thinking about running the published Missions, and seeing as I'm more used to going "off the cuff" entirely with little more than a 'wire framework', I am asking for advice in using these published Missions.
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Mason

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« Reply #1 on: <03-27-12/0123:10> »
Well, first off - Physical books or no? If you don't have the physical copy, I suggest you write up some notes and include a plot outline flow chart, like so:

Opening - Several predicted paths to First Objective - First Objective (etc.)

Referring to pdfs midgame tends to be time consuming and disruptive, in my experience.

If you have players that go particularly off-script regularly, skip the path predicting and just focus on getting them to the scenes crucial to the adventure.

Not much more I can tell ya without more info.

All4BigGuns

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« Reply #2 on: <03-27-12/0146:51> »
Well, first off - Physical books or no? If you don't have the physical copy, I suggest you write up some notes and include a plot outline flow chart, like so:

Opening - Several predicted paths to First Objective - First Objective (etc.)

Referring to pdfs midgame tends to be time consuming and disruptive, in my experience.

If you have players that go particularly off-script regularly, skip the path predicting and just focus on getting them to the scenes crucial to the adventure.

Not much more I can tell ya without more info.

Well, I will be running them off of pdfs if I do do this. As to going 'off-script', our group will occasionally do other things that aren't part of the adventure, but for the most part we tend to stick to the game at hand, though we do have a habit of getting off-task entirely with tangents and whatnot--that's all of us, myself included, though I'm trying to fix my part of that.
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Crash_00

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« Reply #3 on: <03-27-12/0329:26> »
I've been running season two and it can support a fair amount of, we'll call it taking the scenic route. I can't talk on the next two seasons very much other than saying they have much better production quality, but season two is very very easy. Even if you use the New Table Rating system from Season 3 (which I recommend highly if you have experienced players), anyone with a half way decent head at making characters will walk through the opposition with no issues until the last four or five missions of the season, and even then it's more like a speedbump rather than the slight gust of wind that came before. Just to be absolutely clear what we're talking about here, most of the statted badguys seem to be on par with the Weapons Specialist archetype.

If you have a smart group that is well balanced (I have a smart group with a Hacker, Mage/Face, Phys Ad, Sniper, and Street Sam), expect them to come in with far more nuyen than the "payout" either through simple greyhawking of everything (Greyhawking- Verb. To loot everything remotely possible of being sold later from a scene/body/bodies.) or smart planning (stealing corporate trucks/supplies, stealing that ridiculously high powered Rating 10 Software, etc.). Likewise, it's extremely easy for the Hacker to get way ahead of the rest of the group on the nuyen scene just because of the amount of paydata/software available that is, when it comes down to it, almost always just up for grabs if the hacker is remotely capable or has decent edge (god forbid their extremely capable and have high edge, because then they'll be able to do anything. Trust me.).

For the most part, the missions I've run are pretty easy to go. They have only a couple vital scenes, the meet, the target, and sometimes and inevitable trace/combat scene. The other scenes are just suggestions for how the players can get there, and if you have time you can drag things out as long as it's fun.

UmaroVI

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« Reply #4 on: <03-27-12/2136:21> »
I've also run all of the S2 missions. I would add to Crash_00's summary that (assuming you play at TR6), there are occasional missions that randomly have ridiculously tough opposition, sprinkled in with missions that don't. In other words, the difficulty curve is very very spiky. Sometimes your opposition is go-gangers who have made very poor life choices about what ware to get. Sometimes 15 Tir Ghosts with +6 to opposed rolls burst through your walls and yell OH YEAH.

That said I can't really be all that critical of them, because for free product they are quite good. They do contain fair amounts of ololz; IMO, they work best if

(a) Everyone accepts that it is Dark Eighties Future and not Mirror Shades 2: Mirror Shadier. There's just too much silly stuff, some intentional and some not, for it to be a serious grimdark game about the inner torment of your pretend elves.

(b) The players accept that some of the missions are just railroads and they are willing to hop on the railroad and then openly mock it instead of refuse to get on.

One particularly noteworthy problem is that several of the missions involve matrix elements but were written by people who did not understand SR4A's matrix rules. You will either need to re-write them as they appear, or will need to just tell players things like "this node is unhackable because it is magic" or "in this mission, having all your subscription slots full makes you unhackable!"

Shanfara

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« Reply #5 on: <03-29-12/1049:05> »
I am currently running the second season (Denver) with a mixed group of experienced and unexperienced players.

Pros:
-cleanly written missions that can be played in a night and link together
-not too much work on your part as the GM

Cons:
-some railroading

-taking what Umaru said, some of the matrix stuff just isn't up to snuff

-Shadowrun's combat system can be very snowbally in the results, what I mean is that either the party wins and all the bad guys die/flee or the party is smashed, burn tons of edge, and escape in wheelchairs. Because these are straight forward 1 night/1mission games, we've actually avoided combat most nights and when there is combat the players mop the floor with the underwhelming opponents.

Overall though, For written adventures that are free, season 2 is awesome. 2 thumbs up with a bullet.

The lack of obvious balance between mundanes and awakened casters enhances the game and encourages creativity and role playing.

Crash_00

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« Reply #6 on: <03-29-12/1147:33> »
The Spike curve is mostly toward the end of the season from what I've seen. That said, I also forgot to mention a particularly good piece of advice. For some of the missions (you'll know which ones when you read them), the amount of NPCs involved in the fights is overwhelming, not in threat to the players, but in sheer mass of numbers you need to jot down and take care of during the fights (some of them have the runners plus two to four other sides that are all pissed at each other, with the runners being dead square in the middle like you'd think, and of course each side has enough different types of "units" that you'll need to roll several times even if you lump all the similar units together for initiatives). I highly recommend the following for these situations to make combat not take all night (decided to do this after the last run involved 24 Triad Posse Members, a handful of Mafia goons, a combat mage, an adept, a roomful of civilains, club secuiryt, and two shadowrun teams (the players and an NPC one):
-Pre-roll a ridiculous number of rolls for the common dice pools with a few points of modifiers each way.
-Take average hits for attacks/rolls not against the Players/vital targets.
-Pre-roll initiative for all the bad guys in each fight in advance.

Nothing is more boring for the players than sitting there for five minutes while the GM rolls initiative for a truly impressive number of NPCs, most of which aren't even interested in the PCs to begin with.

Mirikon

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« Reply #7 on: <03-29-12/1254:27> »
Where can I find the older seasons of missions?
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Crash_00

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« Reply #8 on: <03-29-12/1329:55> »
Season Two
Season One (SR3)

Those are the freely available seasons. The first mission of Season Three Everyone's Your Friend is available for free as well too.

Mirikon

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« Reply #9 on: <03-29-12/1409:40> »
Thanks!
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JustADude

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« Reply #10 on: <03-29-12/1749:29> »
Nothing is more boring for the players than sitting there for five minutes while the GM rolls initiative for a truly impressive number of NPCs, most of which aren't even interested in the PCs to begin with.

I know you dislike digital stuff at the table, but using a laptop or smartphone with a RNG can speed things up quite a bit. It's how I handle summoning and drain when I mass-summon my Watchers, so I don't have to physically roll my Summoning and Drain 14 times in a row.

If you're worried about it being "random enough", there's ones out there for both powered by Random.org, and a few will even let you plug in formulae to calculate hits, 6s, and if it's a glitch or not so you can tell at a glance.
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All4BigGuns

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« Reply #11 on: <03-29-12/2054:15> »
Since I'll be running at home with the router being rather close, what's everyone's thoughts on Invisible Castle for my GMing rolls?
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Mirikon

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« Reply #12 on: <03-29-12/2155:40> »
For some rolls, fine. But personally I like letting my players see me roll a bunch of dice behind the screen. I'll also roll randomly at different times, just to keep them guessing.
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JustADude

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« Reply #13 on: <03-29-12/2306:03> »
Since I'll be running at home with the router being rather close, what's everyone's thoughts on Invisible Castle for my GMing rolls?

Since you don't need to archive them for PBP, I'd recommend using Rolz.org. You can still use strings to create whatever rolls you want and, if everyone has net access handy, you can also create a semi-private chatroom where everyone can see what everyone else rolls.

The GM, of course, should roll in a non-grouped window. ;)
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