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2 Newbie gm questions

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mike929

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« on: (20:47:15/03-12-14) »
I have two questions...

1)  I use a computer or iPad to track initiative and damage for the enemies.  Is there anyone that does the same with Shadowrun?  Or does anyone have any tips for tracking the baddies damage my players will inflict?

2)  I know there is no mention of using minis, but has anyone done this or is it all theater of the mind?  I ask for purpose of cover and such.

We will be playing 5th edition and all of us will be for the first time.

Namikaze

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« Reply #1 on: (21:04:01/03-12-14) »
First, allow me to welcome you to the fun of Shadowrun GMing.  It can be a taxing experience in 5th edition, simply because there are a lot of cases where you'll be called upon to make house rules.  I recommend reading the exceedingly long but valuable thread on House Rules, found here.  In any event, I'll do my best to answer your questions.

1)  I use a computer or iPad to track initiative and damage for the enemies.  Is there anyone that does the same with Shadowrun?  Or does anyone have any tips for tracking the baddies damage my players will inflict?

I use a laptop for tracking everything.  The way I do it isn't ideal, but fortunately there are lots of different techniques that can be used.  Personally, I use an Excel spreadsheet coded to help coordinate initiative on a grid.  Color coding tells me who has Initiative left, and each column is a separate Action Phase (also called Initiative Pass in several parts of the book).  However, since you're using an iPad, this might be helpful.  It's an initiative tracker for iOS made by a member of the community.

The GM's Toolbox subforum has a LOT of useful tools, actually.  You'll find the GM's Toolbox here.  I'd recommend looking through the various dice rollers, the online collection of resources, etc.

2)  I know there is no mention of using minis, but has anyone done this or is it all theater of the mind?  I ask for purpose of cover and such.

I've done minis before in 4th edition.  Sadly, our miniature aficionado no longer plays Shadowrun, or we'd still be using them.  He found creative ways to kitbash several parts to make a whole, and he was quite talented at it.  I think Shadowrun lends itself well to a board game scenario.  In fact, there was talk at one point of building a miniature-based board game called Sprawl Gangers.  I'm not sure how development is going on that project, because things have been quiet.
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firebug

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« Reply #2 on: (22:04:02/03-12-14) »
I can answer about the second question.  For minis, it's very much possible.  Since all the ranges in the game are in meters, and all movement rates are meters-per-turn, using a grid and assigning each square as one meter works very well for me in programs like Map Tool or Roll20.  Using the optional rules presented in the Run & Gun preview concerning size, I would use them to determine if the minis/tokens should be small, medium, or large (using the D&D size rules where large means they take a 2x2 area).  Reach of melee weapons is also in meters, as based on the book's rules for the Interception action (page 194) so allowing someone with a spear to hit without needing to be adjacent also fits.

This works out pretty well if you're doing something like an extraction where you can have the whole facility planned out for the players to move their minis through, providing a better tactical experience.  However, sometimes things happen where a map shouldn't be used (like when a gunfight is happening at extreme distances, or during chase combat).  I prefer to use a grid and minis for most combats though, since it does help with things like maneuvering and combat.
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RHat

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« Reply #3 on: (22:14:42/03-12-14) »
You might want to start without miniatures, though, because you're taking on a bit much of a burden otherwise - when you have a map, anything you didn't think of isn't there.  When you don't, players are more likely to ask about things that could be there.
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Agonar

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« Reply #4 on: (22:24:16/03-12-14) »
You might want to start without miniatures, though, because you're taking on a bit much of a burden otherwise - when you have a map, anything you didn't think of isn't there.  When you don't, players are more likely to ask about things that could be there.

Yeah, I run an online game, so I am often having to use a map just to help convey where things are, and the map tends to become to focus.  Only what is drawn matters, and also, they begin using the map to try for exact distance measurements..  "Well, if I target my Force 8 Manaball over here, then it ends right before it hits our Street Sam"  and frankly, I try to avoid that.   In the heat of combat, it's not so easy to know if your target is 7 meters away from you, or 9 (without cyber assistance or something).

So, try without a map if you can.  Try to get people thinking creatively, without limiting themselves to what's drawn on a map.
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Medicineman

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« Reply #5 on: (02:41:16/03-13-14) »
I have two questions...

1)  I use a computer or iPad to track initiative and damage for the enemies.  Is there anyone that does the same with Shadowrun?  Or does anyone have any tips for tracking the baddies damage my players will inflict?

2)  I know there is no mention of using minis, but has anyone done this or is it all theater of the mind?  I ask for purpose of cover and such.

We will be playing 5th edition and all of us will be for the first time.

Welcome to the wonderful World of GMing
1) I'm oldschool because I still use Pencil an Paper for Initiative or Damage
2) Yes we use Mini and Dungeon Maps but since I'm oldschool I'm using Dungeon Floorplans glued to Din A4 Cardboard and (oldschool) Shadorun Lead Minis (from 2nd or 3rd Ed) with 1 Square= 1 meter.
I have 15 such Cardboards and stripes of different size and length that I use for Walls,Doors,etc
(I'm using them for 20 Years now and it still works like at the first Day ^^ )

with an oldschool dance
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« Last Edit: (02:43:38/03-13-14) by Medicineman »
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mike929

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« Reply #6 on: (07:37:32/03-13-14) »
Thanks for all the thoughts on minis.

Seems like it runs like old AD&D did, where the information is mentioned just not stressed on like 3rd and 4th and Savage Worlds. 

I think what I will do for now is during combat rule if there is places to get cover or not.  This was my biggest concern, since it helps.  BUt having played and run D&D4, I know combat can go faster without the grid.  Plus coming from work to run the game, it is less I have to make sure I have.

Another question, are there any pdf cards that I can jot down the information for an npc so I have it handy?  I like how the npcs are written out in Plots and Paydata, but I don't want to keep turning pages.

Thanks for all the help.

Namikaze

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« Reply #7 on: (10:35:36/03-13-14) »
Another question, are there any pdf cards that I can jot down the information for an npc so I have it handy?  I like how the npcs are written out in Plots and Paydata, but I don't want to keep turning pages.

I don't think there are any fillable PDF forms out there for NPC cards.  It wouldn't be hard to make them though - if I have some time today I might try to get something made and uploaded somewhere.

Edit: I was able to put something together real fast.  Here's the post I made for it: http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=15238.0
« Last Edit: (11:13:33/03-13-14) by Namikaze »
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mike929

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« Reply #8 on: (12:32:09/03-13-14) »
Edit: I was able to put something together real fast.  Here's the post I made for it: http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=15238.0

Just what I wam looking for.  Thanks for the help