Assistance/Dramatic Consequence

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« on: (10:26:44/02-20-17) »
This post is definitely going to be formatted poorly. I apologize up front about that.

My friends and I are all big fans of Shadowrun. The setting, that is. We've only ever gotten one campaign off the ground, because only one of us is a really experienced GM, and even that one went a bit sideways. (I moved back up to Alaska and, although the game was online, that meant it was at 6am for me. That is, when I could even make it. Ugh.) That was 4e, and it was probably a half-dozen years ago at this point. Every one of us would be stoked to play in another Shadowrun campaign, but most of us either don't have the GM chops, or don't understand the game well enough. The member of the group with the best technical understanding of the game wants to run a game this summer, but in my experience, anything you plan out months in advance is probably not going to happen. I really hope that isn't the case here, but I feel I should hedge bets, just in case.

The guy that is going to be running a campaign in a bit, I'm not sure how much he's GMed in the past. I know it hasn't been often, at the very least. I've GMed a few campaigns in other systems recently, trying to build up the relevant skills. Mostly Savage Worlds, so a lot more fast and loose. Had an Interface Zero 2.0 campaign that went alright, but it was pink mohawk as all hell. Kept it low level, dealt with washed-out celebrities and gangs primarily. Have a much easier time conceptualizing things on that level.

Anyway, I'm rambling. The biggest hurdle has been poor understanding of the system. I can build characters, no problem. I could probably walk through play, or any individual task, without too much issue. (Except technomancers.) One of the big problems I have is appropriate response. That is, conceptualizing how NPCs should respond on an organizational level. The scale between "we'll send someone to check it out" and "You got five stars in GTA and changing your clothes won't help you." Always super hesitant to escalate, but I've had D&D campaigns, for instance, where a person just ran through a checkpoint, no papers, because "what's the guard going to do?" (Guard attacked, several more gave chase.) Different group, but stuff like that still makes me hesitant. Just seems like that's the kind of thing you have to deal with a lot more in Shadowrun, since players are directly undermining organizations.

I'm committed to learning the system. Even if my buddy winds up unable to run, we're going to have a Shadowrun campaign. I'll strap on my thinking cap and huck fistfuls of d6 onto digital tables.

1: How can I best make myself useful in keeping the game together/on track, assuming my buddy runs one? (What helpful things have players done in your campaigns?)

2: If my buddy can't run, do you have any tips for new GMs? Specifically when dealing with the stuff behind closed doors. I ran a supers campaign one time, probably the only time I've ever had villains with machinations. At one point, said machinations wound up getting a prominent NPC member of the team (secretary?) killed, back at the base while the characters were out pursuing a lead. It was intended as a dramatic shift. Two players got that. Felt like the other two were very much unhappy with it, and not in a "this is appropriately dramatic" sort of way. Kind of killed the campaign because even after they sorted the villain, I felt like the spark was gone. :( Want to avoid that without making everything just goofy nonsense, you know?


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« Reply #1 on: (17:13:21/02-20-17) »
It's too bad that you're in Alaska. I run GM classes in Carson City. Is your buddy near there? As for your specific questions: for 1, one of the best things good players do for me is know how the rules their character uses work, and they know how to figure their dice pools for what they want to do, and be willing and able to help other players as needed. And they are there to play a game for fun, not make a film or "win" the game. As for 2, I would sit down right now and figure out some basic run ideas that I can kinda string together to tide me over for 4-6 sessions while I work out a campaign theme and goal. Things like a datasteal mission, a blow up this place mission, an extract this guy/girl mission, an infiltrate this place and leave this mission, and one or two others.
And when you need help, ask us. We love answering questions and helping other GMs make better campaigns. (something about giant egos in there, but hey...)
Spooky, what do you do this pass? Shoot him with my thunderstruck gauss rifle. (Rolls)  8 hits. Does that blow his head off?


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« Reply #2 on: (20:52:20/02-21-17) »
Hmmm...for a perspective on how AAAs work, I find a modern useful frame setter is Berkshire Hathway. Forbes calls them the 4th largest company in the world, and frankly, that's only because three chinese quasi-governmental banks that represent the direct foreign investment arm of the government are listed.

Have you ever heard of them? Probably, in passing. Could you tell anyone what they do? Maybe, depends on your business...does the man on the street really even comprehend their scale or business?


It's easy to identify companies with a public facing products like Apple or Microsoft, so here are some companies where Berkshire Hathway is the largest institutional shareholder:

Kraft-Heinz. Wells' Fargo. Coca-Cola. IBM. American Express. Phillips 66. Delta get the idea.

If I started listing the rest of their holdings where they hold a significant voting block but were nto the laregst holder,  names like Apple, General Motors, all the other major US credit cards, all the other major US airlines, many of the other food  companies (including Monsanto), CostCo, Verizon, UPS, and on and on and on for about 53 major positions would pop up.

They and the Vanguard group are probably the closest thing America has to a AAA, and they aren't really there yet. Imagine if a company like that could write its own laws, had its own security forces, and was essentially sovereign.

"5 star GTA" is a couple orders of magnitude below them.


Which gets to our next point: realistically, every triple AAA probably has bought shares and stakes in the every other triple AAA, and giant chunks of their subsidiaries, and those subsidiaries may own shares in each other, as well as up the chain from certain depts. The layers of corporate fiscal invest are massive.   LA News 5, a parially owned subsidairy of UC West news group, a semi-autonomous privately traded corp with Horizon controlling stake, may have a retriment/isnurance department which buys into an Asian dragon run investing group that specializes in infrastructure in Africa and is currently underwriting a consortium bid with Ares majority interest that is in competition against a two layers down Horizon controlling stake construction consortium - which a portion of Ares actually has a stake in anyhow.  These guys are all so connected that they make European royal marriages looks utterly diverse.

Which means that there is literally always somebody winning and losing for every run - and that the real losers may be the same corp who funded the run, quite possibly without knowing what the nth order effects would be.

And that is before we get into private investors-remember, "corporations" aren't really anyone; there's no such thing as "the evil corps" as a megavillian. They are just artificial people used to legally represent the wide variety of investors who have put money into an idea. And those investors likely own large chunks in every AAA. 

Remember, a corporation is really just an artificial person;
« Last Edit: (00:14:21/02-22-17) by GloriousRuse »


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« Reply #3 on: (07:15:14/02-22-17) »
As to number 1, definitely what Spooky said.  Know your own character, their special rules and their dicepools.  Also for certain types (like mages and deckers) with even more special rules, remember and/or write down the page numbers of your most common rules, so if the GM wants to look something up, you can tell him to look on page X of book Y.
Secondly when I'm a player I always take notes.  Not everybody has to do this, but I know my GMs have had a lot of use out of my notes, which I then turn into a story of the campaign (a sort of diary thing).  It's something not everybody likes or can do, but it's something I like doing.  In fact, we had a campaign we had to put on hold for about 2 years and then having notes on what went on before is really useful.

For a GM, if it's one of the first times this person is GM, I would suggest to use a published campaign to start off.  It's easier as most things are written out for you and you can learn how things look and feel much easier that way.  Of course, this also needs some work (at least I find it does) so you can put your character's contacts and positive/negative qualities in it.  In Shadowrun you have Missions, which are series of published campaigns.  I've never played any of them before, so I can't tell you if they are any good.  I do know (from the forum here) that they put restrictions on character creation, which will probably mean less special rules for the GM to deal with.

And again as Spooky said, if you have any questions, you can always come here.  This is a very large community with a lot of very experienced players and GMs so between all of us we will find a solution for your problem (or more likely 50 different solutions which you can pick from). :)
"Magic can turn a frog into a prince. Science can turn a frog into a Ph.D. and you still have the frog you started with." Terry Pratchett
"I will not yield to evil, unless she's cute"


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« Reply #4 on: (20:20:37/02-22-17) »
Thank you for the feedback. Would have responded sooner, but the last couple days have been... Well, without going into detail or obscenity, I'll leave it at "difficult." So tired. Ugh.

Big thing I'm going to focus on is just learning all the rules. That way, if someone "forgets" to read something their character can do, I'll be able to render assistance. Would also be necessary if I ever wanted to run, anyway.


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« Reply #5 on: (12:12:05/02-23-17) »
If you have the time, I'd suggest making characters of a few types, and then one at a time running them through a typical situation.  It will really help you learn the rules in various areas, as well as understanding the limits and flows inherent in the rules.  Will let you help advise and help -- and if you end up running, might also give you some ideas for interesting challenges, a stock of NPC to use, etc.
Jawsey  --