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How much would be too much? A question about personal Lore

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Mathan

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« on: (21:01:42/08-10-18) »
So yeah, sorry if this belongs elsewhere. Happy to have it moved or something if so. But I did have a rather odd question.

I like to write. Quite a bit. This love of writing has led me to have a very sizable store of lore for most games I run. Normally it's my own setting and my own rules, or close to it within the confines of the system. But with Shadowrun I think I may have gone a bit overboard.

Basically I've taken the cities of Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, and turned them into one long, odd, awkward sprawl. Which is fine in a vacuum. Problem is that it's populated with close to about 50 solid NPCs and quite a bit of history/lore tied into it. Probably enough to fill half a location book at least. I was actually thinking about writing one up to hand out to players the next time I GM.

And then I realized, that might be overkill.

That's really the problem I'm facing here now. How much personal lore and data is too much? How much world building can really be done before the players have no room to move? Normally in things like D&D it's not so much of an issue as I can just make the actions of the players integral parts of a changing and evolving world. Make them great heroes of legend or monsters spoken of in hushed whispers. But Shadowrun already has quite a bit of that built in and then to add all of my hack writing on top of it I worry that there comes a point where the lore becomes impenetrable to the point where you can't play in it.

This is made worse by the simple fact that the last time I ran was a few years ago and while I had plans for a game a short while back, it's falling through left me with even more ideas and plots and content for the pile.

So, since I'm bad at moderating this stuff myself I figured I'd ask the general view of others here about how to balance this kind of thing in a game with a ton of content and five whole editions to cover already.

Jayde Moon

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« Reply #1 on: (23:06:55/08-10-18) »
What a fun question.

Given that any given sprawl has hundreds of thousands of people and probably (in the 6th world) 5-10% involved in the Shadow in some way and some couple hundred 'Shadowrunners', I'd say you have a little wiggle room left.

Maybe incentive your premade NPCs as contact selections by providing a bonus point of loyaltyif your players select them at chargen.
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Mathan

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« Reply #2 on: (23:17:53/08-10-18) »
That is one thing I did, along with making some of them hirelings. A few of which are buried in the character critique section. I just worry about making things so impenetrable that the players feel shoehorned. That's not a good way to run a game.

For example. 'The bobs' are the biggest, or at least the most reputable, non Ares centric fixers in town. I'm fine with people cooking up their own fixers of various sorts, but I worry that once players know 'these are the guys who have the best street cred' they may feel somehow wrong or inadiquate saying their fixer is bigger in some way or just as big or so on. Which isn't to say I'd be opposed to working with that in any way. I guess I'm just more worried about shoving players in a tiny box or intimidating them.

I do like the idea of giving out a bonus for contacts, though

HP15BS

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« Reply #3 on: (00:34:27/08-11-18) »
Here's my 2¢
Base what you do on your players.

Tell them you've got all of this world-building ready to go, but see what they actually prefer. If they want to incorporate what you've done into their backstories - either because they want to avoid clashing with your stuff, or they're unfamiliar with SR lore, or they want to build off of the work you've already done, or even because they're just more interested in playing than in creating a fully fleshed out character to roleplay - then great, full steam ahead.

If, on the other hand, they have clear mental images of who they want their characters to be, their relative place(s) in the world thus far, etc - then great, you have people who (probably) intend to cooperatively build the world and story with you. So you could turn them loose with no worries.

That's basically my take. Just tell them it's there if they want it, but if not, then they have free reign to make up whatever they like (within reason).
To Deckers the Foundation really is a crazy place from Alice in Wonderland. How does that stuff just happen? How do they work when everything about them defies logic?
Then a Techno comes, high 5's Caterpillar, takes a swig of Mad Hatter's tea, & wanders away chatting up White Rabbit.
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Reaver

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« Reply #4 on: (02:53:47/08-11-18) »
A very wise GM once told me:


"No Lore survives contact with players"


And it's very true. Based on the actions of the players, things can go awry very quickly. My advice is flesh out as much lore about the area the Runners are going to live and work in first, and then spread out ward. Have everything as ready as you can for the first game. And then stop. Once the game starts, the lore of your game only moves forward with and around your players...

And for Gods sake, DOCUMENT what they do! This way you know what changes you have to make to the lore for during and for future adventures.

For example:

The runners "through no fault of their own", end up backing their van over Tony Two-toes head. Twice. Tony also just happened to be a Lieutenant in the Mafia.. what changes as this brought on? Well, Tony's little slice of the empire falls apart for a while until the mafia can get someone in to take over the operations. This could also be the opening that the Oyiban has been wating for, and the Yaks make a play for the area as well. The Mafia may take issue with the Tony's flattened head and may also send someone to collect on behalf of the grieving widow, Miss Two-toes....

so, you got a weakening of the mob, a possible gang war, and pissed off Mobsters..... All over a piss poor parking job...
(And who said you can have too much Lore :P)
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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Artemis Entreri

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« Reply #5 on: (19:23:44/08-11-18) »
Hey!
More art than science here xD It depends a lot on the game, gaming group etc

I tend to write a lot too, but my campaigns are basically sandboxes/free roaming where nothing is concretely written, in terms of story. But in order to achieve the sense of a living/breathing world, I need to feel NPCs and places living myself.

A good middle ground I learnt is the FATE Accelerated mindset or CUES/Disposition if you know Anarchy. Two/Three key sentences, name, a couple of DP or just thresholds for very common checks for that NPC or place and your brain will do the rest. Avoiding overdoing is a good way to enhance creativity. 😉

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #6 on: (19:45:46/08-22-18) »
If your players want to run in the Kalamazoo-Grand Rapids sprawl, more power to you.  Keep your numbers realistic and you should be fine; keep your reasons as realistic as your numbers.  Who's active in the area?  It may not be Ares and Saeder-Krupp and Shiawase, but it might be 'small' corporations (Kellogg's is just around the corner in Battle Creek, after all) that are 'beholden' to a larger one -- or perhaps they're all Ares allied (HQ in Detroit) and it's more a question of 'get paid by everyone else to run against an Ares subsidiary'.

Note that numbers results in ... hm.  What did we figure, back in the day ... basically it amounted to, per million:
  • 20 deckers/technomancers
  • 20 mages
  • 25 riggers
  • 25 faces
  • 50 street sams / martial adepts
This resulted, generally, in 25 teams, with a mage/decker/technomancer sometimes working with two different crews.  There were also 20-25 fixers, who often worked with 2-5 different teams each, so there can be some competition there, but the fixer game is a matter of who you know, not whether or not a team works only exclusively for you -- because not every job is perfect for every crew, and sometimes you need to mix and match.

Shadow-active people, therefore -- that's shadow active, those connected and working and working closely with the guys who do the bad deeds, fixers and shadow mechanics and talismongers and street docs and the like, but NOT your bartender who keeps his ears open, or the bum you can count on to keep an eye on your stuff for a bottle of synthscotch -- are at most 0.1% of the populous -- one person out of every thousand.  That doesn't sound like much, but in a million people, that's a thousand shadowfolk, only 150 or so of which are active runners.  Everyone else is, in some way, support personnel.  (But not Johnsons.  They fall into a different category.)

All this is an aside, really.  So long as everything hangs true and CAN be hung on SR in general (which really is an easy thing to do -- a Kalamazoo-Grand Rapids sprawl might have evolved after Bug City in '54), you're pretty good to go.

As for obsessiveness, well -- we did Cincinnati the same way, and others have done lots like that.  You're not alone.  Now if only we could collect them all into one place ...
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Mathan

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« Reply #7 on: (07:02:40/08-25-18) »
If your players want to run in the Kalamazoo-Grand Rapids sprawl, more power to you.  Keep your numbers realistic and you should be fine; keep your reasons as realistic as your numbers.  Who's active in the area?  It may not be Ares and Saeder-Krupp and Shiawase, but it might be 'small' corporations (Kellogg's is just around the corner in Battle Creek, after all) that are 'beholden' to a larger one -- or perhaps they're all Ares allied (HQ in Detroit) and it's more a question of 'get paid by everyone else to run against an Ares subsidiary'.

Note that numbers results in ... hm.  What did we figure, back in the day ... basically it amounted to, per million:
  • 20 deckers/technomancers
  • 20 mages
  • 25 riggers
  • 25 faces
  • 50 street sams / martial adepts
This resulted, generally, in 25 teams, with a mage/decker/technomancer sometimes working with two different crews.  There were also 20-25 fixers, who often worked with 2-5 different teams each, so there can be some competition there, but the fixer game is a matter of who you know, not whether or not a team works only exclusively for you -- because not every job is perfect for every crew, and sometimes you need to mix and match.

Shadow-active people, therefore -- that's shadow active, those connected and working and working closely with the guys who do the bad deeds, fixers and shadow mechanics and talismongers and street docs and the like, but NOT your bartender who keeps his ears open, or the bum you can count on to keep an eye on your stuff for a bottle of synthscotch -- are at most 0.1% of the populous -- one person out of every thousand.  That doesn't sound like much, but in a million people, that's a thousand shadowfolk, only 150 or so of which are active runners.  Everyone else is, in some way, support personnel.  (But not Johnsons.  They fall into a different category.)

All this is an aside, really.  So long as everything hangs true and CAN be hung on SR in general (which really is an easy thing to do -- a Kalamazoo-Grand Rapids sprawl might have evolved after Bug City in '54), you're pretty good to go.

As for obsessiveness, well -- we did Cincinnati the same way, and others have done lots like that.  You're not alone.  Now if only we could collect them all into one place ...

I actually find it awesome you mentioned smaller corps since I actually have Meijer as one of the main players in town, with the current CEO and CFO being in the Meijer family and being Elves. They actually tend to be one of the better sources of shadow work since, while still just an A corp, they invest heavily into off the books countermeasures to keep themselves free of the AAAs. Also have the whole of Portage turned into a big gated community for better off Ares drones to have houses they can never visit but claim they have. Because, well, that is how the wage slave do.

That said, those figures you gave set me at ease quite a bit, though. Because it's far less than what I have currently and so it means players could easily squeeze in without feeling like they are either bigger or smaller than they should be. Really that was my key worry with the whole thing. It's hard to avoid both 'most special person evar' and 'utterly unimportant' with a setting whose lore you didn't fully write. Even if a ton of this is my own invention.

Also, if you ever find a place or start a place to collect them all, please let me know I'd LOVE to do a write up if I can dig up my guide to Tir Tairngire for a guidepost!


The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #8 on: (01:18:54/08-26-18) »
While being elves is cool, you already have a source for that -- a LOT of sources for 'elven family' stuff, the most obvious of which are the Telestrians, running Telestrian Industries in Tir Tairngire.  Maybe they want to horn in on the Meijer family ...

... but my advice is to not make the Meijer family an elven one.  Looking at Wikipedia, Hendrik Meijer came from the Netherlands; just the name suggests either dwarf or ork to me, so I would strongly encourage you to go with one of those two.  Pretty pretty elves live for hundreds of years, so they plan for the far future; how would a corporation run if its core family were to have a life expectation of only 50 or so years??  Probably as aggressive as orks tend to be ... and aggressive = shadowruns.
Pananagutan & End/Line

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"Oh, gee - it's Go-Frag-Yourself-O'Clock."
New Wyrm!! Now with Twice the Bastard!!

Laés is ... I forget. -PiXeL01
Play the game. Don't try to win it.

Mathan

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« Reply #9 on: (03:04:03/08-26-18) »
While being elves is cool, you already have a source for that -- a LOT of sources for 'elven family' stuff, the most obvious of which are the Telestrians, running Telestrian Industries in Tir Tairngire.  Maybe they want to horn in on the Meijer family ...

... but my advice is to not make the Meijer family an elven one.  Looking at Wikipedia, Hendrik Meijer came from the Netherlands; just the name suggests either dwarf or ork to me, so I would strongly encourage you to go with one of those two.  Pretty pretty elves live for hundreds of years, so they plan for the far future; how would a corporation run if its core family were to have a life expectation of only 50 or so years??  Probably as aggressive as orks tend to be ... and aggressive = shadowruns.

Ohhh, that could be fun! I'll have to ponder that. Fortunately few of my players have done any runs for the corp itself let alone heard reference of the Meijer family. But yeah, Orcs or Dwarves would work. More so adding in that lil edge of 'we invented the supermarket concept'.

Hmmm, I have quite a bit to ponder now. Thanks!