Thursday, 16 January 2014

Super Tuesday!

In which we run a deranged Shadowrun campaign


So I used to have this fantasy about a campaign that could never actually be run. I'd take every single official adventure ever published for every cyberpunk game and work them into the Shadowrun metaplot, starting in 2050 and going right through to the 2080s. The characters - or several generations of the characters - would fight and struggle through the Universal Brotherhood, the Arasaka-Militech CorpWar, the Year of the Comet and the Arcology Shutdown... the universe would evolve and shift, technology would race forward in real time, corporations would rise and fall...

Do you have any idea how many extractions I would have had to run? Or how many Cyberpunk 2020 campaigns feature the son of a corporate exec who happens to be a big haired rock star on the run? MORE THAN YOU CAN COUNT



Also, I've never run a published adventure in my life. 

Also, the quality of some of the older adventures isn't, like, inspiring.

Also, Shadowrun's rules make my head hurt.

So I put that idea aside for years, until Shadowrun released the Horizon AdventuresSeriously, I've been running and reading this stuff for years and there's ideas in Anarchy Subsidized which I'd have never come up with. That's what I want from an adventure. I wanted to run the three Horizon adventures. I wanted to run the separate Twilight Horizon, which seems to demand a veteran team with ideals to burn. I wanted to run Elven Blood, because it goes to wild places. Then the idea of running Elven Fire as a prequel emerged. And if I was doing that, I might as well bridge the gap with the election scenarios in Super Tuesday and Shadows of the Underworld...

The lunatic plan was back.

I've scaled back. The plan is now merely to run twenty-ish adventures, jumping from year to year when appropriate. I'll start with a few music industry campaigns like Dark Angel and One Stage Beyond, dive into Elven Fire, and then hurtle through the election campaign. After that, I've got vague plans to cover the 2060s with CP2020's Stormfront, Eurotour and Land of the Free. Maybe I'll run the Arcology Shutdown, if I can handle the prep. Then it's on to Emergence, and the adventures that inspired me to run this thing in the first place... 


A PC called Errant, drawn by Theo Evans
The modern adventures are wonderfully laid out. They should run with very little prep.

The older ones... aren't.

Dark Angel took me an entire evening to prep. I've never spent that long on a session before, or even a campaign plan. A late 4th edition campaign would have handled the plot in 7 pages rather than 70. 

A couple of the oldest campaigns don't even have synopses. 

Why do this?

There's a certain thrill to sitting on twitter and watching everyone's reaction to television shows or big events. While some of the adventures (basically, Anarchy Subsidized and the Twilight Horizon) inspire me because I want to see how a party reacts to all the crazy events on offer, i'm just as excited to be part of the shared experience you get by playing a classic adventure. I want to see how my group, including some players I've known for years, react to the big twist in the final mission in Super Tuesday, and how it compares to all the other groups that encountered it twenty years ago. 

Also, the masochist in me wants to run Harlequin and have a good time. The first two thirds of the adventure look promising. The last part will need work, I think.

The state of the shadows

We've played the first two sessions. I've stumbled over every rule, but I've got a few SR veterans in the group who've kept things going. Obviously we started with Food Fight, for traditions sake. A troll crushed a ganger with a thrown Vircade cabinet, appropriately. A PC possessed by a free spirit shrugged off a volley from six automatic weapons, making a mockery of all that nonsense in the first post about every bullet being a threat. A man shouted "Meat Junkies!" seven or eight times. 

When Dark Angel is done, i'll post an actual play review for everyone to read!