Some average dude who wants to live a quiet life.
Reddit account: /u/GenericUsername_9001
- Gunmetal Black, the Man Behind the Man.
- Solomon, All-Ranges Problem Solver.
- Iapetus, Titan of Battle.
- Mnemosyne, Titan of the Matrix.
|That Is Not Dead Which Can Eternal Lie||19 February 2018|
|The Great Seattleite Saviors of Knowledge||20 October 2017|
|Your Magic Training Avails You Not! It's Useless!||24 November 2017|
I favor the players in almost all aspects of the game. It's against my philosophy to engage in Adversarial GMing. I am not trying to 'win' against the players, nor do I like penalizing players out of nowhere. This does not mean I will pull punches or go easy. In fact, I find it further justification not to hold back. I see the Runners for what they are: Protagonists. Whether they're John Wick blowing holes in dozens of mooks, Issac Clark desperately clawing through the hordes of inexorable abominations or a 50's Noir Detective finding themselves embroiled in conspiracies bigger than they could have ever imagined... they are the main focus of the story. Success or failure depends on their smarts, grit and the rolls of the dice, but damn do they put on a good show either way.
I also like some semblance of realism on my tables, not Borderlands-style 'dice pool scales to match players' balancing. Some random Ork Janitor is not going to have fifteen dice to perception, but a multi-tour, wared up Mercenary Veteran might. The Borderlands-Style makes the world revolve around the Runners, rather than operate independently of them. In my opinion that style cheapens victories and does not let the truly great people shine. Because I wish to avert this, my runs take some time to craft to what I think would be appropriate. I think this style is beneficial to both sides of the table.
Getting into a bit more of the crunchy stuff, I nearly always roll NPC rolls in public. I do not like fudging dice as I feel like besides my player-centric GMing Style, I should otherwise be a neutral arbiter of what happens. Sometimes disaster strikes and anticlimaxes occur because of it, but hey, happens in real life, right?
I give players the right to edge after they have seen the opposing roll's result. Similarly, I will also give players the opportunity to use defensive interrupts after they have seen an attack roll against them.
My runs will generally lack controversial topics. You can expect the general Shadowrun fare and flavor of corporate greed and devaluing of the individual, but that will be about the extent of it. In the rare case one will, clear warning will be given beforehand. I will not take responsibility for offense caused if I have clearly stated beforehand that potentially offensive topics might occur during that certain run.
My interpretation of Shadowrun, for better or for worse runs from Noblebright to Nobledark with elements from in-between also being common. Life sucks for the most part and many are hurt and/or perish, but people can and will make differences beyond individual victories. Maybe even a few of what you could call 'Heroes' arise.
This is a term dropped a lot around here. Escalation will be present in my runs, yes. But! Like I have mentioned previous, it will be what I feel is realistic. Fifty Knight Errant High Threat Response Teams and an Experimental Supersonic Stealth Fighter with ScrewMcKillYou Weapons are not going to suddenly and immediately swarm out of the woodworks (unless it was a trap) because you cast an Force 12 Lightning Bolt. Perhaps a concerned call to the area from Knight Errant to make sure everything is alright, after some reports of activity in the area. Of course there are exceptions, but my general feel about Escalation is not of the 'Five Star Crime Rating' of Grand Theft Auto, where suddenly the entire city is mobilized against you every time you do something remotely suspicious.
Consequences, Failure and Death
There's nothing here that you wouldn't expect from other tables. If you destroy a building and do not leave the scene in time, there might be complications. Runs can most definitely fail, but that does not mean you or your characters cannot get something out of the experience.
Death is optional for a Shadowrunner, given they have Edge to burn. As specified in ShadowNET rules, you can always burn an Edge for Not Dead Yet. Burning an Edge for Not Dead Yet means three things to me:
- Your character survives the situation they got themselves into.
- Your character avoids/overcomes the effect that would make them an NPC.
- Your character avoids/overcomes the situation/effect that would destroy their archetype and/or render them otherwise unplayable (i.e. an adept is captured and forcibly burned out to 0 Magic).
I might hand out some Negative Qualities depending on the situation.
On the subject of burning Edge, you may burn Edge for Smackdown for four Net Hits on Soak, Drain and Dodge tests besides the normal use of Smackdown on actions (you may burn Edge for Smackdown on other tests at my discretion).
Another term mentioned a lot. Assumed Competence is in full effect on my table. Strange as it may be, your characters are professional, career criminals and most people playing this game are not. I am going to assume you are going to wipe Astral Signatures if you have the time, turn off SINs when busting heads or wear gloves when you poke around an area for something. I won't bother you with the minutia of disguising yourself, dodging customs and the more boring parts that come with Running the Shadows. I will still check if you have a (Fake or legitimate) SIN and will also invoke Negative Qualities from time to time.
Continuing from this, even though you control your character, they are a separate entity from you. They have knowledge you do not and vice versa. Most of the time, your characters tend to outstrip you in one ways or more which is only to be expected, they are exceptional. However, it may seem bizarre that your double-digit Logic and Intuition Decker is extraordinarily short-sighted and for the lack of a better term, dumb, or your double-digit Charisma face is about as charming as rock. As such, at my discretion and sometimes at your request I enforce the FLASH OF GENIUS System (patent pending). If you have put forth obvious effort in say, an Investigation Run but are still hitting a brick wall or you have spent two hours doing legwork and covering all the bases but are still unsure if you have covered everything the FLASH OF GENIUS System (patent pending) is a potential option. Going off the first example in the Investigation Run, I might have your character roll Logic+Intuition to parse the situation and see if they can get a FLASH OF GENIUS (patent pending) and parse a clue that might move things forward. That being said, the FLASH OF GENIUS System (patent pending) is not a replacement for Common Sense (the Quality or your own), nor will I allow it to be abused and to auto-win runs. This will generally only happen once per Runner, if that.
This is what you can expect from my various KOMBAT offerings as a GM.
- PHYSICAL KOMBAT! My bread and butter is combat in the Material World. Expect this to flow the most smoothly and operate about as much as you would expect. Can range from intense, nerve-wracking battles as opposing forces lay down shots from cover to superhumans duking it out in Shonen battle sequences. Expect bullet-timing descriptions to flow like prose from Max Payne himself as the Street Sam sidesteps a sneaky sniper's shot. Smooth!
- SOCIAL KOMBAT! Even if I'm not particularly good at social stuff myself, I love playing NPCs that oppose the runners socially. While I do enjoy a bit of fast-talking and roleplay as much as anyone else, I realize a lot of people are not going to be as glib with their tongue as their characters would be. Very few people can imagine what a Charisma 8 person would look or act like, let alone one buffed to obviously superhuman levels. As long as you put forth clear effort in your social-ing I will generally allow you to describe what you wish your character achieve if you yourself fall short. If people can perform superhuman feats of physical prowess, why not that of social!
- ASTRAL KOMBAT! Wait, people try and do this? Well, okay. I am competent at Astral Combat. If you wish to engage in the Way of the Soulpunch, feel free to do so. Just be aware the Astral's deadly reputation is not unwarranted.
- TECHNOLOGICAL KOMBAT! Arguably my weakest point. At the time of writing, my Matrix skill is still being progressed and improved. I do like to put extra time into areas where I fall short, so expect a decent experience at the very least. Decker crush puny Matrix with giant brain.
Derailing, Thwarting, Sabotage and Declining at the Meet
I will generally allow players the freedom they wish, but I will give the warning the world is not very well-rendered or defined beyond what I have planned as I am only decent at Improv at best. As such, I would prefer players refrain from acting in such a way it would go so far off the beaten path that it starts detracting from the intended experience.
If you want to decline the job presented to you, I will not stop you. Please inform me ASAP so I can find a replacement.
Sabotage is great if the entire team agrees the J's intentions are sketchy or otherwise worthy of Sabotage, but otherwise I discourage it. Runner vs Runner is never fun, and I will try to pick characters in a way that their interests do not conflict.
Player vs Player
Both participating parties must be willing to engage in PvP, as well as me, the GM (duh) and every other person at the table must be comfortable in it occurring. PvP takes potential screentime away and hinders the goal of the run. As the ShadowNET rules state you may not use Smackdown against other players, nor can you 'make sure' the other player is dead. In simple language, you are never prevented from burning Edge for Not Dead Yet.
Social rolls only affect PCs if they allow them to.
I use the following house rules at my table.
- Those who have the proper body type (Big Orks, Trolls, and other Metatypes at my discretion) can lift vehicles who have Body equal or lower to than their Strength without a check. You can make a further STR+BOD test to attempt to lift vehicles even higher than your base Strength (Similar to how you can drag and lift bodies and use them as shields without penalty, if you have a higher or equal Strength to their Body).
- In addition to the above, you can throw and otherwise use vehicles picked up in this way using Throwing Weapons (Non-Aerodynamic) and Clubs (Improvised) respectively. They do Physical Damage with a DV of the vehicle's Body/2+STR, rounded up, with an Accuracy equal to 4. The vehicle will soak the damage equal to how much the target took, as well as any damage from Falling normally. The vehicle may not survive such an experience. Larger vehicles may impact multiple adjacent targets. It only takes damage equal to the single highest taken from all the targets struck.
- The STR+BOD test to carry additional weight for an extended period of time lasts 8 hours, or until the weight is removed and a long enough rest is taken (usually an hour or more).
- Free-fall and Diving can be replaced with Gymnastics and Swimming, respectively.
- In addition to the normal uses of Free-fall (and Gymnastics, since I allow it to be replaced), you may make such a test to reduce the damage taken from falling. Every hit on a Free-fall/Gymnastics test will negates 1 DV from the fall, effectively reducing the length of the fall by 1 meter.
- The Technomancer Fade Errata of applying -3 to all Fade Values across the board is applied on my table. Similarly, Psyche reduces the penalties for sustaining a Complex Form as it would a spell.
- Matrix Perception is a Free Action, as to ensure those of Matrix Inclination can do something with their first pass other than spot or identify something.
- Alchemical Command Preparations can be activated once per Initiative Pass, rather than per Combat Turn.
- I allow buying hits for almost any test, exception being rolls to Resist Addiction. If you are unsure if I would allow bought hits for a test, simply ask and I will confirm my judgement on the subject.
- Things like Concealment, Ruthenium Polymer Coating, Traceless Walk etc. affect the relevant Sensor test as well, even if using Electronic Warfare. Ex: You're not suddenly able to remove the penalty to see someone in RPC with a camera just because you are using Electronic Warfare.
- Net hits on Sneaking will apply a penalty to Surprise Tests. Almost anyone relevant can make that Threshold (3) test nowadays. With this, it makes attacking unseen an actual benefit, rather than have oddities like have people dodge supersonic rounds fired over a kilometre away when they've had no prior warning.
- Firearms have extended range increments on my table, as the current rules make it so that bullets just vanish into thin air after a certain distance. On my table, I allow farther shots to be made. When you attempt to hit a target beyond your firearm's stated maximum range, you get -1 DV and a -1 penalty to the test for every 1/3 of the weapon's stated maximum range, beyond its maximum range. Ex: You have a Sniper Rifle, which has a stated maximum range of 1.5 kilometers. You fire at a target 3 Kilometers away. One third of 1.5 is 500 meters. 3 Kilometers, being 1500 meters above the Sniper's maximum range, means that the test to shoot the target takes an additional -3 penalty and has its damage lowered by 3 DV.
- In addition to the REA+EDG test to avoid being hit by Suppressive Fire, you may make a Willpower test. Every hit on the Willpower test reduces the penalty to actions from being subject by Suppressive Fire by 1, to a minimum of 0. Suppressive Fire from weapons that would not reliably harm the target (i.e. someone firing gel rounds from a Machine Pistol at a Troll in Milspec Armor) do not apply the penalty to actions. Whether or not the penalty applies is determined by the GM.
- Gunnery can be replaced with their appropriate skill, at my discretion. Just because your gun is attached to a mount does not mean you immediately lose all your experience and expertise with it.
To wrap it all up, I am a player-centric GM. I don't like taking options away from my players. I love and reward creativity, but doing things the old-fashioned tried-and-true way isn't bad either. I like telling stories about titanic adventures and ever-twisting plots. I like a living, breathing, world littered with NPCs that feel real. I like bending the rules and standards of the world, but in a way that makes a interesting story, not making it unfair for players. The horrors and triumphs of the 6th World are amazing. I wish to share them with my players, to unfold the grand stories waiting to be told.
But, all things considered, I think I'm a pretty standard GM. Average, Run-of-the-mill. Unnotable.
You ready? I am.
Let's get to it.