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[personal profile] brushwolf
So talking on Twitter in between day job stuff this morning, I realized that I could approach running and playing Shadowrun differently.

My experience is that Shadowrun usually has the formula; player characters have information-gathering and stealthy missions, but those will go south, such that you can finally bust loose with the Panther Assault Cannon/Mana bolt/whatever combat abilities. This plays to the TTRPG formula where combat seems to be a default, not just because tabletop games predate video games as a way to blow off steam, but also because combat's an easy way to involve all players. And if you offer plenty of awesome combat gunk in your rulesbooks invariably someone will want to play a badass combat monster.

I feel like this doesn't work so well here since I want players rewarded for planning and skill choice by having some of their ideas work out. Not every mission should go sour and result in a firefight. Shadowrun's always been a game about contacts, so my idea is that combat-oriented PCs are among the players' contacts. You have a free contact, and he's your awesome troll with a Panther Assault Cannon or whatever. This probably requires a small group so that non-combat skills have less overlap (the cyberspace guy, the social guy, the stealth/infiltration guy, the magic guy). My idea here is that any Runner will have some combat abilities intended for smaller scale confrontation including unpleasant surprises, but if something really big blows up, players have an option to swap characters to combatants, rather than trying to modify a less-combatant character they want to play to also be an effective fighter.

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