Blog Archives

Shadowrun Online: VERY First Impressions

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Oh, Shadowrun, so near and dear to my heart. I first discovered you as a Sega Genesis game when I was just about to enter high school, and was enamored by your eclectic mix of sci-fi and sorcery, your dark cityscapes, and working hard to make an “honest” Nuyen without getting geeked. It wasn’t until a full year later that I discovered that you were an actual tabletop roleplaying game. I saw the second edition book at my Friendly Local Game Store, instantly gave up my short fling with the Palladium RPG, and never looked back.

 
Two more editions have come and gone, and now we’re into the brand new 5th edition. The year of Shadowrun happened, and now we’re getting a new card game, a board game, and a miniatures game. Jordan Weisman brought us Shadowrun Returns for our PCs, and now Cliffhanger Productions is bringing us Shadowrun Online.

 
SRO has a bit of spotty history…

 

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There’s Gonna’ Be a Rumble Tonight…

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When you’re a Halloweener,
You’re a ‘weener all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin’ day.

When you’re a ‘weener,
If the drek hits the fan,
You got brothers around,
You’re a family man!

My apologies, chummers, I just can’t help myself. I assure all of you that this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. It’s hard NOT to break into song and dance when you have this much Shadowrun stuffed into a single year! The Year of Shadowrun is something of a revival of the franchise, and goodness knows it needed it! Shadowrun is a perfect storm of sci-fi, cyberpunk, and fantasy all rolled into one. There’s a bit of something for everyone, and it has retained a cult following since it’s inception in 1989. This year’s release list is a veritable buffet of dystopian delights that the franchise has slated for everyone! On the video game front, we have Shadowrun Returns, and Shadowrun Online, both slathered in awesomesauce. On the tabletop, we have the Fifth Edition of the RPG, and a healthy helping of  Shadowrun: Crossfire, Shadowrun: Hostile Takeover, and Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers. Top that off with a brand-spanking-new line of Shadowrun novels for dessert, and you have a feast for fans old and new alike!

Great ghostly tapdancing Dunklezahn with dinner, a movie, and a kiss goodnight! All of this shadow-goodness is going to be a real strain on the credstick this year!

I have the singular pleasure of being one of the “lab mice” for Sprawl Gangers, but I’m not allowed to talk about the details. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Quit being a tease, Belmont!” I hear you, chummers, and that’s why I have a little treat for you…

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A first look at Shadowrun Returns

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It started as a humble little video game homage that took it’s chances on Kickstarter, with a hope that the Shadowrun brand name still garners at least enough respect and popularity to generate a sum of money large enough to fund it. Harebrained Schemes decided to shoot low for a video game project; $400,000. “Surely,” they tought,  “we can produce a small game that will please some old-school fans of Shadowrun?” None of them were prepared for the tidal wave of fan-backing that they received in record time. In just over 24 hours, Harebrained Schemes had it’s $400,000…and the fan generosity did not stop there. By the end of it’s Kickstarter life, Shadowrun Returns had earned a staggering $1.8 MILLION dollars. Read the rest of this entry

Caught up in the Crossfire: An interview with Gregory Marques

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The Year of Shadowrun is in full swing, chummers! With even the most scant of information being given about production, Shadowrunners noobie and veteran alike are excited to see their favorite setting experience a new Awakening (or get a full-body Alphaware augmentation, if you prefer a cyber-metaphor). Shadowrun Online and Shadowrun Returns are in full production mode, and we’ve got some sweet tabletop action going with a brand new Edition to the role-playing game proper, as well as several other nova-hot tabletop games.

 
Starting off this very auspicious year is the Adventure deck-building game Shadowrun: Crossfire from Fire Opal Media. Crossfire is  in great hands, featuring some very strong talent in card game design: Gregory Marques, Mike Elliott, Rob Watkins, Rob Heinsoo, Jay Schneider and James “Jim” Lin.

 

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Shadowrun 5: Raising the Glass Ceiling

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It’s no big secret anymore, chummers; Shadowrun Fifth Edition is on it’s way, and like it or hate it, there are going to be some changes. Now, before you toss your dice, burn your 4th Edition books and flip the game table, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

 
First of all, Fifth Edition is keeping all of the basic systems of Fourth Edition. This isn’t like coming off of Third Edition where you basically had to learn the game from the ground up. Dice Pools are still calculated in the same way, and all of the tropes you’ve come to expect are present and accounted for.

 

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Apocalypse Not Now

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It was foretold long ago in centuries past by the ancient Mayans. The end of a B’ak’tun; a time period in the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. Some New Agers think that it was going to mark the birth of a new positive spiritual or physical transformation for mankind, and others think that it marked the end of it all.

What does this entail? Well, four good friends of mine have always put it best… Read the rest of this entry

Shadowrun to follow in Paizo’s GameMastery footsteps? I hope so!

Have you ever had that moment as a Game Master when you are running some epic combat, and you realize that you have NO idea whatsoever what the spell “Arglefargle’s Malignant Zazzlefrazz of Malcontent” does? Well, I don’t either, but that’s because it’s an absolutely ridiculous example…but you get my point. We’ve all had those moments where a game comes to a halt because someone has to look up what a certain spell or ability does, or you need to know those vital stats of a weapon, or perhaps you don’t have EVERYTHING written down for those monsters the heroes are fighting.

 
Yes, perhaps you can take the time to write everything down, or keep a thousand and one tabs in your game books to their appropriate pages, but that puts a bunch of (in my opinion) unneeded wear and tear on your books. This problem is much worse if you’re one of those “living in the twenty-first century” kids whose entire book collections are a bunch of PDFs on an iPad. What’s a gamer to do to make things easier?
Well, the solution starts with a little company that could, did, and trashed the competition… Paizo Publishing. Read the rest of this entry

A Run Worth Funding

Hoi, Chummers!

I’ve been on quite the Shadowrun kick lately. It’s not surprising, considering it’s number 2 on my list of favorite Role-Playing settings of all time. Last week, I had the pleasure of sharing my story of how I got into the world of Shadowrun, and my excitement to see Catalyst Games’ new SHADOWRUN 2050 Campaign book. This week, I still focus on Shadowrun, but I switch gears.

I was going over the daily divination in the Poor Wizard’s Almanac, and it has become apparent to me that the year 2013 is going to be dubbed “Year of the Shadowrunner.” Why? Well, because 2013 is going to be big for all Sixth World fans. Shadowrun has essentially been a dead property when it comes to electronic media. The last good Shadowrun titles came out almost 20 years ago, and the latest one didn’t even hit American or European shores. What’s that, you say? Yes, there was one made in 2007, but notice I was talking about a “GOOD” Shadowrun game.

Now, some of you may have heard that Jordan Weisman, one of the original creators of Shadowrun, has re-acquired the license for Shadowrun. This is great news, but it’s also OLD news. He and a little company called Harebrained Schemes are making a brand new Shadowrun game… Read the rest of this entry

Back to the Shadows

I cherish those moments when I happen to stumble upon an unexpected gem that I never in my wildest GameMastering dreams would think a company would ever put out. I had one of those moments recently.
Let me tell you about a chromed up cyberpunk love affair with high fantasy that I had through high school and well into college. It was with an eclectic grab-bag of awesome called SHADOWRUN.
My first exposure to SHADOWRUN was not actually the role-playing game proper. It started back in the early 1994 with our family’s usual weekly trip to the local video rental store, and while I was perusing the game section like always, a peculiar Sega Genesis title caught my eye… Read the rest of this entry