Intro: What the hell is this?
Shadowrun is a pen and paper game, that came out in the 1980's. It was based in a gritty film noire like future, where drugs, greed, and political corruption were more important then the average man. Corporations became countries, whole entire secceded nations with totalitarian dictatorships. Imagine if Microsoft bought like, Cuba and then did whatever the hell he wanted with it, then Steve Jobs was like, "Man, I want me some of that," then he buys Jamaica. Then everyone turns into Goblins, Orcs and Elves. People freak the hell out, and then some of them suddenly have magic.
Then Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs and like, the guys who own other companies, (Monsanto or something,) decided "Hey America is going through some crazy shit, let's try and divvy it up." So everyone buys chunks. Then Cyberware comes out and people are going into chopshops to install new and crazy shit into their bodies. (Cyberware is where you replace pieces of yourself with machines.)
Anyways, during all of this the internet is evolving, and it's gone from computers on your desk, to computers in your head. The ware works by jacking into your head, and directly stimulating your brain creating these crazy augmented realities. It's pretty cool, like if instead of posting on an internet forum, you just logged in and had shouting matches with tumblrites.
Hasn't someone done a Gens Shadowrun LP?
From what I know? No, someone's done one of the SNES game, and I couldn't find a GENS one on the lparchive. I feel like I'm bringing something new to the table, but seriously, feel free to call me shit for brains if you hate me for this or something.
Ok explain the mechanics
You walk around in city hubs, taking semi-random quests from Johnsons to earn money, so that you can go to the next part of the story. You patch together clues, and try to piece together why your Brother Michael died the way he did.
Table of Contents
- Chapter I: Hello Seattle!
- Chapter II: Sleepless in Seattle
- Chapter III: Johnny Mnemonic
- Chapter IV: Neuromancer
- Chapter V: Penumbra District
- Chapter VI: Meet the Runners
- Chapter VII: I Shale not take it for granite
- Chapter VIII: Renraku Roll
- Chapter IX: Neuromancer ain't got nothin' on me
- Chapter X: Contacts, get your Contacts here
- Chapter XI: Return to plot
- Chapter XII: The End
Warning: incoming sperging.
The game glosses over the numbers for the most part, but it pretty consistently uses the numbers from the PnP game. For example, a laser sight reduces the target number for ranged attacks with the weapon by 1 (so a 4+ to hit becomes a 3+), while a smartlink reduces it by 2 - that's why smartlinks actually cost essence to use, because they're fucking amazing. You can have a target number greater than 6; any dice that roll a 6 get to roll again and add the second roll to their total. The probability curve gets kind of weird.
For most actions, you generally only need a single successful roll, but additional successful rolls give you increased benefits. Let's look at the shitty pistol from the beginning of the game: The Colt American L36. It has a damage rating of 6L, which means if you shoot someone, they take a light wound (1 pip) with a power of 6. Now, if you manage to roll really well on your attack roll and get a couple extra successes, you can "stage up" the damage to moderate, which would deal 3 pips instead. If you roll FANTASTICALLY and get four extra successes, you can stage up the damage again to serious, which would deal 6 pips. Note, however, that you would need to roll at least 5 dice for this to happen and they would have to all succeed.
Now, let's assume that you did hit, and inflicted a 6L wound on the target. We know what the L part means, they take 1 pip of damage. Why's there another number? Well, that's because they don't take damage quite yet. Whenever damage is dealt in Shadowrun, the target has the opportunity to "soak" (resist) the damage and reduce its severity. The target number for the soak is the power of the attack, in this case "6", and the unlucky schlub gets to roll a number of dice equal to their Body attribute. Every two successes they make on their soak roll reduces the damage by one stage. If the damage is reduced to lower than "L", it's negated entirely, null perspiration. Armor helps by directly reducing the target number - a ballistic protection of 2 will reduce the target number needed to soak bullets by 2, and so forth.
An Ares Predator, which is the most commonly used player weapon, deals 9M damage. Not only does it deal one more stage of damage to begin with (meaning negating the damage entirely requires 4 successes instead of 2), it's much more powerful. The base target number to resist damage is a 9, meaning that you need some serious armor in order to have a chance of soaking the damage consistently.
The Allegiance shotgun, on the other hand, deals 10S damage. This gun will put any unarmored target on the ground in two shots, and will consistently deal good damage to even well-armored targets (assuming you hit). In order to negate the damage entirely, a target would need to roll 6 successes against a base target number of 10. Even with solid armor, that's a very tall order. Most people don't even have 6 dice to roll - you roll dice equal to your Body attribute, which maxes out at 6 for humans. Much better to just dodge the attack entirely.
You know that Posture thing that was kind of glossed over? That's actually something from the PnP game too, called 'Combat Pool', and it's incredibly relevant to not dying (also hitting things harder). It's a pool of dice that you get every combat round that you can apply towards attack or defense. Because the genesis shadowrun is real-time instead of divided up into combat rounds, it's abstracted, but generally pips on offense means more dice for attack (added to your dice from skill), and pips on defense means dice for defense - not more, because there's no "dodge" skill and you don't get any defensive dice by default. When you apply it towards defense, you subtract your successes directly from an enemy's successes. If you roll two successes on defense and the enemy rolls two successes on offense, guess what? You dodge the enemy's attack entirely. There's different pools that do more or less the same thing for magic and decking. Your Posture (aka Combat Pool) goes up as you raise your quickness, intelligence, and willpower stats.
Why are we so worried about taking damage? I mean, your health goes up to 100% and most weapons are only gonna deal one or three pips of damage, right?
Well, no. The Genesis game uses a percentage system that starts at 100% to abstract it but you really have only 10 pips of health, so you'll never see anything other than 10% increments. And being hurt sucks. Taking a single scratch (1 pip of damage) puts you at 'Lightly Wounded', which increases the target number for almost all your actions by 1. Your TN to hit a guy is 4 normally? Now it's 5. If you take a moderate wound (at least 3 pips of damage), that jumps to a +2 modifier. Have fun hitting anything when your target number is a 6. A serious wound, which is 6 pips of damage (or 40% or less health remaining) jacks it up to +3, which means even normally trivial tasks (only need a 2+) suddenly become hard (need a 5+) and hard tasks become nearly impossible. Naturally, once you've taken 10 pips of damage you're unconscious, bleeding out, and dying. If you're unlucky (and unarmored), you'll go down to two gunshots. If you're really unlucky, you'll go down to one shotgun slug. If you aren't evading/soaking damage effectively, even cheap light pistols will take you down in ten shots. It's always worthwhile to have the best available armor as soon as you can afford it, backed up with the highest Body attribute you can afford.
There's also two separate damage meters in the game, mental and physical. In the pen and paper these were referred to as stun and lethal but they operate the same way. Stun or "mental" damage is dealt by things like concussion grenades, sleep gas, most magical drain, and good old fashioned bareknuckle brawling as well as cyberspace misadventures. Physical damage is getting stabbed or shot or blown up. They both accumulate separately, although if you take too much mental damage some of it will overflow into physical damage (someone punching you repeatedly will eventually kill you), but it's mostly irrelevant considering that when you take 10 pips of mental damage you are knocked the fuck out and not contributing to the fight anymore.
Once you start taking damage, it's hard to avoid taking more and while you can heal yourself using medkits/magic, the more injured you are the harder it is to successfully heal yourself.
Skill points called Karma, and you punch them into skills / attributes to level up.
Attributes require the number in Karma points to upgrade to the next level, Skills generally require twice that:
Like, it takes 5 Karma Points to take Body up to 5, but it would take 10 points to get sorcery up.
Your level up screen is broken into two parts the first one
Body: This increases your defense rating against just about everything, in both combat and cybercombat. How tough you are, basically. A must have.
Quickness: This increases your movement and attack speed- useful if you prefer a hit and run fighting style (and when you first start out, you WILL want to keep enemies at a distance), as well as increasing your attack rating for anything you do.
Strength: Increases melee damage, and grenade accuracy. If you like hand to hand combat or throwing grenades, this is a must.
Charisma: Reduces the hiring cost for Shadowrunners and increases fast-talk success. It can save you cash-and in a Run inside a Corp building, it can mean the difference between breezing in and out, and getting caught in a full scale defensive storm.
Intelligence: Increases attack speed and attack rating. Especially good for Mages and Shamans.
Willpower: Reduces mana drain from casting spells and increases attack rating. Invaluable for Shamans and Mages.
Essence: Magical healing rate. Starts at 6, decreases for every bit of Cyberware installed. If you're a Shaman or Mage, KEEP IT AT 6.
Magic: The maximum level spell you can learn. If you're a Shaman or Mage, DON'T GET CYBERWARE! Keep it at 6, or you'll lose all your effectiveness as a spellcaster!
Along with this, you have 8 skills, (with Firearms having 3 sub-skills.)
Sorcery: Not only increases your skill with magic, but ALSO increases defense against magical attacks-and armor doesn't protect against spells, only bullets and melee attacks.
Firearms: Increases your skill with ALL guns. The best possible skill for a Samurai, and also good for a Decker.
Pistols, SMGs, Shotguns: These only improve your ability with one type of gun, but only cost half as much to increase. A trick, is for cheaper skills, is to not touch the sub-skils, and instead just max out Firearms. It makes it a lot cheaper.
Melee Combat: Melee combat doesn't cost bullets, which means you can use it even when the guns are empty. A good skill for ALL three archetypes.
Throwing: Grenades. I never saw much use for these things, but you may. This will let a frag grenade do the damage it's supposed to.
Computer: This is THE skill for a Decker. If you are a Decker, or have a Decker teammate, this is the skill to max out. Samurai may also benefit from this skill- but Shamans and Mages should NEVER make use of ANY Cyberware. Vital for the completion of many Run types.
Biotech: Increases the amount of healing you can do with a Medkit. And Medkits are much more portable than a bunch of Stim Patches and Trauma Patches.
Electronics: This increases success when trying to pick an electronic lock-the only type you're likely to see in this game. Even after you get a Maglock Passkey, you're still going to need this to shut off alarms-and get clues for completing the really big Runs.
Reputation: How well the rest of Seattle knows you. A high Rep can get you in to some places that you otherwise couldn't, or would have to pay to get in to. Only Joshua's reputation has any bearing in the game.
Negotiation: Increases the amount of cash you can get for a completed Shadowrun, and helps get a better bargain when buying or selling. When making big purchases of the expensive equipment, you want the guy with the highest Negotiation skill to do the buying-it can literally save you thousands of Nuyen