Shadowrun without Shadowrunners

edited July 2008 in Story Games
Listening to the RPG podcasts, it seems that a few people have adapted different games to the Shadowrun setting. Mortal Coil and Dread, I believe, were mentioned.

What I want to know is: has anyone run a Shadowrun game with PCs as anything but criminals and freedom fighters? Has anyone run an entirely different style of game in the Shadowrun setting? Did you use the Shadowrun rules, bring in rules from another game, or roll your own?



  • Not with Shadowrun, but with its feather-haired hot cousin Cyberpunk 2020. I did a repo man game in which the characters were low-rent thieves who worked for an asshole in a cowboy hat who stole people's cars for banks.

    I also did a game in which they were all clerks in a mallplex, inspired by, naturally, Clerks. It was one of my very first "slacker" games, I have gone back to that well many times over the years, the first time was not as good as the later times.
  • Yup, we almost never play Shadowrun as actualy runners. First Shadowrun campaign 2 years and the PCs were the leaders of a gang in Los Angeles.
    The campaign we're doing now, they were Lone Star officers (they recently faked their own deaths and went on the run).

    The next campaign will be closer to a regular Shadowrun game, but they'll fame-whoring LA runners who have a crappy band.
  • Oh, I forgot, I also intended at one point to run a techno-thriller game with the PCs being all normal people who'd been trapped inside the Renraku arcology when it was taken over by the crazy AI. That didn't end up coalescing, though.
  • The last full campaign of Shadowrun I did (about 13 years ago now, yikes!) was with the PCs as cops in Los Angeles. It was awesome, and I'll never forget it. The SR campaign before it was a traditional runner team, and when that wrapped we wanted to do something different with the game so instead of fighting against the Man, the PCs were the Man. I had a nice rivalry going between the steadily losing-ground LAPD and the corporate security hired to police those parts of the city that had the tax base to pay for it. The Cops ended up in a massive corruption scandal involving Aztechnology that led them to going rogue at the end of the campaign. Justice, Not Law! Awesome!
  • I really adore the phrase "feather-haired hot cousin Cyberpunk 2020."

    I once ran a Shadowrun minicampaign in which the PCs were bee spirits foraging for dreams and protecting their hive. That was creepy.

    In my longest running Shadowrun FTF campaign (1st edition rules, back in 1990 or so) the PCs mostly did runs to support their blues bar, or help people they knew, sometimes for free, but when they had a client who could pay they gouged plenty. Elementals don't summon themselves, ya know.

    In a series of one-shot adventures, The Barada Brothers were calculating goblin martyrs who brought stylish justice to the streets, although we never ran the episode where TV producers wanted to productize them.

    I did a lot of other one-shots with both teams of typical runners, and nonconventional PCs like JT, who made artificial life as an artform, which sometimes ate cars, or Meadbhb, an elven princess who liked to talk to things, with chaos rippling in her wake. Or both, like the Shadowrun team who got hired as managers just so they could be ringers in the annual Engineering-Marketing forest paintball team-building adventure.

    I started out using 1st edition Shadowrun and then drifted the rules (and the setting even more), then went through numerous other systems trying to capture the feel I wanted (Sean Stewart's Resurrection Man/Galveston/Night Watch, mostly). First changed to a point-buy system, kept changing rules until very little of the original was left, then switched to Torg, Feng Shui, and L5R (which was very quick and lethal). I've made a couple failed stabs at adapting Dogs in the Vineyard for Shadowrun. I'm following the Agon Shadowrun conversion with great interest, although I haven't heard any details of how that went at Go Play NW 2008, and would really like to. The thing I like best in ShadowAgon is the GM has a limited strife budget for the opposition, and that defensive turtling is not a useful option.

    My latest stab in the dark was Committee for the Explanation of How Our Shadowrun Went Down but haven't actually run it. Don't Rest Your Head has also occured to me, with Magic/Cyber replacing Madness.

    In practice, the things I liked most about the version of Shadowrun I ran so long ago (Life out of balance, transformative power of story, the price and value of friendship) had little overlap with the sorts of things by-the-book Shadowrun seems to be about (big guns and corporate screwjobs).

    From 1990 to 1993 I ran a 770 turn PBEM in which the POV PC was a sociology grad student studying shamanism, after a failed experiment. It didn't end well (does any PBEM?) but the good parts were as good as anything I've ever run, and I learned a great deal in the process. Eventually.
  • I have run far too many Shadowrun games over the years. I've set it before and I'll say it again: Shadowrun is the stupidest, most fundamentally pants-on-head retarded RPG setting ever created and simultaneously the most balls-to-the-wall metal, awesome thing of beauty to have come from the whole industry. How something so dumb can be so wonderful fills me with a certain guilty thrill every time I think about it. Damn, I love that game.

    Over the years (mostly, but not exclusively the 90s) I ran campaigns which had the PCs as:

    * Beat Cops, working for Lone Star in Seattle.
    * Cops, working in the Paranormal Investigation Division of Lone Star.
    * Corporate bodyguards and troubleshooters, mostly hunting down stuff Runners had stolen.
    * Detectives. Because those Shadowrun novels about the detective that Nigel Findlay wrote were Teh Awesome.
    * A Docwagon Crash Team.
    * A Film Crew, filming a wildlife show which was basically the Sixth World version of Crocodile Hunter. Each week there were trying to track down a different freaky monster in a different part of the world.
    * Gangers. This was a whole mess of fun because the gangers all wanted something different for the gang: some wanted money by dealing BTLs and other wanted to run protection rackets while others just wanted to keep the status quo because they were convinced that was the only thing preventing them from being destroyed. Very open ended, but ended up having one of the best stories of all the games I've ever run.
    * Gangsters in London. Because that's pretty cool too. Very Bob Hoskins.
    * A Grunge Band.
    * Monster Hunters. Basically the guys who get rid of the potentially embarrassing infestations of awakened critters you might have in your basement...
    * Street Vigilantes. Bound to happen sooner or later.
    * Universal Brotherhood cultists. That was pretty funny.

    Probably a ton more I've forgotten as well. We played that game a lot in those days.

    (Freaky, I've just noticed that I've written that list in alphabetical order without realising it...)
  • We played a fun Shadowrun via Prime Time Adventures game last year.

    The series was called The Company, based around a set of corporate cops. Cast complete with cynical old corporate mage, young rookie wild card and chief whose brother is in the Mafia... Obviously the entire series was filmed in a 1980s style, with rolled up suit sleeves and bad punk hairdos.
  • My favorite campaign idea: Young, idealistic media people want to hit it big time by trying to find eye witnesses to echo mirage and are in way over their head before they load the first vidchip ... planned to be run with PtA.
  • I like that!

    It would also lend itself to a rotating stable of characters and some of those crazy unreliable narration techniques we talked about in other threads recently...
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