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  • The Shadowrun Thread

    Since it briefly came up in the D&D thread, I thought there might be some people who want to discuss this too.

    So, my starting questions: why the online Shadowrun community are so bothered with "magicrun"? Or, to a larger extent, with 5e?

    I get that CGL has issues (editing, communicating, treating freelancers, embezzlement, etc.). I get that a lot of it is just resentment toward them and how them and the writers treated the community in the past. Still, books I think are quite okay, or even good are being treated with so much acid and hate on the subreddit, or dumpshock, it's astounding to me. Like, I genuinely enjoyed Forbidden Arcana and Street Grimoire...

    I got two thoughts:

    1. Maybe I am just not bothered by the magic stuff, because I'm coming from WoD and my expectations are leaning more toward "urban fantasy with a cyberpunk background" than "cyberpunk with some magic stuff". I just like the magic stuff, easily the most interesting part of the game to me. Also, I absolutely understand why it is a huge chunk of the metaplot. Also, I don't see that magic has more books than the mundane side, but I could see that the last 3-4 books were focused on, or tied to the magic side of the game.

    2. Min-maxers. People are just butthurt that the archetypes are not equally flexible. Well, as mentioned, since I'm coming from WoD and also from D&D, I just grew accustomed to the notion that yeah, if you introduce magic, players will get creative with it and it has a lot more potential than shooting things with a gun. Also, going back to the community's attitude toward the new books, I also got the feeling that the loudest ones are just totally ignoring the fluff/story (which is very good in the late books IMO) and that they are too pent-up on some mechanical missteps in the crunch. I might add, I'm not a really mechanically keen player, nor a very experienced one in SR, but I just don't see the huge problems and it's a little funny when everybody is fuming over one bad quality or a missing table in a book.

    Edit: on the other hand, I could see that high force materialized spirits are bonkers, with their forcex2 immunity to normal weapons (seriously, I don't understand why they thought it is a good idea), but don't people are using all the fluff and rules that could restrict summoning?

    So, what do you think?
    Last edited by PMárk; 01-08-2018, 07:34 PM.


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  • #2
    It's probably an extension of wanting humanity to be on top and to play a game where the players feel more in control of things. Magic brings in a lot of uncontrollable elements, and while Shadowrun's always had them, now it seems like they're running everything and humanity and its technological advances are more of a side aspect of the game, especially as spirits, dragons and so on have grown more technologically savvy.

    I do figure it's more of a loud minority, but that's the problem with them, in a small enough community they'll be the loudest ones.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nofather View Post
      It's probably an extension of wanting humanity to be on top and to play a game where the players feel more in control of things. Magic brings in a lot of uncontrollable elements, and while Shadowrun's always had them,
      Okay, that makes sense. However, while admittedly it might be my inexperience speaking, I'm a little surprised, since, as you said, it's not exactly a new thing. We're playing 3e and I'm mostly reading 5e, so, again lack of table experience, but dragons, spirits and magic in general were bonkers too in 3e, IMO and mundane characters were equally under-equipped to deal with it.

      Also, it really might be that I'm coming from WoD and players being on the bottom of the food chain and trying more to survive against much stronger foes and basically being the underdog isn1t a new thing to me. Honestly, the first thing Shadowrun I read was the 3e corebook and it felt... homy. 5e didn't change that. maybe 4e was different?

      now it seems like they're running everything and humanity and its technological advances are more of a side aspect of the game, especially as spirits, dragons and so on have grown more technologically savvy.
      I could understand some people wanting more cyberpunk and less fantasy (though I don't have problems with it), but honestly it's a game with dragons running megacoprs and with elven countries with direct connection to the fairy realm and some individuals living on the Earth for thousands of years and bug hives under cities, etc.

      Or do you think they just seen magic as another obstacle (and tool) on a run, like security cameras and guards? That they're bothered by seeing it as something more pervasive in the setting? Still, again, I'm not seeing anything new, really, aside from the last couple of books really focusing on or tied to magic.

      I do figure it's more of a loud minority, but that's the problem with them, in a small enough community they'll be the loudest ones.
      Yeah, to the point, that if I want to enjoy the game, I tend to avoid both mentioned platforms. It's just not worth reading "WHERE ARE THE TECHNOMANCER BOOK INSTEAD OF ANOTHER MAGIC ONE" and how catalyst sucks and all of them should be fired, etc. Like, it's actively toxic sometimes. But yeah, i noticed, it's maybe not even a dozen people making the most noise.
      Last edited by PMárk; 01-08-2018, 08:29 PM.


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      • #4
        If you genuinely want to understand someone's side of an issue, supposing "Maybe they're just butthurt" isn't a good place to start.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
          If you genuinely want to understand someone's side of an issue, supposing "Maybe they're just butthurt" isn't a good place to start.
          Okay, then how could you explain your problems with it, if you have any?

          I'll be honest: "butthurt" could have been a too derisive word, but what I see, after reading through a lot of threads over there is that some people are picking some mechanical stuff from the books, sometimes as minor as one quality only and then condemn all the book and all of 5e (or they're doing it on just the basis that it's still not the techno book) and I'm just not seeing it as as big a problem. Maybe it's really different expectations, I never was so much interested in balance in a sense a lot of D&D players are, or seems like some SR ones are. I'm just more of a fluff guy.

          Like, I just finished Forbidden Arcana and the most positive thing people said about it on reddit was "good ideas, but horrible execution" and I just didn't see the huge problems in the crunch, but again, it might be my inexperience, or lack of focus on it. I've seen a lot of cool thematic elements, some of them better, some worse, most are okay and the fluff/fiction part was top-notch.
          Last edited by PMárk; 01-08-2018, 09:04 PM.


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          • #6
            A bit of addendum: I re-checked spirit materialization and immunity and it worked basically the same in 3e as it works in 5e. 4e, I don't know.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by PMárk View Post
              Also, it really might be that I'm coming from WoD and players being on the bottom of the food chain and trying more to survive against much stronger foes and basically being the underdog isn1t a new thing to me.
              I've no numbers or articles to bring it up but it does feel like a large, or loud, contingent of tabletop players (and of other media) want more control over things. Whether it's demanding comics and books to be the way they want it, movie and animated franchises to be more in line with how they want them to be, or video or tabletop games to allow more agency, there's a big push for making things more in line with the mindset of the customer. The hard part is that there's often a variety of mindsets out there and many shift to oppose one another and it's hard to satisfy two groups who disagree about things so much.

              Aside from that, with some exaggeration, with one group 'punk is dead' seems to be a big push. People don't want to struggle so much, especially against monolithic forces like the Megacorps (or if they do, they want to be reaffirmed that their outlook is the right one; you kill the dragon, the dragon is evil, everything is objectively better now). At the barest minimum they want to start off normal and fitting in, not ostracized and part of a minority.

              I could understand some people wanting more cyberpunk and less fantasy (though I don't have problems with it), but honestly it's a game with dragons running megacoprs and with elven countries with direct connection to the fairy realm and some individuals living on the Earth for thousands of years and bug hives under cities, etc.

              Or do you think they just seen magic as another obstacle (and tool) on a run, like security cameras and guards? That they're bothered by seeing it as something more pervasive in the setting? Still, again, I'm not seeing anything new, really, aside from the last couple of books really focusing on or tied to magic.
              I think if it went more hard sci-fi and the magic was toned down you would hear voices from the other side.

              But I don't think that's the only problem. Shadowrun's always had more involved mechanics, it's not an easy hurdle, and some of the newer books are not the best at explaining things. Newer players may find it too complex to warrant running, and older players just be used to the older system, though they might like aspects of the new setting or even new mechanics, and just want to have both worlds.

              From personal experience, I wish the edition advanced things more. A game that leans heavily on metaplot and its setting should, at the turn of a new edition, bring new things to the fore, instead of things more or less being status quo. Some of the novels seemed to be pushing a vampire conspiracy but I'm not sure if that's reflected much.

              Yeah, to the point, that if I want to enjoy the game, I tend to avoid both mentioned platforms. It's just not worth reading "WHERE ARE THE TECHNOMANCER BOOK INSTEAD OF ANOTHER MAGIC ONE" and how catalyst sucks and all of them should be fired, etc. Like, it's actively toxic sometimes. But yeah, i noticed, it's maybe not even a dozen people making the most noise.
              On one hand, while there's always going to be dissatisfied customers, at least in this kind of thing it alerts whoever's in charge to what kind of book should come out. Generally if you have half a dozen threads from half a dozen different people asking for more information on This and how do we do This and This was mentioned in the core but never expanded upon, maybe they should plan a book about This.

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              • #8
                I like the idea of Shadowrun. I loathe the company behind it, the racism baked into much of the setting, and the horrid rules.

                Super stoked for when The Sprawl does their totally-not-Shadowrun book.


                Call me Regina or Lex.

                Female pronouns for me, please.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PMárk View Post
                  I get that CGL has issues (editing, communicating, treating freelancers, embezzlement, etc.). I get that a lot of it is just resentment toward them and how them and the writers treated the community in the past. Still, books I think are quite okay, or even good are being treated with so much acid and hate on the subreddit, or dumpshock, it's astounding to me. Like, I genuinely enjoyed Forbidden Arcana and Street Grimoire...
                  ~welcome to why I quit the Shadowrun community~

                  Things were just getting way too toxic. Especially infuriating on breaking down thoughts and opinions and new releases. Go on Dumpshock, it's mostly "This book SUCKS. BURN IT IN A DUMPSTER FIRE!!!" while on the official CGL-backed Shadowrun forums it was mostly "This book is great! Frame it and enshrine it on my wall!!!" Was just incredibly infuriating trying to read through, that I gave up entirely.

                  And that's on top of the lingering issues with CGL's management of the Shadowrun brand and products. It's been...3-4 years since we last heard anything substantial on the Shadowrun tabletop miniatures game?

                  --------------------------------------------

                  Anyways as for the main question brought up on "Magicrun"...I think it comes down to a couple of things:

                  1. Magic has a utility and versatility that tech doesn't have.

                  That spells and adept powers are capable of effects that can not only match the stuff that tech can do, but sometimes even exceed them.

                  On top of mages not really having a limit to how many spells a mage can have at one time, which every other archetype do have hard limits to how much of their stuff they can have at any one time.

                  2. The presentation of magic and tech's cost vs benefit.

                  That the many different tech based game mechanics and character archetypes of emphasize losing something in order to gain something. Street samurai lose Essence with each new bit of cyberware and bioware they install. Deckers and riggers lose their situational awareness and involvement in "meatspace" as they do their thing in the Matrix.

                  Mages it's SUPPOSED to be that they're at risk of taking more damage the more powerful the spells are...but that can be managed if you just Min/Max the hell out of your Drain Attributes to resist most of the damage. Doesn't help that, in SR5, the Drain damage codes are hilariously inconsequential: most of the spells REDUCING the Drain value, and by a huge margin. Feels like there's one too many spells in the -3 and the -6 range of Drain modifiers (note that this without taking into account mages at high Initiation ratings and assuming they'll keep casting spells at Forces close to their buffed up Magic rating). And additionally that, while taking any cyberware and bioware would take a hit to your Magic...but it doesn't matter since the effects of augmentations can easily be replicated by spells. The only other magic mechanics that feel like a true cost vs benefit as the other archetypes would be astral projection and ritual spellcasting...but those aspects of magic characters being so niche and situational, that it almost never comes up.

                  Adepts have no major drawback as far as I can recall, aside from the Essence thing (and hence the "adepts ruined street samurai" thing...which to be fair has been an issue as far back as 1e-2e).

                  Whether the cost vs benefit is actually true when you break down the numbers...I admit I don't know for sure. I think I saw something that when breaking down the karma costs of spells vs nuyen costs of augmentations were...slightly more even then people thought, but not by much.

                  (as a heads up, this wall o' text is mostly based off of personal experience surrounding SR20a and readings of the SR5e rulebook. if they made any changes or additions in other books, I'm unaware of them)
                  Last edited by tasti man LH; 01-08-2018, 10:09 PM.

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                  • #10
                    My late uncle used to write Shadowrun fanfiction. He never actually played the game, but writing was a big hobby of his, and he appreciated having a fully developed urban sci-fantasy setting to write stories in, and the built-in audience it provided. Apparently his stuff was pretty popular, though I’ve never read any of it. That’s about the extent of my knowledge of Shadowrun though.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                      I like the idea of Shadowrun. I loathe the company behind it, the racism baked into much of the setting, and the horrid rules.
                      What, the "orks and trolls as stand-ins for oppressed minorities" angle?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                        I like the idea of Shadowrun. I loathe the company behind it, the racism baked into much of the setting, and the horrid rules.

                        Super stoked for when The Sprawl does their totally-not-Shadowrun book.
                        What book is this?

                        If you like the Sprawl check out the Veil, also powered by the apocalypse. There's a second printing soon.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by An Fhuiseog View Post
                          What book is this?

                          If you like the Sprawl check out the Veil, also powered by the apocalypse. There's a second printing soon.
                          Touched. It’s three settings, one of which adds magic and metatypes.

                          I really kind of loathe The Veil.


                          Call me Regina or Lex.

                          Female pronouns for me, please.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nofather View Post

                            I've no numbers or articles to bring it up but it does feel like a large, or loud, contingent of tabletop players (and of other media) want more control over things. Whether it's demanding comics and books to be the way they want it, movie and animated franchises to be more in line with how they want them to be, or video or tabletop games to allow more agency, there's a big push for making things more in line with the mindset of the customer. The hard part is that there's often a variety of mindsets out there and many shift to oppose one another and it's hard to satisfy two groups who disagree about things so much.
                            Yeah, i don't envy the writers...

                            Aside from that, with some exaggeration, with one group 'punk is dead' seems to be a big push. People don't want to struggle so much, especially against monolithic forces like the Megacorps (or if they do, they want to be reaffirmed that their outlook is the right one; you kill the dragon, the dragon is evil, everything is objectively better now). At the barest minimum they want to start off normal and fitting in, not ostracized and part of a minority.
                            Hmmm. That's quite interesting. I did notice some complaining about 5e being "unnecessarily backwards (with slang and such)", or "riding the nostalgia train", or "unnecessarily edgy". Since I don't have experiences with 4/20th e, I can't compare to that, my basis for comparison is 3e and I'm satisfied with the results. However, I did read something about 4e being more "pink mohawks", (ie. more light-hearted) and 5 more "black trenchcoats and mirrorshades" (ie. more dark and gritty). If that's true, it's nor surprise that I don't have such problems with 5e, since I tend to prefer the later in games like SR, or WoD and I do like the aforementioned elements. Generally, I very much like the punk aspects.


                            I think if it went more hard sci-fi and the magic was toned down you would hear voices from the other side.
                            Yeah. If, for example, Adepts wouldn't have got anything since the corebook I guess I'd be pissed, so I can understand that.

                            But I don't think that's the only problem. Shadowrun's always had more involved mechanics, it's not an easy hurdle, and some of the newer books are not the best at explaining things.
                            Hmm, again, no experiences with 4e, but I think it's much, much better than 3e. I liked a lot about that, but it was horrible as a rulebook. The 5e core is fine and I didn't have any serious problems with the supplements I read so far. I recall some complaining about inserting fluff and jackpionter banter into the rules sections, but honestly, I like that, I never was a fan of reading pages upon pages of crunch, it's just too dry for me and rules-focused books are generally a drag. I like crunch, but I like it was broken up a little in 5e books.

                            Newer players may find it too complex to warrant running, and older players just be used to the older system, though they might like aspects of the new setting or even new mechanics, and just want to have both worlds.
                            Yes, that's generally the problem with more complex games, sadly. :/ However, interestingly, according to IcV2, it's still the fourth most played game in FLGs, if I'm being correct. Presumably because of Missions.

                            From personal experience, I wish the edition advanced things more. A game that leans heavily on metaplot and its setting should, at the turn of a new edition, bring new things to the fore, instead of things more or less being status quo. Some of the novels seemed to be pushing a vampire conspiracy but I'm not sure if that's reflected much.
                            Forbidden Arcana had some bombs in it and I1m currently reading Dark terrors, so I could sum it up later. Book of the Lost was interesting, but I think it got carried away with the mysticism and symbolism angle and didn1t give enough grips for the GM to run it as the core of a campaign. But yeah, as far as I could tell, as a newbie, it seems like 5e so far lacked any really-really big events.

                            On one hand, while there's always going to be dissatisfied customers, at least in this kind of thing it alerts whoever's in charge to what kind of book should come out. Generally if you have half a dozen threads from half a dozen different people asking for more information on This and how do we do This and This was mentioned in the core but never expanded upon, maybe they should plan a book about This.
                            Yes and I could get their frustration. Honestly, I think CGL should really finish that Matrix book with the technos in it, although at this point I can't imagine any scenario it going down well with those people.

                            I also admit I might be a tad indifferent, because to be honest, I'm not that interested in the Matrix angle and Technos isn't really my thing. On the flipside, i'm interested in the magic stuff, so it's a bit like I'm not being angry, because I get stuff I want and don't really miss the other stuff still missing.


                            If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                              I like the idea of Shadowrun. I loathe the company behind it, the racism baked into much of the setting, and the horrid rules.

                              Super stoked for when The Sprawl does their totally-not-Shadowrun book.
                              Heh, I would like to say I'm not surprised by a bit. Also, not surprisingly, I disagree, but that's okay it's personal tastes and preferences.

                              Sprawl... Ok, another PBtA game, not really interested, not my thing, but I'd admit, the pictures on the KS page are really great, I might like them even more than the art direction of SR 5e (which is sometime great, sometimes meh). Sprawl seems to be right up my alley visually.


                              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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