Shadowrun Campaigns Revisited #1 – 1st Gen – Set Up

Covers 102 Sessions from the 29th of January 2009 to the 22nd of October 2013.

Shadowrun is a science fantasy tabletop role-playing game set in a near-future fictional universe in which cybernetics, magic and fantasy creatures co-exist. It combines genres of cyberpunk, urban fantasy and crime with occasional elements of conspiracy, horror and detective fiction.

This was my first foray into running the Shadowrun rules set. Previously I had only played in games with two different games masters but I had a few enthusiastic players who loved the setting so I did some preparation work, read some novels and bought the books. This was around the time the 4th Edition was released which is where I started by picking it up at a local convention in Canberra. Shadowrun was not easy to find here in Australia – I have only seen one store in Sydney (4 hrs drive) that had them on their shelf even though many stores could order them in. It was cheaper most of the time to order interstate or international than it was to go through a local retailer.

I had more players than I needed for a single group so I worked out running two groups might be a good starting point and started talking to players about building characters. For this game I wanted people to “create a character they want to play” instead of “fill a spot on the team” as story can work around such limitations. As such I asked them not to coordinate character creation but just make up something they are inspired by.

The concept of the game was that they were all runner level characters starting out in the Shadows not knowing anyone else who does this and about to go on their first run.

Group 1 came to me with a unique character concept: a mage, who used mind control powers to get what he wanted in the shadows. This group had three players and each player while slightly different was built on the same theme. I loved it as it made for an interesting starting point for the campaign. The rest of the group fitted around the character nicely.

Group 2 came to me with a two unique characters and four interlinked characters who had been running for years as a team. So they failed the planned character creation test and were unhappy with their back story reduced to boosting cars gear from those who can’t afford to protect them better. Their game story lasted one session before we closed it off. But it did generate some good plot hooks that stayed in the game for more than a year.

I organised the games into years as part of running them to see what plots would last or be resolved over that time. This campaign was designed from the start to be a character driven narrative; meaning that players define the story and not set adventures though that does not stop them for getting something they had not planned or expected. The first storyline lasted for five years before all the characters were retired and a new group of characters were brought in. The new characters were called gen 2 and they will be detailed in a another series of post.

Over the next couple of posts I will go into each of the years (or seasons) of the story talking about rules, characters and plot hooks that happened. The first year was meant to be 2070 until I picked up the Emergence supplement and then shifted back the game date one year to make it still playable in the correct timeline.

Here is a breakdown of the 1st Gen campaign by rules edition and year.

4th Edition Shadowrun

Ran for 37 Sessions from the 29th of January 2009 to the 26th of November 2010.

Year 1 (2009/2069) 20 Sessions – The Origins Story –Sessions 1 to 19, and a playtest. 20 Sessions from 29th January 2009 to 7th December 2009

Year 2 (2010/2070) 18 Sessions – Emergence – Session 20 to 37. 18 Sessions from 19th January 2010 to 26th October 2010

Conversion to 20th Anniversary Edition

A total of 65 Sessions from the 9th of November 2010 to the 22nd of October 2013.

Year 2 (2010/2070) 3 Sessions – Emergence – Session 38 to 40. 3 Sessions from 9th November 2010 to 7th December 2010.

Year 3 (2011/2071) 23 Sessions – Ghost Cartels – Session 41 to 63. 23 Sessions from 18th January 2011 to 20th December 2011.

Year 4 (2012/2072) 24 Sessions – Dawn of the Artefacts – Session 64 to 87. 24 Sessions from 3rd January 2012 to 18th December 2012.

Year 5 (2013/2073) 15 Sessions – Horizon – Session 88 to 102. 15 Sessions from 12th March 2013 to 22nd October 2013.

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