Building Shadowrun using Genesys rules – Part 1

5th Edition Shadowrun

This is a conceptual post about my journey building a Shadowrun campaign using the Genesys rule systems and how I am planning on introducing it to my players.

Part 1 is a rundown of why I am looking to use the different rules set just as the 6th edition of the game is about to be released to the world.

I could just use the official edition of the game or run a different game all together but I like the setting and just want to see if my group can enjoy the game with different rules.

Why the change in the rules

The existing rules are too complex for the casual play style I like to run as a games master (person running the story). The rules in the core book are not easy to read or reference and focus heavily on the miniature style strategic game play that makes combat resolution a minefield to adjudicate. I did this for 10 years for one story line and kept running into players either abusing the rules, applying different rules than other players, or arguing the interpretation of the rules. As a person running the game this is not a fun way to spend my time and is not what I agreed to run.

5th Edition Shadowrun – Simple rules

There is a light version of Shadowrun called Anarchy where they strip down the rules but have the same six sided dice used in the full version of the game. This is described as a narrative ruleset compared to the strategic ruleset of the core rules. I was going to trial this with my group but some of my players stated that they were not willing to do so.

I like to use narrative rules as it encourages roleplaying over dice rolling as the solution to outcomes. In a narrative system you can describe the outcome and have a lot more ownership of it as a player whereas with a dice based strategic system you can only narrate your intentions and the games master is required to narrate what happens including the outcome. The genesys system allows the players to have ownership over the resolution of the dice roll, fully knowing what the outcome is by a roll of the dice. Their interpretation of the events is valid as long as its within the constraints of the rules.

Genesys core book

An example of this is that you can succeed with complications and there are a list of complications that can occur with your dice roll. So you can select what happens and narrate it for your character; such as you shoot your opponent, hitting them for six damage and empty your weapon of ammunition at the same time.

You can describe this as lining up your opponent, hitting them with a burst of fire that only ends when your gun runs out of bullets.

Now the result of the hit is outside the narrative of the player as that can be determined by the target’s abilities, equipment and character type.

How can Genesys simulate Shadowrun?

Terrinoth (fantasy) core book

Shadowrun is a merging of Fantasy and Cyberpunk.

The generic rules of Genesys gives me magic, alternate humans and some fantasy races. It also shows what other setting specific rules maybe considered in the future that will share the Genesys rules.

For a complete set of fantasy rules I can draw from Realms of Terrinoth which gives me more fantasy races and advanced spellcasting rules with magical items.

Android (cyberpunk) core book

For a complete set of cyberpunk rules I can draw from Android Shadows of the Beanstalk which will provide variations of humanity, hacking and near future technology.

Combining the three books will give me a nice starting setting for Shadowrun which I will rebuild for my players as a setting inspired by Shadowrun, their characters, Android and set the 4th world as Terrinoth, making the 6th world a reawaking of that world into ours.

The planned Setting

So the plan at this stage is to bring the characters together in a time frame set around now as the re-awaking, with a bunch of characters living through a timeline that will see an asteroid brought into Earth’s orbit to form the tether for the space elevator known as the beanstalk.

These characters will either evolve with the return of magic or become the parents, siblings or contacts of the next generation of characters.

The next article on Building Shadowrun using Genesys this will go into how I plan to do character creation for this game with some specifics.

Shadowrun Posts:

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