RPPR Episode 167: Origins 2019 Wrap Up and Shadowrun 6th Edition Beginner Box Review

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Synopsis: Origins has come and gone and Birk and I have a blast there. The Shadowrun 6th Edition Beginner Box was released there so we picked up some copies for review. Bridget, our resident Shadowrun GM, joins in to see what’s changed for the new edition. Birk and I discuss a new sci-fi horror RPG, Mothership, as well as the RPGs we played at Origins.

Check out The Mixed Six for additional Origins coverage

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Song: Boxers Paradise (feat. ev?.?exi)  by Pad Chennington

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  1. Hoo boy, Shadowrun.

    …after many years of loving frustration, I kind of pieced together a picture of what’s up with it. The companies that own the IP have collapsed due to embezzling scandals more than once, and there’s no single designer or small group with a vision, so each edition gets written by committees of freelancers who tend to have very different visions of what the game’s about. Said freelancers are unprofessional enough that their disagreements often spill over into publicly viewable message boards; rather than compromise, each writes their own parts as if they’re writing for their vision of Shadowrun except when explicitly ordered to change things; I’ve heard one boasting on a podcast that he was hired to write rules for characters with HMMV (mix of ghoul virus/HIV metaphor) when he didn’t believe they should be playable, so he made it as difficult to play one as he could.

    So there’s some really cool and beautiful things in Shadowrun, but also some very stupid things and things that are creepy in the wrong way. There isn’t a cohesive vision, theme, or message, and one product doesn’t predict another one very well.

    …that said, I do think people tend to play “if you’re lucky, you can become the corps” much more than the “revenge on the Johnson” thing Ross and Bridgett were on about. Most Shadowrun players I’ve run into do seem to see the setting as a very fatalistic one, where rebellion only ever plays into the hands of the corps, so the best you can do is sell out profitably.

    Oh, and I don’t know what you’re talking about with magic being underpowered. Spells that do direct damage are always worse than using guns, but in both 4e and 5e a well-built mage can solve whole runs themselves through mind control, shape-shifting, levitation, telekinetic shenangians, and spirit summoning. I’ve never had trouble taking drain when playing a mage, but I have been able to summon spirits that did everyone else’s jobs better than they could and destroy entire enemy teams by possessing their leaders.

  2. My impression from this was that the new Shadowrun looks pretty but is more than a little tone-deaf about both cyberpunk and how RPGs have changed in the last few decades.

    As a follow-up, I am curious if Ross and Bridget have recommendations for any other cyberpunk games. I like the genre but the games seem to get bogged down in endless gear lists.

    Mothership sounds really cool and had not crossed my radar before.

    @Plan9 – I remember hearing stories of that same kind of drama in the old World of Darkness. It doesn’t make for a cohesive game line, that’s for sure..

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