I'm with Shadowrun
by, 08-16-2011 at 06:53 PM (2191 Views)
Edition wars can get heated but with Shadowrun as much as I may complain about this change or that, I love all the editions. 1e was gonzo, over the top, amazing, awesome, and a ton of fun. The rules were goofy but unique. 2050 had rockers and riggers though mages and street samurai would steal the lime light and the decker would get avoided, not because of the rules themselves but that the system map made it a solo game (for the record 4e hacking is almost the same as 1e decking, minus the focus on the system map). 1e was completely about style, screw substance! I want a turbo on my electric engine! In 1e you owned the night and hung out with the stars, shadowrunners were as much super stars as criminals. Leave your realism at the door, this is about fun! 2e tore down all the complication but started sneaking it back in with optional rules in rule book after rule book. Eventually you got a good preview of what would become 3e. 2e world grew dark, monsters lurked, shadowrunners were still the shit but they didn't flaunt it. The Street Samurai still dominated combat, the skill web was still there (though no more building a car to hide behind, ie defaulting stealth to build/repair car) and while rules and the world changed slightly you could still be a troll with a pink moehawk blasting everything in sight. There were a ton of interesting sourcebooks and adventures for 2e.
Then came the first big changes as they tried to make 3e more fun for the guys who sat in the back. Decking was less map based, Rigger rules were actually in the core book as more than a sentence, Mages and Metahumans were punished less for picking that character type, Skill web was gone for a simpler defaulting to attribute system. Pools were still there, the pink moehawk was turned down to 0 and the black trenchcoats dialed up to 11. Vampires were still super scary and otaku were not a standard character type. The source books were from dark and menacing (target wastelands) to gonzo (year of the comet) adventures turned toward a more Gibson esq stories (mob war, blood in the boardroom), wireless and space travel were more than a single paragraph though still well hidden. Armor still makes all the difference between life and death. 4e dialed those changes for more fun less style up to 11. Wireless is everywhere, you can play a technomancer, ghouls have rights to! (We used to hunt them for nuyen) you can now build any character you can think of! Ironically the rules make the pink moehawk style game tougher to make because they hard cap your skills and stats in ways that didn't exist in 1e. Dice pools are gone but karma pool er edge finally has a cap and group karma is gone. The world is more ghost in the shell than gibson but at the heart we are still shadowrunners.
... in the end the writers have had a good pulse on what the fans wanted (i remember the complaints) but maybe what we wanted wasn't really what we needed. Still, regardless of edition I pick Shadowrun! I still love this game even if its slipped to my second favorite game of all time