A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Shadowrun of Yesterday - 1st session

So over the weekend I sat Jason and Krissi down to beta-test (and play, duh) Shadowrun of Yesterday, which is my conversion of Shadowrun to Shadow of Yesterday rules. For the novice, with no clue of what I'm talking about, Shadowrun is a cyberpunk-with-magic game that is pretty "crunchy", or rules heavy. Resolving two guys shooting guns at each other takes awhile since everyone has to roll for each shot, and roll to avoid damage and roll to soak damage, and then shoot back, etc etc etc. Shadow of Yesterday is a rules-light and very flexible system that is geared toward fantasy sword-and-sorcery gaming.

So having come up with a conversion that seemed to work on paper and in my head, I figured we'd give it a real try.

Jason created a "Face" type character, and Krissi created a covert-ops/physical adept type of character. On the fly, I planned a pretty simple delivery run, and quickly arranged for them to meet with Mr. Johnson. It felt a little funny when I said "He explains the job, and offers a price, which is a pretty fair price." It felt a little funny because one of the elements of the games of Shadowrun that I was always in, involved haggling over the cost, and trying to get more cash out of the Johnson, since 'Runners are always starved for cash. Delta grade cyberware is expensive. Anyway, after feeling off balance for just a moment, it kinda resolved itself - Jason had "Key of the Face", and we figured we could make a conflict out of it - I think Jason used "Sway", and I used a "Negotiate" ability for the Johnson. We negotiated stakes that if Jason won the conflict, he would net 2XP for hitting his key, but if he lost, he wouldn't take the XP for hitting the key, and he would have to spend a Pool point from Mind. He won the conflict. Note to self - maybe we should not make "not getting XP" part of stakes. Seems as though that might be somewhat against the spirit of the game.

The Johnson wanted them to deliver a small package to a Research and Development facility across town. Expected resistance? Yes, but small time, no details beyond that. So off they went, into their car, and onto the highway. Only a few minutes passed before they saw the blue lights of a local security corp cruiser behind them. They pulled over, and were ordered out of the car, felony style. Realizing that this was not a usual traffic stop, they decided to cut and run, and hopped into the car, narrowly avoiding being tazed. That was a conflict, btw. Just to keep things interesting and continue flexing the system, Krissi wanted her character to hop back into her car, dukes of hazard style. The cops would of course react, so I told her that we'd go to the dice. If she won, she was in the car and accelerating, if she lost, she got hit with a tazer and was on the ground and hurting and that we'd go from there. She was down with this, and she won. Off they went, and the police cruiser behind them. Now we had a car chase. Again, we went to the dice, deciding that if Krissi won, she'd thrown off her pursuit, but if she lost, that she'd found herself stuck in traffic, the cop pulling up right behind her, with few or no options for continuing in her car. My players were spending pool points, and a couple of gift dice, and I was spending some pool points for my NPCs. They tied, and so no one was successful, Krissi's character didn't evade, but she was still on open road. On the chase went, now down on city streets, instead of on the highway. Another security vehicle pulled in for the chase, and I figured we'd go to dice again. If she won, she lost them in the narrow city streets, but if she lost, she was boxed in by four security cars. ouch! She won. The security vehicles sped off, in futile pursuit of a target that they'd lost.

They proceeded across town, reaching the corporate enclave where the R&D facility was. It was gated and guarded, so they pulled into the line of cars waiting at one of the security gates. After thinking about trying to sneak in, they decided to try their luck with the guards, and so Jason's character straightened his hair and easily talked the security guard into letting them into the facility. It was a conflict, with the stakes being either them being allowed in, or turned away and forced to find another means of entry. Inside, they found the facility and pulled into the parking lot. Just on the fly, and since I wanted to throw something more at them, I decided that there were a couple of guys who wanted to get their hands on the package, and that they'd setup an ambush here in the parking lot. Our characters parked and surveyed the scene, expecting a trap (hey - its shadowrun). They decided that Krissi's character would lurk through the parking lot, basically lying in ambush for any ambushers, while Jason's character headed for the front door. Sure enough, from around the corner a small but armed drone came toward them, while from the other direction a minivan pulled toward them. Krissi's character immediately leapt for the drone, getting XP for Seat Of The Pants, and using one of her Secrets that involved her jumping clean over a parked car, while Jason's character sought cover from the minivan. We went to dice for Krissi, and she won, allowing her to bust up the drone's miniguns, and meanwhile a combat mage stepped out of the van, and Jason's character took a shot at him. We went to dice, Jason wanting to take out the mage, and the mage in turn wanting to take out Jason. Jason lost the contest, and so Brought Down the Pain. The mage's intent was to render Jason's character unconscious - he wanted the package. Jason's intent was simply to resist the manabolts that the mage was going to be throwing at him. I paused here, as Jason and I haggled over intentions for a BDtP, and how it felt to me that Jason's intent was too granular, and seemed more like an action to me. Jason's character had a higher Resist attribute than he did Firearms. We worked out that Jason's character was focusing on resisting the stunning effects of the mage's manabolts, hoping that the mage would take more drain than he could handle and be taken out of the fight. This is an unusual use of this ability. Normally, the Resist ability, which is innate, is defensive only, and you cannot cause harm with it. Well, the whole point of BDtP is to cause harm to your opponent and make your intent come to pass. It only took one round for Jason to realize that if he was being Defensive only, that he'd inevitably loose the fight. He wanted to use Resist to cause Harm to the mage. Winging it, I told him sure, and that we'd work out the details afterward, so the mage used his Destruction ability, while Jason used his Resist ability. I wanted this to be Parallel, or that they would both be damaging each other. Jason wanted it to be Perpendicular, where the winner did harm to the loser. We'd rolled, the mage getting one success, and Jason getting four successes. I argued that it would be possible for the mage to do one harm to Jason, while taking four harm himself, from Drain. Jason wanted the mage to take three harm, and none himself. I relented, when it seemed clear that neither of us were going to be completely persuaded to the other perspective. So we went a few more rounds, with Jason consistently rolling better than the mage was, and soon the mage dropped out of the conflict, causing Jason's intent to come to pass. They'd taken out their opposition, and now had an unobstructed path to the door. Still not wanting to "give up", I threw a little more opposition at them, a cybered up street samurai came around from behind the van, a katana raised over his head. Krissi declared that her character would rush to meet him, and wanted a close combat ability check, but wanted to use her Athletics to support it, hoping for some bonus dice. I told her sure, that her successes or failures would give her bonus or penalty dice on the combat roll, and decided that in turn, the street sam would use his Battle ability, looking for an advantage, to mirror Krissi's mechanics. She got like four bonus dice, while the street sam only got two. We rolled the conflict and she won, handily sending the street sam to the pavement. They walked into the facility, made the hand off, and were done.

It seemed to go well to me, and both players seemed to enjoy themselves. Jason is an old school shadowrun fan, who enjoys the game, likes the hard "crunch" of the system, but agrees that its sorta broken and takes a long time and gets bogged down in numbers. So, Shadowrun of Yesterday seemed mostly sweet for him, while still missing a little of the crunchiness of the regular shadowrun system.

We'll be playing again this evening, Krissi and Jason will be reprising their roles, and we'll have Davery and Christin joining us for more playing and testing fun.

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