2006-11-26 Shadowrun in Zürich

Success! When we came back from Bangkok I had an invitation for a Shadowrun session last Friday waiting for me in my mailbox. Ignoring jetlag, I took all my dice, three frozen pizzas, and a bowl of salad to join this new session. We agreed to make up characters as we went along and I decided to play a weapons expert acting as the bodyguard for another player who had chosen to play a retired army officer running his own security consulting company. The setting was calm and quiet Zürich with the center of town sealed off from the rest. We were to retrieve a little girl from there. It seemed as if she had been kidnapped, but later it turned out that we were in fact trying to kidnap her. Interesting setting.

The entire evening was basically role-playing only with not a single dice being thrown. That worked well with our decision to leave character creation to later. During play I decided to just copy the example weapon expert stats and inventory from the Shadowrun rulebook for my character.

Unfortunately the game master and one of the players had a repeated discussion about a particular issue that turned me off. Basically the game master tried to push a “connection” down the player’s throat who didn’t think it was as valuable as it should be, given the choices he had made during character creation. I think it was ill communicated by the game master, and the player didn’t have enough people skills to difuse the situation. I felt particularly confused by his comment later that this kind of arguing for your character was basically ubiquitous at conventions by the “pros”. What lousy players!

Let’s see how this develops. Perhaps with time I’ll be able to adapt to their playing style or set an example for the others to follow when it comes to GM cooperation.

I’ve started fleshing out a campaign based on a few ideas I had while I was away in Bangkok. Perhaps I should just write it up for this wiki. And while I’m at it, I might as well embrace M20 and write it up using this very short and succinct d20 variant. I like its design Philosophy. The wiki that goes with it, and the various “extension” sheets offered by other players give it the same kind of small & tight but extensible architecture I like so much in Oddmuse. Strange how certain design elements seem to apply to both software projects and game rules. But then again, a program is basically a very complex instruction set itself, so in a way the two might be closer related than one might think.

Reading more about the d20 SRD and seeing the list of reviews on EN World, I stumbled upon the Asian Bestiary Vol 1. It would fit that new campaign idea I have... :)

Oh and I translated M20 into German! M20 Grundregeln.



Ich wäre (als Spieler) gerne dabei bei einem Spiel. M20 tönt sehr gut.

– Chris 2006-11-27 12:28 UTC

Habe eben die Übersetzung gelesen, das motiviert sehr. Was noch nach bald 20 Jahren Rollenspiel so ein Charakterblatt auslösen kann... ;)

– Chris 2006-11-27 15:57 UTC

I’m very glad you like Microlite20, Alex. From a philosophy point of view, there seem to be two different schools in RPG design; the “rules for everything” school of thought (D&D), and those systems that are small, light, simple and avoid excess lawgiving. Insert your comparison between UNIX and Microsoft here :)

M20 is an attempt to force D20 into the second camp and away from the former. That way we get the best of both worlds - all those lovely monsters, adventures and campaign worlds ready for the picking, but none of the arguments about rules.

That’s the idea, anyway :)

I like that people are extending it, taking it in different directions. I was amazed the someone came up with a Modern variant within a week of me posting it on ENWorld. While it’s not how I’d do it (I’d just change the names of the classes to Brawler, Jack-of-all-Trades, Priest and Arcanist and leave it at that), it showed a real empathy and buzz for what M20 was all about. We’d replaced the D&D PHB, the Monster Manual and the d20 Modern manual with couple of mini booklets.

Small and light frees folks to just sit down and role-play. And that, end the end of the day, is what it’s all about :)

GreyWulf 2006-11-27 22:55 UTC

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