Noteworthy Nodes

Dateline: 05/21/97

One of the things I did as a Shadowrun Guide was to scour the World Wide Web in search of Shadowrun themed web pages. The goal of was to bring you the best sites on the web for everything a Shadowrun GM or player would want. But it seems that eighty percent of the Shadowrun web pages are simply pages of links. Half of the links are outdated and the other half are to the same three or four sites as every other link list. Here’s a few clues: Blackjack’s Shadowrun Page has moved. Doctor Doom’s Dark Tower hasn’t existed in over two years. Paolo of Paolo’s Shadowrun Archive spells his name P-A-O-L-O, not "Paulo". The Digital Mage? Moved. Gurth’s Plastic Warriors? Well, that URL is usually correct. Out of the other web pages, most of them seem to deal with devising more guns. Not that that’s bad, but really, c’mon. How many variations of a Heavy Pistol do you really need? 9M, SA/BF, 16c, Smartlinked -- what did I just describe: Predator II (from SSC), Wendigo (from a web page), or the Blazer (from another web page)?

But eventually you stumble across a Shadowrun site that actually has Shadowrun material on it. Today, our lesson is How To Create A Shadowrun Web Page. Just a few ideas to go from this to this with no money down!

But what to put on your Shadowrun site? You say you don’t have time to devote to creating a weekly (or bi-weekly) screed? You think everything Shadowrun has been done to death on the Internet? I know something that no other gaming group knows that you know. It’s something you can base your Shadowrun site on. It’s something that just takes about thirty minutes a week -- max -- every week or two. It’s your game.

Let’s see what you’ve got. You gather around a table every so often with your friends to play Shadowrun. [That’s about four player characters you can write about.] Your GM provides an adventure to put your characters through. [You can write about the ideas behind the adventure.] The player characters meet non-player characters as the player characters go through the adventure. [Write about the NPCs] And eventually, the run is over. [So write about the run]. Let’s look at those four things and how you can write about them and why you should write about them. We’ll look at Rick Jone’s excellent Shadowrun web site as an example.

The PCs: The easiest way to write about your PCs is to look at your character sheet and copy the whole thing down. What a visitor to your site will see is a set of statistics, utterly meaningless. You should think of your character as a person, not as a set of numbers. Write about your character. Show visitors to your site why this B5 S6 Q5 street samurai differs from all other B5 S6 Q5 street samurai. Tell about how she left the Seattle Police Department back in 2050 with a dishonorable discharge from taking bribes and how, eight years later, she’s still trying to clear her name but everyone still thinks of her as a tarnished badge. How her marriage to a beat cop disintegrated after the charges -- his friends started shunning him and he couldn’t stand living with the shame the PC brought onto their home. Alone, and unable to get a job in the security field, she had to turn to the scummier side of the streets for employment. Going by the handle Badge, she has worked for several people -- as a bodyguard and as a hired gun, but always plagued by the air of distrust that surrounds her and her name.

Now that you’ve decided to reveal your character’s backstory, she’s more than just a set of numbers -- she’s a person. You’ve also helped to create dozens of characters just like her in other games. Other GMs and players can visit your site and read Badge’s history -- they can take this character idea and flesh out an NPC or use elements of your character in their NPCs. You’ve shared your creation with the world. An example.

The NPCs: If you’re a player, you probably won’t know the NPC’s stats, so you’re going to have to write a paragraph or two about where they are from and what they’ve done. Like what you’ve done when you’ve posted your character on the World Wide Web, you’ve introduced a stable of NPCs for others to use.

And for yourself, you’ve created a device that will allow you to remember who was who and what was what. The GM introduces Mr. White in one adventure and several adventures down the road, the PCs track down their target, only to find out he’s meeting with Mr. White. Industrious players will head back to the web site and find out exactly what Mr. White was up to and how this new information could impact on what Mr. White is currently doing/has done. For instance, if now he’s meeting with a Renraku executive and passing secrets over while last time everyone thought Mr. White was an extremely loyal Fuchi employee in that adventure two game-months ago where they pegged Joanna Whitaker for the leak in Fuchi security… Oops. An example.

The Adventure Idea: As a GM, I’ll tell you that every Shadowrun adventure has not been done. There are thousands and thousands of possible plots, scenarios, and interactions that can take place in The Sixth World. Even so, sometimes a GM has a hard time thinking of what to do this week. By presenting the basics of the adventure on your web site, you’re allowing other GMs to get ideas for an adventure. An example. This also ties into…

How The Adventure Went: So your GM only uses prepackaged (or canned) adventures. Guess what? No adventure plays the same way. Your group of characters is different than any other group of characters (even if you fit into the Street Sam/Magician/Decker/Rigger stereotype of adventuring group). Your group of players is different than any other group of players. You’ll think up different ideas and ways to resolve all the conflicts you face in your way to a conclusion. Your play of Dead Run from Shadows of the Underworld will be different from another group’s. Besides, if I was Stephen Kenson, I’d like to know how a group fared in the published adventure I wrote.

And if your GM doesn’t use packaged adventures (or just cannibalizes packaged adventures), you’ll be showing other GMs how the story played out and what they might expect if that GM decides to base a run on what you’ve done. Your story of the run will also let the players of your game remember what happened. Take the Mr. White example from above. Not only did the current runners discover that Mr. White really was the spy in Fuchi, but he also mentioned something about how someone important was killed at Cuppa Joe’s. A quick look over past runs reveals that a contact wasn’t able to make it to the runner’s birthday party because of a funeral the contact had to attend. The contact’s brother was killed in a drive-by shooting at [insert dramatic music] Cuppa Joe’s. An example.

Now the initial bit of work you’d have to do is the posting of your characters and a list of the runs you did. Depending on how fast you type, this could take around ten to thirty minutes. And you get to name the adventures -- just like episodes in a television show, or like the canned adventures. That’s just two .html pages, three if you have a simple introductory page with links to these two pages. Then, each week after your group games, spend about thirty minutes -- or less -- writing up what happened. Link these pages from the adventure list. You’ll start out with maybe two or three pages. But as you game even more (and start to fill in past runs), you’ll be able to create a large web site. Imagine, a Shadowrun web site that actually has Shadowrun information on it. Amazing.

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