Of Shadowrun and Shooting People in the Face

I’m really not a fan of RPG.net these days. They seem to always come down very harshly on the games that I like best and often their “reviews” are little more than sarcastic rants. Still, I do pop over their from time to time and check out what is being said.

A while back when I was thinking of getting back into Shadowrun I wanted to read some reviews of the new 4th Edition. I was a fan of the 2nd Edition, even with all its flaws and was wondering what had been changed since the “good ol’ days”. RPG.net had several reviews of the game posted including one written by Charles Sturgis and posted on October 17, 2005. Charles actually had one of the more positive reviews of the game but did have this to say:

“SR4 is a game in which, by default, Players will play Shadowrunners, who are Horrible People that Shoot People Right in the Face for Money. They will form Extravagant Plans, something will go Completely Wrong, but they will Improvise and get Paid Anyway. The Shadowrunners will then Fence the Loot to feed their Crippling Drug Addictions that they acquired so that they would have the build points to better Shoot People Right in the Face. In this new edition, however, the Decker will play with Everyone Else, so groups should get food before the game starts instead of just waiting for matrix combat to go to the grocery store.” [Emphasis added.]

I did not and do not agree with this statement as in my opinion it all depends on the players and the GM and for me a good Shadowrun game is one in which the players are motivated by real world emotions and reasons. While this does of course lead to some shooting “in the face” most good role players have a line that their character will not cross.

The reason I bring this up is that the new Runner’s Companion book that I have mentioned has this to say:

“Look, regardless of what you’ve heard, shadowrunners aren’t just people who shoot other people right in the face for money. I’ve met dozens of runners worthy of the tag, and every one of them has a different story. Nobody chooses this life, it chooses them, and anybody who tells you otherwise has been watching too many old sims.”

This made me smile and laugh.

    ojiepat Says:

    We always did the “Something will go Completely Wrong” part right… we just tended to shoot people in the armor… when they spent money on damn armor.. instead of blowing it all on an extra nice gun! but I digress. To sum up. Shooting in face: bad. Screwing up royally: um… fun! Getting paid: good!


    I don’t know if I would say “completely wrong” but I did sort of throw you a couple of dud runs. Well, runs where you were going to look a bit silly before the end no matter what.

    On the other hand the group never seemed all that interested in making their own runs and was a little too content to wait for me to hand them something.

    You know what I will miss? Mom, she was the best fixer ever. I had so much fun playing the little old lady with a million connections.


    Shadowrun has always been a game about low-lifes. High-Tech and Low-Lifes, as the rather nice SR2 art book indicates.

    I’ve likened Shadowrun to movies such as Strange Days and Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, but really in the end the game is what the GM and players make of it.


    I was always of the opinion that if it came down to shooting people in the face, something had gone very wrong. Violence was almost always the worst choice in my experience (especially when I was the GM).