Last week’s game signalled the end of our current Shadowrun camapaign. What ended our campaign was the shifting ideas about what the game should be about and this manaifested in the PCs deciding not to pay for a suit to attend a high level Yakuza meet and instead hack a menswear store to steal one. Unfortunately things went bad and PC-on-PC vehicular manslaughter and 2 separate uses of “the hand of god” rule later and 1 out of 3 PCs was free. The fourth PC who already had a suit didn’t have the support to complete the mission and consequently died. This game featured all of the facets that my tech-noir sandbox had devolved into and I’m not surprised that the PCs didn’t survive the game. It was these facets that dealt the killing blow to the campaign, so what went wrong?
- Seattle was too large for our group. We are located outside the US and have not visited Seattle in our travels. This made it difficult to remember landmarks and distinguish different districts. This proved a very limiting factor when the players needed to move around Seattle or extrapolate where to go to find something based on existing evidence. It didn’t help that the players haven’t read the Seattle Sourcebooks.
- The group was mission-focused, I was not. The group expected to be given the job from a fixer or Mr J and I received little engagement when I introduced side plots or ordinary life. This lead to a few frustrating games when the PCs waited for someone to offer them a job. Another problem area was the PCs accepting a single job and ignoring the related ones and coming together as a group because they were all seated at the same table. Case in point was the last game where the following missions were offered:
- Sabotage the Sepoula Ring negotiations at the meeting to avoid a high ranking Sepoula member from losing his territory. This was offered to a transient player and was turned down.
- Secure and protect the Yakuza delegate at the meeting. This mission was offered only to the character with significant investment in the Yakuza. He accepted it and gathered the other players to his cause.
- Record the meeting between the Yakuza and the Sepoula Ring and obtain a copy of the new territories. This was going to be offered to the hacker but by this stage he had died.
- Different Ideas. We each had different ideas about what the game should be about and where it should fall on the Black Trenchcoat – Pink Mohawk spectrum. Unfortunately this often resulted in an unexpected and immediate hostile response when the players started leaning towards the pinker end.
We begin a new game in a week and being our second campaign together we all have a better idea of what to expect. To ensure this campaign doesn’t devolve I’ve brought back the 20 questions and personalized them for the game I’ll be running and restricted the campaign to Tacoma to focus on organized crime. SO far everyone is a lot more in sync and I expect this one to go well so expect more updates in the future.