Feb 222017
 

In a recent review of CGL’s new Shadowrun: Anarchy, I pointed out that the cast of NPCs published therein were best used as inspiration for your own cast of NPC threats. There were issues with balance, utility, and playability that needed to be resolved before I pit them against my players.

In this article, I submit to you the set of NPCs that I have been using. I have made several changes to fit my gaming table and they may inspire you as well. Here are the changes I have made:

Download the PDF (15 pages)

Click to download

Formatting

  • Reformatted each entry to list dice pools rather than Skill + Attribute (unless variable). So if it says 8, roll 8.
  • Standardized most Shadow Amp phrasing.
  • Renamed Vehicle Weapons to Gunnery (for space and clarity); and Piloting (Ground) or Piloting (Other) to Pilot Ground and Pilot Other (that way you can add a specialization without double parenthesis).
  • Used kla060365’s (from Shadowgrid Forums) re-balance of Assault Rifle and Machine Gun. Applies a -2 to ARs and MGs at close range (this gives purpose to SMGs).

Stratification

  • Similar to Professional Ratings, I needed a way to measure the threat level each NPC would pose. These are somewhat loose levels based on Attributes + Skills + Shadow Amps.
  • Threat Levels are Thug Level (<28), Gang Level (28), Street Runner (38), Prime Runner (48), Terror Level (>48).
  • Added options for Mooks who use only one Condition Monitor (like SR5 Grunts), and Mains who gain one Positive Quality.

Categorization

  • Separated NPCs into Categories such as: Critters, Corporate, Magic (includes Spirits), Matrix, Military, Security, Shadow (includes generic runner archetypes), and Street. This might determine which Knowledge Skills or types of Contacts might apply.
  • Each category has about 4 entries.

Expanded Entries

  • Added Barghest, Boston Lockdown Head Cases (Shambler, Rager, Manipulator, Hidden), Corporate Security (Elite), Enemy Drone (Mini), Enemy Shaman, Enemy Technomancer, Rent-a-Cop (HTR), two vehicles (Armored Personnel Carrier and Light-Assault Copter), five generic runners (Company Man, Street Sam, Pistol Adept, Razor, Combat Medic), and Wiz-Ganger.
  • Added options for Enemy Mages, Lesser Spirits, Blood Spirits, Toxic Spirits, Shadow Spirits, Intrusion Countermeasures, Sprites (a new version), Ganger types (because not all gangers replace their arms…), and Gun Emplacements.

Re-Balanced Entries

  • Tried to get each entry closer to an appropriate Threat Level by adding/subtracting Attributes, Skills, or Shadow Amps. Probably just gamer OCD.
  • Rebuilt Spirits with a few non-combat options (that can be taken in lieu of combat options). This will help for those tables that tend to shy from combat-heavy campaigns.
  • Rebuilt Sprites to closer match IC mechanics and power levels. I added Firewall for proper Matrix use. I removed Willpower and Charisma and added the Tasking skill to use Complex Forms.
  • Rebuilt Enemy Drones. Drones are vehicles with Armor only (no Condition Monitor, like it outlines in the book). They use Logic to make attacks rather than Agility, so that drone size has less to do with accuracy. I defined Flying as a Shadow Amp that forces a reroll when attacked but takes extra damage when hit. Audio Analyzer just interprets voice commands.
  • Re-balanced Enemy Drones weapon options. Small Drones can no longer take out an entire team of Prime Runners with crazy accurate grenade launchers and death from an unhittable killing platform.

I hope that you find this list of Anarchy Threats useful in challenging your players (without boring them or murdering them). They may inspire you to create interesting Contract Briefs and even your own NPCs suitable for your own table.

Download the PDF (15 pages)

Good luck, and more resources for Shadowrun: Anarchy are to come!

Making Undead Scarier, Part 4: The Lich!

 Posted by on February 13, 2017  Filed as: Character-Building  2 Responses »  Topic(s): ,
Feb 132017
 
Making Undead Scarier, Part 4: The Lich!

Liches are common threats found in many types of RPG games. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy for the GM to roleplay them in a simplistic manner, as simple monsters to vanquish, giving them no backstory or interest, and an opportunity for world building is lost. But by making them unique, giving them unfamiliar and difficult to destroy phylacteries, giving them unique places to find them, [Read the article]

Feb 062017
 
Character Connection = Player Satisfaction

It’s throwback-time, where we revisit an awesome article from years ago… I don’t think I’m being overly presumptuous when I say that most, if not all gamers want to play a great character.  I’m not necessarily talking about playing some super powerful, mega bad-ass; I’m talking about a character that is something more than just a collection of stats and abilities running around doing stuff. [Read the article]

Fostering Trust In Your Players

 Posted by on January 21, 2017  Filed as: Better Gameplay?  9 Responses »  Topic(s):
Jan 212017
 
Fostering Trust In Your Players

It’s throwback-time, where we revisit an awesome article from years ago… I have not played in many groups.  That stands to reason that I have also not experienced many GMs.  However, even with this shortfall, I feel that I have learned, like tons, from my current GM, which has made me appreciate “the game” more and more.  One thing that is just such a breath of fresh [Read the article]

Jan 162017
 
Maximum Tool’age, for running the BEST gaming sessions…

In order to make the best furniture that they can, a carpenter learns how to use several different tools, and then puts those tools in their toolbox.  When woodworking, they simply pull out the tools that best help them get the job done – and with a greater selection of tools to choose from, they’ll make a better quality product. It’s the same thing for [Read the article]

Jan 122017
 
What's the Opposite of Optimized?

It’s Throwback-Thursday, where we revisit an awesome article from years ago… I find devoted (read as, crazy) power gamers perfectly adorable.  It’s funny how they will spend so much time reading rules, seeking synergy, and comparing characters on message boards.  The goal, as far as I can tell, is to make sure that the stats, attacks, damage, and checks are all as humongous as possible.  [Read the article]

Jan 092017
 
Making Undead Scarier Part 3: Intelligent Corporeal Undead:  Vampires & Vampire Spawn

Vampires and their spawn are common threats found in many types of RPG games. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy for the GM to roleplay them in a simplistic manner (as simple monsters to vanquish) giving them no backstory or interest, and an opportunity for world-building is lost. But by giving them a culture, examining vampires from around the world, reducing or changing their weaknesses, and [Read the article]

Jan 052017
 
The GM is not a player, or is he?

It’s Throwback-Thursday, where we revisit an awesome article from years ago… You know the drill: A group of gamers get together, one’s a GM and the rest of us are players. The GM makes the monsters – we kill them. He makes the NPCs – we steal from them. He makes the traps – we get trapped by them. He designs the adventures – we [Read the article]

Jan 022017
 
Making Undead Scarier Part 1: Incorporeal Undead:  Ghosts, Shadows, Wraiths, & More

Ghosts. Shadows. Spectres. Wraiths. These incorporeal undead (and many more) are common threats found in many types of RPG games. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy for the GM to roleplay them in a simplistic manner, as simple monsters to vanquish, giving them no backstory or interest, and an opportunity for world building is lost. But by knowing their abilities and distinctions, as well as giving [Read the article]