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Frequently Asked Questions
Part 1: The Shadowrun System
Do I need the books in order to play?
The answer to this question is 'probably'. While we don't *require* that
you have the books in order to play the game, it can be very difficult to
complete chargen at present without them. You'll have to ask a lot of
questions of people on the channels in order to get the information you
need. While we're happy to help, the entire experience is much easier and
smoother if you have the books.
If you choose to play without the books, you should at least be familiar
with the various aspects of the game system. It's a complicated system,
which is another reason we strongly recommend that you have at least read
the third edition books. If you have first or second edition books, then
those can potentially work. The game uses third edition. Be familiar
with the changes made in various systems, especially the new way initiative
works, the changes to how magic works, and the new rules for essence and
body index, etc.
Why don't you post information about 'x' on the game?
The copyright to the Shadowrun System is currently owned by Wizkids, LLC.
I've checked with them and they advised me that a safe course, until a
formal Internet policy is posted, is that posting and/or coding 'numerical'
data is probably all right. However, quoting sections of the sourcebooks is
not okay. We very much want to avoid any legal issues over this game and
keep it open for everyone to play. In addition, we respect the hard work
and money that FASA and Wizkids have invested into creating the system we
all enjoy. In addition, we strongly want to encourage people to buy the
books. That supports their efforts and helps ensure that the system will
continue to be developed for and supported.
Why don't you use Shadowrun Companion?
In most cases, we found many of the optional rules in Shadowrun Companion to
not be part of the game we wanted to play. Some of them, including some of
the edges and flaws, are in our opinion game unbalancing. Many of the other
optional rules seemed to be designed to make the game more lethal, more
powerful, without really adding anything in terms of making archetypes more
playable or more interesting. We decided that anything we used out of that
book would be implemented as a house rule.
Do you allow the metahuman variants (Night Ones, etc)? What about
We do allow characters to play a member of these races, but statwise they
are implemented exactly as any other member of the 'main' race. This is done
to simplify chargen and to reflect the fact that these races are, ICly,
rare. When something has bonuses with no real corresponding disadvantages,
people have a tendency to want to play those simply for the bonus. You can
play one if you wish, describe yourself as one, but for game and stat
purposes, you are a normal elf/troll/dwarf/ork.
Shapeshifters are an intriguing concept, but once again, the
disadvantages they suffer are not large enough to offset the advantages they
gain. So far we have avoided having to insert any kinds of quota on what
characters can play, or have 'application slots' of any kind to restrict
people. No one archetype is significantly more 'powerful' than any other.
What about Year of the Comet?
Year of the Comet is a relatively new book in the Shadowrun series. It came
out after we opened the game, and introduces two majorly new concepts to the
game. We have no plans for either of them to be introduced at this time.
First, a rather powerful dragon descends on Denver and makes it his home,
ruling the city with an iron fist and such-like. Dragons and other such
uber-powerful NPC's are great for novels, but they're lousy for roleplaying.
In the Shadowrun novels, grand, sweeping, earth-changing plots of that kind
are the order of the day. However, PC's are usually not on the level where
they can deal effectively with a dragon except in a distant sense. I think
we've got a good setup as it stands, with no need to introduce dragons.
The second issue is 'SURGE'. Morganna on Detroit did a lengthy write-up
on the issue of 'SURGE' and why it was frankly a fairly silly idea for a lot
of reasons, and I agree with them. I might introduce it here, but if I do it
will be done in a totally different way. The effects themselves will also
be changed drastically.
Part 2: Getting Started
What are Archetypes?
An Archetype is a one or two word summary of your character concept.
It's not intended to be a confining notion, like the AD&D notion of a
character 'class'. Shadowrun does not have rigid definitions of character
classes. However, due to the way the system is built, many characters end
up falling into a single category.
For example, magic and cyberware are mutually exclusive. The more
cyberware you have, the less magic you can have. Thus, a combination
between a street samurai and a mage is relatively rare. Streetsams spend
enough money on their gear and skills at chargen so as to have little to
spend on purchasing a deck and enough Computer skill to be an effective
Decker. The essence cost of a good Remote Control Deck is enough to make it
difficult to be a good rigger and anything else at the same time.
Some example archetypes can be found on the 'About' page. In addition, the Shadowrun
sourcebooks list many others. Setting an archetype doesn't really affect
your character. We ask for one when you submit your background so that an
admin that is well-versed with the rules for your style of character can
review your application. It also shows up in +census when you get approved.
What archetypes do you need? What archetypes can I play?
Currently, there are no restrictions on archetypes. You can play anything
that you can make in standard chargen. There are no special bonuses for
playing any one archetype over any other. There are no application slots or
restrictions on playing, say, mages or fixers. The only exceptions are
characters who might have some special form of power due to their nature.
You can't play a KE officer, or an Ares executive, or a high-ranking member
of a major criminal organization. See some of the notes on orgs below.
Your character should have some connection to the Shadow community. We
say this not to try to restrict you, but instead to help make sure that when
you come onto the game, you have a good chance and shared background and
environment for interacting with the other characters on the grid. If you
play a corporate secretary, you may have difficulty going on runs or even
getting other characters to talk to you about anything except generalities.
This makes things difficult.
Also beware making your PC utterly dependent on another player's PC.
Players come and go. They lose access, sometimes, or lose interest. While
it's cool to come onto the game with the idea of role-playing with another
person to help get yourself introduced, don't make your character in such a
way that he or she becomes unplayable if that other character isn't
What's your policy on orgs?
Orgs are something that we've tried to get going on several occasions. An
'org' is an organization, which can range from a Shadowrunning team, to a
legal organization like DocWagon, to a mini-corporation, to an organized
crime faction, to a gang. In essence, an org is a collection of player
characters who are all members of a certain organization, and who are
working together toward a (mostly) common goal.
Right now, we have no formal support for orgs. We've tried to implement
a couple of plans, and all of them have failed for various reasons. We've
basically decided to hold off until the game grows in size sufficiently to
This means that you can feel free to create a character who is a member
of an organization, but understand that we, as admins, don't have any formal
system in place to help you. You won't get anything special. You can't
call out a Yakuza strike force, or get access to all sorts of cool gear, or
whatever. We don't have plots that are custom-tailored to your org's needs.
In short, we can't really hand-hold you at all.
Even given this warning, some players have decided to forge ahead, then
become upset with us when we were unable to provide this support. For this
reason, we tend to discourage org PC's at the present time. The same rule
as above holds: try to make sure your character has some connection to the
Shadow Community. Otherwise you may find it difficult to participate in
Do you allow fixers?
Yes, we do allow fixer PC's. However, we've come up with a set of rules (see
+hr general gear) that makes it possible to
play this archetype successfully, and it does it without setting up
an 'elite class' with special rules.
At present, fixers are simply players with a lot of contacts and high
negotiation and etiquette skills. Their purpose is to act as a proxy, so to
speak, to get gear at a cheaper price and make a profit reselling it.
Because of the liberal playerplot policies on the game, another very
viable concept for this archetype is brokering runs. You can set up a run,
and run it as a playerplot for other PC's, ICly hiring them and serving as a
middleman. You can legitimately get a cut of the payout for your services
in doing so, as well. This is a good way to provide both income and fun for
What's this Web Interface I keep hearing about?
It's here on the web site. It offers a very user-friendly way to enter your
background. You can literally cut and paste it from Word or Notepad right
into the game. Doing so is a three-step process:
- Create a character on the game. If you have not already done so,
create a character on the game, other than a Guest.
- Set your web password. Type the following within the game:
In the above, substitute your desired password for
- Go to the
Resources page and select the "Edit
your background" link.
It makes editing your background fairly easy. You can simply insert
blank lines in order to make blank lines -- no messy control codes to worry
about. It will automatically break it up into sections for you if need be
-- you can simply dump the thing into the first section if you wish.
Wordwrapping and everything else will be taken care of for you. You can
instead concentrate on your writing.
I need to make a change to my character, but I already finished chargen!
That's perfectly all right. At any time until your character is approved,
you may still re-enter chargen. Re-entering chargen does not change any
settings on your character or clear anythin from your sheet. In the
'Priority' and 'Race' rooms, you may simply type 'Next' to move past these
areas. Part of the design of our chargen is that since the cross-checking
is done when you leave, you can cheerfully go through chargen as many times
as you want and move around pretty much at will without causing things to
If you *do* want to entirely start over, then go to one of the first
rooms in chargen (either by typing "Out" or "Back" several times, or by
going back into chargen from the player nexus). In that room, you will see
in the description:
To completely reset your character,
You'll be asked to confirm this process. The command works only within
that room, and will wipe all chargen settings except for your
roll for starting cash (this is to prevent people from using it to reroll
until they get a result they 'like'. Sorry). It will not wipe anything you
have set directly on your character with an @
or & command, including sex, description,
aura, name, or short description. However, all stats, skills, languages,
cyberware, bioware, spells, powers, foci, and gear will be erased from your
How do I buy gear in chargen?
'Gear' is a collective term that refers to all of your character's
possessions that are not 'built in'. This includes things like cyberdecks
and programs for it; guns; armor; foci; magical supplies; melee weapons;
radios and electronics; toolkits; cars -- anything your character owns that
is not covered in some other area of chargen.
Gear may be purchased in the 'Gear' room of character generation. When
you first arrive in the room, take a look at the exits available. If what
you want to purchase could be purchased there, then purchase it there.
Otherwise, you'll need to itemize the list.
Remember that you are limited to a maximum rating of 6 and a maximum availability rating of 8. Any gear that does not meet these requirements
cannot be purchased at chargen, and must be purchased after your character
is approved. Also remember that Street Index (SI) does not apply in
character generation; you may use the base cost for each item.
Certain items do not need to be purchased. You do not need to purchase
clips or magazines for guns, nor do you have to purchase 'reasonable'
quantities of normal or gel ammo (reasonable means a number of rounds for
personal use -- about 200 for a normal pistol, for example). You don't need
to purchase ordinary equipment that 'everyone' could be assumed to have: a
pocketknife, a portable CD player, cigarettes, lighter, credsticks. Clothing doesn't
have to be purchased unless it is either incredibly expensive or provides
some major stat advantage (armor, for example). You don't need to purchase
personal jewelry unless it has some game effect (foci) or is incredibly
valuable, or is used as a fetish.
Basically, put another way, unless it has some game effect, or is highly
unusual or expensive, or is something you plan to resell, then you don't need
to purchase it as gear. It's covered under lifestyle costs, and there's no
need to take up database space with it. Simply place it in your description,
or roleplay having it, and call it good.
Your gear is set up as a series of items, each one having a quantity,
description, and unit cost. Certain items can be combined into a single
item, and the cost should reflect the sum of all of those items combined.
For example, a gun might have certain modifications placed upon it, or a
deck might have its programs, each of which is priced separately. In this
case, it's usually your choice whether or not to list them as separate
items. A good guideline is to list something as a single item if its
components cannot be easily removed (as in, require the use of a skill in
order to do so).
You can use the '+create' command to add a
new item to your gear list. You have to specify the name of the item, which
should be a brief, 40-character or less description of what the item is.
Include its 'overall' rating as well. A good description might be
'Microtransceiver, Rating 4, R6 Encryption' or 'Ares Predator II' or
'Camouflage Full Suit'. The item will be added with a cost of zero, and a
quantity of one, and a blank description and notes field.
You can use the '+qty' and '+cost' fields to set the quantity of the item you are
purchasing and the unit cost of the item. The quantity does not have to be
set if you are purchasing only one of the item (as is most often the case).
The quantity will be multiplied by the unit cost you specified to produce
the total cost of the item.
The '+desc' and '+notes' commands are used to set the description for
the item and the notes for it, respectively. An item's description is the
in-character appearance of it. If the item looks normal for an item of its
type, then you don't need to specify the description. However, if you have
a special finish on your gun, or if you have a special ring that you're
using as a fetish, these items ought to be described in more detail. The
notes field is used for placing OOC information on an item, such as stats,
Finally, if you wish to remove an item from your sheet, you may use the
'+destroy' command to remove it entirely. All
quantity, cost, description, and notes information is deleted for that
item. Note that the item numbers of all items below the one deleted will
A partial listing of items available for purchase is available by typing
'+info gear' within the game. The listing is
incomplete and by no means represents everything available for purchase.
The sourcebooks are the authoritative source for pricing and descriptions of
Part 3: Playerplots
What is a playerplot?
A playerplot (also called a 'PrP' for 'Player-Run Plot') is a scene or
ongoing series of interactions that is run by one player who poses NPC's and
sets up the scenes and background for what goes on. In effect, the player
is taking on the role of game-master for the purposes of that particular
scene. One or more other players participate in the playerplot; they share
in the rewards as needed.
Playerplots provide a way for players to interact and actively be
involved in Shadowruns and other activities without needing the direct
attention of an admin. They are subject to some restrictions in terms of
scope, payouts, and severity, but overall the field is limited only by the
creativity of the player running the plot. Full details on the restrictions
and policies regarding playerplots can be found in '+news policy playerplots' within the game.
Players are rewarded for running playerplots. When you complete the
plot or scene, a log of the scene should be submitted to one of the admins
for review. This process typically takes from 1 to 2 weeks. When it is
finished, the admin will award the karma, reputation, gear, and money that
was earned during the run. These awards may be adjusted due to various
factors from that which was promised during the playerplot.
Why are playerplots important?
Probably eighty or ninety percent of the plots run on SR Denver are
playerplots. There are a lot more players than there are admins, and the
combined total creativity you folks have is far more than the admins could
possibly have. Only you know the directions you want your character to
progress in. Playerplots are a great way to accomplish that.
It allows us, as admins, to concentrate on the sort of plots that only we
can run. The megaplots, so to speak. The long-term plots. The ones that
might result in sweeping changes to the game. The ones with higher danger
and higher payouts. From the start, we planned on Denver being a place
where playerplots were the bread-and-butter of what happened during game
play, with admin-plots being the periodic spicy dessert.
Can I run a playerplot?
Once you're approved for roleplaying, the answer is always 'yes'. Even if
your PC is in jail, ICly, or laid up recuperating, you can still run a
playerplot (though your PC might not be able to participate). All you need
is an idea, a vague storyline, and the initiative to get people together.
A playerplot doesn't have to be a Shadowrun, per se, either. It can be
just about anything. If you want a group of goody-two-shoes runners,
relatively speaking, then a nasty guy could kidnap an innocent girl/boy, and
the runners get to rescue him/her. There might not be any cash in it for them,
but karma and reputation points galore. Shadowruns don't even have to come
from Johnsons. Other groups can set them up. If you're a fixer, you have a
prime way to introduce just about any plot.
Playerplots are a great way to meet other players, a good way to get
things going and have some fun. The important thing is excitement. How
much you plan ahead of time is up to you and your style of gaming. Some
plots are meticulously planned for weeks before implementation, with maps,
charts, diagrams, etc. Other plots are run on the spur of the moment to
alleviate boredom. Still others are run for one PC, with others going along
in support roles.
One quick idea: think of something your PC wants, and then design a plot
to go after it. Get somebody else to run it, or run it yourself, using your
PC and a few others. If your PC wants a program for his deck, get a couple
of other deckers together and go after it as a surgical strike. Maybe the
others don't get paid, but you'll owe them a favor come next time, and they
can run a similar sort of plot for something they want. It's all about
But I can't run a playerplot!
Yes, you can. See? We said so just above! But I'm gonna list here the
most common excuses we see, and why we disagree. The real thing is, we want
to encourage you to run PrPs. Ideally, every player is both a GM and a
player at different points. That's the fun of the system. When players
can't run something, they're missing out on part of the fun, and depriving
other players of the enjoyment they could be creating!
- I can't think of anything. Okay. This one is at least slightly
legit. Everybody gets writers block. But try these questions. What does
your character want? What would get people interested? What would cause
other people to sit up and take notice? Start with a premise and work from
there. Maybe even an off-the-wall premise. Two guys come into the bar,
guns drawn at each other. Then go from there. Who are they? Why would
they be shooting at each other? Is one of them the aggressor and the other
the defender? Inquiring minds want to know. Check out the SSPrP boards and
see if there are any plots there available to run.
- I don't know the rules well enough. So, run something for your
particular archetype. If you don't know, then ask. Start up the PrP with
your premise, then ask another player to help you out with the dice-rolling.
It's a great way to learn.
- I don't have time. Sometimes legitimate, if it's really true.
But if you don't have time to run one, you don't have time to play in them,
either. If you have time to play in them, then you have time to run one.
It's pretty straightforward.
How can I advertise my plot and attract players?
We've added a lot of code to help you advertise your plot. There are two
basic methods you can use: OOC advertising and IC advertising. IC
advertising comes at the players through in-character channels, while OOC
advertising uses OOC channels.
One thing to mention is that a combination of techniques works well. Let
people know through a bboard post that you'll be running it, but don't
expect a lot of people to commit via @mail. About an hour before you run
it, announce it on the Announcements channel, and refer to your +bbpost by
number so people can view it. Page anyone who expressed an
interest and see if they're still up for it. Announce again just before
you're about to start, if you still need players. The 'real time' nature of
an announcement helps people join in who might've been uncertain whether
they had time, when they saw the announcement, or who just plain forgot.
- The Announcements Channel. Every player gets added to this by
default on leaving chargen. It's set up specifically so that players can do
announcements of plots, events, and things like that. Keep the channel free
from extraneous clutter. If it gets 'loud', then people will stop using it.
This channel is OOC, but you can make an announcement such as, "I'm looking
for 3-5 players for a plot I'm running. Semi-moral characters
preferred." It's best to pose information very timely information to this
channel, such as plots that are about to start or will start soon.
- BBoard 20: Playerplots. This board is for posting information
about playerplots you plan to run. The board is considered OOC, and is best
for posting plots you're scheduling in advance.
- BBoard 11: The Denver Shadow Nexus. This board is an IC method
for distributing information. Usually things posted here might be
job-offers and the like about the plot you're running. It's okay to include
an OOC section at the bottom about details such as when, where, and who to
contact about it.
- BBoard 12: Denver News Reports. This is an IC board, and is more
useful for the sort of information that you want to use to provoke legwork
and encourage people to ask you questions. Once again, including an OOC
section at the bottom telling them that it's a plot and who to contact for
more information is useful.
- Rumors. The rumors system (+help
rumor) is useful for posting information that you want primarily
targeted toward people who have good social skills on their sheets. It's
useful as a way of distributing IC information, though it's usually best
combined with OOC information about who to contact, etc.
What are the Payout Limits on a Playerplot?
When a playerplot is run, a player is acting as the gamemaster. One problem
that can be encountered by any gamemaster is a phenomenon known as 'Monty
Haul', in which the payouts and rewards from an activity are far higher than
would be normal. While short term, the players may really enjoy it, it
makes them too powerful too quickly with too little effort -- and in many
cases, actually detracts from the long-term enjoyment of the game. After
all, after your character has ten million nuyen, the best guns in the game,
and an army of people who will do their bidding... what do you do now?
It's very easy for the GM of a run to make things too easy, or to set up
convenient circumstances for the runner team. You broke into this
kindergarten to retrieve a young child's stuffed animal that had been
confiscated (a cakewalk), and it just happened to be used as a mafia
drop point for smuggling money. There's a briefcase full of certified
credsticks on the table totalling a cool million, and the guards just
happened to be taking a smoke break. Right.
As admins, we review every plot before handing out rewards for it. We
look over what happened, the degree of effort necessary to accomplish the
plot -- in short, how difficult the plot is, and how big of a threat it
might have presented. The rewards are estimated and presented as a
'per-player' reward, and they include everything that results from the run
that has a monetary or cash equivalent.
0 to 5K
No real risk of injury for pro runners, very minimal challenges.
Usually the rewards at this level are incidental.
5K to 15K
Very little threat of injury, reasonably easy challenges to overcome. A
15K to 35K
Decent chance you might take a bullet or two, especially if you don't play
real smart or plan well. There's a decent risk of failing, at the very
35K to 50K
You'd better have a solid plan, good recon, and a good set of skills and
gear, or half your people will be coming back in body bags.
More than 50K
You need to get the plot pre-approved, or run it as a powerplot (see '+news
The above values include all payout that has a cash value. Gear received
as part of the plot counts only half of its street value (base cost times
street index) toward the above totals. In other words, if a run is judged
to be worth 30K, then you could take
that as 30K in cash, or 60K in gear, or 15K in cash and 30K in gear. Or whatever other ratio works
out. Of course, IC circumstances may not permit this. This is strictly an
OOC limitation. For example, let's say you steal a focus during a run and
want to keep it. It's worth 220,000 =Y=, street value. This counts as
110,000 =Y= toward the group's total take from the run, for purposes of
calculating whether or not the run was 'worth' it in OOC terms. If you
turned around and sold it as part of the run, and got 30 percent of base
value (or 66,000 =Y=), then it would count as 66,000 =Y= toward the group's
As another note: gear sacrificed as part of a run can reduce the group's
total payout for these calculations. If you end up sacrificing a 30K drone,
then half of that drone's effective replacement cost is subtracted from the payout.
Likewise, surgery costs to put you back together again and other items can
subtract from the effective payout used when evaluating the plot. Gear lost
and costs incurrect count at half value, just like gear gained.
The above limits are given 'per player', and are, once again, used to
evaluate the plot's reward level relative to its risk. It cannot be stated
enough times: There is no IC reason, justification,
or counterpart for these limits. Instead, IC reality will have
to warp in whatever fashion to accomodate them. Maybe the J stiffed you;
maybe that item was damaged and not worth as much, or whatever.
These are not hard limits; they are variable. If you run a long,
involved, two week plot that involves multiple subplots, stages, and so
forth, then it could be worth a good deal more. These are guidelines that
we use in evaluating plots. If you're in doubt, please feel free to ask
a staff member.
Our purpose in all of this isn't to limit what you can do, per se. It's
to make sure that the effort expended corresponds to the risk undertaken.
We want things to be fair, so that people who put in more effort see more
reward. It's not that we don't want you to have something nifty -- it's
that we want you to have the enjoyment of working for it, and to make sure
that nobody gets too powerful too fast in a manner that would be game
What if you want something that's outside these limits? Let's say you
want a vehicle whose street value is a cool million yen. You could do one
of the following:
- Save Up For It. After all, if you get decent payoffs from
other things, you can gradually work up to that cash amount.
- Run a series of plots. You might have to work up to it. After
all, if this is the heist of the century, then you'll have a lot of legwork
to do, a lot of preparation, maybe a smaller run to get that item that you
absolutely have to have to break in. Maybe you could get the company
president's retinal scan, or some other item that you need.
- Run a powerplot. Powerplots aren't limited by the above
restrictions. You can theoretically run anything -- but we'll be watching
to make sure the challenge is up to the potential rewards, and there's
always the possibility of repercussions. These plots are run 'consent on',
so it can be a lot more dangerous.
- Build a team. Remember, the OOC payout restrictions are on a per-person basis. So
if you have five people cooperating, the total payout can go as high as 250K
in cash, or 500K in gear. Make arrangements with the other teammates -- no,
I can't pay you, but if you need me to go with *you* on a run, I'm
there. You can also pay the other team members out of your own funds as
well. Offer four other people 25K apiece to help you steal something worth
500K. Net cost: 100K for an item worth 500K, with no availability
Part 4: Administration and Policies
Who is welcome on SR Denver?
The short answer is, everyone who is interested in playing the game and in
having fun with other players in a cooperative fashion. There is no player
who has been sitebanned from Shadowrun Denver. We consider it a last
resort. However, we do ask some things from those who plan to play there.
- Leave your baggage at the door. When you come to SR Denver,
leave your prejudices, past grudges, and issues from other games at the
door, please. I don't care if so-and-so forced TS on your character five
years ago, or if her admin-alt made a ruling you hated against your cousin's
stepsister's roommate. Leave it at the door. That stuff happened there;
leave it there. Denver is about fresh starts, and every player logs onto
our game with a clean slate.
- Come here to have fun. This is a game. It's an involved,
complex game. But sometimes bad things will happen to your character.
Overall, though, the things that happen to your character will be good ones.
Take it in stride. Something bad might happen, leading the way to something
even better than before. Relax, and just chill.
- Don't powergame. Player-versus-player conflict is restricted on
Denver, so there's no need to 'ramp up' your character to get every possible
advantage as a defensive measure. Focus on what's believable. There's
plenty of room to advance. While we don't mind you taking the advantages
that are coming to you, please don't try to fight tooth and nail if we say
'no' to something. We're not doing to hurt you, but instead to preserve
- Treat others with respect and courtesy. This goes for both staff
and fellow players. I know arguments can get heated, but resorting to
insults over a discussion is bad manners, no matter who 'started' it. Don't
perpetuate attacks, or you become part of the problem, not part of the
solution. Nobody wins an argument when the admins have to take punitive
action against both of you. IC arguments are fine, but OOC ones, especially
on channels, create a hostile environment for everyone. Nobody wants
Can I Play More Than One Character (Alt)?
After a lengthy debate, we made the decision to allow alternate characters
(alts). The full rules are detailed in '+news policy
alts'. In short, you may have a total of two active, approved player
characters at any given time, subject to certain restrictions.
You may not create a second player character until your first player
character has earned a total of fifty karma points (spent plus unspent). If
that character dies or is retired, then you have to wait until your primary
character earns another fifty karma points total before creating another
one. Likewise, if your primary character dies or retires, your second must
have earned a total of fifty karma points in order to generate another alt
to replace the primary character.
Exceptions can be made to the above if you generate an alt, then find
him/her unplayable or boring to play. The purpose is to encourage people to
avoid playing alts just to get them killed off, or to play the 'alt of the
month' game. In addition, we want players to get some experience on the game
before generating an alt. The fifty karma rule is intended to make alts
'precious' rather than disposable, not to force people to play a concept
they wind up not liking. Talk to us.
Your alt is a totally separate character. Certain rules exist that apply
to alternate characters. In short, your two PC's should not interact. They
should not exchange money, gear, information, or noms, directly or
indirectly. At most one of them may be magically awakened. They should not
participate in the same plot or scene.
Part 5: House Rules
What are House Rules? What do they do?
A House Rule is a rule that we have instituted for global use on Shadowrun
Denver. It's intended to apply to everything: chargen, staff plots,
playerplots, everything. Houserules are posted in '
+news houserules' ('+hr' is a shortcut
Houserules differ from policies in that a houserule applies to the rules
of Shadowrun. It overrides, clarifies, or extends the rules that are
published in the books. It's important to know them because the posted
rules are the rules in use on our game.
About half of all the rules posted are clarifications or firm rulings on
issues that are not clear in the books or call for a judgement call. In
other cases, new rules are added to handle situations that come up a great
deal and for which we want to provide a consistent policy and guideline. In
other cases, the houserules modify existing rules, remove them, simplify
them, or provide exceptions. In all
cases, the houserules that are listed are the result of a good deal of
discussion, thought, and often debate as to the best way to handle a
Why do you have houserules? Why not go with the books?
This is a question that cuts to the heart of certain gaming styles.
Certainly, there is a precendent for house rules. On page 251 of SR3, GM's are
advised, "If you or your players hate one of [the rules], feel free to
change it." In many cases, we have. The reasons for this are many-fold.
We never change rules without a lot of thought as to the consequences.
We never change rules with the idea of screwing over a player or group of
players, or of making one archetype crippled. When we make a rules change
mid-game, we usually also put into play a system to help work with players.
For example, if we were to decide to remove a piece of cyberware from the
game, we would compensate players for the loss of that 'ware, letting them
replace it with other 'ware, etc. In some cases, we'll 'grandfather' them
in, and only apply the rule to new characters.
One of the most common types of houserules we make are clarifications.
There are points in Shadowrun where the book contradicts itself, or where it
is unclear how something works. In some cases, the examples flatly
contradict the stated rules in the text. Sometimes a supplement adds
information whose implications aren't discussed and are open to debate. We
institute a houserule in situations where this comes up frequently or is
highly important. These rules are essentially clarifications of the
Some of the house rules are there as 'reminders' of things we see
forgotten a lot. We post a house rule on it to remind people of the book
rule, which may seem like a contradiction in terms. However, some people
aren't aware of a Third Edition change, and continue to play the game the
In other cases, we institute houserules to compensate for a situation
where a particular spell, a particular piece of cyberware, a technique, etc.
is far too powerful, in our opinion, compared to its disadvantages or costs.
In some cases, we've left it alone because it is an 'archetype benefit' to
playing a certain type of character. In other cases, we've modified it to
restrict the power, raise the cost, or add disadvantages to it to bring it
more into balance. In general, we're opposed to 'undefeatable' abilities --
things that have no potential counter in the game.
Sometimes we make rules changes to open up possibilities. Something that
was impossible, according to the rules, we feel should be possible. We want
to enable a certain type of activity, or make the impregnable security
pregnable again. Once again, these are issues of game balance and
Some of the houserules we have instituted exist because of playability or
code issues. Because of the fact that the game runs in one-to-one time for the
most part, spending 'downtime' where your character can't do work or
roleplay is a major problem, effectively removing you from game play. By
contrast, in tabletop the GM can simply wave her hands and says, "And a
month passes". That's harder to do online. In other cases, we've modified
the rules because there is no real way to 'track' something, so instead we
institute a rule that is more playable.
Simplification is another reason for houserules. There are sections of
Shadowrun, in our view, that are needlessly complex -- and do not contribute
anything to the game by being that complex. By replacing the system with a
simpler one, we can help smooth over issues and gameplay.
And finally, some houserules are put into place just because that's the
kind of game we want to run. Some of them are put in to be nice to the
players, because we think it'll be more fun this way. All in all, though,
the houserules are instituted not because we're trying to 'meddle' with the
game, but instead because we want to run the best game we can.
One of the most common -- and most valid -- objections to houserules in
general stems from the argument that it makes it harder to play here,
because of the learning curve. I agree in many ways, which is why we keep
them to a minimum. However, I'm not going to eliminate them entirely,
either. It's important to establish a happy medium between 'sticking to the
dogmatic book interpretation even when it's obviously flawed' and 'wiping
out the game and starting over'. Both extremes are a problem. Instead, we
plan to tweak the systems as we feel necessary to establish good game play
and a fun environment for everyone.
Part 6: How Do I...?
How do I raise my skills/attributes?
As you play the game, various activities will gain you karma points.
Everything from writing a good background, to roleplaying and receiving
'noms', to participating in plots will result in karma points. For those
familiar with other game systems, karma points work like experience points.
You spend them to raise your skills, attributes, and other items on your
character sheet. They're the way you improve what you can do.
The first step is to acquire enough karma points to buy the skill or
attribute you want. Once you have done that, you need to send a +qmail to
the Roleplaying queue. For instructions on how
to send a +qmail, type '+help queues' within
Within your +qmail, you should include the following: The skill you are
trying to raise; what type of skill it is (Active, Knowledge/Background, or
Language); What its current value is; what the new value is; the expected
karma cost; and what your
character has been doing to increase his/her knowledge of the skill in
question (reading books, visiting the shooting range, etc). Then you simply
wait for the request to be processed, usually within a day or two. That's
all there is to it!
How do I purchase equipment after chargen?
Equipment, in this context, means any non-service that costs money. As your
character earns money over and above lifestyle expenses, you'll likely want
to purchase various kinds of equipment to upgrade your character's
capabilities or replace items you've used up in the process of earning the
Just about every character archetype needs some kind of equipment.
Deckers need programs and deck parts. Cyberdocs need to purchase bioware
and cyberware to install in their patients. Samurais need guns and armor.
Physical adepts need weapons and armor as well. Mages and Shamans need
libraries or lodges, foci, and spells.
In general, you should request equipment by submitting a request to the
Equipment queue. Requests for spells, foci, or
items relating to the use of Magic should be submitted to the Magic queue. Requests for items relating to the
matrix or cyberdecks should be submitted to the Matrix queue. Use the following format:
In the above, you should replace desc
with a short, 40-character or less description of what you are trying to
buy, and replace request with the text
of your request. Within your request, you can use
%r to insert a line break, and
%t to insert a tab.
- The first step is to determine what you want, specifically. You'll need
to know the rating if applicable. In addition, you need to know the
Availability, Base Cost, Base Time, and the Street
Index. Finally, you need to know the Quantity -- how many do you
want to buy? Include all of this information in your queue
- In order to purchase gear illegally, you need a contact. You can view
the contacts on your sheet by typing '+sheet/contact'. You need to pick a contact and list
her/her name, type, and level from your sheet. In addition, there are three
types of contacts and you should list to which of the following type you
believe this contact belongs for this piece of gear. Include all of this in
- General Contacts. These are things like fixers, talismongers,
military supply sergeants, etc. These contacts can get you multiple classes
of gear, usually a large number of them.
- Specific Contacts. These contacts can get you only a single
class of gear, such as 'guns', 'armor', 'deck parts', 'spells', 'foci',
'melee weapons', 'vehicles', etc.
- Specialized Contacts. These contacts are specialized in only
part of a single class of gear, such as 'pistols', 'combat spells'.
Alternatively, they can be contacts who can get a broader class of items that
doesn't come up often or has little game significance (books, musical
- In some cases, the Availability of an item may be so high that it's
almost impossible to acquire. For this reason, the rules permit you to
lower the Availability of an item while raising the base time and the street
Each time you lower the availability by one, you must raise the time
by 2 days and the street index by
either 0.2 or 20% of the base street index, whichever is
The number of times you may do this, though, is limited by your
Etiquette skill, plus twice the level of the contact
you are using. If you wish to lower the availability further, each one
point reduction adds 4 days to the time
and either 0.4 or 40% of the base street index to the street
index, whichever is higher.
In no event can you reduce the Availability to less than half its
original value (rounded down) in this manner.
At the end of this process, you have the adjusted availability, the adjusted base time, and the adjusted street index. You should include
these in your +qmail.
- Next, you should prepare to make the Etiquette test. This test
determines whether you'll be able to talk to contact into giving you the
gear, and if so, how fast you'll be able to get it. You'll use the adjusted
availability and adjusted base time from the previous section as part of
You'll use your Etiquette skill for the primary roll. If you are
specialized in it, and that specialization applies either to the type of
gear you're getting, or the type of contact you're using, then the
specialization may be used. Otherwise, you'll use the base value. The
target number of the test begins at the adjusted availability -- the base
availability if you didn't choose to try to reduce it. Use the following
table to calculate any bonuses or penalties. This table is also available
within the game via '+hr general gear3'.
Using a Specific Contact
Using a Specialized Contact
Using a Level 2 Contact
Using a Level 3 Contact
Character's Essence Rating Below 3.5
Non-Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 1
Non-Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 2
Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 1
Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 2
List the modifiers above that apply to your roll, and use this to
calculate the total number of dice and
target number you'll be rolling
against. Indicate these either in the base qmail or by using +qnote.
- Submit your queue request and make a note of the number assigned to it.
Use '+qroll' to roll your Etiquette test,
using the modifiers you calculated above and attach the roll to your queue
request. If you choose to spend karma pool points to reroll, use
'+qnote' to indicate this before you reroll the failed dice.
If you achieved zero successes, after using as much karma pool as you
felt you, then unfortunately you are finished with the process, with this
contact at least. In a '+qnote', add the base
time to today's date to indicate when you can try
again with this contact.
You may begin the process again with a new contact, if you have one
appropriate to the item.
If you achieved at least one success, however, then you may continue with
the process. At this point, you are committed to buying the item from the
contact. The question is, how much will it cost, and how soon will you get
- Using '+qnote', indicate the complementary
skills you wish to use to try to obtain more effective successes on your
Etiquette test. These knowledge/background skills must be clearly relevant
either to the type of item it is (Pistols Background, Talismongering, etc) or the
method of getting it (Military Equipment Acquisition, etc). List each skill
and its effective rating in your note. If more than
one skill applies, then take the highest skill at full value, then add half
the value of each other applicable skill, rounded down. List the total
number of dice this represents.
- Decide if you wish to purchase additional successes on the Etiquette
test. You must have gotten at least one success in order to use this
option. Additional successes lower the time to acquire the item, since the
actual time to get it equals the adjusted base time divided by your total
number of successes. In effect, you're offering your contact more money to
get the item to you more cheaply.
Each additional success you purchase requires you to multiple the
adjusted street index by 1.3. Each
iteration through the process multiples it again, so if you raise it three
times, then you multiple by 1.3, then
multiply the result by 1.3 again, then
1.3 again to get the final result. You
may purchase a maximum number of successes at this rate equal to your Etiquette skill rating. Additional successes
purchased may be purchased beyond this, but those extra successes carry a
multiplier of 1.6.
- Use '+qroll' to roll your total
complementary dice, if any, against the same target number you used for the
base Etiquette test. Each two full successes on this roll translate to one
additional effective success on the Etiquette test. If you spend karma pool
points to re-roll these dice, indicate how many you used via '+qnote'.
- Use the '+qnote' command to indicate your
total number of successes and the final
delivery time for the item by dividing
the adjusted base time by your number of successes and adding it to the
- Use '+qnote' to indicate the modifiers that
apply to your Negotiation test. You'll use your Negotiation skill for the
primary roll. If you are specialized in it, and that specialization applies
either to the type of gear you're getting, or the type of contact you're
using, then the specialization may be used. The 'bargain' specialization
also will apply in this case. Otherwise, you'll use the base value. The
target number of the test begins at your contact's Intelligence -- this is
5 if not otherwise noted on your sheet
-- and may be changed by any of the following bonuses or penalties. This
table is also available within the game via '+hr
Using a Specific Contact
Using a Specialized Contact
Using a Level 2 Contact
Using a Level 3 Contact
Character's Essence Rating Below 3.5
Non-Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 1
Non-Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 2
Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 1
Cultured Tailored Pheromones Rating 2
List the modifiers above that apply to your roll, and use this to
calculate the total number of dice and
target number you'll be rolling
against. Indicate these either in the base qmail or by using +qnote.
- Use +qroll to roll your Negotiation skill,
plus any bonus dice from the table above, against the target number you
calculated in the previous step. If you choose to use spend karma pool points
to reroll this test, indicate how many were spent in a +qnote. Next, use +qroll to roll your contacts effective
Negotiation skill against a target number of your character's Intelligence. If not GMnoted otherwise, General contacts have a
Negotiation skill of 7, while specific and
specialized contacts have a Negotiation skill of 5.
- List any complementary skill you
wish to use for this test. Typically, the 'gear value' skill is used as
complementary to this roll, though knowledge skills related to the type of
gear may be used as well. You may not use any skill as complementary for
this roll if it was used instead as a complementary skill for the etiquette test.
Only one skill may be used as complementary for this test. Indicate the
name and effective rating of the complementary
skill you choose to use, if any.
- Use +qroll to roll your complementary skill
against the same target number you used for the Negotiation test. Every two
full successes you achieve on this test adds one effective success to your
- Calculate and indicate via +qnote your
total successes and your contact's successes. Calculate and list your
Negotiation Modifier by starting at
1.00; then, add 0.05
for each net success you achieved and subtract 0.05
for each net success your contact achieved.
- Calculate the total cost using the following formula and indicate it via
base cost *
adjusted SI *
If you are purchasing an item legally, then you don't have to go through
the above process. List where you're acquiring it, and use the base cost as
the cost for it. You should also indicate the SIN you are using to purchase
the item, if it is in any way 'questionable' or something that might be
tracked by corporations or the government.
You may make a single roll for multiple quantities of any item with an
availability rating of 8 or below, and a base
cost of 50,000 =Y= or below. Exceptions may be
made to this rule for certain kinds of ammunition.
Unless you specify otherwise, we will take the cash for the item directly
from your sheet and place the item into your inventory. If you wish the
item to be delivered to another player, then please state so in your queue
request. Likewise, if you wish the cash for the item to be removed from
a given player, please state that as well. Include the amount; any amount
taken over and above the cost of the item will be given to you. If there is
any shortfall from this amount, you will be expected to pay the difference.
These options are given to facilitate PC fixers.
As a reminder, any karma pool you spend on an extended test is
unavailable for use until the extended test is completed. For equipment
requests, the extended test is completed when you receive the item.
How do I submit a log for review?
When you run a playerplot, or simply participate in a cool scene, you'll
want to log it. Logging is the process of recording everything that gets
displayed to you in a given window to a file, in effect 'saving' it. The
exact way it's done varies depending on which MUSH client you're using;
check your client's help file for details. Pay careful attention to where
on your hard disk the log will be saved; you'll need to find it again later.
Because of security limitations in Java, the Java MUSH client cannot log.
The next step is to edit your log file. The purpose of this is to remove
extraneous clutter from it -- things that were displayed but are not
relevant to what you were trying to log. Things that you should remove
- <<OOC>> Chatter that is not relevant to what you're
logging and necessary to understand the flow should be removed.
- Channel Chatter. Things said on channels, unless it is an IC
channel related to the plot, generally should never be included in plot
- Pages. Unless they are directly related to the plot or situation
at hand, and necessary to understand the flow of it, they should be
- Command Output. The output of any commands not relevant to the
plot should be removed from the log. Typical commands to remove are:
+sheet, WHO, +where, +bbread, +nom, @mail, or anything that generates output that is not
strictly relevant to the plot.
- Events and Notifications. Strip out any messages the game sends
you that aren't relevant to the plot at hand, including messages showing
someone you're watching for logged on; messages about receiving noms; any
rumors that get displayed during the plot; messages about apartments, and so
- Connect/Disconnect Messages. The messages "Player has
connected." and "Player has disconnected." and "Player has partially
disconnected." are irrelevant and can be removed.
- Arrived/Departed Messages. Messages indicating a player has
arrived or departed from a location, automated triggers such as when a
player joins a place, and so forth.
- Descriptions. Strip out all room descriptions and player
descriptions from when you enter a room or look at someone or something.
This includes contents and exit lists as well.
- Stuff before or after the relevant portion of the log should be
removed, if any.
Things that you should leave in the log include:
- Poses. Anything that is posed or said ICly by a character
involved should be included in the log.
- Pages/OOC Messages that are relevant to the plot and necessary to
understand the flow (for example, people declaring actions and explaining
where target numbers are coming from) should probably be included. Extract
any that are not necessary -- usually only one declaration pose is
- Die Rolls. Die rolls for actions being undertaken should be
Only one player involved in a given scene should edit a log to prepare
it for submission. Normally, with a plot, it's the person running the
playerplot, though they can ask someone else to do it. If you're not sure,
ask the other people involved who will submit the log.
Once the log is edited, it should be submitted. This is done by a
combination of E-mail and the queue system. The steps are as follows:
- From within the game, type
In the above, put a brief (40-character) description of what the log is
about in the subject field, and then
type whatever description or additional information you want the log
reviewer to see in the description
- The system will display back a subject line. Write this number down, or
copy it to the clipboard using your client (how to do this varies depending
on client software). Using your E-mail software, include the log in the
body of the message if possible, and send it via E-mail to
Your E-mail's subject line should exactly match the subject line that
was displayed by the game. Upper/Lowercase is important.
- Type the following command to check the status of your log:
Check to make sure that the 'Status' column displays
'Received'. You should also receive a reply
E-mail if the submission was accepted, or if it was rejected and why.
- Be patient. Logs are usually reviewed within about a week, but in some
circumstances it could take longer. You'll be notified when an admin claims
your log for review. You don't need to do anything else unless instructed
Part 7: General Information
Who runs/owns Shadowrun Denver?
Shadowrun Denver is owned and operated by the player of 'Alpha' and
'Wyldfire' within the game. Yes, they're the same person. The server is
a dual-Pentium 166 MHz Linux box called 'Aelfhame', which is located at a
small ISP of which said admin has half-ownership. Most of the game code
was, including the hardcode modifications, was written by this staff member
Put another way, Shadowrun Denver has very stable leadership. The same
admin is headwiz, head coder, 'God', and site-admin. The bandwidth and ISP
are also under the same player's control. This makes it unlikely to have a
drastic change in leadership or politics. Alpha is the final arbiter of any
issues; his word is, on this game, law. There is no upward appeal to any
outside party, which should help prevent some of the conflicts that various
games have experienced.