Fight back at the Pouring Rain describes my vision of Black Trenchcoat style play, inspired heavily by Stuh42L’s Wet Trenchcoat. The rain represents the realities of the 6th world that weight down everyone like soaked clothing.
The players act out the lives of people in this world who, empowered by their honed skills and experience, choose not to sit down and let the rain soak them. They take on a seemingly hopeless battle holding onto the fact that they are prepared to slip through the cracks and outmaneuver their foes to achieve victory.
When I prepare to GM, I aim to make the world as hostile, dark and hopeless as possible. When I GM, I hope to guide the players through this brutal world that seeks to drown them. Acting as the runner’s intuition and experience.
I use the X-card system to keep my table staff. Simply type or say x-card and the scene will stop immediately. You do not have to give a reason. You do not have to explain why. I know it is weird, but it helps us place amazing games together and I am a weird GM. You can read more about x-card here.
At the start of my runs, I will say various vignettes then give the stage of each player, in turn, to explain what their character looks like, what their metatype is and describe a scene they are in during an imagined TV show intro sequence. This is just an artifact of my general cinematic style that learn more about here.
Combat is not something I take lightly. I love this quote from Unknown Armies:
"Somewhere out there is someone who had loving parents, watched clouds on a summer's day, fell in love, lost a friend, is kind to small animals, and knows how to say "please" and "thank you," and yet somehow the two of you are going to end up in a dirty little room with one knife between you and you are going to have to kill that human being.
It's a terrible thing. Not just because he's come to the same realization and wants to survive just as much as you do, meaning he's going to try and puncture your internal organs to set off a cascading trauma effect that ends with you voiding your bowels, dying alone and removed from everything you've ever loved. No, it's a terrible thing because somewhere along the way you could have made a different choice. You could have avoided that knife, that room, and maybe even found some kind of common ground between the two of you. Or at least, you might have divvied up some turf and left each other alone. That would've been a lot smarter, wouldn't it? Even dogs are smart enough to do that. Now you're staring into the eyes of a fellow human and in a couple minutes one of you is going to be vomiting to the rhythm of a fading heartbeat. The survivor is going to remember this night for the rest of his or her life."
This is why I will use group use when the runners start using lethal force and make the impact of their decisions very clear. I will be less ruthless if non-lethal options are used, but if things are a matter of life or death, my NPCs want to go home to see their families. The NPCs are often not paid enough for dealing with Shadowrunners. If an option is presented that will let them live once it is clear they can not beat the runners, they will tend to take it.
Proposed New GM Limitation Chart
|Coached Run||Approved Run||Structured Run||Freeform Run|
|Run Threat Level||Milk||Level 0||Level 0||Level 0||Level 0|
|Low||Level 0||Level 0||Level 0||Level 0|
|Medium||Level 0||Level 0||Level 0||Level 1|
|High||Level 0||Level 1||Level 1||Level 2|
|Semi-Prime||Level 1||Level 2||Level 2||Level 3|
|Prime||Level 2||Level 3||Level 3||Level 3|