Shadowrun: Missions

Shadowrun is a longtime favorite of mine. And one of my first experiences with Shadowrun was playing a con-scenario back in the day. I’m pretty sure it was a living Seattle game but I can’t swear to that – it’s just a recollection. I became aware of Catalyst’s current set of convention scenarios – Missions – during the second “Season” of the Missions campaigns. I ran quite a few of the scenarios from that season and they were quite often very clever, very well made little runs. The Denver setting was something kinda different and I must admit – I really enjoyed the change of pace from Seattle… I have a soft spot for Denver in the shadows and really, it’s always a boon when you have an excuse to put Warren Zevon on your campaign soundtrack…

I skipped season three. I’m not really into the New York experience and didn’t really see myself running games there – but recently, I’ve been working my way through Season 4 and I have to say, these are the best single-session, meant-for-a-con, one-shots I’ve ever read. The missions scenarios are always well-written, straightforward without being simple, offer a little something for everyone on the team – no matter how that team is made up, and really seem to be made by people who really love Shadowrun.

What makes these so interesting is that they’re always constructed with the GM in mind. These are the first “con-games” I’ve ever read that leave me feeling like they’ve got the GM’s back instead of hanging him out to dry. And they don’t just work as con games. That’s really the beauty of them. You could pretty much take any one of these scenarios, plug it into a game night when you had (honestly) 20 minutes to prepare and you have everything you need. They always are careful to provide page references in the books, full stat blocks for even incidental encounters, optional ideas for each scene if it goes too well or too poorly for the PCs, and a clear-cut set of consequences for the aftermath of the story.

And with Season 4 they’ve really taken the next step. The production values are high, the stories and NPCs are well-done, and even if you don’t use them as written, the sheer amount of valuable “stuff!” in each one is worth the $3.95. In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan.

Gaming and the people who do it disappoint me sometimes. I can be critical. I can forget how much fun all of this is at times. But sometimes, even in the most unlikely places (really, pre-written, con-style, one-shots?) you can find evidence of how many awesome things gaming can still offer. If you are a Shadowrun GM and you haven’t checked these out – they’re worth the time. If you are ever thinking about being a Shadowrun GM and you want a very well-written, simple scenario to get your players hooked – go check these out – they’re what you’re looking for. Oh, and like all good addictions – the first one’s free

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