What is it?
In the grimdark dystopian future orks, trolls, elves, and all kinds of creatures of legend have returned to earth and Mega Corporations rule the world hiring mercenaries to wages secret wars against each other. And that’s the essence of Shadowrun. It’s D&D in the future and instead of plunder dungeons you’re plundering trade secrets. For the most part, anyway.
Why did I buy it?
An acquaintance, a friend of a friend, introduced me to Shadowrun back in high school. He wasn’t part of my regular AD&D Second Edition group, but seemed friendly enough, and some of my players and I were looking for a different RPG to play. And this acquaintance was more than willing to run. And so he did.
He gave us all pregenerated characters; all we had to do was some finishing touches and give them names. I still have my Elfin combat mage character sheet (see the above picture).
I don’t recall much about that first session. Somebody played a Street Samari. Somebody else ran a troll. We shot up some ghouls in the Wastelands of Seattle. The adventure ended with a vampire CEO trying to escape via a helicopter. We shot down the helicopter and riddled the vampire with bullet holes.
It looked like a promising campaign, but in retrospect I’m not sure if the GM wanted us to be so trigger happy.
Two sessions later the GM folded the campaign. We played through part of what he called an advanced adventure. Our Shadowrun adventure took us to Hawaii, but he said we couldn’t take any weapons. But when our characters arrived in Hawaii one of the GM’s NPCs showed up with a few cases of dissembled guns.
Why didn’t you guys take apart your guns?
Uh… you said we couldn’t take weapons?
Well… dissembled guns aren’t weapons. Duh!
And so the Shadowrun corebook sat on my shelf until college, which was the next (and last) time I played the game.
Near the end of my first Fall Semester, the roommate of an acquaintance (do you follow me here?) offered to run a the first session of a new campaign. Great! My college RPG friends looked forward to it.
This GM ran exactly one session. We created our characters. We met Mr. Johnson, the anonymous corporate guy who gave us our mission and I don’t remember what else happened. But I remember the game being far better than what I’d played in High School. We looked forward to beginning the campaign in earnest come spring.
I never saw the GM again.
Nobody did–except for his roommate, who said he moved out and quit school on the very first day of spring semester. And I had no means of contacting him. Nobody did. We never exchanged contact information.
Why did I sell it?
Dear Jeremy/Justin/Jason (???):
If you’re reading this, I held on to your books as a long as I could. But at some point I needed some grocery money and so they ended up on The Used Book Store pile. If it makes you feel any better, so did my copy of the Shadowrun (Second Edition), and I never played Shadowrun after your game which was the best Shadowrun I’ve ever played (though I don’t recall why).