Shadowrun – Dealing with over-preparation

I am currently running a Shadowrun campaign on pbp, and have done the worst mistake. The characters being part of the army, they received a mission briefing ending with: “the mission will start next week, you have 7 days to make your preparations”.

That was four months ago. Two days have passed in game.

The characters have spent a crazy amount of time exploring the Matrix, the Astral, asking their contacts, adapting and readapting and rereadapting their equipment.

Thinking about it, I figured I would remove preparation completely for their next mission. But then, it would remove some of Shadowrun’s fun, right? And then, I remembered Leverage RPG.



(beware: can also make the game a lot cooler)


At any time, a character can spend an Edge point to call a flashback. The player describes the action, and makes an appropriate roll if necessary. It happens, no matter the result of the roll. If the roll is failed however, the situation might go bad in some other direction. The flashback has to be called by another character, whether a PC or NPC – this can be described by the player as he wants. All characters increase their max Edge Points by one.

Example: The group infiltrated the office where they are supposed to steal a chip. While the gunslinger covers the entrance, the others realize that the chip is an absurdly efficient safe, and they have no hope of opening it. Raven, the ex-ganger street samurai, reaches for the door with a confident look on her face.

Zhen, adept: “Wait, you think you can unlock that thing?” (this is the call)

Raven: “Better than that…” (spends an edge point)

One day earlier. A man is hurrying in the rainy streets of Hong-Kong, holding his bag against his chest. He keeps glancing above his shoulder, and screams when he ends up bumping into someone.He let out a relieved sigh, realizing it is only a street cleaner. He grumbles some insults and walks away.No one notices the cleaner dropping something in her jacket as she disappears in a dark alley.(The player makes a Palming roll here)

The samurai gets a magnetic key out of her pocket, a huge grin on her face.

Raven: “People drop all kind of things, don’t you think?”

(If her Palming roll succeeded, this is indeed the correct key, and the chip is inside. If it failed, it IS still the correct key… but maybe the chip is not inside? It is filled with drones? It is linked to the building alarm system? All of the above?)

So here you have it! I hope this will give a more “caper feel” to the game.

2 thoughts on “Shadowrun – Dealing with over-preparation

  1. cochise

    Why would you remove preparation from play? If your players are having fun, there´s nothing wrong about it. In fact, they have eased your work as GM. You gave them a small hook, and they started building the adventure all by themselves.
    Just listen to their plans, note anything they may have overlooked (they will probably give you ideas by discussing all the possibilities) and use it against them.
    If they come out with the perfect plan… well, congrats, mission accomplished. Focus on the consequences and/or the next mission.

    • CristolGDM

      SIX MONTHS. This is mostly because our group tended to over-prepare every time (SIX MONTHS), which is an even bigger problem when playing through PbP than around a table.

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