The Sunday group had our demo of Shadowrun 2nd edition today. We played archetypes straight out of the book or modified slightly from those provided.
The GM is sold on the combat system of 2 over 4. I and another player agree that it plays out much more smoothly and quickly. We also like being able to roll six or eight dice for the average attack instead of 15+.
I did experiment with making my own character, and found that I could whip up a decent Shadowrunner in twenty minutes, as opposed to the hours of agonizing through the point build jungle of 4th edition.
Although the decking system seems a bit more complex than the hacking of 4e, I find it easier to understand on a conceptual level; that is, I can read SR2 and have a pretty good idea of how to get through a system and get it to do things I want it to do. While SR4's ideas about Augmented Reality and Personal Area Networks are a lot more timely (as in, feasible given the current state of personal electronics) and cooler, I read the 30 page chapter three times and still wasn't quite sure how do actually do anything with my hacker. The GM plans to try and port AR and wireless tech into SR2, using the decking rules as a baseline. Personally I hope he finds a way to keep the AR aspect that allows hackers to act in real time with the rest of the party.
I played a Street Shaman tonight and I have to say that I love the magic system. I felt very useful and was able to contribute quite a bit between spells and summoning spirits. I could have also done something useful with astral travel, though I didn't realize it until the end of the session. I did not find Drain to be that much of a problem, though I did get pinged a few times.
M, our host, who plays the mage in our 4th edition game, was not totally sold on SR magic. I tried to break it down and explained how much fun I had playing a shaman. I hope she's not reluctant to try it... or rather, I hope she doesn't feel pushed into it by the rest of the group, all of whom had a pretty positive experience playing the older edition.
This week I will email the GM and see about converting Count Hackula to SR2, along with what we will do to handle AR, PANs, etc. The GM had our characters using a version of the commlinks from SR4 this session. Honestly I don't think it will be too difficult. Josh and I did joke around about making "analog" Count Hackula, with fingerless gloves, cyberdeck with spiral phone cable, 80's giant mohawk, and maybe a Cure t-shirt or something. He can be addicted to "Ultima Online V" instead of "World of Wizardcraft." High-larious.
Another bonus of playing old time Shadowrun is that most of the books can be found online for dirt cheap. Hot damn.
Oh, and an added surprise: the missus is planning to join the Shadowrun game on Sundays. She's been reading up. She still has no interest in the RIFTS game, however. Her addition is most welcome, especially since one of our players can only play every other week now due to family obligations and has decided to stick with the RIFTS game. (Fair enough...he's invested in some of the books since he started gaming with us)
This concludes my weekend of gaming every day. I'm still waiting on my copies of SR2 and Stars Without Number. Looking forward to next weekend.