Monday, September 19, 2011

SWN/Shadowrun: Un-Reinventing the Wheel

So I've been agonizing over the Matrix in my SWN to Shadowrun conversion.

Today I realized that there are perfectly serviceable rules for hacking in the SWN supplement, Polychrome. They are not as robust or complex as the SR Matrix rules, but they are simple as hell and allow the hacker (though I still prefer the term decker) to work in real-time with the team. If hacking is done on-site, it takes only 1d6 rounds... some of the things a hacker can do are quite analogous to the D&D thief, which was the sweet spot I was going for.

I think I will put my Matrix system on the shelf and simply say that if I run Shadowrun with SWN, I am going to be using those hacking rules instead.

Now, I just need cyberware and beasties and I think I have enough to run. Polychrome also solved my Wired Reflexes problem in an very elegant way: each round a character uses super reflexes, they get a second action at the end of the round. (There is essentially an extra "round" at the end of the round for wired characters) Using your wires causes a point of System Strain each time you use them, and you have to make a Tech Save or else they overheat and shut off for one hour. Perhaps you could include advanced levels of it that don't overheat, but still cause the Strain... something to simulate Wired 2 and Wired 3 without turning your game into a slogfest.


  1. Heh! Nice fix!

    : )

    (in my own game, being "wired too tight" could lead to cardiac arrest, forcing players to balance how fast they want to be. Of course, now I'm scratching most of that...)

  2. I don't think you need harsh Wired Reflexes rules. The heavy cost and system impact of the Wired Reflexes means you're taking a huge opportunity cost in using them instead of the range of other cyberware you could be using. Also the fact htat you can't loot Wired Reflexes means enemies using them add difficulty to the encounter without giving extra wealth to the group, unlike enemies using bigger guns or wearing special armor.

  3. WOw my CAPTCHA was "quoup" which is just so pleasant to look at.

  4. d30-

    Those rules actually came from the Stars Without Number cyberpunk supplement. (Well, the cyberware isn't actually called Wired Reflexes but it is the SWN equivalent) Then again, most cyberware in SWN is pretty harsh, but there are in-setting reasons for that. For a more traditional Shadowrun style game, I think removing the Tech Save is probably just about right. Wired 2 might have higher permanent Strain but not cause Strain to rise from round to round.

  5. also...I think your CAPTCA word might actually be the word from Power Word, Stun because it scrambles my brain every time I try to read it...

  6. I think it's "kwoo-owp"

    Also I don't know how I managed to comment on this and not remember it, but I'm also thinking about SR lately and thought SWN might be a good system to play SR with. I search for "SWN cyberware" and here comes your post ... which I apparently read and commented on already!