Technoir: Shadowrun

Posted: June 7, 2011 in campaign concepts, Game bits, Shadowrun, Technoir
Tags: ,

Technoir is a game that’s really gotten its hooks into my brainmeats lately.* Considering its subject matter adapting it to do Shadowrun seems almost too obvious, but that’s not stopping me.

First off, we need a verb for spellcasting. CAST just doesn’t do it for me; SLING is tempting, but I’m not sure the slang is right. Maybe just MAGIC? It’s arguably a verb. Whatever you call it, though, it covers spell use and spell resistance, like other verbs.

Metahumanity is just a series of training programs. You’re a Dwarf? You get FIGHT, OPERATE and DETECT, plus your choice of adjectives like stocky, canny and gruff. (Or some such; I haven’t worked out the exact lists yet.) These would be restricted such that, while you can take the same Metahuman program twice, you can’t take two different Metahuman programs.

Spells are Objects, purchased as such and with appropriate tags. Cheaper spells work like guns and armor, more expensive ones like cyberware. There is magical splicing, for when you need to ramp up your nervous system with eldritch speed. Wherever possible, you’d use the extant “backend” for the mechanics, and re-skin for a more supernatural flavor; the kinds of adjectives you can inflict or bestow will go a long way, here.

Spirits, elementals, and totems are Connections. They’ve got their own agendas, but they’re glad to teach you spells or make your skin bulletproof for a price. Like Spells, spirit and totem favors would have a more otherworldly flavor: they Deal for momentary charms and hexes, Fix you up with new spells, Splice magic into your flesh, and give you Rides through secret and arcane paths.** What I dig about this is that the way Connections work means your spirits and totems are likely to get wrapped up in the plot along with your PCs.

It’s a start, anyway. I’d like to play Technoir straight up once, before hacking it. But this stuff was burning a hole in my synapses and its safer here, I think, until I can find a way to use it.


* That link’s to the Kickstarter, this one’s to the beta test documents; the Player’s Guide probably provides the best primer to the terminology used in this post.

**  Gods help you if you decide to Date one.

  1. Adam says:

    Metahumanity as Training Programs is a good move. Would you have to take one, ie would a Dwarf have to take at least 1 Dwarf Program, or are they just available to the Dwarf if wanted?

    I’ve never played a SR game, but I have played Technoir beta playtest, and so I’m of a mind that this could be very good. Are you on Twitter? Maybe we could get another Skype game going. (@atminn)

    • Jim DelRosso says:

      I’m leaning toward the notion that if you want to be a Dwarf, you need to take the Dwarf program at least once. I feel like that’s the best fit with the notion of how Metahumanity tends to work in SR. I could see showing flex on the question, though.

      I’m on twitter:!/niwandajones . Thanks for the offer of a Skype game! I’m gonna try to get one of my local crews to play/run this first, tho; I really prefer face-to-face gaming. 🙂

  2. Guns_n_Droids says:

    Hmm, not sure about using race as a training prog(after all, everyone’s got a race, and by making it a TP you’re making them pay.. Though yeah, with SR it maybe justified. I’d say you need a little more kredz on start for the SR with all it cool gear, which is usually stuffed into PC almost to the point of death. Though it will help balance between cyber and magic/techno

    • Jim DelRosso says:

      Well, like original SR, humans don’t need to pay, as there’s no Human training program. As noted above, I think it’s the best fit, though I’m willing to be flexible if I ever get to test this. The main thing I wanted to avoid was adding another layer to Technoir’s system, which is why i tried to fit all of these elements into existing structures.

      Also, if PCs in this start out a bit less decked-out (pun mildly intended) than old-school SR PCs, I’m inclined to see that as a feature, not a bug. I want the noir in with the tech, as it were.

      • Adam Minnie says:

        Hey Jim, I’m considering running a SR setting using Sixth World (a Dungeon World hack), and I stumbled across this great Technoir hack that I posted in 2 years ago.

        Did you ever get to run/play Technoir, and if so did you testdrive these Shadowrun ideas?

      • Jim DelRosso says:

        I got to play it a bit back in ’11, but never did test-drive this stuff. As I recall, an SR-style hack was supposed to be delivered as one of the KS stretch goals, but never seemed to materialize. I could be wrong about that.

        I’ve seen Sixth World, though, and it looks very fun.

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