Life in the Shadows
This section covers the key concepts and terms used in Shadowrun. Some are general roleplaying terms, and others are unique to this game system. Whether you are an experienced gamer or new to roleplaying, once you understand how these rules operate in Shadowrun, the rest will fall easily into place. Some of the explanations provided here also appear in other appropriate sections in more detail.
Shadowrun is a roleplaying game that provides all the excitement of an adventure story in a collaborative format. Roleplaying games require one or more players and a gamemaster. The players control the main characters of the story, the protagonists of a plot whose outcome is uncertain. The gamemaster directs the action of the story and controls the opposition, the props, the setting, and everything else the player characters may encounter. The game is not a contest between the good guys (the players) and the bad guys (the gamemaster), however—the gamemaster may control all the bad guys, but he is actually in sympathy with the heroes. Players and gamemasters must work together to build and experience an intense and interesting adventure.
As a player in the game of Shadowrun, you control a player character (PC)—a Shadowrunner. All of the character’s statistics and information are noted on your Character Record Sheet. This is where you record your character’s abilities, possessions, physical appearance, and other facts. Over time, you will likely expand your Character Record Sheet to include a detailed history of your character and her adventures in the 2070s
During the course of the game, the gamemaster (GM) will describe events or situations to you. Using your Character Record Sheet as a guide, you decide what your character would do in a given situation. As you roleplay through some situations, the gamemaster will probably ask you to roll some dice, and the resulting numbers will represent your character’s attempted action. The gamemaster uses the rules of the game to interpret the dice rolls and the outcome of your character’s action. The gamemaster also controls any other characters that the player characters interact with.
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