Monthly Archives: April 2014

Hostile Takeover: Designer Blog Part 1


Designer Blog Part 1

When I got the news that I would be creating the first big Shadowrun-themed board game, I was ecstatic. Shadowrun and I have a long relationship from decades of being a gamer, and my local gaming crew has run RPGs off and on over the course of its existence. Getting the chance to create a milestone event like Hostile Takeover is not only my pleasure, but also truly an honor. Off went the gamer’s hat and it was replaced by the designer’s cap.

Hostile Takeover needed to be epic in feel and execution. Not a game about individual runners sneaking around in the shadows and alleyways, like what happens in the roleplaying game; instead this needed to be a game from the other side of the plot—the megacorporations. This was going to be a game where players were the ones doing all the string pulling, but without losing any of the gritty feel of sketchy missions, random violence, and constant under-the-table double crossing that a good Shadowrun game should have!

That in mind, the initial designs for Hostile Takeover began to take shape.

I knew the game needed to be set in Shadowrun’s iconic Seattle in the 2070s, which gave me a solidly defined base of information to build off of. The map has already been drawn, the megacorporations have already been laid out, and much of the cast of supporting roles exist in the thousands of pages that have been previously written. All we had to do was put all of this together in a fun, exciting game of manipulation and scheming for three to six players.

Many of the best board games in the market combine resource management, a little bit of luck, and oftentimes a set limit on game turns or play time. Mixing all of these things into one game plan, Hostile Takeover will not only require players to think their strategies several turns in advance but also be ready to adapt when the hidden card draws and dice rolls throw unavoidable monkeywrenches—and monkeywrenchers—into the works.

As the game starts to take shape on the designer table, I decided I wanted three major elements in the game to give it the Shadowrun feel: shadowrunners accomplishing missions, players negotiating and manipulating each other for fun and profit, and the potential for an underhanded snatching away of victory from their opponents. The game should have all of these things … and more.

The rough draft of the game started to take form as a badly photoshopped map of Shadowrun’s Seattle, a growing list of shadowrunners, and twelve megacorporation statistic cards to represent who will be hiring them. While the next chapter in Hostile Takeover’s Designer Blog will share a bit more light on how the game is evolving into what I hope will be a fan favorite, I think a great way to close out this segment is with the current list of the megacorporations (you never know what’s going to happen between now, final play testing, development and production) that players of Hostile Takeover will be using to vie for dominance of Seattle: Ares, Aztechnology, Evo, Horizon, Mitsuhama, NeoNET, Regency Megamedia, Saeder-Krupp, Shiawase, Telestrian Industries, Universal Omnitech, and Wuxing!

See you around chummers! Stay tuned for more on this game as it evolves!

Bryan Steele

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Sneak Preview: Crafting the Cover for STOLEN SOULS

CAT27200_Stolen Souls_Cover

Crafting a cover for Shadowrun goes rarely the same way twice. Sometimes the magic happens organically, sometimes its the a wonderful recipe combining a variety of ingredients, and sometimes you just need to hit it with napalm. When it came to crafting the title image for Stolen Souls the recipe included all three.

It all started with a plan…

I had an idea in mind that I finally wanted to have the legendary Raven Mimura bring the characters to life. Raven crafted some of my all time favorite character images from the Fourth Edition era, and his amazing character images infuse a range of intensity and storytelling that is among the very best in the industry. I’d long wanted to put him on a cover and as a huge fan of Shadowrun, he was glad for his shot at it.

Next we needed the details, so I tasked Jason Hardy with designing a set of notes that would allow Raven to really work his magic. Jason is a huge fan of Raven’s so he worked up a description for a character wizard to sink his teeth into, which in this case were the frayed ends of forced insanity caused by the dangers in Stolen Souls. Here were the original art notes:

    Setting: Interior hallway of a corporate office. Should be a nice place, with dark wood doors, brass wall sconces, beige walls, padded carpet, that sort of thing. As we get farther in the background, some of the walls look like they have been slashed with an axe…because they have been.

    The focus of the scene is on an executive running down the hallway (toward the viewer) at a full tilt. He is wearing a business suit and tie. His tie is slightly loosened. He is carrying a fire axe. It looks like some of his swings with the axe have been somewhat wild and have cut into his pants, so the lower part of them is looking a bit shredded. His facial expression should be very crazed, to a scary extent—like, say, Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

    Behind him is a runner team. They have been sent to extract him, but they had no idea just how far gone his mind is. They are supposed to take him alive, so they cannot just take him down. They are running after him—we should be able to see a female ork street samurai with a large stun baton, a male dwarf mage getting ready to throw a spell down the hallway, and a female elf shooter lining up a shot with a dart rifle. This team should look like the type you would trust to do a corporate run—not too crazy looking, professional and all, but still looking like shadowrunners.

Raven’s characterizations were right on target from the get go and he did an amazing job bringing these to life.

With those characters in place I then handed off the image to Victor Moreno to build the corporate setting around these characters. Victor has delivered some over-the-top amazing work for Shadowrun settings (like the upcoming Shadowrun: Crossfire box cover) so I tasked him with designing a background which showcased the scene and reinforced Raven’s storytelling. The heavily tilted ‘ground’ reinforced the unbalanced state of the foreground character’s state of mind, and wood panel color palette really sets off the characters nicely.

All told the collaborative result just goes to show how great a team we have here on Shadowrun, and the awesomeness of letting specialists play to their strengths. It’s a great image and does an excellent job illustrating the state of mind one risks in the Sixth World.

Brent Evans
Art Director

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Get your Shadowrun fiction fix with Sail Away, Sweet Sister!

New Shadowrun fiction is on sale now for your immediate consumption! It’s got hungry vampires, sardonic spirits, Anne Ravenheart, and so much more! Featuring Thomas McAllister, the main character of Another Rainy Night, the story is an exploration of shadowy deeds and dark desires–just what we like to see in Shadowrun! And as part of the Enhanced Fiction line, it comes with game statistics and rules for the main characters. If you buy the PDF version, the stats are right in the document. If you buy the ePub or Kindle version, you can get the stats for free right here. Or I guess you could just get the stats for free–but you’d be missing out on a great story!

Sail Away, Sweet Sister is available at the following outlets: The Battleshop has a bundle with the PDF, ePub, and mobi versions all bundled together; so does DriveThruRPG. Alternately, you can get the Kindle version at Amazon, and it will be coming soon to the Barnes & Noble online store–watch this space for the link!

Here are some more details if for some reason you haven’t already run out and grabbed it:

Monsters of the Shadows

Thomas McCallister’s area of expertise—the virus that turns metahumans into flesh-eating monsters—has taken him into some dark corners of the Sixth World. When he came face to face with the serial murderer known as the Mealtime Killer, he had hoped that a particularly dark chapter of his life had come to a close. But when night falls in the sprawls of the world, blood is still being shed, and people are still dying. Another killer is still out there, one that needs to be found and stopped, but the challenge McAllister is about to face is one he never could have anticipated. His resolve will be tested in ways he never anticipated in his darkest nightmares.

Sail Away, Sweet Sister builds on the events of Another Rainy Night, taking another dark turn down the streets of the Sixth World to face the monsters that lurk there. Along with a full short story, it contains game statistics for the major characters in the work, as well as spells, gear, and other game information that allows you can drop the people from this story right into your Shadowrun game (stats are included in the PDF version and will be made available as a free PDF that ePub/Kindle buyers can download).

Sail Away, Sweet Sister is dual-statted, meaning it can be used with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition or Shadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition.


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Run & Gun available now for PDF purchase, print pre-order!

The previews have all been posted. The ramp-up is all done. The time is here. Run & Gun, the core combat book for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is now available for PDF purchase and print pre-order (Battleshop, DriveThruRPG). And when we say print pre-order, we have a load of options for you, since along with the regular edition, we’re also releasing a limited edition of the book! Following on the look of the Shadowrun, Fifth Edition limited editions, this will feature a red leather cover with an embossed illustration of some of the weapons from the book.

So what do you get in Run & Gun? Well, the previews will give you a good taste, but here are some highlights: A monofilament chainsaw. Three laser weapons. Full-color illustrations of dozens of firearms, including the Savalette Guardian and the Ares Executioner. Fashion armor, mil-spec armor, and the deceptive murder armor. Group maneuvers in combat. Called shots on specific body locations. Information on using explosives in cars for assassinations. And so much more!

The graphic below outlines the bundles available at the Battleshop; below that is the summary text of the book if you need more information. Enjoy!


Nothing Is Free

Guns and ammo cost nuyen. Mastering martial arts takes time. And learning how to use explosives without blowing yourself up takes patience and a steady hand. These weapons and more are out there, waiting for you. You have the chance to use them to become deadlier, faster, more dangerous than the next guy—and more dangerous than you were yesterday. You’ll have to pay the price to get what you want, but this is the Sixth World. Don’t you always?

Run & Gun is a combat core rulebook for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, containing more weapons, more armor, more modifications, and more game options such as martial arts and unit tactics. Explosives, survival gear, specialized techniques—they’re all here! Break the book open and prepare to raise your game!

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