I’ve only played Shadowrun a few times. Most of them have been with the same group of people. Our playstyle focused upon extensive recon and planning, and – while that style of game might annoy some people – I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Yesterday, I got to thinking about how that playstyle could be merged with a dungeon crawl. It doesn’t seem that far off. Many Shadowrun adventures involve breaking into and stealing things from office buildings, factories, warehouses, or mansions. Those aren’t that different from dungeons, are they?
Well, sort of.
In published adventures, dungeons tend to be closed systems (or close to it). They don’t do a lot of business with the outside. They don’t receive deliveries. The inhabitants don’t all go out to lunch on reliable schedules, much less go home at night. There aren’t phone lines, power lines, or data lines that can be tapped into and monitored. They often aren’t visible from surrounding building – or even the air. There are very few ways to gather effective intelligence on them.
Moreover, characters going into the dungeon generally have a “clear it out” mentality. Even if they’ve been hired to retrieve something specific from the dungeon, the genre conventions suggest that the real reward they receive will be from killing the dungeon inhabitants and taking their stuff. In Shadowrun, the monetary reward that Mr. Johnson was offering was usually enough to motivate us. There was a job to do. We go in, do it, and get out. If we happened to see something shiny on the way and grab it, that was gravy.
For this style of play would work with a dungeon, we’d, therefore, need:
- Multiple possible methods of gathering intelligence on the dungeon. Tavern rumors don’t really cut it.
- A specific goal within the dungeon.
- Motivation to complete that goal that, on its own, makes the dungeon delve worthwhile.
These aren’t things that the typical dungeon adventure has, but they could be.