shadowrun

Shadowrun Returns

A long time ago, the SEGA Genesis version of Shadowrun introduced me to the Sixth World. A few weeks later, my pay for babysitting my young nephew was a copy of Shadowrun, Second Edition. Good games, bad games, fandom, fanzines, being published, working for the publishers, and the 20th Anniversary Edition all followed. My nephew is nineteen years old now. The Sixth World has been dear to my heart for a long time.

I wouldn’t be here, doing what I do, without Shadowrun. As I once said to Jim Nelson: “I blame you.”

And now, Shadowrun is returning to the computer/video gaming world, with Shadowrun Returns from Jordan Weismann’s Harebrained Schemes. And I’d be remiss to say that this is really, really awesome. In just over a day, the Kickstarter project has been fully-funded, and it will surely go much higher with 23 days to go.

Harebrained’s approach is interesting: they’re rolling back the setting to 2050 and moving on from there. On an initial level, that kind of hurts—my work on Shadowrun appears to be in no way integrated into what they want to do. But on logical reflection, I’m fine with that. I think rolling back the world to 2050 gives Harebrained tons of room to tell stories that weave in-and-out of the existing metaplot that Shadowrun fans are familiar with. And on the personal side, I fell in love with that 2053 datajacks-and-rockers Shadowrun, so playing through a computer game set in it appeals to my tastes as well. I know I have some fresh stories to tell in the setting.

A fresh start for a game in a completely different medium sounds like a good move to me. Keep it familiar to old fans and accessible to new ones, and take the best of the existing canon material while sliding the rest under the rug.

What great news for Shadowrun fans, and what an amazing show of support by them!

ENnies Award Voting 2010

Voting for the 2010 ENnie Awards is now open.

I can’t deny that this year’s ENNie Award nominations aren’t a little bittersweet after the events of earlier this year. Projects that I worked on are well-represented, and the great number of worthy entrants in every categories indicate something that has been true for a long time: gamers are spoiled for choice!

Shadowrun: Seattle 2072 received an honorable mention nod in the Best Setting category. Steve Kenson did a bang-up job with this title, melding Shadowrun’s past to the present and setting groundwork for the future.

Eclipse Phase in the following categories:

  • Best Cover Art: Stephan Martiniere’s gorgeous cover art will launch thousands of campaigns.
  • Best Writing: Developer Rob Boyle has had his hand in many great gaming books, and for Eclipse Phase he may have assembled the best writing staff he’s had to date: Lars Blumenstein, Brian Cross, Jack Graham, John Snead; with additional writing from Bruce Baugh, Randall N. Bills, Davidson Cole, Tobias Wolter, with Jason Hardy and Michelle Lyons on editing.
  • Best Production: This is the best-looking book I have ever made, with cool visuals that don’t overwhelm the art, and a huge thrust towards making the 400-pages very navigable, most notably the two-page spreads that open each chapter and point you to important information.
  • Product of the Year: With nominations in three of the “pillar” categories, plus the intangibles of Creative Commons-licensing, our trend-setting low price point for the electronic version, and of course a great game to play in a setting that has unlimited potential … I think a nomination in this category is well-earned.

Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition got nods in these categories:

  • Best Interior Art: Art Director Mike Vaillancourt and myself butted heads a lot on this project, but in the end, the artwork in this project is really strong and takes Shadowrun in a new direction.
  • Best Production Values: Apparently I build good-looking well-organized books consistently! The giant index that covers not only itself but all the other SR4 rulebooks is so freaking cool.
  • Best Game: Personally, I’d love to see “Best Game” and “Best New Edition” categories. But games don’t get produced for 20 years if they don’t see actual play, and Shadowrun has always erred on the side of being a game that should be played, not just read.
  • Product of the Year: A punched-up and improved version of one of the most successful RPGs ever certainly qualifies.

In every category we are up against other amazing titles: Paizo’s Pathfinder juggernaut, Green Ronin’s Dragon Age Boxed Set, FFG’s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Boxed Set (which looks gorgeous … I have to make the time to read through my copy!), and others too numerous to mention.

To spread briefly about category’s I’m not in: Jess Hartley’s One Geek To Another deserves props in the blog category for doing something different by offering advice about gamer etiquette, something sorely needed. For Best Setting, you can’t accuse the guys at HERO of not taking a chance with something different in Lucha Libre Hero

… and Best Publisher could just be Posthuman Studios.

Eclipse Phase and Seattle 2072 nominated for Origins Awards

I wrote about these two titles that I worked on last year in the post My Work in 2009, so check it out if you want to read a little about them—the news today is they’ve both been nominated for Origins Awards; Eclipse Phase (Rob Boyle, Brian Cross, John Snead, and more!) in the Best RPG category and Seattle 2072 (written by Steve Kenson with a bunch of authors contributing short fiction) in the Best Sourcebook category.

I’m really damned proud of these books and the teams that worked on them—thanks to all of the contributors!

By the way, Eclipse Phase is Creative Commons-licensed, so if you want to grab the PDF for free, not only will I not stop you, but I’ll outright encourage you to do so!

No longer with Catalyst Game Labs / IMR

March 17th edit: Internet scuttlebutt makes me want to clarify this—leaving IMR was my choice. I wasn’t fired, asked to leave, or any way “negotiated out” of the company. I had and have no ownership stake in the company.

I am no longer an employee of Catalyst Game Labs / InMediaRes LLC, nor a contractor/freelancer for them. A few more books will come out in the next few months with my name in them, but please don’t ask me questions about release dates or any other Catalyst matters; the answers are out of my hands. This is sad: I love the games I worked on and they’ve been a large part of my life for a long time, as a fan and a professional. Leaving something you love is rarely easy.

Shadowrun fans: thanks for years and years of fun and feistyness. Last year, when Jason Hardy took over as Shadowrun Line Developer, I told him simply: “If you kill the one thing I’ve loved my entire adult life, I will kill you.” As of today, you’re off the hook no matter what, Jase.

BattleTech fans: thanks for letting me mess around in your playground for awhile. I hope you enjoy the Total Warfare line of core rulebooks and my work on them.

Colleagues: I’m looking for interesting opportunities, in or out of hobby gaming. If you have some or know of some, please drop me a line.

People I’ve Worked With: It’s been a pleasure to work with you crazy-talented and just plain crazy people. I look forward to doing so again.

I’m not going anywhere. I’ll still be blogging at adamjury.com, still be posting on Twitter, and life continues on. If you wish to reach me, please send me an email to adam at adamjury dot com — or use my Contact Form.

My Work in 2009

I’m not going to fib: 2009 was a rough year, work-wise. Catalyst experienced turnovers and hardships and growing pains, and we also did a lot of awesome things, but we also didn’t get all of the awesome things finished that we wanted to. That leaves us with plenty of things to do in 2010, of course!

One particular thing I found troubling about 2009 was developing the design and layout for Eclipse Phase and the 20th Anniversary Edition of Shadowrun at the same time: it was a lot of work, and I would have liked to have seen how one book [either one!] fared in the eyes of gamers before I turned my attention to another book. I used my gut a lot when designing both books; in the end, I think my gut was right more often than not.

My highlights of 2009 are easy:

Eclipse Phase

Not only am I very pleased with how Eclipse Phase ended up looking and working as a book and game artifact, but our gang at Posthuman Studios pushed Catalyst hard for things we wanted: Creative Commons licensing & inexpensive PDF pricing being the prime two. Those decisions have so far turned out to be wise, and Catalyst will be be publishing at least one more game—Leviathans—using a Creative Commons license. The development team’s work on Eclipse Phase—game, setting, book—fills me with pride.

Shadowrun, 4th Ed. 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook

What can I say? It was a thrill to work on this book, and aside from minor nitpicks it’s been enthusiastically received by new and returning Shadowrun fans alike. Highlights: the huge color-coded master index, the streamlining of character generation, and the revised skills chapter. Each time I pick up this book to use is better than any time picking up the previous Fourth Edition book.

Seattle 2072

Through weird twists of fate, I actually ended up being the developer on this project. My goal was simple: meld the best of Seattle Sourcebook’s “bite-sized” design with the best of New Seattle’s, throw in a major shakeup, and set up some future plots so people can keep ‘running in the Sixth World’s signature city. Steve Kenson rocked the main writing tasks and we pulled in a bunch of others to write short fiction pieces.

Digital Grimoire for Shadowrun

We released our first small, PDF-only project for Shadowrun on Friday; an 18-page supplement that offers some magical expansions, new traditions, spells, adept powers, magical groups, etc.

It’s an interesting little book, and a fun experiment … I wrote the BCC text to be quite explicit about what you get with the book, so people don’t buy it expecting a dozen magical groups; nope, there are three, and the BCC tells you exactly which three. I think that’s the correct way to handle short projects like this. I think four bucks is an awesome price — if you use *one* thing in the PDF a few times in your game, you have your money’s worth. Compared to some PDF books that are two bucks for 4-6 pages, we might actually be a little underpriced, but we’ll see how things shake out during the experiment.

Digital Grimoire on DriveThruRPG.com

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Shadowrun Quick-Start Rules up for ENnie Award

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No press release, just a HELL YEAH for the Shadowrun, Fourth Edition Quick-Start Rules getting nominated for an ENnie Award this year. We really busted ass last year to design and deliver what I think is a tremendous set of Quick-Start Rules and an overall great [and free!] booklet aimed at introducing gamers into Shadowrun or back into Shadowrun.

Voting on the ENnies will be open later this month.

Plus, the 2008 Diana Jones Award nominations were just announced. No nominations for anything I even so much as sneezed nearby, but myself and Posthuman Studios are one of the sponsors of the awards this year. The awards ceremony will be Wednesday the 13th — the day before Gen Con — at that uber-secret location in Indianapolis.