So I've been contemplating running a game of Shadowrun in a Counter-Strike style game, focused more on fast-paced lethality than long term character development as a short of one-shot game.

For those who don't know, though I doubt that's a very large audience, Counter-Strike is a game in which two teams compete to complete various objectives; rescuing hostages, planting or disarming bombs, or other such tasks. It's a fast-paced game, and people die left and right.

I'm thinking of running something like this in Shadowrun, using PACKS based characters to allow rapid character creation and with some streamlined rules to encourage side-objectives. Unlike the original video game, I'd probably allow players to make multiple characters over the course of a game (essentially, there would be whole teams up until the end or very near the end), to better adjust for the fact that battles will be largely asymmetrical. Has anyone heard of such a thing?

I'm aware of Urban Brawl, and I've seen rules for playing it in 3rd Edition, but I'm looking for stuff in 4th Edition using PACKs and with a focus on implementing non-combat skills. Are there any things I should do, or does something like this already exist? Googling mostly just gets me the 360 title that's not really Shadowrun at all.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to be clear - are you aiming for a purely tactical game? Or did you want to retain some level of characterization? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 4, 2013 at 2:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Obviously the game's going to be rather tactical in feel, since characters aren't going to live long, but I'm looking for something that uses the whole gamut of skills (maybe not so much Knowledge skills, but certainly hacking, vehicles [potentially], demolitions, stealth, and such). \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 4, 2013 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


So it's a "in medias res" combat-centric game of shadowrun. Ok. That's not too crazy. A "death match" style of play for a pen and paper game.

with a focus on implementing non-combat skills.

Well that's going to be tough. The social skills are out. The stealth skills are out(1). A large chunk of matrix-work and magic are out. The vast majority of the fluff qualities are out. Things like addiction, murky link, and debt are simply incompatible here. Even basic attributes like Charisma, Intuition, and Logic are pretty useless. Contacts are out.

If you're still making characters with a pointbuy system where the players are free to ignore half the game, you can expect ludicrous combat monsters. You could try giving them only 200BP to play with, with the expectation that anything non-combat is ignored. Exclude non-combat negative qualities.

Non-combat skills you CAN employ:

  • Lockpicking. Gaining new paths and accessing useful area.
  • Climbing, Swimming. To get to those hard to reach places.
  • Computer. Throw a terminal around the map they can use to... lock doors, control lights, turn on weapon-turrets
  • Demolitions. Someone has to plant/defuse the bomb.

You may want to exclude drones as they would mop the floor point by point with regular characters. And unless you specifically give them something to do, you may want to exclude hackers as well.

(1)If you have opposing sides, player vs player, then you have to accept that you've lost the ability to asymetric knowledge. Players on team A will know when they fail their spot check for the guy in a stealth suit on team B. And no, they won't pretend they don't. In short, stealth is right out. So is not knowing where the opposing team is. Perception is worthless if the players just know.

If all the players are one the same side, and they're facing your NPCs, this is less like counter-strike and more like a typical shadowrun assault. The sort where the plan is to kick in the door and start shooting everyone inside.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm thinking of running this on Roll20, meaning that I could have simultaneous but separate things. Alternatively, failing perception could consequences such as attack penalties. Social skills are, as you said, plain out, though they may play a role in hostage rescue (or in particular scenarios), they'd do so in a very different way than core. Also, I might run a few of these PvNPC, but I think the streamlined rules would make for a different sort of play. One thing I've noticed is that PACKS is kinda crappy for allotting gear, though I could always make a few general ones. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2013 at 4:37
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ If you're going to be playing online with friends, why not just play counter-strike? Or a suitable Shadowrun-like video game? Say, Monaco? Pen and paper shines as a social event, a way to tell a story, and an amazingly versatile exception handler (you). It's not the best medium for online death-matches. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip
    Commented May 7, 2013 at 4:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ To point (1) in the answer, I've run double blind games before, and it's very doable and effective given the correct setup. Depending on the nature of the game (and especially in this case) it will end up being a board game rather than a role-playing one to a large extent. But it can be an interesting distraction for short periods. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented May 7, 2013 at 14:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .