June 17th, 2007


Choosing a system for a new game

It's been quite a while since I ran or played a game of any kind, but a group of local friends is considering starting one up. I like GMing and nobody else seems all that excited to GM, so it looks like I'm the GM.

Most of my experience is with Shadowrun 3rd Edition. Obviously this is kind of obsolete now. I've never touched 4th Edition, and I've heard mixed reviews, but I'm not sure what people's general feelings on it are. I'd also be willing to try a new system - there isn't any real majority of people-that-know-systems (we've got one guy who knows a bit of D&D, one who knows a bit of World of Darkness, and stuff like that) so we'll be starting from near-zero whatever we do.

So, two fundamental questions:

* What's the general opinion of Shadowrun 4th Edition? Good? Bad?
* What other systems with a similar genre (since that seems to be what we want) should I take a look at? I'm perfectly willing to spend an hour thumbing through books in the game shop, I'm just not sure where to start.

StoryPatterns: To MacGuffin or not to MacGuffin

In my experience the story pattern in rpgs overuse the MacGuffin, be it the person pattern (rescue the princess) or the object pattern (obtain some artifact).

The antithesis of the MacGuffin in my understanding is that the motivating device is of real importance to the central characters. My guess is that the difference would be rescuing the princess because the king tells you to is a MacGuffin, while rescuing one of your characters best friend of family member is not.

I'm sure this is not an either/or issue - the degree to which there is importance in the motivating factor could vary as well.

So - here's my query: To what degree does everyone have MacGuffins or anti-McGuffins in their own games or notable games you've played.

What are your favorite strong motivating factors for the characters (anti-MacGuffins)? For this question, I'm looking for ones where the players really enjoyed the factors involved.