Shadowrun using Technoir? Might that work?

Technoir coverYes, I am still looking for alternative ways to run a Shadowrun game. While I am still trying to find a good way to use the Over The Edge rules for it, I also keep looking for alternatives. The first Kickstarter project I backed was Technoir, a cyberpunk roleplaying game by Jeremy Keller of Cellar Games. So why not use Technoir?

One of the strengths of Technoir are its simple but powerful mechanics, that can easily made to fit any kind of cyberpunk setting. But Shadowrun is not just cyberpunk, it also has a couple of fantasy aspects. That’s what makes it harder to find a ruleset that may handle this combination. Today, I have leafed through the Technoir rules again (you can download a free players guide here), and had an idea how to handle Metahumanity and Magic in Technoir.

For Metahumanity one could easily add Training Programs. So each of the Metahuman variants adds a new Training Program with fitting Verb and Adjective choices. The Elf Training Program could probably look like this:

Program: Elf
Verbs (increase each by one): Coax, Detect, and Prowl
Adjective (pick one): arrogrant, slender, long-lived

To add magic to the mix, one could just add a 10th Verb called Cast. Spells are then bought like Objects. Of course it would be helpful if the GM created a list of example spells to pick from. To keep the magic vs. tech dichotomy from Shadowrun players might have to choose whether their character wants to have access to either Cast or Hack. But if you want to allow characters who dabble in both Magic and cyberwear you might come up with a more elegant solution.

What do you guys think? Might this small hack allow me to run Shadowrun using Technoir? Or am I better off waiting for the still-missing HexNoir supplement?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

9 thoughts on “Shadowrun using Technoir? Might that work?”

  1. I was going to mention that that author also put out a fantasy game, Chronica Fuedalis, using basically the same mechanics (Technoir is a re-skinnned CF). However, CF isn’t really what we usually think of as “fantasy” as much as it is “historical medieval adventure” (no metahumans, barely any magic). CF does have a brief section on witchcraft and sorcery … but it’s very bare-bones, basically just a way to add a Curse Aspect to someone. So, that didn’t turn out to be very helpful (I already have a copy of CF, but not Technoir). Though,

    That said … you’re not the first person to want to do Shadowrun using Technoir. I found a thread on RPGNet where they basically came up with the same idea: Metahumans are just other training programs, and magic is a different verb (you have to pick Hack vs Cast).

    But, just ideas. The thread doesn’t really seem to go into results of people playing it. And, people seem to have given up on Hexnoir ever coming out.

    So… I had a copy of CF when I started writing this, but not Technoir (I quickly bought Technoir and am re-writing the rest of this post after having skimmed it). In re-reading CF I noticed a few things, like that it’s basically FATE … only with Savage Worlds dice instead of Fudge dice. And, I read something that basically said Technoir is basically a re-skinned version of CF. That’s not 100% true — the dice are different, and way you use Adjectives isn’t exactly the same as CF’s Aspects (CF Aspects are almost identical to FATE Aspects).

    In CF, you have actual Aspects … where Technoir seems to have reduced those to single-word Adjectives. I _was_ originally going to suggest that metahumanity could just be handled as an Aspect (in CF they could be, just as they can be with FATE). But, having skimmed Technoir, I see that Adjectives probably do NOT work in the same all-encompassing manner that Aspects do in CF and FATE.

    So, I agree:

    Metahuman is a Training type … I’m not sure if I would also make the associated Adjective be like other Technoir adjectives, or if I would simply make it the race’s name: Elves get an Adjective of “Elf” or “Elven”. I think that _could_ work, but your way seems just as good.

    Magic (whatever you want to call it; Cast, Enchant, Evoke, etc.) is a Verb.

    From there, I’m not sure how exactly to do spells. In CF, when you curse someone you make a Command roll (invoking an aspect if you want) vs the victim’s Will roll, and that lets you add a temporary Aspect to them that embodies the Curse itself.

    (brief note: CF has Skills, not Verbs, and a much longer list of them (24, broken up into 4 categories of 6 each); so while I can see that the Verb to replace “Command” would be “Cast” … I have no idea what Verb would fill in for “Will” … it might actually be Cast vs Cast, using Cast as both the spell-casting Verb _and_ the spell-resistance Verb for pure magic vs magic, and then using Cast vs (whatever you use in mundane combat) for physically damaging spells and such).

    Translated to Technoir, that sounds like a Cast roll, and the result lets you add one or more temporary Adjectives. You don’t seem to need to buy anything (like an Object, but you can use a fetish, like sacrificing a black cat or rooster, to get an bonus to your roll) to model those Curses in CF, but maybe I missed the details. If you want to spend the $10 for CF, the Witchcraft and Sorcery rules are pages 52 and 53. But, really, I think I’ve given you the important summary of it right here.

    That might cover a lot of types of spell right there. Blessing, wounding, etc. For magical healing, just use Cast as a substitute for Treat, for example. But, I’ve got maybe a total of 30 minutes of expertise in this system (having forgotten almost everything I read about CF when I first bought it years ago) … so don’t take my words as that of an expert, just someone with ideas 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your ideas. And I actually didn’t know that CF and TN were that close mechanically. Perhaps I should have a closer look at CF then, I think I have a PDF copy of it lying around somewhere.
      Regarding HexNoir: I doubt it will ever see the light of day. Jeremy Keller is just too busy working on other projects and he’s not even willing to post an update from time to time. He has moved on. I’d be very surprised if HexNoir and MoreNoir were released.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.