Review – Shadowrun: 30 Nights

25 May, 2020

Shadowrun: 30 NightsShadowrun: 30 Nights is a Campaign Book for Shadowrun detailing Ottawa and setting 30 “Nights” worth of adventurers there. There is some good information and some interesting adventures, some of which can be adapted to other situations, but not a required book unless you want to play in Ottawa or need ideas for adventures set during the Blackout part of the metaplot.

Shadowrun: 30 Nights, is a Campaign Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, letting players experience the UCAS blackouts (as discussed in Shadowrun: Cutting Black) directly.

It begins with an introduction with describes the terrible things that happened in the 1977 New York Blackout and leads into a brief discussion of the layout of the nights/ adventures. Then there is one of the required fiction pieces. Next we get a description of Ottawa, UCAS, it is short (twelve pages) but useful including such things as talismongers and weird mana zones within the city but it is lacking a map of the city, which would be exceedingly helpful as places are continually referenced in the city description and the adventures that follow.

The meat of the book is the 30 Nights, each one a situation that must be coped with, overcome or avoided. The nights are divided into several chains of linked sequences if the GM wants to focus on particular themes.

The adventures are varied, starting with building up a safe haven followed by traditional shadowrunner missions, some mysteries, some magical threats, a mixed bag. Most are more adventure frameworks than full adventures requiring considerable work from the GM to make playable. Many of them look fun but a few have real issues. One of these is a mystery where you are trying to learn about a sinister group performing rituals, there are three points where to move to the next stage one particular clue need to be found and that right leap must be made to move forward, and two of those require getting information from people who are likely to be uncooperative if not hostile. This is poor design. Another in a jail break from a Lone Star containment facility that is covered in less than three pages and has no map (in fact, nothing has a map).

Also, there is some issue with the framing of the whole Blackout/30 Nights, it is predicated on something all mysterious knocking out all the functioning tech in multiple cities across the UCAS. So, for the entire adventure period, there is no way to reliably access the Matrix, no power, no vehicles, the GM is reminded not to screw over decker and rigger characters with this by directly trashing their stuff but they are still crippled as characters. There is a little discussion of this in the first few nights but not much about practical things such as how do you network with your contacts without the Matrix (no phone, no text) and no working vehicles?

There are a great number of NPCs, both named and generic, given stats in the back of the book along with a new creature and many new creature powers. Weirdly, there is an index to the NPCs right after the NPC section which is alphabetical, exactly as they are organized just a few pages before. Now, if this also noted which Nights the NPCs showed up in, this might actually be useful however, it does not and just seems like repetition (and, no, there is no other index).

There is fun to be had here but the GM should not be expecting to be able to pick the book up and use adventures, additional work will be needed. The GM should also make sure this kind of semi-apocalypse setting is what the players are interested in, as it is Shadowrun but maybe not the play experience everyone is looking for.

Note: The link is an affiliate link and if you purchase through it, I will get a small amount of money.

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