Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary 3

Randall Bills - 13.03.2013 12:27PM

One of the great things about designing for Sprawl Gangers is that I’m really designing the game that I have wanted to play for decades. Ever since discovering the joy of league- and campaign-based miniature games like Necromunda,Mordheim, and Blood Bowl, I’ve wanted to build my own take on a deep and engaging set of campaign rules.

Sprawl Gangers features a set of robust rules that are ideal for seeing your gang grow and develop over time. Each ganger can develop his own skills and abilities, or he may be distinguished with a particular injury–although, of course, in the cyberpunk future of Shadowrun, many injuries can be solved simply by installing some cyberware!

I designed the campaign rules to allow for short-term and long-term games… short-term campaigns are going to feature a good amount of interesting choices, gear, and developments in the gang’s Turf. Long-term campaigns will see the same, with the addition of quite a few rare and expensive options (such as wired reflexes, among others) that are great rewards for playing the same gang over the course of the league.

Not just gangers are going to improve over time, either – your gang can have a number of specialists who also grow and change over the course of a campaign. These specialists include Shadowrun staples like deckers, mages, and shadowrunners themselves.

The two resources needed to advance your gang should be familiar to Shadowrun fans; karma and nuyen. Karma represents a gangers’ individual experience, and as he gains karma he gains various improvements to his skills, attributes, or special abilities named Qualities. Nuyen can be spent to buy additional gear, upgrade existing weapons and armor, and even to purchase certain rare items—like cyberware, bioware, or particularly restricted firearms—if a ganger is sent to search for these rare items for sale through various black market and illegal sources.

Deckers can acquire new programs and upgrades for their decks, mages can purchase power focuses to help them cast spells and formulae for learning new spells to cast, and any gangers that are developing into first-rate warriors can start on the path of the street samurai with cyberware upgrades, smartgoggles, or better armor.

Everything I’ve talked about so far are just some of the highlights of the campaign system for Sprawl Gangers! This game is going to feature a lot of opportunities for players who enjoy personalizing their gangs and watching them grow into actual street legends.

The Sprawl Gangers playtest is well underway, and I’m collecting information from the first reports to help us refine and tweak the game to make it even better. I’m loving playing the game myself at home, and it’s quite a rewarding experience to coordinate this playtest across all the passionate groups and players who are a part of it. The playtest feedback is invaluable, and so far everyone seems to really like where the game is going. Keep an eye out for more designer diaries from myself and Randall in the future as we get closer to the start of open hostilities between the Ancients and the Halloweeners–this is going to be one gang war you don’t want to miss!

Ross Watson