In Space No-One Can Hear You Cluck

Last night saw the inaugural game of Shadowrun 5th Edition.  I have had this game since my 40th birthday as my good mate Matt Guyder gave it to me as a present.  I made some posts about it at the time, which you can read here, and while it was good, it was not second edition.  I played Shadowrun really heavily in the nineties as a GM and ran first edition the moment it came out right through to second edition until Earthdawn took over my appreciation.  I never really got a look in at the other editions until I played a little bit of Shadowrun 4th Edition with Matt.  I can’t say I really got 4th Edition either.

In fact we started along the Shadowrun path last week as a bit of a break from our Pathfinder game and I was a bit nervous at the choice.  It has been a long time since I have run a game of this and I wanted it to be like it was.  Yesterday I spent a bit of time rereading some combat rules and earlier in the day one of the players and I spent a little bit of time running through a couple of combats which got me back into the feel.  I also felt that my impression of this new set of rules may have been off.  I truly began to like this set of rules.  They are not 2nd Edition but they certainly hold a lot more to that period of the game than I understand 3rd and 4th editions did.

I had a new player to Shadowrun too.  Kyron (one of the kids that used to play in College last year with me) had never been exposed but he has done some research and was excited to give it a go.  I wanted to run something memorable for them and thus decided to move away from the tried and trusted meet Johnson, investigate run, go on run, get double crossed, get out of a mess scenario that so many runs do.  I love Shadowrun, but I have said it before, it tells the wrong stories and so I am keen to make sure my games will investigate the right stories for this setting.


So what happened?  Well, first – we normally have four players but one was off due to sickness and the other was off due to a sick cat.  I did not find out the latter until almost ready to start and so I had to adjust what I had planned for the big bang in a short period of time.  This was easier said than done as I am working off a very loose “proposed story frame” and allowing the players to take me on the journey that they will.  So the two players that started with me were playing:

  1. Bulk: The troll physical adept.  What he loses in speed he makes up in might.  A little slow, but always aware.  He was played well by Scott Desmond;
  2. Long John (LJ): Kyron Haines’ character that is mostly Street Samurai but also part Decker with his deck built into his skull.  He is a well balanced character and I am looking forward to where he settles as the full group gets together.

LJ was a special ops member with the two missing players at one stage who were dishonored and hung out to dry.  They lost themselves in the streets of Seattle and decided to turn to running.  They needed a guide to the Barrens and hired Bulk, who is a native of the district.  The special Ops team received a dead mans trigger message from one of their previous comrades who was a rigger – Caeser.  He was in India, tracing down a deal that was going on involving some corp when he realised he had a tag and set up the Dead Mans Trigger.

If you are getting this, I have been unfortunately killed.  I was hired to trail a mark in an effort to find out details of a rumoured meet by a Triad member, Wisdom, and a corporation.  I have been trailing him for just over a week now but on the third day here I have discovered my room at the Jahdpur Springs Motel had been entered and with a little drone work I realise I am now being trailed by a shadow.  I can make out nothing really, apart from they appear more a blur on my cameras than any kind of discernable figure.

You guys and I always worked well and I never believed a word of that drek they said about you.  I skipped the moment my tour was up and have done well as a private contractor.  I am worth just a little over a million nuyen now and the details are all in my computer at the Motel.  L.J. will find the file and be able to decrypt it if you all find out who killed me and why.  The required files need a passkey to decrypt at the online bank they have been set up with.  I was only able to obtain one frame on the ones that got to me and they have a word imprinted on their gear.  I figure if you get that close to them that you will have found out what was going on so use that when you have it to clear the funds.

And make sure they die nice and slow.

So Bulk was asked to go as protection with LJ to India via sub-orbital.  There was bedlam at the spaceport, lots of Indian people, what looked to be a roller derby team, some gangers and a bunch of J’s all filing into first class.  They looked on amused as many of the Indian’s attempted to get livestock, chicken’s, goats, even a barghest pup onto the sub orbital.

As they hit the height of their journey, just on the outside of the atmosphere the pair noticed turbulence.  Bulk thought nothing of it, buy L.J. realised there should be no such thing as turbulence in zero G and started to get nervous.  The Stewards all seemed to leap into action too and L.J. was fobbed off by a prepared reply from a cute young Indian stewardess.  He watched her as she ran on but then a huge jolt hit the ship and flames burst up from the floor knocking her over.  The pair got themselves out of their seat belt just in time to turn and see the tail section of the ship rip off and fly out into the coldness of space.  They had been sitting right near the back and both were in trouble.

Bulk remembered, as he sat on the toilet just before take off that the toilets hermetically seal for the comfort of all passengers and attempted to pull himself arm over arm across the top of terrified passengers toward the toilets.  The first class section had blast doors smash down but it seemed before they did the entire section was engulfed in flames.  L.J. watched as the Indian Steward flew past, casually flipping her the bird for giving him the bum answer.

Then the seat behind them let loose.  An Indian couple still strapped in floated end over end into the darkness, a terrified chicken flying out of the woman’s sari.  And this is the source of the great quote of this post.  we had been discussing that there was no sound here – a vacuum, and as we all went to say;

In space, no one can hear you scream.

Scott instead turned it into;

In space, no one can hear you cluck.

It fit perfectly and reminded me of the good old second edition games where we had just some of the best one liners.

chicken in space
In space, no-one can hear you cluck.

Short story, neither made it to the toilet and both flailed their way into deep space to blackness.

Then they woke up.

The funny thing is, neither of them questioned the fact about how or why.  They just soaked up the fact that they were laying in some kind of tropical island with burning wreckage around them.  Bulk was in a tree hanging from his leg and L.J. on a soft bed of grass.  They had been woken by gunshots in the distance but Bulk had had enough.  He screamed out to L.J. and the Samurai came to help.  They both heard hurried discussions and the gunshots stop.  Once Bulk was down he ripped up one of the emergency exits of the sub-orbital and using it as a shield ran to the top of a rise to take on whomever he found there.  He saw three members in special ops get up wielding guns and charged.  L.J. saw too late to warn the troll that he had missed another that was flanking and Bulk got shot in the back.  the weapons were not powerful enough to damage the troll physically but in short order the three he charged (bar one who is laying near dead after taking on a troll physical adept with a knife) take him down, unconscious.

L.J. on the other hand moved in like a true street samurai with his Katana and took on the flanking figure.  A dance of blades and fluid movements saw L.J. take first blood, but with the troll down it was only a matter of time.  Again, the other three had light weapons that were no match for L.J.’s armour, but certainly caused him some pain, and eventually he dropped into unconsciousness.

That was good enough for the first game, a nice short memorable little outing.  It also leaves a nice little rescue mission for the other two when they rejoin next week.  It also broke because I had a mind blank and said;

When you max out the stun condition track, you fall unconscious right?

The three of us went looking for the rule and found out that it is not explicitly stated anywhere in the rules that this is the case.  Scott downloaded the quick start rules and it says it explicitly in them, but not the main rulebook.  The closest it comes to it is a little bit of text on page 100 (I am using the anniversary edition of 5E) but even still it is not an explicit rule.

Regardless, I can now report that I have a nice little feeling about this game.  It may take off into something larger than just a filler but we need to see how things turn out.  Anyhow, I know I have some Shadowrun lovers in the circle so felt the need to share.  Keep rolling chummer!


  1. Hey Mark – are you doing this F2F or via VTT? There is a very good ShadowRun 4 ruleset on +FantasyGrounds…. a 5e is in the works…


    1. I am running this one face to face though I have some decisions coming up about what I run online when reign of Winter finishes later this year or very early next year.

      Shadowrun may be a contender.


  2. Cool, cool, cool. I love Shadowrun. Because it was my first RPG. I played 3rd and 4th edition. I also have the 5th edition but now I’m playing Star Wars instead because my old group fell apart. I like Star Wars very much but I also like to hear stories of Shadowrun.

    What I didn’t like in 4th edition was that fights took sooooo long. In Star Wars you can handle them in half the time. I’d like to hear if the fights are now shorter in 5th edition?


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