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Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01) $5.95
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
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Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin\' the Wind (5A-01)
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Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/25/2013 23:47:05

Chicago is one name that has a particular resonance to Shadowrun, the infamous Bug City. When this season was announced, I was very excited to see what Catalyst would do with the place after it had been left relatively dormant for a couple of editions. The introductory Mission for the season does feel very much like set-up. No, not a set-up, but rather building the foundation for the rest of the modules. There are really three separate jobs here. They are all very straightforward, with some suggestions for Pushing the Envelope, but I would imagine that the aim is to ease new players and GMs into SR (especially given the new edition). There are relatively few surprises for a solid module and it wouldn’t take too much to prep. On reflection, there are a number of possibilities from this module, and I’m hoping that the story threads are picked up in future modules and expanded. The setting is briefly explained, with heavy stereotyping (the weather is windy and snowy, the meeting place is a Chicago pizza joint) in both the locations and the Johnsons. Again, there is the distinct feeling that this is meant for the new GM and player. The plot does require social, investigative and technical skills (with some Debugging advice if characters don’t have the requisite skills), and unless you Push the Envelope, combat is absent from this ‘run.

However, as an introductory module, it definitely succeeds in whetting one’s appetite for further adventures in the Windy City. The module can be easily completed in a couple of hours if run ‘as-is’.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by warren b. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2013 12:20:58

Still reading the adventure at the moment. Will be playing it in a week or two. Will post full review here at that time.

One note, I print my pdfs out on paper so I can make notes on it. As much as I love the look of the pdf, it is hell on my printer ink even at fast draft print mode. Perhaps a more ink conservative design.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi Warren, The Chasin' the Wind PDF does include Acrobat layers. If you go into the layers tab, you can drop out the background layer and print that way, saving ink. Sorry we didn't make that more clear! -Matt at CGL
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Julien P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2013 18:10:14

I started playing and GM'ing Shadowrun with third edition. After a couple of years playing other games, the release of SR5 was a good opportunity to return to the Sixth World with a new group of players. Since several of them are new to Shadowrun, the new season of Missions seemed a great entry point to the game and the setting.

Chasin' the Wind takes place in one of my favourite SR cities: Chicago. The "Bug City" quarantine might have ended almost two decades ago, the former Containment Zone remains one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Good news, that's where this first Mission takes the players.

Chasin' the Wind is a pretty good introductory scenario. It offers a nice variety of situations: legwork, danger, combat and negotiation, as the players are offered several jobs from several Johnsons (including everyone's favourite T'Skrang-- sorry, I meant changeling :p)

The adventure is not too challenging, which is fitting for a first chapter, although my players and I quickly realized how brutal and unforgiving combat can be in SR5! In case of need, the booklet contains suggestions to increase or decrease the difficulty of the scenes, which was much appreciated.

Chasin' the Winds is not perfect. The texts contains a few typos and some contradictory information, and the plot, as simple as it is, contains a couple of "head-scratchers" which, hopefully, will be explained in future Missions.

All in all, this product proves to be a great season opener with plenty of twists and turns and story hooks for future Missions. It certainly deserves its five stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Optimistic C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2013 10:41:00

I am a new GM to Shadowrun after loving the universe for decades. As a Gm who had mainly only ran players through Dungeons and Dragons, I was very unsure about myself and whether or not I could get confident with the fluff and rules in order to run Shadowrun. Fortunately, the fluff is so engaging that it was a pleasure to research. The rules, however, were very intimidating. Thankfully, Bull and the Missions team have given the community a great offering in the form of the Missions adventures.

There is simply NO better value for the Game Master than the Missions line of products. In particular, this first Season 5 offering: Chasin' the Wind, not only takes the long view, by not giving out all information that runners may want (Missions tend to reveal major plotlines over time), but also puts everything the GM needs right at their fingertips. Worried that you won't be able to calculate NPC dice pools on the fly? No problem, it is right there in the book. Still not sure how to navigate a negotiation test or how legwork works? They got you covered, detailed right there in intuitive layouts. All of this for $5.95.

Chasin' the Wind, without giving out too many plot details, finds the runners in Chicago, a forsaken wasteland of a city, with forces moving in to capitalize on the chaos. The runners are sent to do a job in the former Containment Zone, and end up getting hired for a second job, with the potential to play one or more Johnsons off each other. Classic Shadowrun fare. Having said that, it looks like this mission sets up lots of interesting hooks for the future Season 5 runs, which, if Season 5 is as good as Season 4, makes this new GM very happy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/17/2013 12:15:53

Chasin' the Wind is the first installment of Season Five of Shadowrun Missions, the open play arm of the Shadowrun RPG. It's designed to be playable at a convention in four hours at a table of people who have never played together before. Missions follow a fairly predictable format of Meet->Legwork->Fight->Plot Twist->Fight->Get Paid. I mention this caveat because I think it's important to note that what works for a mission may or may not always work for a home campaign that you run in your basement.

Season 5 of takes place in Chicago, a city famous in Shadowrun lore for winning the "Worst Place on Earth" award a number of years running (a predictably competitive category in the Sixth World). Slowly, very slowly, emerging from the horrors of insect spirits, gangs, a military quarantine, and a host of other problems, Chicago is still more than a little rough around the edges, but it's a place where you can put in a dishonest day's work for a dishonest day's pay. Which is to say, it's the perfect place for a shadowrunner.

Chasin' the Wind is very much a "win friends and influence people" run. The players bounce from one job to the next in rapid succession, piece together how some of the jobs are connected, and (hopefully) tie up the loose ends. At the end of it all, they have a healthy batch of new contacts to serve as a jumping off point for the rest of the season. This is great for players who are planning on investing a lot of time into season five, but it makes it hard for the GM to fit everything into a four-hour block. If I were running this in a home campaign, I would absolutely break it up into two sessions. There are some classic Shadowrun elements (the horrors of a secret lab, the wonders of an underground bazaar) that GMs love to describe and players love to linger over, but it's very hard to do that when players need to rush from scene to scene.

By the same token, this is also very much a, "first session rules introduction" run. All sorts of elements of the new edition's mechanics are highlighted, which gives all sorts of different types of characters a chance to shine. The adventure doesn't always spell out how players can overcome obstacles. Instead of saying, "there are guards: players can shoot them, bribe them, or distract them," Chasin' the Wind simply states, "there are guards." Shadowrun players have an uncanny talent for coming up with outrageous solutions to straightforward problems, so I don't think it's possible for an adventure to cover all the contingencies, but a newer GM might want to roadmap some of those encounters before sitting down to run things, at the very least cover the Shadowrun trifecta of "shoot, sneak, talk." Some people have criticized this aspect of the run as not giving the GM enough detail, but I think of it was giving the GM enough freedom to tailor things to the group in front of him. I've heard of groups who shoot their way through the entire thing; conversely, the first time I played this as a PC, we never fired a single bullet.

Without giving too much away, important aspects of the plot don't really make all that much sense. Open play requires a certain suspension of disbelief to work anyway, so I'm not too worried about that. If at the end of four hours, people at the table feel like they had a good time, that's really the point. For the GM with a steady group who values narrative continuity, things are going to need to be tweaked, otherwise expect questions like, "How did a military-grade research facility with a sign out front survive the apocalypse?"

There are a few balance issues. One optional encounter that doesn't forward the plot in any way could easily leave at least one player dead. Unless the players are battle-hardened vets, GMs are best served by skipping it. A major NPC that the characters aren't required to fight (but could), is an alarmingly strong combatant. The NPC's lethality isn't really that important to the story, so I'm not sure why it was added other than as a gotcha for trigger-happy players. (As a longtime GM of Shadowrun, I should say that I almost always fully endorse gotchas for trigger-happy players, but generally skip them in people's first game).

So yes the plot is choppy and the GM needs to really think about balance in a few encounters, but I'm still giving it four stars (on the basis of being a missions game). Why? Because it works. Players get a sense of the city of Chicago (where winters still suck) and some of the major players they're sure to see again. In addition to some of the classic atmospherics I mentioned earlier like the secret lab, players face classic Shadowrun choices--do they do the right thing or do they sell out? Do they allow themselves to get sidetracked to help others? These sorts of tensions are at the heart of the Shadowrun universe and Chasin' the Wind does a good job of capturing them.

As a final note, the production levels for a $6 product are very good. At least one minor cut & paste error caught my eye, but nothing that made the product less functional.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/14/2013 21:40:21

originally posted on www.throatpunchgames.com , a new idea everyday!

Ring Side Report- A review of Shadowrun Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)

Publisher-Catalyst Game Labs Price – ~$6

TL;DR- Good start to this season of Shadowrun Missions setting the stage for the rest of the season 90%

Art-This season actually has some amazing art. I think it's better than the last few seasons I've seen. Good player handouts as well. 5/5

Story-It's a short intro adventure that introduces the NPCs that the characters will interact with all season. It establishes the themes well of exploring the burned out history of Chicago as well as showing the set pieces that the players get to play with. The plot itself isn't the most extraordinary Mission I've played/ran, but the mission's main focus is to get the major contacts into the players mind as well introducing the character of Chicago. And, at this, the mission does this extremely well. 4/5

Execution- Standard mission writing style and adventure setup. Every portion of the mission has the same setup. I would prefer some italic text to help separate box reading text from gamemaster text, but that's my own hang-up. Once you get used to this style, it's a good way to organize a living game. Another problem is the way missions are reported. There isn't a web portal like some other Living games and the results are reported via a online forum. Again, it's not a major problem, but it's a minor annoyance. 4.5/5

Final Thoughts-Good intro game. It's a bit hung-up on needing some hardware expert skills, but otherwise every other character has a role to play. Go get this and play it with your home group. Looks to be a good season if this is the intro. Welcome to Chicago! 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Angel B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/07/2013 00:42:13

I picked this up as a way to get back into the setting, and I have to say its a great area of the world! The wild, frost bitten area in the Containment Zone with the declaration for reclaiming lands gives the missions setting the feeling of the land rush of the old west!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2013 06:28:11

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/10/02/tabletop-review-shadowrun-missions-5a-01-chasin-the-wind/

Okay, chummers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today! That’s right, this brand new season of Shadowrun Missions kicks off in Chicago smack dab in the middle of winter. Midwest winters are the worst because not only do you have temperatures well below freezing, but the winds can sometimes send the chill factor to as low as 100 below zero Fahrenheit. If you think that’s bad, imagine how it must feel to have a cyberlimb in that weather! Perhaps a more reckless character can be dared to lick a cyberdeck that’s been sitting out all night in the cold.

Now if the weather wasn’t horrible enough, there’s one big thing about Chicago in Shadowrun that you have to remember…or should I say BUG thing? That’s right – they call Chicago “Bug City” for a reason thanks to the infestation of bug spirits that plagued the city in the 2050s. New to Shadowrun? Then the best way to get caught up may be by playing the new Shadowrun Returns video game released earlier this year. If you’re not into video games, I would suggest either the novel Burning Brightor the classic second edition Shadowrun release, Bug City. You don’t need to experience any of the above to really enjoy this season ofShadowrun Missions, but all three are lot of fun, they’re cheap and they really will help you to understand how insidious and horrifying Insect Spirits are.

So with all that out of the way, let’s talk the actual plot of Chasin’ the Wind. What starts off as a simple routine everyday run (Well for Shadowrun) where you’re upgrading some Matrix nodes in the containment zone so your Johnson can piggyback off a pirate matrix grid turns weird. While in the Containment Zone (The quasi sealed off section of Chicago due to the whole bug thing), the PCs are contacted by one Simon Andrews, who works for Lofwyr, CEO of Saeder-Krupp – one of the biggest Mega-Corps on the Sixth World…and also a great dragon. Now you all know the adage, “Never Deal With a Dragon” when it comes to Shadowrun, right? Well, as true as it is, you also don’t want to get on the wrong side of a dragon by telling them to slag off. It’s also very lucrative to have a S-K contact who will vouch for you. So the question then becomes whether the PCs want to take a new, also seemingly easy mission or if they want to leave well enough alone. If the runners do take up Andrews on his mission, they’ll find themselves trying to locate a under the radar lab that has cut off from the outside world more or less thanks to being smack dab in the containment zone. From there, players will be sucked into a game of dragon politics, a secret cloning experiment and trying to run down a certain something that was missing from the lab.

I absolutely loved this mission as it’s a great introduction to how creepy and insane Bug City can be. This adventure should be run with a heavy atmosphere of paranoia and creepy spooky dread. To say Bug City should have similar tones to say, a Chill or Call of Cthulhu game is not that far off the mark. After all, there are hideous things lurking in the shadows everywhere in Chicago’s CZ and if your players aren’t ready to frag everything that moves, you’re not doing the location right.

One thing I discovered while running this adventure is that the more experience with Shadowrun a player has, the more likely they are to go off the rails and screw up. That’s due to knowledge of the location and insect spirits in general. By the time the players had investigated the lab, half the party was convinced that it was a secret bug location where they were cloning technomancer bodies for insect spirits to inhabit. I almost felt like Plan 9 was a PC in our run through of this adventure. Inevitably when someone from Aztechnology offered the players money to find a homeless person who happened to look just like the cloned bodies they saw earlier, conspiracy theories hit an all time high and well, there was no way they were helping Aztlan’s crazy blood mages. They shot first and asked questions later, leading to the first time I have EVER seen a Shadowrun Mission manage to go so completely and utterly off the rails. I mean these adventures are designed to be pretty hard to deviate from, but it sure happened here. Now had the PCs all been relatively new to Shadowrun without any knowledge of how messed up Chicago is, this would have been a fairly straightforward run without any of the, “Obviously there are going to be bug spirits in this adventure. BUG SPIRITS EVERYWHERE!” attitude. So GMs, keep in mind that this could happen to your game too, but you know what? Let it? Chicago, and especially the CZ, should be one of the freakiest places in the Sixth World and if the players let the city’s reputation run wild in their brains, it’ll be an all the more memorable experience for the party.

So now that we’re done with content, let’s talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. First up – the Good. With Season Five of Shadowrun Missions comes a new crisper, cleaner layout. You’ll notice each page has a set of bookmarks on the right hand side, which makes for quicker perusal and access to the information you want instead of scrolling through the entire thirty-five page PDF. This makes GM’ing with the PDF a lot easier too. I didn’t think it was possible to improve of the Shadowrun Missions design, but I was wrong – this thing is snazzy and so much easier on the eyes. As well, Shadowrun Missions still use the same layout, ensuring that a GM’s hand will be held from beginning to end. From ways to adjust the challenge of each scene, to a list of possible ways players can go off and mess things up for themselves, Shadowrun Missions are a GM’s dream come true as they make running a game exceptionally easy. Even somewhat relatively new to Shadowrun or tabletop gaming as a whole can take a Shadowrun Missions PDF and run it passably. These things really should be the gold standard for published adventures. In the case of Chasin’ the Wind, I ran this adventure SIGHT UNSEEN. It showed up in my inbox, I gathered some players and I ran the adventure AS I READ IT just to see if the SM format is as nigh foolproof as I thought. Guess what? The players didn’t realize it for a second. Granted I’ve been playing Shadowrun since the early 90s, but I feel this shows just how well designed the SM format it.

Now the bad. There’s a price increase. Shadowrun Missions used to be $3.95 a pop, and because they were cheaper than a comic book, I regularly called them the best deal in tabletop gaming. Well, the price tag has raised two bucks, so now it’s $5.95 for a mission. That equates to a little over a dollar an hour, so you’re still getting a great deal, just not AS good as in previous seasons. I am glad to see that the Missions stayed in full colour as I remember Bull stating they might have to go black and white. So while the price increase isn’t a deal breaker, the two dollars extra per Mission may add up for gamers with a shoestring budget. Just a head’s up.

Finally the ugly – the new Shadowrun Missions logo. Ick. That might be the worst logo I’ve seen in a long time. Ah well, art is pretty subjective, right?

All in all, Chasin’ the wind is a great start to this new season of Shadowrun Missions. It’s creepy, it’s low key and far more subtle than your usual Sixth World adventure, but not every missions has to be a save the world or take down a mega-corp’s insidious plan sort of deal. Chasin’ the Wind is a great way to introduce gamers to Bug City and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season take us.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Chasin' the Wind (5A-01)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/01/2013 07:12:04

New ruleset, new Shadowrun Missions series, and this one starts with a bang!

Opening with a scary bit of fiction telling of one 'runner waking up in some nightmare lab (this actually happened to one of my characters...), there's the usual boilerplate on how to run this style of adventure which is of particular use if you are running it at a convention with whoever's come along to play, and then it's on with the action. Well, after a note on the new location: Chicago, still reeling from the aftermath of the troubles some 20 years ago. Bug City Containment Zone and its attendant problems, including a wildly fluctuating mana background count and interference that plagues deckers or indeed any character wanting to communicate other by shouting loudly.

Somewhere in the depths of the Containment Zone there's a lab facility and people - and at least one dragon - are interested in what is in there. In typical Missions style, more than one group is seeking the characters' services to investigate, each with their own agenda and objectives. Accept one, accept several, play one group against another, it's up to the party to decide. As always, there are choices to make. And choices have consequences.

Just to make things a little more... interesting, it is snowing heavily in Chicago today. Just the day to go poking through ruins in search of abandoned laboratories and whatever was in them, neh? The action flows thick and fast, keeping the characters on their toes, and there are interesting contact to be made as well as fights to be had. A thoroughly fun adventure...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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