private blog of Cobble Games CEO

Category: Shadowrun Returns

Design Challenge 2: Shadowrun Returns #2

Since I will be away for #PGA2016 on Saturday, I’ve decided to stick to the plan of doing 1 such task a week anyway but do the challenge one day earlier. I’ve played for about 1h today and focused on learning the plot structures, plot puzzles, fight mode mechanics and quests.


Friend from merc times gets murdered. You get a video call recorded for you which was meant to be sent after his death. You follow the friends GPS location signal triggered after his death. I’m not going to spoil any plot elements after this point but I rather describe the structures I noticed, in my own naive way.

Plot is rather linear with optional side quests. As I noticed before you get karma points for pushing the plot forward. This awards the player “to follow the plan” and explore the area to search for any optional, yet still interesting side quests that might give some extra Karma points. 

Most of the quests consist of long dialog parts which require a lot of reading but the game rewards player for being patient and paying attention by hiding important tips that are needed for sorting out some of the game puzzles (like reading a diary to learn the answer to password recovery system of critical NPC).

Some dialog challenges, like a cop preventing you to investigate the murder scene, can be sorted out in various ways according to your player key attributes and etiquette styles.


Whenever player party encounters enemies the game goes into “turn based mode” (similar as in Fallout 1 or 2 Series)

My main avatar is a Shaman so the fight will focus around Shaman skills.

Shamans can control demons who have a chance to break free and attack team members. After summoning a demon / spirit you must pay 1 Action Point for upkeeping. All characters so far including players avatar have 2 Action Points to use during the round. I haven’t figured out yet if there is a way to gain additional APs

Actions such as melee attacks (consisting of moving toward enemy and hitting with melee weapon), ranged attacks, spell casting and item using use up 1 AP. Same thing goes with spirit summoning and spirit upkeeping.

If character attacks game tests a random roll (need to investigate the roll system in Shadowrun) and compares the skill of attacker with skill of defender as well as all the environment modifiers (is anyone behind a cover? etc)

Shaman can also connect with spirits located at the particular level and summon them during the fight. They act as normal summoned spirits that can fight at your side.

Shaman can use force of Totems to gain temporary boosts or bonuses. So far I can only use 1 totem and my choice was a Bear Totem which heals all team members within a specific range.

TBC next week

Design Challenge 1: Shadowrun Returns #1

This is the first attempt of Game Design Reverse Engineered Challange.

Aim is to have fun and learn something from Game Design while playing.

I’ve decided to take a leap at Shadowrun Returns:

I took my time and spent roughly 2h today on gameplay. This exercise reminded me of how much I loved games like Fallout and cRPGs in general. I will definitely get back to finish at least one scenario to the very end. Here are my first observations:

I focused today on character builder and first minutes of gameplay. I liked the idea that the game quickly grabbed you with world immersion,  immediatly gave you an aim to pursue and presented you the most important mechanics  very early.

Game Modes / Mechanics observations:

First Screen: Character builder:

Place where you create your Player Avatar.
Player chooses sex  and race out of 5 available.

Each race gives statistics bonus and has different maximum caps for attributes:

  • Human (+3 Karma points at start)
  • Elf (Charisma +)
  • Dwarf (Willpower +)
  • Orc (Body +)
  • Troll (Body + Strength +)


After race is chosen player can chose 1 out of 6 premade archetypes (sort of class) or none (if you decide to make a custom build class). You can choose out of:


  • Street Samurai (Warrior Type)
    • Key Attributes: Body, Strength / Quickness
    • Key Skills: Close and Range Combat, Dodge
  • Mage
    • Key Attributes: Willpower
    • Key Skills: Spellcasting
  • Decker (Hacker type)
    • Key Attributes: Intelligence
    • Key Skills: Decking
    • Key Specializations: Expert Systems
  • Shaman (summoner)
    • Key Attributes: Charisma
    • Key Skills: Spirit Summoning, Conjuring
  • Rigger (Mechanic)
    • Key Attributes: Intelligence
    • Key Skills: Drone Control
    • Key Specializations: Drone Combat
  • Physical Adept (Monk)
    • Key Attributes: Body Strength Willpower
    • Key Skills: Chi Casting



Those are points gained by following the plot and finishing the mission objectives. Points can be spent on upgrading Attributes, Skills and Specialities. Each another level in progression path costs one point more than before ( Body Level 2 costs 2 Karma, Body Level 3 costs 3 Karma) . To access Level 4 Skills you first must unlock the main attribute to be the same Level. Same goes with Specialities.

Attributes, Skills & Specialities

  • Body:
    Influence HP and Physical Resistance  
  • Quickness:
    Increases hit chance for ranged combat. Reduces chance of getting hit

    • Ranged Combat
      • Pistol
      • SMG
      • Shotgun
      • Rifle
    • Dodge
    • Close Combat
      • Melee Weapons
      • Unarmed
    • Throwing Weapons
  • Strength
    Increases hit chance for melee and unarmed combat.
  • Intelligence
    In Decking &Rigging to calculate chance with computer programs and drones

    • Biotech – more HP from Medkits
    • Decking (chance for hitting with computer program)
    • Esp Control (increase power of expert systems inside the matrix)
    • Drone Control (more drone types and abilities)
    • Drone Combat (more abilities for drones)
  • Willpower
    Chance of hitting with magic. Reduces the chance of getting hit with magic

    • Spellcasting
    • Chi Casting (for physical adept)
  • Charisma
    Increases chance to control Spirits, The more the better spirits shaman can control.

    • Spirit summoning
      (the higher the skill the more powerful spirits can be summoned)
    • Spirit Control (more chance to prevent spirit from breaking free)
  • Conjuring
    Increase a chance to hit with conjuring spell


After you do all the character creation, including appearance modification (hair, beard, horns, skin tone etc) you will be asked to chose the Etiquette. This is a very interesting mechanic that gives you more dialog options in certain situations. Depending if you chose Corporate or Street Etiquette (you can choose 2) you will have more chance to get through a dialog obstacle with certain characters.