COURSE TITLE: RPG Lab - Shadowrun

ROLE: Instructor / GM

TEACHING LENGTH: January 2011 - August 2013

SCHOOL: Vancouver Film School

At the Vancouver Film School, a course is offered that is dedicated to teaching students how to play a pen and paper RPG. The course (RPG Lab) offers both "Dungeons and Dragons" and "Shadowrun" as options. I introduced the latter option when I started working at the school in January 2011, and it became a huge hit among the students.

The course spaned across fourteen weeks with one three-to-five hour class each week. During this time, I took the students through a brief history of Shadowrun, character creation and introduced them to the basics of the Shadowrun ruleset. We then proceeded into a lengthly campaign for the rest of the course.

During my time with the course, I prepared three different campaigns that together form a trilogy, but could be run individually depending on the group's interest. The campaigns are each twelve missions long, and cover a wide variety of concepts that are available in the Shadowrun universe, including combat and social scenarios. The missions are enhanced using audio/visual materials such as music and character/enemy photographs. I've also created an extensive cast of NPC characters to interact with the group, along with heavy amounts of dialog.


- Teach the Shadowrun (4th edition) ruleset

- Create numerous mission scenarios within a campaign for the students to engage with

- Manage and maintain character creation

- Promote teamwork and role playing among the students


One of the custom features introduced into the course is the GSI (the Ghostwalker Shadow Initiative). In the campaign, the GSI represents a ficticious "hidden" agency working to protect the world from dangerous threats. The storyline involving the GSI is weaved into the meta-storyline of the Shadowrun universe to help ground it in the fiction.

To provide an additional resource for the course, the online database available to the players in the campaign has been recreated in HTML. Accessed via a login system (to mimic how the database is accessed in the campaign), players can then use this resource to learn additional information about characters, storylines, and concepts that are referred to in the campaign.

The GSI database currently contains information from all three campaigns, including approx. fifty character bios, full campaign summaries, and corporate profiles. Content was created by myself, with programming/structure by Riley Goddard and art by myself and Melissa Stacey.

While the content on the GSI is specific to the course, a good amount of it can be accessed by the public. If you'd like to take a look, feel free to visit the GSI and use our guest login (Username: Guest; Password: GSI). You can also read more about the development of the GSI here.










© 2014 Andre Marentette