Jacking back into Shadowrun Returns for the new Dragonfall campaign, I thought I was ready for anything. In a post-magipocalypse future where trenchcoated, wizardly elves cast shield spells on hacker allies while orcs with machine guns shower them with lead, it pays to be prepared. Dragonfall managed to get the drop on me, though. I wasn’t expecting one of the most memorable and complex RPG stories of the decade.
The new campaign for last year’s crowdfunded, turn-based tactical RPG puts you at the head of a fresh team of Shadowrunners: elite free agents who shoot, hack, swindle, and detonate their way to payday on the fringes of society. I was, sadly, unable to import my pugilistic troll, Punchgar the Blooded, from the original Dead Man’s Switch campaign. Instead, I took on the role of a pistol-wielding, fast-talking elf named Finn. My goal: to avenge a fallen comrade and unravel a plot involving a powerful dragon in the heart of Berlin, Germany’s “Flux State,” where anarchy reigns, and street smarts will get you further than business etiquette.
I was hesitant to dump a lot of points into social skills, since most of the dialogue options in Dead Man’s Switch did nothing but save you time in dialogue trees. Investing the points paid off, however, as Dragonfall grants non-combat skills massively more time in the spotlight. Everything from knowing how to talk like a gang banger to extensive knowledge in Biotech will come up, and will make your life much easier. Finn was a crack shot with a handgun, to be sure, but it was his uncanny ability to talk his way out of his own, dumb mistakes that made him come to life as a character.