Shadowrun has catalogs full of equipment, although the differences between the several heavy pistols are rather minor the fluff has its charm (and its price).
Buying equipment for the characters was a part-time job for Shadowrun gamers, and we used to browse through the books, stare at the simple silhouettes of the pieces and compare game stats, just as if browsing through any other catalog with pictures, short descriptions and prices - say a guitar shop's catalog.
Equipment lists raise attention, grab it, bind it, torture it. Even with short lists as in the Basic Fantasy game. I'm glad my players yet didn't stumble over the magic item section in their rule books...
Did anybody wrote a Shadowrun equipment app for smartphones, or pcs? Would be much nicer to scroll through the stuff, and have an option for side by side comparison.
2 Clips And An Ares Predator
When I was game-mastering Shadowrun (2nd Edition) I used to design the runs so that it was possible to get through them (presuming wits on the side of the players) with one heavy pistol and 2 clips of ammo. We had serious
'When it comes to Shadowrunning nothing ever goes according to plan.'
Why pick up a light pistol, anyway?
In rp games conflicts often (and very quickly) escalate to deadly combat. I find that even with inexperienced gamers: as soon as they play their character they start to roam, and pick fights as if most of the inhabitants of the game world were enemies placed there for combat experience.
This might be true for a series of computer rpgs - and I've yet to find one with reasonable character interaction options. However, when it comes to encounter design, which implies thinking about those options, conflict, and physical conflict is just one of them. (Read: there are other options, too!)
I know that monster descriptions say 'monster will attack PCs on sight', and 'fight to the death', and so on, and so on.
Back to those light pistols. And the intimidation skill. Have you ever noticed that intimidation skill? Have you ever used it? Because I can't recall a situation when we did.
'So, how does a Shadowrun character draw a light pistol on his opponent, and tell him to leave him alone? Yeah, he does so while his other hand levels that modified Ares Predator with his opponent's crotch and pulls the trigger.'
Intimidation with a light pistol alone does not work, because the opponent is likely to have a bigger gun. (Think of that meme-worthy Crocodile Dundee scene.) And the players know the stat blocks. A light pistol within SR2 was a joke, and if it wasn't our GM would have made it one. It could hurt, do some damage, but that damage would be shrugged off, and even if it hurt so much as to cause a wound, the characters would heal and bounce on. (I read SR 20th Anniversary Edition, and light pistols seem to be a little more dangerous here.)
'Shadowrun simulates the gunfire exchange by the clunk and clutter of those many six-sided dice. Otherwise its matrix-style slow-motion.' (That's out of context, but I like it.)
Intimidation (in rpgs) is a bit of acting, skill display, maybe weapon display, and mostly communication. If characters want to tell somebody to leave them alone, they could just ask them, and that somebody may consider the request. If that somebody is smart he'd observe the situation. He might feel intimidated even if no intimidation effort is made on the side of the characters.
The Intimidation Skill becomes necessary if that somebody is feeling lucky in that situaiton, but the characters want to convince him that leaving is the better option.
The reason why I designed the runs according to the 2C/1AP principle was that I wanted the players to explore those other options of interaction, communication, and sometimes intimidation. In a way it's kind of old school. You get XP for resolving the encounter - stealing the treasure from the dragon, or defeating him, or tricking him into giving you its treasure, (as if that would ever work,) or by getting away alive.
Anyway, this was meant to be a follow-up on the magic weapons post. But there are few magic weapons in Shadowrun. There are plenty of cool fluff weapons with fancy names and few differences.
I'd like to play SR4 (or the upcoming SR5) to see how it feels today. The last runs I GM-ed were done using the Saga System.