Hoi Chummers! Watch your Back!


SHADOWRUN >noun : Any movement, action, or series of such made in carrying out plans which are illegal or quasi-legal on behalf of a corporate, military, or governmental organization that favors anonymity.

Let me first start off by saying next to Dungeons & Dragons (in all its forms mind you) Shadowrun is my next favorite Role-Playing Game (aka and from now on RPG yes I figure folks are well aware what the acronym for a Role-Playing Game is, but you never know who might stumble on this blog and wonder what in the 9 hells I am talking about).

Any way back to the topic at hand. This year at GenCon Catalyst Games released the 5th Edition of the Dystopian Future Sci-Fi Fantasy RPG. I have been a fan of this game since it’s original release in 1989. At that point I was 13, and and an old hat at gaming…no really I had 5 full prepubescent years under my belt as a avid D&D player…and I am sure by many standards if folks looked at my 14th Level Cleric/Wizard Sir Richard who wielded a Two-Handed Sword and wore plate-mail as he cast Fireball you would just shake your head in shame a walk away from me…I was 8 when I made him and the group I played with didn’t care (I was playing the Wizard and the Cleric…they were quite happy about that). Well a good friend of mine at the time pulled out this book that had this wicked cool cover on it.


A dark seedy alleyway, a elf dressed like Billy Idol, plugging in to a computer terminal…A scantly clad woman about to unleash magical electrical death, and a urban commando who seems to be Native American with uzis shooting at what looked like the cast from Planet of the Apes. I was in!

Set in not so far future of 2050, the world as we knew it changed at the end of the Mayan Calendar. Magic & Dragons returned, Dwarves and Elves came later…we got to Deck into the Matrix, and commit amazing cybercrimes. (And no…not that Matrix…1989 remember).

Wizards sling spells, Trolls sometimes speak with a proper British accent (hey if their from England what would you expect). Corperations that make Google look tame rule the world from the shadows, and all the while your stuck in the middle just struggling to get by and earn your next Soy Meal at the local Stuffer Shack.

So let us just fast forward to today…the game year is now 2075, technology and magic are still jockeying for position and the Megacorps have continued to keep the world in the palm of their hands.

So in a nutshell the setting is a rich and intriguing world of Elven Cyborg-Samurai, Spirit Summoning Ork Shamans, and Corporate Douche bags.

So is the new edition worth it?


I would say yes!

While there are not a a ton of changes from the 4th edition mechanics, there are enough that in my not so humble opinion helps streamline and balance the game.

Gone is the Build Point system…I am a staunch believer that almost all (not all, but most) RPGs that use a Build Point system by nature lend themselves to a very lopsided and easily exploitable. Shadowrun 4th Edition had the latter and man if left unchecked the PC, (player-characters, remember that is for the uninitiated) go a little crazy.

So in it’s place they brought back the Priority system. Which leads to the mantra of 5th Edition of “Everything has a Price” . You set up your character in a series of choices that will always leave something wanting. Making it much easier for a group to build their characters so that everyone will have times to shine doing what they do best. I have always liked the Priority system in previous editions so I am very glad it’s back.

Limits – previous editions had what I can the dice glut issue. You get your skills so high you roll so many dice you’ll NEVER fail, and always have an epic win. While 5th Edition allows players to accumulate larger dice pools, there are limits on how many of those dice you keep on any one test (Skill, Attack, Damage resistance, etc.) I think it is a nice change to what was an over bloated system.

THE DECKER IS BACK!!!! Okay so its not a big deal to some folks the earlier editions of the game had hacking expert characters called Deckers. Then they changed the name to Hacker as the “Matrix” changed and hey it it changes lets change one of the more fundamental icon things about the game. Well they learned and the hackers are now Deckers again and the cyberdeck has returned. I love much of the new rules that surround Deckers and the Technomancers(folks who are for all intents and purposes technopaths – think that kid in Heroes that could talk to machines).

Magic is still awesome…’nuff said!

Armor now has one value…no more ballistic and impact armor. For those that don’t know. Armor had two ratings one that was good against ranged attacks (like getting shot by a gun), and the other rating was your defense against melee attacks. It has been like that since first edition, and frankly I like the change, quicker book keeping in combat and honestly just makes life easier.

Riggers look solid from the get go. However time will tell and as long as we get a solid Rigger Book early on that will remain true.

One last thing I will mention that I likes…Assault Rifles are FRAKKING AMAZE-BALLS!

Are there things I don’t like?

So far not much…I still hate for all the ease with which they have fixed things like Armor, the Limit system, and the other things I like…


Also I think the Mystic Adept might need a little tweaking they seem a bit OP…however more time and running the game will be the ultimate judge of that.

Really to find things I don’t like will really require more reading, going over the rules with a fine tooth comb, and playing the game itself. I am sure I will find things to gripe about…and when I do I will post it here.

So what are my hopes for the Edition…New Box Sets…the Denver Box Set from back in the day was amazing. I want more supplements like that…seriously go look it up. It was so awesome it had maps of Denver, (That were accurate for the time it was released) and some great over all material. I want more of that.

Any way those are my first impressions.

At this time I give it a 5 out 5 Renraku Red Samurai…Oh and it still has a pretty sweet cover!




~ by lyoncage on September 23, 2013.

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