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BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
by Karl S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2015 23:39:03
Very good information and lots of useful information however for some reason this release is missing the mech costs. It seems very odd to me that the normal record sheets include c-bill costs for all mechs where as the unabridged version does not. If it contained Cost information I wouldn't hesitate to give it a 5 out of 5, but with out the costs I feel this is a bit of a step down from the original release.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
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Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
by Robert C. N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2015 12:23:30
I assume this is a great book. I assume this because there's no pdf file in the zip, and my iPad cannot use the formats that are there, so I never have actually had a chance to read this. I have many of the new Shadowrun novels on my wish list, hoping and praying for the day that Drivethru decides to finally offer a format I can open and read!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Novella: Neat
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Shadowrun: Run Faster
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/26/2015 16:40:59
Shadowrun: Run Faster provides a wealth of options and tools for character development and customization, broadly expanding the choices available for metatypes, qualities and more while also provides background information on the world that can be used to enhance roleplaying. While it is a little disorganized, overall Run Faster is an immensely useful sorcebook primarily for players but GMs will find much to use as well.

Shadowrun: Run Faster, is a Core Player Handbook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, so what does that mean? It means that this book is full of character options, discussions and variant systems to all for greater customization and understanding of the character and their role in the Shadowrun world.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then it looks into what life is like for the various sorts of people (corporate, streets, and so on) in the Shadowrun world who become ‘runners, some general advice on working with others and general discussion of how to rounds out a character to make them more ‘real’ by understanding where they are from and what they want. But also some notes on this being a social game and advice on making characters that will play with others because that is more fun for everyone.

Next is a discussion of codes of honor (to be used with the disadvantage of the same name) ranging from Bushido to White Hat Hackers. This section provides some excellent tools for adjudicating codes and roleplaying with them.

The Spice of Runners’ Lives discusses odd jobs for odd employers to give more variety to runs and also includes an (all too brief) section about playing other styles of games, such as playing as a DocWagon HTR team or cops. Still, some fun ideas here and equally useful for GMs and players.

The More Than Skin Deep looks at the various metatypes (and other groups like shifters and the augmented) and how their culture has evolved and how it impacts outsiders (like runners). Not sure if I am sold on the biology is culture argument (except for maybe shapeshifters) but still a useful window on what being a “X” is like in the world.

Construction Kits provides optional character construction routes: pure point buy, the “sum to ten” method and life modules, which builds a character by building their background from childhood onto the start of play. I very much like the life modules system as it makes one think about the character as more than just a collection of game stats.

The Mess of Metahumanity expands the horizons for metatypes and provides rules for metasapients (such as centaurs), changlings and shapeshifters and a considerable number of metagenic qualities (both positive and negative) to customize characters who were affected by the SURGE. While Into the Night provides rule for playing the infected, vampires (and all their variants) and ghouls. Probably a section that one should be cautious with however.

As You as You Can Be brings in a number of new positive and negative qualities (including my favorite, Day Job) which give a lot of ability to customize characters, which I always think is a good thing in addition there are eight new archetypes (running from burned company man to undercover cop) which take advantage of the new qualities.

Who You Know is all about the care and feeding on contacts, including how to pay them for their services, and a new Organization Contact option. Random tables for quickly fleshing out contacts are included along with around 45 new contacts. All useful things for expanding the knowledge web of the characters with useful guidelines for the GM to keep it managed.

Bosses and Betrayers talks about employers and the hazards of dealing with them. It has some good breakdowns on what to expect from various sorts of employers (corps, criminals, amateurs and so on). Again, useful for both players and GMs. A Dump of One’s Own looks at where the runners live and adds more detail, if you want to use it, to the lifestyle choices of the characters. Finally, Pack your Kit rounds out the book with a few dozen standard load outs of equipment for everyone from stylish suits to combats bikers, good for quickly figuring out what you need or what an NPC has to hand.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Run Faster
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Shadowrun: DocWagon 19
by Joseph J T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2015 21:35:22
I seriously love this story. I love how the whole story was done as if I were watch an episode of a trid show. Great narrative choice. Jennifer Brozek is a great author and I hope to see more from her soon.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: DocWagon 19
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Shadowrun: Coyotes
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2015 10:54:59
So far the best and most helpful setting product for Shadowrun 5th edition. This little booklet tells you what every Shadowrun team not content to stay at home needs to know.. HOW TO GET PEOPLE ACROSS BORDERS! Most of it ties to the default setting of Seattle, but it is easily usable for any part of the world with very general rules and examples. The 30 pages are divided into 5 sections. The first is what seems to be an obligatory short story for 5th edition, fortunately this one is better than most and deserves inclusion. If gives you the perspective from a Coyote of what its like to illegally transport Shadowrunners across borders. Second is a Shadowtalk section from the perspective of Shadowrunners on what its like to hire coyotoes, how much to expect to pay, how one finds them, makes a deal, etcetera. Third you have a section with actual rules or example guards at a border crossing and the categories are given not by specific border but by its difficulty. This gives you a way of making your particular border crossing whatever difficulty you feel is appropriate with a quick turn of the page. 4th you have a nice cross selection of different examples coyotes from parts of the world. The last part is a short little example scenario of a coyote run to fetch a person in the Salish-Shidhe Council and smuggle them into Seattle. The reason for smuggling them was that they have an absolutely ludicrous piece of cyberware. This was the only part of the book that made me go Ughh. In my game I intend to just do a quick swap for illegal nanoware and carry on with the mission as written.

Overall the book is well written, contained few errors you'll notice on your first read through, and was very usable for a Gamemaster of any Shadowrun edition. I wish this had been expanded and made into a full book because I thought it was much better in production values and content than what has been printed so far. Full score on review.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Coyotes
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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook
by Nick E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2015 17:57:29
With a price you really can't beat, and search functions (in most readers) that make up for the slightly disorganised layout, SR5 Core Book is a good buy.

As I said the layout can be troublesome for players familiar with D&D3.5 or Pathfinder as occasionally you will find small but relevant rules tucked away in sections that do not necessarily corespond with the rules themselves. However, a searchable PDF does help here.

The game itself is great, and while the rule complexity can slow combat until you're more familiar with it, it is totally worth learning. The base rules, lore and equipment available in the Core Book are a great starting point and let you get a good grip on the game before investing in the other SR5 titles.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook
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Shadowrun: Dark Resonance
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/19/2015 06:36:31
originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2015/03/19/book-review-shadowrun-d-
ark-resonance/

My second dip in the Shadowrun novel pool was a bit more to my liking. Where the first was focused on a single run and team, this one has a much larger cast of characters and a bigger mystery to solve with bigger stakes. It also delved into technomancers, which I’m not nearly as familiar with since my experience with Shadowrun is back on the Genesis and with Shadowrun Returns and, if I remember right, Third Edition. Technomancers are more from the newest edition of the RPG, so it was a little confusing, at first, as to where they fit in and what they could do, but Phaedra Weldon does a great job of giving someone new to the technomancer some idea of what they’re capable of throughout the novel.

Focusing primarily on Kazuma Tetsu, Soldat online, the novel deals with his search for his sister, Hitori, who went missing months back without a trace. He’s a technomancer and hides it as well as he can using basic gear without really using it to hide his ability to connect to the Matrix without actually making a connection using gear. Technomancers are both feared and hated, and in this instance, wanted and dissected to see how their abilities work, so they keep underground to keep their abilities and whereabouts unknown. His sister was also a technomancer and he fears she’s vanished for good this time with only a name, Caliban, linking to her disappearance for a second time. Finding that name on a routine cleaning job for an old server, Kazuma decides to break in on his own and swipe the data to see what’s in there, only the PCC are interested in the data as well as the original owner of the data who wants it back before the servers and building are demolished. That’s when his personal investigation go sideways.

A shadowrunning team, operated by Mack Schmetzer, hired by the PCC hits the building up the same night Kazuma does and two security guards and the teams shaman are murdered in the building and at first the murder is linked to Kazuma by the team’s lead as Kazuma’s partner and girlfriend, Silk, scrambled the team’s getaway van. Things have gotten worse as the shaman’s body has disappeared and their other runner has gone off the grid. Mack’s not ready to take this lying down and wants the data back, especially since his contact is an undercover agent with the PCC. The worst part is no one seems to know what data was being kept on a server that was about to be shut down that’s worth killing for.

Another of Kazuma’s online friends has gone missing, last seen sampling an online game called TechnoHack that’s supposed to paint being a technomancer in a good light and show what they can do to try and bring things around for the maligned group. Not wanting to seem out of place, Kazuma heads back into work and is ambushed by a dwarf named Mr. Powell comes calling on Kazuma with a pet technocritter which Kazuma barely escapes from and the chase is on from there. Not only does Kazuma need to get the data before a shadowrunnning team and now some private security guy with a thing for technomancers, but he also has to piece together how it ties in with his sister and a video game that keeps making the news for dying servers.

I think one of the big points I liked about this was the descriptions for the Matrix and the actions within. Especially with how the technomancers access and deal with the Matrix. It’s a big part of the book and probably wouldn’t work nearly as well in any other medium. The technomancers are probably the biggest stars in this one as far as classes from the game system go, so if you don’t like dealing with the Matrix as much, this might not be the book for you. Overall though, I loved it. There’s enough real world interaction to keep everything grounded with the characters and to make sure the reader has that kind of reference even when dealing with the Matrix. We get some nice touches with the characters about keeping in shape or keeping up your body while you spend so much time online. The usual big bad corrupt corporation is ever present and as usual nothing is ever quite what it seems.

While I don’t necessarily think this would be an ideal introductory novel for people new to Shadowrun, there’s enough explanation and detail that anyone not into it could get by. For people familiar with it there’s a lot here to go with but it also makes use of characters from past Shadowrun novels that I didn’t catch as I’m haven’t hit the previous books in the Shadowrun set. Dirk Montgomery and Netcat are two that I found while I was doing some snooping as to who’s been used before, but from the way Mack and his group are written they either have a past that haven’t been explored in novels or sourcebooks yet or they’ve been active in them before. It’s a nice mix here and broadens the scope of the novel really.

This is a great mystery novel on top of being an excellent cyberpunk novel and a fast-paced and involved Shadowrun story. It’s a compelling set of circumstances and I like that even while we get some behind the scenes with the main villains, we’re still left to piece a lot of this together with Kazuma, the police and Mack’s team. We get a lot of different viewpoints and while it does jump around and play a little bit with the timing, the reader never really gets lost with the large number of characters. They’re each really memorable and have depth and motivation to them, even if it’s in brief. This has a great pace to it as well that had me burn through it pretty quickly when I got a chance to actually sit and read it. So don’t let the page count fool you, this moves at a nice brisk pace that’ll keep you flipping pages.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Dark Resonance
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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2015 10:08:30
Magic in the Sixth World is a diverse and fascinating topic. Practitioners range from the studious academic magician who'd as soon write a paper about a spell as cast it to the street mage who doesn't care about theory as long as it works. This book is designed to open the lid on the practise of magic with everything from underpinning theory and beliefs to organisations mages can join and (of course) plenty of new spells. Then there's material about spirits, alchemy and the role of the talismonger as well.

Of course, after the introduction explains what's in the book, the first thing we get is some fiction. It's intriguing, a story about a girl returning home to see her sick mother, with the magic she wields being almost incidental: a nice touch, it is about a person not her magic!

Story told, along comes Surviving Magic, a discussion about what it means to be a full-blown magic capable part of the Awakened world. For some it is a joy, for some something fearful - and for most, a mixture of the two. Much of this is conversational in style, with contributions from others chipping in. It's a wide-ranging discussion beginning with finding out that you are magically-endowed - and how that makes you a target for everyone who wants to use or abuse you - and looking at popular conceptions about mages and so much more. This is useful reading even for those who are not playing mages, because it helps set the scene in which both mage and mundane operate. Many people are scared of magic, whether they can wield it or not. Others seek to exploit it... and in some parts of the world it's illegal. Most schools test for magical aptitude like they test for other potentials and capabilities, and track those who show signs of it, whilst most universities run courses in magic - which interestingly are not just for those who can cast spells, there are programmes for those interested in the underlying theory, the social ramifications - well, you know academics, they'll study a topic from every possible angle! Of course, shamans stand somewhat outside of this, as they rely on a spirit guide rather than book-learning. Corporations and even religions also take an interest, recruiting magic-users and making use of their skills. And then there's the shadow world...

Next, Magic in the World gets down to the nuts and bolts of how magic actually works. Or at least, as much as is popularly understood. It's not just the laws of magic that are talked about here, it's also the law as it relates to magic: licences to practice or even to purchase magic items can trip up the unwary. You can also find out all about mana and background counts and rifts and other strange manifestations of natural magical power.

Then comes Magical Traditions with a round-up of the myriad beliefs and theories underpinning magic. There are a lot of them, and it depends on your background and upbringing which you'll decide to apply. Most faiths have quite strong ideas on the matter, but if you are not religious there are plenty other paths to follow. Each tradition has its own core style and preferred spells.

This is followed by a section called Magical Societies. People like to band together and it's as true of mages and shamans as it is of anybody else. Some operate openly, others are hidden - and probably find you rather than the other way around. There's everything from religious orders and learned societies to street gangs here. They could provide allies or opponents for the characters, even if they choose not to join up.

The next section is rather ominously titled Dark Magic. Now, those not magically-endowed may see all magic-wielders as being involved in the dark arts but the more enlightened know that magic isn't anything like that, it's a tool like any other and can be used for good or ill... but... well, there really is some nasty stuff out there in the magical world. You may not want to dabble yourself, you may never even encounter it, but it is best to be prepared! Some comes from within, drawing on the worst ideas and emotions that people can have, and some comes from without, from alien entities. Whatever the source, those who choose to make use of it risk their very metahumanity - and quite possibly, yours. The reasons why someone might want to go there are explored, as well as the different paths into darkness that might be followed. All manners of nastiness, most suited more to be used against your party of shadowrunners than used by them (indeed some of the anecdotes and comments suggest scenario ideas as you read them!), and there's plenty of detail such as spirit statistics to enable their use.

Then on to the Expanded Grimoire, which provides a wealth of new spells with which to experiment. They are grouped by nature, so you have combat spells, detection spells and so on. Each comes with a detailed description of its effects and uses as well as the necessary detail to cast it during a game. There's a lot here... but if that is not sufficient, the next section is Shadow Rituals. This is a more detailed look at formal ritual magic than you find in the core rulebook, with plenty of ideas and examples for those who have the patience, discipline and desire to perform castings of this type.

Next comes Secrets of the Initiates. Here, those who wish to expand their powers can find out about different routes they can follow to gain even more arcane knowledge through enlightenment. Not for the faint-hearted, but for those willing to make the attempt the rewards can be potent indeed. Various ordeals may be required, but whole areas of knowledge may be opened up: geomancy, necromancy, psychometry and more. There's even a note about a fascinating career path, that of the forensic thaumaturgist. This role revolves around the use of magic to solve crimes rather than the solving of crimes in which magic was employed (although a good one can probably do that as well). The concept suggests a whole campaign based around a fusion of police procedural, magic and general CSI/forensics... but before I get sidetracked, there's loads more in here, which will be of interest to the more thoughtful mages, those interested in the theory and philosophy of their art as well as the practical applications thereof.

There's another fiction segment, Butcher's Bill, then on to a section called Physical Magic. More goodies for the physical adepts amongst us. Like each section, this begins with a short (page or so) fictional excerpt to set the scene, before launching into detailed material which starts off by explaining what physical adepts are and how they fit into Sixth World society. To give more scope to adepts, several paths or ways for them to follow are presented, each allowing the adept to specialise and focus on a specific area based on their underlying philosophy. There are some juicy new adept powers as well.

The final two sections, The Immaterial Touch and Turning Lead Into Nuyen, deal with spirits and alchemy. The section on spirits delves deep, looking at where they come from, the whys and hows behind the stat blocks we are used to, and should help you make them more of an integral part of your world. Different types of spirit and a collection of new spirit powers round off this section, along with things as diverse as how to create an ally spirit, avatars and more. Finally, the section on alchemy looks at the practice of that ancient craft, providing scope for those who'd like to try it out or for making more rounded NPCs whom the characters might consult. There's a lot about magic items and their manufacture too; and then the discussion moves on to talismongers - what they do and how, and the things they have to offer.

This book reaches down into the core essence of Shadowrun, showing how magic is integral - this is not just a cyberpunk world where magic works, but a true natural revolution, a world changed by the resurgence of magic. Most of us have got that idea already, but the depth and breadth presented here really brings it home and makes it all come to life. If you want the full picture, add this and Run and Gun to your library along with the core rulebook.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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Shadowrun: 4th Ed. 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook
by Andrew O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2015 12:58:12
Great pdf. Well put together. We're now happily running a Shadowrun 4e game with my group. Thanks for making this available.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: 4th Ed. 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook
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Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/12/2015 09:55:51
Here we have a wide-ranging and varied text, a mix of immense plot ideas and the tools to help you incorporate them into your campaign, from the broad sweeps to the nitty-gritty of actually managing extraction 'runs... there's a lot here and it repays careful study. Even if you do not fancy the main thrust of the plot, you will find material that could enhance your game.

The whole plotline suggestion is based around the spread of a nasty mental illness, one which is spread disease-like from afflicted individual to afflicted individual. It's causing panic, of course, even in corporate circles... and when corporates panic, there's usually work for shadowrunners! Or your 'runners may know someone with this disease, or actually be motivated to try to save the world from it. To bring this plot into your campaign there's a wealth of resources, even down to patient records (unfortunately, not done as handouts, but possible to manipulate into in-character material if that's what you want to do). Fact and rumour, reports and speculation all work together to build up a picture of what is known about the condition and how various entities are reacting to it. You might choose to let this bubble along in the background, to gauge player interest, before deciding how major a role it will play in your campaign.

One odd side-effect is that there's been an upsurge in corporate extractions. It seems this disease, or whatever it is, strikes at those best suited to actually combat it... and so people with the right capabilities are in high demand just as they are getting scarcer. So much of the focus of the book is on extractions with everything from good locations to snatch people from (with a detailed look at the corporate hothouse of Manhattan) to discussions on the most effective way to perform them and a toolkit of useful equipment. Of course, studying the 'how to' of extraction is just as useful if you earn your nuyen protecting people, suggesting alternate slants if you might prefer to put your characters on the other side, so to speak.

Particularly of use should any character contract the condition - called Cognitive Fragmentation Disorder or CFD - or if they find themselves looking after a victim, is an extensive section on treatment which discusses a wide range of approaches from physical (anything from psychoanalysis to surgery or drugs) through magical and even use of the Matrix. It's presented as case studies, complete with narrative results. It will be up to the GM to put some numbers to any such treatment characters decide to try, though.

The neat thing is, that virtually all of this book is player-friendly. There's a short section at the back which gives the low-down about the real nature of the condition which explains a bit about what is going on and provides the necessary game mechanics, but the GM should feel able to let players read nearly everything else. Even the details about Manhattan and other corporate information is stuff that good research ought to discover.

Presentation is good, if sometimes a bit fragmented - a read-through is recommended first, so that you know where to find whatever you are after later on. It's really an idea-spawning and planning tool rather than an actual campaign guide, you are going to have to come up with your own campaign arc and individual adventures. In some ways, it is a bit narrow to be the focus of a whole campaign (is defeating a disease really what you're playing Shadowrun for?), yet in other ways it is ideal - a massive world-spanning threat which your characters might, just might, be able to defeat. Perhaps it could serve as a background thing or a sub-plot, bubbling up every so often amidst the other things going on in your shadowrunners' lives, then maybe taking centre stage when you decide it's ripe for a climax. It's thought-provoking, providing plenty of ideas worth thinking about and developing further - whilst the material on extractions is of general use to any 'runner.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
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Shadowrun: Run & Gun
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/11/2015 10:03:40
This mammoth tome is billed as the 'core combat rulebook' for Shadowrun 5e, and provides a wealth of detail to supplement and expand on what the core rulebook has to say on the matter. A lot of it is gear - weapons, armour and suchlike - but that in many ways is the least important part, however much your characters like shopping. There are loads of new rules too, but again whilst they will enhance combat by giving you more options, these too are ancillary. The best bits are the more thoughtful ones. Advice on tactics, working as a team, and how to use all the new weapons and combat actions to best effect. In essence, it's a graduate school for shadowrunners, how to develop from being mere street scum to a force to be reckoned with.

But as always, we begin with some fiction. A compelling tale of a 'run going wrong fast, how familiar does that sound? Then the first chapter, Fight for your Life, presented as an online discussion of various aspects of combat along the general lines of what you don't know is the thing that kills you. It looks at fighting itself, weapons, armour, hand-to-hand brawling, tactics, teamwork and the creative use of explosives. Some of this you may have considered already, some may be new to you, but study it well. Someday it may save your 'runner's butt. It's the sort of advice that any beginning character would love to have before he steps out into the underbelly of whatever city he's in.

Next comes Arsenal, a massive listing of just about any weapon you can imagine. It's not just firearms either, perhaps you'd fancy a Highland Claymore (it's a sword, not an explosive...) or want to go all Indiana Jones with a bullwhip, and there are plenty others that are even more exotic. The firearms range from tiny holdout guns to heavy artillery. One novel one is the Shiawase Arms Puzzler, which breaks down into component parts that are disguised as items you might legitimately be carrying, everything from jewellry to commlink accessories, so you can take it someplace you are not supposed to be carrying a weapon. Each is illustrated and comes with description, commentary and a stat block.

Then Armour and Protection does the same for all the stuff you need to keep you safe - as it's pointed out earlier in Fight for your Life, it's really rather silly to spend loads on fancy weapons then skimp on protection. That nice shiny weapon is of no use to you if you are no longer alive to wield it. Neat items include several lines of designer combat wear, so you can look smart and stay safe at the same time. Of course, depending on what you are doing and where you are doing it, a full suit of heavy-duty armour may be more appropriate. That's here as well. Then it all gets exotic. People ignore you if you're dead, right? So why not have some armour specially-rigged so that any damage looks like a kill-shot and fall over when you're hit. Let the brawl move away, then get up again... On a more practical note, you'll also find all that you need for environmental protection - be it too hot, too cold or underwater or even out in space that you want to go!

The next chapter is Tactics and Tools, and here we get back to the discussions that make this book particularly fascinating. It's all about taking small-unit tactics beyond that Shadowrun standby, 'geek the mage first'. Building a team, defining roles, communications, and then holding it all together when the lead and spells start to fly, again this is well worth study if you want your team to be truly effective rather than relying on strength through superior firepower. Veterans will recognise a lot of what is here, but it is no great leap to apply basic military small-unit skills to a group of shadowrunners even if they are less disciplined than a squad of soldiers. The rule mechanics to enable you to model these techniques are included to make this section even more potent... and there are more 'tools of the trade' to empower your group to operate at peak efficiency.

This is followed by Killshots and More, which looks at effective combat, the actual delivery of force part. Options to make combat even more deadly, and ways to pursue non-lethal yet effective methods of putting your point across on the battlefield. Again every suggestion comes with the game mechanics to put it into action. Perhaps you'd like to call shots with precision accuracy, or produce devastating effects based on what ammunition your are using. You'll find plenty of ideas here, along with novel combat moves and much, much more.

Next, Staying Alive addresses other dangers that you may face. Environmental hazards, extreme weather conditions and the ills that come with them - dehydration, sunburn or frostbite... you name it, you'll find it here along with the rules to implement it in your game. Man-made problems like pollution and radiation are included as well. Or perhaps you'd rather venture into the air, under the sea or into the blackness of space?

Then there's Blow Up Good, everything you might want to know about the combat applications of explosives. You may think that blowing stuff up looks like fun, but it's dangerous - and not just in the obvious way, for example you might like to consider the legal implications of being caught with a load-out of illicit explosives. It doesn't matter if you want to purchase or make your charges, or if you want to drop a building or a troll, just about everything you need to know is here.

Finally, there's a another piece of fiction, Hostile Extraction; and an accummulation in one place of a whole stack of useful tables.

Overall, this takes combat to an art form, with plenty of ideas to enhance the use of violence in your game, coupled with the equipment and rules additions to make it happen. Even if combat is not your favourite part of role-playing, this will make you reconsider joining in the next brawl with enthusiasm!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Run & Gun
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Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3 Weapon Cards (SR5 Stats)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2015 09:06:59
Whether or not you are using Gun H(e)aven 3, these are handy ready-reference cards for the weapons contained in that book. Each card covers one of the weapons, complete with an illustration and the weapon statistics, so organised players can depict their loadout on the tabletop with the relevant cards - and even better, not have to look through the book or on their character sheets to find the data when they need it. After all, the middle of a firefight is not the best place to be looking something up in a book!

The illustrations are the same ones as in Gun H(e)aven 3, which some people found rather bland and unexciting however I find them crisp and clear... some idea of scale would have been nice, though. The stat blocks are for Shadowrun 5e only, although the book was dual-statted for 4e as well - although a separate set of cards is available for those who prefer the earlier edition. Makes sense, the convenience of the cards would be lost if you had to pick the right stat block out every time you consulted one! If you buy the PDF version, there's a single card back provided if you want to have neat double-sided cards, printed/stuck on card or perhaps laminated - they'd be a bit flimsy else.

If you are using these particular weapons, a handy reference tool indeed. It's a nice additon to the main Gear Cards set released earlier, hopefully the same will be done with the weapons and other items to be found in other supplements (or perhaps as part of that supplement?).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3 Weapon Cards (SR5 Stats)
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Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2015 08:09:52
If there's one thing virtually every shadowrunner is obsessive about, it's his weapons. So here is a catalogue of some 34 new firearms to delight every gun nut wanting to tool up for the next 'run.

No messing about, either: after the usual webpage simulation, it's straight in to some rules - a couple of new weapon traits for the old-schoolers (although I cannot imagine actually wanting to handload ball and powder mid-firefight) and notes on using these weapons with either the 4th or 5th editions of the Shadowrun ruleset - and then the weapons themselves. Page on glorious page, with pictures, sales blurb and commentary from the typically irreverant 'runner community.

Starting small, there are holdout pistols, fancy ones perhaps more suited to display than use (with a neat anecdote about how a corporate executive kept a pair on display but loaded, and used them to save himself when an assassination team came a-calling), machine pistols and submachine guns, right up to assault rifles for those with more military needs, as well as shotguns and even sporting rifles. There are even some reproductions of historic weapons (hence rules for cap and ball), for those who want 'collector's pieces' without the price tag. The way they are presented, this can almost be used as an in-character catalogue (if you ignore the stat blocks tucked neatly in one corner of the page).

The nice thing is the range of weapons: not just the sort you want for serious work, but some 'fun' weapons for the hobbyist, collector, sportsman (be it hunting or target shooting) and even one suitable for youngsters learning to shoot. It speaks of a prevalent gun culture, of course, where firearms ownership is commonplace and widespread... but that's the kind of impression the whole Shadowrun setting gives anyway. Some mention is made of suitability or adaptations for different metatypes, and yes, there is a flamethrower in there as well!

Most 'runners reckon you cannot have too many guns, throw this at them and give them a few more to choose from.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3
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Shadowrun: Coyotes
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2015 10:09:06
Widening your horizons from the underbelly of Seattle, the iconic home of the shadowrunner, Coyotes looks at how you cross borders from one region to another, particularly if you lack the papers or resources to just take a flight to your next destination. With the published adventures becoming more and more world-spanning, this is a useful and timely addition - and it can be fun to include in your game (she says, remembering how a certain were-tiger character was smuggled across a border in a crate...)

Beginning with a fluff page of mock activity on a 'runner website and three pages of atmospheric fiction to set the scene, the main body of the work describes - mostly in-character - how a Coyote or people-smuggler operates in the Sixth World. It's dangerous but can be lucrative as well... perhaps your 'runners will want to try it as a trade, or at least need to organise a border crossing as part of their 'run. Or it may be that they need to be somewhere that they are not welcome so more orthodox means of travel will result in an arrest at the airport. Or they may need to leave undetected after stepping on the wrong toes...

Costs can be significant, and there's a handy table to give an idea of how they are calculated (with a note that it is merely a guide for Game Masters), and there's also discussion on the resources that the Coyote needs to ply his trade, and how he defends himself from his 'cargo' as well. Corporates too sometimes have need of a Coyote, and some even have them on the payroll, although that's one of those things they are unlikely to admit.

So now we know a bit about how they ply their trade, where do you find one? Most people use a fixer when they need to engage the services of a Coyote (and that's where aspiring Coyotes tend to look for work). That's discussed as well, so once a need has been determined the deal can be struck.

The discussion then moves on to the borders themselves, looking at the various challenges of trying to get through a checkpoint and of trying to cross the border elsewhere - that is, someplace you should not be crossing at all. Security will involve physical, magical and Matrix elements; and there are notes on how to hide that which you do not want discovered (like were-tigers in boxes...). Borders can be classified as easy, normal, hard and very hard; and details are provided about typical border guards, procedures and security (of all kinds) at each level. So what do Coyotes do that's worth paying them for? A few ideas are provided here, to go along with what has been mentioned before. Six sample Coyotes, fully statted-up, are provided in case you need one in a hurry or just want to look over a typical one's build before creating your own.

Finally, there's a short border crossing adventure, Piping Hot. Drop it into a campaign when you want to introduce your 'runners to the fine art of border crossing. A distraught fixer needs some people moved and his regular Coyote isn't answering. Can the 'runners help? Particularly as said Coyote left detailed instructions on his preferred route just in case he needed rescuing...

All good fun with plenty of scope to make travelling to the job as entertaining as actually doing it; whilst the adventure is quite fun and lets you test the water of the border crossing game with ease.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Coyotes
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Shadowrun: Spell Cards, Series 1
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/03/2015 08:09:49
This is the kind of product that has you kicking yourself and wishing you'd thought of it first... that said, whilst it is useful it could have been so much better!

In any game with combat spellcasting, you either need the memory of a wizard or spend ages thumbing through books to find what you need to roll and what the results are each time you want to cast a spell. Ready-reference cards are an obvious solution (ever since I spent ages transcribing Dungeons & Dragons 1e spells onto 5x3 index cards), and if it's the numbers that give you trouble, these ones fit the bill.

Each one is very simple: name of spell, a brief phrase that describes what it does, and four boxes that tell you type of spell, its range, duration and drain. Combat spells have a fifth box to show the damage you do as well. They are colour-coded: orange for combat, blue for detection, red for healing and so on; which makes it easy to look for a spell of the suitable type - but could let others meta-game by seeing what you are about to do.

What's missing is anything descriptive. You will have to remember that, or go look it up - at least each card has the page number for where that spell appears in the core rule book. The other thing that is missing is an image for the card backs, if you are using the PDF version. Most people like their self-printed cards to look good as well as serving a purpose.

Neat idea, but there's the nagging feeling that it could have been done better... and prettier.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Spell Cards, Series 1
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