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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2015 16:13:34
I do not like the SR5 core rulebook. It is poorly organized, poorly edited, assumes you already know Shadowrun, and is filled with esoteric rules and bolted on mechanics that are unnecessary in a core rulebook. This blog summarizes much of my dislike http://lookrobot.co.uk/2013/10/14/ten-things-hate-shadowrun/-
. A few of my favorites flaws are that to find out what happens when your condition monitor is full you need to look in the character creation rules instead of the combat/damage resolution rules, wireless rules are scattered about the matrix, rigger and equipment sections, and matrix programs add more complexity to an already arbitrarily complex set of custom rules for deckers.

I've never played SR4, but SR5 feels like a big step down from SR3.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook
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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook
by Skip W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2015 15:48:23
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition is a mixed bag of amazing new concepts, and refreshed redesigns of previous editions.

I have played Shadowrun for almost 20 years, and I find this to be the most enjoyable edition to play yet. The rules are well thought out. The new designers have a plan for the game, and the power level of Shadowrun has been re-established to the Street Level of 1st/2nd edition.

The rules have been unified (generally) to a dice roll of Attribute+Skill with successes limited by some factor either physical or equipment based.

The book's art is glorious and it is enhanced by the fiction that introduces players to the 6th World. I encourage all players to read, really read the fiction. It's good enough to get you into the mood of the game.

I own a print copy of this book, and this PDF as well. The PDF is well built. The background graphics, foreground graphics, and text are separate layers, so depending on the speed of your device you may turn down the complexity of the display. Links are every where and the table of contents is easy to navigate.

The PDF has been updated with the errata, which is refreshing to see from a publisher. Spelling has been fixed as time has gone on, and other changes have been made too. Pages have even shifted around a bit too, so even if you have owned it for a while, some of the rules have been clarified for newer players.

All in all, I recommend this book. If you are new to the game you might want to try the Digital Tools Box first. It's a good intro and it gives new players a staged intro to the game.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/125721/Shadowrun-Dig-
ital-Tools-Box

5 Stars because of layout and updates. I would give 4 for the rules, but they are slowly but surely getting erratas.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: DocWagon 19
by robert l. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2015 10:45:25
I must admit that this story was better than I thought it would be. While being shorter in length than many other shadowrun books. It does not diminish the fact that it is a good story. The plot was well thought out, compelling and engaging. While the author well detailed his/her story, I could only give it 4 stars because they forgot to put in at the end to add it "I would have gotten away with it if it was not for those mettling kids!!" An old scooby doo reference. Read he story and you will understand. Humor aside, final review; good, well detailed, but short and in too much of a hurry to end it. So the final tally 4 stars, definetly worth the $3.99 compared to other $8.99 shadowrun books of lesser quality!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: DocWagon 19
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BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3085 Project Phoenix
by Joe K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2015 06:14:49
An excellent resource for experienced players and those new to BattleTech. It is great to have the "Unseen" mechs available once again. Full of a lot of good mechs and variants. Really speeds up game set up with filled out mech sheets. Love it, a must have for Battletech players of any era.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3085 Project Phoenix
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Shadowrun: 4th Ed. 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook
by Elton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2015 14:36:22
Ah, Shadowrun. So where does one begin?

In 1986, I was given the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set (BECMI). In 1990, I encountered the Shadowrun RPG. When you "live and breathe" Dungeons and Dragons, being presented a whole different game that anything else (Shadowrun), it tends to break what you think about games. I was rigidly thinking about classes at the time, but Shadowrun was(n't) the first Skill Based System I encountered. It was the first RPG that didn't advertise that it's different than D&D. Well, of course it was blatantly different -- Urban Fantasy mixed with Cyberpunk -- but what set it apart is the aspect of this review.

-- THE THEMES OF SHADOWRUN --
Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Rolemaster, and Palladium -- basically any game that has an alignment mechanic -- is a game of High Fantasy or Morality. The games are set up to be clear cut. Good guys always wear white hats, and bad guys always wear black. In D&D, bad guys tie young maidens to train tracks and good guys always rescue them in the nick of time. You can always tell the White Knight is on the side of Righteousness, and you can always tell that the Black Knight is the side of Wickedness. In D&D, and the games that profess to be better than D&D, everything is black and white, everything is clear cut.

In Shadowrun, you can't tell the white hats from the black because your character is a Shadowrunner. A career criminal that puts fear into the hearts of good company men and women everywhere. You don't live in regular society, you lurk in the shadows, interacting with society when its demanded. And playing a criminal, or a Shadowrunner, you live in a world where not everything is cut black and white. There are no White Knights, and there are no men in Black. Everything is morally gray in a World of low magic, high technology, and low life scum. What counts when you go on a Shadowrun mission is your own wits and your own truth.

-- Basic Conventions --
Shadowrun's basic system depends on cubes, or craps dice, in order to work. When you roll dice in the system, you roll the d6s against a target number, and the number of dice you roll is your attribute rating plus skill rating. It's that simple. It's not about rolling an icosahedron to get a result. It's about rolling your d6s. For Shadowrun 4th Edition, plan on using up to twelve cubes. In 5th Edition, this can get up to twenty-four cubes.

-- Creating Your Character ---
You create a character in 4th Edition by getting 400 build points (the equivalent of using GURPS Character Points) and deciding on a metahuman species. This can be humans, elves, dwarves, orcs (or orks, which the spelling can be orksome), and trolls. Another supplement upgrades the choices to Metahuman Variants, Changlings (of which you can play a "furry"), drakes, vampires, shape changers, nagas, spirits, and Artificial Intelligences.

After that, you purchase qualities -- good or bad -- and then you purchase your attributes. Then you decide the skills. Skills are divided up into active skills, knowledge skills, and language skills. Active skills are what your character can do. Knowledge skills are what your character knows, they also represent hobbies. And language skills are what your character can speak.

After you have your skills figured out, you use the rest of your build points to figure out your resources. Alternatively, of course, you can pick an "archetype." The Archetypes are sample characters to show you what is possible they include:
* A Bounty Hunter
* Combat Mage
* Covert Ops Specialist
* Drone Rigger
* Enforcer
* Face
* Gunslinger (which is an adept)
* Hacker
* Occult Investigator
* Radical Eco-Shaman
* Smuggler
* Sprawl Ganger
* Street Samurai
* Street Shaman
* Technomancer
* Weapon Specialist

After that, a chapter on how the skill system works, then the combat system. Then, as Shadowrun is a game that mixes the Cyberpunk genre with Urban Fantasy (As William Gibson has so pointedly put it: "Except that the admixture of cyberspace and, spare me, *elves*, has always been more than I could bear to think about.") there are like four subsystems you have to be aware of that makes the game work. The first is combat, which is already covered somewhat. Combat, and Combat Gear is expanded upon in Arsenal.

The second is Magic. The rules on Magic, in the chapter called the Awakened World, has set the notion that Shadowrun is a low magic world. There isn't many spells, and they are, in particular, flavorless and generic but they get the job done. Aside from that, most of the chapter is spent on the culture of the Awakened World and how that world is represented by the rule system. Magic is expanded upon in Street Magic.

The third is the Virtual World of the Matrix. In the 2070s, the world has become truly wireless, for Shadowrun to keep up with the wireless technology that we see around us: iPads, iPhones, and iPods are just examples. People depend on Commlinks (and in 5th edition, the newest generation of Cyberdecks) to interact with the Matrix. Here, a little bit on the subculture of the Matrix is revealed, and how players can interact with the matrix as hackers and technomancers. The last are beings able to interact with the Matrix through the powers of their own minds -- although they give up the ability to be magicians because of it. As for programs, Hackers still run programs on the Matrix, as for technomancers -- they use complex forms and sprites to interact with the Matrix. The World of the Matrix is expanded upon in Unwired.

The last subsystem is the Rigging subsystem. In Shadowrun, you require a vehicle control rig in order to control vehicles and drones. If you are a technomancer, you need an echo or two to immerse yourself into the vehicle system. There isn't really a Rigger book for SR4A.

Finally, the Gamemaster is given clues on how to run the system. As characters complete missions (adventures), they are awarded kharma. They then can use karma to improve their characters.

The last bit is on enemies. It's an Awakened World, and a small bestiary containing dragons, vampires, and spirits are presented. Also a number of other beasts are presented -- but a full selection is available in Running Wild, Parabiology, Parabotany, and Parabiology 2.

After that, a whole chapter is presented for Gear, including Cybertechnology and Biotechnology. All of this is expanded on in the books Augmentation, Arsenal, and Attitude. Vehicles and guns are expanded upon in Gun Haven, Used Car Lot, and *This Old Drone.*

-- Conclusion --
This is a game, in my opinion, that should be given to fans of D&D or the d20 System. Shadowrun is a way to ease them into a Cyberpunk future without throwing away some of the conventions that they are used to. Elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons, creatures from our myths and legends -- they are all in there. The game never has been marketed as better than D&D, just different.

Through the game, you are playing a criminal. Orks aren't bad, trolls aren't evil, and elves can work along side them with dwarves. Although you do get the "We elves are better than everyone else, and we make sure everyone knows it!" attitude, its not among the majority of all elves. And although Or'zet allows for Ork Rap, not every Ork is keen on creating their own nation. But it's that these attitudes exist that helps keep the game interesting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: 4th Ed. 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook
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BattleTech: Welcome to the Nebula California
by Luke W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2015 23:42:18
I found the Swords and Sorcery and Superhero elements far too jarring. I'm more than a bit of a purist, and this product just was not my flavor of product. Had the focus been entirely on crossing over other giant robot related parodies, I would have been far more happy with this. As it stands, I hope the creators had fun making this and certainly don't begrudge them playing around with the crossovers they themselves are interested in. About the only thing I am likely to take away from this is the field generation equipment as a way to stat out the Ancestral Home, should I ever need to play a naval battle involving that out.

Note that while this particular product is not my cup of tea, I enjoy the CGL tradition of interesting april fools day and halloween releases. I'm constantly amazed at the quality they provide, whether it's something like Necromo Nightmare or Free Taiw... which I'm actually likely to implement or something like this where I don't have much I intend to take away from it.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Welcome to the Nebula California
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BattleTech: Welcome to the Nebula California
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2015 16:12:28
Not only is this a delightfully silly romp through the tropes of other genres, this also a useful set of rules. You can adapt some of your classic characters from other settings, or recreate battles from your favorite movies, all while using our beloved giant walking tanks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Welcome to the Nebula California
by Patrick P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2015 12:33:54
"Let us go there, it is a silly place..."

I didn't think that it would be possible for Catalyst Game Labs to outdo themselves after last Halloween's gag offering, "Empires Aflame", which gave us an entire alternate universe to play in. However, they proved me wrong with "Welcome to Nebula California", their annual April Fools gag for this year. Hilariously written and definitely made by fans of the lampooned franchises, this supplement sends a group of hapless Interstellar Expeditions explorers to the hidden California Nebula, where they encounter dragons, transforming robots, super-powered humans and a stellar empire that bears absolutely no relation that anyone will readily admit to a certain feature-film franchise.

The best part, there's playable rules, for Total Warfare, Alpha Strike and A Time of War for the whole shebang. If you want Opti-- I mean "Primus Optimal" to fight a lance of BattleMasters, you can. Wanna see if a magic missile can penetrate mech armor? give it a shot. Have Rogu--I mean "Scalawag" absorb a MechWarrior's "powahs an' mem'ries"? Go nuts. And have Stefan Amaris and Emperor Pal-- the unnamed emperor of the Star Empire vie for "most evil interstellar dictator"? Can now be done.

This is a great bit of inspired silliness, and deserves to be on any Battletech fan's virtual bookshelf. None of it is canon, but wow does it look like fun.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Welcome to the Nebula California
by Cungr V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2015 11:28:37
This is a prime example of why I enjoy Catalyst Game Labs and their stewardship of the Battletech line.

I mean doesn't the idea of having a character with an adamantine skeleton who wields a light sabre and can cast magic missile against the Dinobots protected by deflector shields sound like an epic blast?

But seriously, you can tell the love the creators have for the game of Battletech with this gem. You can see the effort they put into this free item just to add some thing silly and exciting to their fan base. Yet, the rules are compatible with Total Warfare and A Time of War to give a GM something interesting to throw at players that think they have seen everything.

I highly recommend you get this ebook!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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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