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Shadowrun: Anarchy
by Mr J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2018 22:44:24

Compact rules light version of Shadowrun rules that run very quickly. All special abilities are channeled through a universal Shadow Amp system that seems like a good idea. We made characters in under an hour and played during our first session.

Problems with the game

1) Could be organized better, you can flip all over to find all the rules for a particular subject that really could have been consolidated. 2) Mistakes, some pregens and amp designs violate the rule. 3) Drones and spirits are overpowered as written 4) This doesn't really need to be a round robin narrative game, it works great as a traditional GM run game. Not sure the Cues and Tags really have much use either way. 5) Most importantly, if you're interested in GMing this game, you have to know how Shadowrun is supposed to work already. There are whole subject areas that are just not explained in the rules aside from a quick mentions (Notably astral space, most of the Matrix, good luck if you don't know how technomancers and sprites work together)

I'm not familiar with Shadowrun 5th edition at all, so I'm actually adapting the structure of 2nd edition to create the framework for my Anarchy game. It's really not something that I should have to do, Catalyst should have provided a better built in framework so you didn't have to know how 5th edition is supposed to work. However, it has been a fun way of playing 2050s Shadowrun that doesn't require much player knowledge of crunch to play.
BTW, The systems are so close that once you figure out the way the old damage scale worked, you can rapidly convert NPCs and equipment from old supplements. I am working on converting spells and cyberware/bioware from my old 2nd edition supplements.

Also if you search around a bit a user called Gingivitis on multiple platforms has done excellent work revising some of the problem areas, finding cool uses for plot points, creaitng generic threats and a very good quick reference guide for running the game.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Anarchy
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Shadowrun: Rigger 5.0
by Martin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2018 18:54:49

Quick Hits: Good book, but has a lot of fluff

Overall, this is a good accessory. Its greatest quality is the amount of variant rides and such it offers, which is what I wanted out of the book. Readers will be happy with the ways you can customize your rigger; however, the volume of add-ons is more like a chapter or two in the core rulebook as much of the book is dedicated to "establishing the mindset" of a rigger.

That's my main criticism: it has a lot of fiction; “reviews” of the items from “real-life” shadowrunners; etc. Unfortunately, there was probably too much of it – at least half of the text was a setting piece, so it's not much of a real “rules crunch” supplement. I think readers would have been better served with a smaller book with less fluff (and a lower price).

Also, as others point out a lot in these Catalyst books, the editing could have been better, but it did not detract from the overall readability of the book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Rigger 5.0
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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook (Master Index Edition)
by Martin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2018 15:45:49

TL/DR: Solid version of the game; hefty, well made pdf with lots of rules crunch.

First off, I've played Shadowrun since the 90s through most of the editions. 2nd was always my favorite, but I really, really like this version.

Second, if you're new to Shadowrun, the rules in every edition are complicated and a tad convoluted. The 5th edition core rulebook has around 400 pages of rules (the rest are neat little fluff pieces to introduce the setting, appendices, and indexes). And yes, like every version of Shadowrun, there's like five have-to-have supplements and another five or so good-to-have supplements. So, all in all, a lot of rules. To make the trip even more fun, as you read through, you probably won't understand most of these rules on your first read-through, and, in my opinion, it's a tough "jump-in" game (unlike, say, a d20 system), but this edition keeps the rules more streamlined and consistent than other editions.

Third, if you're interested in this edition, I think it's worth the $20 sale price, not the $60 cover. Also, I read some reviews that knocked the pdf quality. I prefer pdfs to hardcopies, and the edition that I downloaded reads well on both my surface and my laptop. For the reader on my android phone, the book shows up in a weird default zoom setting that's itty-bitty, but a quick double-tap, and it's perfectly readable and scrollable. The default bookmarks are ok, and the gynormous table of contents is fully hyperlinked. I have no qualms with the quality of the pdf, and the version I downloaded is fully updated with the most recent errata and copy-editing.

All in all, I think it’s a solid edition of Shadowrun. Is it worth moving on from 4th edition and re-investing $100 - $300? I don’t know – if you’re happy with those rules and the versions (hardcopy or pdf) you have of those books, then I can see why some wouldn’t update. However, if all you have are 2nd or 3rd edition books that are falling apart, and you’d really like a version that other people can easily get their hands on in either hardcopy or pdf form, then I think it’s worth the jump.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook (Master Index Edition)
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Shadowrun: Shadows in Focus: Morocco
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2018 21:11:39

Shadows in Focus - Morocco is a location sourcebook for Shadowrun and provides useful information on Morocco and its environs that would be useful to the sorts of people who are Shadowrunners. It is the sort of book you need if you are going to run a game set in or around Morocco.

Shadows in Focus - Morocco is a location sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, this particular book covers the shadow nexus of smugglers, corporations and nationalism that exist in the Morocco of the Sixth World.

Morocco is a gateway to the Mediterranean and Islamic worlds so it serves as a nexus of trade, legal and illegal, as well as a gatekeeper of the Gibraltar straights. In the Sixth World, it suffered heavily during EuroWar II which saw it invaded by European forces driving back the Islamic forces which had used it as a stepping stone to invade Spain. Morocco has rebuilt with heavy corporate aid making many see the government as a puppet of megacorporate interests. The truth is more complex with the Morocco government, corporations, traditional social groups and other factions all vying for power.

With smuggling, corporate power plays and corruption permeating the government, there is considerable work for career criminals such as Shadowrunners. But they have to play the game according to local rules if they want to go far which means keeping magic and cyberware out of sight as much as possible and not offending the Islamic faith when you can manage.

As far as mechanics go there are two new animals (the Atlas Bear and the Barbary Lion), five new Life Modules for that character generation system, and some suggestion on how to model the cultural dislike of cyberware.

Shadows in Focus - Morocco is an interesting resource providing enough information to set missions in Morocco as well as a variety of potential adventures (though some adventure seeds to really spark ideas would have been nice).

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



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Shadows in Focus: Morocco
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Shadowrun: Dark Terrors (Plot Sourcebook)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/16/2018 16:12:45

Shadowrun: Dark Terrors is a sourcebook for Shadowrun and provides a lot of information, a lot of interesting information on the dark corners of the Sixth World but not a lot of advice on how to use or incorporate that information into a campaign, especially an ongoing campaign. I enjoyed the read but, for me, there is almost nothing I can or would use in my ongoing street level campaign. I am not sure who the target audience for this book is, it seems like it should be a GM’s book but there is just not enough here to hang campaigns on, in many cases there is barely enough to hang an adventure or two off of. Equally, players can read it and be scared of the horrible things out there but there are not any tools to help you fight the terrors. So, ultimately, I am not sure what this book is for beyond pushing the metaplot(s) forward (especially on CFD) a little.

Shadowrun: Dark Terrors, is a Plot Sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, this particular book covers a variety of dangers, threats and evils, primarily magical in nature that exist in the Sixth World.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then moves into The Heart of the Hive, which provides new information about the insect spirits. There is a fair amount of in-game story in this section that ultimately does not provide a lot of actionable (or adventurous) data, much is implied but very little is confirmed. And when dealing with a megacorp, it is nice to know what is going on. Game wise, there are many new types of insect spirits, a few of which prey on other insect spirits, along with rules for playing a free insect spirit which would be interesting but very dangerous (both from and to the other characters).

Marooned Spirits talks about the fate of the shedim, body possessing spirits, which were a major threat but since the gates to their place of origin have been closed they are less of a danger but still a danger. They remaining master shedim are plotting something, and whatever it is, it is best for everyone on Earth that they are stopped. The shedim section ends with new creature powers, primarily shedim specific ones, and some preconstructed shedim who showcase the new powers.

Paint it Blacker discusses the latest machinations of the sinister Black Lodge, a conspiracy of powerful magicians, and calls out some of their members. Let me just express a personal opinion, I do not have any use for the Black Lodge in my campaign and I do not find them interesting or plausible. Why does the setting need an evil magical conspiracy group that apparently outwits dragons and governments while twirling their mustaches and chuckling? So cliche. Can we just stick with the megacorporations as the villains of the piece?

The section entitled Monads and CFD deals with just those subjects, mostly bringing this long running storyline to a tentative close with “cures” for CFD finally available. Personally, I am pleased to see an end to this plot-line, while I applaud Catalyst for making a technological rather than a magical threat a major plot point, making it one that overwrites people’s personalities, thus stealing player autonomy, was a dead end in playability from my viewpoint.

The Hidden Faction details the latest convoluted political twists and turns of the Seelie Court for those who need more wacky fae for their games. Followers of the Elder God looks into those who are seeking artefacts and magical knowledge tied to the fourth world (the last time magic ruled) from the files of the Ordo Maximus, a secret and massively powerful vampire conspiracy (yes, another magical conspiracy!) but the items, information and creatures are interesting (though not provided with game statistics). This section at least has some explict plot hooks though they do not strike me as being very useful.

Dwellers of the Deep Foundation dips into the hidden recesses and foundations of the Matrix, and my, there are some strange things going on there. Including Matrix spawning beings, called the Null Sect, who have their own agenda for whom and what should be using their “home.” Additional there is a proto-nation of AIs and other strangeness afoot. This chapter relies on the ownership of the Data Trails soucebook and references both the Howling Shadows and Run Faster books. Fascinating setting materia but challenging to incorporate into a campaign and very niche.

The Ghoul Queen and her People takes us to the much talked about the nation of Asamando after a brief tour of how various other nations and groups are dealing with the expanded threat of the infections that created vampires (and their subtypes) and ghouls. Asamando gets a good and engaging travel log from three in setting character viewpoints. It paints an evocative image, very well written, but apart from setting up future survival horror scenarios does not really give the GM a lot of ideas or tools for how to use Asamando in a campaign. The section concludes with new awakened powers (which reference a host of other books), a new magical tradition (Dark Magic), three new metamagic techniques (two for the infected and one for blood magic) and nine infected archetypes, mostly enemies but one or two that might be allies.

The last section is Untamed Metaplanes which looks at several dangerous metaplanes that people might wish to visit or end up in along with some in-game hooks for why characters might want to risk body and soul to go there. Also there is the Hudson Valley which is chock full of astral portals and gateways to the metaplanes for those seeking to travel without all of the ritual rigamarole, while it is light on details the Hudson Valley could be a fun setting for some adventures or even an entire campaign, but the information here is just a starting point.

Dark Terrors is an interesting resource providing lots of tantalizing hints to things happening in the Sixth World but very little solid information or plot hooks to work with making it a very strange book. It is a fascinating and, mostly, enjoyable read but at the end, I am really not sure what to do with it.

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



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Dark Terrors (Plot Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun: Street Legends: Home Edition
by bobby j. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2018 13:12:28

it seemed like one of the shadowrunners was copy pasted by accident



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Legends: Home Edition
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Shadowrun: Forbidden Arcana (Advanced Magic Rulebook)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2018 16:16:47

This book will break your game.

It's another example of Catalyst shoveling content into a book as quickly as possible to make some money.

It's clearly not been playtested, is totally unbalanced and poorly thought through from a mechanics perspective.

it also has some bits that directly contravene canonical shadowrun lore on magic.

i.e. it's mostly crap.

There are a few good things in for aspected magicians but that's about it.

if you have any concern about the horrific tilt towards magicrun that Catalyst has purused as part of 5e then this book will break your table.

My advice, avoid entirely.

On a separate note I've read all of "featured reviewer" Sean H's srun reviews and they are totally ill-informed and universally 4 or 5 stars for even the most broken drek. He's obviously a shill to be avoided at all costs.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Forbidden Arcana (Advanced Magic Rulebook)
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Shadowrun: Missions: Gone Long Gone (5A-03)
by Denise M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2017 14:53:54

This mission is poorly written. It's full of sterotypical tropes: the hypersexualized female contact, an alternate bid for the mission property, a poorly set up ambush that any player could see from a mile away, a 'rescue' from said poor ambush (that should almost never go off because the party avoided the ambush), and an overly deadly final combat with stats that can't actually exist in the game rules. Avoid this mission.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Missions: Gone Long Gone (5A-03)
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Shadowrun: The Seattle Gambit (Enhanced Fiction)
by Peter C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/07/2017 15:44:39

This was a fun little Shadowrun short story. I love the Halloweeners and the author did a good job giving them more personality than they usually enjoy in Shadowrun lore. The setting was very well described throughout the story. The rundown neighborhoods where the Halloweeners and the First Nation gangs have their turf wars really spring to 'life'. Street-slang is in full use in this short story, and it really brings that Shadowrun ambience to the story. The story is a fun, entertaining read.

The story revolves around Yuri, a former Russian army man, and his somewhat more mysterious girlfriend, Soren. Yuri is given the right mix of mystery and detail for his backstory, but I wish Soren was developed a bit more.

There's a bit of adult content in the story, which honestly felt a little bit out of place for me.

As a Shadowrun GM this story greased my hamster wheel for how I could better integrate gangs into my Shadowrun adventures other than offering them up as easy target practice for my players.

The crunch at the end of the story includes stats for a few weapons and some NPCs, in addition to a negative perk for bad cyberware. I thought these were well done. I especially liked the inclusion of incendiary rockets. Those might actually make it into one of my games sometime. I know that this is a short story and not an adventure, but still I think it would have been nice to include the stat block for Yuri, and maybe one or two of the other major characters. Then maybe I could write them in as guest-stars of one of my adventures for the players to run into.

For the asking price of $2, I don't know how much more you could ask for. It was a good, entertaining purchase as far as I'm concerned.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Seattle Gambit (Enhanced Fiction)
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Shadowrun: Forbidden Arcana (Advanced Magic Rulebook)
by Mikhail M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2017 10:30:23

This is a great book. It might be one of the best SR5 books as of late.

The book does have its flaws. There are typos and editing errors, and some of the mechanics are broken as-written. Some of the rules are ambiguos. This is why I rate the book 4/5.

However, those are relatively minor complaints - the book as a whole is tremendously informative and extremely fun to read. I really enjoyed reading it, and the piece about the bridge in the astral literally gave me goosebumps. Phenomenal writing.

Even if you have a bone to pick with the rules and magic in SR5, the book is worth it just for the flavor text. And I actually like a lot of the rules in this book too.

SR5 authors! If you are reading this - please do not be discouraged by some of the hate on the reddit and forums. It is a good book. Just please pay a little more attention to the rules.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Forbidden Arcana (Advanced Magic Rulebook)
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Shadowrun: The Complete Trog (Runner Resources)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/24/2017 21:28:42

Shadowrun: The Complete Trog is a runner resource for Shadowrun and this makes it unusual at it is a player facing book in many ways, providing world information to make playing orks and trolls deeper and more tied to the setting. It provides considerable, if scattershot, information for ork and trolls and how they fit into the Sixth World. For any campaign that features orks and trolls (and their struggles) prominently, it will prove to be a vital resource.

Shadowrun: The Complete Trog, is the first of the Shadowrun Runner Resources for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, this particular book is all about how orks and trolls, and their variants, fit into the Sixth World of Shadowrun.

After a short introduction to what is in the book, we get two fiction sections, and then starts with a section entitled What Are You? Which is an in-game look at being a trog with commentary from others. This gives an interesting, and fairly nuanced, view on what life is like in the Shadowrun world, at least the American section, for those who are orks and trolls.

Living as a Trog in . . . looks at how orks and trolls are treated in various places across the Sixth World. Starting with the Black Forest Troll Republic (in what used to be Germany), life in the Native American Nations, Chicago, Dubai, Seattle, Neo-Tokyo and Nagasaki, and many more. Mostly providing information about places that have not had their own sourcebooks recently. These provide useful snapshots of places for characters to be from or visit. It would have been nice to see more information on the variants of orks and trolls and how they fit in, this is done a bit for the giants in Scandinavia, but other metavariants get a sentence or two at best.

Working as a Trog in . . . talks about what roles and what challenges are faced by those who work for the various megacorporations. This is useful for playing characters who are former corporate employees and for interacting (and infiltrating) those same corporations when you have orks and trolls on the team. I would have liked to have seen a little more expansion on the government employee section (they only covered Seattle). What is life like for those who join a national military in North America for example would have been exceedingly useful.

Trog Heroes is about the orks and trolls who have made it in the Sixth World whether by talent (such as rock star Orxanne) or birth (such as King Alphono XIII of Spain), a dozen successful people who can be inspirational (or not). Mostly this is interesting world background but there are some potential plot hooks woven in but you have to disentangle them. There is also a very short (page and a half) section on Or’zet, the Orkish language with some useful words and phrases.

Trog Enemies is just that, various groups ranging from political organizations to terrorist cells and powerful individuals that are oppose to ork and troll rights at the least and seek to eliminate them entirely at most. In many ways, this is one of the more useful sections, it gives you instant enemies but it is also states that there is a racist conspiracy of vast proportions that is manipulating the megacorps and governments . . . While I have no problem with an anti-meta-human conspiracy, the megacorps should not to be reduced to patsies of racist creeps, the corporations are the true villains of the Shadowrun world. (Also amusing, one of the enemies is a UCAS Senator, never once in his description, it is mentioned which state he is from.)

Trog Runners provides history and statistics (for both Shadowrun and the Shadowrun Anarchy rule sets) for sixteen well-known Ork and Troll runners, including 2XL, Bull and Clockwork. Followed by nine example starting ork and troll runners. Useful for many campaign uses: contacts, mentors or even rivals or enemies.

United We Stomp: Trog Groups & Societies is just that, starting with three groups based out of Sweetwater Creek area of Atlanta (CAS): Southern Guard (security), Trog Rock Recording (entertainment), and Big Tech (guess). All good and interesting companies, but they read a bit like the characters from someone’s campaign, which is not all bad but they have a bit too perfect of a shine to them. But good to see some more information on MoM. (Mothers of Metahumans) and the ORC (Ork Rights Committee) which have been around as long as the setting has.

It concludes with Everything Trog, new quality (mostly ork or troll only), new gear (just a little, one new piece of cyberware, one new vehicle, one new weapon and some interesting utility items), and some life modules for people who use that character generation method. Sadly, there is no index but the table of contents is fairly complete.

If you are playing an ork or troll, this is an excellent resource, it will give all you to build a solid character foundation. If your campaign is focused around orks, trolls or the struggle for metahuman rights, get this book. If neither of these are true, it is still a worthwhile reference but not a must have book.

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



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Complete Trog (Runner Resources)
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BattleTech: Technical Readout: Succession Wars
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2017 12:12:14

As said above: this is for either new players who are just starting out, or people who absolutely must own every BattleTech product ever made. It's literally a compilation from prior sources: there's no new text, and, for that matter, no effort to rationalize the timing of any given entry, so references to "recent events" on one 'Mech's entry may be ancient history for another one, which for a new player might lead to some confusion, especially as then the opening fluff is referring to an even farther-in-the-future period of BattleTech history.

The artistic style varies wildly based on what book it was taken from: the rough line sketches from the original TRO: 3025 sit alongside the clean well-inked drawings from TRO: 3050-Upgrade. It does omit all the Unseen (those classic 'Mechs whose original art was the subject of a rights dispute). Given that many of the Unseen 'Mechs have had revised artwork in either Project Phoenix or in the Combat Manuals series, I would have really liked if they had included those 'Mechs as well.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Technical Readout: Succession Wars
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Shadowrun: Serrated Edge (Denver Adventure 1)
by Mikhail M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/13/2017 09:20:38

So good! I cannot recommend this enough. This is probably my new favorite SR5 adventure.

It gives you everything to run a truly dark, difficult, and engaging game. The plot is well-structured, the decisions the team has to make have actual dramatic weight attached to them, and the players have to think and plan to succeed. The adventure also shows just how dark and ruthless the Sixth World is. Love it!

It is not without flaws, of course. The pay for most of the runs is weirdly low. The specific scenes are poorly organized - you have to read the whole scene before it starts to make sense. The Matrix part is written by someone stuck in the previous edition. But those are all really easy to fix.

P.S. I have not run it yet, so I may need to adjust the review after I am done with this adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Serrated Edge (Denver Adventure 1)
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BattleTech: NAIS Fourth Succession War Military Atlas, Volume 1
by Jason T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/12/2017 16:15:07

Decent quality, but PDF is missing pages 61-64. What a rip off.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: NAIS Fourth Succession War Military Atlas, Volume 1
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BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade
by Simon A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/11/2017 12:20:51

A nice follow-up TR to 3050 and 3055 with excellent mech and vehicle drawings.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade
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