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Shadowrun: Quick-Start Rules (Free RPG Day 2012)
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2020 15:15:03

For the past few days I have soloed my way through Shadowrun Quick Start Rules Free RPG Day 2012. It is available for free at DriveThruRPG. There are 18 pages of rules, but it really does not contain everything you need. I used Black Hack to play it and the Mythic Game Master Emulator to solo it. The short adventure (6 pages) is for a Game Master and several player characters. Four characters are provided and I used them plus two more. During the first scene my hacker died. Scene two I hired another one. During scene three I was contacted to do another mission (Shadowrun Chasin' the Wind - 35 pages). Actually, it ends up being a total of three missions. My favorite scene was when my characters walked into a pizza joint to meet a contact. They saw two ghouls coming out with two pigs they had stolen from the back of the restaurant. My characters started a big battle, killed the ghouls, rescued the pigs, and trashed the restaurant. They were then banned from the restaurant. It was a nice place, a bit out of the way. During the evening was when I had the biggest surprise. We were sleeping in an office in a lab building. Someone bumped a trash can on the way to the washroom and out jumped an Amazonian Spider Beast. Yes, more gun fire and the nasty thing managed to escape. They did complete all of the missions. Your turn . . .



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Quick-Start Rules (Free RPG Day 2012)
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BattleTech: Classic BattleTech RPG
by Kalle P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2020 01:00:54

PDF without bookmarks. In our day and age, this should be a thing.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Classic BattleTech RPG
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Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2020 14:14:57

Shadowrun: Cutting Black is a sourcebook for Shadowrun and lets you know how and where the metaplot is going with the Sixth World edition of the setting. It is mostly written in an engaging “what is happening?” style gathering fragmented information and shaping it into something coherent. It is almost all primary “in world” data with no authorial analysis, so you only get to see what the people involved can see with no explanations or looks behind the curtain. If you like that sort of sourcebook, it is a fun ride. I have some issues (placed at the end of the review to avoid spoilers) but I found it an engaging read.

Shadowrun: Cutting Black, is a Plot Sourcebook for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, this particular book provides an overview of what changed in the world as the editions rolled from 5th to 6th. Spoilers ahead so stop reading the review here if you want to experience them first hand

The material in this product is presented as an in game artefact of information, which is interesting, if disjointed, presented with information scattered and covering weeks of actual time as it was reported on the shadow boards. The information gathered from fragmentary news reports, first hand data being broadcast and other scraps of data that could be dug up.

Following an introduction, laying out the theme of the book, as is traditional, there is one of the ubiquitous fiction sections and then another, shorter one, leading into Ruptured Detroit. Long story short, Damien Knight and Ares brought all the toys to stomp a massive bug hive under Detroit and it did not go so well. Ares losses were huge, Knight is gone and Detroit turned into a battle ground between bugs and people and mixes of the two. This event is the catalyst for the rest of the events that follow.

Next section, Ghost Army, the UCAS mobilizes and sends a major force to intervene in Detroit and it just vanished. Roughly one hundred thousand soldiers and their equipment (and the area they were passing through) just gone. No explanation given but some very evocative stories from investigating where the army vanished from.

Next section, Blackout, which details the UCAS Government’s response, including abridging the Business Recognition Accords that gives the megacorporations such power. Then cities start going dark, all power and technological systems failing, the cause: unknown. But it causes havoc throughout the UCAS and only the UCAS.

A long fiction section leads to UchrASh which details further bad things happening to the UCAS, invasions from Quebec and some of the NAN states, which are not very successful by cause more troubles. Chaos erupting among the political classes in DeeCee and drumroll please St. Louis and Seattle breaking away from the UCAS to become free(ish) cities.

Detroit Now looks at what the current state of play is in Detroit, who has power, what kinds of opportunities are there to make money and what survived the bugs and the bombs. A great resource for Detroit after the disaster.

Next Atlanta, somewhere outside the UCAS!, gets an update in Atlanta Now! A short section bringing Atlanta up to date and its new status as the home to Ares Macrotechnology. But nice to see the CAS getting some time.

As the Dust Settles looks at some events outside of the UCAS even: the fall of the UK’s New Druidic Movement government and what replaced it, problems in the NAN and Quebec, and a little more.

The last page of the book is the only new game information with Sixth World stats for insect spirits. However, without support material, they are not very useful in and of themselves. No index.

Cutting Black is an interesting read but the lack of actual, well, information on what is happening (rather than just the in-game perspective on it) is deeply frustrating for a GM. Yes, it is a new edition, the Game Designers want to shake things up and tease new secrets to reveal later. I get it. But it makes it far less useful as a resource than it could be. Worse, from the perspective of me as a GM and my Shadowrun game (and I suspect for other long running SR campaigns), it makes a set of big, setting changing moves in the Metaplot . . . that cut across how my Shadowrun campaign has been developing the setting. I have a deep and abiding hatred of major changes made to the setting without involving the people who actually play and GM the game. And the changes here are significant enough that I either have to totally change my campaign or part ways with the new metaplot. As the new metaplot as presented in the book is rife with major actors taking stupid pills, unexplained choices, continued privileging of magic and dragons over megacorporations and technology and other sheer absurdities, I know which I am path I am following. So, while this book was an interesting read, it has almost no use to me as a Shadowrun sourcebook.

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



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun: First Edition
by Rion S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2020 14:34:17

Just so you don't get your hopes up, this is a physical scan of the original product, not a natively digital PDF. Not a particulary great one at that. Quite usable though.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: First Edition
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Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2020 02:08:31

I really like the shadowrun setting and eagerly devour everything from this product line but I was kinda dissapointed with this book. It backed away from doing anything new and interesting, the biggest plot point in this book is basically a rehash of Chicago's plot. Chicago's plot wasn't bad per se, but it has been part of the setting for a decade now and I was hoping for something new. They flirted with big changes in the UCAS section, but then backed off. rreally the only significant developments could be made in a bullet point list with maybe a page of explanation split between all of them. So while this book promises big changes to the SR world, the actuall changes are pretty minor.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun: Kill Code (Advanced Matrix Rules)
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/20/2020 02:04:49

More Matirx options, and advanced rules. This book is well-written and useful, that's all I can ask for.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Kill Code (Advanced Matrix Rules)
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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
by William H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2020 01:21:43

Only had a layman's understanding of SR5, but SR6 feels like Catalyst overcomplicated what was already complicated and simplified/cut things that worked very well.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
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BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3039
by Stephen L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2020 16:27:07

Why would you get this instead of the unabridged version of record sheets 3039? For the opening scenarios and rules prior to the actual record sheets. From what I can see with the other 'abridged' record sheets products, they usually have something from Tactical Operations for people who want to sample some of the advanced rules found there. This particular book actually has rules for using vehicles which complements the introductory rules in the Game of Armored Combat boxset and possibly the standard rules in the Battlemech Manual also. For my friends that I'm introducing BattleTech to, this should actually be a nice addition for mixed vehicle scenarios without introducing any rules complexity. For people with Total Warfare or the unabriged record sheets, this book is pointless so that's why I took off one star. There are record sheets missing from this book that can be downloaded from Catalyst's website here which will give you the complete list of standard variants of battlemechs. You can find that here:

https://bg.battletech.com/download/CAT3500A_BoxSet_RecordSheets_with_Counters.pdf



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3039
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Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
by Zhivko Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2020 11:54:39

This book is pretty much what Storm Front was for 4th edition - a wrap-up of some storylines from 5th edition and a setup for 6th edition. It would be logically better suited to be part of the 5th edition line, but a user somewhwere mentioned that the book was delayed, which is why it is coming up now. Being a plot book, it has minimum crunch, so don't have high expectations. The book could have gone through another editing pass as there are a few irritating things here and there, but it is fine when compared to recent Shadowrun releases.

My biggest issue with the book is structure, as a major event that is part of the first major story arc ("Detroit Rupture") is sent to its own chapter ("Ghost Army") after that arc wraps up, which makes the story confusing at first reading. Given that this separate chapter is a) not very good and b) relatively short, I really don't see the point why it wasn't simply inserted within the main story arc. Another issue I have is that the first story arc is repetitive (read: Chicago all over again, but at a lower scale). The resolution is still better, presented in the "Detroit Now" chapter, and I enjoyed reading that one. "Blackout" felt somewhat protracted and not terribly captivating. Still, since it sets up the next chapter, I guess it was necessary.

So here is the really good bit - the "UCrASh" chapter. It is probably the best one in the book and makes this book worth it. It brings a lot of changes to the metaplot (and national borders, though nothing world shattering) and it sets up a lot of future books and story hooks, as well as wraps some of those (hint: Seattle). There is also a new big player in global politics, only hinted in previous books, which was a pleasant surprise. The two follow-up sections, "Detroit Now" and "Atlanta Now" are also very good, and also provide a lot of potential storylines. "As the Dust Settles" is a good chapter, but I wished it was much bigger, as it finally deals with some parts of the world that haven't seen a lot of attention, like the UK, the Algonkian-Manitou Council and Quebec.

All in all, I gave the book 4 stars mostly because of the UCAS chapter and the two follow-ups. Still, it could have been much better. I bought it at full price because I guess I am too impatient, but if you are not terribly eager to catch up with the latest metaplot developments, you can wait for a discount. I don't believe it is a waste of your money, but again, it could have been much, much better.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun: Cutting Black (Plot Sourcebook)
by Allegra V. R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2020 20:35:00

I recommend waiting for a sale or leaving it be. The plot developments themselves are good to know, but clearly do not take up the 178 pages in this book, what with all the dilly-dallying the authors did in the first few sections. Later parts of the book are good, so it's kind of a pain that it starts rough.

The "Detroit Rupture" section itself is just what the jackpointers keep saying it is- Bug City all over again. The fallout from the events is more interesting, but I think too much time was spent on the event itself (Which was pretty much just a Bug City/Boston CFD rehash).

The next section, "Ghost Army," is dialogue focused. Unfortunately, the dialogue's not that great, unless you enjoy killer lines like "Bravon wun tree this foxtrot Zulu wun wun." The reader can infer that they're using the NATO phonetic alphabet for military radio chatter, there's no need to show the dialect. Personal dislike of mine, I don't like when people write things like "runnin" or "gotta" in dialogue, either. It becomes distraction, rather than enhancing the reader experience. It also feels a lot less authentic when later on they say "Sitrep is red, repeat red." I don't really expect perfection in military lingo, but saying repeat on the radio means you want to repeat the last barrage of artillery fire. It doesn't mean the english meaning. It just bothered me that the author went to the effort of getting the authentic pronounciation of the NATO alphabet/numbers, and kept throwing in things like "fubar" for the sake of it, but still made easy mistakes like that. Honestly, the level of forced military lingo in the rest of the section makes it almost comical- I don't mind over the top, but there's no substance to the characters beyond the fact that they use military lingo.

No major complaints about the Blackout section, but kind of boring to read. Possibly my fault, since I listened to the SCN podcasts and I loved those a lot.

I liked the UCrASh section quite a bit- a lot of places got love that normally wouldn't. The Seattle independence has been a long time coming.

Detroit Now and Atlanta Now were also well written, and "As the Dust Settles" was useful for folks who got bored during the first few sections of the book, but wanted to know what happened.

It's a little odd that a "chiark" (Cheetah-shark?) monster was introduced in "Ghost Army," but not placed in Game Information. There was plenty of white space available for a stat block.

One thing I noticed is that there isn't really all that much art in the book, which is fine for a plot book, but it made the boring sections worse. (I'd also rather them have less art, than hire more artists and not pay them. So there's that.) There's also lots of typos- things that a spellchecker won't catch, but a human editor would ("All most", "Bravon", etc). Some weird grammatical things, too. "Saeder-Krupp controls the rest of the building, renting out half of it. Everything else is rented." So, half of it is rented, and the rest is rented? Par the course for the SR line, but this stuff is still annoying.

Edit: Revising to 4/5, Dani made a good point, and it was only a small chapter of the book. Def won't go to 5/5 though, because of the editing issues and other issues in the book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Adversary (Enhanced Fiction)
by Stefano M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2020 04:02:26

It's a well written, if somewhat short, story with a nice crunch bonus. Mostly it's a reminder how much I want a second Jimmy Kincaid Novel. If you haven't read "Shaken - No Job Too Small", go do it now!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Adversary (Enhanced Fiction)
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Shadowrun: Free Seattle (Adventure)
by Allegra V. R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2020 19:45:54

I liked the first chunk quite a bit, it gave a lot of info on Seattle. Some of them felt familiar, and I later found out that there was copypasta from a previous book...

However, the big setting dump also meant that the adventure itself only takes up about 33 pages. This review is going to be centered mainly around that, since I didn't see any glaring issues in the Seattle information.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the plots/structure of the runs. However, there were a few points I wanted to go over that people should be aware of:

TL;DR: The rewards contradict guidance given in the 6E CRB. There isn't a lot of latitude given to runners in how some of the more "epic" heists go. References to the Legwork section should've been given throughout the scenes.

Scene 0: With experienced players, you will almost certainly need debugging for the "on the run" option. The debugging itself doesn't really do much to assuage any player concerns, unless they catch onto the gm meta hint that things are OK and you're not actually screwing them over like all other clues would imply. I'm not sure if this section was actually needed? There doesn't need to be a big deal about meeting with a fixer. If a group has exigent circumstances (Outside of Seattle, laying low, etc), it's typically better to leave weaving in the adventure to the GM, rather than having some anonymous source that the party has no way of detecting tape a message to the outside of the door of a hiding space. And why would anyone go to the trouble? Based on the pay rates later on, it definitely doesn't seem like the PCs are high-tier, which is perfectly fine for an introductory adventure. However, a runner group that is new isn't going to be sought out in a whole different city- more likely, their fixer might be contacted by a Seattle fixer looking for unknown, out-of-town assets for a job (Which could be reasonable, considering the circumstances). Specifically knocking on the runners' door? Not really.

Scene 1: Nothing bad about it, other than that this should have been "Scene 0".

Scene 2: I always wonder if there's anyone who actually reads through all the paragraphs plunked into "Tell it to them Straight," I feel awkward talking for more than a minute without PC interaction. This is universal in all RPGs, so it's not a specific criticism of this one. However, this section is a bit better than usual. It's broken into paragraphs that could easily be separated into chunks of "mini-scenes," and reading 1-2 sentences at a time in between player actions is far more tolerable for me. The main issue is with the pay- it seemed intentionally low, to encourage players to negotiate a bit. However, even assuming that the PCs get 4 net hits on the negotiation, that's still only 3,200 nuyen each. According to the guidance in the CRB, something that's less than "a month's rent" (5,000 nuyen each) should be easy, which contradicts the CRB. This is OK if we assume the group has no rep yet (It is an intro adventure, and they do have the 7,500 total slush fund which probably amounts to 1,500/player), but not ideal. The predetermined results the adventure has for glitching the test are far more troubling. I'm not opposed to severe setbacks for glitches and critical glitches, but if someone gets an unlucky roll, and ends up with 500 nuyen each for a job? They'd almost make more money working at Stuffer Shack. Hell, they could rob a stuffer shack, sell all the snacks at a fraction of the price somewhere in the barrens, and probably make that much (Call it "community service"). No runner in their right mind would take a job that's that low- that's what you pay a contact to cause a distraction with some security grunts, or to track down some info on the streets. Maybe it might be a bonus for getting excess paydata on a minor job. The job is to sneak into an embassy and steal data. Even given that this is an intro adventure, if the GM/players read the setting description in the first half of the book, they'll know that Council Island is one of the most locked-down places, and its security posture has been growing. It doesn't fall under the CRB's definition of easily handled (Should be less than 5,000), and I suppose even though it's dangerous, it's probably not long or grueling (2-3 months rent, or 10,000-15,000). So that would put it around 5,000 - 10,000, which sounds about right for an intro adventure with a bit of risk, TBH. So, any runner in their right mind would walk away after glitching, even if it's only the 1,000 nuyen/person. Honestly, a lost job is probably right for a crit glitch in negotiations. However, it's not really a good idea to write in that sort of thing in a premade adventure- the point of those things is that the players go through the adventure. The "pushing the envelope" is fine- with a new group, doing short combat with low stakes in a realistic scenario isn't a bad idea to get folks used to the rules, and is a bit less railroady than the classic stuffer shack scenario (Discussion on the revamped stuffer shack scenario is best left for another day).

Scene 3: "Each runner can bring a two-handed weapon or two one-handed weapons, plus whatever can be carried on their person and in a backpack" You know that at least one runner is going to disassemble a couple of weapons and put them in a backpack. It should have been left at "fits on their person and in a backpack," specifying the number of weapons is too artificial. The level of detail on the security systems is good. The guards are a bit too light. Given the riots, 5 guards on duty in a skeleton crew is believable. However, the 30 minute delay in KE patrol response time seems unrealistic. If anything, the riots should mean they have more people on hand, since people likely got called into work to deal with it. Given the fact that the runners could shoot their way in and swim back to Seattle before the patrol arrives, the 2000-3200 pay seems about right. I feel like this would ingrain bad habits, though, since you shouldn't have things so light that shooting your way in and out (In a situation where you can't bring heavy weaponry/armor, no less) is realistic, especially for an embassy on Council Island. It's still too much risk for a 500-1000 nuyen pay. For an "easy mode", the pay and risk make sense, but I dislike the low difficulty. The extra pay (1,000 per paydata about summit attendees) should have been mentioned in the meet in scene 2, that would've assuaged my concerns about the low pay under normal circumstances. For pushing the envelope- barghests are fine, but I don't really think adding a sixth guard on the skeleton crew is going to make it that much harder, even with teamwork tests. The debugging section should be the response to armed shadowrunners in an embassy, regardless of noise level/explosives.

Scene 4: The starting paragraph of the Hooks is good. The pay given is below average, like the previous scene's pay is. I won't rehash the same points again, but the security for the parlor is stronger (8 yakuza guards and a mage), with a higher PR. So, the pay for this job should similarly be higher- except for the text explicitly does not give the players a chance to negotiate. The job itself also involves wetwork and some trickery, which lore-wise should pay more as well. And again, the 2,000 nuyen extra for each additional piece of info should be mentioned in the meet, as that assuages the low payout concern. I have no idea where the players will find info on summit attendees in this scenario, unless they decide to kidnap and interrogate the guy they're trying to frame. Players have done stranger things, but this is unlikely. The paydata on the host is separate from this, and have their own price tags.

It's not so much that I personally don't like the pay amounts, just that it contradicts the 6e CRB guidance on pay.

Scene 5: Well, the "what's up chummer" certainly escalated things quickly. As for the "tell it to them straight"- who the hell decides that the best meeting place to set up a job to steal a dragon egg is another dragon's club? Like, I get that they're not being specific about what's being stolen, but presumably Perianwyr keeps enough of an eye on other dragons' operations in Seattle to recognize representatives of the Sea Dragon. Most of the draconic community (And likely bits of the runner community) knows that the Sea Dragon steals eggs. Peri's got at least 9 logic, he can put 2 and 2 together if it later comes out that Urubia's lost an egg. I'm not saying that Peri's dumb enough to pick a fight, but he might tattle. Of course, if this is all setup to say that Perianwyr's now working for the Sea Dragon in a similar arrangement he had with Ghostwalker, all is forgiven, and that twist is delightfully evil considering his positive character development. But really, I don't think she could've picked a worse place besides Urubia's club, or maybe a leased Saeder-Krupp conference room. To be fair, though, if the Sea Dragon up and told Peri "if you spy on my meet I will eat you", I think that'd be sufficient. He'd be curious, but nobody's that curious. Honestly, there's nothing wrong about Underground 93 as the meet-up. I'm just not sure if all the implications of such a meet-up place have been addressed. At minimum, she pulled one over on Perianwyr (Not that hard, TBH), and now holds it as a "soft" blackmail- implicate him in the theft of Urubia's egg if he doesn't cooperate, or something like that. IDK, that's probably beyond the scope of a 30-page adventure. The pay here is again, below expectations (5,000 - 7,000), considering that the runners are stealing a dragon egg. However, given that they're not telling what the object of the theft is, this seems like reasonable pay for robbing a vault. I don't think the debugging thing is the right choice (bumping pay automatically to 7,500). It'd be better to give a bonus on the negotiation test.

Scene 6: Overall, this seems a bit too straightforward for theft of a dragon egg. I guess the main issue is that the theft's been micromanaged by Shan and Shun, down to the location where they cut a hole in the wall, using their tools. It kind of defeats a lot of the oomph in a heist when it's preplanned. Giving the location of the vault and maybe some rough maps of that area of the feral underground makes sense, but a lot of the fun of SR is in the planning. There's a limit to how much you can account for in a structured adventure, but putting in a map of the area and description of wall thickness, security measures, etc. would be more useful than detailing the plan for the players. There's no PR ratings given on the grunts- you don't really need PR ratings for adventure-specific things, especially drones found in the CRB, but it's nice in case you want to reuse the stats. The petrophage is not in the CRB, so it should definitely have a PR rating. I do like that they added in a threat not found in the CRB (It helps improve the "reusability" of the adventure), but I dislike that they didn't make it easy to reuse. You can guesstimate the PR rating, but it's not ideal.

Scene 7: In small quantities, I don't mind the "johnson vs johnson" trope, and there's been enough "normal" runs in this adventure so that this wouldn't feel cliche. It's also good that one of the johnsons is somewhat known to the PCs- sure, it's bad to ditch a Johnson or mess with their data, but if you're doing it for a Johnson who's been giving you steady work, it's not the worst call. The pay might be a little low considering the stipulations Miranda has, and for the risks inherent in breaking into a State Department building, but it's not unreasonable like the first run. IDK, maybe I've been overestimating the level of security of government buildings in 2080. The security feels right for this type of building, though. An HTR on standby for a building this important, with regular guards on the other floors. Not having guards on a top secret floor is the weirdest damn thing ever. I get not wanting to hire out, but then just use your company talent? (Seattle national guard, I guess?) Honestly, this almost sounds realistic for government. The security forces don't have the proper clearance for the floor that needs to be secured the most. Sounds about right... At least the security is allowed in if folks hit the panic button. Again, I do like the level of detail given to the different security systems.

Scene 8: I feel like most SR adventures end with a CYOA type of deal. It's not bad, but it's a common structure for them. Some of the stuff in the aftermath feels out of the blue- players weren't given a lot of the info during the adventure. Which is fine, often the less questions asked, the better. This also provides some hooks for follow-on runs, which is nice as well- you don't have to tie up every loose thread in an adventure. However, I think that there should've been a "secret list" somewhere for the attendees, that might've helped tie in some of the outcomes with the plot. (Nevermind, this is in the Legwork section in the back of the adventure... Probably should've been referenced during scense, though). "His dealings with prostitutes and novacoke force a very public and very messy divorce, and he seeks to rehabilitate his image and his life." That last bit is a bit too optimistic IMO- well, the image part is probably true. I like how Urubia destroys shit regardless of the choice the players make. Dragons gotta act like dragons, otherwise what's the point? "Taking Karma away from a player should not be done lightly." Uh, I'm going to assume they're referring to calculating total rewards (IE, subtracting 1-2 before giving it to players), since the alternative should not be done at all. I'm curious what would cause a player to collect proof that they killed the petrophage, the metaplanar monster guarding a dragon egg. Maybe for reagants, but who would wave that around in public? How many petrophages could there possibly be in Seattle? There's a dragon committing arson because of that theft, the +2 Rep isn't worth it...

Legwork: I like the breakdown for contact vs matrix. The details about different folks are also very interesting. "It’s right there in the name—it’s a dragon that likes to live in the sea" I mean, with 1 hit, that's fair...

Cast of Shadows: It's a different perspective looking at jackpointer commentary while knowing the "truth" from the legwork section.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Free Seattle (Adventure)
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Shadowrun: Rigger 2
by Rudebre W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2019 17:42:21

The book itself is fine, but it seems not much care has gone into converting it to a PDF.

My two issues with the conversion are 1) unusable bookmarks and 2) missing pages. The bookmarks are a machine-generated mess of spelling errors and redundancy presented in one massive list of hundreds of titles. Needless to say they are unusable. Even more disappointingly, pages 29 and 30 are missing. Because of this, the introduction to the Flux Rating among other things are not included in this version of the book. It seems both of these issues would be very hard to miss with any effort put into QA.

It is sad to see the PDF sold in this state.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Rigger 2
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Shadowrun: No Future (A Cyberpunk Sourcebook)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2019 22:20:49

Shadowrun: No Future is a sourcebook for Shadowrun and lets you know what the media landscape is like in the Sixth World of Shadowrun. It casts a wide net covering music, popular entertainment, news, sports and more. If you like this level of world building, this is the book for you, for others, there is general information on the world and run ideas but perhaps not enough to make this a required purchase.

Shadowrun: No Future, is a CyberPunk Sourcebook for Shadowrun, this particular book provides an overview of where culture is in the Sixth World, ranging from music to sports, media to fashion. The limited amount of game mechanics for the version I reviewed were for Shadowrun, 5th edition, but the cultural information is edition independent.

Following an introduction, laying out the theme of the book, as is traditional, there is one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then begins Look Forward in Anger which looks at the power of the media to shape perception in the Sixth World and how the corporations use that to maintain their grip on the world. Each of the major megacorporations gets a short write-up of how they deploy their media power and how its works. And maybe, just maybe, how you can fight back.

Blitzkrieg Bops looks into the music scene of 2080, new music genres, who are the current stars and what happened to some of the old ones. It also looks at venues, up and coming acts from all around the world and some notes on sythlinks. It ends with a section on making music with rules for playing a rocker and making music (or other art), both live and recorded, unfortunately, the rules are essentially unusable with parts verging on incomprehensibility.

Creation Starts With Darkness covers what is being broadcast (streamed, whatever) that makes it way as part of the public perception of the world. Initially focusing on popular shows with considerable discussion of how they portray the world around them. There is a surprising amount of potential plot and adventure fodder here and that is just the show! There are also discussions about geographical hubs of activity (all North American sadly), media corporations and some of the people who hire Shadowrunners in the mediasphere. Also much flavor in the form of series guides, broadcast schedules and more. There is a page, just a page, on pornography in the Sixth World, which just skims the surface of the subject but is no less amusing for its brevity.

Next, after some fiction, is Leading & Bleeding about the news media in 2080 which is entirely corporate controlled and follows the corporate line almost all the time. A description of the corporate playbook for media control follows along with the major corporate players. Next there are the organizations fighting back against the sterilized and manipulated news. There are implied plot hooks here but they are not as frequent, clear or fun as in the previous one.

The Thrill & Agonies delves into sports, mostly professional, and the place they have in defining communities. Several “future” sports are included such as Combat Biking and Urban Brawl and information on how all of the sport have adapted to cybernetics, magic and metahumanity. This is all great background material but a little light on the adventure potential though the suggestions on fallen athletes becoming Shadowrunners, and the pitfalls thereof, has potential both for player characters and NPCs, Logos or at least colors for the new sports teams would have helped to flesh out this section and made it more useful, at least from my point of view.

We Suck Young Blood is about cool hunters, influencers and how the corporations aim to make some money off of them (and you). This implies certain sorts of missions and games and some of the corporate players are mentioned but it is not properly expanded on and there is no real guidance to how to incorporate these ideas or corporate groups into a run or campaign. Which is a shame as there are some interesting thoughts here.

Lastly, there are new toys: musical, cybernetic, fashions, weapons (of course), printing presses and other exotica. Fun as usual but nothing particularly game breaking but certainly good thematic support.

While the entire product does not match the superb chapters on music and media, it is an amazingly useful resource for making the Sixth World feel like a real place for the characters (and their players). However, if emphasizing that side of the game world is your jam, get this right away.

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



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: No Future (A Cyberpunk Sourcebook)
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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
by Eric P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/21/2019 12:50:44

Shadowrun is the first game that my group started playing together and has held a dear and special place in our hearts since 1989. No matter what games we branch off and play, we always come back to Shadowrun. It's very hard not to come at this review from an emotional place, but I will try to be as objective as I can.

ART - While I really like the Technomancer archetype, the Troll Street Samurai just looks horrible. That's not a troll. It looks like Henry Cavill (complete with super hair curl) with horns and some tusks. What happened to the Orks and Trolls as "trogs" idea from every previous edition? They even have a pretty good looking Ork as the Face. It breaks from the background of the world. Orks and Trolls are not pretty and that's a HUGE part of the history of the world. On page 56, for example, the text refers to orks making people nervous with just their presence and trolls as "the walking embodiment of everyone else's nightmares." The art doesn't represent that. There are one or two good pieces of art in the book, but the rest just doesn't stand up to the quality of previous editions. The "magey" person on page 91 looks neat and dynamic. The dwarf (?) person on page 110 looks amateurish at best. They've pulled a "scratchy' aesthetic into the art that just doesn't scream "Shadowrun" in tone or feel.

RULES - The rules are a disaster. They're inconsistent and, despite the claim of simplification, made complex by that inconsistency.

  • The book is missing important facts (like unarmed damage).
  • Systems that were made simple by similarity in earlier editions are now needlessly complex. For example, the split of how mages handle spirits and technomancers handle sprites means you have two disctinct rulesets for thematically similar characters.
  • The expanded EDGE rules seem like something that could have been great, but are just unfinished and unrefined.
  • Editing is inconsistent throughout the book, with references to rules that don't exist, and the rules seem rushed and as if the developers ignored playtester feedback.
  • Cyberware and gear all do the same thing, giving you EDGE, but you cap at TWO EDGE per turn. And you can earn EDGE circumstantially or through roleplay. So don't mess with your character's Essence but adding machine to the meat! There's no need.
  • While I agree that the Initiative Pass system needs an overhaul, the switch to one Major action with a gaggle of Minor Actions just doesn't work. It's almost an action point economy system that just misses the mark with the Major/Minor split. You need to have a chart on hand to figure out what you can do in a turn. They should have just said speed enhancers give you extra action "points" per turn and it takes so many action "points" to do a thing. That idea needs refinement, of course, but the 6e action system is nearly incomprehensible. I need to spend a minor action so that I can attack more than one target with a major action? But I can throw a grenade or an AOE spell and I don't have to spend that minor action for multiple targets?

FEEL - One of the core concepts of Shadowrun has always been the juxtapose of the modern world (represented by Seattle) being surrounded by the "nature-friendly" world of the Native American Nations (represented by the Shamans and Tribesfolk in the game). This has been phased out over the past two editions. 4e had the radical eco-shaman and 5e's occult investigator and street shaman at least had some tribal elements in the art and mentor spirits. That's all gone in 6e. I can't even find a reference to the Great Ghost Dance or the Treaty of Denver. The game world feels like I'm playing Cyberpunk in Mega-City One with elves and sexy trolls. It's too bad. Shadowrun has faded into the genre where it used to stand out. I can play the new Cyberpunk edition and it feels like the same game.

FINAL - Overall the game feels rushed. I think that the developers saw the minor peak in interest in the genre (via the success of Altered Carbon on TV and the hype around the Cyberpunk video game) and tried to capitalize on that. They bought into the D&D 5e hype that simple equals "accessible" and tried to simplify the game with inconsistent results. Any game where you're playing with decimal points worth of increments (i.e. Essence loss to enhancements) is not going to fit into a "simpler is better" format. If they had stuck with shortening the skill list, clarifying how deckers and technomancers participated on runs, and refining EDGE it could have been better. With all the inconsistencies between functions (combat, spells, technomancy, decking, etc.) it feels like we're going BACK in time to an era where you had multiple game systems under the hood to just play one game. I think that Shadowrun 6e is a step back. It feels like an experiment with no hypothesis to guide it. Or a project that endured dramatic scope creep.

I apologize if I slipped too much subjective opinion into this review. I tried to lay the facts out as objectively as I could. Shadowrun is an important "world" for me and mine, so a little emotional coloring will bleed in. I sincerely hope that this edition will be seen as a "beta" version of the game and the developers will come back at us with a complete product in the near future.

Thank you for your time.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook
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