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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Spell Cards, Series 1
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Shadowrun: Run Faster
by Eric T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2015 10:52:01
If you are a player of SR5 then it should be the second book you buy after the Core Rulebook. Lots of options, though the organization of the book leaves a bit to be desired. As a player, the $24.99 price pint of the PDF is going to pay off in fun goodies. As a GM, the gear packs make for a much earlier time crafting bad guys. All in all a very nice addition to the game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Run Faster
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Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds
by Eric T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2015 10:48:08
Good resource for a starting GM, and has a few ideas for an old cagey one. Well worth the price point for the PDF.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds
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Shadowrun: Safehouses
by Eric T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2015 10:46:26
Very useful material...though I wish I had know that most all of it can be found in RUN FASTER. Save the money and just buy RUN FASTER.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Safehouses
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Shadowrun: Splintered State
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2015 08:30:58
Designed as an introductory adventure for Shadowrun 5e, this can meet a myriad of needs. Your group (indeed, you too) may be new to Shadowrun, or you may just wish to have a structured introduction to the changes brought in by the Fifth Edition - it's a lot more enjoyable to play through them than merely read about them, after all. Hence it is designed to be adaptable to suit the group you have in front of you, and yet provide excitement and adventure, challenge and sheer fun, however much they know about the game mechanics and/or the setting.

At its most basic, the adventure concerns information and the lengths some people will do to get their hands on it. This will mean that the party of shadowrunners will meet a range of different factions, many quite powerful, and they'll have to pick their way carefully to come out alive, never mind on top and with bulging credsticks. The opening chapter, Politics and Paydata, lays out all the background to what is going on: read it carefully and see how it all fits in to the background of Seattle life at all levels. Run well, this adventure will also provide a comprehensive introduction to Seattle and its movers and shakers, setting up a successful shadowrunner team for a potentially profitable future there, if that's your long-term aim for your game.

It all begins with the 'runners being arrested for something they didn't do (however many offences could actually be laid at their doors). From then it's a sequence of unfortunate events as they come into possession of potentially explosive, not to mention valuable, information and have to decide what to do with it... and the delight is, that it is very much up to them what they do. The whole adventure is open-ended, full of options provided in such a way that you can react appropriately to whatever they get up to - a real treat to run (unfortunately I cannot tell you if it's a treat to play, but they looked as if they enjoyed it!).

Open and flexible it may be, but it is structured enough that you are not left waiting on your players, there are plenty of events to run that will keep them moving - if they do not go out to find the adventure, it will come and kick their door down. There are at least five factions who would dearly love to get hands on that information, and not all are prepared to pay for it. Time to make friends and enemies, with repercussions that can echo on for the rest of your campaign.

An added bonus is an opening scene which is designed to enable you to actually form the shadowrunner team if your players have newly-generated characters who do not know each other yet. This is helpful if you are using this adventure as a campaign-starter. From then on, things move fast but well-structured, with plenty of advice on how to portray places and people and how to deal with whatever problems arise... or even make more problems if you think the 'runners are having too easy a time of it!

The adventure should appeal to all types of players with opportunities for interaction, investigation and role-playing as well as enough combat to keep anyone satisfied, with plenty for hackers to do as well. Multiple routes lead to the exact same key events, giving the players the illusion that they are in control of their own destinies whilst actually keeping the adventure firmly on track.

Overall, a cracking adventure perfect for getting your Shadowrun 5e campaign off to a flying start.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Splintered State
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Shadowrun: Firing Line
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2015 08:35:46
This is a collection of four adventures originally written for convention use, but equally interesting for any game. These take the shadowrunners out and about, visiting remote islands, New York and South America, providing plenty of travel as well as opportuntities to make a few nuyen and get into trouble.

The adventures are set up in the standard format used by all Shadowrun Missions scenarios, one which is easy to follow and makes it easy for the GM to run the adventure flexibly in response to character actions yet keep it on track. As they are designed for conventions, they can be run in a standard four-hour convention slot but if you are not constrained for time they can be run over a longer period (or of course in a single session, as suits). They can be used as a one-off or as part of a campaign.

It appears that - despite the wide geographical spread of the actual adventures - it's been assumed that the characters are in Seattle to start with, as before the adventures proper there's a one-page Arrival section which gives you some ideas for getting 'runners from elsewhere to Seattle.

Well, the first adventure - Lost Islands Found - concerns a small chain of islands that has mysteriously appeared in the Puget Sound, so being in Seattle already puts the characters handy to be hired to 'collect' an academic their patron wants to help investigate what's going on. Of course, other people are likely to object, and there's always that little bit extra, the task added on to the one already accepted... What starts off as a fairly straightforward and standard 'extraction' gets more interesting with the opportunity for a boat ride and a spot of archaeology thrown in.

The next adventure is Deconstructing Patriots, and involves another extraction, this time of a senior corporate executive in downtown Manhattan, who is apparently a fugitive from justice wanted in UCAS. If they are not in Manhattan already, you will have to get the 'runners there, probably as a result of the initial call offering them this job. The scene is well set and there are opportunities for researching their target, all too necessary if he is to be acquired without too much difficulty. This is a fairly straight-line adventure with the characters obliged to go to certain locations because that's where the target (or information about him) happens to be, but has an interesting twist in a counteroffer made by the target's employer... overall, though, this is a standard shadowrun, albeit a good one with some interesting twists.

Then comes Congressional Conspiracies, which can be run as a follow-up to Deconstructing Patriots as hints are dropped in that about another target involved in the same bit of bother and also with a price upon his head. The political background is quite complex, and the actual tasks which end up being offered to the 'runners are somewhat different from what they might have been expecting, but profitable nevertheless. Different openings are provided depending on whether or not they played Deconstructing Patriots and what happened there, and then we're off, with a spot of hostage rescue and investigation of a covert ops team to keep everyone entertained.

Finally, Stormcrow Undone takes the 'runners to Bogotá in Colombia, to collect evidence of wrong-doing (and to try and avoid any riots...). The set-up is decidedly original, bringing them to Cartegena for completely different reasons and then stranding them there, the real job that is the meat of this mission being a way for them to save themselves from the mess you've just dropped them into. Neat, and a good opportunity to enjoy watching your players' faces as this unfolds. All the difficulties of travelling and operating in what, to the average shadowrunner, are decidedly primitive conditions are well presented, and this adventure should prove to be an original and memorable one.

A well-supported set of adventures that should be good for dropping in when you need a self-contained 'run whatever the main plot arc of your campaign might be.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Firing Line
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Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2015 08:44:19
Sprawl Wilds is a collection of adventures gathered with the purpose of introducing your group to some of the interesting and exciting places that are to be found in the underbelly of Chicago. Originally written for convention use, they ought to slot in neatly to any campaign.

Each adventure is structured in the same way as the Shadowrun Missions series, which provides a clear framework with plenty of scope to let the adventure develop fairly organically as you and your players wish, yet with enough signposting to help you keep it on track. There are several 'scenes' which come with an overview, some read-aloud text to set the scene and more detailed information to enable you to run it effectively... and not forgetting a section on what could go wrong and how to deal with unexpected player actions. Ruleswise, you can use these with Shadowrun 4e or Shadowrun 5e as you prefer.

OK, what if your campaign isn't set in Seattle? No worries, there's a one-page mini-scenario designed to give your party a reason to be in Seattle even if it is not their regular haunt. They might like it and stay, or after sampling one or two of the adventures herein, they may prefer to go elsewhere. Neat.

There are a full four adventures here - Manhunt, Carbon Copy, Ashes and Humanitarian Aid. Each could be run in a single session (they were, after all, built around standard four-hour convention slots) but you can take longer if you prefer.

Manhunt begins with a request to help someone who's investigating mysterious animal attacks and killings out in the Barrens. Naturally, there's more than meets the eye... and there's the added complication that you are out in the country with things like weather, not 'safe' on the city streets. The first problem is actually getting out there, and once there the action comes thick and fast in this alien environment.

Carbon Copy, back on the city streets but no safer, involves a hunt for a serial killer. There's just one thing. That killer's been dead for years, and even the copycat killer who operated for a while over a year ago has not been heard from in ages... another edge-of-the-seat ride for the party including a visit to the Ork Underground and dealings with Knight Errant.

Ashes again involves the Ork Underground, putting the characters at a pivotal event, a moment in history from which hangs the future of an entire society - yet it all begins with a 'short courier job'. This soon develops into an intense and time-critical series of events. And a major fire.

Finally, Humanitarian Aid sends the characters to the aid of a township in Salish territory who have fallen prey to a rather nasty virus. Supplies of vaccine have been stolen from the local clinic, and it's the party's job to retrieve them so that the ill can be treated.

All serve as stand-alone adventures that can be played as one-offs or slotted into an ongoing campaign. Each presents an interesting take on the world of the shadowrunner, broadening the scope beyond the usual corporate bickering... and they're fun to run. Everything is well presented and laid out so as to be easy to use, with comprehenive maps, handouts, rumour tables and more to make the game master's life easy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds
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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Quick-Start Rules
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2015 08:03:31
Designed to give a flavour of what Shadowrun is all about, this opens with 'Everything has a price' - the mantra by which the mercenary world of the shadowrunner operates. It then presents the romantic view of shadowrunners as the brave few who won't dance to the megacorporations' tune and aid their pursuit of profit above all else.

It then dives straight in to an outline of how the game works, written with the complete beginner in mind. Pre-generated characters are provided, but there's a clear run-down of all the main components of one: metatype, attributes, qualities and skills, although it doesn't explain how to actually create a character - after all, this is designed to give you a flavour of the game. The task resolution process (or 'test') is explained quickly but clearly with examples, along with a short concise summary of the combat process.

Next, the 'awakened world' of magic is covered with explanations of how to cast spells and how to defend against them with counterspells. For those who prefer the technological, this is followed by details of the wireless augmented reality world in which the characters live, in constant realt-time communication with the Matrix (the beast into which the Internet has evolved). And that's everybody, not just the deckers whose specialist skills enable them to explore and warp the Matrix in ways never intended.

Armed with this rather breathless yet comprehensive overview of game mechanics, you are then provided with a short scenario, 'Fast Food Fight', in which you can try them out using the pre-generated characters provided. For reasons adequately explained this revolves around a brawl in a fast food restaurant, a place which makes the burger joints we're used to sound like fine dining. A plan of the place is provided as well as clear descriptions of every location (and the hazards therein). NPCs are also provided, and there is even a copy of the establishment's menu... along with some rules to determine if anyone eating from it gets food poisoning!

Although simple, the adventure does provide plenty of action. There are suggestions throughout for running it and even for digging a bit deeper and taking it to a full-blown adventure, as well as some hints for more astute players to develop some interesting tactics during the brawl. There's even a sheet of handy tables to use as a Gamemaster Screen.

A nice introduction to playing the game, suitable even for newcomers to role-playing never mind Shadowrun, but an experienced Gamemaster would be advantageous, if you have one. If you are interested in shifting editions of Shadowrun, you'll have to decide where the differences lie between this and the edition(s) you are used to playing, as there is no indication here. But overall it gives a good feel of basic shadowrunning and ought to leave players ready to get to grips with the full game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Quick-Start Rules
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Shadowrun: Bullets & Bandages
by Alex A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2015 17:35:48
The content is great and for a homebrew campaign (I.e., NOT MISSIONS) it's great. Lots of cool toys for someone playing the Medic role. But there is a serious, serious downside. I understand that this book and its contents will not be Missions legal. That means not for use in any of the living campaign settings at various conventions. Why you would make such a book, fill it with great new content and then now allow it in the convention missions is beyond me and beyond frustrating. Considering I go to several conventions *specifically* to play Missions setting games this is a sad, sad development. Should this book be allowed, the rating will go up as a result.

I may reconsider my future purchases of Shadowrun books as a result of this development.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Bullets & Bandages
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Shadowrun: Run Faster
by greg m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2015 10:09:55
Nice format, good layout. Fantastic art. Nice looking scan. Bloody expensive. Book contains several chapters, ranging from alternative character generation, the big ones being sum to ten, where you get numbers instead of letters for your priorities, and 4e style point based build.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Run Faster
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BattleTech: Alpha Strike Companion
by Dean S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2015 12:47:02
Excellent book, all pages and info are clear and well scanned

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Alpha Strike Companion
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Shadowrun: Run Faster
by Jack T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2015 21:46:12
Catalyst has mentioned revamping their editorial process, and it shows fully in Run Faster. I had sworn off buying another Shadowrun book as they're released because of the failure of the majority of the previous releases, but this version helps me feel a bit better. Now hurry up with Data Trails!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Run Faster
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