As far as introductory adventures go, ‘On the Run’ is absolutely excellent. As always, they have stuck with the formatting that veteran players will easily recognise (‘Tell it to them straight’, ‘Debugging’ and the like) which makes each scene self-contained and very easy to run. For this module only, though, the authors have gone one step further in providing page references to all the rules required for each scene so that a GM can easily cross-reference and arbitrate rules calls without endlessly thumbing through SR4. Even GMs like myself who have a decent handle on the rules will appreciate the opportunity to brush up on their knowledge.
The run itself is well-developed, with a nice blend of free choice and set plot; as well as showcasing a wide range of the types of encounters that make Shadowrun a unique setting. The authors should be commended for their attention to making the setting come alive and ‘showing, not telling’. The NPCs are interesting and have a wide range of motivations which is ample fodder for creative GMs. There is a good ratio of Legwork and action and the ending gives the characters a chance to move in their own direction, rather than simply going through the paces. This would be a great starting point for a campaign.
My only criticism is that as a ‘first run’ it would have been nice to see some pregenerated characters in the back of the book. I feel that this addition would have made it a little more attractive to new groups wanting to try out the game – but even without these, the module stands up well by itself and should be on every Shadowrunners bookshelf (virtual or otherwise). Oh, and whilst this is written for newcomers to the game, there are some very nice nods to previous editions of SR that will make veterans of the game smile.
The rest of the kit is exceptional, with some really high-quality, attention to detail pieces. The ‘Quick Reference Charts’ will not leave my side at any game, and will save me tons of time; whilst my players are already fighting over the complied ‘shopping list’ that happens when you take all of the tables from Arsenal, Street Magic and Augmentation. One of my gripes with the SR4 books is the distributed nature of the tables, so these will be a very handy resource.
Overall, this is worth it just for ‘On the Run’, but the extra goodies make this worth having.
[4 of 5 Stars!]