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Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer $4.95 $3.71
Average Rating:3.6 / 5
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Shadowrun: The Assassin\'s Primer
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Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Nick B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/11/2017 01:04:51

Mostly fluff, with just a little bit of crunch. In comparison to other SR supplements, you almost get what you pay for.

It's mostly advice for for players and GMs on assassin-type characters in the format of a Jackpoint post, but little to supplement actual gameplay.

While I feel that the fluff is pretty decent for what you get, I just can't feel justified in giving this a good reccomendation. If this had included a few more pages of rules or equipment than it might be worth the asking price, but what you get should have been free or Pay What You Want.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Nick E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2014 00:59:01

It's not bad, but way too much fluff for the actual content present. Nicely laid out, interesting and all, but it feels like they came up with an idea for a Jackpoint post and failed to really flesh out any rules to go with it.

Sure there's 5 new qualities and a rifle in the side bar, but that's pretty much it. Grab it if you enjoy reading the stories and can skip buying a coffee.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by steve q. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2014 15:02:14

Some reasonable content, it lacks for verity in the positive and negative quality's though.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Kevin W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/14/2013 20:23:47

I'm with the "meh" crowd on this one. I was really hoping for more crunch, especially when there was an opportunity for more assassin-specific gear than just one sniper rifle.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00

'The Assassin's Primer' is a good document to have at the table for anyone wanting to take this Archetype. At only seventeen pages (including cover), you get

  • an overview of the life of the assassin,
  • and explanation of assassin stereotypes (from the Desperate, the Psycho, and the Idealist)
  • 'Knowledge is Power' which describes the sorts of skills that are necessary and how to use them creatively
  • a short section on gear and magic
  • general advice and Qualities (and a Negative Quality).

All is told from the viewpoint of an assassin who realises that he has a very short time to live and wants to pass along his knowledge. Interestingly, this is the second SR product I've reviewed this week with a White Wolf connection (the other be 'The Vladivostok Gauntlet'). In this product, the handle of the assassin is Quietus (the signature Discipline of the vampire assassins in Vampire: the Masquerade). Interesting.

So, is it worth it?

The book reads like a long magazine article with some rules at the end, a format that should be fairly familiar to most gamers. It does offer some good advice and would be very handy reading for anyone considering running an assassin-type character in the Sixth World. I question the longevity of usefulness for the product; I can see players reading it once, building a character and then maybe referencing it once or twice again. The Creeds are a mixed bag, and mileage will really vary. However, you could wrap an entire character concept around them, so for that they are useful. The edges they provide are situational, but a clever player can engineer this to their advantage.

It was an enjoyable read, and I can see this document having a role at my table, but mostly during character creation.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Derek A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2013 23:17:37

I guess I'm a little more demanding than the other reviewers here, and if I'm being honest I didn't expect much for the price. So why just 1 star? Well the qualities are not in the standard format that matches the core game. They break out the qualities in terms of positive or negative, but even that isn't exactly right because all of them have a positive and negative portion associated with the quality. My chief complaint is that with just a little work and revision these could have been really good qualities, but in their current state I think they are rather broken. Twelve karma for a quality that allows called shots at a -2? Who would pass up on that economy? A negative quality that gives a bonus to negotiations? Even going in with low expectations, this product failed to deliver. The bright side is that with just a little effort the content in this book can be fixed, for those who don't mind some house rules.

The fluff is just OK for those that like that style of writing. I found the explanations on the different types of assassins to be rather shallow, instead of investigating the depths of these characters, this supplement just highlighted most of the cliches. There is a new sniper rifle, but it's nothing special.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2013 05:03:32

For the price it's a fair enough buy. It has some mistakes like most of the products that come out for SR, but it's an OK read, though I find that it is a bit light with regards to the "crunch" part (one rifle and a couple of qualities). I'd hoped for a bit more interesting info on possible Assassin tactics etc. to use for inspiration within the game, but so be it.
It's nothing stellar, but it's not bad either. I is worth $4.95? I believe it is.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/31/2013 11:08:24

Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer. It's not bad, but I'm reviewing it harshly. Most of this is because of two major reasons: Catalyst is a really, really, good company most of the time, and The Assassin's Primer just feels average and "meh". It's not that it's bad, but the practical uses are limited at the actual tabletop, and it's not their best work.

First, let's look at the focus of The Assassin's Primer. It boasts "A gun and a handful of new qualities", which is somewhat exciting as it is an early extension to Fifth Edition, but it's not really anything to get too excited over. The gun is the venerable SVD, statted out to be an extreme low-end sniper rifle for the everyman. It feels like it doesn't fill a niche, though, and it seems a little unrealistic were we to actually look at the gun statistics; the SVD may use a standard assault rifle round, but I sincerely doubt that it's going to be doing 10P where a sporting rifle is doing 11P; the sporting rifles are likely the case of inflation here. The qualities are interesting, though two of the five are essentially the same thing, but with religion or nationalism respectively driving an assassin's actions. The other qualities balance certain elements of a character to make them better in certain situations and worse in others.

Second, let's look at how useful it actually will be. While it provides an interesting in-setting glimpse, this isn't the sort of thing that I care to get a supplement for, especially since there's a lot of Shadowrun literature available and this doesn't really touch on any important changes in the timeline. In this sense, it's a little redundant, but a good introductory piece and probably something worth taking a look at. However, it explicitly states that one of the good approaches to an assassin may be to treat him like a mage or hacker and just give him separate tasks that pertain to the mission, something that taxes an already GM-intensive system further. Most of the advice that pertains to a hitman is just the general Shadowrunner rules of the road applied with twice as much rigor, which isn't too unexpected nor is it particularly enlightening.

Finally, the production value is actually what brought this down from a four-star rating to a three-star one in my mind. Shadowrun's always been one of those games with a really solid feel, so imagine my dismay when the first thing I see is Arial. I don't have anything against the font, but it's just not Shadowrun. To be fair, this is an easy fix, and could simply come from having been transferred to a machine that didn't have the proper font installed, and most people probably won't care about it, but it just put me off from the very get-go. The same page-topper is used on every page (which would probably bother people more in print than in digital, but it's the sort of thing I look for), so facing pages would have an identical and highly distinctive appearance, which really devalues the feel of the work and art.

So, in short; it's perhaps misdirected, doesn't offer anything new, and has some major issues, but for a newcomer to Shadowrun it might provide a valuable insight to the setting, and it does provide a couple new list entries, even if they're not meaningfully different from other things.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/30/2013 11:35:16

Originally Posted at www.thratpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Ring Side Report- Review of Shadowrun-The Assassin's Primer

Module-The Assassin's Primer

Game System-Shadowrun

Producer-Catalyst Game Labs

Cost-~$5

Page Count-17

TL;DR- Good story with a few rules. A little pricey for the page count. 87%

Basics-The first player centered addition to the Shadowrun 5e RPG. This focuses on a webpost by an assassin who is about to die. He wants to help future assassins and give tips and tricks through this post. Along the way, various other Shadowrun characters pop in to give their two nuyen. At the end of the story, the book also gives stats for a new gun as well as few new qualities for your character.

Art- The book does have some art, but don't expect much. There are a few black and white pictures as well as a picture of the new gun with its stats and background story. It's all ok, but this is not an art heavy book. I liked what I saw, but there isn't much. 3/5

Story or “Fluff”- This is really a well done story. The whole story and they way you read it really put you in the world. I loved every minute of it. I felt like I was sitting drinking a soyacaff in a crappy rundown house reading this in AR. 2.5/2.5

Mechanics or “Crunch”- Don't go into this looking for crunch. The book does have some mechanics, but if you are a living game person like me, most of the new qualities are parts of codes of honor which you can't have in the living game. So, that is kind of a bummer. The story does give some good hints on how to play an assassin. All and all, it's an ok book for crunch, but I wanted more. 1.5/2.5

Execution- The way this ways laid out initially left me a little put off, but once I got into it I liked it. It's worth a read, as it does get you into the head space of Shadowrun and some of the major players in the universe. The rules part at the end was a bit short, but well executed. However, I was a little disappointed with the price. For a PDF that is mostly story, I felt the $5 price was a bit much as its pretty short and rules light. I would have liked this a bit more at the $3 price point. I'm quibbling over dollars, but this is Shadowrun! What good would a run be if we didn't negotiate the price? 4/5

Final Thoughts- All said and done, I'm pretty happy with this book. It's not up to the quality of the core book, but I'm glad I read this small part of the Shadowrun lore. I really enjoyed what I read. And think that for anyone out there who likes the Shadowrun world, it's worth it. Don't go into this thinking it's going to give you the metagame advantage you were hoping for as there are only two pages of real rules though! 87%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/29/2013 08:04:35

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/10/29/tabletop-review-shadowrun-the-assassins-primer/

Wetworks is a very tricky thing to pull off in a tabletop game, even one like Shadowrun. Players, and thus their characters, tend to look at themselves in a heroic light, so it’s generally very hard to get a group of characters to take on a Wetworks mission, especially if the target can be considered good or innocent. A mission to prevent an assassination, sure, that’s easy enough to get PCs to accept. You can generally even get them to take an assassination mission if you’re killing a really big bad guy, like an Aztlan uberpriest or horrible serial murderer. That’s similar to the “raid the dungeon to snuff out the evil necromancer in order to save the village” motif from fantasy RPGs. Killing a good NPC trying to whistleblow on an evil corporation though? At least one PC seems to balk every time, thus causing the adventure to be thrown out, and a lot of GM planning goes out the window. Even Shadowrun adventure writers have had to deal with this headache and throw in some caveats for those types of missions when they are actually published.

So enter The Assassin’s Primer. Although fifteen of the seventeen pages in this document are JackPoint style fiction, this is a great look at assassins. More importantly, you are given an example of how to make a “noble professional killer” in addition to a religious fundamentalist, a patriotic abattoir and a ruthless psycho who just happens to love murdering things. Not only are there interesting character designs here, but it will make playing and/or designing Wetworks adventures all the easier. There are four very interesting positive qualities and one negative one in the two pages of actual mechanics in this piece. The benefits and drawbacks are enticing and unique enough to make a gamer curious about playing an assassin, and they come with enough background information to give a GM plot threads aplenty while also helping the player to flesh out the back story of their new killing machine.

The majority of the piece is JackPoint style fiction, as I mentioned earlier. If you’re new to Shadowrun (Fifth Edition just came out after all), this means that the fiction is done from the point of view of a speaker, or rather a writer, on a super secret chat room/message board/web forum in the Matrix. As the piece goes on, you’ll see side comments and even conversations occur between JackPoint members. It’s the most common way the metaplot occurs in Shadowrun, and you’ll quickly grow to accept if not outright enjoy it.

Our speaker for this piece is new to Jackpoint, and unfortunately, it looks like his first post is also about to be his last. Quietus, as he calls himself, is about to be killed by his employer (an all too common occurrence in the Sixth World I’m afraid) for reasons we will never know. Before he goes, he decides to spend his remaining time creating a primer on assassins to help them be better understood in terms of what they do and why they do it. Oddly enough, Quietus states he is a lurker to ShadowSEA and is posting his piece there, but ShadowSEA hasn’t really been used for advancing the Metaplot since, well, 2050 I guess. I’m not sure if this was an error that got through editorial, if this is actually meant to be a piece for ShadowSEA and not Jackpoint (Which would be quite unusual) or something else. Still, longtime Shadowrun gamers will probably see that and wonder what exactly happened here.

The text is pretty straightforward. Quietus talks about who becomes an assassin and why, including his own personal transformation from starving Grecian refuge into a death dealer. Oddly enough, Quietus’ name and his story, coupled with what little information we are given about his teacher, had me wanting to crack constant Assamite jokes in this review, but it would be all too easy. Plus, if you’ve never played Vampire: The Masquerade, it would be lost on you. ANYWAY, Quietus breaks assassins down into three categories: the desperate, the psycho loonies and the idealists (generally those who believe they are killing for a greater cause). There’s also some great advice on weapons, armor, needed skills and other basics on how to be an assassin, and it’s all wonderful advice – for playing a character/NPC, NOT going out and doing it for real. There’s a lot of great content here for players and DMs alike here. Little bits and considerations most gamers overlook but shouldn’t.

There’s some great JackPoint interaction here too. There’s one huge hilarious bit from Clockwork the Hobgoblin, as it turns out he and Quietus have worked together before. We get to see what is hopefully foreshadowing the death of Haze. We get to see why it is so hard to believe /dev/grrl and Slamm-O! haven’t been shot dead yet on one of their runs. We get to see that Picador survived Storm Front more or less intact. So on and so forth. As just a piece of JackPoint fiction, The Assassin’s Primer does an incredible job of being both informative and entertaining. As piece on Wetworks operatives and how you can do them while still viewing yourself with a white hat on, I don’t think I could have asked for a better supplement. Okay, maybe a few more pages of mechanics or some tips on how to make a Wetworks adventure run smoother when a character refuses to take part. Those things would have made it even better, but you know what I mean.

Overall, I’m exceptionally happy with The Assassin’s Primer. It’s well written, imparts a lot of great information from an in-game point of view, a way to play a “lawful good” style assassin and some interesting new character creation bits. Oh and a new gun. The Assassin’s Primer might be a bit overpriced for those of you who only want rules, stats blocks and the like, but hopefully CGL will come up with something more towards your liking down the road. For those that like Sixth World metaplot in-game fiction, there’s a lot to love here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2013 15:26:57

The Assassin’s Primer provides information about assassins, killer for hire, in the Shadowrun setting. While I was worried about the choice of professional killers for an early sourcebook, after all Shadowrun characters can be quite violent enough as it is, the (in game) author of this work advises restraint and minimizing damage beyond the target. Such things are welcome in the realm of character (and player) advice. Beyond that, it provides a useful -if short- reference to the types of assassins and a basic overview of how they work.

Shadowrun: The Assassin’s Primer, is a short piece on assassins and other killers in the Sixth World, how and why they operate and some advice on what sort of skills and tools they will need to survive and prosper. It is a good general overview and of use to shadowrunners as the tricks of the trade overlap considerably.

The only new toy is the venerable (very by 2072) SVD sniper rifle and there are five new assassin’s creeds (code of honor) qualities, four of which are positive and one negative, which give a few more tools to flesh out hitters but some of them are definitely better suited to NPCs. There is also a short section for the GM on integrating ‘lone wolf’ characters (like assassins) into a game, which is nice.

Overall, a not unuseful resource and a good read, but nothing really new is presented here. It may be best suited as a handout to new players to shadowrun as an “in game” introduction to some of the main themes of the setting.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2013 11:57:45

Written as a last message from a professional hitman who reckons that a former employer is going to tidy up loose ends by killing him, this is advice for any Shadowrunner who intends to kill... be it for a living or as collateral damage during a 'run. Let's face it, when did you last get through a 'run without killing someone? Yeah, we know. Self defence.

It's a dispassionate look at the trade of killing. Not sociopaths for whom a paycheck merely selects who to kill, not cold-blooded individuals for whom the target has no more meaning than a paper one on the range, nor some wide-eyed kid who fancies being an assassin but has no idea how to go about it. Stealth, precision, planning are key, not rushing in yelling and firing like there's no tomorrow... because if you do, likely there will be no tomorrow.

Even if you are protesting that you'd never take on an assassination job, the information about how good assassins operate may come in useful if someone takes out a contract on you. Forewarned is forearmed.

The author, one Quietus, claims to be honourable at heart, and to prove this shares his code, that he lives by (and others die by). It makes for interesting reading. The discussion then moves on to the skills an assassin ought to develop. Most are loners, self-sufficient, rather than teamworkers like most shadowrunners so things like weapons training, stealth and deception, physiology, psychology, planning, burglary skills, repair/maintenance and even magic need to be understood as there isn't anyone else to call on. Likewise, having the right tools is also essential... and that doesn't necessarily mean a sniper rifle with lots of accessories. (However, should you think one is useful, full stats are provided for an old but tried and tested Soviet one.)

The discourse winds up with some advice for aspiring assassins. This is followed by some out-of-character thoughts on lone wolf characters. Perhaps an assassin hires in 'ordinary' shadowrunners to provide a particular service, or maybe you have one who is not quite so much of a loner and can work in a team... he just steps apart to do his thing, just as the hacker or someone astral sensing does. A selection of codes of honour are provided, with game-related advantages and disadvantages to each one.

An interesting and thought-provoking read. Having assassins about is not for everybody, but even if you only use them as antagonists, you can now portray them with considerable depth.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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