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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook (Master Index Edition) $59.99 $19.99
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Rudy C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2019 17:28:53

TL;DR: The latest iteration of the Shadowrun universe, and arguably the best edition to date. I honestly couldn't finish the book, much less convince my group to play it, simply because the sheer volume of rules was too much.

So I picked up SR 5th edition during a sale and was somewhat disappointed. Yes, the game is at its core the same as always. You'll build a fictional shadowrunner that can either sling spells, hack into the internet, pilot remote controlled drones, or straps chrome to their body in order to become more machine than (meta)human. Nothing has been changed other than an overhaul of the rules from previous editions. At the same time, I didn't like it. Why? For one, I've made three attempts to read this book, and every time my eyes glazed over. This beast of a tome clocks in at over 500 pages, most of which are rules for various one off scenarios. The rules strive way too hard to simulate reality in a world that's anything but reality. Worse, you end up having to do a lot of actual math on the fly. For example, in order to resolve a character firing a gun in a burst or full auto, you first must calculate the recoil compensation you possess (which is your Strength attribute divided by 3), then you have to calculate the recoil penalty (subtract the total amount of bullets fired from your recoil compensation), then if that result is a negative number, subtract it from your dice pool which is a number of dice equal to your Quickness + relevant gun skill, however the max number of successes you can roll is limited at all times by your weapon's quality rating of X. Crystal clear? Yeah, I didn't think so. This has the effect of bogging the game down at times while the GM has to flip through the rules because the players invariably thought of doing something the GM hadn't quite planned for or considered. It's one thing to want to have clear-cut rules in order to prevent arguments at the game table (heaven knows D&D 5e is guilty of leaving some things up to each and every DM), however it is possible to overdo it and have rules that feel more like the game actively fights you than wants to cooperate. For example, in order to determine if your character is able to take one final action before they fall unconscious or die (a dead man's trigger), you literally have to go through a 3 step checklist, and if you fail to meet any of those 3 requirements then tough luck, you don't get to have a really cool moment of dramatic sacrifice before you're down for the count. Everything you love about Shadowrun is still present in this version, it's just become mired in a set of rules that just seem to work against you telling the kinds of stories you want to tell. One wonders what the point of overhauling SR to 5th edition is if the rules become so bloated that its in need of yet another overhaul.

In summary, get this if you're a die hard fan of Shadowrun, or if you're a simulationist freak that demands their games have rules for every single possible eventuality. The rest of us should either stick to previous editions of the game, or even take a look at the superb Shadowrun Anarchy RPG.

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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook (Master Index Edition)
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