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Shadowrun 5th Ed.

Damon
user 25213022
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 6
Hello to everyone reading this.

I just picked up the main book for Shadowrun 5th edition and wanted to share my thoughts on the book: which in one sentence could be summed up as “don’t by this book” for reasons I will explain below.

Before diving into this “review” of sorts I would like to add I have never written anything like this before. If my format seems a bit irregular now you know why, try to judge this by is content not the skill of the writer. Also I’m doing this because I ran a Google search (at the time) and found little information on the system. I found a lot of little bits of information on a specific subject but nothing to look at the game as a full book.

One:
Layout, for those of you who thought 4th edition had a poor lay out brace yourselves. The section layout in this book is horrible, without a doubt this has the worst layout I have ever seen of any rpg book ever. Let’s go ahead and build a character together:

Step One:
Concept, page 45. From page 45 to page 50 it talks nothing of character concepts and instead covers such things as “hits, glitches, tests and limits, opposed tests and time passing” which has nothing to do with your concept. After page 50 you can read a paragraph or two about each race… and then it talks about: attributes, initiative, augmented reality, cyberware, and while still in the “concept” section, still in step one… 11 pages in, we get the rules and uses for the Attribute Edge. Following all this information that has nothing to do with your character concept, we get a four page story with picture.
After reading through all of those topics that have nothing to do with character concept we get to page 62 & 63 which actually lists of the basic runner archetypes, so 17 pages into the section we get a two page run down of the basic character concepts. The role descriptions for: Face, Spellcaster (not mage and shaman but “spell caster”) Decker, Technomancer, Rigger, and Street Samurai, are all on a single page… Not a single page each, but one single page for all six archetype descriptions.

Step Two:
Meta-Type and Special Attributes, page 65. Twenty pages into the “character creation” section we get the all-important Priority Table. Right after the section title “Meta-type and special attributes” it gives a full break down of the Priority Table, followed by a brief explanation of what special attributes you can spend your meta-type allotment on. This section is two pages and does not include any kind of explanation on any of the actual meta-types.

Step Three:
Choose Magic or Resonance, page 68. In this two page section they explain some of the differences between the different caster types, but they do not cover any basic information on the actual attributes in questions. This section is used to give you page numbers related to your selected attribute. Of all of the sections in character creation this one is probably the most basic and straight forward. Too bad they gave the explanation for Edge in the “Concept” section or they might have been able to fill in this “section” a bit more, I can hardly call two pages a “character creation section.”

Step Four:
Qualities, page 71. I would like to point out that right now you are given a Priority Table, which allows you to select your: meta-type, attributes, skill points, magic or Resonance related fields and Resources. Without any explanation on spending these points so far we get tossed into the Qualities section, which are used to “flesh out” a character and give them some depth. Aside from the poor placement of the section, I want to add the qualities seem dumbed down quite a bit. There are few interesting ones, and fewer with any real kind of impact on character development. Also I want to point out that Qualities and Contacts share the same resource pool, so balance your qualities carefully or you won’t have any real points for contacts, which are very important in a game like this.

Step Five:
Skills, page 88. Here we get a brief explanation of the different kinds of skills and what your skill points can be used on, turn the page to 90 and see a full list of all the skills. On page 128 is where the actual explanations of said skills are located. After flipping through forty pages you come across the skill section, which covers all the basic information on them. Now you are supposed to spend your skills in step five on page 88, you need to flip to page 128 to read about the skills. While you are reading about the skills, in some cases it breaks down the skill rules for using that skill in game. Not for all the skills, just some of them, other action explanations are found elsewhere with no page listing.

Step Six:
Resources, page 94. This basically tells you to spend your allotment of credits selected from your Priority Table choice. I find it to be interesting that we are supposed to at this point flip to the back of the book and spend our resources, which in some cases can take longer than the entire character creation process up to this point. Yet on page 94 we have not gotten an explanation of the skills we want to take, why we should have picked the attributes we did, spending our points on contacts, seeing examples of npc archetypes *which happen to show 16 different archetypes, while in the concept section it only showed 6* and spending whatever left over karma points you have. This step is so far out of place it’s painful.

Step Seven:
Contacts and Karma, page 98. Here it tells you to spend your contact points, too bad the contact section is on page 386. So here we are two hundred and eighty eight pages further down the book and we get our contacts section. What a pitiful section of contacts this is, they list eight contact types.

Recap:
Honestly at this point the only reason I was able to actually make a character in a timely manner was because I am familiar with the Priority Table from 2nd Ed. I knew what to look for by name and used the back of the book table of contents to find what information I needed when I needed it. If you handed this book to a GM that has never run a SR game before and had players who had never made characters before, it would be a total cluster frag.
Damon
user 25213022
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 7
*Hit the max post length*


What else to expect from this book:
• 34 Pages of inset runner stories, which would be nice if they flowed into the section instead of breaking it up.
• Broken down explanations split across multiple sections of the book.
• No gear weights listed anywhere.
• Of the eight types of armor the ratings are as follows: 6, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 12, & 15. Because a vest and a fully armored body suit should share the same degree of protection.
• Simplified Skills, because every person in the shadows knowing Gymnastics makes more sense than having a: Dodge, Climb and Jump skill.
• Generalized Character creation, looking at the archetypes listed all it seems to be expected of your character is the ability to fight well. The street same literally knows how to attack and drive (poorly).
• Adept Powers that are almost all combat oriented, gone are the social, tactical, situational and most of the stealth abilities.

I stopped to proof read what I have written so far, and realized I have a lot of information put down already. So for now I’ll end my review here on a sour note, this edition might be ok once they get more source books out, but as a stand-alone book it feels unpolished and unfinished. If given the choice between playing a 4th Ed game with only the main book or playing a 5th Ed game with only the main book; I would pick 4th Ed hands down. Of course don’t take my word alone, go to your local shop, pick up this book and LOOK THROUGH IT before you buy it. This is my opinion, not law nor fact some people might find this type of layout to be amazing, and some people might see a more simplistic creation system with easier to follow archetypes as a boon. In any event I wanted to share with you what I have seen as a huge let down and currently a waste of 60 bucks.
Damon
user 25213022
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 11
With a lil bit of basic math I found the following.
I only have two examples, well because I don't want repeat this for every type of caster and otaku.
Many players will focus on attributes because they are karma heavy to rise, with this in mind; I decided to aim for a maximum attribute build. The goal is to spend as many points as possible without any over flow. Here is the short hand of my results.

Total points on a normal character without any extra special attribute:
Trolls: 42
Orks: 42
Dwarfs: 42
Elfs: 39
Humans: 37

• Trolls, Orks and Dwarfs have the highest points using up both A & B in all three cases.
• Elfs use A and C to get 39 points, if B was used instead of C there would be an over flow, so the tradeoff for 3 less attribute points would be 8 skill points and 3 group points or over 150k more resources.
• Humans are at a sad 37 points, but that’s using A and D, again with the amount of points they get from their racial priority anything other than D puts them at over flow. Again that being said, both B & C are open, for skills and resources.

My issue with this is that humans and elfs get less attribute points but gain more versatility with skills & resources. This versatility is not a bonus though, they have less points for it, and as a player if I want my focus to be attributes priority A, I would be a whopping -5 as a human vs. a troll, ork or dwarf. To some 5 points may not seem like a lot, but if you placed those into a primary attribute focus; for example a trolls strength: the karma cost from 5 to 10 would be worth 200 points of karma. A less focused example say raising 5 attributes from 3 to 4, would be 100 karma. If you average 6 Karma a run it would take between 10 and 20 games to make up that difference. Which really sucks when you think about the fact that troll will be getting roughly the same karma you get, and as skills cost way less than attributes that lil advantage you got with those extra skill points would close up right quick.

My other example included a Magic attribute, it could have been Resonance as well but I decided to go with Adept, it was easy and runs across most of the priority table and here are my results:
Troll, ork, dwarf, and elf all got 46 points, while humans got 43.
Over flow wasn't as much of an issue here because the extra special attribute, but once again humans suffer ever so slightly. In exchange for three attribute points, they get a higher priority in one field of their choice. Trading say 3 attribute points for 8/3 skill points seems a fair trade, but what if I don't want to make that trade? Humans are the low ballers when it comes to attribute points, which sucks.

What I have learned so far, the priority table does not play fair and if you want to play a human you're better off as an otaku or caster in the case of attributes.

I will probably do a run down like this for skill points later on.

If your crazy enough to ask, the reason I'm doing this is because the priority system does not "feel" fair, even, or blanaced to me. As in the above example in a head to head when it comes down to pure attribute points humans are the dump race. Lets not even consider other racial factors like resistances, vision enhancement, reach or armor. From there is not a matter of picking the "best" options, it is a matter of personally placing house rules that would infact balance the table. "Fair" is not playing a human street-sam and looking at my ork otaku and counting out a 9 point difference in their favor from game one.
A former member
Post #: 15
I have the pdf of the main book, and i admit that i'm not impressed with it.
Nicholas H.
Mosswood
Group Organizer
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 110
What don't you like about it?
A former member
Post #: 16
The main thing i don't like about it is the character creation, while it makes it easier for people to learn how to make characters. I wonder what they will do in the future when they start adding the other races.
Damon
user 25213022
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 15
So it seems in the not yet released book "Shadow Run: Run Faster" they are going to be adding an "optional" point buy system. IF they do this well, I see much hope for 5th Ed as well as a long and good life for the game. I'm looking forward to messing around with the system and trying some things out, if all goes well yall can expect to see me begging for a game down the road.
James
user 8200530
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 1
I'm new to the group, and was browsing when I saw this post. Shadowrun 5th ed has been out for a while now, and I've been playing in a game for several months, and ran a few sessions as well. I didn't have a problem with character creation, really, and my group all seem to really enjoy the system. Have you had a chance to play a few sessions of the game? Has your opinion changed?
Damon
user 25213022
Albuquerque, NM
Post #: 49
Sadly no I haven't been able to get anything going with SR.
The system and mechanics look ok, my major issue was with creation and equality between builds. Some race/arctypes are just better than others and that to me is just sad. Although some might give the old arguement "My concept is more important that the points it's made of." That's fine, but a good system shouldn't require players to say that, imo.
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