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Sell me Shadowrun 3rd edition


RPGnet Member
Validated User
Heard varying stories, really enjoyed Earthdawn. Tell me why I should get into Shadowrun.


Retired User
From my own experience, everyone that plays it seems to like it. Twelve years ago none of my players haven't even heard about it, and now they are all fanatics.

Some of the strong points of Shadowrun are:
  • The Sixth World—i.e. the Shadowrun universe—has been very detailed through the past ten odd years. It's an intrincate and gritty place to live.
  • Action movie feel. You get to do cool things à la Mission: Impossible. 8)
  • The organic magic system.
  • The flexibility of the different character creation systems.
  • The sheer feeling of power you get when you roll 18 dice toghether. :D
Also, you would like to make this same question at the Dumpshock forums. That is the most active Shadowrun community on the net, and, as a bonus, most of the writers post there regularly.

Go the Official Shadowrun Site and read some of the fiction, also. You'll get a feel for the Sixth World. You will also be able to find the timeline of events there.
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Grubby Smelly Gnome
Validated User
This isn't a Anit-Shadowrun post, just some comments on my experience with the game. Just offering up reasons why it didn't go over well for me...in case adamsmith is of like mind.

I found thr rules not only complex, but overly complex for my taste. I would say anyone who likes his rules in the medium to lite range will definately NOT like the Shadowrun rules system. I also found it clunky, and not near as streamlined as you expect from most games that enjoy this level of popularity.

The group I played with (they were in their mid 20's, and this was their favorite game for many years) all seemed hung up on super powerfull characters (munchkins if you will).

After reading through the rulebook, and playing with these guys, it seamed like the game was mainly geared tword one type of adventure...you get hired to do a job, you go in sneaky, and go out guns blaring, you get paid or doublecrossed...the end.

After a few sessions, I was turned off by the rules and the players...just me. BUT, if you do like streamlined uncomplicated systems, you probably won't be impressed by Shadowrun.

If you like huge super pumped up enhansed characters with big guns, and tons of specific rules to memoprize for different things, you probably will.

MHO...Of course the game has remained popular for many people for a long time, so it must appeal to a certain group of people...just offering a "flip side of the coin" opinion.


the one you warned me of
Validated User
My planned campaign takes a divergence from the canon Shadowrun setting. See, the megacorporations are all run by angels and demons, though folks don't realize that. And shadowrunners, they're the hired mercenaries in the final war of apocalypse. That's the basic gist of the campaign I plan on running. Not going into more specifics right now.

NPC Jeremy

I was a really big Shadowrun fan. I bought just about every product for it. Until 3rd edition.

I really think they broke it.

Not only do the rules no longer emulate the genre, they can't even emulate modern action movies. They also changed the meaning of some very common terminology, which won't mean anything to a new player to the game, but made it very confusing for an old-timer like me. And makes it impossible to continue to use the 2nd edition rules with 3rd edition products. (Which is why I gave up. System changes I could ignore, terminology changes, I couldn't)

So, you shouldn't. IMHO, anyway.

Still, just to refute Grubman a bit, the basic rules are pretty simple. It's a very simple dice pool system, almost exactly like Vampire, except it uses d6s instead of d10s.

Stats and Skills get rated by a number (1 on up, usually 8 or 9 is the limit for most characters), then you roll them vs. a target number. 6s you roll again, so you can have high target numbers. But you also count the successes.

Of course the trick is, there are a lot of special cases. So it can be a bit complicated, but at the core, it's pretty simple. (At least until 3rd edition. That seems worse). But in any event, you can wing it pretty easily.
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Retired User
I kind of like the setting. Cyberpunk and Fantasy are a strange mix, that agreed. So other people don´t like the setting at all.

What I don´t like are the rules. They are absolutely unnecessary complicated, when it comes to rigging (vehicle combat), decking (matrix runs) and magic. I had very big problems as a gamemaster to keep the basics of these three complexes present in my mind.

So I no longer play Shadowrun.

A word to Jeremy: In my opinion the 2nd Edition rules were as complex as the 3rd Edition rules.


Retired User
I like the rules at times I hate the rules at times. Shadowrun is a very mixed bag. Great setting and definitely packed full of some very, very cool shit.

Problems I have with it though are that at times the rules just don't work you run into a lot of the Naked Dwarf syndrom. If you don't know what that is look it up it's in threads around here. But the basics are that you have a naked character with no weapons that because of a couple high stats he can mop the floor with a fully armored fully armed character. In Shadowrun I found this happened far to often for my and our players likes even with all their new "Ooohhh It's now leathal rules" Which make no difference at all.

Decking though a very cool idea irks me. You basically have a situation that when a decker decks in you have the rest of the group sitting around doing nothing as you roleplay out the deckers hacking. Sure you can cut back and forth between what the decker is doing and the rest of the group. But there is an entire continuity problem there because decking happens at the speed of light and thought so even though you could be decking for a long time in the real world game time it's super quick so the other characters wouldn't really have time to do anything.

Anyway we use to love Shadowrun now we remember it fondly and never ever play it.

Korimir the Rat

Head Full of Angry Bees
I'll chime in... it's an incredibly well-thought and well-executed setting, with the radically different elements combining into a coherent whole. There are so many themes to explore, and you can do it all while having insane, action movie gun battles.

Unfortunately, the system is terrible. You have to roll and count too many dice-- over and above more typical dice pool systems. The rules are complicated, and in many cases, do not make sense. Naked Dwarf syndrome and the near-impossibility of killing anyone with light pistols or knives can get frustrating very quickly.

If ever there was a beautiful, compelling game setting that cried out for a GURPS or d20 treatment, it was Shadowrun.


Contains multitudes
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Korimyr the Rat said:
If ever there was a beautiful, compelling game setting that cried out for a GURPS or d20 treatment, it was Shadowrun.
Nah, Conspiracy X; at least Shadowrun is playable (yes, I know a GURPS version of Conspiracy X exists).
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