Review – Shadowrun: Run Faster

26 March, 2015

Shadowrun: Run Faster provides a wealth of options and tools for character development and customization, broadly expanding the choices available for metatypes, qualities and more while also provides background information on the world that can be used to enhance roleplaying.  While it is a little disorganized, overall Run Faster is an immensely useful sorcebook primarily for players but GMs will find much to use as well.

Shadowrun: Run Faster, is a Core Player Handbook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, so what does that mean?  It means that this book is full of character options, discussions and variant systems to all for greater customization and understanding of the character and their role in the Shadowrun world.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then it looks into what life is like for the various sorts of people (corporate, streets, and so on) in the Shadowrun world who become ‘runners, some general advice on working with others and general discussion of how to rounds out a character to make them more ‘real’ by understanding where they are from and what they want.  But also some notes on this being a social game and advice on making characters that will play with others because that is more fun for everyone.

Next is a discussion of codes of honor (to be used with the disadvantage of the same name) ranging from Bushido to White Hat Hackers.  This section provides some excellent tools for adjudicating codes and roleplaying with them.

The Spice of Runners’ Lives discusses odd jobs for odd employers to give more variety to runs and also includes an (all too brief) section about playing other styles of games, such as playing as a DocWagon HTR team or cops.  Still, some fun ideas here and equally useful for GMs and players.

The More Than Skin Deep looks at the various metatypes (and other groups like shifters and the augmented) and how their culture has evolved and how it impacts outsiders (like runners).  Not sure if I am sold on the biology is culture argument (except for maybe shapeshifters) but still a useful window on what being a “X” is like in the world.

Construction Kits provides optional character construction routes: pure point buy, the “sum to ten” method and life modules, which builds a character by building their background from childhood onto the start of play.  I very much like the life modules system as it makes one think about the character as more than just a collection of game stats.

The Mess of Metahumanity expands the horizons for metatypes and provides rules for metasapients (such as centaurs), changlings and shapeshifters and a considerable number of metagenic qualities (both positive and negative) to customize characters who were affected by the SURGE.  While Into the Night provides rule for playing the infected, vampires (and all their variants) and ghouls.  Probably a section that one should be cautious with however.

As You as You Can Be brings in a number of new positive and negative qualities (including my favorite, Day Job) which give a lot of ability to customize characters, which I always think is a good thing in addition there are eight new archetypes (running from burned company man to undercover cop) which take advantage of the new qualities.

Who You Know is all about the care and feeding on contacts, including how to pay them for their services, and a new Organization Contact option.  Random tables for quickly fleshing out contacts are included along with around 45 new contacts.  All useful things for expanding the knowledge web of the characters with useful guidelines for the GM to keep it managed.

Bosses and Betrayers talks about employers and the hazards of dealing with them.  It has some good breakdowns on what to expect from various sorts of employers (corps, criminals, amateurs and so on).  Again, useful for both players and GMs.  A Dump of One’s Own looks at where the runners live and adds more detail, if you want to use it, to the lifestyle choices of the characters.  Finally, Pack your Kit rounds out the book with a few dozen standard load outs of equipment for everyone from stylish suits to combats bikers, good for quickly figuring out what you need or what an NPC has to hand.

One comment

  1. Even though we don’t play Shadowrun rules I love these things because they give us all kinds of great ideas for our https://fyxtrpg.com/ game. It seems weird sometimes getting “core books” and not using the core but these guys come up with some great ideas! It sounds like there is even some good ideas for new encounters for a GM.

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