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Review – Shadowrun: Hard Targets

29 October, 2015

Shadowrun: Hard Targets provides information about assassins, killers for hire, along with some metaplot advancement and information on Cuba in the Shadowrun setting.  It is very specialized toward particular levels and styles of play so it is not universally useful but interesting and has some fun toys.  Do you need it?  Unless you are running an assassin or Cuba-based game, not really, but it is a good read and a GM will probably eventually add it to their library.

Shadowrun: Hard Targets, is a Deep Shadows sourcebook focusing on assassins and other killers, guardians, and Cuba in the Sixth World.  Rather an mixed bag of material, Cuba not sitting particularly well with the assassination and killers sections of the product.

As expected, it opens with fiction, followed by an overview of what the book contains.  The first section is devoted to supporting the current Shadowrun metaplot, the CFD/Headcase outbreak, and the evolving metafiction of the Sixth World.   It is all over the place with information on megacorporate activities and a variety of other power players, there are interesting plot information there but most are too high level except for the most powerful and connected runner teams.

Next is a selection of contracts (as in assassination requests) with comments and, for the other side of the coin, protection needed jobs.  Interesting reading and some good adventure seeds there, especially on the protection side.  Followed by a brief section on hiring killers, protection and dupes for such jobs.  The following section is a collection of famous assassins, guardians and hunters (of killers).

Then we go to Cuba, heart of the Caribbean League, it is the usual package but also seeded through are NPCs complete with connection ratings and what they can provide and how they like to be paid (very useful).  In addition there are rules for Caribbean magic, new creatures, new life path modules and even a couple of new vehicles.  Overall, very useful for anyone who had wanted to explore the Caribbean League.

A section on the life and business of being a professional assassin, good advice for both players and GMs here, couched in world discussion.  But an interesting and amusing read (especially as the signature character for the in-world writeup is by Blackwing, who has been around since 1st edition Shadowrun).  Then, what everyone has been waiting for, new toys!  Weapons, ammunition (including silver bullets), cyber and bioware, new tools (including disguises), drones and poison are all provided.  Nore are character options neglected, with new adept powers, including some for archers, new positive and negative qualities, specialized knowledge skills, and contacts.  Truly something for everyone (who wants to kill someone else).

Closing the book is a short bit of advise on running assassination teams, a few new life modules (for those using that character creation systems) and ten adventure hooks building off the information presented earlier.  The hooks are very short and will take considerable work to turn into useable adventures.

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