Review – Shadowrun: Rigger 5.05 January, 2016
Shadowrun: Rigger 5.0 provides a wealth of vehicles and drones to expand the mobility (and other) options for riggers and other vehicle oriented characters, but especially riggers. Do you need this book? As a GM, probably, it provides such a depth of additional vehicles and drones that it helps to flesh out the world considerably, if you game uses vehicles at all, put it on your list to acquire. If you are a player, if you are playing a rigger or vehicle oriented charter, you will want to pick this up, otherwise, it can wait. Overall, another solid entry in the sourcebooks for the new Shadowrun. (Now we just need a used car lot for 5th ed.)
Shadowrun: Rigger 5.0 is a Core Rigger Handbook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun, so what does that mean? It means that this book is full of information on riggers, what they do and how they do it, and the vehicles and drones they do it with, in the Shadowrun world.
The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then it looks into what life is like for a rigger including eight views from various riggers about their lives, ranging from Doc Wagon pilot to racer, military rigger to construction operator. It then discusses the various roles that a rigger can fill and a very brief overview of the various vehicles and drones that they can use.
Next, All the Angles, gives some in-game advice on how to get the most out of drones followed by new rules on repairs, electronic warfare and swarms. This is followed by On the Bleeding Edge which provides more positive and negative qualities for those who drive and ride, and new life modules (for that alternate character creation method).
After some more fiction, we get to the part everyone can enjoy, more vehicles: ground vehicles, water vehicles, air vehicles and more drones than you can shake a tire iron at. Ground vehicles range from personal transport to big rigs with a subsection of security/police vehicles, truly something for everyone. Water vehicles range from water ski-like vehicles to motor sailors and luxury yachts (but nothing bigger). The air vehicles section is fairly small but has helicopters, helicopter gunships, t-birds and even a couple of zeppelins.
Next, in the Automated Army, drones! Beginning with who manufactures drones in the Sixth World and then moves into how drones can be modified, it then moves into a catalog of drones from the smallest (mosquito-sized) to massive construction machines and everything in between including a wide range of humanoid drones for work and security uses. Again, something for just about every use.
Building the Perfect Beast provides rules for modifying vehicles from the basics of improving engines and adding weapons and armor to various unusual things, such as secondary propulsion systems (though, oddly, neglecting wheels), ram plates, and much more. Almost any variant that can be imagined can be built, if one has the time, money and skills.
The final rules section is Maximum Pursuit which introduces slightly expanded rules and new maneuvers for the various vehicles types and drones (and passengers!). It adds some complexity but not an excessive amount and if one wants to have vehicles play a more important role in their campaign, it increases in options and, thus, complexity, may be required.
The last section of the book is a compilation of all the vehicle and drone statistics from all of the Shadowrun (5th edition) products so far, seven pages of small type.
Rigger 5.0 is a solid sourcebook but for my tastes, has far more fiction than is needed, space that could have been used for more vehicles and drones (what most people will be buying the product for). The art is generally good but there is a whole set of Dodge vehicles that are given a very distinct set of descriptions and the art does not match that.