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Old Feb 18th, 2019, 10:20 AM
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Quickstart Rules

It's far from an exhaustive reference, but it will get you up to speed, and you can't beat the price! It also contains the first four pre-generated runners as well as a sample mission you can read over. Dont worry, we'll be running a completely different mission here!

Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Core Rulebook

The indexed PDF is a steal at 19.99! Even better when there is a sale going on! The editing can be a bit trying and that's why I haven't cracked my hardcopy in over a year. The index and the find function make this thing worth its weight in digital gold.

Here is a link to a tutorial on using the most common runner generation tool, Chummer5a

List of Fifth Edition Books

I suggest growing your collection with Run Faster first, then Run and Gun, and then move into your preferred archetype's expanded rules books! All of them available at Drive Through RPG!

Collect them all!

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Offical Errata

They try to get their products into good shape before they go out the door, but . . . well . . . the thing is...

Here is a handy YouTube series called complex action that goes in depth on most aspects of the Shadowrun rules set. It's an amazing resource if you are more of an auditory learner or if you'd rather listen to it in the background as you do other things!

Shadworun Timeline

How did we get from there to here? It's worth a quick read, just beware the wiki rabbit hole. You can get lost down there for hours!


Slang is the spice to complete any dish! You scan chummer?

Shadowrun Wiki

If you have any lore questions, this is your place!

Shadowrun name generator
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I may be gone, but the shadow community lives on!

Good luck and happy gaming everyone!!!

Last edited by Imveros; Aug 26th, 2021 at 03:53 PM.
Old Mar 13th, 2019, 02:13 PM
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Imveros Imveros is offline
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For possible game changes and ease of reference Mechanics.


A test is any dice roll made in Shadowrun. There are four things that players need to know when attempting a test.
  1. What type of test is it?
  2. What is the size of the dice pool?
  3. What is the limit on the test?
  4. What is the Threshold?

Success Test
A success test is the basic form of test caused when a player uses an ability or attempts to accomplish an objective. These are also known as "simple" tests and are nothing more than attempting to roll enough hits to beat the threshold. Success tests are designed as followed:
  • Skill in test + Attribute used [applicable limit] vs. threshold
    • Ex: Jim is searching for Waldo. The test would be Perception + Intuition[Mental] with a threshold set by the GM.
Opposed Test
An Opposed Test is one player vs. another individual. Opposed Tests are designed as followed:
  • Skill in test + Attribute used [applicable limit] vs. Opposed test.
    • EX: Jim needs to sneak into the house without waking his wife after a long night of looking for Waldo. The test would be a sneak test vs. his wife's perception test. Should Jim roll more hits than his wife, he will successfully make it in the house and not have to listen to a lecture about how she stays home with the kids all day and has no free time.

Extended Test
An Extended Test is a test that takes place over a period of time, such as taking a few days to learn a new spell or fix up that old piece of **** car you swear you're going to fix up one of these days. Rolls do not need to be made concurrently. A ten-hour job could be done over the course of ten days, with the player making one roll every day. Extended Tests are designed as followed:
  • Skill in test + Attribute used [applicable limit] vs. (threshold, time interval)

An Extended Test does not need to be completed in a single roll. A player can make a number of rolls and accumulate the number of hits required by the threshold over time. Each roll of an extended test can only have a number of hits equal to the applicable limit. The Time Interval indicates how much time is spent during a roll. Extended tests cannot last forever, at a certain point a player will reach the point where no matter how much they work, they will never get any further in the task. After each successful roll, Players should remove one die from the dice pool. When there are no dice left, the test is over.

Extended Tests and Glitches
Glitching during an Extended Test does not cause the test to fail. It is up to the GM to decide what happens. Usually, this results in the 1D6 worth of hits to be lost. Should the hits lost result in the total dropping to or below zero, the test fails. Critical Glitching causes the test to fail outright and all previous hits made to be lost.

Teamwork Tests
A Teamwork Test is any test done as a group. To start a Teamwork Test, the party chooses a leader to make the test roll. Everyone else involved is an Assistant. The Assistants then rolls the appropriate skill + attribute. For every assistant who rolls at least one hit, the relevant limit for the leader's test is increased by 1. For every hit made by an assistant, the Leader's dice pool is increased by that many.

The most dice that can be added to a pool is equal to the Leader's applicable skill rating or the highest attribute rating if the test involves two attributes. The Leader than rolls his adjusted dice pool to beat the test's threshold.

A critical glitch during an assist attempt results in both the effects of a critical glitch for the assistant and a failure to add to the Leader's relevant limit and adjustment to the dice pool.

Trying Again
Players can make multiple attempts at tests. Re-trying a failed test adds a cumulative -2 to the attempt. If a player takes a break from the test and comes back later, the test can be attempted again with no penalty. Taking another shot of a gun or swing of a sword or other attack after a miss is not considered trying again, but it's own action.


Each test has a limit on how many hits can be achieved by a player. During a test, should a player roll more hits than their allotted limit, only the hits within the limit count.
  • EX: Jim rolls 4 hits but has a limit of 3. Only 3 hits count.
There are two different types of limits: Inherent Limits and Gear Limits

Inherent Limits
Characters have 3 inherent limits: Physical, Mental and Social. Below are the equations for determining limits.
  • Physical limit: ((Strx2)+Bod+Rea)/3
  • Mental limit: ((Logx2)+Int+Wil)/3
  • Social limit: ((Chax2)+Wil+Ess)/3

Gear Limits
Certain gear can cause an imposed limit that over takes the Inherent Limit of a players stat. Gear Limit along with being a game mechanic gives players a means of telling the quality of the gear. Regardless if it is better or worse: Gear Limit always overrides Inherent Limit.
  • Ex: Jim has to shoot that snitch Jerry. Jim is a crack shot and has an Inherent Limit of 5. His gun, a shoddy model pistol, has an accuracy limit of 2 overriding Jim's good accuracy.


In this Sixth World, this is almost unavoidable for shadowrunners. Look here for a quick rundown on what to do once the bullets start flying.

Combat Turns
  1. Roll Initiative Dice
  2. Initiative Pass
    1. Player Action Phase
      1. Declare Movement Speed
      2. Declare Actions
      3. Resolve Actions
    2. Next Action Phase
  3. Initiative -10
  4. Go back to Step 2 if any Initiatives > 10
  5. New Combat Turn

Combat Sequence

So you want to do some damage and have decided to take an attack action? Here is how you determine if you actually hit and hard you do it:
  1. Declare: Declare Attack & Defense Pools/Methods
    • Attacker decides to attack with a handgun (pistols skill), assault rifle (automatics skill), fists (unarmed skill), etc.
  2. Attack: Attack Dice Pool vs. Defense Dice Pool. 0 means Grazing
    • Attacker rolls Weapon Skill + Linked Attribute +/- modifiers with a limit of [Weapon Accuracy] in an opposed test versus the Defender's Reaction + Intuition +/- modifiers. If the Defender rolled more hits than the Attacker, the attack misses. If the Attacker rolls more hits, the attack succeeds. A tie results in a grazing hit.
  3. Defend: Damage becomes Stun if DV + Net Hits < Armor - AP. Roll Damage Resist Pool
    • If the Damage is less than or equal to the Armor - Attack AP the attack deals Stun damage. Otherwise, it deals Stun or Physical damage as normal. The Defender rolls to soak the damage with Body + Armor - Attack AP.
  4. Apply: Final damage is DV + Net Hits - Damage Resist Hits
    • Each hit on the soak roll reduces the damage taken by 1.
I may be gone, but the shadow community lives on!

Good luck and happy gaming everyone!!!

Last edited by Imveros; Mar 13th, 2019 at 05:24 PM.
Old Aug 26th, 2021, 02:02 PM
Imveros's Avatar
Imveros Imveros is offline
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Last Visit: Aug 30th, 2022
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Advice from fellow runners

Originally Posted by Davion View Post
A compilation of runner advice for those who are interested. Also includes all applicant responses to question #36. Feel free to add additional advice or new advice as you learn something in this game.

SR Advice

Originally Posted by Ace
"Always have a weapon near by. Keep as strong a firewall as you can afford on your commlink. Unless you are an uber hacker keep the coms out of your head so you can physically turn it off. Don't trust anyone".

Originally Posted by Kay
"Be paranoid. Seriously, be paranoid. Trust nobody but your closest friends and allies, and always expect danger everywhere."

Originally Posted by John Doe
"Don't. Just- Don't."

Originally Posted by Sinner
"Do not upset Mr. Johnson".

Originally Posted by Drake
"Find yourself a good team that you can trust. No-one can do everything and when things go wrong, and they will, you'll need some backup to drag your bleeding @ss out of the $hit.

Also the mercenary credo goes like this
1) Survive the job
2) Get paid
3) Try and leave the customer satisfied
Sure "the customer comes third" won't win you any friends with the johnsons but you don't need to play up that bit.

Never trust the Johnson. They'll always underpay, overwork, and if it looks like they can get away with it they'll screw you over in a nano.

And finally a lot of runners live or die by their Rep. Even before I became a Runner I knew something about them, Ares deals with them and fights against them as much if not more so than most corps. Those with a solid rep not only get more pay but they're less likely to get @#^^ed over."
Originally Posted by Blaze
"While blazing guns can be fun, it's possibly not all that effective other than a small distraction. Be sure to REALLY specialize in something and not try to be a jack of all trades; that just makes you weak and dead."
Originally Posted by Kaywinnet
"Learn from your mistakes, so long as they're not the kind that get you dead."
Originally Posted by Alexandria
"Always be able to fight (doesn't have to be a major investment, but does need to be an investment), always have at least 2 initiative passes (literally doubles your combat ability with very minor investment), always wear armor, never pick a fight, always use cover, don't piss off an insect spirit (or take spirit bane: insect spirits), never deal with a dragon, never trust an elf (and don't ever, EVER go to the Tir), geek the mage first, use more precautions than are necessary, don't insult a johnson, don't trust a johnson, don't cast magic on a johnson, don't play with a toxic anything, don't get caught, Don't ever EVER get caught by Aztlan, in fact avoid Aztlan as much as possible, and great dragons avoid great dragons to."

Originally Posted by Joseph Conrad
Get 3 IP's. If our group ever enters combat (given the alarming frequency of failed plans in Shadowrun this is likely) and you are stuck with only one IP, expect to be sitting on your hands for two thirds of the conflict. In a play-by-post game that is days in which you will not act. Nothing more boring then sitting on a side line for extended periods of time.

"Specialize. A shadowrun team is filled with specialists that preform their individual jobs well enough that the entire team can count on them to pull through. This leads to team play and for everyone to have an opportunity to be in the spotlight. Generalists who attempt everything will never be in the spotlight, and while they could help a specialist, they, by themselves, are rarely able to overcome a deficit in the team."
Originally Posted by Midnight
”You either know what you are doing, or you do not. If you have to ask for advice, you do not. Now just try not to get me killed.”

Stick to a plan
A well implemented but faulty plan is better than changing your plan constantly or wasting time trying to find the perfect plan. Unless the initial plan is fundamentally no longer possible, stick to it.
Check for tails
Is someone tailing you physically? Have you been electronically tagged? (Buy and use a jammer.) Is there a magical tail? (Search for one astrally. Have a mage chase off awakened pursuit. Shaman spirits can be ditched by changing domain (City to hearth or visa versa). Elementals can be ditched by fulfilling their task (good luck guessing) or be destroyed.) Is the person or thing you grabbed tagged in any of these ways?
Maintain a disposable hideout
You will eventually be tailed, bugged, or otherwise followed. When you are, you'll be happy your hideout is disposable.
Everyone should kick in for a low lifestyle apartment. Keep it lightly stocked with the below supplies. When in doubt for someplace to regroup, lay low, or whatever you need, use the hideout. When you're found, you can easily cut your loses and flee.
Since you might be trailed to your hideout and not realize it for several missions, change your hideout every single mission.
Be well equipped
Every team should have:
Communications Devices. Cell phones or radios for everyone (Ie, COMMLINKS!). You will eventually get separated, and these can be a lifesaver.
Medical Supplies. Stim patches and Trauma patches are a good start. You're Shadowrunners, you're going to be shot at, you're going to get hurt. Be ready for it. Even if you've got magical healing, sometimes it isn't enough. Have these available. And remember to avoid slapping a Trauma or Stim patch on an Awakened character if at all possible, they will not thank you for it.
Lots of Ammunition. Conserving ammo is a joke. You can always drop it later if you don't need it.
Fire or Acid. You're going to bleed in a fight. That blood can be used to target ritual magic on you. If someone has a ritual component for you, you're screwed. Before leaving any fight scene, burn the area. This also helps remove evidence that might lead to you. (This one really depends on your GM. Check if he thinks blood on the ground splattered during a fight is a reasonable ritual component before bothering with this.)
Provide Plausible Explanations
People want to see normal, boring things. Guards generally don't want to find shadowrunners. So if something odd happens, if they can possibly believe that something mundane happened they'll believe that.
For example, if you're slowly moving an outdoor security camera's point of view, bring a bird and a partial bird nest with you. If you're successful, put the nest on top of the camera. A guard curious about the shift in angle will see the partial nest and assume that the bird pushed it out of alignment. If you accidentally jerk the camera, stun the bird and leave it near the camera. The guard will assume that the bird smacked into the camera. Neither case is terribly plausible, but to the security guard it's more comforting than the thought that armed killers are wandering the premises.
Free Will Is the Weakest Link
No matter how much technology you throw at a problem, creatures with free will are the weakest link. Historically this meant just humans, but these days it includes meta-humans, spirits, and artificial intelligences. Beings with free will are suspectible to bribery, are lazy, become bored. Look for where humans enter the security system and you'll typically be looking at the weakest link.
Exploit Play
Locks have "play," a small amount of theoretically unnecessary movement. However, if you remove the play, the lock is so tight that it won't rotate at all, even for the legit key. This play is what allows lock picking to work. (Of course this isn't a norm to consider since Maglocks are more common.)
Most systems have play. Without some play systems typically break down. You absolutely, positively need ID to enter the building? What happens when someone steals your ID? How can you get into the building to get a new ID issued? Heck, how can you get in in the first place to get the ID? Any motion in the yard triggers an alarm? What about squirrels and birds? Absolutely uncrackable safe that can only be opened by a password memorized by the company's CEO? What happens when the CEO gets run over by a truck?
Seek out the edge cases and determine where a system needs play to cope with the real world. Then arrange exactly those circumstances.
Exploit Interactions
Security is a set of procedures and technologies. All of these taken together form a system. Typically a system's weakest point is where different procedures or technologies intersect. This is where you should strike. In particular, what happens when the procedure for dealing with shadowrunners intersects with other procedures.
For example, a corporation with a policy of clearing the building during a bomb threat has provided a handy way to clear the building. How would they respond to a shadowrun during a fire? During a gang war? A chemical spell?
Similarly, the autogun systems might be set up to not fire on authorized people, but to fire on unknown people. What happens with you use an authorized person as a body shield?
Create the worst possible set of circumstances for your opponents during a run. Most runners instinctively know this, but you'll be even more successful if you actively seek out opportunities.
It's worth considering that Identification, Authentication, and Authorization are actually separate problems and often represent separate procedures that with loopholes between them. Identification is usually the easiest to fake. Authentication might be as foolish as just looking at the (faked) ID badge, or might involve a cross check in a database (better have a decker). How are you authorized? Again, examination of credentials you can abuse, or a database check? Look to these weaknesses. Perhaps an ID from a contracted janitorial services company is the ID. The local business doesn't have direct access to the janitorial company's database, so they authenticate by examining the ID. Access to various parts of the building is encoded on the ID. You can make a fake ID to get access and encode it with bogus permissions to get where you want to be. (It is probably easier to buy a blackmarket fake ID, usually running just over a 1,000 per rating depending on how good your fixer is, and how cheap / expensive he is.) Keep in mind fake licenses for weapons! Restricted weapons can actually be carried if you have a license for them.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to a number of details. How thick and strong are the walls? If a grenade goes off, will you blow a hole in the wall or end up with chunky salsa. Either case has advantages and disadvantages. How may escape routes are there? Can you create new escape routes?
Rest Safely
It's not uncommon for a team to need to hole up somewhere. When you do, be sure to plan your sleep schedule in shifts in advance. Ideally have two team members awake at any given time, but always have someone awake and alert.
Find multiple escape routes, ideally including some unexpected ones. A window you can break open and toss a rope ladder out of on high floor is a good option. If the walls are thin enough, you may be able to blow a new entrance into an unexpected location.
Of course, every exit is an entrance you may need to defend. Set up cover to use if an entrance is used to attack you. Reinforce entrances. Cover windows so you're harder to snipe.
Confirm What the Johnson is Providing
Nail down every possible detail with your Johnson; you don't want to discover different expectations mid-run. Is the Johnson providing a safe-house? If you're guarding an event, did the Johnson vet the kitchen staff and guards, and how well did he do it? Can you be sure no one has joined the staff, possibly sneaking in since then?
Check the Weather
Runners don't generally get much of a window of opportunity for their runs. still, check the weather to ensure you're prepared for it. If you're lucky the weather might give you some advantages.
Truck Bombs
Truck bombs built on fertilizer are cheap, simple, and effective. They can be potent distractions, effective weapons for wetwork, or a way to create a new entrance into a building.
A cheap van can simply be stolen, but be careful to do your run before it is reported stolen. Airport long-term parking, especially in the cheap, distant, less secured area, is a traditional place to steal cars that won't be reported for a while; look for cars that arrived recently. You can check for recent arrivals by visiting twice and checking for new cars, or checking for dust, or checking the parking ticket if someone left it in the window.
The fertilizer will likely be harder, but fortunately it's needed in vast quantities making theft easy and a black market easy.
Loot Your Victims
If you have time, grab valuable items from your victims, even accidental or unexpected ones. In particular, corporate security may have high end weapons and armor that you can keep or sell. If you're in a CEO's office, grab any files or data disks you can; you might get lucky and get something you can resell.
Unsorted notes and ideas
* Hit the outside of a building you're interested in with a sticky bomb set to go off a few hours later. Let's say 10:00AM. Then call in a bomb threat at 9:55AM, warning of multiple bombs, with the first to go off in just a few minutes. The external bomb will convince them that it's a real threat and force an evacuation even though you haven't infiltrated the building. The building is now mostly vacant and there is general chaos, providing lots of opportunities.
* We have asbestos. Sure the Shadowrun world has similar, if not worse, problem. Show up as an emergency asbestos/nanite paint/whatever removal team. You may be able to bluff the front people into letting you into an important room, or perhaps one that is adjacent. Quickly put up plastic sheeting and warning signs. Now you've got a fair amount of time to commit your crimes. If someone pops by to investigate, tell them they can't come in for safety reasons. If they insist, hand them an ominous stack of legal paperwork in which they waive liability for cancer, UGE, lost wages, birth defects, medical expenses, and worse. If you're lucky, they'll be scared off.
I may be gone, but the shadow community lives on!

Good luck and happy gaming everyone!!!
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