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> Thinking Of Starting To Play Shadowrun, Any good advice on what books to buy?
Nion
post Aug 18 2003, 06:37 PM
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Hi everybody!

I'm new here and I was wondering if anyone had any good advice on what books to buy. The online store I'm gonna buy from seems to have several different versions of a couple of the books (the matrix one especially). What are the newest versions of the "class" books? And are any books going to be obsolete in the near future? And what other books are good? I was considering Corporate Download and Target: Matrix. Are they any good? What others are good for a beginning GM/Group?

Thanks in advance,

Nion za'Nari
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TinkerGnome
post Aug 18 2003, 06:48 PM
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The books you want are the Shadowrun third edition core rulebook and the following to your group's taste:

Shadowrun Companion, 3rd edition (edges, flaws, point based char gen, expanded rules)
Magic in the Shadows (Magic, Shamanic totems, adept powers, spells)
Man & Machine (Cyberware, bioware, chemicals and drugs)
Cannon Companion (Guns, martial arts)
Matrix (the most current version of the decking rules)
Rigger 3 (vehicles and drones)

Following whichever of those you want, you can either start out with a setting like New Seattle, or go with a module of adventures. I've heard good things about First Run, which, I think, is geared toward begining characters. While I liked Target: Matrix a lot, you probably don't want it till later (it's 90% flavor, 10% rules... and even that 10% isn't that useful without the regular Matrix book first).

Check out the shadowrun web page for a more complete list of the current books.
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Artemus
post Aug 18 2003, 06:53 PM
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I have just recently started playing Shadowrun also. Besides the core book, I would recommend the Cannon Companion (advanced combat rules), Magic in the Shadows (advanced magic rules), and if you are interested in making more in depth characters the Shadowrun Companion. I haven't found any copies of Man and Machine (the advanced Cyberware rules). I have stayed away from Decking (Matrix books) mainly because I felt overwhelmed with just the magic and combat rules as is.
I have the Corporate Download and even though it is a nice book it is not a must for a beginner, it's about the mega corporations and mostly provided me with ideas for adventures and it also provides some rules for roleplaying the megas.
I would check, but as far as I know only Rigger 3 is due to be edited in the new reprinting.
Hope this helps.


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Dak
post Aug 18 2003, 06:57 PM
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I'd recommend the Shadowrun Companion and New Seattle (if you intend to run there, its a great resource). Other books like Cannon Companion, Man and Machine, Magic in the Shadows etc are great books, but I'd really recommend starting simple. Despite having played Shadowrun off and on for the past few years (mostly off) I'm still rather a newbie, and so am easily overwhelmed with the plethora of rules, tables, modifiers, etc. These other books introduce new material which both adds to the game and (IMO) makes it more complicated.

There is no reason in my opinion that you can not run a great Shadowrun game just from the core Shadowrun 3 book.
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Nion
post Aug 18 2003, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for the info.

How long would I have to wait to get the revised version of Rigger 3, and how much will change? And I kinda like the Shadowrun setting so I wouldn't be against buying a book just for the flavour text. :D

Nion za'Nari
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Adam
post Aug 18 2003, 07:07 PM
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Rigger 3 Revised is at the printers right now, and should be in stores during September.
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Synner
post Aug 18 2003, 07:10 PM
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In which case I seriously suggest you try getting the new "Sprawl Survival Guide". It's the SR lifestyle book people have been waiting for for ages and it includes a nice in game primer for beginners in the Shadows in the form of the "Life on the Run" chapter.

"Corp Download" is a must have to get the lowdown on the 10 megacorps.

"New Seattle" is the prime location book and default setting for many SR games.

"Shadows of North America" introduces (or in many cases updates) the information available on all the myriad nations of the North American continent.

As to "Rigger 3 Revised" some stuff has been reworked but apparently none of the major rules, meaning that you don't have to get it if you have the previous version but if you're a first time buyer or completist you should wait a little longer.
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RedKnightSpecial
post Aug 18 2003, 08:49 PM
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The SR rules are kinda hard to get used to at first. I wouldn't bog myself down with too much if I were you. Get the main rulebook, and the SR Companion if you want some better character creation rules. Then, if you want to make more detailed magic-types (you probobly will) get Magic in the Shadows. After that it's up to you. Good luck and have fun!
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 18 2003, 10:18 PM
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If you're new to roleplaying in general, consider possibly getting the SSG after the first few books. If not, as much as I hate to argue against one of the authors, I would advise against getting the SSG for quite some time, as while it is a wonderful book, it is IMO far from a must-have or even a should-have. The core SR3 rulebook, the SRCompanion, Man and Machine, and Cannon Companion are what you should be looking at first (I got Matrix immediately after I got the core book, but that's because I love deckers; not everyone does); after that look at books like Magic in the Shadows, Matrix, and Rigger 3. Proceed from there to stuff relevant to your campaign: New Seattle if you're playing in Seattle in the 2060s, the original Seattle book (if you can find it) if you're playing Seattle in the early 2050s, Target: Awakened Lands if you happen to be in a group that hangs out with the kangaroos, etc. SSG should come somewhere mid to late in this section, as it's a beautiful way to add flavour to a game that already has everything else laid out. Plus the fact that the detailed lifestyle rules tend to be a lot more necessary after the players have made a few enemies :vegm:

~J
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Lilt
post Aug 19 2003, 01:30 AM
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I'd say the usefulness of the SSG varies depending on how much shadowrun background (and similare genre'd backgrounds) you know already. If you don't know much yet then reading the SSG can be invaluable. Then again; so can reading any relevant Target:* books.

For new SR players I'd classify the SSG as a should-have book. It summarises much of the background for generic urban shadowrunning settings, skims over major world cities and transport, and has an extended account of a corp-nurtured character starting-out in the shadows. All of them are useful (& fairly good reads) especially for players who don't know the SR world very well.
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SCLariat
post Aug 19 2003, 03:07 AM
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I echo the comments about Sprawl Survival Guide (SSG)...if you're new to SR, its a must have if only to get a "feel" for the world. The SRComp is a good book to pick up if only to use the GM section in the back.

If you can find them on eBay or at a gaming store, I strongly urge to look for these old books: the original Seattle Sourcebook (super detailed info on Seattle...the new book pales in comparison); Corporate Shadowfiles (Corp Download also pales in comparison... I used Corp Shadowfiles as a primer for my Corporations class in law school...and made a B+); and Sprawl Sites (the "must have" old school book...tons of random plot hooks, location archetypes, map, etc.)

Outside of books, there are some movies in the same genre which you should also check out. There's the grand daddy of the all: Blade Runner. My SR world is drawn heavily from Blade Runner: its dark, depressing, and raining all of the freakin' time. Other good genre movies include Strange Days, Dark City, and of course The Matrix. Depending on your style, you may want to soak in Mission Impossible, MI:2, The Saint, and most of the Bond movies if you're setting up a government/covert ops feel.

Through the miracles of CD burners, I've developed a soundtrack for my game. I use Rob Zombie's Dragula (specifically the remix from the Matrix) or Oakenfeld's "Dread Rock" from Reloaded as good club music. The Mona Lisa Overdrive (the music behind the interstate chase scene in Reloaded) or Saliva's remake of the Spy Hunter theme from the the Game Cube Spy Hunter game is good Rigger music. Propellerheads' "Spybreak" (the Matrix lobby scene music) is good for gun fights; my decker's theme music is the Charlie Brown themesong (go fig).

My other piece of advice is "Keep copious notes." I learned that lesson the hard way, but it helps keep variety in games. That way you never hear "What....a snatch & grab again?!?" It also very handy in keeping track of enemies your players may make. My operating philosophy on that is "Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate."
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Playing Games
post Aug 19 2003, 04:12 AM
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Well, here is wha ti say you should get.. the book, paper, and or data files with any words about shadowrun on it. Go forht and get those books with words inand or on them..Get the ones with ink, and you shall be happy.

Wellr eally just have fun, get the books the toehrs have said and read themm..But most of all have fun!
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DV8
post Aug 19 2003, 08:17 AM
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QUOTE (Nion)
I'm new here and I was wondering if anyone had any good advice on what books to buy.

Nion, honestly, don't buy anything but the main book. Really, it's more than enough, don't let these fan-boys and -girls trick you into buying anything before having started your game. Buy stuff as you go along, then you'll also get a fair impression of what you want to have, instead of what people tell you that you should have.
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Synner
post Aug 19 2003, 09:32 AM
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He did ask :P
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DV8
post Aug 19 2003, 09:47 AM
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Damn you and your Devil logic!
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JongWK
post Aug 19 2003, 02:34 PM
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Shadowrun 3rd Edition - The Big Black Book as you will come to know it is essential. Try getting the new 12th Printing (straight from Shadowrunrpg.com) as it has all the current errata included.

Shadowrun Companion - Expanded character rules for players PLUS some great aid for GMs (it will help you to create runs and set payment, for example), . Do get this book after the BBB and before any other, but make sure it is the one with the pink-headed archer in the cover (there is an older 2nd Edition version with a huge troll instead).

SR3 GM Screen - A handy tool for you. It also includes the Critters book.

After that it depends on your group's tastes:

Basic Books are:
Magic in the Shadows (best.magic.book.ever in the RPG world),
Cannon Companion (not only guns and advanced combat rules, but some nice gear too),
Man and Machine (cyberware, bioware, nanoware, chemicals, advanced rules, etc. Also, rules to create cyberzombies to scare the hell out of your players),
Rigger 3 Revised (wait until September for tons of vehicles, drones, rules, etc.),
Matrix (rather self explanatory... if somebody plans to play a decker in your group make sure you get this book, as it is of enourmous help for both GMs and players).

After that is all about setting and adventures for your game (choose what you like), I'll give a few suggestions fro beginners:

First Run: Good book. 3 adventures that increase in complexity and detail, perfect for starting parties.

New Seattle: I'm putting it second because you DO have some basic info in the BBB. Updated (2060) information, ideas and rules for the default setting for the game. The older (2050, I think) has much more information and flavor, but it IS very old and hard to get, IIRC.

Sprawl Survival Guide: Haven't got it (yet), but people seem to agree that it is a good book, especially for beginners.

Shadows of North America: Everything about the continent's countries (except for Aztlan and Trans-Polar Aleut). Good if you want some trips or more information for characters ("yeah, my character is a former Sioux Wildcat"). BTW, Shadows of Europe is coming out next month (shameless advertisement).

Hope that helps,
JongWK
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Nion
post Aug 19 2003, 05:44 PM
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Thanks for all the great input. (I'm not buying the books for another month or so because someone, somewhere fucked up, and I'm not getting paid for working this summer until next month)

BTW, does anyone have any idea why all of a sudden all the pics on this site are missing?

Nion za'Nari
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Abstruse
post Aug 19 2003, 06:12 PM
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Here's the books you need to get.

The Core Rulebook, Shadowrun 3rd Edition, most current printing you can.

That's it. That one book has the rules for magic, rigging, decking, cyber, combat, guns, character generation, gamemastering, and background info on the setting. I'd say give yourself at least a month or two in order to digest this one hefty little book before you even worry about what else to get. Besides, the main rulebook is all you need to play and it's better to spend $30 and realize that Shadowrun's not for you than to spend $150.

After you get through the main book and play a few games, you'll know what else you need. Everything's pretty self-explanatory, and http://www.shadowrunrpg.com has nice descriptions of all the third edition books.

If you really are wanting to jump off the deep end with Shadowrun and know it's for you, then go ahead and buy all the books you can. They're all well-written and almost all of them have information and rules you can use. Just don't bog yourself down at first with trying to throw every advanced optional rule, esp. if both you and your players are new to Shadowrun.

One thing no one's mentioned yet (surprisingly) is the Gamemaster's Screen. This is INVALUABLE during gameplay because it takes tons of tables spread throughout the sourcebook in one place you're staring at most of the game. Plus it comes with the Critters book which has stats on the various paranormal animals.

Some older books you might want to pick up are the Patterson's Guide to Paranormal Animals books -- both the North America and Europe versions. Shadowtech and the old Street Samurai Catalog have been replaced by Man and Machine, but one thing they have that M&M doesn't is the shadowtalk sections where characters from the setting throw their two cents in on all the equipment in the books.

Sprawl Sites is great for starting GMs too because it has a HUGE list of random encounters, NPC lists, and other stuff that's useful. Awakenings and Cybertechnology have both been replaced by Magic in the Shadows and M&M respectively, but the old books again have shadowtalk sections, and Cybertechnology especially has lots of background info on how cyberware affects a character. Hatchetman's story at the beginning is perfect.

Again though, I would like to reiterate that you're looking at a tidy sum of money if you start buying tons of books. All you need to start playing is the core rulebook. It has all the rules and info you'll need to start out. MitS, M&M, the Companion, the Canon Companion, Matrix, and Rigger 3 expands all this greatly, but it is definately not needed to play and will probably only either bog you down or confuse you further with extra rules when you're starting out. If you REALLY absolutely HAVE to get more than one book though, I'd suggest Man and Machine. New players love cyberware.

The Abstruse One

aka The Long-Winded One :P
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Fortune
post Aug 19 2003, 06:39 PM
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QUOTE (Nion)
BTW, does anyone have any idea why all of a sudden all the pics on this site are missing?

What 'pics' are you referring to?
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DV8
post Aug 20 2003, 07:25 AM
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Some of the button and new post graphics don't load for me sometimes.
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JongWK
post Aug 20 2003, 04:24 PM
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QUOTE (Abstruse)
One thing no one's mentioned yet (surprisingly) is the Gamemaster's Screen. This is INVALUABLE during gameplay because it takes tons of tables spread throughout the sourcebook in one place you're staring at most of the game. Plus it comes with the Critters book which has stats on the various paranormal animals.

Err, no one? (points out to previous post) :P
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Lucyfersam
post Aug 21 2003, 09:49 PM
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I have to agree with those that say just get the basic book for starters. Once the campaign starts to develop and people know what specific things they are interested in, start getting the other books and looking at some of the advanced rules. I know a lot of people who look at Shadowrun and think "that's way to complicated to get into" largely because I own virtually every book and use all of them, but if you start with just the basic (as I did oh so many years ago), then it's fairly straightforward and easy to get into. Once you've started playing come back and read through this thread again to see what you might want to enrich your game world and allow for you players to add more depth to their characters.
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mckay421
post Aug 22 2003, 02:29 AM
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There are plenty of excellent Shadowrun sites to check out on the net that have reams of quality material here are a few to get you started...

Wordman's Shadowrun Web Page
Want some COOL character sheets? Here ya go.

The Shadowrun Supplemental
A very high quality Shadowrun Magazine...I don't think that it is fair to call it a Fanzine at this stage. I really love the Shadowrun Random Atmosphere Generator in Issue 9.

Shadowrun and Firearms
A cool site in general...and certainly a great place for learning about Shadowrun and Firearms. ;)

Fan Pro's Official Shadowrun Page
Newbie Node has the Shadowrun Timeline, Slang Guide, and Introductory Products.
FAQ section covers just that...questions and answers from everything in the Shadows...combat, rigging, decking, magic, and more.

Red Skull Plaza
Check out the Library Section. ;)

Blackjack's Shadowrun Web Page
In Maps & Images section you will find a treasure trove of black and white satellite photos that are great for handouts!
In the Sheets and Tables section resides the Random Tables...for just about EVERYTHING!!!

Like I said...these are just a few...but there is plenty of stuff to get you going from these great sites!!!

All the best...
John
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