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As a newbie to Shadowrun starting out with 4th Edition, I'd like to ask a few questions.

1) Which gaming books and novels are a must for new Shadowrun players starting out with 4th Edition? ie: gamers that don't know anything about SR's past history/politics/geography etc.

2) Is Shadows of Asia mostly a geography/stat book or does it contain a lot of SR3 rules in it as well?

3)Is the main purpose of System Failure to provide info on which storylines are evolving from SR3 and which ones are being left to die on the vine? Does it provide a good set-up to SR4 or is it mostly for adapting SR3 players to the changed world of SR4?

Advice and info much appreciated!

SL James
1) Can't say. Reading System Failure it's almost as if they went out of their way to make that question irrelevant for now.

2) Yes to the former.

3) Yes. Sort of.
In general its a good idea to read the books for whatever area you plan to run in (Shadows of Asia, Europe, and so on). Even for a Seattle default setting its still a good idea to read Shadows of North America, Sprawl Survival Guide(definitely high on the list), New Seattle and Corporate Download. Perhaps Target: Awakened Lands, Dragons of the Sixth World (if you want to know about several dragon power-players), Year of the Comet (just to get some background on SURGE), and State of the Art: 2063.

I've not read many of the original novels but a few of my favorites are Ragnarock, The Terminus Experiment, The Dragon Heart Saga, Tails You Lose, Run Hard Die Fast, The Forever Drug, Steel Rain, and most certainly Wolf and Raven.

None of it is necessary by any means, but it helps to get a feel as well as gather general facts/rumors your character might know. Plus its just interesting to read many of them.
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