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So what's your opinion on how 4th edition compares.

I have no experience with the previous ones.
I'm not sure why you would ask this question? Just curiousity, or do you have a purpose? Because if you already have SR4 and are playing it there really is little reason for you to regress to the prior version you do not know.
SR4 offers faster play in the opinion of most players. it also offers integrated rules for a wireless setting.

SR3 offers more realistic, complex play, and greater control of individual actions, all at the price of more bookkeeping. wireless rules are twisted and wonky, and require a hell of a lot of work on the part of the player.

SR2 offers the skill web. turn and run, now.

SR1 offers naked decking.

personal preference: none of the above, though i'll pick SR3 if a heavily-modified version of SR3 is not available.
Also, because it needs to be said, this topic, as you can probably guess has come up many many times, the board has a search function and it would be best to start there rather than making a new topic that covers no real new ground.

I'll look it up.

I'm asking because a friend of mine has Shadowrun previous editions and was curious to see if I should check them out.
If he has any of the settings books you most definately should check out some of the books. For example Threats 1/2, geographical locations like the Shadows of Xxxxx, and Shadowbeat all have some interesting color and setting information. For the most part it is independant of rules versions, although if you are worried about having really current information some of the stuff is dated.

Lonestar gives great setting infomation on law enforcement if you run in a city like Seattle. although it does things that are tied to previous rule versions it also has things like response times that you can pretty much use since the dice rolling are independant of anything else in the game (any versions).

The gear/rules books are less useful. Matrix, Combat Companion, Magic In The Shadows, Man & Machine, Rigger 3, etc. It does have some setting colour in it but it is largely tied to the rule mechanics. Someone that understands the SR3 rules, and that takes a while, could translate it across fairly easily. But I'm not sure how well it would work if you were just struggling to learn the rules. Much easier to just come here and borrow off the work of others (see the sticky post at the top of the board for conversions done so far).
here we go again. someone call the houngan, there is a zombie walking around downtown...
James McMurray
I'm curious about how long this one can go without being locked. There's that little sticky warning up top that draws a very strict line which I'm sure will eventually be crossed. This is Dumpshock after all. smile.gif

I prefer SR4 in most cases. The simpler dice system means I can pay more attention to the game and less to the rules. The removal of pools has sped up combat quite a bit in my experience. I'll go ahead and disagree with mfb on the realism differences. Making a game realistic depends more on the players then on the dice system being used. In some instances SR4 offers more realism, in others less.

It does have it's wonky bits. They're easy to fix, but require either a firm GM hand or a group that's willing to not use the loopholes. For examples do a search on longshot tests, zurich orbital (for the agents problem), and mind control.

Of those three mind control has been a problem in at least the last two editions. Longshot tests didn't exist before because different rules meant they weren't needed or even possible. But Karma Pool was the older version of edge and it came with it's own problems which were exaggerated at around the 6 karma mark (where you could reroll failures on a single test 3 times).

Agents weren't a problem in SR3 or earlier, but some things that don't exist in SR4 yet were problematic. Gun, Spell, and Vehicle creation rules could be twisted to make some sheer monstrosities. The steel lynx drone was as available as the one in SR4 but vastly more resistant to damage. Without some serious firepower one of those drones could wipe out entire security forces on its own (as long as there were no stairs to climb smile.gif ).

Overall both systems are about equal, with the winner being whichever version has the things you prefer. If you want smoother probabilities go with SR3. If you want faster play go with SR4. Everything else is fairly easy to convert except for the wireless world, but even that can be shoehorned into shape if needed.
Well I cut my teeth on roleplaying all together with 3rd edition, so it has a special place in my heart. But my personal preference, is fourth. And I'll tell you why (in a non-critical of other editions manor).

I like fourth edition because it's easier, and more fluid than previous editions. I know there is something to be said about realism, which SR3 has more so than 4th, but the fliud nature of the way I GM causes sticking points under 3rd. That's not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with third, far from it, some of the mechanics were very interesting, but it just doesn't mesh with my style of GMing.

Basically what it boils down to, how your group plays. Having never played or even seen 1rst or second edition I can't comment on them, but 4th edition is faster, and 3rd edition is more real.

Read the fucking stickies.

We don't talk about that, here.
If you read the stickies, you will see that you are allowed to talk about it, but keep it civil.

I Loved SR3 and really dig 4. It's time to move on though, and I bet SR4's simplified rules that attract some and repel others will eventually reach teh desired level of complicated with new sourcebooks to make everyone happy.
Yes, we can compare, if we're fair about it. Personally, and from a GM point of view, SR4 wins. Far easier to cope with, simply because there's so much less material to play rules-lawyer with.
If you don't get the story side of roleplaying then you are way way beyond salvation. IMO.
I also think the technological advances of SR4, AR and wireless in particular, were so so necessary.
the story side of roleplaying is just as accessible in a rules-heavy systems as a rules-light system. a powergaming player is going to try to powergame no matter what system is used; likewise, a player interested in roleplaying is going to do so no matter what system is used.
There I must disagree. There can come a point where the rules, the numbers, become the thing. And the story suffers. At least in my experience.
rules and numbers are easy to ignore, if they're becoming a problem.
James McMurray
Which means you're not playing a "rules heavy game."
Wasn't able to find the comparisons sadly but good stuff all round.
not at all, McMurray. it means that you are not utilizing all the rules. if the rules are there, you can choose to ignore them. if the rules are not there, you have to put in a hell of a lot of work to add them.
James McMurray
Sorry, I misread "rules heavy systems" as "rules heavy campaigns." With screwups on two threads in a row it's obvious that I shouldn't be allowed to post after having spent 4 hours in jail on an unpaid ticket and then taking medication that makes me sleepy. smile.gif G'night!
that's what happens when you don't have CP!
James McMurray
combat pool. your puny SR4 offers no protection against arrest. combat pool would save you from the police.

it's a joke, see. my sense of humor tends to show itself the most frequently at around 2am.
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