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The Pat
Where this is coming from …
Shadowrun has always been a game with a very inspiring and interesting setting and has captured my imagination from first edition on. Unfortunately the rules engine did not manage to keep up with the quality of the setting itself.
Further editions have improved the rules system, with the most notable improvements coming with the change to 4th edition Shadowrun. Nevertheless, the current system still is far from optimal:
- Rules are to complex and not easily accessible for new players
- Some loopholes allow for very unbalanced characters
- Far too many dices have to be rolled, especially during combat, where the current rules are often counter-productive to an atmosphere of fast and exciting action
- Different resolution systems still exist for different types of tasks and challenges
In my point of view, part of these problems is attached to some “holy cows? carried over from the 1st Shadowrun edition. The rules system can only be significantly improved by getting rid of these “holy cows?, among them the basic underlying resolution mechanism.

Where this is going to …
The objective of this draft is to establish a new rules system for Shadowrun. This includes a totally “whiteboard“-approach to the underlying game principles. It is not about fixing a broken system, but building a new one to replace it. The final rules should lead to the following results:
- Reduced complexity of the rules
- Faster resolution of tasks/checks at the game table
- Less dice-rolling and more role-playing
- Easier live for the Gamemaster (far less dice rolls during play, easier preparation time)
So this draft is mostly about “rules?, not about setting and “fluff?. I have taken the liberty to change setting features where they lead to unbalanced characters and/or instances where some players are just forced out off the game for some time. This includes multiple initiative passes and astral projection.

The following postings will follow the organization of the main rule book. Basically I will translate the game information there into the new rules system. As mentioned above, any setting information will not be posted here.
If you would like to post any comments or questions, please try to organize them in accordance with this structure.

I look forward to a lively discussion.

The Pat
The Pat
Game Concepts – Success Tests

The new system uses 10-sided dices. Two dices are required for each roll. A “0? is counted as a ten. The dices (2d10) are added up whenever a test is required.

Making tests
Whenever the result of a task is questionable, the player rolls 2d10 and adds an attribute score (usually between -2 and +5) and his skill level (somewhere between 0 and 15). Sometimes additional modifiers are added to or subtracted from the roll. The objective is to roll as high as possible.

Target number and grade of success
Every task/roll has a difficulty (“target number?/TN) set by the Gamemaster. It typically ranges from 10 (easy) to 30 (extremely hard). If the roll (after including all potential modifiers) is equal to or higher than the target number, the task succeeds.

Whenever the grade of success is relevant, simply calculate the difference between the final result and the target number (if the roll equals the target number treat it as a grade of success of “0? – a marginal success).

Whenever you roll a “1? on both d10s, a Glitch occurs. If the roll still beats the TN, it is a normal glitch coming with the success. If it misses the target number, it is considered a critical glitch. The outcome of glitches and critical glitches is decided by the Gamemaster according to the guidelines given in the Core Rule Book.

Opposed tests
In an opposed test both sides make a test and the higher result “wins? with grades of success equal to the difference between the rolls. A draw should be either taken as a marginal success by the players character (if the opposing side is a NPC) or a draw to be repeated.

To make life easier for the GM, NPC rolls can be considered to come up as a fixed “11? instead of rolling 2d10. Especially during combat this helps to speed the game up, leaves the element of chance in the player hands and dice and leaves room and time for the GM to concentrate on setting an exciting atmosphere.

Extended Tests
An extended test is defined by the “interval? as in the Core Rule Book, the TN that has to be beaten with each test and the grades of success that need to be accumulated over a number of tests.

Teamwork Test
In a teamwork test each “helper? first makes a test. If successful, he may contribute half of his grades of success (rounded down) as a positive modifier to the main person for this test. If a helper fails, this leads to a negative modifier of -1 for the main person.
The Pat
Success Tests - The math behind it

To give you a better feeling for the propability behind the dice mechanism, the follwoing table shows the propability for a successful test with different TN and different levels of skill. This table assumes an attribute modifier of "0" and excludes any other situational modifiers:

Difficulty/TN Untrained (Skill 0) Trained (Skill 5) Expert (Skill 10) Master (Skill 15)
Easy (10) 64% / 94% / 99% / 99%
Moderate (15) 21% / 64% / 94% / 99%
Hard (20) 01% / 21% / 64% / 94%
Very Hard (25) 00% / 01% / 21% / 64%
Extreme (30) 00% / 00% / 01% / 21%

Reading example: An expert (skill 10) has a 64% chance to succeed at a hard task (TN 20), while a master has chance of 94%.

Please note that the different skill levels are just examples. Characters can have any skill levels between 0 and 15 and teh TN does not have to be fixed to intervals of 5.
The Pat
Combat turns
Whenever a situation of conflict arises, the action is broken down into combat turns. A combat turn is a short period of time (about 1 second) in which a character may move and/or take one action. Some actions require multiple rounds to complete.

All powers (e.g. adept powers) and gadgets (bioware, cyberware etc.) that allow multiple actions per round (Initiative Passes/IP in the Core Rules) are excluded from the game!.

Great uproar from old-timer Shadowrun players, but let me give you my reasons behind this decision:

Multiple IPs are a great unbalancing factor in terms of character power (4 IPs just make almost as powerful as four similar characters with 1 IP). But the main unbalancing factor is that multiple IPs exclude some players from most of the game in combat situations. Your “uncybered? private eye takes his action and then the player goes over to the TV for a short episode of his favorite show while all the IP-monsters in the group each take 3 additional actions to mow down the opposition.

One could argue that such a character will have other opportunites to shine (e.g. social interaction, other skill checks), but a) Shadowrun is just a combat oriented setting/game and b) in gaming time combat uses up more time than the usual skill check.

Feel free to still include multiple IPs in your game – you can still use this alternative rules system. But from our gamin experience multiple IPs just lead to either the above demotivated player or to all characters somehow having 3-4 IPs. Then the Gamemaster needs to have opposition with equal IPs or just more enemies in a fight, which will lead to inflation of power levels in a setting that is not always logical in accordance to the setting.

First, the Fourth Edition system is simple to learn and use. While it does have some flaws, this is not one of them. If you make it simpler, you will likely reach a point where it detracts from the game (see D&D).

Second, you are basically trying to convert it to a d20 variant. Enough said.

Third, Initiative Passes are very potent in combat, but that is much the point. Shadowrun is not a purely combat oriented game. In fact, saying so is outright false. The game makes significant use of social interaction, legwork, investigation, etc. The vast majority of most games is not combat, but rather trying to avoid combat.

As I said, the rules as written do have some problems, but the vast majority of these can be solved by simply changing a few numbers. A few small sections (particularly related to the Matrix, which your system does not address at all) need revisions or rewrites, but are still playable as currently written.

Finally, there is a Community Projects section of this forum, & this is not it.
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Dec 30 2008, 04:38 AM) *

If you make it simpler, you will likely reach a point where it detracts from the game (see D&D).

Second, you are basically trying to convert it to a d20 variant. Enough said.

Whoa there Muspellsheimr, there is nothing wrong with D&D or d20. Let's face it, d20 and D&D is a MUCH larger business than Shadowrun will be for quite the foreseeable future. I don't know why everybody hates it, but damn it, it IS the benchmark for a successful game system. It's been around for 30 years and it's sold very well. Shadowrun is nice and I love the concept (some of the fluff gets to me, but...), but I hate the holier-than-thou attitude of some of the Dumpshockers here.
Interesting idea - although I like the Shadowrun system just fine the way it is.

What you've given is a synopsis of the core mechanic, but I'd like to see more examples of it being used, or how characters are generated.

QUOTE (The Pat @ Dec 30 2008, 04:01 AM) *
Making tests
Whenever the result of a task is questionable, the player rolls 2d10 and adds an attribute score (usually between -2 and +5) and his skill level (somewhere between 0 and 15). Sometimes additional modifiers are added to or subtracted from the roll. The objective is to roll as high as possible.

This is the only part that seems odd to me. It seems MORE complicated, not less. Why would you have negative attributes? And why would they have a 7-point spread while skills have a 15 point spread?

I'm *guessing* that you want 0 to be a baseline character (average) which would equal a 3 in SR4.
So, a character who would have a Body 1 in SR4 (the poor bastard) would have a body of -2 in your system.
As for skills, I'm not sure why yours goes up to 15.

In any case, I'm not a fan of negative numbers (except dice pool penalties).


I know you're not trying to FIX anything, and want to remake it, instead - but I'll offer this advice, anyway, because it might be a much easier way of getting what you want.

What it LOOKS like you're trying to do is simply limit the number of dice rolled ... so you take some token random seed (the 2d10, which is weighted towards the middle) and then effectively add your dicepool to that. The TNs are pretty much just thresholds that are 3 or 4 times as high (plus 6).... so rather than comparing your hits to a threshold number, you're comparing your total number of dice to a higher number to see if it would have been likely for you to succeed.

You could get something similar if you just used the SR4 system, but rather than rolling dice, just have everyone buy successes all of the time. Also, rather than making 4 dice = 1 hit, make it 3 (which is statistically more accurate - ignoring glitches for the moment). Then, whatever remainder remains (which will only be 1 or 2 dice) becomes the amount the character physically rolls in an attempt to get lucky and get an extra hit.

Then, you don't have to go making up TNs for everything in the game - you can just use the thresholds that are already there. The game should play pretty close to the same as the method you've suggested, and the only thing lost in the shuffle is the probabilities for glitches and critical glitches, which you would pretty much just have to throw out the window.

You could replace them with something like, "every 1 rolled on your 1 or 2 remainder dice takes away one success from your bought successes" - *shrugs*

Still, if the sheer number of dice is the main thing thats bothering you, this might not be a bad way to go about it. It would keep most of the mechanics intact.

Your only other complaint is "brokenness" which you've only addressed by taking away any form of getting more than 1 IP. If you wanted, there's nothing stoppnig you from just removing those powers and items from the game. That's effectively what you're doing anyway, even if you rebuild the mechanic for rolling dice (which has nothing to do with how many actions you get in a round).
I never understood that drastic changes to rule sets. Now i have changed lots of rules in my games, but never to this limit. I used to co-dm D&D (hides) and my co-dm wanted to change 4e rules so drastically i finally asked him why are we playing d&d anyways. Well he said because he has always played d&d. This blew my mind, the fact that you play a game even though you hate the system because "you always have".

My advice to you is give Shadowrun a chance and don't try to change it into a WoD or whatnot spin off. If you like the fluff but not the rules, address the specific problems about it rather then creating some draconian rule change. If that doesn't work for you, well just transplant the fluff onto another system. Alot of times it makes it much easier just to use another game system then to completely change the one you are playing.

On that note, a lot of the game revolves around the number 6 and you have to really look into what else will be effected by doing this. How will magic be affect, essence, karma spending, skills, races, cyber and bio, build test, matrix.... its alot to work with.

My advice (as someone who has been where you are now) start small and work your way up. Don't like something change it alittle bit, and see how it plays, and change it some more if you aren't satisfied. And remember, please ask your players with concern with massive rules change, don't just tell them.

my 2 nuyen.gif
I must admit, I like the math behind it. Those probabilities seem right on for a game that I'd like to play. The only thing is, I don't know what the math is for the current system. Does anyone have that at hand? If not, then its hard to say whether the change being suggested is helping or hurting things...

As to the multiple IPs, I've seen the IP chase in my games and that started everyone out with 3IPs. I think in our later games, our mage ran with 4IPs. Now if the IP race is an issue, I don't see why the GM doesn't limit characters to 1 or 2 IPs at chargen and then keep goons from handing over IP ware during play. I always found it easier to lessen the ware on my goons and instead use edge to bump up the IPs. That kept my players challenged, but when it came down to loot some gear, they found there were no upgrades...

I still get the sense around DSF that people under utilize using edge to bump IPs...
The Pat
Feedback on posts up this point

Thank you all for your input. To reply to some of your points:

1) @all)This is an ongoing thread, so I will cover character creation, matrix, combat and so on at a later stage. As I said in my first post, I will follow the structure of the Core Rule Book. So my previouse posts are by a long shot not the complete new rules.

2) (@all) The basic mechanism is equal to D&D/D20 only in that you add modifiers to your roll and try to beat a target number. That is where any analogy stops. This will become more apparent in later parts of the rules.

3) (@all) Rereading my posts I admit that it reads like Shadowrun being very combat oriented. I have to rephrase that: Shadowrun stories usually include a wide variety of social tasks, interaction, mystery solving ... and combat. But - partly because of the current rules - combat takes up a very large part of "game time". Yes, I have run several Shadowrun sessions without ANY combat, but when combat occurs it usually takes very long to resolve.

4) (@all) Yes, complexity has been reduced from earlier editions, but for our groups taste it is still to complex. We have tried tp fix up some parts "within the system" but have now decided to try a more radical approach.

5) (@Muspellsheimr) Having played a vast range of RPGs over the last 25 years I have never felt that reduced complexity detracts from the game. If a simple system still gives you enough options to play the kind of character you want to play. I agree with your thought on D&D 4E, but this is another topic for another day or thread or even forum wink.gif

6) [@Cang) We have played SR with existing rules throughout all editions. You can work with them, you can live with them, but - at least to us - you can come up with lots of issues with them. I konw people who do not play the game because of the rules, so take this thread as an attempt to recapture these people.

7) (@Blackhat) Thanks for the very specific feedback. I feel like there should be a wider spread on skill levels than on attribute levels, therefore I have a wider spread here. This also addresses the current SR-oddiness that a pro in a skill (lets say skill-level 7) and someone who knows only the basics (skill-level 1) will usually only be 2 successes apart. I have used your "always buy successes" suggestion for NPCs in my latest Shadowrun games. While it reduces the number of dices rolled it does not reduce the number of rolls being made significantly. At a later stage (combat chapter) you will se that my suggested rules significantly reduces this number.

I expect a lot of feedback in terms of "Why change it at all?" - Since I have already set my mind on changing it, any specific feedback on the proposed rules would be even more helpful twirl.gif

CU around,

The Pat
The Pat

I do not attempt to convert anyone from the current rules system to this alternative system. If SR 4 work fine for you that is just great.

Since it does not work for our group, I am doing this exercise- I have decided to post it here to get some feedback from other experienced SR players. If anything you find here suits your taste and game style feel free to take it to your gaming table. If not, I still look forward to any constructive feedback.

The Pat
The Pat
Creating a Shadowrunner

While the 400 BP creation approach offers a wide choice and flexibility to players, it seems overwhelming especially for new SR players. Most people on these forums will be able to create a new character very quickly, but it seems easier to get the elephant through the door piece by piece.
So here is the step by step guide for character creation (after deciding on a character concept of course).

Distribute Primary Attributes
Each character has 10 points to distribute between the 8 core physical and mental attributes. Each value should be between -1 and +3. If you assign a value of “-1? this adds one point to your pool of point to distribute. A value of „0“ is average for a human, a value of +3 is maximum for a human and a value of -1 is below average. There are humans with lower values, but the player should discuss with the GM if he really should assign a value of “-2?, which would be far below human average.

Distribute Secondary Attributes
Next the character needs to distribute 7 points among the secondary attributes magic, resonance, edge and “capacity?. Each value needs to be between 0 and 6, with the exception of edge which needs at least a value of 1.

“Capacity? [please come up with a better name for it!!!] describes how much cyberware and/ or bioware a characters body can handle. During character creation a character will get enough basic ware (no Alpha-Ware etc.) with an availability up to 12 to fill up this “capacity? for free.

Design note: I have decided to include this attribute as a way to make cyberware usage not only a question of available money to spend. Since cyberware can very much define a character, I feel it should be linked to an attribute.

If magic and/or resonance are “0? at character creation, the character cannot buy point in these attributes at any later stage.

Initiative still equals reaction + intuition.

Apply Metatype changes
According to the Metatype, the following changes need to be applied:
Human: Edge+1
Ork: Bod+2, Str+1, Cha-1, Log-1
Troll: Bod+3, Str+3, Cha-2, Log-1, Agi-1, Int-1
Dwarf: Bod+1, Str+1, Wil+1, Agi-1, Rea-1
Elf: Agi+1, Rea+1, Bod-1

These changes may take the attribute outside of the range of -1 to +3.

Racial vision abilities and the Dwarfs ability to resist toxins are still included in these rules. I have decided to leave out the extra reach and the natural armor of the troll, as these factors seem to make this metatype too powerful (design option: leave these, but give the Troll less free points for final distribution)

To be continued with skills …

I also think that the SR rules work quite well, and I would rather streamline the rules (Alternate Combat on BBB p. 69 comes to mind) than redo the whole system. The problem of big piles of dice is also easily evaded by using electronic dice rollers, though I understand people who want to stick with real dice. That being said, you seem to have a good thing going for those who think a conversion is needed. I've seen (and used, shortly) a very well done GURPS conversion of the SR ruleset by Torben Nehmer, which did pretty much the same thing. There seems to be a demand for this kind of conversions.

I'll wait till you have a bit more of the rules written down, before getting into specifics. A couple of quick thoughts...

It's probably just that I've played more SR than d20, but the SR4 system seems to be a lot easier to eyeball, in order to decide how good your chances are with a particular action, and plan your moves accordingly - especially if you buy successes. Less dice throwing for sure, but is 2d10 really simpler? I guess we'll see when you go on.

Also, maybe it doesn't matter but atm skill level doesn't help you with glitches (the probability of a glitch is always the same), which strikes me as a bit odd.

There allready exists a(German) fan based SR-D20 System.Not by Me but I can give a Link if desired

The Pat,

I will withhold final judgement until I see more. Perhaps you can ask an admin to move this into the Community Projects thread?

OK, now for feedback:

1. Glitches always have the same chance of happening. Always. That seems odd.

2. Critical glitches only affect the inexperienced. If that is what you want, then fine. Otherwise .... ?

3. Stripping out the IP adding 'ware nueters a part of the setting. Period. You can call it like you see it but the source material that went into SR had people with amazing speed. So much so, that other were basically standing there with their mouth open until their head hit the floor.

4. Nitpick - If Edge must have a value of one, give them that point. Take the remainder down from 7 to 6 if you must.

5. Keep in mind that if I want a mage with high Edge and high Magic, it is impossible in your system. Not necessarily a bad thing but consider the implications.

6. You could stick with Essence as the alternate name for Capacity, unless you have other plans for Essence. In which case I would suggest Adaptation.

7. Negative number make most people I play with cry. I'm not saying it's logical - it's not - but they don't like them.

Well, that's enough for now.
one of my friends made a system similar to this. it worked very well. games were quick and smooth. i look forward to more of this.
There are several ways this can be done...
...But the main things to consider are is this an attempt to convert SR to a 2d10 system or create a 2d10 system and use the SR background.

I have done a bit of work on 2d10 rules in a Near Future setting, a brief version that needs serious updating and more info is available on my website.

I'm not at my computer at the moment, but will provide more info and discussion later.
Inventing a new system for SR is bit odd methinks. Using an existing system would make more sense as there are lots of other systems that people already know. Coming up with a completely new system doesn't make it more easy for newcomers, unless the new system is really simple (which the system as far as I can see isn't). For conversion, I'd go for either Basic Role Playing or Unisystem. Both are simple enough and intuitive enough for people to "get" right from the start. The thing in SR is, it's not suppose to be fast, easy and simple to make a new character but instead make a complex character with just more than "strong and can hit stuff"-character. For the most simple system I've seen is probably Cinematic Unisystem. Buy few attributes, few skills, couple of qualities and gear. That's it.

Yes, SR has it's... strangenesses, as ANY rpg system. It's not the easiest for newcomers, but hey, the whole concept of SR isn't for newcomers. You gotta think on three levels all the time (meat world, astral and matrix) which gives a LOT more to think vs. most other games. I would never consider SR to be the first rpg for someone who is totally new to roleplaying. SR is too far from "normal world" so it isn't something one can just jump into. It's a rich, complex and dangerous world with enough stuff to fill up more than one book. I don't mean that if the world is complex enough, it would need overly complex rules to go with, but the ruleset of SR is still better than average and surely versatile enough for the game.

One thing on the rules did stick to my eyes: something being "too powerful". I always thought that balance on role playing games is not an issue as long as it's not PvP (or CvC, but mostly it still goes to PvP). People aren't equal so why should every character be equal in power? Yes, it's not fun to be weak or dumb or poor but that's the whole idea of role playing: one can be someone else smile.gif It's up to the GM to make the most powerful character feel sometimes weak if he is out of his element. One can't make a character that is good at everything in any game.

But if one likes to make new rules just for sake of making new rules, enjoy biggrin.gif I'll just stick to changing all d20 systems to brp that I need wink.gif
I think I would just use some mix of new world of darkness minds eye theater edition and SR4 then. It is only 1d10 rather than 2d10 but it gives you a similar end result.
Hey Pat, no hard feelings mate. I was just trying to help you limit your headache. My theory has always been its all optional and its fine to change anything you want. Let us know how the rules play out.
Crusher Bob
Before diving directly into dice mechanics, I'd advise some design document work on what assumptions you are using.

For example,

How superhuman does cyberware (or magic) make you?
In SR4, it is basically trivial to reach truly super-human skill levels. An average 400BP runner can handily win several Olympic events while nursing a sucking chest wound (assuming a base DP of 20, and a 6 box physical wound for a -2 DP) this still leaves him a ~6 dice advantage over all the normal human Olympic competitors, as much of a die advantage as the Olympians have over 'amateurs'. For our 400BP runner to compete fairly, we'd have to inflict near crippling mental and physical wounds (9 boxes of each, -6DP total) and add drug withdrawal or something (another -2DP). And after all this, our runner can still produce 'max human' performance of 12 dice. (Yes, I know, a regular human could have the unlikely combination of stat 7, skill 7, and an appropriate specialty for +2 dice)

How superhuman does being a metahuman make you?
As things stand now, the most dislikeable elf, the very pinnacle of cat-piss (elf) man, will be as likeable as most everyone currently on earth (Cha 3).

How much metagame advantage will the PCs have?
Compare the relative power of edge vs Karma pool.

What genre (or realism) conventions are you trying to support via the rules?
See things like wound mechanics, healing times, the difficulties of shooting targets that are far away, etc...
Quick comments:
  • 2d10 with attribute modifiers of –2 to +5, and skill modifiers of +0 to +20 is essentially d20 by another name, just less linear (a good, but minor thing). GURPS already does this with 3d6, I would go with that if I were to adopt such a change.
  • A minor nit pick, but also a pet peeve of mine... It's 1 die, 2+ dice. dices is not a word.
QUOTE (tete @ Dec 30 2008, 09:13 PM) *
I think I would just use some mix of new world of darkness minds eye theater edition and SR4 then. It is only 1d10 rather than 2d10 but it gives you a similar end result.

SR4 is basically the WoD rules [or the Aeon Trinity rules, which is what I converted SR 2 to], using the same "roll xd10 and count the successes mechanic"...
...But the WoD Theatre Edition sounds interesting.

I think the WoD implementation is better in a lot of ways, although you would get a very different game of SR using the WoD implementation.
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