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Some background:

I use to play 1st edition (from day one when there was only the core book) and I loved it.
Skipped 2nd because I was poor
Skipped 3rd because I was poor
Now collect and play 4th edition (cuz I ain't poor)

I ran across the third edition core the other day for 5 dollars and picked it up. Seems pretty good, old school feel. What books are must haves for this edition? Specifically for Riggers, Deckers, Mages, and Samurai?

I know the core has a lot, but I want more.
magic in the shadows
man and machine
rigger 3

a few other things are cool to have but thats the basics
Maelstrome has listed the core books as far as the "crunch" goes.

As far as setting/fluff goes:
New Seattle
Shadows of North America
Dragons of the Sixth World

My favourite campaign/plot books:
Blood in the Boardroom
Renraku Arcology: Shutdown
Survival of the Fittest (goes great with Dragons of the Sixth World)
Cool, thanks.

That's a bit less than I feared.
well there are a lot of source books for setting and fluff and a bunch of adventures. you could probably torrent all of it no problem. honestly i dont use much else than the straight up rule books.
I'd suggest the original Seattle sourcebook rather than the new Seattle one, it has more character.

and the State of the Art books are a must.
Oh, SR3 has a lot of books. I think narrowing it down to some favorites is a good idea:

-Magic in the Shadows
-Awakenings(If I recall, this was SR3)
-Cannon Companion
-Shadowrun Companion
-Man and Machine
-Rigger 3

This will take care of about all of the character/equipment/magic/etc options.

Some others:

-Shadows over North America/Europe(I kinda liked these. Not perfect, but fun.) Online there exists, or used to, a Shadows over Scandinavia fanmade free online resource. It was in the form of a website and rather fun as well.

-Target: Wastelands. This is your harsh survival climate guide, and I find it also rather fun to read/glean ideas from; if you ever wanted to run in the desert, arctic, or space.

-From SR1-2, but I suggest you find them for fluff: Shadowtech and Shadowbeat. Shadowtech is all covered in Man and Machine, but has wonderful fluff stuff in the book that's worth reading. Shadowbeat is all about side of Shadowrun, and is a great book overall; one of my favorites. Likewise, if you can find it, Fields of Fire. It's also covered by Cannon Companion; but damn, it's another great fluff book.
The Jake
Essential 3E books -
Runner's Companion
Mr Johnson's Little Black Book
Sprawl Survival Guide
Loose Alliances
Cyberpirates (VERY flavorful and useful stuff, even now)
New Seattle (most of the location books are worth the buy but if I had to pick one).

My personal favorites:
Renraku Arcology: Shutdown.

But if you are willing to go back further:
Target: UCAS (was this 2E or 3E?)
Bug City
Universal Brotherhood

- J.
QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 6 2009, 02:04 PM) *
Target: UCAS (was this 2E or 3E?)

It was released in 1997, that makes it a 2nd edition book.
QUOTE (Terms of Service)
5. No posts that contain pirated materials, requests for pirated materials, or advocacy of pirating are permitted.
I have about as big a collections of sr1-sr4 as anyone. We do not support stealing them in either paperback, nor electronic format and any references to such are a violation of the TOS.
QUOTE (rainbow @ Jan 6 2009, 08:17 AM) *
and the State of the Art books are a must.

That's interesting. I went my entire time in SR3 without every looking at the SOTA books. I finally read them when I borrowed them from a friend, but that was purely for entertainment purposes. Even then, I didn't find them anywhere near "invaluable" or anything. If a group were part of a long-running campaign and wanted to inject some fresh new content and update the timeline, they are certainly valuable as that. I definitely wouldn't call them "essential" for an SR3 collection.

To the OP, if you really want to "go for broke" and run a group through the entire SR3 plotline, here's what you'll need (in order of how they appear for plot books):
Mob War (Underworld Sourcebook very useful with this)
Blood in the Boardroom (Corporate Download very useful with this)
Renraku Arcology: Shut Down
Brainscan (wraps up the Renraku Arcology plotline)
Year of the Comet
Wake of the Comet
Survival of the Fittest (Dragons of the Sixth World really useful with this)
SOTA: 2063*
SOTA: 2064*
System Failure

* The State of the Art books are an odd hybrid of "plot" and "sourcebook." I've included them because they bridge the gap between between Year of the Comet (2060-2061) and System Failure (2064). Survival of the Fittest has no "definite" place in the SR timeline, but must occur sometime after Dec of 2060 and before the Crash 2.0 in 2064.
My "Big Three" (being a big fan of Adepts and Sammies) were always Man and Machine, Cannon Companion, and SoTA '64.

Every single one I bought -- and I have all but one or two from the whole edition -- came in handy at SOME point, though. It's really hard to go wrong with any of 'em, if you're a fan of the setting/background material and if you can find 'em for cheap.
I'd tend to agree with Critias. I used the Matrix book maybe once. I rarely use the Rigger book, except for the stock vehicles in the back, and even then, I could make ones just as well on my own. M&M, Cannon Companion and MitS are the big ones I reference the most often. Runners Companion is also pretty big, since it has all of the edges and flaws. SOTA '64 was very good, and had a lot of neat stuff, mostly for adepts. Beyond that, really it depends on what you're doing. If you're doing a merc campaign, Pirates, SOTA '63 and Rigger 3 are essential. If you're doing it in a particular location, get the book for your location (and any of the Neo-Anarchist books. Those are all fantastic. NAGNA is probably one of the most useful though, I've referenced it far more than the Threats: UCAS book (which covers none of the cities I'm interested in).
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