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Ok, this is not for everybody. Just to get that out of the way.

I have been playing Shadowrun since 1st edition came out. I was looking for a cyberpunk game and out of the three at the time, this one looked like my D&D players could get into it. Good choice in the long run. But I tinker. And I have modified every version that we played. My favorite was what I call Shadowrun 2.5. Basically 3rd with some 2nd thrown in with a bit 'o 1st. When 4th came out I was all excited and ran out to get it when it was released. After 1 read through I didn't care for it and went back to playing 2.5.

Cut to now and a new group of players. New game. This time in a store. Problem was we needed to play 4th. For one thing the store only sells 4th so..there. Also, most of the group was new to the game and did not have older books, or only played 4th. Also the 20th anniversary edition was out and some of the new books being released for Shadowrun looked really cool. So on advice given at Dumpshock and some of my players I tried it out. Ran “On the Run” (yes, I know) as straight, vanilla, RAW 4th. I was surprised by what I actually liked and disliked.

So first, the point. If you hate 4th, you will just play an earlier edition of your choosing. So this will be irrelevant. And that's great. If you love 4th and think it fixed all the problems, you will not like this at all. So why even try this in the first place? Well, mostly for the above stated reasons. And in the end, this is my attempt to address the few issues that I had with 4th .ed. I can boil it down to 2 real issues and a number of little nitpicks. Keeping in mind that I am trying my darnedest to differentiate between my old fuddy duddy self fearing change, and genuine dislikes. The other reason for all this is the hope of making all my old books compatible with the new edition. It remains to be seen if it works.

So the two big issues I had with 4th is...... dum, dum,dum.... Well, combat really. That and the magic traditions. I always held up the combat system is Shadowrun is my favorite. Using it in other games. I understand this is not universal love. But it always worked for me. I liked the flexibility that comes with the variable target numbers and the tactile decisions that came with the pools.

So I made these changes as a roll back for 4th combat. Was play testing them, but my group fell apart at the end of summer. Also wanted to see what 2050 brought. I was surprised that the loosening of traditions was in cannon. I thought it was just a rules change. So I decided to write up my changes and post them to see if anybody else wanted to play test them. Or just check them out.

And of course in the middle of writing these up, they announced 5th edition. So here's hoping. So for the maybe 3% of you who needed a bridge between 3rd and 4th, I present for you...3.8. Enjoy or eviscerate at your leisure.


Shadowrun 3.8

Just to start, so far I have only worked on Combat and Magic. Everything else has been left completely untouched. I have about half a dozen ides about what to do with non-combat skills. But for now I have just limited how much you can add from the attribute. Usually up to the skill rating. Or maybe double like the sidebar in the book says.

What's new.

First off, remove the Dodge and Counterspelling skills. They are replaced with Dice Polls.

Dice Pools:

Combat; Agility+Intuition+Willpower/2
Magic; Willpower+Magic+*Tradition Drain Stat/3 *Logic for Hermetic, Charisma for Shaman

All Pools refresh at the start of you next action. ← Note this. Action, not Round or Turn.

Instead of Attribute + Skill; Skill + Dice Pool. At least for combat and magic.

Variable Target Numbers, but only for combat so far.
5 is no longer the goal of dice rolls. The number you roll for changes with the difficulty of the roll. 2 for very easy. 3 for easy. 4 for challenging. 5 for hard. And 6 and up for really hard. Yes, they can go higher then 6. For this reason all dice explode. Every 6 you roll is rerolled. (yes this makes target number 7's pointless. Consider it a leap to new challenges.)

Whenever a tables says “Dice Pool Modifier”, you adjust the target number up or down. Reversing the modifier. -2 becomes +2.

Character Creation:
Calculate your Initiative Pass Modifier (now called you IPM). This is done as follows.
For every Bonus Initiative Pass you would normally have, you get a cumulative +2 modifier. (Wired Reflexes 2 gives you 2 IP, so that's a +4 mod.) Take your cumulative modifier and subtract it from 10. (Wired Reflexes 2, 10-4=6). This final number is you IPM.


First off, anything that applies a “dice pool modifier” instead alters the target number. The change is the inverse of the normal modifier. Ex. Each Take Aim action adds +1 to the dice pool modifier. Instead it now subtracts -1 from the target number. A smartgun system lowers the target number by 2. Threshold Modifiers stay threshold modifiers.

Bow use impact armor, not ballistic. (Just because it's cooler. That's why.)

Combat pool is the sum of Agility, Intuition and Willpower, divided by 2. Round up. This is used for all combat tests.

You can add up it to any combat skill, up to the rating of the skill. Essentially doubling it. ex. You attack with a pistols of 4, you can add 4 more dice from your combat pool.

You can add any amount to your body test to resist damage.

Full dodge is now made with the combat pool.

ex. So you have a combat pool of 8. You shoot with pistols 5 and add 5 from the pool. You then get shot. You roll Bod plus remaining pool of 3. Choices, choices.


Roll 1D6 + your Initiative.
Subtract your IPM from the total. If the results are 0 or above, go again at that phase.
Keep Subtracting your IPM until it takes you down to lower then 0.

Example. Shaman with Initiative 7 and IPM 10 rolls 5. 5 + 7 = 12. 12-10=2. So he goes at 12 and 2.
Street Sam with Initiative 9 and IPM 6 rolls 4. 4+9=13. 13–6=7. 7-6=1. So she goes at 13,7 and 1.
*Including 0 was a late decision. The reasons are more for mundanes who don't have an IPM lower then 10. Gives them a bit more of a chance of getting a second action. I found that the players enjoyed it more when it was not hopeless.

Declare attack:
see actions from the book

Get Target Numbers:
:short; :medium; :long; :extreme;
:3; :4; :5; :6;
Melee, 4 then modified.
See Modifiers table

Make Opposed Test:

Melee, Skill + combat pool +/- modifiers.
There is no Def. Reaction for ranged
*This is more of a suggestion than a rule. My group hated the Defense reaction roll for ranged combat. I felt it made everybody Remo Williams. Also, with target number shooting up, it was unnecessary. Though Combat Sense gives you dice for free Reaction rolls skill

If full defense roll all combat pool
A tie is a grazing hit. (?) haven’t tested

Compare Armor:

Hits from Opposed Test add to DV making the Mod. DV.
If modified armor (Armor value – AP) equal to or more than Mod. DV then damage is stun.

Damage Resistance:

Divide the armor rating in ½. Round down. (only time you round down in the game.)
*I haven’t decided yet wither hardened armor should use it's full value for reducing DV or half. What do you, the viewer at home think?

For every 2 AP, reduce armor by 1 more.
*This is the newest rule. This comes from the fact that smart players (and smart NPC's) realize that using armor piercing rounds with heavy caliber weapons will completely negate even heavy armor. It does mean that normal, unmodified weapons don't have any AP concerning DV done, but so be it. That's what armor piercing rounds are for.

Reduce DV by new armor rating.
Roll Body plus allocated combat pool vs target number 5
Hits subtract from DV.
Wound modifiers don't count here.

Apply Damage:

DV added to condition monitor.


Spell casting is Sorcery + Magic Pool up to the rating of the skill.
Conjuring is Summoning + Magic Pool up to the rating of the skill.
Banishing works against the spirits force, not services. (made more sense to us, but fell free to do as you will)

Counter-spelling is now entirely done from the Magic Pool.

Drain is Willpower + Magic Pool.

Living matter is real on Astral Space. You can’t pass though plants or animals. There is otherwise no interaction unless the fauna/flora is awakened is some manor.

Tradition differences:
*Originally the plan was for all traditions to have an ala-carte selection of abilities for them. Lodge or Circle for example. But for now the big decision for a tradition is wither it “Summons” or “Conjurors”. The differences being attitude. A summoner ask spirits for help, while a Conjuror creates a spirit from their own will. Mostly a role playing thing, but effects how they summon.

Shamans Summon. You get a free mentor spirit but you can’t bind spirits.
Summoned spirits can be assigned to their native domains (street, air, home ect. The Shaman has to be physically in the domain to release the spirit to it.) Afterwords, the shaman can summon another spirit. Thus the Shaman can summon up to their Charisma in spirits.

Mages Conjure. You use magic circles and libraries instead of lodges.
*This is incomplete. Originally, I was planning on making it so that Hermetic's could only Conjuror bound spirits in exchange for boosted ritual magic. But I thought that might be a little unfair. Also, I have not worked out the mechanics for the Ritual Magic part. But then 2050 came out and was more restricting then I was planning on being. So anyway, that's out there.


Driving pool with vehicle control rigs.
*Err, haven’t gotten to that...yet. Feel free to come up with some ideas.


Ok, this is what I was working on next. First off, leave hacking alone. Entirely. Not a word changed. Then, introduce Decking behind it. The idea being that decks are very powerful computers that out process the nodes. Very expensive and must have a hardwired connection. Wireless is just to slow for them. They could sleaze past the login and with it's vast processing speed, continually tell the node that it's not there. I was also thinking of given deckers some of the sprite abilities. Also; rival deckers, super ICE, and nodes and software going up to 12 in the ratings. Consider the difference between hacking with your smart phone or with your cutting edge PC. I was working on this idea with a friend of mine, but time has not been on our side. It's just an idea right now. I think it would fit in beautifully in the background. Something for hackers to aspire too. Initiating if you will.


Sigh. One of the points of all this is to NOT change stats on equipment. But obviously some gear will give dice and others change target numbers. And I need good guide to what does what. One rule I thought of was “Equipment with ratings that effect specific skills roll more dice instead of changing target number.” But for now, only equipment that effects combat directly alter target number. Aka Smartlink. I'm sure something somewhere is broken. But that is what play-testing was for.

So there you have it. The one thing we noticed right off the bat is that even more important then the rules was that character creation had to change. 4th edition really encouraged putting as much as you can into Attributes. That doesn’t work as well here. That was kinda the point, heh. So what I did was revive the Priority system. I used the one out of the Runner's Companion and altered it to work for my game. I won't go into it all now unless people would like me to. The important part is that I gave 10 extra skill points per level.

As I said, this is not for everybody. And it's incomplete. I worked on this for a while last year, but then I got busy with life and stuff and stuck it on a burner. It was the announcement of Shadowrun 5 that made me realize that I should put this out there now that it's officially too late. I am hoping that at least somebody enjoys this. Also, It would be great if somebody play-tested this and gave me some better ideas.

So here ya go Dumpshock. I hope you like.

That's some serious effort put in, I applaud your work good sir.
But it's not for me smile.gif
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