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New Shadowrun release roundup

So we’ve been busy in Shadowrun-land, working on projects we can’t talk about yet while also getting more books out and keeping tabs on the progress of Catalyst’s new web store. While things were moving ahead, a few new Shadowrun books slipped out that we felt deserved your attention!

First, there’s the new campaign book titled Book of the Lost (Catalyst Shop, DriveThruRPG). Some of you picked up our special Gen Con-edition of the Sixth World Tarot with art by the fabulous Echo Chernik. The full print run of tarot decks will be making its way to stores before long, but in advance of that we have a campaign book that’s your guide to using the images and ideas the deck presents. Even if you don’t have the deck, the book presents dozens of images from the cards, as well as descriptive information that will led you dive into the strange and wild world of quests the tarot opens up. Here’s some more info:

No Longer Hidden

The Bastard, upright. A man in clown makeup stands in a broken skyraker window over another man on the verge of a long plummet. Near the clown’s hand, a white rose. Opportunity, adventure, but also mania and frenzy. 404, upright. A woman crouches on the edge of a rooftop, holding a white rose. In the distance is the image of a woman in a red dress. Destruction, failure, collapse. Queen of coins. A woman in a red dress, lounging amidst luxury. She has material wealth but emptiness of soul. Upright, she is opulence, magnificent. Inverse is suspense, fear.

Opportunity and adventure abounds. Destruction and failure loom. Will the result be magnificence—or fear?

Book of the Lost takes the intricate art of the Sixth World Tarot and turns it into stories and campaigns for Shadowrun players. Full of plot hooks and adventure seeds, this book is a treasure trove of ideas, mysteries, and enigmas that can make memorable games. Open it and explore knowledge that had been lost but is now, here, rediscovered. And waiting for you.

Book of the Lost is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and can easily be used with Shadowrun: Anarchy with minor NPC adjustments.

Along with this book, we also have a new Mission! Do No Harm (Catalyst Shop, DriveThruRPG) tests players’ creativity and morality–and while shadowrunners tend to have plenty of the former and something of a deficiency of the latter, they’ll have to find the right balance to pull this job off. Here are the details:

The Finesse Game

Every runner knows there are times when you need to throw grenades at gasoline trucks, and other times when more discretion and subtlety is called for. True pros distinguish themselves with precise operations that are noticed by no one besides their target—but those targets see enough to push them over the edge of sanity.

In this Mission, runners get an assignment that is easy to describe but difficult to execute. The job? Ruin a life. The method? That’s where the runners come in. They’ll have to exercise all their creativity and sneakiness to plan and pull off this job—unless they want the police and some nasty corporate security putting their work to an early end. Do runners have the smarts, stealth, and deviousness to pull this off? As always, the answer is another question: How badly do they want to get paid?

Do No Harm is the latest Shadowrun Mission set in Chicago, bringing a new twist and degree of freedom to runners who take it on. The Mission is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and plot elements could also be used with Shadowrun: Anarchy.

And finally, new Shadowrun fiction is in the wild! The novella series continues with Blind Magic (Catalyst Shop, DriveThruRPG) by Dylan Birtolo. With down-on-their-luck characters facing the twists of a merciless world, it’s classic Shadowrun, featuring … well, let’s let the book summary do its job:

Lucas, a gifted shaman and member of the Salish-Shidhe Council, is respected for his arcane talents among his tribe. When he’s blinded during a shadowrun on an Evo Corporation outpost, he’s fitted with a set of cybereyes during his recovery. But upon his return to the Council, the tribe banishes him, saying the cyberware he’s accepted makes him unfit to be a shaman. Distraught, Lucas heads to Seattle and spends time in the Barrens attempting to scrape by.

Wanting revenge against Evo, he teams up with a group of shadowrunners, influencing them to take runs against the megacorporation. During one such run, they determine that Evo is retrieving an arcane artifact from a dig site located in Salish-Shidhe territory. Lucas convinces his team to take the initiative and either stop the dig or steal the artifact. But when a team member double-crosses Lucas and the others, he must race against time to discover the true masterminds behind this shadowrun…and stop the thief before they escape with both the artifact and Lucas’s last chance for redemption…

So whether you want adventures or fiction, plot hooks or great art, we’ve got you covered! Go enjoy some Shadowrun!

 

Leap into the holidays with cons and deceit, Shadowrun-style!

The holiday season is rushing forward, and we have some fine new gifts for your favorite shadowrunner, including yourself. We can think of no better way to celebrate the holidays than engaging in some Sixth World underhandedness and deception. We know that may not be a normal thing, but we haven’t aspired to be normal for a really long time. Anyway, the point is, two new Shadowrun books are available for PDF purchase and print pre-order, and you can pick them up on the brand-new Catalyst Game Labs web store, which you should check out if you have not yet.

First up is the third Deep Shadows book for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition. Following on the trail established by Stolen Souls, which covered extractions, and Hard Targets, which covered wetwork, we have Cutting Aces (Catalyst Shop, DriveThru), your guide to everything you need to know about running con games. With details on many kinds of both short and long cons, updates on what Sixth World con artists are up to, and a profile of one of the hot spots for con games—the free city of Constantinople—the book is a vital guide to the art of deceiving others and winning trust you don’t deserve. Here are a few more details:

Hit Your Marks

The hotel bartender who slips you a guest’s room number because he thinks it will help him get lucky. The security guard who lets a team into a top-secret facility because he thinks he’s pitching in on covert-ops training. The business suit who drops ten thousand nuyen on a project because he thinks it’ll earn him fifty thousand.

Marks, all of them, and the Sixth World is full of them. Yeah, blasting your way into a well-guarded facility is fun, but talking your way in, smooth and subtle, might be more rewarding. Almost every kind of shadowrun involves at least a little con artistry, and some of them are full-on long cons. That means you need to sharpen your con game. With tips, plot updates, spells, gear, and more to improve characters’ con abilities, Cutting Aces gives players the swagger and skills they need to swindle the world. It also includes information on one of the Sixth World’s hottest spots for running a con—Istanbul, City of the World’s Desire.

Cuttings Aces is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and it also contains plot information, story ideas, and characters that can be used with Shadowrun: Anarchy with slight adjustments of character stats.

Next, we have a Denver-based adventure called False Flag (Catalyst Store, DriveThru) that ramps up the tension and chaos in that city and could put the players in a dragon’s crosshairs. Here’s the rundown:

The Angry Gaze

The ruling powers of Sixth World sprawls are content to let the little people of their cities engage in all sorts of shenanigans and scheming so long as it doesn’t affect their master plans. But when the chaos gets too out of hand—or the little people start acting too arrogant—then those powers turn their angry gaze to the people they would rather ignore, and the everyday chaos of life erupts into something worse, and considerably more dangerous.

Recent attacks on the Paladin Medical Health Center in the Aurora Warrens have drawn the attention of some of Denver’s powers, and they’re not going to ignore the situation. They’re also not going to just send in the police, because that’s not how things are done—instead, they will launch schemes of their own, with the opportunity to create chaos that makes the previous wildness seem like a sunny day in the Rockies.

False Flag is the second in the series of Denver Adventures for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition. Whether played alone or as part of a larger campaign with the first adventure, it will test players’ resources, creativity, and skill, while moving them toward the dramatic plot developments ahead.

New Shadowrun Fiction Available

Grab some great Sixth World fiction to start out your week!

First up is a brand new novella, by R. L. King, Big Dreams (CatalystStore, DriveThruRPG)

    Slacker corp mage Cody’s bad day is about to get a lot worse.

    Losing his job is crappy enough, but when his talismonger uncle turns up dead and dissected in his shop, Cody finds himself on the run from some very nasty people who want something they think he has.

    The problem is, Cody has no idea what it is.

    Turning for help to old friends from his Barrens roots, Cody soon learns that his problems are bigger than any of them can handle. To survive, he’ll need some heavy hitters on his side–but can he trust them not to sell him out?

Then we’ve a new Shadowrun Legends available in Ragnarock (CatalystStore, DriveThruRPG).

    In the twenty-first century, magic brings out the best in people–and the worst. Tommy Talon should know. As head of a successful shadow-running team, it’s the dark side of people that brings him business. This time he’s hired to hunt a murderous archaeologist and recover a magical relic. But Talon’s not hunting alone. Someone else wants the artifact too–someone very powerful. And Talon and his team must outwit the world’s most potent megacorporation on its own turf if they’re to have any chance of returning the treasure–or any chance of returning at all….

Another New Mission and Legends Available!

Two weeks and two Missions!!! This one is the Action Collection (CatalystStore, DriveThruRPG)!

    The quintessential Chicago shadowrun is a full-to-bursting package with a variety of ingredients and flavors. And it doesn’t even need to include bug spirits. If you want the true Chicago experience, it‰۪s here waiting for you. What ingredients does it contain? How about a rush job on a tight deadline, occasionally hostile crowds of locals, panicky security, explosions, stealth, open firefights in the streets, vicious traps, burning buildings, a crazed hermit, and a pack of drug-addicted dogs.

    Those are all ingredients in the stew that is this run, and Mr. Johnson is paying good money for you to wolf it down as fast as you can. Get moving!

    Collective Action is the latest entry in season 7 of Shadowrun Missions and is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition. The storyline could also be used in Shadowrun: Anarchy, and NPCs could be quickly converted for use with those rules.

And of course, a new Shadowrun Legends available in Run Hard, Die Fast (CatalystStore, DriveThruRPG).

    Argent is the best shadowrunner in the biz…with one flaw: he’s got a conscience. That’s why he can’t leave a chummer hanging. Only Andi Sencio is more than just a friend. She’s his former partner–and lover. And now she’s in the deepest drekpot of her life. Heading an op on a datasnatch turned bad, she’s been stranded by the megacorp she works for–and targeted for flatlining by two more. Unless Argent gets to her first…

    Recruiting a top-notch team for the exfiltration shadowrun, Argent is risking it all–his money, his reputation, and his life–for the woman who once walked away from him. It’s suicide mission through high-caliber hell. But that’s never stopped the steel-armed, street samurai before…

A New Mission and Legends Available!

First up, there’s a new Mission available, The Deck Job (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG)!

    The only shadowrunners who don’t ask the above question are ones who have been dead so long that no one remembers their name. Which, for most runners, means two months. The point being, any runner knows that a job that can be described in a simple, straightforward sentence at the beginning of the day is going to become a tumbled, tangled mess by the end of the day, the simple sentence exploding into a story that you’ll tell over a few drinks some night—unless the story got messy enough that you joined those forgotten shadowrunners in some shallow grave.

    The simple sentence at the beginning of this job is this: “Retrieve a stolen cyberdeck prototype.” Sounds easy enough, but add “in Chicago’s Containment Zone” to the end of the sentence, and already the complications have begun to mount. And they’ll continue—by the time the runners are done, they’ll see double-crosses, deceits, lies, and betrayals speeding past them, and they’ll have to do their best to figure out what’s really going on before they get overwhelmed and overran.

    Kicking off the newest season of Shadowrun: Missions, The Deck Job puts players in a nest of twists and turns while launching a new, Chicago-based plotline. The Mission is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and the story elements could be part of a Shadowrun: Anarchy game with mechanical adjustment to character stats.

And also a new Shadowrun Legends available in Tails You Lose (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    When a shadowrunner managed to extract PCI’s most vital employee, it was Alma’s job as security expert to get him back–no matter the cost. But all the evidence pointed to the one person who couldn’t have done it…herself. Branded a traitor, Alma has one shot at redemption: find the real culprit. But she’s never faced an enemy like this one. This ‘runner not only looks like Alma–she’s also equipped with Alma’s top-of-the-line cybernetic implants, and she’s backed by the powerful magic of the Chinese underworld. Now, the expert in defense must attack–and risk it all to bring down a rival so much like herself that there can be only one shocking explanation…

New Legends Epubs Available

We’ve two new Shadowrun Legends available in Preying For Keeps (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG) and Headhunters (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    When ace shadowrunner Jack Skater leads his team of commandos in a raid on an elven ocean freighter, things get a little sticky. Yakuza hitmen crash the party, and a Japanese shaman whips up a titanic sea creature just to make sure nobody gets out alive. Now, having escaped with his troops by the skin of their teeth, Skater wants to find out who set him up.

    But it isn’t going to be easy. Because the runners are stuck up to their pointy ears in a sinister super-scheme that involves Skater’s ex-wife, two elven gene corporations, a ruthless mafioso named McKenzie, and stolen data disks containing secrets worth killing for. It’s a high-tech mega-mess with no way out. And as a ghastly virus hits Seattle, unleashing hordes of homicidal cannibals onto the streets, Skater and company have to bring in some heavy artillery just to stay alive….

    Somebody aced the dragon Dunkelzahn, and one of the mysterious links to the assassination is flat on his back in slab city: a double agent with two identities–both out of commission. Now he’s the most-wanted carcass in Tacoma. Jack Skater’s mission? Sleaze past the high-tech funeral security, outwit the Knight Errants, cop the stiff, and keep it on ice long enough to get the answer to the shadowrunners’ life-and-death question: what’s so hot about a stone-cold corpse?

    And that isn’t all that’s dropped Skater elf-deep in drek–the UCAS Secret Service is also after the dead man’s secret–and the government blue crews are prepared to liquidate anything in sight to get to it first…

Missions continue and e-books return with new Shadowrun releases!

Matt the layout guy was quite busy over the weekend while we were obsessing over our beloved Cubs making their way to the World Series, so let’s catch up on the two books now available for electronic purchase!

First, Halloween’s coming up, and if you want to throw players into a shadowrun against otherworldly creatures that will test every last bit of their skills, check out the new Prime Mission, A Holy Piece of Wetwork (Battleshop, DriveThru). Prime Missions are designed for advanced characters, ones who might need a challenge beyond the scope of normal Missions, and this one delivers. Shadowrunners may have come up against the master shedim known as Auslander in other Missions, but the time has come to finish him off once and for all–and that means traveling to his home metaplane. But we’re stepping on the details the web copy wants to share with you, so let’s turn to that:

The Heart of Death

Auslander. If you haven’t heard the name, you’re lucky. If you have heard it, then you know enough to be worried. But not scared, because fear’s not part of the job. Which is good, because the job Mr. Johnson’s got in store for you is a big one—going to Auslander’s home metaplane and talking him out, once and for all.

It’s not safe. Of course it’s not. Even the act of getting to the metaplane will cost blood, and nothing gets easier from there. Every type of assault will be thrown at the runners, and they will need every milligram of their considerable skills if they want to succeed and, somehow, survive.

A Holy Piece of Wetwork is a Prime Mission, a run designed for high-level players whose abilities have grown beyond the challenge provided by regular Missions. The adventure is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and the plot can also be used with Shadowrun: Anarchy with adaptation of character stats and adjustment to some other mechanics.

We also have the return of the e-book line, with a chance to explore one of the vast sprawls of the Sixth World in a way that has never been presented before. Come on down to Amazonia and make your way through the vast sprawl of Metrópole (Battleshop, DriveThru). Here’s the skinny:

This Is Not for You

Metrópole was not built with shadowrunners in mind. Or even metahumans, for that matter. In the Awakened country of Amazonia, the great dragon Hualpa reigns, critters walk the streets under full protection of the law, and the people struggle to figure out how they’re supposed to fit into this huge mess.

And huge it is. With many kilometers of coastline, thousands of tangled streets, and millions of residents, the city is packed with power, money, and intrigue—everything shadowrunners need to do their work. Yeah, the job might come with a slightly elevated chance of becoming dragon food—if that worries you, maybe the work down South America way is not for you. But if you have enough courage and an appetite for the strange, Metrópole is a great way to fill it.

Metrópole is a guide to a fascinating section of the Sixth World, with information on the city, the powers within it, and the plots that will entangle shadowrunners. With NPCs, critter stats, and even a life module for Metrópole natives, the book has all you need to experience this massive sprawl.

Metrópole is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and it can also fuel plot ideas and storylines for Shadowrun: Anarchy.

There you go! Hope these act like jet fuel in the engine of your Shadowrun game, or something like that!

New Legends Epubs Available

We’ve two new Shadowrun Legends available in The Burning Time (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG) and Psychotrope (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    Low-level programmer Roy Kilaro wants nothing more than to become a Seraphim–an elite corporation operative–and experience some real action in the shadow ops between the megacorporations. He gets more than he ever wanted when a routine business trip to Boston lands him at ground zero of a running battle for survival. The combatants: a group of hardened ‘runners trying to finish a job, the ruthless anti-elven terrorists known as the Knights of the Red Branch, and a powerful sorceress who wants revenge upon them all…

    LIFE SPAN: 12 MINUTES

    It started out as a simple Matrix run, but now five deckers are trapped inside a nightmarish virtual landscape where jacking out is an impossibility–and what waits has all the hallmarks of the afterlife: tunnels of brilliant light, greetings from long-dead friends and family…and the terrifying sense of being juggled between Heaven and Hell. But in this computer-generated netherworld, there is only one thing that can be trusted. And it isn’t the senses….

    …THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

    It’s the uncommon experience the deckers have in common: a near brush with death. It has brought them together in this hell-raising realm and under the influence of a twisted intelligence with diabolical plans for the unwary travelers in grid-time. Having their minds and souls extinguished before the Matrix-scape crashdown is only the beginning of the puzzle. Discovering why will be the end. A dead end.

Thoughts on gamemastering and Anarchy

Shadowrun: Anarchy has been out (Battleshop, DriveThru) for just over a week now, and I’m really pleased by how it’s been received. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed in my Anarchy games is the new gamemaster skills I’ve worked to developed while playing.

I started out my gamemaster life as a kind of novelist/gamemaster, one who had a very definite story in mind for the players to follow. I was stubborn about this, too; I knew what the players were supposed to do, where they were supposed to get information, and things like that, and if they weren’t following the proper path, I had no qualms about stonewalling them until they got on the track. So yeah, I wasn’t a great gamemaster. But when I wasn’t running games, I got to be a player a lot, and I’ve played with a wide range of different gamemasters, with a wide variety of strengths for me to learn from.

Two gamemasters in particular that I’d like to talk about happen to be the stars of the April Fool’s Shadowrun movie we made a few years back (which, sadly, seems to have disappeared from the web). One of the things I noticed about both of them when they ran games is that they were incredibly willing to take the plot in new directions based on what the players did. When we made a choice, interesting things happened. We didn’t hit dead ends—we found opportunities.

This is not to say there was no such thing as a bad or inconvenient choice. There were rash or unwise things our characters did, and that affected the story for many sessions as we lived with the consequences of our decisions. But that was the thing—good or bad, our decisions had consequences and shaped the story. They did not have a planned plot so much as they had a plan to have us shape the plot.

This sort of gamemastering was very much on my mind in developing Anarchy. Not coincidentally, both the gamemasters I’m referring to have significant improv experience. Anarchy refers to improv concepts repeatedly in the book, especially the “yes, and” concept of adding to what the other players are doing, instead of detracting or moving away from it. Anarchy puts the story first, and that’s led to a change in the way I prepare to run games—a change that affects the way I run Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, too. My plot preparations have been reduced; I have a few twists I’d like to introduce, but for the most part I’m gathering interesting people, places, and things, then waiting to see how the players are going to encounter them. The framework will be set by the players’ choices—my job is not to dictate what choices they make, but rather to ensure the choices they have are meaningful.

That’s critical in Anarchy, because the emphasis is more on narrative than mechanics. All the critical aspects of Shadowrun—magic, tech, Matrix, etc.—are there, but streamlined, and some power is shifted from game mechanics to collaborative storytelling. One of the great joys of Shadowrun is finding the exact right tool (whether that be gear, cyberware, a spell, or whatever) to make a job work right. In Anarchy, it’s less about having the right piece of gear (or, in Anarchy parlance, the right Amp), and more about coming up with creative ways to move a story forward, using what you have to inspire invention and creativity. Anarchy isn’t trying to compete with SR5’s wealth of rules, so there won’t always be mechanics for what a given item does in a certain situation (indeed, some pieces of gear have no rules at all). The plot isn’t already determined, with the players just trying to figure out what’s going on in the gamemaster’s head. Instead, they are making it happen together, from the broad strokes to the particulars of how some items work or interact with each other. That flexibility is a key part of the game, and an important way to unleash the creativity of people at the table. I’m excited to play with more people to see just how the Sixth World unfolds in their telling of it.

Anarchy release! SR5 reprint with comprehensive index! The shadows just got brighter!

Hey, chummers, we got a lot of Shadowrun goodness for you today! First, we have the electronic release and print pre-order of the highly anticipated Shadowrun: Anarchy ruleset. Built to be fast-moving and easy to use, Anarchy takes some basic concepts of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, mixes it with some narrative role-playing styles, and comes up with a whole new gaming experience. Links and cover preview coming soon, but here’s a description to whet your appetite:

Man. Machine. Magic.

Shadowrun. The Sixth World. Orks in pinstripe suits with uzis; mohawked dwarves jacked into vehicles racing through megasprawls at breakneck speed; humans casting fireballs at corporate-trained paracritters; elves hacking the Matrix for a datasteal of the latest tech or working to topple an upstart corp. It’s where man meets magic and machine.

Dive into a cyberpunk dystopia and become a shadowrunner, a deniable asset who does the jobs no one else can—or will—do. It’s not an easy life, but it beats selling your soul to the megacorps. You’ll break into top-secret labs, stand up to gangs bent on destruction and chaos, encounter dark spirits hiding even darker secrets, and come face to face with some of the infinite dangers the Sixth World can throw at you. And you’ll come out on top—because if you don’t, you don’t get paid.

Shadowrun: Anarchy is a new way to get into the best cyberpunk/urban fantasy action around. Based upon the rules-light and easy-to-learn Cue System, Shadowrun: Anarchy is a narrative-focused game experience that has everything you need to quickly grab some gear, load up on spells, and get to throwing the dice. With loads of characters and missions, the book makes it simple to get up and running. Immerse yourselves in the Sixth World!

We’re very excited about Anarchy and hope people have tons of fun playing it, but we want to make it clear that our beloved SR5 is not going anywhere. The new fourth printing of SR5 should be hitting stores now, and it’s about to be a free upgrade for PDF purchasers. What do you get in your upgrade? How about a comprehensive index of all the core books? Run & Gun, Run Faster, Street Grimoire, and so on. It’s in there! So get your upgrade and enjoy! And if you haven’t bought a SR5 PDF yet–there has never been a better time! Here are helpful links: Battleshop, DriveThru

And while we’re talking about new things, did we mention that the sixth season of Shadowrun Missions concluded with Falling Angels (Battleshop, DriveThru). Does your runner need a challenge? Then send them through this particular wringer and see how they come out. Here’s a little more info:

All Going Down

Tensions don’t simmer for long in the Sixth World. They build, and then they explode. In Chicago’s Containment Zone, that time has come. From the hunt for the missing Samantha Villiers (in her various guises) to rising gang tensions to mysterious strangers building power bases for secretive purposes, there are plenty of unstable reagents mixing in the CZ, and they’re about to blow. Shadowrunners are going to be right in the middle of it all—aren’t they always?—and they’ll have to see how many lives they can save. Including their own.

Falling Angels is the dramatic conclusion of Season 6 of Shadowrun: Missions. Drawing on plot elements and characters from previous Missions, this job brings the storyline to an explosive conclusion while setting the stage for future jobs in one of Shadowrun’s most chaotic settings. Jump in for a wild ride!

So enjoy the Mission, get ready to ramp up to Season Seven, play Shadowrun with SR5 or Anarchy and, whatever you do, have fun!

Great New Shadowrun Fiction Available!

We’ve two new Shadowrun fiction epub novels now available.

First up is Drawing Destiny, a fantastic anthology of fiction that ties into the coming Sixth World Tarot, as well as are already available Court of Shadows (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG). Additionally, a new Shadowrun Legends in Crossroads (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    THE TAROT HAS AWAKENED…

    …And nothing will ever be the same again.

    The Tarot, a mystical divination deck of cards, has appeared in the Sixth World as a powerful artifact. It works its will on anyone who finds one of its magical cards, from runners surviving on the street to corp executives battling in the boardroom. And not just people’s lives will be changed, for the Awakened Tarot deck is more than just a formidable magic item, it has an agenda all its own, and will seek to use those it comes in contact with to set its plans in motion…

    Drawing Destiny is the latest original Shadowrun anthology, featuring twenty-three original stories about this brand-new artifact introduced into the game universe. Featuring stories from Michael A. Stackpole, Jennifer Brozek, Chris A. Jackson, Lucy A. Snyder, Aaron Rosenberg, R.L. King, Russell Zimmerman, Josh Vogt, and Jason M. Hardy, and 14 more authors, these stories reveal how the Awakened Tarot will impact the Sixth World for better, and sometimes, for much worse…

    In the magical world of 2060, street mage Tommy Talon has hit the big time. He’s a member of Assets, Inc., one of the best shadow-teams in the business, but now he’s drawn back to his home town of Boston by secrets from his past. Secrets that lead him into conflicts with megacorporations, yakuza gangsters, and a powerful spirit that’s hunting for him. Talon must call on all of his magical powers and the abilities of his shadowrunning friends to unravel the mystery. Along the way, he finds out some unexpected things about his past, himself, and his true enemy: someone very close to him indeed…

New Legends Epub Available!

We’ve two new Shadowrun Legends available in Technobabble (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG) and Clockwork Asylum: Dragon Heart Saga #2 (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    He awoke in a body bag, his brain fried, a black hole where his memory should be. If not for the cool carbon-fiber blade concealed in the bones of his arm, he would’ve been dead for sure. But Michael Bishop–a.k.a. Babel, messiah of the Matrix–is back in the game.

    Renraku Computer Systems has defied the accords of the Corporate Court. Now they must decipher the secrets of the otaku–and Babel is the technoshaman reborn for the job. But Netwalking in the shadows of the electron jungle means initiation into deadly megacorporate intrigue–and discovering more about Babel’s own team than he fears he should know. As allies become adversaries, Babel breaks through the dreaded black ice security to find a doorway to the future–and signs of a corp war looming on the horizon–one that could destroy the technoworld and beyond…forever.

    In this second book of the greatest epic in Shadowrun history–the maelstrom of cyber-magic and political intrigue following President Dunkelzahn’s assassination rages out of control. Ryan Mercury, Dunkelzahn’s secret agent, is torn between his duty and his desire to find a killer. But when a spirit wrongly concludes that Ryan is working for the enemy, he anoints a cyberzombie to carry out a hit of its own. Now with an impressive arsenal of allies, weaponry, and the Dragon Heart, Ryan just might pull off the save of the century–if he doesn’t lose his life first!

Blood Sport Legends Epub Available!

The next Shadowrun Legends installment is Blood Sport (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    Mama Grande streaked through Leni’s life like a bad dream. She arrived out of nowhere, claiming to be the ex-Lone Star detective’s grandmother. She prophesied rivers of blood and an earth in flames. But her murder was even more bizarre: she died at the hands of two Yucatán missionaries hiding a secret of the Gods.

    With combat biker wannabe Rafael in tow, Leni dives into Mama Grande’s past… and hurtles into the dark heart of Aztlan – where human sacrifice is all the rage, and where ancient ceremonial games could trigger the end of the world. Are they crazy cultists of true harbingers of doom? The closer Leni and Rafael get to the answer, the nearer they move to the brink of oblivion. Either way, their futures could be cancelled….

New Legends Epub Available!

We’ve two new Shadowrun Legends available in Stranger Souls (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG) and Shadowboxer (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    Dunkelzahn the dragon’s election as President of the United Canadian American States promised the dawn of a new era. But the hopes of a nation disintegrate with the powerful explosion that assassinates him. On that same fateful evening Dunkelzahn’s most trusted special agent, Ryan Mercury, is on a secret mission of great urgency involving dangerous magic. And only a miracle can save the world from total destruction…

    In this first book of the Dragon Heart Saga, Dunkelzahn’s murder shocks the Awakened-world. Rumors and suspicions run rampant as shadowrunners, Secret Service agents, and megacorp execs scramble for the reins of power. Open these pages to see the story behind the great dragon’s death and the beginning of a new adventure…

    Too Hot To Handle

    For Two Bears, a dwarf mercenary accustomed to running the shadows, the job sounded like an easy way to make a huge stack of cash: track down and discover the meaning of the word “IronHell.” But when the decker he approaches for help gets her brain fried on the Matrix, Two Bears konws he’s up to his stout little shoulders in drek.

    Too Cool To Give Up

    Realizing that IronHell must be the title of something – or somebody – very powerful, Two Bears looks for some backup to make sure he gets through this job alive. He lines up a street troll called Thumbs, a slick decker named Silver, a suit-wearing samurai called Delphia, and Moonfeather, a magic-wielding disciple of the Cat totem. Together they blast their way through a stream of megacorp] operatives, giant meta-beasts, and high-tech pirates, desperate to unravel the incredible secret of IronHell – before it unravels the world ….

Shadowrun: Anarchy: Why We Took a Cue

Gen Con is rushing down on us, and one of the things I’m most excited about is getting the prototype version of Shadowrun: Anarchy into gamers’ hands. Since that’s about to happen, followed by the push to get the full version off to print, it’s a good time to start talking about how the book came to be—and why it is what it is.

The reason to bring Shadowrun: Anarchy into being is simple—people kept asking for it. I love Shadowrun, Fifth Edition and look forward to further expanding and detailing that ruleset, but I also see the value in something that you can learn and play quickly, where the focus is the story and the rules are there to help the story move along. In early 2015, I kept having conversations with people interested in such a system, to the point where my thinking went from “Should we do this?” to “How should we do this?”

Answering that question meant looking at an asset we already had in hand—the Cue System that was first used in Cosmic Patrol and then in the Valiant Universe Role-Playing Game. I love Cosmic Patrol’s fast pace and the way it draws all the players into shaping a shared story, while the Valiant RPG showed the system’s potential for holding more mechanics, allowing more depth and variety of characters without sacrificing speed and simplicity. Still, if we were going to try to adapt the Cue System to Shadowrun, it was going to have to change even more. Some critical issues that arose during development included:

  • Could we move the system from a series of progressing dice—attributes in the Cue System improve by going from D4 to D6 to D8 and so on—to pools of six-sided dice, which is a critical part of making a system feel like Shadowrun?
  • Could we adapt the Cue System’s shared-gamemaster structure into one that allows a more traditional, single gamemaster as an option, or even one that uses a single gamemaster as a default?
  • How many connections could we make between Shadowrun, Fifth Edition and Anarchy so that players may move from one to the other?
  • How could we introduce magic, combat, and the Matrix so that all elements feel usable without overly complicating the game? What about spirits? Technomancers? Riggers?
  • What is the balance between providing the information the players need for the game to work and providing too much information so that it becomes off-putting?

These are not easy questions, and they were not answered easily or right away. One answer we saw pretty quickly was that the Cue System could work—we could bend it and stretch it into what we wanted it to be while working with its cooperative storytelling strengths. We had the bones we needed—our work was fleshing it out.

As we look into the development process, we’ll talk about how we answered some of the other questions I mentioned, and why we chose what we chose. For this post, let’s answer the first question: Six-sided dice pools are go! Having a simplified list of skills and connected attributes allows us to use dice pools that grow as characters improve, and allow the same virtues of scaling up that we get in Shadowrun, Fifth Edition. If it’s a Shadowrun role-playing game, we want to be able to roll six-sided dice, so that’s what you’re going to get!

How did we answer those other questions? Future posts will let you know!

Court of Shadows PDF/Print Pre-order Available!

You have seen it. You have felt it. The dream where you are falling, falling, and you cannot see the ground but you know it is there waiting. You may try to brace yourself, you may try to force yourself awake—you do anything to avoid the impact that keeps rushing toward you.

The Seelie Court is the realm of the hidden, the rumored, and the unknown. Fairies, spirits, and enchanted creatures mingle there, building alliances, plotting, scheming, toying with the realm of humans—and with each other. The Court has long held a distant attachment to the material plane, in uencing it like a dream influences our waking hours. But now a new connection has emerged, allowing humans to in ltrate the courts and in uence its proceedings. At a time when magical power is ever in the rise, the mix of human and fae could set both worlds into a calamitous plunge, and no one will want to be awake when they hit bottom.

Court of Shadows is an alternate setting for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, emphasizing the magic and intrigue of the Seelie Court. With full setting, character, and plot details, as well as information on using SR5 characters in the Seelie Court, this book presents all-new ways to play Shadowrun and to live in the mystical intrigue of the planes of fairy, capturing the magic of the dream world—and seeing if they can prevent its fall.

Court of Shadows Bundles

View all purchasing options.

The Seattle Sprawl box set is in our warehouse and ready to start shipping. Anyone that previously ordered the Seattle Sprawl Digital Box will be receiving an email with a code for $10 off the physical order.

Ordering Issues

Catalyst Game Labs’ online ordering—the BattleCorps website—is built on very old code. Thirteen years old, to be specific, which is several generations when it comes to tech. It was enough to get us up and running back in the day, but it developed more problems as time went on—problems we were able to stay on top of with a reasonable amount of time and effort. We got by until this last year, when several changes by our fulfillment center and an attempt to update our software compounded the issues to an extent that we can’t even track down half of the problems it’s now giving us.

At present, a lot of our orders (most, in fact) seem to go through without an issue. But when there is a problem, in some cases we lose all ability to track and reply. We agree this is unacceptable, and we are taking steps to deal with it. We are bringing in a specialist this next week to try to fix our email tracking issue, and we have several days set aside to work on a complete system rebuild using modern software tools.

In the meantime we are trying to get all back orders taken care of as quickly as we can. If any of you are not in communications with someone at Catalyst and feel that your order is outstanding, by all means, feel free to contact randall@catalystgamelabs.com, with the subject BATTLECORPS ORDERING PROBLEM, and he’ll work directly with you and the warehouse in the interim.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Team Catalyst

Steel Rain Legends Epub Available!

The next Shadowrun Legends installment is Steel Rain (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).


    Sword Of The Serpent

    Machiko is second-in-command of the Green Serpent Guard, an elite corps of Elven samurai who are sworn to defend the Chairman of Nagato Corporation. But she soon gets a promotion – after her superior is ruthlessly cut down in a slew of attacks aimed at the famous Guard itself.

    Only the wealthiest can afford assassins with enough muscle to take on the Green Serpent Guard, and Machiko turns up evidence that points ot Nagato’s biggest rival, Fuchi Corp. It looks like Fuchi has designs on Nagato’s sensitive research division, where the incredible future of the communications matrix is taking shape. When magical attacks and sabotage begin taking out more of Nagato’s personnel, things between the two megacorporations really heat up. But behind the growing hostilities with Fuchi looms a more sinister threat, requiring far more of Machikos talents than her flashing sword. And staying alive may require defeating a high-tech foe with virtually unlimited powers – and absolutely no mercy ….

Dead Air Legends Epub Available!

This week’s Shadowrun Legends installment is Dead Air (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    Jacked-In, Revved-Up, And Armed To The Teeth

    It’s fast and furious inside the Combat Biker maze, where armor-plated hogs and juiced-up rice grinders blast, pound, and pummel each other for points. But it’s just barely up to speed for Jonathon and Tamara, two elven bikers at the head of the Los Angeles Sabers. With a simsense link between them that allows them to act virtually as one, they’re been tearing up the league and making headlines.

    But all that changes when Tamara takes a brutal hit from the cyberspurs of Dougan Rose, lead linebiker for the New Orleans Buzzsaws and the most respected player in the league. When Tamara gets slammed, Jonathon’s out for revenge. But it isn’t going to be easy. Because there’s a lot more to this sabotage than meets the eye – and if the megacorp agents, simsense industry operatives, and hostile mages don’t kill him, the truth probably will….

Burning Bright Legends Epub Available

This week’s Shadowrun Legends installment is Fade To Black (BattleShop, DriveThruRPG).

    MISSING: Mitch Truman, heir apparent to an entertainment megacorporation. He may have fled his parents for the sake of love, but if magic is involved the reason could be darker…

    WEALTHY: Dan Truman, CEO of media giant Truman Technologies, doesn’t care how much it costs–he wants his son back. He’ll hire the best to find his heir, even if their motives are suspect…

    EXPERIENCED: Kyle Teller’s done this job before. He knows the tricks of the trade, and not only because he’s a mage. He thinks finding the missing boy will be easy. Why shouldn’t it be?

    But will money and experience be enough to defeat the terrible power growing beneath the city of Chicago?

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