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Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary 7


You might be wondering why there’s not been a Sprawl Gangers update in a while…well, I’ve not had my head in it for the last two months. Convention season always swallows up swaths of time, then there’s the work on the Shadowrun Introductory Box Set and Shadowrun: Crossfire, as well as other work, that simply has been swallowing up most of my time.

Add to that that Playtest Cycle 3 was wrapping up, and well…didn’t have my head in the rules/presentation side very much.

Now, that doesn’t mean that work on the production side has not been progressing. I’ve been in numerous meetings with various people that we hope will help us solve the miniatures production issues and give us high-quality miniatures within a time frame that is appropriate. In fact, I’ve got another such meeting this week.

In the meantime, I’ve finally got enough bandwidth to be allocating some time each day to starting to review all the playtest reports from Cycle 3, compiling them, making notes on which issues are brought up by multiple groups and which, despite vociferous arguments, are just an issue with a single group, which issues I immediately see a solution to and which I’m currently at a loss for how to handle…and so on, and so forth. Pretty standard process, but it can swallow a lot of time, especially as I wear a lot of hats (as much of you are well aware).

In the meantime, thought I’d try something a little different. I really enjoy pulling back the curtain, so to speak, and showing off how the whole process works. And at this stage, the easiest way to do that is to share a playtest report. I’ve scrubbed out the names of the individuals involved, but really beyond that, this is a straight report from players: Sprawl Gangers Playtest Report 3-1.

Now imagine about 15 to 20 of these (some much shorter, some much longer; though in the first playtest cycle we got back almost double that number), and hopefully you’ll start to get a sense of the work involved in digesting it all and bringing it into a sense of order that is helpful when making calls on what needs to change and what doesn’t need to change.

Randall N. Bills

Adventure Monday! Two new Shadowrun adventures ready to rock!

So with the PDF version of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition setting sales records and the print version selling out before its street date, we figured there were a lot of people anxious to play this game, and we should provide adventures to help them roll. We brought out the compilations Sprawl Wilds and Firing Line already, but now we have two all-new adventures written specifically for Fifth Edition.

The first is Splintered State available now for print pre-order and PDF purchase (Battleshop, DriveThru). It’s a wild and rollicking ride designed to introduce players and gamemasters to Fifth Edition. Here’s what lies in wait:

It Can Always Get Worse

Federal Agent Seth Dietrich has a secret. Actually, multiple secrets. One of them made him go underground, hiding from the people desperate to learn just how much he knows. And the other is keeping him from surfacing, because he’s found he can’t even trust himself.

If Dietrich were in his right mind, he’d cover his tracks like a pro, and no one would find him. Especially not shadowrunners getting their feel for life on the streets. But he’s not in his right mind, which means a group of shadowrunners finds themselves in possession of some very valuable information—information the highest powers in Seattle want for themselves. What started as a simple job turns into a scramble for their lives, a scramble that could become profitable if the runners play their cards right.

Splintered State is an introductory adventure for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition. Whether you have played previous Shadowrun editions or are new to the setting, this adventure helps players and gamemasters learn the new rules while wrapping themselves in the intrigue, excitement, and danger of running in Seattle.

On top of that, the new season of Shadowrun Missions begins with Chasin’ the Wind (Battleshop, DriveThru), which brings exciting Missions action to the chaotic feral city of Chicago! If you’re brave enough to venture into the wilds of the Containment Zone, here’s what you’ll encounter:

Deadly Cold Wind

It’s been nearly twenty years since disaster struck the city of Chicago, transforming it into an urban hellscape, and some people now believe it’s suffered enough. The Governor of Illinois has initiated and ambitious plan called Project: Takeback to reclaim the feral urban jungle. What’s more, he’s put money into the effort, and that’s the language every corporation on Earth understands. Suddenly, the race is on as the megacorps scramble to claim pieces of the Windy City. They’ll be butting up against the dangers of the Containment Zone and each other, so they’re going to need all sorts of deniable assets. The shadows of Chicago are coming back to life.

In Chasin’ The Wind, what starts as a simple run into the Containment Zone gets more complicated by the minute, and before the night is over shadowrunners might encounter rogue assassins, a feral runaway, and a mysterious massacre in the heart of one of the worst urban areas in the world. But if they survive, there’s more than just pay waiting for them at the end. There’s pizza—Chicago-style.

Chasin’ The Wind is the first adventure for Season 5 of Shadowrun Missions, Catalyst Game Labs’ living campaign for Shadowrun. It is designed for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition.

So that’s what’s out there waiting for you! Grab some adventures, grab your friends, and hit the shadows!

Shadowrun Fifth Edition First Printing Sold Out


We are thrilled to announce that the first printing of 15,000 copies of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition has sold out from Catalyst Game Labs before the standard edition has hit its Street Date this month. Additionally, well over a month since the book became the best-selling PDF of all time in the more than ten years of DriveThruRPG operations, it is still in the number one slot!


“Every time I think the Shadowrun community can’t surprise me with their brilliance, they surprise me again,” said Randall N. Bills, Catalyst’s Managing Developer. “We were confident we’d sell out by end of the year, but in mere weeks?! Once again, Shadowrun players stepped up in a fantastic way, showing how much life beats within the Sixth World … and how much life yet beats in the tabletop roleplaying community as a whole!”

Catalyst Game Labs is immediately starting a second print run to minimize any chance of a retailer or player trying to purchase a copy and being told it’s “out of stock”. Additionally, we have multiple items all heading to print simultaneously with this second print run so that they can hit store shelves roughly at the same time as the second printing. These include Splintered State, the first full SR5 adventure; Equipment and Spell decks of cards that make for easier game play; and the Shadowrun, Fifth Edition GM Screen.


It’s important to note that while Catalyst Game Labs is sold out, the Street Date for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is September 25th. This means that orders made through retail stores should be available this week. Additionally, orders through such venues as Amazon have been shipped to those companies (though when those companies will ship to customers is beyond our purview). Finally, if retailers sell through their copies they can immediately start taking preorders again (if a player is unable to preorder your copy through a local retailer, you can preorder online).

Check out shadowruntabletop.com and www.shadowrun.com in the near future to learn more about these fast-approaching additional releases and their specific street dates!

Catalyst Game Labs

Catalyst Game Labs is dedicated to producing high-quality games and fiction that mesh sophisticated game mechanics with dynamic universes, all presented in a form that allows beginning players and long-time veterans to easily jump into our games, while helping fiction readers enjoy our stories even if they don’t know the games.


Catalyst Game Labs is an imprint of InMediaRes Productions, LLC, which specializes in electronic publishing of professional fiction. This allows Catalyst to melds printed gaming material and fiction with all the benefits of electronic interfaces and online communities, creating a whole-package experience for any type of player or reader. Find Catalyst Game Labs online at www.catalystgamelabs.com.

New Shadowrun fiction available! Run The Vladivostok Gauntlet!

We’ve got a new Enhanced Fiction short story called The Vladivostok Gauntlet out today, and it’s full of the goodness that makes Shadowrun unique and delicious. If you’re not reading this story, then you’re missing out on Russian mobsters, bloodthirsty killers, wolf shapeshifters, decadent nightclubs, and more. You don’t want to miss out on that, do you?

We’ve made the story available in all sorts of formats. First, you can just pick up the story itself as an Amazon single or on the Barnes and Noble store. The e-reader version doesn’t have the game stats, but that’s okay–we’ve made those stats available as a free download, right here: The Vladivostok Gauntlet Game Stats

Alternately, you could buy the whole package from either the Battleshop or DriveThru, and get everything–a Kindle version, an e-pub version, and a complete PDF with all the game stats. No matter which version you choose, you get new Shadowrun fiction for only $1.99! Here’s a full summary:

Rules for the Breaking

Yuri Yehzov has been off the streets for a long while, surviving by following a few simple rules. Don’t stick your neck out. Don’t get involved in something that is none of your business. And above all, don’t piss off the ferocious mobsters of the Vory y Zakone.

Yuri doesn’t have much left from his shadowrunning days except his cyberears, but that’s enough to get him in trouble. When he hears something he cannot ignore, one by one his rules fall by the wayside until he has cold-blooded killers, vicious shapeshifters, and a ruthless Vory leader all after him. His gear is broken, his reflexes are shot, and he’s about to face the toughest opponents he’s ever been against. The streets have one more chance to claim his life—and he has one more chance to break the rules, beat the odds, and find a way to stay alive.

The Vladivostok Gauntlet is a brand new Shadowrun short story. Read it and immerse yourself in the grit, grime, and dirty glory of the Sixth World!

And if you’re looking for more electronic versions of Shadowrun fiction, we have a special bonus for you! Another Rainy Night, which was previously only available as a PDF, is now available in Kindle or e-Pub versions!  If you buy these stat-free versions, it’s the same price as The Vladivostok Gauntlet–$1.99! So go get your Shadowrun fiction fix!

 

New Shadowrun ebooks out for a whole bunch of different editions!

One of the themes running through the Year of Shadowrun is that we want people to enjoy playing Shadowrun in a wide variety of ways, whether you’re playing a video game, a card game, or the role-playing game. And within the role-playing game, we know that people are playing different editions. We’d certainly be happy if people migrated to Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, but we’re also happy when we can provide options for a wide range of players.

Which brings us to today’s releases! We have three new ebooks out, spanning three different editions of Shadowrun! Let’s get to the newest edition first. In the tradition of Sprawl Wilds, we have Firing Line (Battleshop, DriveThruRPG), an adventure compilation that is dual-statted for both Fourth and Fifth editions. While Sprawl Wilds took you to strange and dangerous corners of Seattle, Firing Line offers more globe-trotting. Here’s the rundown:

Danger Zones

Shadowrunning can take you all sorts of different places and give you the chance to have all sorts of different guns pointed at you. Whether you’re exploring mysterious islands off the coast of Seattle, collecting bounties on the tightly guarded streets of Manhattan, or trying to survive the chaos and conflict in Bogotá, you’re likely to find yourself in trouble and in the line of fire. Because that’s where you’re paid to be.

Firing Line collects four Shadowrun Missions developed especially for the large summer gaming conventions, making them available for the first time to the gaming public. The adventures have all the statistics and game information needed for both Shadowrun, Fourth Edition and Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, meaning that a wide range of shadowrunners will have everything they need to dive into the adventures and get themselves in some high-paying trouble!

Next on the list is a new release for Shadowrun, Fourth Edition–continuing in the tradition of Parazoology, Parabotany, and Parageology, it’s Parazoology 2 (Battleshop, DriveThruRPG)! From Awakened spiders to giant toxic amoebas, Parazoology 2 has a host of critters to throw into your game and adventure hooks to get your players running! Here’s more info:

Natural Born Killers

Some shadowrunners long to escape the dirt and danger of the Sixth World’s sprawls for the supposed peace and tranquility of nature. Thing is, the ones that actually try it generally find themselves quickly scurrying back to the city once they discover what’s waiting for them out there in the wild. From the sharp-toothed, lightning-fast ammit to the sneaky, venomous greater dancing white lady, nature in the Sixth World is full of ways to kill the unsuspecting and incautious.

Parazoology 2 is here to make sure shadowrunners are prepared for the dangers that lie in wait. With full details on dozens of Sixth World critters as well as firsthand accounts of encounters with mysterious creatures in their natural habitats, Parazoology 2 is a critical book for runners making their way into the wilds—even if that means the dark alleys just down the road.

Parazoology 2 is for use with Shadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition.

And finally, we have a re-issue now available in PDF format. It’s Rigger 3 Revised (Battleshop, DriveThruRPG)! Last seen coming out toward the end of Shadowrun, Third Edition’s run (natch), Rigger 3 is your definitive guide to rigging, full of vehicles, drones, and all sorts of goodies:

Planes, Drones and Automobiles

Living is rigging, omae. Like burning rubber down the highway at 150 klicks and hour with only your brain to guide you. What about making a drone an extension of yourself, or undermining the security of a whole building, manipulating every camera, motion detector or security door. But the biggest kick is blowing up a car full of goons without even jacking out — weapons of destruction at your mental command … now that’s road rage, my friend.

Rigger 3 Revised expands upon the basic rigging and drone rules provided in Shadowrun, Third Edition and offers advanced rules for robots, ships, security riggers and electronic warfare. Rigger 3 Revised also offers expanded vehicle listings and rules for vehicle design, construction and modification. This revised edition has been corrected and updated and includes a complete set of vehicle illustrations.

 

So there you have it! So much Shadowrun goodness that you have no excuse to not hit the streets of the Sixth World! Get out there, get running, and have fun!

 

Crossfire: Not in the Face!

Why can’t I find a spoon around here? Sure, it’s a beat-up, boarded-up, ransacked house, but you’d think there would be an old spoon laying around. I guess not. I’ll go back to that convenience store where I bought my ramen, and along the way I’ll tell you all about being a Face.

The Face is the Shadowrun: Crossfire role with the people skills. While a Decker hacks into a terminal and searches the net for data and the Mage uses Arcane wisdom to come up with obscure info (and the Street Samurai looks for a fight), the Face is talking to their friend just around the corner to get that crucial piece of intel that will make the difference.

The Face’s role color is Red and playing the role is all about cooperation and increasing your options and those of the other runners. It also has one of the best healing cards in the game—Doc Wagon Contract. It’s such a good card that it works well in anyone’s deck.

It’s usually better to spread Doc Wagon Contract cards around rather than having one runner keep them all. That way no matter which player becomes staggered there always another player that can patch them up.

And speaking of more options, one of the best group cards in the game is in red; it’s called Hero Move.

Hero Move is all about teamwork. It does a lot of damage but more important is the fact that it gives every runner another card outside of their normal draw step. And more cards means more options on what a runner can do on their turn.

And if that isn’t cooperative enough, Coordinated Attack should do the trick for you.

This card allows another runner to not only draw one more card, but then play any card from their hand (even the one they just drew) on your turn. If multiple runners have Coordinated Attack cards in hand, it can do some crazy (and fun) stuff.

Most of the red cards are good for any role, so there is often a lot of competition for them among the team. If you run into the problem of not being able to buy red cards because everyone else is buying them, Press the Advantage is your solution:

This card allows you to draw a bunch of cards (sometimes) and rewards you for building your deck with cards from other colors. One trick is to keep 3 Street Smarts in your hand so your deck isn’t stuffed full of red cards. Then when you play Press the Advantage, you improve your chances of not drawing a bunch of red cards that would cut your card drawing short.

The next two red cards are about Black Market manipulation. If the Decker gets lucky, they can hack into the Black Market and maybe apply the digital five-finger discount. But the Face uses the art of negotiation to get huge discounts nearly every time.

The main ability on this card allows you to buy a red Skill card for cheap. Keep track of how many red cards you play on your turn, and that’s how much you can discount your first Skill card purchase from the Black Market. So a red-heavy deck really makes this work. Negotiation also has a good assist ability, and actually does more damage when you use it as an assist, because it lets the runner you play it on get a discount of 1 nuyen when they want to buy a card.

And finally we have . . .

This card allows you to buy something immediately instead of waiting until the end of your turn. It essentially makes the entire Black Market part of your hand (well, if you can afford it). And on top of that you can play the card you bought during the same turn, which can be really useful for finishing off that pesky store clerk that didn’t give you a spoon with the cup of noodles you bought.

The last thing that I like about this card is its usefulness when you’re in danger of being staggered. Usually that means you end up with money you can’t spend as you get knocked down before you can buy from the Black Market. With Black Market Contacts in hand, you can spend before you bite it. And who knows? That card just might save your hide for another turn!

Well, I don’t have black market contacts, and the store clerk is being belligerent about giving me a spoon. Let me deal with him and then we can go. Oh, and bonus karma for getting the reference in the title.

-Conan E. Chamberlain

Shadowrun September Street Dates

The following products have a Street Date of SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2013:


Shadowrun, Fifth Edition [Limited Edition] ($99.99)
There are cracks in the world. They’re slender, dark, and often cold, but they are the only things that keep you hidden. Keep you alive. They are the shadows of the world, and they are where you live.

You are a shadowrunner, thriving in the margins, doing the jobs no one else can. You have no office, no permanent home, no background to check. You are whatever you make yourself. Will you seek justice? Sow seeds of chaos? Sell out to the highest bidder? It’s up to you, but this much is certain—if you do nothing, the streets will eat you alive.

You can survive—even flourish—as long as you do what it takes. Sacrifice part of your soul for bleeding-edge gear. Push the limits of your will learning new and dangerous magic. Wire yourself into the Matrix, making your mind one with screaming streams of data. It’ll cost you something—everything does—but you can make it worth the price.

Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is the newest version of one of the most popular and successful role-playing worlds of all time—a fusion of man, magic and machine in a dystopian near-future. With rules for character creation, magic, combat, Matrix hacking, rigging, and more, you have everything you need to face the challenges of the Sixth World.

NOTE: Shadowrun, Fifth Edition Limited Edition includes: bonded red leather cover, foild-stamped cover, spine and back with dragon embossed on cover, gold-gilded page edges, and cloth bookmark. Interior is identical to the standard printing. While supplies last.


Sprawl Wilds ($19.99)
You live in any sprawl long enough, you’ll find out that there’s a lot more to it than businessmen and soykaf stalls. Any sprawl worth its mettle has its dark corners, its forgotten places, its spots that are just as wild and untamed as the deepest rainforest.

Seattle, the prime metroplex in the world for shadowrunning, is filled with such places, and Sprawl Wilds gives shadowrunners a chance to tour them. From a fortress-like Barrens farm recovering from a mysterious attack to a dark secret hidden in a clinic, runners have a chance to see the sites most people never encounter, and uncover information that some people want to stay secret at any cost. They’ll meet jaded smugglers, wary police officers, passionate activists, hardened criminals, wounded warriors, and at least one deranged killer. The questions are, will they survive long enough to collect a paycheck—and how much of the sprawl will be nothing more than dust when they’re done with it?

Sprawl Wilds is a collection of Shadowrun Missions developed for major summer gaming conventions. These adventures have been adapted for both Shadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition and Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and they provide hours of shadowrunning goodness for experienced street veterans and new shadowrunners alike. With complete game information, including NPC stats, these adventures are poised to plunge players into urban chaos!

The following products have a Street Date of SEPTEMBER 25TH, 2013:


Shadowrun, Fifth Edition [Standard Edition] ($59.99)
There are cracks in the world. They’re slender, dark, and often cold, but they are the only things that keep you hidden. Keep you alive. They are the shadows of the world, and they are where you live.

You are a shadowrunner, thriving in the margins, doing the jobs no one else can. You have no office, no permanent home, no background to check. You are whatever you make yourself. Will you seek justice? Sow seeds of chaos? Sell out to the highest bidder? It’s up to you, but this much is certain—if you do nothing, the streets will eat you alive.

You can survive—even flourish—as long as you do what it takes. Sacrifice part of your soul for bleeding-edge gear. Push the limits of your will learning new and dangerous magic. Wire yourself into the Matrix, making your mind one with screaming streams of data. It’ll cost you something—everything does—but you can make it worth the price.

Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is the newest version of one of the most popular and successful role-playing worlds of all time—a fusion of man, magic and machine in a dystopian near-future. With rules for character creation, magic, combat, Matrix hacking, rigging, and more, you have everything you need to face the challenges of the Sixth World.

Note: All online orders have already begun to ship (including all three editions).

Catalyst Game Labs Closed While Attending Gen Con 2013

As happens every year, Catalyst Game Labs is effectively closing down as all-hands are on deck to run Gen Con. Effective from tomorrow and running until roughly August 21st, the usual channels of communications (emails, website updates, and so on) will go unanswered.

Additionally, even once communications resume it’ll be another week or two for us to dig out of the backlog and resume timely responses.

For those attending Gen Con, we’ll see you in five days! For those not attending, thanks for your patience while we’re gone…we’ll have our usual stories and photos to share after the con.

Thanks for your brilliant support!

Catalyst Team

Shadowrun Setting Sales Records; Deluxe Mayan Edition Returns

In less than a month, Shadowrun, Fifth Edition has become the best-selling PDF of all time in the more than ten years of DriveThruRPG operations, while setting the same standard for Catalyst Game Labs online store.

Additionally, the online allotment of the Shadowrun 5 Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition sold out in less than a week. Taking that fantastic excitement from the exploding Shadowrun community into account, Catalyst has worked with the printer to make additional Deluxe “Mayan” Editions available. We’ll have a good stock available at Gen Con, and the online bundles that include this book are available once more…while supplies last.

For people who have already bought the Mayan edition and want to make sure it keeps its cachet as a very limited book, here are a few things we considered when making this change.

1. Selling out as fast as we did meant that some hadn’t even heard of it yet before it was all gone. Providing an expanded number gives those fans a small window to grab one.

2. It’s still less than 3% of the first print run, which by any definition is a “Limited Edition.”

3. If current pre-orders are any indication, within the first year it’ll be less than 1% of available books…again, extremely Limited by any definition.

Retailers, while the Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition will not be available in stores, the Shadowrun 5 Limited Edition is available for ordering, while supplies last. Additionally, don’t forget our Case Pack Deal of ordering 6 copies of any hardcover edition and receive a free in-store softcover book!

The Street Date for the print version of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition has not yet been announced, but keep watching this space for news in the near future!

Check out shadowruntabletop.com and www.shadowrun.com to learn more about all that’s happening in the Year of Shadowrun!

Catalyst Game Labs

Catalyst Game Labs is dedicated to producing high-quality games and fiction that mesh sophisticated game mechanics with dynamic universes, all presented in a form that allows beginning players and long-time veterans to easily jump into our games, while helping fiction readers enjoy our stories even if they don’t know the games.

Catalyst Game Labs is an imprint of InMediaRes Productions, LLC, which specializes in electronic publishing of professional fiction. This allows Catalyst to participate in a synergy that melds printed gaming material and fiction with all the benefits of electronic interfaces and online communities, creating a whole-package experience for any type of player or reader. Find Catalyst Game Labs online at www.catalystgamelabs.com.

CATALYST AT GEN CON 2013

As always, Catalyst Game Labs will be at Gen Con 2013 in force. In fact, this year we’re taking things to a whole new level!

THE SHADOWRUN RPG EXPERIENCE


Dive into gaming in the Sixth World like never before as players step into the infamous Dante’s Inferno club in Seattle’s Sprawl. An 8-foot tall, 30-foot long banner creates an immersive 11 foot diameter room were you can learn Shadowrun, Fifth Edition and run the mean streets in the shadows of the megacorps.

Runs must be made by appointment only with our exclusive Dante’s Inferno concierge, and each player of the Shadowrun Experience will not only have memories of a run like no other, but will walk away with a free copy of the hard-back, full-color Sixth World Almanac sourcebook!

Read Full Article.

Crossfire Demo Box


If you attended Origins you might have run into Rob Watkins, a member of the Crossfire design team, giving nonstop demos of the game. Rob was using a prototype of the Shadowrun: Crossfire Demo Box.

The Shadowrun: Crossfire Demo Box is a trial version of the game that’s perfect for learning the rules. We carefully picked out a subset of the full game that shows off Crossfire’s feel and mechanics in a small, elegant package. The demo box takes you through a shorter, tighter version of the “Caught in the Crossfire” mission included in the full game—it’s the quickest way for new players to learn how to play.

We’ll have more people demoing Shadowrun: Crossfire at Gen Con and PAX Prime, but that’s not all! In addition, we’ll be making demo boxes available to retail game stores across the country once Shadowrun: Crossfire launches.

Retailers: Once you see new soliciations for Shadowrun: Crossfire, don’t forget to indicate whether you’d like a copy of the demo box

Gamers: Once you see details on our site letting you know Shadowrun: Crossfire is nearing a Street Date, let your favorite local game store owner know that you’d like them to order a demo copy!

And one final note. The demo boxes are only the beginning. We will be sending out materials and encouraging game stores to hold Shadowrun: Crossfire game nights—the demo box is the jumping-off point for the Crossfire fun to come. Stay tuned!

—Sean McCarthy
Shadowrun: Crossfire Design Team
Shadowrun: Crossfire Demo Kit Lead Designer

Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary 6

Wow…it’s been awhile since a Sprawl Gangers Designer Diary. An apology for that. The launch of the Year of Shadowrun has proven…well…significantly more time intensive than we gave it credit for, so I’ve not been able to keep up on these as I would’ve liked.

With the so far wildly successful launch of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and with “most” of the insanity of Gen Con just about behind us, I’ve got a little bit of breather in here to provide an update (and hopefully send out a new playtest cycle) before the next insanity of actually working Gen Con begins.

In my previous diary, I mentioned starting to get into the specifics of what a model will be able to do during a game.

Well, since I’ve already done the work in laying out what occurs in a turn in the rules, thought I’d just crib directly from the Playing The Game section to give you a thorough slice of a turn:

>>>>>
The following rules cover exactly how play unfolds on the gaming table.

When playing Sprawl Gangers, follow the same basic format each turn to move and attack with your models. Players should not consider the list below a hard-and-fast set of rules for how to play the game, but instead a way to lay the framework, from which to build a fuller understanding of how the game works by incorporating specific rules from the rest of the rulebook.

The rough order of game play is as follows:

  • Before play begins, players select their gang models they’ll play with, along with their corresponding cards (these track model abilities throughout the game).
  • Next players determine which Mission they’ll be playing and build the terrain on their game table. Then, based upon the specifics of the Mission, they place their models. The game is now ready to begin.
  • Players roll Initiative at the start of every turn.
  • The player that won the Initiative Actives a single model. In any order the player chooses (provided the model can), the model takes 1 Move Action, 1 Attack Test and 1 Non-Attack Test.
    • Move Action: If moving, the player chooses how many inches the model will move, measures on the playing area, and then moves the model accordingly to the new location.
    • Attack Test: If making an Attack Test, the player determines range to the target by measuring between the two models, determines what cover may be in between the model and then uses that information to determine how many dice to roll. The target model then makes a Defense Test. Comparing the dice rolled from both Tests will ultimately determine if damage is applied to the target model, or not.
    • Non-Attack Test: If making a Non-Attack Test, the player determines the difficulty of the action to find a Threshold value, then determines how many dice to roll based upon the action. If the number of Hits on the dice equals or exceeds the Threshold value, the action is a success; if not, the action doesn’t succeed.
  • The player that won the Initiative Activates the next model, each time, in any order, choosing whether to take a move Action, make an Attack Test or Non-Attack Test. And so on until all the player’s models have moved.
  • The player that lost the Initiative now Actives his first model, following all of the exact same actions noted above.
  • Once both players have Activated all models, they enter the Upkeep Phase of the turn, determining if any gangers run away, applying any on going effects, as well as determining if any objectives were achieved.
  • Once the Upkeep Phase is over, the turn is done and both players roll Initiative again to start a new turn.
  • This basic procedure repeats until one side or the other wins, based upon the objectives of the Mission.
  • >>>>>

    Now if you’ve played really any miniatures games, most of that seems really straight forward. And if you haven’t but love the idea from trying Shadowrun in a miniatures style of game, the game will cover the details of what you might not be grogging.

    Regardless of your frame of reference, though, in my next blog post I’ll start to carve a little more thoroughly into that minutia of a game turn, as well as starting to talk about Interrupts, which is turning out to be one of the best parts of the game.

    Randall N. Bills

    Shadowrun 5 Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition Preorders Sold Out

    Once again, Shadowrun funs are the absolute best!

    We announced last Thursday that online sales blew away our best ever sales records.

    However, almost a week latter I can beat that by a fair margin. For both Catalyst’ online shop and DriveThruRPG, Shadowrun, Fifth Edition doubled the previous launch day sales record for any other title ever published. But far more impressive, the first week of sales of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition have still doubled the prior best first week release sales.

    And that includes completely selling out of all of the Shadowrun, Fifth Edition Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition that we’d set asside for online orders, in one week. While there are still some left, they are specifically reserved for Gen Con and Pax Prime.

    Below you’ll find the updated bundle graphic show which bundles are no longer available.

    For retailers (or those that want to remind their local friendly retailer), the standard Limited Edition is still available for preorder (and of course the standard hard back). Also, don’t forget our Case Pack Deal of ordering 6 copies of any hard cover edition and receive a free in-store soft cover book!

    Thanks chummers!

    Crossfire: Why I like to play the Street Samurai: Simplicity with Versatility

    Sure the Street Samurai can deal a ton of damage—it’s one of the top damage dealing roles in the game. But the role also has many other tools it puts at your disposal.

    So how do you deal damage as the Sammy? By playing Katanas with other weapon cards. A simple combo that’s fun to play. Katanas also stack with each other, so buy lots of them if they show up.


    The problem is that your damage is all black and colorless and there are very few obstacles you can defeat with just that type of damage. This color-focus is the Street Samurai’s weakness, but you can do something about it and still stay in your color.



    The Sniper Rifle doesn’t care what colors are left on the damage track. It clears the bottom two levels of the damage track regardless of what those symbols are. BAM! Headshot!

    You can always buy cards of other colors as well. Shadowrun: Crossfire has many cards that work well in other colors, so don’t be shy about buying them. Of course, that means the other runners will be buying your color of cards, too. The game works well with a little diversity in your deck.


    Another main focus of the Street Samurai role is taunting obstacles so they will face you. You do this by playing Monofilament Whip.

    As you can see, it’s even better when you play another Weapon card: you move an obstacle to face you and then it deals no damage to you. This is one of the best ways to keep your teammates going, but you have to watch out. You can’t use the Whip on your own obstacles, so next turn you’ll likely have a lot of trouble facing you. . . .


    . . . which is the perfect time to use the Remington Roomsweeper!

    It does its damage to ALL the obstacles (and bosses!) facing a runner. So whip ’em good, then Roomsweeper them! Note that if you use this combo with a Katana, the extra damage from the Katana applies to each obstacle that you damaged with the Roomsweeper, giving you major damage!


    Healing in Shadowrun: Crossfire is scarce. But Black does have one healing card in its color: Covering Fire.

    When you play it on your turn, you can heal a runner . . . but not yourself, so be careful when whipping obstacles to you! It also has one of the most powerful assist abilities.

    You can only play assists on another runner’s turn to help them out. In the case of Covering Fire, it completely prevents the damage done by one obstacle. If that isn’t enough, it also provides a damage. The assist on Covering Fire is very powerful, so you might have to think twice about using its normal ability. And don’t be upset if someone else buys this card. It’s great for anyone’s deck!


    And finally, there’s the rare Aztechnology Striker.

    This is the biggest, baddest Weapon there is! So everyone will want it, even though it costs so much. It does a base of and 2
    damage. But its real power comes from being able to move a bunch of obstacles to face you and have them all deal no damage. It’s one of the best ways to recover from a losing situation, and it can single-handedly allow your team to successfully abort, if the run has gone really sour.

    So there you have it. The arsenal available to the Street Samurai is powerful and simple to use. Have fun blasting and slicing your way through the streets!

    -Conan E. Chamberlain

    Runners Gone Wild!

    So apparently there’s this little game that Catalyst Game Labs released last week. It’s pretty small, so you may not have heard of it. Shadowrun, Fifth Edition? Oh, so you have heard of it! Excellent. I’m a big fan myself. So anyway, along with SR5 there was another product called Sprawl Wilds that was released and it has a lot of people asking “What is this?” Since I worked on the product and helped develop it, I figured I’d drop a little chip-truth on ya and tell you what’s what.

    Sprawl Wilds is a collection of adventures written for the Shadowrun Missions Living Campaign back in 2010 for the summer gaming conventions. These adventures were only available at Origins, Gen Con, Dragon*Con, and a handful of smaller conventions. We always planned to release these after convention season was over, but we all got busy with other things (because chummer, there are always a pile of other things to work on, lemme tell you!) and these fell by the wayside. Once we finally realized that we were never going to have the time to go back and clean up and get these old Missions ready to be released, we brought in some extra help in the form of Robert McKittrick to finish off the adventures and make them all nice and shiny so we could release them to the public at large.

    Now, we had two other problems. The first was that one of the adventures slated for Sprawl Wilds was CMP 2010-02: Copycat Killer, which some of you may recognize because that adventure is a prequel to one of our Season 4 adventures, and was released bundled with SRM 04-05: On a Silver Platter. So one of the four adventures planned for this book had already been used! We decided to make lemons out of lemonade, and Rob sat down and worked up a new adventure called Carbon Copy which serves as a sequel to both the original Copycat Killer and On a Silver Platter. The story of the Mayan Cutter lives on!

    The second problem was that we were about to release Shadowrun, Fifth Edition and the adventures were all written for Shadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition. So Rob and a few others put their heads together and dual-statted the book top to bottom with both SR4A and SR5 stats! So now the book is playable regardless of which edition you are playing—no home brewing needed!

    So what’s in the book? Four adventures that will kick you in the hoop, that’s what. We start off with Manhunt by Ando Muneno, which tasks the runners with delving deep into the wilder parts of the Barrens and help out an ex-Lone Star cop who’s gotten himself into some paracritter trouble. Then we find that yet again the Mayan Cutter is back, like a killer from a 1980’s slasher flick in Carbon Copy by Robert McKittrick and myself. From there, we head into the Ork Underground where a meet goes horribly wrong in Ashes, another adventure by Ando Muneno. And finally we get an adventure a lot of fans have requested as the runners have to transport a vaccine to a town beset by a killer virus in Humanitarian Aid by Alan Vuchichevich, a prequel adventure to SRM 04-10: Romero & Juliet.

    These Missions can be played as part of Shadowrun Missions Season 4 using SR4A or as prep for Season 5 under SR5. Or you can simply use these as one-off adventures for your home game, or as a mini-campaign to take your players into the wilder areas of the Seattle Sprawl.

    Good luck chummers. The Urban chaos of the Sprawl is a deadly place, so you’re gonna need it!

    Steven “Bull” Ratkovich
    Shadowrun Missions Developer

    Get Sprawl Wilds at the BattleShop or DriveThruRPG now!

    SR4 to SR5 character conversion guide now available!

    Have you been playing Shadowrun, Fourth Edition for a while? Do you want to play the new, hot-selling, well-reviewed Shadowrun, Fifth Edition without abandoning your existing character? Then we’ve got the document for you! In a handful of quick steps, the SR5 Character Conversion Guide gets your Fourth Edition character ready to rock and roll in Fifth Edition! It’s free, so head on over to the Battleshop or DriveThruRPG, download it, and get your character ready to dive into the latest version of Shadowrun!

    EN World Launches “RPG Spotlight”: Shadowrun First Up!

    EN World.org, one of the premier online sites for news and reviews for tabletop games, is launching an “RPG Spotlight” program next Monday. Each week will feature a different RPG, where publishers/designers will interact with the EN World community, answer questions, and more.

    With the wildly successful launch of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition PDF & Print Preorders yesterday, Catalyst Game Labs is pleased to see Shadowrun first up in this great new program.

    “I’m very excited to have the chance to interact with the EN World community!” said Jason M. Hardy, Shadowrun Line Developer. “They are a passionate, knowledgeable group, and I’ll do my best to be ready for whatever questions and thoughts they fire off.”

    The Shadowrun RPG Spotlight will run from July 15th to July 21. One participant from next week’s Spotlight will be chosen to win a free Shadowrun, Fifth Edition Limited Edition book!

    “I’m really excited to launch our weekly spotlights with Shadowrun, a game which has so much history,” said Russ Morrissey, of EN World,” and which was voted by EN World members into the Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2013.”

    Check out shadowruntabletop.com and www.shadowrun.com to learn more about all that’s happening in the Year of Shadowrun, as well as www.enworld.org for the spotlight program and great news and reviews for all things gaming.

    EN World

    EN World (www.enworld.org) has been reporting tabletop gaming news for over a decade. Originally the world’s largest Dungeons & Dragons fan site, it has evolved into one of the world’s leading tabletop gaming new sources and covers the whole gamut of roleplaying and board games. EN World also maintains the premier RPG awards program, the ENnies, at Gen Con every August. The SPOTLIGHT GAME program is a new initiative to highlight game systems and for fans to discuss their favourite games with the publishers, designers and creators to make them.

    Catalyst Game Labs

    Catalyst Game Labs is dedicated to producing high-quality games and fiction that mesh sophisticated game mechanics with dynamic universes, all presented in a form that allows beginning players and long-time veterans to easily jump into our games, while helping fiction readers enjoy our stories even if they don’t know the games.

    Catalyst Game Labs is an imprint of InMediaRes Productions, LLC, which specializes in electronic publishing of professional fiction. This allows Catalyst to participate in a synergy that melds printed gaming material and fiction with all the benefits of electronic interfaces and online communities, creating a whole-package experience for any type of player or reader. Find Catalyst Game Labs online at www.catalystgamelabs.com.

    Shadowrun Fifth Edition Sets Online Sales Records

    Never, ever underestimate Shadowrun fans…some of the best gamers in the world who will always step up and surprise you in fantastic ways!

    Shadowrun, Fifth Edition PDF & Print Preorders went on sale today. In the 6 years of operation for Catalyst Game Labs—and the 12 years for DriveThruRPG—we’ve never seen anything like this. Catalyst broke our own “best selling” first day record in a little over two hours, while in less than 8 hours DriveThruRPG passed its all time first day record, both for revenue and for number of PDFs sold.

    We are floored and humbled by the brilliant Shadowrun community. Your enthusiasm and love for this great universe knows no bounds.

    Thank you so much for embracing Fifth Edition with such passion…we join you in looking forward to years of action together on the mean sprawl streets of the Sixth World.

    Catalyst Team

    Shadowrun Fifth Edition PDF & Print Preorders On Sale!

    Retailers have been able to preorder Shadowrun, Fifth Edition for some time now for a street date of the physical books in August. (Retailers, don’t forget our Case Pack Deal of ordering 6 copies of any hard cover edition and receive a free in-store soft cover book!)

    Now, Catalyst Game Labs is pleased to make the PDF and print pre-orders available on our webstore!

    “The release of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition kicks off The Year of Shadowrun, to be followed right around the corner by the release of Harebrained Schemes’ Shadowrun Returns on July 25th”, said Randall N. Bills, Managing Developer for Catalyst Game Labs. “While there’s a slew of additional games coming—such as the adventure deck building game, Shadowrun: Crossfire, and Cliffhanger Productions’ Shadowrun Online, in the fall/winter, it all starts now with the best edition yet of the seminal RPG!”

    If you’ve not a had chance yet to check out Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, and are wondering what all the excitment is about, grab the monster preview PDF as well as the quick-start rules…both PDFs are free!

    Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is available in three formats (standard, limited edition and deluxe “Mayan” limited edition; see below the bundle details for specifics on the two limited editions). To cover the gamut of players, a combination of bundles for the various print books and PDF are available.

    Directly below is a graphic detailing all of the bundles, with the actual links for said bundles below the graphic.

    A. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 PDF: $20

    B. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Standard Print: $60

    C. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Standard Print (+ PDF): $70 [Save $10!]

    D. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Limited Edition (+ PDF): $100 [Save $20!]

    E. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition* (+ PDF): $200 [Save $20!]

    F. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Standard Print & Limited Edition (+ PDF): $150 [Save $30!]

    G. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Standard Print & Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition* (+ PDF): $240 [Save $40!]

    H. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Limited Edition & Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition* (+ PDF): $270 [Save $50!]

    I. Bundle: Shadowrun 5 Standard Print & Limited Edition & Deluxe “Mayan” Limited Edition* (+PDF): $320 [Save $60!]

    Prices do not include S&H costs. While supplies last!

    *Due to low quantities, the deluxe “Mayan” limited edition will only be available via online and convention sales.

    ALL INTERIORS IDENTICAL (This means the unique item code for Shadowrun Online is found in all three version of the print book, but not the PDF.)

    Don’t forget to check out the Storm Front plot book that bridges the storylines between Shadowrun, Fourth Edition and Fifth Edition, as well as Sprawl Wilds, a collection of convention Mission adventures stated for both Fourth and Fifth Edition to ease the transition!

    Check out shadowruntabletop.com and www.shadowrun.com to learn more about all that’s happening in the Year of Shadowrun (you can also download the free Year of Shadowrun PDF that details the avalanche of exciting games coming for Shadowrun)!

    Any news sites interested in reviewing the Shadowrun, Fifth Edition PDF, please contact randall@catalystgamelabs.com.

    Catalyst Game Labs

    Catalyst Game Labs is dedicated to producing high-quality games and fiction that mesh sophisticated game mechanics with dynamic universes, all presented in a form that allows beginning players and long-time veterans to easily jump into our games, while helping fiction readers enjoy our stories even if they don’t know the games.

    Catalyst Game Labs is an imprint of InMediaRes Productions, LLC, which specializes in electronic publishing of professional fiction. This allows Catalyst to participate in a synergy that melds printed gaming material and fiction with all the benefits of electronic interfaces and online communities, creating a whole-package experience for any type of player or reader. Find Catalyst Game Labs online at www.catalystgamelabs.com.

    Crossfire: Taking Out The Trash

    Deck-building games have a tradition of allowing you to remove cards from your deck (“trashing” them) during the course of the game. That allows you to remove the least significant cards from your deck and therefore gain greater access to your best cards. Shadowrun: Crossfire doesn’t have trashing, and I’m here to explain why.

    1) No drawback. In games like Dominion or Thunderstone, the ultimate goal of the game is to fill your deck with cards that are worth victory points. These cards dilute your deck as the game nears its end . . . and they dilute your deck the most if you’ve made it small by trashing! But Shadowrun: Crossfire is about adventuring, and there is no end-game dilution effect. Trashing under these conditions would be incredibly powerful.

    2) Loss of identity. In Shadowrun: Crossfire, each runner gets a different starting deck, depending on your role. These cards aren’t strong, and you’d sure like to trash them after you’ve bought a few replacements, but they define your identity! So instead of trashing, we added various black market cards that key off your starting cards—either by enhancing them, or by depending on their presence for best effect. Your starting cards end up staying relevant throughout the game.

    3) Variety. It’s cool in Dominion if you can draw and play your whole deck every turn, but it wouldn’t be quite as cool in Shadowrun: Crossfire, where you’re supposed to be facing new and unpredictable challenges and situations every turn. Instead of letting you draw your whole deck every turn, we went for making each individual card powerful and significant.

    —Sean McCarthy

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