SR5 dev blog: Where do dice come from?

Shadowrun 5 Logo with Text

Well, when a Mommy Die and a Daddy Die love each other very much …

No, that’s a subject for another time. What I wanted to talk about here were dice pools. Shadowrun rules are built around figuring out how many dice to roll and then rolling those suckers. As I mentioned in the previous development blog post, many of the core mechanics of Shadowrun, Fourth Edition remain largely in place in Fifth Edition. This means that the first thing you do to get your dice pool (in most instances) is add a skill to a linked attribute. That will continue to be the case for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition (in fact, it’ll happen more often, such as in Matrix actions, but that’s a topic for another post).

Where things change is what gets added to the pool. One of the priorities the design team had for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition was to put the character and their abilities at the center of things as much as possible. Which means that if they want high dice pools, they should have a high skill rating and/or high attribute. Simply put, if you have a high skill rating, you should generally have higher dice pools than someone with a lower skill rating

So what do we need to change to make this happen? One thing we focused on was skill caps. We felt that putting skill caps at 6, as Fourth Edition did, forced players to look for other ways to build their dice pools besides enhancing their skills. We decided to raise skill caps to 12, giving characters more room to grow. We didn’t want to make it easy to get there, though—the Karma costs of getting that final level are very high, because we wanted it to be clear that getting a character to that level was a sign of real commitment and dedication. Not to mention survivability.

As we kept talking about how to focus on characters’ attributes and skills, the conversation kept coming around to gear. When skills are capped—or even before then—gear is a vital tool for building your dice pools. Maybe too vital. We love our Shadowrun toys, but we felt wary about them being too dominant in game play. So what could we do that might de-emphasize gear a little without making it toothless? We still want characters to have the thrill of buying a new toy and taking advantage of what it can do for them. How do we find the right balance?

The answer we came up with was limits. This is a concept that exists in Fourth Edition, namely in the Force of a spell. When you choose the Force of a spell, you are limiting the number of hits you can count from your Spellcasting Test. If we spread that concept, introducing different sorts of limits, then that was an area where gear could have an effect. If you want to have a big dice pool, you need to build up your skills and attributes; but if you want to be able to take full advantage of that dice pool, counting as many hits as possible, you need the right piece of gear.

Weapons in Fifth Edition have a statistic called Accuracy. This represents the limit imposed by that weapon, that is, the number of hits you can count when you roll your test. Got a sweet sniper rifle that can shoot the wings off a fly from a kilometer away? That’ll have a high Accuracy, and you’ll be able to use a whole bunch of hits from your dice pool when you make an attack with it. If, on the other hand, you’re stuck with a broken-down pistol with a cracked barrel, well, you could be one of the world’s great marksmen, but you’re still going to have trouble hitting the side of a barn with that thing. Then again, maybe you’re not built with a high skill in pistol, and a cheap, low Accuracy gun is just about right for what you roll.

The Accuracy stat gave us the chance to make gear have significant effects on the game without ballooning dice pools. But that wasn’t the only effect they have—when you add something like this to game infrastructure, the effects tend to show up in different places. Next time we’ll talk about some of the effects limits have on attribute balance and using Edge.

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  1. Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    At first, I was like, “Naaah…” but by the end I was like, “Yeaaah!”

    I like the idea of limiting what a player can do with particular pieces of gear. I think that better conveys the penalty of using the wrong weapon for the wrong situation. In SR4, with the right setup of skills and gear, it always felt strange that a player could be nearly as effective at 100m with a fully automatic SMG as they could be with a sniper rifle.

    I would love to see weapon roles differentiated more in game. While as a GM you could fiat rules for it, it would be interesting to see penalties or limits officially in place for using, say, a sniper rifle at 15m where it becomes difficult to wield, effectively reducing its accuracy rating below that of a comparable close range weapon like a shotgun or a pistol. This would, ideally, force players to train in and carry a wider variety of weapons and potentially switching between them during combat to engage threats at different ranges, instead of just picking the weapon with the most damage and the highest accuracy in the one skill they’ve trained the most in.

  2. Joel
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    How hard is it going to be to convert a 4th character over into 5th? I’m dreading the traditional 18 month wait for all the tech books to catch up.

    • jhardy
      Posted February 1, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      These may be famous last words, but I don’t think it will be too complicated. We’ll provide a guide when SR5 comes out.

      • Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        That said, will it make sense, to convert an actual PC from 4 to 5, or will this more be an option for NPCs, and in the end it’s still more viable to rebuild your char as new SR5 and add all their karma? (That’s what we did from 3 to 4.)

        • jhardy
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          I can’t say for sure, but my gut feeling is that it will be viable to take PCs over from 4 to 5.

          • Joel
            Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

            Rebuild with karma was how we did 3-4 I’d love it if it was about 2nd-3rd levels of change between the systems. I am of course willing to test the conversion if you’ll send me an early copy of the rules 🙂

  3. Jobe
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    In the last SR20A campaign I ran, I had a monster elven adept sniper. Agility 12 (Increased Attribute for 8 and Improved Agility 4), Firearms 4, Improved Longarms 2, and (on his main guns) a Smartlink. Total dice pool with a Longarm with Smartlink: 20 dice. He wasn’t fast, but if he wanted something dead from a klick away, it died. It didn’t hurt that he would roll around 8 hits on average against targets that never saw it coming.

    Sounds like you’ll be doing Matrix rules like the more popular House Rules using Attribute + Skill for rolls with Programs/Complex Forms limiting hits.

    • StHubi
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      An Elf can have an Agility rating of 10. Anything else is not possible, as SR4 limits the attributes even for modification by magic or implants. But 18 dice is still pretty deadly.

      • Joel
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Pah, with the right tricks an elf can have natural max Agility of 9 (gene op, exceptional attribute) making the modded max 13. I regularly run for an elf sniper who throws 26 dice to shoot… He is a tad deadly. He was unchallengable in 3rd ed, 4th allowed me to tax him.

        • The Wyrm Ouroboros
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          10, not 9 – therefore 15, not 13.

        • Wyldfire
          Posted February 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          As Wyrm mentioned… you forgot Metagenetic Improvement.

          7 + MI + GO + EA = 10 (15).

          Buy your GM something nice and get him to let you add Aptitude with Karma and you can potentially roll Agil 15 + Longarms 7(10) + Specialty 2 + Smartlink 2 = 29 dice. Throw some Take Aims in there and you’ve just broken 30 dice.

          Seen a friend do just that, combined with a Barrett M121 and the Anti-Tank ammo. The end result was a string awesome one-shot kills, including shots through 3 walls from a mile off, a target inside a Citymaster, and an attack chopper (yes, the whole chopper… that one took 2 shots), not to mention more cases of general “Cover? What cover?” than you can shake a stick at.

  4. Rich Cameron
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Will there be play testing for the rpg as there is for the minis game?

    • jhardy
      Posted February 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Playtesting has been ongoing for a number of months and is in its final stages.

  5. Draco18s
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always been a fan of skill caps at 12, simply due to the “if you start at 5, there really isn’t anwhere to go, but outwards (other skills).” Which was a disheartening fact of SR’s system (of course, starting lower meant more room to grow, but also started pushing a concept towards ‘non-viable in play’).

    And I can definitely get behind Limits; pistols are only going to be so accurate, etc.

  6. Panda
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Will there be a selection of weapons within each type that come with a high accuracy? Say pistols for instance, that allow a wild west style gunfighter archetype with a high skill rating perform feats of marksmanship within the ranges allowed by that type?
    I would hope each weapon type has a few high performing pieces of gear, otherwise gear selection becomes a paint by numbers affair for power gamers & munchkins or they’ll all be Gy Sgt Carlos Hathcock wannabe’s… Incidentally he (and Corporal Craig Harrison) proves a person skilled enough, can push a weapon far beyond it’s limits.

    • jhardy
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      Yeah, that’s one of the things Accuracy lets us do is have a range of weapons, so that some weapons within a class can be more accurate than others. You can also add mods that will increase Accuracy.

      • Morg
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Is accuracy effected by firing mode or recoil com? Does suppressive fire ignore the accuracy stat?

  7. Jess
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    So – rather than simply rewarding skill, the person has to both invest karma to get a really high skill in the first place and then nuyen to purchase gear that’s good enough to properly utilize the skill? That seems a little awkward to me. I’m not sure how much people like to pay twice for something but maybe I’m missing something (er… like the rest of the rules, granted.)

  8. Stormdrake
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    With the skill cap going up (and I am happy about that) will any adjustments be made to spirits skills? 4th edition had their skills equal to their force which if kept the same will require a summoner to aim for spirits above force six pretty quickly it seems for them to have competative dice pools.

    • jhardy
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

      Yeah, we’re working on that issue right now.

  9. Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    “We felt that putting skill caps at 6, as Fourth Edition did, forced players to look for other ways to build their dice pools besides enhancing their skills. We decided to raise skill caps to 12, giving characters more room to grow. We didn’t want to make it easy to get there, though—the Karma costs of getting that final level are very high, because we wanted it to be clear that getting a character to that level was a sign of real commitment and dedication. Not to mention survivability.”

    Well, that answered my most anticipated question!

    It was my ONE complaint about 4E, and now it looks like that was amended. I’m now doubly excited for 5th!

  10. Simon Wentworth
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Assuming they’ll still have it, my money’s on the Electronic Firing mod improving Accuracy by 1 (No worries about the hammer affecting the bullet) . And I’ve also thought of a name for a new mod: Tightened Rifling. It should speak for itself.

    • CanRay
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      Match-Grade Barrel would be a more accurate term.

  11. Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    The big question I have is how this affects weapon lethality. One thing i’ve always loved about Shadowrun is that even your average scrub with a light pistol could be a critical threat if he rolled well enough. It keeps players on their toes, and takes the stress off of always having to have “the big bad!” in firearms. I dig the idea of accuracy, particularly if this is whats affected by Smartlinks/laser sights etc (+2 accuracy/potential hits instead of +2 dice to roll … yadda yadda yadda).

  12. Wizard
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    A skill cap of 12 does give a character more room for growth, which is a big plus in my book. Does a skill rating of 3 still equate to “Average skill level for starting characters and NPCs.” or has this been bumped up do the greater range of skill ratings? I am hoping for the later.

    The accuracy mechanic for weapons seems like an elegant solution to limiting dice pool size. The only issue I can see with it is that is also limits luck. For example, you take that broken-down pistol with a cracked barrel and shoot off the hip. The odds are against you, but you get that “lucky” once in a while shot and hit bang right on target. You can’t repeat that shot no matter how much you try, but for that one time you did. Maybe Edge is the answer to this, and I suppose in a few months I will find out.

    The rules changes in the blog do seem to be heading in the right direction and my optimism needle has swung a bit more to the “Yeap, Fifth Edition Is Good” side.

    • Wizard
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 4:18 am | Permalink

      Where is that edit button. The first paragraph was meant to say:

      A skill cap of 12 does give a character more room for growth, which is a big plus in my book. Does a skill rating of 3 still equate to “Average skill level for starting characters and NPCs.” or has this been bumped up due to the greater range of skill ratings? I am hoping for the earlier.

  13. Bill
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 4:23 am | Permalink


    I really hope these rolls get unified as you say they are going to be. SR4 is all over the place in terms of dice mechanics. Spellcasting is particularly bad, both for rolling it and resisting it (I really hope direct vs. indirect spells are going away, and everything will use a simple stat+spellcasting to roll, and will+counterspell to resist). We don’t use matrix actions or technomancy at all, because none of my players (all new) felt like they could understand it. So we just roll hacking out in the real world, and it works pretty well.

    SR4 is like a Frankenstein monster with all the different dice rolling systems glued together.

    • Joel
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Did you ever play any earlier editions of Shadowrun? 4th is the unified sysyem.

      • Bill
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        I did and do.

        4th Edition Shadowrun still requires players to look up the rules on what dice they should be rolling all the time, especially things like for spellcasting, because the mechanics are all over the place.

        • Joel
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Never found it a problem in 4th really not with spellcasting anyway, Matrix stuff since it’s not obvious which program goes with what skill is a different matter…

    • runnerblank
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      You must not have ran third edition.

      SR4 is very streamlined compared to 4th.

      They kept strapping on more rules to third and they all used a different game mechanics.

      What finally did me in was the 3rd Rigger vs Building Spider/Rigger Combat.

      Thank the lord, that in SR4 they finally just said Riggers are a special type of hacker.

  14. StHubi
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Currently I am reading the street legends book. So far everyone seems to have Edge 6 and his most important skills are at the current maximum of 6. I am really looking forward to having legendary character now being able to use up to 12 levels. But it makes books like this one completely useluss. At least the background information stays valid.
    I hope the conversion guide can help to transfer some characters to SR5.

    Do the attribute caps stay at their current levels?

  15. Morg
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    So is this how you will be doing programs for the matrix as well? Hacking/Computer + Int Limited by program?

    • jhardy
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Not quite. It will be Attribute and Skill limited by cyberdeck (yes, cyberdeck) attributes. Programs will add some functionality and provide other bonuses.

      • Morg
        Posted February 5, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        In SR4 the rules indicated that a Technomancer that wanted to use programs needed to buy a different version of the computer/hacking skills. For SR5 have you though about alternate names for the technomancer versions of those skill groups and perhaps even merging them in to one skill group for technos and rewriting the skill descriptions to better reflect how the techno uses it differently? I am interested in your feelings on this jhardy and I hope I am not derailing to far

        • jhardy
          Posted February 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          We’ll be covering TMs soon in a post, I promise.

      • James Ewert
        Posted February 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Cyberdecks? Is hacking with a Souped-up Commlink going by the wayside, or are you just playing around; because the processing power scales exponentially; and miniaturization is probably not going to reverse, except in extremely high powered applications.

        If there is an enormous turn-about in hacking, and wired connections, cyberdecks, and all kinds of caveman tech make a return, could you please say so explicitly? If so, please include some gosh darned incredibly convincing fluff in order to attenuate the rage of the internets.

        • jhardy
          Posted February 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          Remember, just because something is called a “cyberdeck” does not make it in all ways identical to previous models that bore that name. Compare, say, a Ford Mustang from the 1950s to one from today. Same name, many differences.

  16. Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I like the general idea behind this… “technology as an enabler”, sounds awesome. Really get’s the tech and “cyber” back into the rules! I hope, this (and other concepts) are strictly embedded in all parts of the game? I’d hate to see something similar to SR4 rigging rules, which completely fell out of all the other concepts…

    Another thing, just out of curiosity: Did you do some actual statistics math on the rules? It wasn’t that bad in SR4, but stick-n-shock is still a good example for why this is important. 😉

    • jhardy
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      We absolutely did. We have fun probability spreadsheets and stuff!

  17. Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    I like to raise skill caps to 12 but I think the accuracy is a bad idea.

    Accuracy will be frustrating: PC “yeah 7 success !”, MJ “no, 4 only”. In SR4 with the spells my players and me think it’s frustrating.

    Accuracy will be useless and uninteresting.
    If Accuracy is low, it will be the gun race. Each character wants THE best gun. If the guns are similar, there is non interest. If not, there is a ONE gun what all the players will.
    If Accuracy is high, it’s never used except to frustrate the players. There is glitch but no critic success !
    The unique interest I see is to buy books with better guns than the last, which was itself better than the previous.

    Sorry for my poor English.

    • morrisonmp
      Posted February 22, 2013 at 2:11 am | Permalink

      I’d like to voice a similar opinion to Archaos here. Limits on the whole seem like a poor idea and Accuracy will be a pain in the neck during game… Gear Limits will enhance the ugly “arms race” mentality that already pervades gear – it will be even more mechanically explicit.

      As a long-term Shadowrun fan, the more I hear about 5th, the less excited I become.

  18. Metacosm
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    In the games we’re running, we’ve implemented a different limiter as we wanted to put more emphasis on skills and how they can make a difference in a character’s play. We felt that the current rules give too much of an advantage to attributes and felt that it was necessary to push the balance a little bit more towards skills. Currently, a character with high attribute values is more likely to succeed in a task than an expert in that task but with low linked attribute. Also, from a min-maxing perspective (which is not something we want to encourage), it is more interesting to first increase your attributes before increasing your skills. We feel that it’s not quite realistic as it should be more difficult to change yourself (attributes) than what you know (skills) and that learning (skills) should make a greater difference in proficiency at a task than raw talent (attribute). Also, increasing an attribute de facto increases all linked skills which is not too realistic either. Increasing the skill limit would definitely help for the “end game” (experienced characters) but we still feel that skills are a little undervalued compared to attributes. This is why we have a “skill” limiter on hits: you cannot get more hits than twice your skill level. This way, an expert in the field has more of a chance to generate more hits than someone who is just naturally gifted but hasn’t honed the skill. Sure raw talent still matters but it seems more fair to limit hits based on skill level. This way, we get characters that don’t feel like it’s wasting good karma increasing skills as opposed to just leveling up their attributes.

  19. Posted February 4, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’m really curious but a little bit scared: Giving more importance to skills is a good thing. But the consequence is making less usefull all kind of augmentations that boost attributes. For example, cyberlimbs are already very invasive & expensive for the actual benefits. If they keep the same price, they won’t be used anymore. Wich is sad in a cyberpunk setting.

    • jhardy
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      It’s a tricky balance. We hope to be able to pull it off!

  20. Ghilz
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I like the increased cap. More room to grow and expand.

    The “gear as cap on hits” thing is interesting, though it raises potential concerns (some weapon types being so inaccurate they are useless even in the ends of a master as they are easily dodged) – as well as how it translate for skills who don’t quite depend on gear as much (Athletics group, Social skills, Stealth skills). I am also curious as to how/if this concept carries to melee and multiple firing modes. On the bright side it does offer opportunities to make weapons feel more different and specialized.

  21. SwiftOne
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I hope this includes a good support model. Sr4 STILL doesn’t have any official answer on how the drain for Heal or Resist Pain work in comparison to Force (despite printing a ‘frickin new version of the book!), and emails to Catalyst go unanswered.

    Been playing SR since ’89, definitely like the emphasis on cyberpunk, hopeful the above sorts of issues will be handled.

  22. Harusame
    Posted February 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Wait amoment I´ve played SR since yea I was…damm Im old this ist nearly two decades…

    You said that You will rise the Ability cap to 12 and still use combined Pool….we just taked about it yesterday in a little Break from the run…that the big pools tend to slow action phases to much down to bring action on the table.
    Shadowrun sufferd from the much more illness since ever, we just made a mountain of dice with our top end killer Adept Attribute

    Agility 13 Skill +9 fairly good Hardware +2 … thats only 24 dices for one attack, and to solute only his throw can last some time….

    We all said the gamepaste must step up a lot to be really fun…the background is cool but the system is too slow

  23. Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Ugh. So suppose we have two pistols, one with high Accuracy and one with low Accuracy, and we fire them at a target one meter away. Thanks to the high Accuracy the former makes what, about twice as much damage on net hits, eh?

    • jhardy
      Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      It depends on your die roll with both pistols. You still have to generate enough hits to count as net hits. But yes, the high Accuracy pistol stands a better chance of doing more damage. Think of it as making it more likely that you hit a vital spot.

      • Posted February 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Suppose I’m a typical runner, world-class skill, and I roll six net hits each and every time. How do I even manage missing the vital spots in point blanks, with six net hits? Capable users in easy situations (ones without much potential for underperformance) strikes me as a case where the mechanic just fails to perform.

        • Sunshine
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          @danlovar One way to go is to make Accuracy a Modifier as you modify Dice Pools in specific Situations where the “Item” (may it be a gun or a maglock passkey) gets “better” Accuracy based on what it is designed to do. Even the worst gun in the world would if stuck in some poor slobs neck take his head off. A Derringer/ Streetline Special Holdout would get the same Accuracy in Point blank as a Ares Predator Heavy Pistol. The Predator keeps its Accuracy up into short and medium ranges, while a Hamerli Match Design Light Pistol would have a smaller drop in accuracy from point blank to short range than the Holdout it could keep the Accuracy up to long or extreme ranges. In this example (if I made myself clear not a native speaker/writer) the equipment choice depends on the job. Your Hitman needs to get close without drawing attention – get to point blank with the holdout. Expect a shootout in a dump with some Gang-Muscle, get the Punch of the Predator. Expecting hostilities beyond medium range and can’t bring a rifle -heres to the Hamerli.
          In my example your Weapons Expert Runner would have made the same choice of Pistol for main and off hand depending on the job. 😉

          Sunshine MPA

          • Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            That seems a bit overcomplicated, requiring a table just to determine accuracies at different ranges, which I believe the new edition seeks to eliminate or minimize at least.

            Now, say, if you could use net hits for something other than additional DV (for example: trade 2 net hits for hitting a particular zone, or 4 net hits to hit a particular piece of equipment, 6 net hits to bypass armour, etc), and Accuracy limited the number of hits you can spend on DV – that could work, I think.

        • jhardy
          Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

          If you’re using, say, a Derringer, or something with bad sights that you haven’t compensated for, your skill will be betrayed by a bad piece of equipment. If you’re regularly getting six hits (I won’t say net hits, because it’s tough to guarantee six net hits, as we don’t know what kind of opponents you’ll be facing), you should be sure you have a gun that supports your skill.

          Consider another way limits work, with electronic equipment. To use a modern-day example, you may be a skilled hacker, but if you’re using an Apple II+ with a 1,200 bps modem, your skill is going to fall behind a hacker with the same skills but better equipment.

          To sum up: Dice pools come from skills, but you need to make sure your gear supports the level of skills you have attained.

          • Posted February 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            You can’t miss his goddamn head in point blank if you’re a world class sniper even if you’re shooting a pipe welded from one side (which is my whole point).

          • jhardy
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

            At that range, there will be called shot rules coming into play.

  24. Daemocles
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I still have every 1st 2nd an 3rd ed book that I could get my hands on, I moved from edition to edition, adapting as I went. I have a former company man template character from 1st that I still keep updated, and now write stories with that running team. I did not go to 4th, I was turned off by 4th. All of the wonderful differences between the sammy/rigger/decker/mage/shaman were disolved and the dicing between them became generic, some of the roles blurred, and some of the special things that made a shaman different from a hermetic, or a decker different from a rigger got blurred. Characters that had distinct differences suddenly were too similar, so for that reason I never went to 4th, and I still like calling a decker, a decker. I have not been able to enjoy the benefit of the 4th ed texts… I want to get new books… Please make 5th something that calls to the GM in me, I have used and abused about everything in threats 1 and 2, I need MORE… Give me a good reason to move to 5th so that I can open a whole new can of NERPS on the fraggin hoopfaces that I call friends!

    • jhardy
      Posted February 15, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      We will do our best! I hope that the return of cyberdecks, a separate rigger chapter, and a more extensive gamemaster advice chapter will be three positive selling points for you.

  25. Daemocles
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Oh and perhaps on the gear caps create mastery levels that make a max limiter… novice can have gear reduce him to ineffective, or barely effective, whereas “The Master” can use a drink straw and a pea from his plate to try to assassinate the guy across the table and no matter how bad his gear, it would not drop him below 4 or 5 pool dice, because he is just that awesome… 🙂

  26. Christopher
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Wait, cyberdecks? How are these going to be different from hacking now? I’m curious… I hope that it’s done in a way that makes sense.

    • jhardy
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:06 am | Permalink

      That’ll be covered in the next post!

  27. bderenorcaine
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Everyone else here has been very positive about the skill cap going up, so i’m going to add something new here. Me and my Shadowrun group are rather wary (and for some of the group this is a *big* understatement) of increasing the number of dice rolled for basic skills. We played the older versions and really disliked how you had to roll your whole bag of dice just to see if you hit, as you put it in the article “the side of a barn”.
    So increasing the skill cap seems to us like you want to bring this problem back. Can you please comment on that? How common is it going to be for someone to have a skill in that range? What skill range will be available to starting characters, etc.

    • jhardy
      Posted March 12, 2013 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      Yeah, there’s some balance there. We know big handfuls of dice can be tough to deal with–though we still kind of like them. But there are a few ways to deal with this. First, while you’ll be getting more dice from skills, you’ll generally be getting less from your gear, so the dice pools will not get too much bigger. Second, starting characters will be limited to skill ranks of 6 (7 if they pick the Aptitude quality). Achieving skill rank of 12 will be possible but rare–it will cost a lot of Karma. Getting to that rank should be the mark of dedication and perseverance.

  28. bob
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    How is the system of resisting spells going to work in the new system. I never got round to playing 4th edition but was in the middle of making a character and it seems that magic automatically hit making willpower to resist it immensely important. I saw lots of boasts of magic-users online saying how you could destroy a bullet-proof troll or street sam with low willpower. I thought the way round it was Pain Editor, but actually that was no help either since ignoring stun modifiers meant nothing as the stun quickly filled up into physical damage killing someone supertough while they had no ability to evade as they would with bullets or any other weapon, making magic ridiculously powerful and meant that i had to get super augmented willpower just to survive. I was in the middle of trying to research what other augmentation i could think of getting other than Adrenaline Booster at the highest level possible costing 90,000 to take the willpower to 9 or else i was going to have to resort to magic resistance or becoming a magic user myself to use counterspelling.

    Please tell me i have misunderstood this (ie magic cant miss ever regardless of reaction, dodge or any other skill/augmentation meaning you are screwed if you dont have super-willpower when facing a magic-user) or that you have revised these rules, as magic-users have been made way too powerful.

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