Author Archives: jhardy

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.

BookOfTheLostCover

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.

DoNoHarmCover

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…

BlindMagicCover

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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

CuttingAcesCover

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.

FalseFlagCover

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

HolyPieceOfWetwork

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.

MatropoleCover

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
  • Shadowrun Tabletop
  • Shadowrun Fiction
  • Quick-Start Rules
  • Shadowrun Media Kit