New Shadowrun Beginner Box Dossier and Release Info!

Do you have the Shadowrun, Sixth World Beginner Box Set? Do you want a preview at how characters in that ruleset will look? Do you just want free Shadowrun stuff? There’s no wrong reason to download the character dossier for Emu, the human rigger! It’s now available! 

And it’s a great time to share Beginner Box material with you, because the box itself is nearing release. The official street date is July 10–two weeks from now—but you might want to pay attention to your friendly local game store, because some copies might show up in advance of that. So if you want your first look at the next edition of one of gaming’s greatest settings, keep your eyes open!

Of course, the Beginner Box is the first step of the journey to the release of the full Shadowrun, Sixth World core rulebook, which will go on sale August 1 at Gen Con. We’ll be counting down until that week with more blog posts and information about that book, including the following:

July 3: Magic in SR6

July 10: Combat in SR6

July 17: Matrix in SR6

July 24: How to describe 30 years of Shadowrun history

July 31: Gen Con preview!

We look forward to sharing more about this edition of Shadowrun, and we’re especially excited to get people playing!

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Recap: Shadowrun at Origins 2019

Convention weeks are exhausting, but also a good reminder why we love them. Origins and Gen Con are often the first time I get to see physical copies of Shadowrun stuff, and it’s always exciting to open boxes—it’s Christmas in June!

I had already seen a physical copy of the Shadowrun, Sixth World Beginner Box, but this show gave me my first chance to hold the Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia, No Future, and our dice and Edge tokens set. Our art and design people rocked it—they are all beautiful! But in particular I want to share the cover of No Future, with its AR slipcover and gritty reality main cover. Echo Chernik is one of our favorite artists for a reason, and she made a gorgeous, striking image.

The star of the show, of course, was the Beginner Box. The response was tremendous, and we sold more of them than any Shadowrun RPG item at Origins in the past ten years (and possibly longer, but ten years is as far as my personal memory goes). Having lots of boxes to sell means I get to experiment with different stacking styles—this was my beginning-of-day-four stack. It was much smaller at day’s end!

Shadowrun art was everywhere at the show. Our booth featured a large banner with the cover art from the Shadowrun, Sixth World core rulebook.

A staircase leading to the convention hall featured a rogues’ gallery of Sixth World characters, set on a stunning city backdrop.

And the gaming room was easy to find, thanks to this long banner calling attention to it.

And that gaming room was busy! Our demo agents, as always, went above and beyond to give as many gamers as possible a great gaming experience, and more than 1,100 players sat at the tables in the room. We love the enthusiasm for Shadowrun we see at Origins, and we love our demo agents. (And if you’re interested in joining one of the best teams in gaming, send an inquiry to the Catalyst Demo Team Facebook page. We’re looking for a few good people for Gen Con!)

And, of course, this is only part of the overall experience. Talking to friends, teaching people how to play different games, learning new games, rolling lots of dice, seeing how many dice I can fit into our new dice bags, and making unending strings of jokes that are pretty much just funny to me—that’s what a con’s about! And all you great Shadowrun people helped make this one especially memorable!

Now back to working on that character dossier we promise you for Emu the rigger!

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Shadowrun, Sixth World to Debut at Origins Game Fair

Origins Game Fair is about to launch, and with it comes the worldwide premiere of Shadowrun, Sixth World!

Kicking off on Thursday, June 13 and running through Sunday, June 16, Origins is your first chance to get your hands on the new Shadowrun, Sixth World beginner box set. Those at the convention also have the first opportunity to try out the new rules.

Available for sale at the Catalyst Game Labs Booth (701, 707, 807) at Origins will be:

  • Shadowrun, Sixth World Beginner Box (Street Date: July 10)
  • Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia (Street Date: June 12)
  • No Future (Street Date: July 10)
  • Mekeda Red (Available now)
  • Prime Runner miniatures (Advance sale; street date TBD)
  • Shadowrun Dice & Edge Tokens (Advance sale; street date TBD)

To celebrate the launch of Sixth World, anyone ordering the above products through the Catalyst Game Labs store in print format will receive the PDF version for free (except, of course, the dice and edge tokens). This promotion will begin with the release of the Neo-Anarchist Streetpedia today (PDF only // Book & PDF).

In addition, any visitors to the Catalyst Game Labs booth will receive an all-new Shadowrun, Sixth World poster, while those playing in Shadowrun games at Origins will walk away with new custom dice or edge tokens. (Both offers good while supplies last.) And we will also be running plenty of Shadowrun, BattleTech, Dragonfire, and more!

Demonstration games of Shadowrun, Sixth World will be available at the Catalyst booth. In the Gaming Hall, the Shadowrun Missions line will continue the Neo-Tokyo storyline started in Season Nine, the final Missions written for Fifth Edition.

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Creating Shadowrun Fiction for the Sixth World Game Edition–or, Meet your Editor, Mr. Johnson

(Note: The Rigger Dossier intended for release this week will be made available at a later date. In its place, we present this in-depth look at upcoming Shadowrun fiction.)

By John Helfers

I’ve been editing fiction for Catalyst Game Labs for several years now, and I like to think I’m pretty decent at it. But even though I’ve commissioned dozens of stories and novels, some projects still require a bit more of a hands-on approach due to their unique nature. And along with that uniqueness often comes a deadline that is just as immovable as anything else in publishing.

Just like the one for this article was. How was I supposed to write about overseeing the creation of six interlinked novellas set in the new backdrop of the next edition of Shadowrun, and featuring the new characters from the Beginner Box Set and take you through how that all came about?

While I was staring at my computer screen, trying to get the words flowing, the core idea hit me: for all intents and purposes, a tie-in fiction editor is a lot like a Mr. Johnson in the Sixth World.

Exactly like them, in fact.

I receive my assignment from the corp: It all started when the CGL overlords (well, one of the overlords) Randall Bills started a thread (or perhaps an e-mail) about how to tie our fiction line into the upcoming release of the next edition of the Shadowrun roleplaying game. I assured him that this was a great idea (it is), and of course I could commission a series of six original interwoven (!) novellas, all featuring a team of runners out to score some kind of major run on a corp, and have the first one ready to publish in about 45 days from initial concept (!!), with the next five to follow in two-week intervals leading up to the launch of the new Shadowrun edition this August.

I assemble my shadowrunning (shadow-writing?) team: Next, I had to pull together the group of writers I would hire to handle this trickier-than-usual job. Commissioning six Shadowrun novellas is easy; commissioning six novellas whose plot paths cross over one another and weave in and out as the story progresses is a very different item. I needed to find writers I not only could trust were familiar with the Shadowrun universe, but who were also solid writers that would play well with the rest of the group. If we didn’t have cohesion as each writer turned in their separate plot for the others to tie their stories in to, the whole project could fall apart.

Fortunately, I’ve been editing this IP long enough that I know several excellent writers who can turn in wonderful stories on relatively short notice. I also had contacts on the gamebook side of SR, and Line Developer Jason Hardy put me in touch with a couple writers who had been working hard on the core rulebook, were experienced in writing Shadowrun fiction, and who were also free (and willing) to tackle this project in the limited time frame it required.

So, relatively quickly, I assembled my team: game designer and writer Dylan Birtolo; two Shadowrun, Sixth World writers, Brooke Chang and CZ Wright; professional game guy and Shadowrun enthusiast Bryan CP Steele; former BattleTech editor, and current Shadowrun and BattleTech freelance writer Jason Schmetzer; and to wrap the whole thing up into a nice neat ending, the same Jason M. Hardy (because he didn’t have enough to do with overseeing the creation of the new edition) who gave me his author list in the first place. Once again, no good deed goes unpunished.

I give the team their assignment and turn them loose: I brought the team together on our online Basecamp project managing site and pretty much let them loose on figuring out the who, when, where, why, and how the overall plot would go down while I kept tabs on how things were progressing and weighed in on ideas and answered questions when needed. The authors all came together nicely, and soon the ideas were flowing fast and furious.

I take the results of each section of the overall mission and make sure they work for the parameters I’d been assigned: The novella manuscripts started hitting my inbox, and that’s when I really got to work in editing and shaping each piece to make sure they fit our vision of what the overarching story was going to be. I’m pleased to say that everyone has delivered stellar work so far, and I have no doubt that the rest of the pieces will be up to the high bar of the first three stories we’ve published.

When the last of the stories is completed, I will make sure the runners…er, writers are all paid for their work, and I’ll enjoy the satisfaction of having overseen the completion of another successful mission in media tie-in publishing. The job’s only half done at this point, with me still having to review and make sure the last three stories bring our story to its exciting conclusion. But I have every confidence that the rest of my writing team will do it justice.

Okay, so there was no posturing for respect on the mean streets or last-minute double-crosses among the writers (good thing, too) or betrayals from the corp itself—the closest thing to any obstacles I encountered was that some of the authors needed a few more days to complete their stories (and one time cover art was delayed, necessitating a rescheduling of the publication of one novella). Frag, I even work on a computer for 99 percent of the time, so I don’t even get so much as a paper cut nowadays.

The team I put together worked like a well-oiled machine that gave me the results I wanted, and the final product is a great introduction to the exciting world of Shadowrun, Sixth World. I completed my assignment (or will), making my corp happy and allowing a very talented group of writers to show all the Shadowrun fans what they can do. In short, I executed like a true Mr. Johnson.

But now, as I’m re-reading this, maybe editing tie-in work isn’t all that hazardous, and perhaps I’m stretching that editor-as-Mr. Johnson analogy a bit too far…

Nah…

  • May 1: Initial Announcement
  • May 8: Product Overview
  • May 15: Developer Overview
  • May 22: Setting Overview
  • May 29: Developer Q&A
  • June 5: Fiction Announcement
  • June 12: Shadowrun at Origins preview
  • More to follow
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