Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Shadowrun: Run Faster

Product– Shadowrun: Run Faster

System– Shadowrun

Producer– Catalyst Game Labs

Price– $25 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/141788/Shadowrun-Run-Faster?term=Shadowrun%3A+Run+Faster

TL; DR– The Shadowrun edition catch-up book. 87%

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Basics-Time to dust off that chrome plated centaur!  Run Faster is an edition catch-up book.  While the main Shadowrun book had a comprehensive book of characters, Run Faster fills in the smaller gaps by adding all the subtypes for each metahuman race.  This book also has a chapter discussing how to make your vampire and all the subtypes for that as well.  In addition, Run Faster adds new archetypes, qualities, quick start packages for traits and gear, and rules for how to build up your house.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is the edition catch-up race book with a ton of extra character options as well.  When a new edition arises, some people want their old, less represented races back.  Here’s the book for that.  Want to play a naga?  Here you go!  Want to play a vampire?  We got rules for that!  Want to play a centaur?  SURE!  Don’t like the new priority-based character generation plan for SR5?  We’ve got several new ways to make characters from scratch now.  It’s got enough chapters to bring some serious new crunch to your SR5 game.  Some parts are not a useful.  I’m a Shadowrun Missions game master, the entire section on vampires, while interesting, is completely useless to me. It’s well done, but something that might be better served as its own smaller PDF.  There are also chapters that I absolutely love like the section on how to kit out your house.  It’s amazing mechanics, but most of the Missions players will never be able to use them.  What does impress me is the PACK sections.  The preset packages will help you make characters quicker by giving you small, preset groups of skills, abilities, or items that you can plug into your forming character instead of slaving over the book for an hour.  That, as someone who teaches the game often, will be the most useful thing out of this book.   Overall, the book is amazing, but not the most versatile book for all players. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- The core book tells some great stories on how the 6th world works.  This book fills in gaps describing how individual creatures fit in it.  It doesn’t just give how the freaks of the world survive, but it also gives how a basic dwarf is seen and judged.  It’s got chapters on how the vampiric-ly gifted survive and try to thrive.  It’s full of stories that will give you ideas for your next run.  It’s a beautiful book full of great art to give you a picture of the world.  This book will help you better understand the world of Shadowrun as a (meta)person who lives there.  5/5

Execution-Oh, Shadowrun, Shadowrun, Shadowrun.  You honestly know how to tell a great story, but making that book useful, searchable, and easy to use is not your strong suite.  Like all Catalyst properties, don’t expect an index.  That right there hurts the book.  Also, organization isn’t their strong suit either.  Here is the textbook example of this boks problems.  In the chapter on vampires and other infected, the book gives a table on the different types of infected on their stats.  Thats a good start.  However, not listed on that chart are the base creature that changes when infected, the type of HMVV that infects them, or their powers.  Now that’s a large chart, so I can excuse the powers not being a part of it.  But, I have to look up the specific infected for each type of virus and the creature it mutated from.  As someone who hasn’t played a ton of the previous editions where that was a larger part of the game, I’m stuck reading text descriptions of each infected.  Those get the point across well, but they don’t get the point across easily.  And that’s the problem wit this book.  Give me more to your tables and more tables.  Give me a table with short descriptions of the qualities and the cost with them.  That was done for 3.5 DnD, and it quickly got the ideas across.  This book gets its ideas across, but not in a user friendly manner. 3.5/5

Summary-I am not an old gamer.  I can not call myself a proud and ancient grognard-one who’s seen the rise and fall of uncounted editions.  I’m actually a recent convert to Shadowrun.  I joined up late 4e, and I have fallen in love with 5e.  That said, I’m way behind my knowledge about the smaller details of the setting.  This is a great book to fill in those gaps.  I like learning how the individual races are treated.  I like learning about the nitty gritty of vampiric life.  I do think some mechanics are a bit useless to most of the player base, but that doesn’t hurt the book too much by providing extra information.  What does hurt the book is Catalyst’s organization of the information.  In the chapters where the book wants to tell a story, it tells amazing stories.  In the chapters where it has a ton of crunch information to bring to bare, it does its job but doesn’t get much help from the layout.  If you love Shadowrun, this is a fantastic book to learn about the world.  If you want to get new players options for your SR5 game, this is a fantastic book.  If you want to learn how to produce a book and need a guide as a refer to, this is not the book to look at.  87%

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