Operation: Bad Luck
THE MORNINGSTAR GROUP
Regulus Ralston, Chairman
Board of Directors (6 members plus Ralston – Directors X, X, X, X, X, X)
Tayaras “Taser” Aedrafel, Public Liaison
Tamara “Tammy” DeLorean, Resource Allotment Chief
A SHADOWRUN QUICK-START GUIDE
Shadowrun is a stat-and-skill system. For (almost) any given roll you will check the sheet for a Skill and its governing Attribute, add those numbers together, and roll that many d6 as your dice pool.
When rolling dice there are two important factors. A “success” or “hit” is any die that shows a 5 or 6. Other dice are failures or misses. Tests require either a static number of successes on one or more rolls, or that you beat your opponent in an opposed roll.
The other thing to count is the number of dice showing 1. If more than half of your dice pool comes up 1, this is a glitch. Glitches don’t invalidate your success but they do cause an unintended negative effect: your shot passes through the target and hits a passer-by, you hack a node but accidentally set the default language to Sperethiel, et cetera. However if you glitch AND you have no successes, you get a critical glitch and the shit hits the fan. This is where you shoot your teammate, or your grenade blows up in your hand, or you crash the system and dumpshock yourself. Note that this is “more than half” and thus a > not a >=. 7 on 12 is a glitch, but 6 on 12 is not; this will save you frequently.
Aside from your normal attributes you’ve got one called Edge. For those of you who’ve played FATE, Edge is sort of like FP. You have a pool of Edge equal to your attribute that refreshes between “sessions” and you can use Edge to make shit happen. The most common uses of Edge are:
- declared before a roll, you add your entire Edge attribute to the dice pool and ALL of the dice explode on 6.
- declared after a roll, you roll an additional number of dice equal to your Edge and THOSE dice explode on 6.
- declared after a roll, you re-roll all of your failures without adding any dice and nothing explodes.
- upon rolling a glitch or critical glitch, you can spend a point of Edge to make it a regular failure.
- in combat, you can spend a point of Edge to either go first in that Initiative Pass OR gain an extra Pass for that Combat Turn. (Passes and turns will be explained later.)
Matrix actions, which you won’t see many of in a beginner Shadowrun game because fuck the Matrix, are the exception to the “stat and skill” rule. Matrix dice pools are composed of the skill used for the action and the program necessary to complete the action. (Drone actions are frequently done this way as well, so pay attention Mistaya.)
Combat runs vaguely the same way it does in D&D or Fate. You roll Initiative (which is Reaction + Intuition) which gives you an order to act in, then you go through that order until the Initiative Pass is complete and start again at the top. The huge difference here is the concept of Initiative Passes. Every Combat Turn is composed of a handful of Passes, each of which is a complete run through the initiative order. However, characters only get to act in a number of Passes equal to their IP score. This reflects the idea of a cybered-up, overclocked, or magically boosted person acting many times faster than the average human. Basic humans have 1 IP, or 3 if they’re acting in VR in the Matrix. It’s possible to get up to 4 physically, or 5 in the Matrix, but it’s rare to see more than 3. Having only 1 IP is an easy way to get curbstomped unless you’re sniping or spell-slinging from a few blocks away.
One pass for a character consists of two Simple Actions, or one Complex Action which is the equivalent of two Simples. Firing a single shot or burst, reloading or swapping weapons, taking aim, picking up or throwing an item, are usually Simple actions. Firing in full-auto mode, throwing a grenade you don’t have in hand yet, casting spells, hacking stuff, these are generally Complex actions or Extended Tests.
Like many systems, there are bonuses and penalties in Shadowrun for cover, visibility conditions, range penalties, movement, and so on. I’ll try to keep everyone up to speed as these come up. Cybereyes or goggles with flare compensation, low light vision, thermographic vision, ultrasound, and the like neutralize many of the visibility penalties.
Combat is usually an opposed test. On attack you roll Agility + weapon skill. On defense against ranged weapons you generally roll only Reaction. In melee, you can choose to use Reaction + Dodge (a dodge), Reaction + Unarmed (a block), or Reaction + a melee weapon skill (a parry). Any hits that get past the Reaction roll are added to the attacker’s weapon’s DV. The defender then rolls Body + Armor to reduce these points of damage, and any remaining are applied as boxes of damage on the character’s Physical or Stun track.When you take damage you incur penalties to all of your actions at the rate of 1 point for every 3 boxes of damage. This damage rounds down, so you’re fine for the first two, then -1 with 3 through 5 boxes of damage, -2 at 6 through 8, and so on. If you have damage on both Physical and Stun tracks, count the modifiers separately and then add them together. When you hit the end of either track, you get knocked out. At the end of Stun your character is unconscious, and any new Stun damage moves onto the Physical track. At the end of Physical you are near death and bleeding. You will take another box of damage every (Body) Combat Turns until stabilized with a First Aid test. You have a number of overflow boxes equal to your Body. You can fill all of these, but if you go past them, we cue the choir invisible.
If you’re a shooty type person, most guns have the option of firing single shots (SS or SA) or bursts. When firing bursts you roll fewer dice due to recoil, but you either add points of damage with a narrow burst, or remove dice from the target’s Reaction pool with a wide burst. Every bullet after the first in each pass causes 1 point of recoil which subtracts from your dice pool, lessened by any recoil compensation (RC) on the weapon. Short bursts are +2 DV or -2 Rea and can be used with any burst fire (BF) weapon. Full auto (FA) weapons can also fire long bursts which are +/-5, and full bursts which are +/-9 and require a Complex Action. FA weapons can also lay down Suppressive Fire, using 20 rounds against a whole area. You roll Agility + Automatics, and any targets in the area must either take cover or roll Reaction + Edge against your hits; if they fail, they take your weapon’s base DV in damage.
Casting spells and summoning spirits requires two rolls. First, you have to choose a Force for the spell. Force is the maximum number of successes you can earn on the Spellcasting test, and it determines other spell attributes such as Drain Value and the size of area-effect spells. You can cast at a Force up to twice your Magic; casting above your Force is called overcasting. Once you have a Force and a target, you roll Spellcasting + Magic, or Summoning + Magic for a summoning. The target will resist with Willpower, Body, or Reaction, and Counterspelling if they have it. Once the spell is resolved, you have to resist Drain. Every spell has a Drain Value based on its Force. The DV for summons is twice their Force. You roll Willpower + Logic or Willpower + Intuition depending on your tradition (Krysm, yours is actually Willpower + Charisma) and subtract your successes from the DV. Any remaining DV is taken as Stun damage, or Physical damage if you are overcasting.