Shadowrun 5e, preview 2

So I know that we still know next to nothing – but I’ve had a chance to read all the way through the new preview for 5e Shadowrun and I continue to realize that I’m just not going to like this game.

Nothing in this preview improves my perception of the limits system. If anything, the added clarity seems to make things worse. There are two immediate problems that pop out at me. First, they mentioned in the early releases that the game was going to put more emphasis on your attributes/skills and less on gear. Well, since gear limits supersede natural limits based on your stats – well – gear has actually just become even more important than ever before. Sure, you’re stats/skills are “where you get your dice from” but since the number of hits you can keep is ultimately going to derive from your gear in many situations that’s really a more important determiner – as you would expect in this version of a “roll and keep” mechanic.

The second problem is actually connected to the first problem and maybe actually makes it worse (or moot depending on how you look at it). Judging from the example, it seems that if you consider that the average roll for someone with 15 dice will equate to 5 hits, then even the most basic gear will probably allow you keep most if not all of your hits – and once you earn a little and upgrade, then you have the ability to keep a few more for those really good rolls. So maybe limits won’t really matter much at all… because you will rarely run up against them..?

Of course, this points up another worry I have about the new system – that they are going to make starting runners really “street-level.” One of the best parts of 4e is the fact that you can make a runner from a lot of different social levels/situations… runners don’t all have to be broke-ass hardscrabble street warriors. And maybe they won’t in 5e, maybe. But all the hints I see in the releases point that way.

Also, I see we’re going back to initiative being a countdown. How disappointing is that? It was so nice to leave that behind from previous editions.

Finally – and I’ll freely admit that this is just a purely personal thing because I’m sure that for some people it’s exactly what they like – but I also don’t like the art style of the cover. This not what Shadowrun looks like in my head and I just don’t enjoy this art style. But art in games is super-subjective so it’s not the deal-breaker, it’s just another reason to realize that 5e is moving away from a Shadowrun direction I will be able to enjoy.

I’ll keep reading and keep checking in but it continues to appear that 5e is just not going to be a game for me… and another edition of another game will move on without me… and I’ll hope that 6e will turn around and come back.

Thanks for reading.

PS – oh, right, then there is that whole nonsense about essence affecting your social limit… Phooey.


4 responses

  1. *Cough* My dislike for the Shadowrun system in general is why I wrote this:

    *End shameless self promotion*

    I do agree though… You sometimes wonder what goes through the writers heads when they make these bizarre decisions.

    1. I’ve read through your Savage remake and it’s pretty awesome. I’ve always wanted to craft a set of Shadowrun rules for the Barbarians of Lemuria/Dogs of War ruleset in a similar way to what you’ve done with SW.

      It’s easy to be a “backseat designer.” I get that. But it boggles my imagination how this edition just seems chock full of wacky shit that doesn’t really seem to be adding anything meaningful… or useful… to the design.

  2. You first problem with the new limits system is exactly the first thing I thought when I read it. I am still interested to what they do with the 5th edition but not sure if I am willing to make the conversion from 4. Time will tell.

  3. Well – I’ve a great deal of respect for Catalyst… and I appreciate their stewardship of the Battletech and Shadowrun lines. I’ll read 5e when it comes out… probably even give it an actual whirl at the table before really knowing… but nothing about the previews actually makes me WANT to play the game. It all seems so pointlessly complex – and some of it (like the discussion of Wired vs. Wireless in a more recent design post) just seems to be there purely for game reasons that have nothing to do with making, you know, sense.

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