"Court will take a short recess..."
The one hurdle to overcome when getting into Shadowrun is what to buy to start out? Just the main book? Awakenings? Bug City? Corporate Shadowfiles? Hurm. It's pretty daunting when one realizes how many sourcebooks FASA has put out.
FASA has published over sixty sourcebooks, rulebooks, and adventures for the Shadowrun system. To purchase all of them would require spending more money than I'd like to think about right now, he typed, looking at his Shadowrun bookshelf.
The main problem with the game system is this: It's everywhere. Take the Magic Rules. You've got three books to look through (the main book, the Grimore, and Awakenings). Let's say you have a question on Blood Magic. You'll probably turn to one of these three right? Well, it's in the Aztlan sourcebook. And what about those Ways and Paths of Magic? Tir na nÒg.
Okay. Five books for magic. That should cover it, right? Let's talk astral space. That's magic, right? We've got the spawn of the "Grounding through Quickenings" debate and FAB introduced in Corporate Security Handbook!
Geez! No wonder I can't keep all these rules straight!
As much as I hate to admit it, it's time to take a cue from TSR's AD&D line. Here I'm talking about the Magic Encyclopedia thing they put out. All of the AD&D spells from dozens of sourcebooks combined in one handy reference manual (well, four...). Think about it -- all of Shadowrun's magical rules in one book; all of the cyberware and bioware in one book.
Now, Awakenings did a good move when it included a complete spell list (with references to what book the spell came from) for magical types and the complete physical adepts abilities list. Now that's great, we know which of three books to flip through. All I'm asking for is a compilation.
FASA, all you have to do is wait until Awakenings is out of print. Then release a Grimore 2060, something that has all the magic rules, all the magic spells, all the dirt on the astral (so to speak).
While I'm ranting, here's a bit more from my wish list for FASA:
1. A Physical Adept archetype to be included with the main archetypes in the main book. My players didn't know about physads until after we started playing simply because the first real mention of physads appeared eight pages into the Magic section. I'm sure that if we had to start over again, my fiancee's character would have been made with physad powers. For that matter, let's put that Burned-Out Mage, Reporter, and Troll Bounty Hunter back in there.
2. An archetypes book. Not something like Prime Runners, but a compilation of all the archetypes and contact types we've seen so far. The Contacts booklet in the GM screen is a great example of this, except now I've got to go between that, the main book, and every sourcebook that's been published. You've got some nice guys from Cybertechnology, interesting security types in the Corporate Security Handbook, and cops in Lone Star. Put them in one easy to find volume.
3. A vehicles book (hopefully covered in Rigger 2) that has plenty of vehicles. Pretty simple, right? In the Rigger's Black Book, we've got one or two vehicles per page which results in about six motorcycles one can chose from. We also find a range of cars that run the gamut from 2058's version of the Geo Metro to Rolls-Royce limousine in six steps. Perhaps a page with one stat for 'mid-sized family car' and seven or eight images of different variants of that type plus names for each variant. It'd be better than everyone running around in either a Jackrabbit or Westwind.
4. A better layout for the Shadowrun main book. Why are the color plates for the critters right there? Right in the middle of the entry for Ghosts. You're reading along in the Magic section and suddenly a slew of color plates. The only good placement were the archetypes.
Contacts (which are just shorted archetypes) before the Critters, and then the Gear, followed by Seattle? Now as a player, you're going to want to refer to the Contacts and the Gear section more than the skimpy Seattle section. As a GM, you'll be using the Critters and Contacts section more often. Heck, just get rid of the Seattle section -- it has it's own sourcebook. And the Contacts are really Archetypes, so lump 'em together.
The Matrix section is now obsolete with the introduction of Virtual Realities v2.0 anyway, and hopefully the vehicle combat section will be rendered obsolete with Rigger 2. So why not expand on the basics of each of the main sections and leave the hard and fast rules for the appropriate sourcebooks? Magic, Rigging/Vehicles, and Matrix -- just show a bit about how they act and function in the Sixth World. Just have the bare bones rules for running these aspects of the game. Leave the more detailed aspects for the supplements.