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Shadowrun Books Publish Order


(Kol_Saresk) #1

Hello, I was just wondering if someone out there knew of a useful list of the Shadowrun rules and supplements that wasn't all weird and was nice and codified like "This is first edition, and this is everything that was published for first edition, in order."

Brief glances on the interwebs(including the Shadowrun website are weird and incomplete and just make it extremely confusing.

So any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Also, why does no one seem to sell digital copies of the 2nd Edition rulebook?

(Might be Captain Marvel) #2
  • moved to the RollPlay General category because its TTRPG related :slight_smile:

(Kol_Saresk) #3

Okay? I guess that makes sense. Just didn't seem like the appropriate place because I'm looking more for Shadowrun than Mirrorshades, but okay. Cool beans.

(Might be Captain Marvel) #4

yeah sorry this category is not just limited to RollPlay but also role playing in general and tags are used to give more information about the topic to group them. :itmejphappy:

(StillAnotherOne) #5

DrivethruRPG has a semblance of organized list of Publications for 3rd, 4th and 5th Edition here. At a quick glance, only 5th Ed really has a publication history sort of represented because it hasn't been published at all when the site started/got material from catalyst (I guess).

(Kol_Saresk) #6

Yeah, that's why I was wondering if anyone knew where to find something more coherent because both Wikipedia and Shadowrun have this weird category system so it starts off okay, but then it just gets weird.

Which altogether probably wouldn't be that bad, if Shadowrun didn't have a chronology within the publications.

(Might be Captain Marvel) #7

you mean like this ?

(Kol_Saresk) #8

I would say yes, but that list only seems to have the main core rules for each addition and "optional, but highly suggested as necessary" supplements.

There's nothing about Bug City, the Tir Tairngire, the Native American Nations, etc sourcebooks/rulebooks or how they would fit in the list.

(Might be Captain Marvel) #9

ah sorry about that. Not really familiar with the system.

(Unfortunatename) #10

My experience is restricted to 3rd ed and whatever mirrorshades was....

If you are looking to play, then you only really need the cool rulebook for your edition. The way that 3rd was structured was that DM and players alike needed only that book and then supplements added in options for character archetypes and info about the world which is helpful but not mechanically relevant.

DO NOT USE SUPPLEMENTS AT THE START, even as you get more experienced be weary about using the supplements.

Very often they add extra rules and more complicated systems which the DM and 1 player has to learn. When the rigger is using his rigger book, the decker is using the matrix supplement and your mage has decided he wants to use the rules for centering so he gets extra dice the DM has to read it all, and this adds a huge amount of work and pressure to the DM when the base game itself is already a clunky mountain of time and effort.

Also much of the additional material is badly balanced or poorly designed. A good example of this is taking flaws and aptitudes from the companion book . Taking a -1 to your weapon skill breaks various aspects of combat and making a blind character sounds fun but end up a little masochistic because the game just isn't able to handle that properly when it suddenly tries to abstract everything into piles of d6s.

The supplements most worth looking at for 3rd edition are the matrix book because many people feel the CRB doesnt provide much information and the Canon companion, because extra gear is really cool and useful.

(Unfortunatename) #11

If you aren't looking to play then..

The order and availability of books are unusual because at least 3 companies have had the license, FASA, (1st,2nd 3rd) FanPro (3rd,4th) and Catalyst Game Labs (4th, 5th).

FASA is closed, FanPro originally translated books into german and catalyst holds the license and makes the current books. Im pretty sure all the 3rd ed pdf's are floating around the internet since my book is rather battered at this point.

Pdfs for older games are generally harder to get since (to my knowledge) they werent publishing roleplaying pdf's in the early 90s and 80s so whatever is out there is either fans scanning books which is piracy or a publisher deciding to sell pdf's. For instance in 2013-ish AD&D pdf's began popping up on

(Kol_Saresk) #12

From what I've been able to find, it's ridiculously huge. The novels are about the easiest list I've been able to find, but some of those are still out of print. Although Catalyst seems to be doing a decent job of converting everything to digital in a somewhat timely schedule.

(Kol_Saresk) #13

@Unfortunatename, if I were just interested in following the plot advances of the background, which books would you recommend? To me, it seems like I would want to focus on the adventure books. Does that sound accurate?

(Unfortunatename) #14

I am only really familiar with 3rd ed, i haven't read an adventure book. The best setting book is New Seattle.

As far as i understand each edition takes place later and later in the timeline so 1st is the 2050s and by 5th you are into the 2070s

In 3rd the first place to look is always the Core Rulebook, there is plenty in there for you to be able to use and play with. The Shadowrun Returns games are a really good place for seeing how the world is supposed to work and for ideas for playing. I would argue they are more useful than some of the published books.

There are 3 books i would look at when it comes to the setting:


The Companion Book added character creation options, advanced rules and GMing "help". The extra race options can be a useful tool for worldbuilding even if you dont want to let players use them. Edges and flaws are dangerous to include. The running the game chapters lay out types of jobs to give players and the campaign considerations are okay. There is info for including ghouls in the game or running a game where you play a gang. The flavor is nice if you want gangs or ghouls to be a big part of your world.
The solutions to common problems like "power gaming" "obnoxious characters" and "game balance" is amusing too.

New Seattle

The best book for information about the setting is New Seattle. The book is devoid of mechanics but is instead full of art, a detailed History chapter and information about various part of Seattle. There is stuff about Downtown Seattle the barrens the body politic, the corporate sector and the Seattle underworld. It addresses how the police respond to threats, it has a map and is written to give you different places and themes for a campaign.

Year of the Comet

The slightly controversial book that also belong here is Year of the Comet. It's a book about Haley's comet coming near earth on the anniversary of the awakening and creating all kinds of chaos. It introduces SURGE -transformations, weird magic shit, volcanoes blowing up and mass hysteria. It involves lots of big changes to the setting which isn't necessarily what you want if you are trying to get to grips with the system and the setting in the first place. I would personally pretend this book doesn't exist, but it is written to be full of adventure seeds and ideas.

I will warn you to be careful when it comes to the exact details of the setting and the world. If you try to strictly follow the world as its written in the books and find out more and more about the setting, it can be detrimental to your game in all sorts of different ways. Pick and choose what you need at remember you don't need to know it all.

You also don't need a whole lot of raw information for your campaign. For instance in the companion there is a 2 paragraphs about power struggles in the mafia and you could build a whole campaign off it. It is also written to be a seed for something, it doesn't detail the family tree or statistics and maps for the competing families but gives context and characters and agendas for you to build your own stuff around.

(Drakhanas) #15

Apologies for necro'ing this thread but it seems a lot of people might like the info. I've collected what I believe is a fairly extensive if not complete collection of Shadowrun books. You can find a listing of what I think are the various books sorted out to each edition. The list is informative only, no links to any downloads are included in it.

(Kol_Saresk) #16

Dude, you are an otaku angel from the depths of the Matrix.

(the_pizza_party) #17

oh this is about that show everyone loved from the before time about the angry man, the bird person, the rock star and that charming young lady with the computers, isn't it?

(Kol_Saresk) #18

Yes. I am seeking knowledge of their specific universe that I might better understand how to blow it up with my black magic of thaumaturgy.