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Shadowrun is a cross-genre American pen -and- paper role-playing game that was first published in 1989. It takes place in the near future and combines the technical and Dark Futures aspect of cyberpunk with magical influences of Fantasy ( magic, elves, dwarves, dragons). Thus, it differs from other game systems that focus only on one area ( eg, Cyberpunk 2020, The Dark Eye ).

  • 4.1 Books
  • 4.2 game console, computer and internet
  • 4.3 Trading Cards
  • 4.4 Tabletop

Game world

Based on the real existing world in the late 1980s, the makers of Shadowrun spin on the development of humanity in the sense of direction of the dystopian cyberpunk of William Gibson ( Neuromancer ) and the Dark Future. In addition to the cyberpunk aspect of the world is characterized by the return of the magic and the emergence of beings from the realm of fantasy.

The background story by itself corporations have expanded into global structures that are subject only a few laws. The largest multinational corporations - called megacorps - have a form of extraterritoriality, which allows them to operate unmolested by state laws on their own property. Police tasks are also taken by individual companies. Large parts of the earth are destroyed by ruthless exploitation and disasters. The disasters have along with several pandemics of a highly mutagenic virus - the one-third of the world population fell victim to - the urban society highly polarized: a comparatively wealthy layer of the Group's employees who live in protected enclaves of their respective group and a large layer of arms live largely without rights outside of corporations. Outside the cities have grown together to become wild Megaplexen many areas or autonomous small states.

Players play in this world mostly "Shadow Runner". It is officially non-existent mercenaries who are hired by representatives of the companies for illegal work against other corporations. These range from data collection and industrial espionage to contract killings ( " wetwork "). Players can choose from thanks to the interim progress in the field of technology and science to a variety of different technical aids available - in the form of cybernetic implants or specially bred organs. The installation capacity in the human body is limited in this case; with each additional unit of the organism of the player character is unreliable. If a certain limit is exceeded, the body provides the function.

One of the primary behavioral variety is almost 4000 km ², about three million inhabitants Megaplex Seattle, which was created by the merger of Seattle and the surrounding districts. Because of its location Seattle is in the game as an important hub of commerce, so that virtually every major corporation has a seat here. In addition to Seattle in the German area is to mention the game in the "Alliance German countries" (ADL ), which takes place in the future Germany.

The stand-alone role-playing game Earthdawn forms the background history to Shadowrun. It plays at the time of Atlantis and playing technique is based on completely different rules. The interweaving of the background worlds of both games was since 1997 only rarely addressed and only found out within the framework of the Dawn of the Artifacts Adventure series of Catalyst Game Labs increasingly popular again.

In an online essay published in the religious scholar Martin Blume argues that Shadowrun future issues such as the discussion of the Mayan calendar, the longing for a " re-enchantment of the world," the simultaneity of "globalization and regionalization" as well as the fusion of man and technology in Transhumanism early playful 've processed.

Game system


Shadowrun is based on a gradual and classless system in which the game characters with attributes, skills and implants can be removed after the presentation of the player. Here, however, influence some aspects. Thus, the ability of a character to work magic affect, for example, technological implants. For orientation, the game offers so-called " archetypes " (eg for bodyguards or Battlemage ). Here are templates for character creation, to facilitate beginners starting out.


Cube samples are conducted exclusively with six -sided dice. The basic rule is the so-called " success system" that is designed differently in the third and fourth version. 3.01 Following the rules, the players try with several litters a given value - exceed - the " Target Number " (eg, 5 ). Each cube, indicating the target number (ie 5 in our example) or exceed (5 or 6 indicates ), counts as "success". By the number of successes, it is determined whether and how well a sample is passed. For samples between competing parties each achieved successes are compared and the " net gains " determined. In the 3.01D edition of the target number has been modified here by the GM based on various tables and his assessment of the situation, ie increased or decreased. In the 4th edition of the game leader also imposed by tables and feeling called Würfelpoolmodifikatoren that change the number of dice that are available to achieve the minimum litter available.

After the control system of Shadowrun 4th edition of the target number is not the number again, which must be achieved with the dice, but the number of successes ( against a fixed difficulty of 5 ) that are to be achieved overall. Instead - as in 3.01 - to modify the difficulty of the game master here the possibility to increase the target number (ie the number of successes that need to be rolled, or the amount of available cubes modify ) has. After 3:01 a litter of 1, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6 would thus be introduced against the minimum roll of 6 two hits, according to Shadowrun 4 a minimum roll of 6 would not have been met ( as there is no 6 Achievements against the fixed difficulty of 5 gave ). To do this you would need to roll the dice six fives or sixes. In the absence of skill can be avoided to a difficult test to related skills or an attribute.


For the development of character " karma points ", which roughly correspond to the so-called experience points other systems are used. These are awarded by the GM depending on success and style of play individually. With these points, the character can be expanded by buy at predetermined " prices " attribute or skill improvements. The cost of such an increase are always increasing for each game progress.

Game material

To play the rulebook is required. It contains all the necessary rules, the instructions for character creation, general skill, equipment and spell lists, and templates of character sheets. There are also extensions and " source books" that provide background information. These describe interesting aspects, plot locations, equipment, and events of life in the game world and provide further rules. Next special adventure volumes are available.


Shadowrun by Robert N. Charrette, Paul Hume and Tom Dowd was developed for the U.S. company FASA Corporation and published in 1989 in its first version, which plays in 2050. 1992, the revised, playing in 2053, second version was released. Appeared in 1998, the third version, which plays in 2060 and summarizes various additives out intermittently published extensions. At the same time the presentation was changed from realistic to cartoonish drawing style.

In 2001, the Seattle-based company WizKids took over after the dissolution of the FASA Shadowrun license and transferred these to FanPro. In October 2005, the fourth version was released. It brings together again many rules of various extensions and simplifies this partly strong to facilitate beginners to get started. The frame story line is laid in the year 2070, designed the presentation again realistic. Meanwhile, the Shadowrun license is Catalyst Game Labs, which was founded in 2007 by In Media Res Productions extra for the publication of Battletech and Shadowrun material.

In German Shadowrun released until early 2007 at FanPro. The translated works were thereby identified with the suffix " .01 D", such as " 4.01D ". For Germany, Switzerland and Austria FanPro published own background volumes, which were partially translated into English. After FanPro had given up his RPG licenses, there was until the summer of 2008 no German licensee. In August 2008, the Pegasus game publisher announced the acquisition of the license and, thereby began regulating and source books to translate. The suffix " .01 D" is not used any more. For GAME 2010 source book in Berlin was released as the first in-house development of Pegasus games in a limited edition.

On 21 December 2012, Catalyst Game Labs announced the release of a revised fifth edition for summer 2013. In the spring of the card game Shadowrun should: Crossfire appear. For Fall / Winter 2013 the miniature game Shadowrun is sprawl gangers and announced for the spring of 2014 the board game Shadowrun: Hostile Takeover.

Other Shadowrun Products

Since 1991, a paperback series, which keeps up the official story line appears at Heyne. The order of the German edition differs from the English original from partly strong, also some of the cover images are reversed. In Fantasy Productions several books have been published since 1997 also. These were written by German authors and deal mostly with Germany and Austria. Neither the publisher nor Random House Fantasy Productions are planning to say that he new releases. (May 2011)

(see: List of Shadowrun novels )

Game console, computer and internet

Was published in 1993 by Beam Software, the action RPG Shadowrun for the SNES, which roughly based on the first novel in the trilogy. This game simplified the rules by deleting numerous strong character values ​​, and put the focus on the story. From this game, even a fully translated into German version appeared.

1994 by BlueSky Software Sega Megadrive another RPG with the same name was developed. This has no relation to the SNES game and presented in direct comparison with a more open game play and closer to the pen & paper stock and is therefore sometimes regarded as an early example of an open-world role-playing game for consoles. However, it was only released in the U.S. and parts of Asia.

In 1996 another simply titled as Shadowrun game for the Sega Mega - CD exclusively in Japan. Developed by Group SNE variant combines elements of the adventure genre with typical Japanese role-playing games of the time turn-based battles from a bird's perspective. It should be noted that visually presented in manga style because it is based this game on a Japanese manga template.

Since 30 May 2007, a multiplayer action game titled Shadowrun is supported by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista distributed, loosely inspired by the role-playing world and the technology uses Live Anywhere. In the English-speaking Internet, there are several MUDs and mushes, some of which are used as role-playing platform.

2012 collected Jordan Weisman ( co-founder of FASA Corporation) via very successful money for Shadowrun Returns, a computer role-playing game on different platforms. In the same way Jan Wagner ( Cliffhanger Productions ) could allow the funding for Shadowrun Online, a turn-based and cooperative multiplayer game for various platforms.

Trading Cards

1997/98 appeared in several versions - in German at FanPro - a trading card game. In addition to the base game, the expansion appeared underworld. The aim is to obtain a first specific amount of "reputation". These " runs " ( orders) must be successfully completed. This is done either by stealth or open fight. Due to the unbalanced balance is mostly played with combat stressed groups so that teams have little chance without classical Firepower.


As of 1989, produced Grenadier Models Shadowrun tin figures. It occurred up to 1991 29 Figure Sets. Ral Partha, which for several years produced Battletech miniatures for FASA at the time, took over the license and produced the miniatures until the sale of the company to FASA 1998. Since 2001 the old series will continue to be produced by the newly founded company Iron Wind Metals.

In 1990 at FASA a board game called DMZ Downtown Militarized Zone. As part of the normal RPG publications published three extensions to DMZ (floor plans, pawns and a game scenario in an adventure book), the board game concept was, however, left quickly fall again.

WizKids in 2001 published a tabletop system called Shadowrun Duels, but this was not successful and was discontinued after the second series.