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Role Playing (Games)

Out of Print Shadowrun Books Available as PDFs 41

The current design team for the Shadowrun table-top RPG, FanPro, has intended to make out of print resources available via the web for quite a while. In what is hopefully the first in a series of such offerings, they've made the Gamemaster's Screen and Critters Sourcebook available for download in PDF format.
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Out of Print Shadowrun Books Available as PDFs

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  • Good for them. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OneDeeTenTee ( 780300 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @01:18PM (#11192285)
    That's one thing that annoys me about most paper and dice RPGs, there isn't any way look at the materials and give them a good try unless you know some gamers or have the willingness to shell out cash for something that you might not use again.
    • Re:Good for them. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dan Ost ( 415913 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @01:36PM (#11192425)
      That's why it's so important to support your local gaming shop. When something
      new comes out, I always flip through it at the store to determine if it's
      something worth buying and I've never been hassled. If you get everything
      online and the local stores disappear due to lack of community support, you
      will always be at the mercy of whatever content Amazon (or whoever) decides to
      make available to you.

      Also, people who run local gaming shops are far more likely to have a personal
      interest in the material than large retailers (like Walden's). Get to know
      them and they can be a wonderful resource for getting introduced to new systems.
      • Unless your Friendly Neighborhood Gamestore is Things From Another World and they plastic wrap all their books.

        - Kyle
      • Every 'F'LGS in my area has the idea that shrinkwraping all the books they sell is a good idea and that looking at the books for more than 5 minutes is a capital crime. And the word discount is a very dirty word they have never heard of.

        • Gaming stores that started out as comic stores often have this mentality.
          Once they realize that gaming books are references, as opposed to investments,
          they generally lighten up some. When you have something you're interested in,
          ask them if they have a copy (used or new) that you browse through. If they're
          not gamers themselves, they may not understand how gamers shop.

          Educate them.
    • Of course, that's the case with any other book, game, or other media product. Just be a cautious customer, and ask around first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 27, 2004 @01:42PM (#11192480)
    Well, according to an old CA rumor [], anyway:

    November 10, 1997... "This film may be based in part on a novella called 'Virtual Realities', originally published in the sourcebook of the same name for the 'Shadowrun' role-playing game. Briefly, it's the story of an entity named Renny which lives in the global computer network called the Matrix. Other people, human beings, are able to enter the Matrix and manipulate data, but Renny is much better at it because he's spent his entire life in the Matrix. Eventually, one of the human beings hired to help 'train' Renny discovers that Renny isn't an artificial intelligence at all, but a real human child that has been cut off from all 'real-world' stimuli so that he focuses solely on the Matrix world -- the only world he knows. The story, by Christopher Kubasik, is excellent and well-told.

    "Having spoken with the line developer of the 'Shadowrun' RPG, I know that a film based on this novella is in the works. However, all references to the RPG are being removed in the interest of streamlining the story (and possibly avoiding licensing fees). That would explain some of the plot differences, as well as the fact that the film is set in 2197 rather than 2059 (the date of the game world). It's hard to say what similarities the film will have to the original story, but I'm still looking forward to it."

    Also, there was a fantastic "MMORPG" (we called 'em MUDs) located at, back in the bad old days. Great source material.
    • I heard similar rumors. The novella in question, is really excellent, one of the few really great pieces of literature to be attached to a RPG. Shadowrun always had excellent backround material.

      I think that some of the problems with a Shadowrun based movie might be the involvement of Microsoft, who owns all of the electronic rights to FASA's material. So no games or MMO's or possibly even the movie without the interaction of FanPro, Microsoft, the author of the Novella. Might be too many fingers in the
  • by rjforster ( 2130 ) on Monday December 27, 2004 @02:06PM (#11192663) Journal
    And new material for that matter. For example, right now their newest game HARP is available as a PDF for just $2. This is less than I spent on the plastic lyfjacket cover for my printed copy!

    ICE []
    • I won't look down on them for opening up the opportunity (both to themselves and to the customers), but I have to say... I don't think I could play a whole game (assuming it was a book of any decent size) through a PDF. When playing an RPG, you need a lot of content, quickly and easily. I suppose a laptop with the PDF loaded could fit the need pretty well, but I'll take dead trees any day.

      Although, this would be a good buy for your players, so you don't have to play "Who needs the book this week?" all the
    • From their web site:

      Middle-earth Issues

      Q: Where can I buy or get information on ICE's old Middle-earth products?
      A: Simply stated, ICE no longer sells, supports or provides rules, card lists or any other material or information related to our old Middle-earth games. We no longer hold the license for Middle-earth gaming products, so as such we do not sell or support any of our old Middle-earth products including Middle-earth Roleplaying or the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game. If you are seeking informati
      • what would be the legal standing if folks scanned in their old Middle-Earth books into PDF and distributed them free on the net?

        That would be quite interesting. You're infringing copyright, but a copyright held by someone who no-longer has the trademark license to sell his own work. (They could change the names to be something different from Tolkien's Middle-Earth and re-release)
  • this was.... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by drfrog ( 145882 )
    the worst cyberpunk RPG system to come out,
    FASA has a unique ability to overcomplicated gaming rules
    {try playing a magic class in shadowrun}

    Great story/ background plot though

    go look at Cyberpunk from R. Talsorian Games
    {yes it doesnt have magic, but its easy to build in }

    or even steve jackson games gurps cyberpunk
    • Shadowrun isn't cyberpunk, though. It doesn't try to be. It takes some things from cyberpunk, yes, but it makes something entirely different out of them. For proper cyberpunk, Guardians of Order have released Ex Machina, which comes with 4 settings, ranging from third-world dystopia, to biotech space towers, to America a few years in the future, just how the Department for Homeland Security would like it...
    • A lot of the rules could get arcane and take a lot of playtime to execute, but I always felt that the level of detail was worth it. Shadowrun, I always thought was too big for pen and paper, it really needed to be computer moderated, with all of the rules running in the backround. It would make an excellent MMO.

      An experienced GM and players group can burn through a game pretty quickly, once everyone has a good grasp on the rules and some experience using them.

      I always thought that Cyberpunk had
      • I believe Microsoft owns the license to make Shadowrun videogames. I hope they use it to enter the MMORPG market.
        • They definitely do own the electronic rights. There is an E-mail address at microsoft ( that you can contact regarding things shadowrun, but no one has ever recieved a response that I know of. Many people have E-mailed in requests that Microsoft develop this property, however.
      • I used to GM ShadowRun way back around 1991. It really wasn't all that complicated. No more than any of the other P&P games around at the time, and it was considerably simpler than the behemoth that D&D had grown into by that time.

        We always had a good time playing it. I think I ran maybe a half-dozen adventures over as many months.

        If you read the recent flame war on ZSNES vs Snes9x, you might be interested to know that there is a ShadowRun SNES Rom floating around thats pretty fun. I use ZSNES to

        • There is both a Shadowrun game for NES and for Genesis. Both totally different games. Suprising, given the costs of developing a video game that they would do 2 totally seperate games for 2 systems based on a RPG, at the same time. Each one has it's merits, but neither is really compelling, in retrospect. The Genesis one is more accesable, and the SNES one can be irritating, but has a better story and graphics. Had either of these games been great or classic, perhaps the Shadowrun license would be much
          • Re:this was.... (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            You forgot to mention the differences in more detail:

            SNES Version
            * Better story. More engrossing, drives play more. It also is far more linear.
            * Better graphics. Assuming you don't hate navigating isometric views. ;)
            * Loose adherence to SR character development. The traits necessary to the game are there, but it always seemed kind of forced.
            * Worst Matrix decking simulation ever. It was like a half-assed addition at the last minute.
            * Clumsy combat system. Aiming that crosshair was not the mo
    • Yes, playing a mage char in Shadowrun could be somewhat awkward, but that was probably more due to the fiction than the actual mechanics, from what I saw.

      In the Shadowrun scenario, only 5-10% of the population were supposed to be magically active in any way at all. Magic users were NOT common, and neither were incidents involving magic. People throwing fireballs at each other after the escalation of a violent argument wasn't something you saw every day.

      The other thing you might have found awkward was the
    • Re:this was.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mbourgon ( 186257 )
      The difference between Cyberpunk (which I've played) and Shadowrun (which I've been playing for 14+ years now) is that Shadowrun is Cinematic. The good guys pull through by the skin of their teeth. The bad guys always get away - even if a trunk is dropped on them from A Great Height. SR1 was clunky, especially during large combats using burst-fire. But SR3 has really improved things, and our group's been loving it. Once everyone knows what they're doing, it's quick and fun. Even for mages. *grin*

  • Great news! (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is really great news. Shadowrun has been one of my absolute favorite RPG's ever since it was released.

    Admittedly, the first edition rules were a little rough around the edges, but the stories and setting were all absolutely top notch, and with the second edition rules streamlining a lot of things, I was really impressed.

    I would love to see some of the other rulebooks released online, too. Now if I could just find someone to play this with. . . haven't played a table top RPG in years. ;-)
  • So long as the files aren't DRMed, I'm cool with this. I've had to give up on alot of gaming material because with an international move coming up in a few months, I really can't afford to get books in any other format EXCEPT electronic - but there's no way I'm going to get the DRM stuff that alot of companies are putting out through White Wolf's Adobe-ebook based pay-for-play site.
  • Thanks FanPro (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Captain Chaos ( 13688 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @03:15PM (#11201397)
    I applaud FanPro on the release of these PDFs and hope they continue to release more. I already own the originals that FASA published, but maybe this will help attract new players. I haven't played in years, but I might be able to attract some friends to the game without having to worry about them abusing my copies of the books. I just hope they release some of the out of print Battletech sourcebooks also. FASA had promised for years to do so since there was still a demand for the books, but not enough to reprint. Unfortunately FASA is no more so that never materialized.
    • Re:Thanks FanPro (Score:2, Informative)

      You'll see both Shadowrun and Classic BattleTech PDFs appearing next month at and -- and these will be non-DRM PDFs to boot. We'll also have the Shadowrun Quick Start Rules up on as a free PDF later this week.
      • That sounds great, thanks for the update. I haven't played either game in years and haven't been to Gencon since it moved from Milwaukee, but I've been meaning to get back into it. This should help me introduce some friends to the games since I'm leery of loaning my books out after some bad experiences in the past. I'd also like to say thanks for not using DRM in the files. I've got another RPG rulebook in PDF format and I wasn't too happy to find it used DRM, especially seeing as how I had also purchas
    • "I just hope they release some of the out of print Battletech sourcebooks also."

      For the most part, they've been "working on it" for a quite a while, but they do have the House Davion sourcebook as a PDF as well as some other House sourcebooks in text format here []

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein