Shadowrun 4 to 5

With Shadowrun 5, a consolidation phase seems reached. Apart from the limits idea, it's basically the same as SR4 so all its remedies apply here too. The most important changes between Shadowrun 4 and 5 seem to be:

Details below.


Skills now go generally up to 12 (not 6) while retaining the (new level)*2 Karma costs. New skills now cost 2 instead of 4. Specializations now cost 7 instead of 2, making them useless for skill levels < 2. In general, more dice are available; this is offset by limits which limit the amount of successes (not net successes) that you or your opponent can have.

All are rounded up, so typical NPCs (everything 3) will have a limit of 4 or 5 everywhere.

Some skills have been unified, some divided:

That concludes the skill section. Attributes are mostly the same, except for Initiative, described below.


Initiative is now (Rea+Int)+1W6 or more with reflex boosters. Astral Ini is Int*2+2W6, Matrix (VR) is Int*2+4W6, Rigging (VR) is Rea+Int+4W6. Like in SR3, after everyone had their action, -10 is applied to all initiative and everyone >0 has a second action. Delayed actions are only valid within 10 passes (i.e. are resetted once you get your next regular action); they also cannot be taken to the next combat round.

On the receiving end:

On the "giving" end:

Sight modifiers (for firing, spells etc.) are caused by smoke, absence of light, flare, wind, and range. They are counted in categories (light -1, middle -3, strong -6), and only the worst modifier counts (not a sum, as in SR1-4), although 2x the same modifier raises the category by one (and 2x strong = -10). Vision cyberware reduces categories, not modifiers.

Situational modifiers (for firing, spells etc.) are running or in vehicle -2, in close combat -3, firing around corners with smartlink -3. Blind firing stays at -6.


In SR4, magic had become very strong. It seems that it is balanced a bit better now:

Rituals now have multiple well-defined variants. Wards are also made by one of the ritual variants now.

Enchanting items is far more attractive than before. It does not cost karma, just money and time, as well as having the skill. Astral signature is still visible so take care whom you sell to.

Odds & Ends

Using First Aid has a threshold of 2. Only successes beyond 2 erase damage boxes. The damage boxes healed are divided by 2 if the patient wears full body armor. Expected modifiers are generally -2 for street conditions, -2 for awakened or 4 points essence lost, and +6 for highest-grade medkit, for a total of Logic + First Aid + 2 [Mental Limit] (2).

It seems that most equipment can be had both with and without WiFi, but there is a specific "WiFi advantage" per piece of equipment (e.g. wired reflexes and reaction enhancers are only compatible when both are in WiFi mode).

Cyber/bioware, adept powers as well as spells can, at maximum, raise an attribute by +4.

A substantial amount of cyber/bioware now increases some limit instead of giving more dice.

And with that, thanks for reading and goodbye!

EOF: May 2016