Shadowrun, Fourth Edition FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Last Updated: December 1, 2006
* Please note that this FAQ concerns Shadowrun, Fourth Edition. You can find the no-longer updated SR3 FAQ here. For questions regarding FanPro itself, see the FanPro FAQ.
- FanPro FAQ
- General Shadowrun
- Street Magic (Advanced Magic Rules)
- Miscellaneous Rules
What upcoming releases are planned for Shadowrun?
You can find information on upcoming books here.
Will FanPro publish Shadowrun novels?
Not in English. WizKids recently published a series of 6 Shadowrun novels to accompany their now defunct Shadowrun Duels game.
Fantasy Productions GmbH is publishing Shadowrun novels in German.
Is there anyone producing Shadowrun RPG books in languages other than English?
Yes. Fantasy Productions GmbH publishes Shadowrun RPG books in German. Most of these are translations of English-language Shadowrun books. Fantasy Productions has released several German-language only books:
-- A revised sourcebook for Germany called Deutschland in Den Schatten II (Germany in the Shadows II)
-- An adventure called Schockwellen (Shockwaves)
-- A sourcebook called Brennpunkt: ADL (Target: Germany)
-- A sourcebook on Munich called Munich Noir
These books will not be translated or published in English.
A French company called Black Book Editions has published Shadowrun, Fourth Edition into French and will continue to publish other Shadowrun books.
Black Book, FanPro Germany, and FanPro LLC are together working on a sourcebook based on the SOX region that will be published in English (source material, PDF-only), German (with a German campaign), and French (with a French campaign).
A Japanese company named Arclight is translating and publishing Shadowrun books into Japanese (starting with SR4, due in mid-2007).
Where can I find a complete list of available Shadowrun books?
Please see the Wikipedia page: List of Shadowrun Books. Thanks to those who have contributed to this page (and the other Shadowrun resources on Wikipedia!)
Is FanPro still supporting previous editions of Shadowrun?
Not actively. You can find some old resources and errata here, but we focus our efforts on support for Shadowrun Fourth Edition. If you have rules questions pertaining to previous editions, we suggest you consult the fan knowledge base over at Dumpshock.
Which sourcebooks from previous editions are still compatible with Shadowrun Fourth Edition?
Since we completely overhauled the rules and core game mechanics, none of the rulebooks from previous editions are compatible with SR4. We did not alter the setting very much, however--other than updating the Matrix and moving the timeline ahead a few years to 2070--so any book that is primarily source material (not rules) is still compatible. You can find notes on which books are and aren't compatible here.
Why are there no FanPro-sponsored Shadowrun forums?
Because the fine folks running Dumpshock have been maintaining those forums for many years, and we see no need to duplicate their efforts.
Are you going to publish a Shadowrun D20 system?
Haven't you heard? D20 give you cancer, and we prefer to keep Shadowrun cancer free.
Are there any character/Matrix/etc. generators for Shadowrun Fourth Edition?
There are no "official" ones. You can, however, find several fan-produced freeware generators:
- DnCRG -- still in early development, pre-betas available. Windows only.
- SR4Chargen.XLS -- requires Microsoft Excel (may work in other Excel-compatible Office-like programs)
- SR4 CGE -- Windows only.
- CharGen SR4 2.0 -- Windows only. French site, English program!
Is anyone making a Shadowrun movie?
WizKids is looking into it, but at this time there is no guarantee that it will happen. There is no other news to impart on the topic at this time.
You can find some fan-created Shadowrun movies at http://del.icio.us/shadowrun.
Does FanPro/Wizkids own the rights to the Shadowrun Collectable card game? And if so are there any plans to re-release it?
The Shadowrun CCG is part of the Shadowrun intellectual properties, which are owned by WizKids. They have no plans to re-release it. FanPro is not offering any support for this game.
What is the relationship between Shadowrun and Earthdawn (now licensed to Living Room Games/RedBrick)? Will the storylines still be linked even though the games are now produced by different companies?
We won't deny that the Shadowrun and Earthdawn storylines have been linked in the past (in the cycle of magic, Earthdawn is the Fourth World and Shadowrun is the Sixth World). While FanPro will not ignore these links, we have no intention of making them a primary focus of the game. The FanPro Shadowrun and LRG/RedBrick Earthdawn developers have a good working relationship, and will make every effort not to conflict or contradict each other's storylines.
Looking at the list of FASA/FanPro Shadowrun books, there are some product numbers/books missing. What happened to 7106, 7111 and 7321?
7106 was the first edition version of the Grimoire. It was replaced by FAS 7903 Grimoire.
7111 was the DMZ boxed set (out of print).
7321 was simply assigned to a book that was later dropped from the schedule.
Note that FAS 7304 Queen Euphoria was originally misprinted with the product number 7205 (which belongs to the Universal Brotherhood sourcebook/adventure).
What does this <abbreviation> mean?
BITB = Blood in the Boardroom
CC = Cannon Companion
CCG = Collectible Card Game
DSW = Dragons of the Sixth World
FASA = Freedonian Air & Space Administration
FOF = Fields of Fire (out of print)
FPR = FanPro or Fantasy Productions
GM = Gamemaster
LA = Loose Alliances
LOS = Line of sight
M&M; = Man & Machine
MITS = Magic in the Shadows (out of print)
MJLBB = Mr. Johnson's Little Black Book
NAGNA = Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America (out of print)
NAGRL = Neo-Anarchist's Guide to Real Life (out of print)
NAN1 = Native American Nations, Volume 1 (out of print)
NAN2 = Native American Nations, Volume 2 (out of print)
NPC = Non-player character
OR = Object Resistance
OTR = On the Run
PAE = Paranormal Animals of Europe (out of print)
PANA = Paranormal Animals of North America (out of print)
PC = Player character
POAD = Portfolio of a Dragon: Dunkelzahn's Secrets (out of print)
R3 = Rigger 3 (Sometimes "R3R" for Rigger 3 Revised)
RPG = Roleplaying Game
SF = System Failure
SM = Street Magic
SOA = Shadows of Asia
SOE = Shadows of Europe
SOLA = Shadows of Latin America
SONA = Shadows of North America
SOTA:2063 = State of the Art: 2063
SOTA:2064 = State of the Art: 2064
SOTF = Survival of the Fittest
SR3 = Shadowrun, Third Edition
SR4 = Shadowrun, Fourth Edition
SRComp = Shadowrun Companion
SSG = Sprawl Survival Guide
T:AL = Target: Awakened Lands
T:M = Target: Matrix
TN = Target Number
T:SH = Target: Smuggler Havens
T:UCAS = Target: UCAS
T:W = Target: Wastelands
T2 = Threats 2
WOTC = Wake of the Comet
YOTC = Year of the Comet
When can you break up a skill group into its component skills? Can you break it up during character creation? Can I break apart a skill group in order to buy a specialization for one of the skills?
You can break apart a skill group whenever you want--as long as the GM allows it. We advise against breaking apart skill groups during character creation in order to keep it simple and counter min-maxing. Any time you improve a single skill within a skill group or add a specialization to one of those skills, that skill group no longer exists.
Can you regain a skill group if each of the component skills are raised to the same level? What if one of the skills has a specialization?
Yes, if a skill group's individual skills are raised to the same rating, those skills can be treated as a skill group from that point on--any specializations, however, are lost (specializations and skill groups are simply incompatible; you can have one or the other, but not both).
Are Recoil modifiers cumulative across an entire Combat Turn, or just an Action Phase? Does Recoil Compensation apply to each attack/burst, or does it only apply once in an Action Phase? Can you give a better example of how recoil works?
Recoil modifiers are cumulative, but they only apply for that Action Phase. They do not carry over to additional Action Phases in a Combat Turn.
Recoil compensation only applies once during an entire Action Phase. In other words, each point of Recoil Compensation counteracts 1 point of Recoil modifiers for that entire Action Phase.
There are several things to keep in mind about recoil:
a) The first bullet never counts.
b) Every bullet fired in an Action Phase after the first incurs a cumulative -1 recoil dice pool modifier.
c) Each point of recoil compensation counteracts 1 point of recoil modifier.
Let's say you're firing a submachine gun in burst fire mode (3 bullets), with 1 point of recoil compensation. With your first Simple Action, you suffer a recoil modifier of -2 (first bullet is free, next two count). You have 1 point of recoil compensation, however, so that recoil modifier is reduced to -1.
On your second Simple Action, you suffer an additional -3 recoil modifier (three more bullets in the same Action Phase). You have a -1 recoil modifier carrying over from the first burst, so you're facing a total recoil modifier of -4. Your recoil compensation has already been fully applied (on the first burst), so your recoil modifier for the second burst is -4.
(Another way of looking at the second burst is to consider the total modifiers: -2 for the first burst and -3 for the second burst, for a total of -5. Subtract the 1 point of recoil compensation and you have a recoil modifier of -4.)
You are firing an assault rifle in full-auto mode. Your first attack is a regular 3-round burst, which incurs a -2 recoil modifier. You have 3 points of recoil compensation, however, so on this first attack you suffer no recoil modifiers.
For your second Simple Action, you fire a long burst of 6 bullets: an additional -6 recoil modifier. You have no recoil modifier carrying over from the first attack, but you do have 1 point of unapplied recoil compensation left (since you only used 2 of the 3 to negate the -2 modifier on the first attack). So on this second attack you suffer a -5 recoil modifier.
(Another way of looking at the second burst is to consider the total modifiers: -2 for the first burst and -6 for the second burst, for a total of -8. Subtract the 3 points of recoil compensation and you have a recoil modifier of -5.)
You are firing a medium machine gun in full-auto mode. MMGs count as heavy weapons, so all uncompensated recoil is doubled. Luckily you're using a gyro-mount that applies 6 points of recoil compensation!
On your first attack, a 3-round burst with a Simple Action, you're facing a -2 recoil modifier. Your recoil compensation eats that up, leaving you suffering no modifier.
On your second attack, a 6-round long burst with another Simple Action, you're facing an additional -6 recoil modifier. You have 4 points of your recoil compensation left (6 - 2), so that recoil modifier is reduced to -2. However, you're firing a heavy weapon, so it's doubled to -4.
(Again, you can look at the second burst via the total modifiers: -2 for the first burst and -6 for the second burst, for a total of -8. Subtract the 6 points of recoil compensation and you have a recoil modifier of -2, doubled to -4.)
This time you're firing your full-auto assault rifle against three targets. You take a Complex Action to fire a full burst, applying one 3-round burst against each target. Your recoil compensation is -2.
For the first target, you suffer a -2 recoil modifier. Your recoil compensation nullifies this, so you attack with no recoil modifiers.
On the second target, you pick up an additional -3 recoil. You have no cumulative recoil to apply from the first attack, and no recoil comp left, so you suffer -3.
On the third target, you pick up an additional -3 again. This time you have the -3 recoil from the previous attack to add to, and you used up your recoil compensation already, so now you're facing -6.
The rules say that bows have a minimum Strength a character must have to use the bow, but nowhere in the book have I found a chart that indicates the types of bows and the minimum strength needed to use them. Where are these minimums listed?
There's no chart -- the Strength Minimum for a particular bow is determined when you buy the bow (or is otherwise determined on a bow by bow basis). The rating determines the effective damage and the cost -- and means that anyone using a STR lower than that suffers a modifier when using the bow, as talked about in the second paragraph under Bows on p. 306, SR4.
If a character is an area covered by suppressive fire, does he need to make a defense test immediately when the shooter starts firing? Or is he safe as long as he doesn't attempt to move?
If he is in the suppressed area and he is not behind cover or prone -- or if he does not immediately take a full defense interrupt action to drop behind cover or go prone -- then yes, he must resist the attack as soon as the bullets start flying. Note that any character that moves in, out of, or within a suppressed fire area (other than taking cover/going prone) must resist the attack as normal.
As an optional rule, and at the gamemaster's discretion, any character in the suppressed area may simply spend a Free Action to take cover/go prone as soon as the suppressive fire starts without taking an interrupt full defense action. The goal of suppressive fire, after all, is to make your opponents keep their heads down -- and this will keep the combat quick.
Isn't tossing a grenade on the ground by someone's feet (a Success Test) easier than trying to hit them directly with a grenade (an Opposed Test)? Does everyone caught in the blast get a chance to dodge/react?
If the intent is to catch a target in the blast radius, then it should be an Opposed Test, whether the grenade is actually thrown at the target or thrown a few meters away.
If the intent is to catch a group of targets in the blast radius, the attacker still picks one as the primary target. The Opposed Test is made between the attacker and that target only, with scatter determined accordingly. Any targets caught in the blast radius make Damage Resistance Tests as normal.
If you punch someone with shock gloves, do you inflict standard punching damage (STR/2) in addition to the glove's 6S DV? If you have gloves on both hands, can you attack with both and do 12S DV?
No, it's one or the other. You can choose to punch/kick/whatever and do regular unarmed damage, or you can choose to touch/punch and zap with the shock gloves, doing *only* the shock glove damage (not the unarmed damage too). Even with two gloves, the damage is still just 6S DV.
The upcoming Arsenal rulebook may feature rules for two-weapon melee.
What exactly is the dice pool used in the Full Defense option Gymnastic Dodge (p. 151, SR4)?
Against ranged attacks, it would be Reaction + Gymnastics. Against melee attacks, it would be Reaction + Dodge + Gymnastics or Reaction + melee skill + Gymnastics.
Can Physical Drain be healed by magic?
No. Damage from Drain must be healed by regular mundane medical care and/or rest.
Is there a limit to the number of people a magician can protect at one time with his Counterspelling skill?
There's no limit, but the protected subjects must remain within line of sight. Like many things, this is one of those areas that a gamemaster should exercise some common sense over, so that it's not out of hand -- you can only keep your attention on so many people at once. In most cases, it shouldn't be an issue -- there are unlikely to be large numbers of people being targeted by spells at a time. If the magician were doing something like watching over an entire football stadium and trying to provide spell defense to the thousands of people within to thwart a magical terrorist attack, then you should probably call for a Perception Test to see if he noticed the attack or happened to be looking at the right part of the crowd -- or maybe just apply a modifier to his spell defense since he'd be spreading himself thin.
Do you need to maintain line of sight (or touch, with Touch range spells) to sustain a spell? What about Permanent spells?
No, once a spell is cast, you do not need to maintain touch or line of sight. You must maintain touch or line of sight when casting a Permanent spell, however, until the spell's effects become permanent.
Is it possible to use the called shot rule (p. 149, SR4) with Indirect Combat spells?
Yes, as long as the GM allows it.
Can I cast a spell through an ocular drone, since I have paid Essence for it, when the drone is not in my body?
Even though a magician has paid Essence for the ocular drone implant (allowing him to cast when seeing with it, just like a cybereye), once the drone has left his body it can no longer be used to target spells.
If a magician is using Counterspelling to help protect someone from a spell, can both the magician and the target use their Edge on the Resistance Test? If a magician is using Counterspelling to protect multiple targets and he uses Edge, do all of the targets receive the Edge bonus?
We recommend that only one character, not both, be allowed to use Edge. Technically, the magician providing Counterspelling should only be rolling those Counterspelling dice once and applying the hits to all of the targets he's protecting, so if the magician uses Edge in that case it would apply to all of the targets. For the purpose of determining glitches, treat all of the dice applied to each character (i.e., their attribute dice plus the magicians's Counterspelling dice) as a separate pool.
In SR4, can you withhold dice from a Sorcery or Conjuring Test and use those dice instead to resist Drain, as you could in SR3?
This rule was dropped in SR4 -- it was a special case rule that didn't apply to any other mechanics in the game. If you happen to like it, you can of course continue to use it in your own games as a house rule.
Is there a range limit to the mental link between a spirit and its summoner? Is the link maintained if a spirit is performing a final remote service? Can you use the spirit as a communication relay, by sending it to someone and holding a full conversation with them?
There is no limit, though at the gamemaster's discretion wards, mana barriers, background count, or travel to the metaplanes may interfere or block such communication. The link remains until the remote service is completed. Spirits may certainly be sent to mediate conversations or serve as remote spies.
Do the bound spirit services Aid Sorcery or Spell Sustaining take an action to use, or do they happen instantly?
In both cases, the magician must take the appropriate Complex Action to cast the spell, but taking aid from the spirit or passing on the task of sustaining requires no action—power is simply funneled from the spirit through the magician's link to it.
Can you use Control Thoughts on a spirit? Would this get you free services?
You certainly could, and the spirit would do as instructed for as long as the spell lasted. This is unlikely to make you any friends in the spirit world, however -- any magician who abuses their own spirits in this way is likely to see his spirits rebelling against him, using their Edge to resist Conjuring Tests and so on.
Is there a maximum period of time a spirit power may be used continuously at the cost of a single service?
This is up to the gamemaster's discretion, as per the guidelines given on pp. 177-178, SR4, and pp. 94-95, Street Magic. No spirit is going to let their summoner abuse them in this manner. If nothing else, a spirit is most likely to charge a service for each sunrise or sunset that passes while continuously using a power.
If an adept loses Essence and thus loses a point of Magic, does he also lose adept powers, and if so, in what order?
Yes, for each point of Magic loss he loses 1 Power point of adept powers. The order is up to the gamemaster -- some may want to choose themselves (what we recommend, basing it on what least fits the character's outlook or what is least used), some may allow the player to choose.
When an adept buys an improved sense on a power that has multiple levels (e.g., vision enhancement or sound filter) are they purchased as levels or does the adept gain the max value for just .25 points?
They receive it at the maximum level.
Is Mystic Armor cumulative with worn armor? Is it subject to the armor encumbrance rules?
Yes, just add its rating on to the rating of any worn armor. Mystic Armor is a magical effect, so it does not encumber the adept.
Though mystic adepts must split their Magic between Magic-based skills and adept powers, it says that for all other purposes, including the limits of adept powers, the mystic adept uses his full Magic attribute. Does this mean that a mystic adept with Magic 6 who has allocated 2 points to Magic skills and 4 points to adept powers can cast Force 6 spells without flinching?
The Magic points allocated towards Magic-based skills counts for all aspects of those skills. This includes: Magic-linked skill tests (Summoning, Spellcasting, Enchanting, etc.), overcasting, and maximum spell Force, for example.
For power points and Magic when used by adept powers, only the points allocated towards adept powers apply. This includes Attribute Boost Tests and the like.
For all other purposes -- i.e., non-Magic-linked skills -- the mystic adept's full Magic attribute is used: pressing through astral barriers, initiation grade limit, Masking metamagic, and so on.
So in the example above, the maximum Force he can cast at is 4, and anything over Force 2 is Physical Drain.
Since mystic adepts can use power foci, do the bonus dice from power foci also apply to any Magic Tests called for by an adept power?
Yes, they would apply to any test that calls for Magic dice.
When casting an Indirect Combat spell, do you need to see the target? Or can you cast at a target completely behind cover since they use ranged combat rules?
You do need the see the primary target of the spell. However, as noted in the errata, Indirect Combat spells will affect other targets that are unseen by the caster as long as they are caught within the spell's area of effect.
Note that the same ruling for grenades applies to Indirect Combat spells cast "at the ground" -- if the attempt is to catch targets in the spell's effect radius, treat it as an Opposed Test, no matter where the spell is actually aimed.
What kind of information -- and how much -- can be transferred between subjects of a Mindlink spell? Can sensory data such as hearing and smell be communicated? How about enhanced senses like thermographic vision? Is Mindlink compatible with simsense -- can you record an image sent via spell?
Since the Mindlink spell involves direct mental telepathy, we recommend allowing all sorts of information to be transferred, including thoughts, mental images, feelings, and any sensory input the characters are receiving (including natural senses, magical senses/assensing, implant senses paid for with Essence, and even non-implant tech sensors -- the spell is directly accessing the brain after all).
Can a character use simsense to record an image received via a Mindlink spell or obtained via Mind probe, or an astral signature viewed assensing? Can data from magical senses be transmitted via commlink or recorded via headware onto a memory chip?
Technology and magic do not always mesh well. One major hurdle scientists have not yet overcome is a way to technologically record magical sensor input --- whether assensed, received by telepathy, or obtained with some other magical sense such as Clairvoyance. Even simsense fails to capture the information, recording only unintelligible static.
Some Detections spells like Clairvoyance have a listed Range of "Touch," but the range of the spell is clearly further than that. What's the spell range?
Detection spells have a "subject" and a "target." The subject is the person whom the spell is cast on -- they receive the new sense provided by the spell. The subject must be touched. The target is anyone or thing that might be detected by the spell. The target merely needs to be within LOS or in the area of effect. The standard sensory range for a Detection spell is Force x Magic meters (see p. 198, SR4).
The Antidote spell is supposed to be cast prior to exposure to a toxin, but the Drain is based on the Power of the toxin. Since the spell is to be cast before exposure, how does the caster know what toxin he is setting the spell to be guarding against?
The caster chooses a Power to provide an "antidote" for. If the character is affected by a toxin with a Power higher than the one chosen when Antidote was cast, then the spell will have no effect.
Can Resist Pain be cast on someone before they are injured?
No, as there is no pain to resist. Alternately, a gamemaster can allow it, but keep in mind that Resist Pain uses "Damage Value" as the basis for the Drain Value. This means that the caster needs to choose a Damage Value to apply the pain resistance for when casting the spell. If the subject suffers damage with a higher DV than Resist pain was cast for, it will have no effect.
Does the penalty for low Essence (noted in Healing Characters with Implants, p. 199, SR4) apply to all Health spells or simply those that heal damage?
It applies to all Health spells, including Negative Health spells.
Does a Mana Barrier spell cast on the physical plane affect astral forms?
No, it only affects mana on the physical plane -- spells, dual natured characters/critters, and so on. Mana barriers are not automatically dual natured. Mana exists on both planes, not just the astral.
Do spells cast in the astral have an astral form? What about spells cast in the physical plane?
Spells never have an astral form. They have auras, as all living and magical things do, but spells never have an actual astral form. That's why you can't attack a spell in astral combat, for example (as you could in SR2).
How does astral perception work for an astrally-projecting character who is manifesting? Is it psychic, like regular assensing, or since they're manifesting can they actually read street signs?
Astral perception while assensing is still a psychic phenomenon. Though physical characters can see and hear the astral form, the astral form perceives only shadows, auras, and emotional content.
Do dual-natured characters/critters (including assensing characters) use their Physical or astral attributes when fighting an astral opponent?
Dual-natured characters are limited by their physical bodies. In astral combat, they move at meat body speeds (use regular physical Initiative) and use their Physical attributes for any tests. They engage astral opponents, however, using Astral Combat skill (+ Willpower).
Can you clarify what skills and attributes are used in astral combat?
|Attacker (dual natured or astral) Rolls:||Willpower + Astral Combat|
|Defender (dual natured) Rolls:||Reaction + Dodge (dodge)|
|Reaction + Astral Combat (block/parry)|
|Defender (astral) Rolls:||Intuition + Dodge (dodge)|
|Intuition + Astral Combat (parry/block)|
|Defender (dual natured) using Full Defense:||Reaction + Astral Combat/Dodge + Dodge|
|Defender (astral) using Full Defense:||Intuition + Astral Combat/Dodge + Dodge|
|Damage Resistance (astral or dual natured):||Willpower + Mystic Armor|
If your weapon focus requires fuel or power (monofilament chainsaw, vibroblade, laser crescent axe) does it work when you're astrally projecting?
Yes, but since the technological aspect of the weapon (moving parts, monofilament, laser blade, etc.) doesn't apply in the astral, the weapon should be treated as its nearest basic equivalent (a chainsaw would simply be a club, a laser crescent axe would just be an axe, and so on).
How common is initiation in the Sixth World?
By the 2070's it is relatively commonplace for individuals to initiate at some point in their career since it not only opens up a number of personal development possibilities, but also represents a measure of recognized professional and personal advancement in the field of thaumaturgy (and one recognized by peers). Magicians form magical groups (study circles) in college. Corporations provide their wage mages with initiatory groups to hone their abilities in service of the corp. Shamanic societies gather to benefit their members and advance them in the higher mysteries. Even lone magicians stand to gain more from investing in Initiation than in any other aspect of their magical talents. In practice most magicians practicing their art professionally for more than a few years will initiate at one point or another. Note, however, that high grades of initiation are still quite rare and awarded special recognition.
How does initiation work with the new magical qualities in Street Magic?
Characters with the new magical qualities Astral Sight, Spell/Spirit Knack, and Aspected Magician may all initiate and use metamagic. Nonetheless, any restriction on increasing Magic (for instance, as described in Spell/Spirit Knack) remains in effect (unless your groups opts to use the alternate More Common Knacks rule in Tweaking the Rules).
Can you take Magical Resistance and any of the new magical qualities in Street Magic?
Characters with Aspected Magician, Astral Sight, Latent Awakening, Spell/Spirit Knack, or Spirit Pact may not take Magical Resistance.
Can you enchant cyberware and bioware?
You can enchant cyberware, but this must be done before it is implanted, and should be carefully weighed before the gamemaster approves it. Such a focus would be considered Mundane Telesma (see pp. 83-84, Street Magic).
Bioware may not be enchanted, as it is a living material.
If you turn a weapon into a focus, but not a weapon focus, does it still do damage to creatures with Immunity to Normal Weapons?
No. It's magic, but it's not a magic weapon.
How much do Knowledge skills cost for ally spirits?
Knowledge Skills have the default cost for any skill (5 Karma at ally creation).
Ally spirit powers can be chosen from any powers available to spirits the initiate's tradition may conjure. If the initiate knows Invoking metamagic, are the powers available to great form spirits available as ally spirit powers?
No. Great forms are not part of the basic spirit types a tradition can conjure, they are enhanced forms of the basic spirit types. (ie. "read spirits his tradition can conjure" as "basic spirit types his tradition can conjure"). Only the five basic spirit types a tradition invokes (per the tradition's correspondences) count in this regard.
Can a ward be placed inside a moving van?
"A physical anchor cannot move more than a few centimeters relative to the ward enclosure when the ward was created." That's the key phrase and it can be pretty tricky. For instance, if you create a domed ward outdoors using a rock as the physical anchor, and then someone kicks that rock a few feet, the ward will collapse. It has moved more than few centimeters from its position relative to the domed ward at creation. But, if you ward a shipping container using the walls of that shipping container as the physical anchor, and the shipping container is shipped across the Pacific Ocean, the ward does not collapse. The entire warded enclosure is moving, so in the relationship between the ward and physical anchor, it hasn't moved at all from its relationship at the ward's creation.
As an aside, this is also why the spin of the Earth doesn't cause the domed ward around the rock to collapse. Because the entire enclosure is moving with the rotation of the Earth. Until someone kicks that rock, the relationship between the ward and stone remain the same.
In areas with aspected background count, if the background count is increased by artificial means (such as the Mana Static spell or plant life engineered to add background count) does the additional background count retain the aspect of the area?
Mana Static was intended to generate background count where there is none, rather than enhancing existing background count. The best way to handle overlap is to rule that the background count generated by Mana Static in such locations is indeed aspected, but is not cumulative with natural background count unless the spell's effects exceed the natural/current background count (ie. 3 hits on Mana Static in a Domain of BC 3 have no effect, but 4 hits elevate the Domain's BC to 4).
If a spirit used Inhabitation on a technomancer, and the merge was good, resulting in a flesh form, are the technomancer abilities retained?
No. The spirit's Mental and Special Attributes dominate the hybrid or flesh form—meaning Resonance is lost.
When a spirit uses Possession or Inhabitation on a character, are the dual entity's attributes limited by the character's maximum augmented attribute values?
No. Both powers represent a merging (temporary with Possession, permanent with Inhabitation) of the character's physical body with the form of the spirit. For the duration of the possession/inhabitation, the dual entity's maximum augmented attributes are equal to (character's attribute + spirit's Force) x 1.5, rounded down.
Do Initiative Pass augmentations affect augmented reality actions?
Yes. AR Matrix activity should not be considered separate from physical activity -- they are integrated and take place within the same Combat Turn. When you access the Matrix via AR, you operate at meat-body speeds. Yes, this means that someone with wired reflexes can access the Matrix more quickly than someone who isn't wired.
Can all cyberware implants be hacked? How do you hack a cyberlimb? What can you do with hacked cyberware?
To hack cyberware (or any device, really), several criteria must be met:
1) The cyberware/device must be computerized. Not all implants need a built-in computer -- but any that rely on remote control/access, must communicate with other implants/devices, have (pre-)programmable functions, or require regular diagnostics/checkups probably do, and that's most of them. Keep in mind that wireless computers are cheap in 2070, whereas cutting someone open just to access/check on an implant is not. Almost all cyberware requires careful maintenance and regular check-ups. Most cyberware has a direct neural interface, allowing the character to mentally access and control the implant, but wireless links are also included in case the character is unconscious or suffering from extreme trauma -- that way medtechs can easily detect implants and check them out. For example, you'd certainly want a medtech to know you have an internal air tank before they take a bone saw to your ribcage, so expect that implant to have a wireless link. Dermal plating, however, doesn't do much but sit there and make you tougher, and it's fairly obvious anyway, so it wouldn't be Someone who is extremely paranoid may insist on having any wireless links to their implants removed or turned off, but this will make care and maintenance more difficult, so the GM should apply appropriate consequences. Some implants may not need a complete wireless link -- built-in sensor RFID tags can monitor the implant and report any problems. The GM determines what implants/devices are computerized.
2) The cyberware/device must be on. Duh.
3) The hacker must be within range. Some external implants (like a cyberlimb) may only have a wired (not wireless) connection, meaning the hacker must physically jack in to access the device. Most other implants will be wireless, but the Signal is likely to be 0, since there's no need to broadcast diagnostics any further. Even something like a smartlink won't have a large Signal rating, since you're unlikely to be holding your gun more than a meter away. That means the hacker must be within 3 meters to access the cyberware/device. Alternately, the hacker must be able to access another device the cyberware/device is linked to -- such as the character's commlink for example -- and then hack that device first. The GM determines the implant's Signal rating.
Assuming all of these criteria are met, the cyberware can be hacked or spoofed, following normal hacking rules. Device ratings for standard types of cyberware are given on p. 214, SR4.
Once hacked, an implant can be manipulated within the limits of its programming and functionality. To a large degree, this is up to the hacker's ingenuity and the gamemaster's leeway. You could hack a set of cybereyes, for example, and make the target blind, make him see things (you would need these images), or download incriminating evidence onto the cybereyes' memory. "Erasing" things from their vision would be much harder if not impossible, as the hacker would have to be damn (unrealistically) quick with the editing software.
How can a character protect his cyberware from hacking?
1.) Turn off or remove any wireless links (not always an option).
2.) Use a direct physical connection rather than wireless (externally-accessible implants only).
3.) Keep the Signal low so a hacker would have to be within close range.
4.) Use a good Firewall program.
5.) Use a good Encryption program.
6.) Stay in hidden mode.
What does subscribing/slaving a device mean, in terms of access/hacking? If a device is subscribed to someone else's commlink, can you hack/spoof that device directly, or do you need to hack the commlink first? If a group of devices were subscribed in a daisy-chain together, could you hack the last device directly, or would you need to hack them all in successive order?
The act of subscribing is merely the act of creating and maintaining a connection between two nodes. Subscribing does not automatically grant access to a node (unless it happens to be a public all-access node) -- that is the purview of accounts. Subscribing is essentially the "handshake" that occurs between two nodes, a protocol check and very basic form of authentication so that each node knows it's connecting with the right other node.
Slaving isn't really covered in the basic rules (you'll see more about this in Unwired), but it essentially counts as instructing one node to only communicate and take orders from another node (or nodes). The instruction to slave a node can only come from someone with admin privileges.
In the basic rules, subscribing and slaving have no effect on hacking or spoofing commands. The act of hacking and/or spoofing is presumed to incorporate an impersonation of a legitimate connection (that's why you need a successful Matrix Perception Test before you can spoof a command). You will likely see an advanced/optional rule in Unwired that makes hacking/spoofing a slaved node trickier.
This means that even if multiple nodes are daisy-chained together, each subscribed or slaved to the next, you don't need to hack/spoof them all in order to hack/spoof the last one -- you can go straight to the last node and attempt to hack/spoof it.
Note that if a node that has other nodes slaved to it (we'll call this the master node) is hacked, then the hacker has open access to the slaved nodes as well (i.e., he does not need to hack them).
Is Spoof only usable against agents or drones, or can you use it to fake commands to other devices? Can I change a node's system settings (accounts, subscription lists, etc.) by inserting false traffic to that node (i.e., using Spoof)?
Spoof can be used to issue falsified commands to any node. Spoofed commands will seem to come from the authorized user you are spoofing, and so will be treated as having the same access privileges (personal, security, or admin) as that impersonated user. It is up to the gamemaster to decide what commands are legitimate for which access privileges. For example, spoofing a command to an oven to start cooking the turkey is something anyone accessing the oven is likely allowed to do. If you are spoofing commands to a drone, pretending to be the controlling rigger, you could certainly instruct the drone to log that rigger off or slave that drone to your commlink instead (since the controlling rigger would have privileges to do that). To add, alter, or delete an account, you would almost certainly to spoof a command from someone with admin privileges.
If the gamemaster wishes, he can make spoofing commands from a user with security or admin privileges more difficult, just as hacking and obtaining those privileges is. In this case apply a dice pool modifier to the hacker for the Opposed Test equal to -3 for security privileges or -6 for admin privileges.
Can System or Firewall be encrypted?
As programs, they may be encrypted when stored. They may not be encrypted while they are running.
Does a reduction in Response from running more programs then the System rating also result in a reduction in System? What happens if Response is reduced to 0?
No, otherwise it's a cascading reduction (lower System lowers the amount of programs, which lowers your Response again, and so on). The overload from running too many programs only affects your Response.
If Response reaches 0, your system is overloaded, and slows to a snail's crawl. Think Windows 98.
Does the maximum program rating limited by the System rating apply to Firewall? Can you have a node with a Firewall rating higher than System rating?
That limitation only applies to regular software (common use and hacking programs), not the Firewall.
Are programs optional? It says to use Computer or Hacking skill + Logic when "interacting with a device," but to use Computer or Hacking skill + program rating when using a program. So can I just use Logic, or is computer use/hacking impossible without programs?
In most circumstances, you will be using Computer/Hacking + program rating. In cases where a program would apply, but isn't available, the character must default.
Logic is used when you are utilizing a device within its standard parameters (Computer) or trying to bypass those parameters through the device's own OS (Hacking). For example, let's say your character finds an unfamiliar electronic device in a research lab. Computer + Logic would be used to identify the device, figure out what it is, and figure out how to turn it on. Let's say that device happened to be a new holo projector prototype. Computer + Logic would also be used to determine what features it has and how to use them. If the character wanted to bypass the controls that prevent the projector from playing pirated movies, porn, or media feeds from unapproved Matrix nodes, he would use Hacking + Logic. If he wanted to take it apart and see how it worked, he would use Hardware + Logic. If he wanted to edit a holo media file, analyze the device's Firewall, or search its usage log, he would use a program (Edit, Analyze, and Browse, respectively).
When using Edit to manipulate data in real time (video feeds, etc.) are there any guidelines for what the program is and isn't capable of?
The more complex the edit, the higher the difficulty threshold, as determined by the gamemaster.
When exactly is the Data Bomb program considered to be running?
This is determined when the Data Bomb is set. Some corporations may have Data Bombs set to become deactivated during "office hours." Data Bombs could always be active, or may only become active if the system is on alert, or if certain programs or IC are triggered.
Isn't encryption in SR4 too weak? Even the strongest encryption doesn't take a hacker with a decent Decrypt program very long to break.
The problem with encryption is that the way encryption works in real life (where it can be near unbreakable) doesn't mesh well with RPGs -- it's no fun when the bad guys have uncrackable codes and the hacker can't get the intel he needs, right? Even if a hacker had the right tools, it could take days or even months to crack a single code. Encryption and decryption can actually be a complicated matter -- especially if you want to talk public key or quantum cryptography, layered encryption, or ways of undermining encryption like keylogging, trojans, man-in-the-middle attacks, and so on. Rather than including an entire chapter on encryption in the main book, however, we opted to keep it simple and for now simply have encryption be something that slows hackers down (using the pretense that 2070s encryption doesn't hold a candle to 2070s cracking techniques). In the upcoming Unwired book you will see a more in-depth exploration of encryption and decryption options. In the meantime, gamemasters that want to make encryption more difficult can simply adjust the interval from 1 Combat Turn to 1 minute or even 1 hour.
Do all the programs loaded into an agent affect the Response of your commlink if the commlink is running the agent?
Only if the agent is using those programs at the same time as the hacker.
Can agents load and unload new programs by themselves?
Yes, if their orders call for it. The programs must be available for them online.
Can agents load agents and thus spawn overwhelming hordes of agents?
No, agents can only load standard programs (as listed under Common Use Programs and Hacking Programs). They cannot load specialized programs such as other agents or IC. (The GM may allow them to carry inactive agent programs, if he chooses.)
Does an agent loaded into a node and running independently count as a program running on that node for purposes of Response reduction?
Do all the programs loaded into an agent affect the Response of your commlink if the commlink is running the agent?
Only if the agent is using those programs.
Do "flavor" programs like Wallspace, Virtual Person, etc. affect Response?
No. Programs that aren't given a rating take up no appreciable space and little to no memory to operate, and thus do not impact your Response rating.
Is it possible to insert a Pilot as the OS of a commlink and/or device?
No, Pilots are a specialized type of OS designed to semi-autonomously control a specific device. The Pilot for a rotordrone, for example, is not going to have any clue how to operate a car or a toaster oven -- it's simply not programmed for those capabilities and features. (At the gamemaster's discretion, a Pilot may be used as an OS, but the more dissimilar the device is from the Pilot's intended purpose, the more inefficient or incapable it will be -- reduce ratings and/or apply dice pool modifiers as appropriate.)
How many "pre-set" commands can I give to a Pilot?
There's no limit per se, but the Pilot is more likely to misunderstand or fail to understand a long sequence of commands or any commands that are overtly complicated (see Issuing Commands, p. 214). A long-sequence of commands is also more likely to fail as events do not play out according to plan. The GM can call for a Software + Logic Test to determine how well pre-set commands are issued, with every 2 hits giving an extra die for the Pilot's test to comprehend the orders.
Could I limit what kinds of orders a Pilot is allowed to receive, what language they have to be in for example?
You can tell a Pilot to ignore certain commands or to only follow pre-specified commands, but this is only going to be a protection from spoofing attacks, and it will, of course, prevent you from using your own agent/drone in certain ways. If the agent/drone is hacked, however, any commands coming from admin privileges will be acknowledged. Language is unlikely to be a barrier, since a spoofing program would detect the language being used anyway, and most OS's and Pilots are equipped to handle communication via common languages.
Can a Pilot doublecheck orders from a controlling persona to prevent spoofing?
Yes, but this is a horribly inefficient way to do things, as the agent/drone in question will not act until it receives verification. This means that the drone needs to take an action to ask for order verification, and the controlling persona needs to take an action to confirm the orders, which means losing at least 1 Initiative Pass every time you issue orders. Note also that the verification request could be intercepted, and the verification also spoofed.
Does the admin account have any restrictions?
Only within the limitations of the device, and possibly by other restrictions that are hard-coded in, as determined by the gamemaster.
A node on alert gains a Firewall bonus against the intruder who triggered the alert. However, under both types of breaking-in scenarios (Hacking on the Fly, Probing the Target), it is possible to trigger an alert and fail your break-in attempt at the same time. Can a node identify a specific intruder even when they fail to break in? In other words, if an intruder attempts to break in, fails and triggers an alert, does the Firewall get the alert bonus if they try a second time to break in?
Yes, unless they change their access ID (either by logging in from a different node or spoofing their datatrail).
Once you've hacked into a system, is there any way an alarm can be triggered other than by rolling a glitch?
Under normal circumstances, once you're past the firewall, you are safe from triggering an alarm. You can still be identified as an intruder, however, if a security decker or IC agent successfully analyzes you. In that case, they will most likely trigger an alert. At the GM's discretion, some highly-secure systems may run automatic periodic Analyze scans of all users to verify their identities. Likewise, if an intruder takes actions that his account privileges don't allow for, the node is likely to run an Analyze program against him, or send IC or a sec hacker to check him out.
How does patrolling IC work? How does it identify intruders?
Gamemasters should treat patrolling IC exactly as they would a physical guard patrolling a secure facility -- in other words, the IC is probably keeping a watch on sensitive areas (secret files, surveillance cameras, etc) and randomly patrolling (have them appear as best suits the story/tension). To determine if the IC detects an intruder, roll its rating + Analyze against the hacker's Hacking + Stealth. The IC may also hide itself, using a Stealth program, so it may be sneaky enough to Analyze the hacker and Track him back before the hacker realizes.
When you trigger an alert, will security automatically spot you, or do IC and security hackers still need to succeed in an Opposed Matrix Perception Test?
If the system is set to launch an IC program (or programs) immediately upon detecting an intruder, then that launched IC will automatically be aware of the intruder's presence. Any patrolling IC or security hackers, however, will need to spot the intruder as normal. At the gamemaster's discretion, alerted IC or security hackers may receive a +4 dice pool bonus to spot intruders (same as the +4 Firewall bonus that active alerts provide), as the system feeds them information on the intruder.
When an agent/sprite/hacker hacks into a node, do they obtain a passcode for that node? Can they give that passcode to others to log in or use it to log in later without having to hack in again?
This is up to the gamemaster, based on the node and situation in question. As a general rule, we recommend that if a node was hacked on the fly, then no actual account passcode was obtained -- to access the node again, it will need to be hacked again. If the system was probed for weaknesses first, then a passcode was obtained or some sort of backdoor into the system was established -- either may be used to repeatedly access the system without hacking, at least until the vulnerability is discovered.
Can spirits and critters (i.e. dragons) use AR or VR?
Most Matrix technology -- especially simsense -- is designed for the metahuman nervous system, and so will not work on spirits or critters that lack such a system. Matrix accessories that allow interaction with AR and are not neuro-interactive -- such as AR gloves, goggles, feedback clothing, etc -- may be used by spirits and critters, assuming they understand how it works. VR, however, is usually out of the question, as it requires simsense. Numerous rumors circulate that some megacorporations have developed Matrix technology for use with non-metahuman nervous systems, but none have been substantiated.
Why did you get rid of deckers?
William Gibson hates Shadowrun we eliminated cyberdecks when we upgraded the Matrix and without cyberdecks it's odd to call them deckers. Plus, it was a dated term.
Do technomancers still need a commlink for everyday stuff?
Technomancers will probably find a need for a commlink, as they have no natural, internal data storage. At the very least, commlinks are handy for ID and credit information.
Do technomancers need contact lenses or cybereyes to use smartlinked guns?
Yes, technically -- technomancers still need a smartlink implant or smartlink-equipped visual accessory to utilize a smartgun. While the technomancer's living persona can handle the visual part of the smartlink system, the technomancer needs the part of the smartlink that handles the ballistics computations.
In theory, a technomancer could create a complex form, access a smartlink program on a commlink, or find some other way of handling that computation in real time (routing it through an online smartlink ballistics processor on some website somewhere, for example), in which case the smartlink accessory would be unnecessary. We leave it to individual gamemasters over whether or not to allow that in their games.
How do technomancers perceive AR and VR? Inner eye? Intuition? Like Neo in the Matrix movies? Is it always on?
Technomancers see AR exactly as everyone else does -- as additional info overlaid on top of their real world senses. They experience VR the same as any other Matrix user -- as fully immersed in a virtual world. The AR overlay is "always on," but they can filter it out so that it doesn't distract them from perceiving the real world as well (though most technomancers enjoy the constant buzz of online info),
Do a technomancer's System (i.e. Logic) and Response (i.e. Intuition, +1 in full VR) limit each other and his complex forms like a commlink's System and Response do?
No, it's all brain-based for technomancers.
Can a technomancer's natural abilities be jammed like any wireless device? If so, can they touch a device to access it if they are jammed, as if they had a commlink with a skinlink? If not, can they equip themselves with something that allows this?
Yes, their natural wireless ability can be jammed -- and they probably don't like it very much. Technomancers do not have a natural "skinlink," so to access a device physically they would need some way of plugging into it (either by wirelessly accessing another device plugged into the target device or by using a datajack or trode net).
Can complex forms be crashed, just like any other program?
Can a technomancer boost a normal program (i.e. one that he or an ally has running on a commlink) with threading?
No, only complex forms can be threaded.
Does threading require an action? Does the -2 modifier from sustaining a threading affect all actions, including use of that complex form?
The act of threading itself requires no action -- but the complex form being threaded does. Threaded complex forms must also be sustained, as noted. The -2 modifier for sustaining does not apply to use of that threaded complex form, but it does apply to all other actions the technomancer makes.
Can Physical damage from Fading be healed by magic?
No. Damage from Fading must be healed by regular mundane medical care and/or rest.
Does a sprite need to be in the same node as the technomancer to aid him with tasks such as Assist Operation, Sustain Complex Form, or Aid Study?
A hot sim VR user gets +2 to all Matrix actions (p. 229, SR4). Does that mean a rigger using hot sim VR gets that bonus to tests for controlling a vehicle, piloting, gunnery, etc? Is this bonus cumulative with the +2 bonus for using a control rig?
Do you need the Command program to control drones (or agents)?
Not necessarily. You can issue a command to the agent/drone for its Pilot to interpret and follow, or you can simply "jump into" the drone and control it directly. But if you want to control a drone directly without jumping in (i.e., via AR), you need the Command program.
Can one use an Edit program to edit the wireless signal between a rigger and his drones to input completely different commands?
No. Spoof handles this (see p. 224, SR4).
After hacking a drone, does the hacker need to subscribe the drone to his commlink before he issues commands or "jumps in"?
No, that's considered part of hacking in.
Does a rigger who has jumped-into a drone use his own Agility for Gunnery Tests?
No. Since the rigger is viewing the action through the drone's sensors, he must use sensor targeting (see p. 162, SR4), so the rigger will roll Gunnery + Sensor for attack tests.
The errata notes that jumped-in riggers use their own skills plus the drone's Matrix/vehicle attributes. What Matrix/vehicle attributes apply to attacking, defending, damage resistance, and so on?
Here's an easy reference table:
|Jumped-in Rigger Test:||Dice Pool Used:|
|Perception||Perception + Sensor|
|Attack||Gunnery + Sensor|
|Full Defense||Dodge + Response|
|Damage Resistance||Body + Armor|
|Infiltration||Infiltration + Response|
|Maneuvering||Vehicle skill + Response|
Can vehicles/drones perform jamming with their Electronic Warfare autosoft alone or do they need some kind of hardware?
No, you need a jammer.
Do all drones come equipped with an average Device rating of 3 (as per the Sample Devices table on p. 214, SR4) or does the Steel Lynx (for example) classify as a "security vehicle" and have a Device rating of 4?
Any drone that comes equipped with weapon mounts should be considered a security vehicle, and given a Device rating of 4. These built-in Device ratings are meant to serve as a guideline, however, so the gamemaster should feel free to modify them as appropriate. Likewise, a drone's Firewall, Response, Signal, and System ratings may be individually be modified, improved (or reduced) at the discretion of the gamemaster or the character that owns the device.
Do the Doberman and the Steel Lynx come equipped with a weapon?
This is up to the gamemaster. If it does, the price and availability should be modified to account for the weapon.
Do drones need to remain within Signal range of their rigger, or can they be remotely rigged via wireless Matrix coverage?
They can be controlled via the Matrix as well.
Do drones (and rigged vehicles) come with any sort of sensors (e.g., cameras, microphones)? If they do, what are they?
Yes, as you'll see on p. 342, SR4, each of them has a Sensor attribute. If you want to determine what specific sensors a drone has, see the Sensor packages table on p. 325, SR4. You can use the capacity for the vehicle's sensor package to determine what kind of sensor gear it has.
The book seems to indicate you can buy different grades of bioware just like you would cyberware. Can you buy alpha (or beta- or delta-) grade bioware (cultured or standard)?
Yes, you can.
Are bone lacing cyberware and bone density bioware compatible?
No. A character can have both, but only the highest bonus would apply.
Are reaction enhancers compatible with wired reflexes?
No. A character can have both, but only the bonus from one or the other would apply.
If I install an implant inside a cyberlimb, using up the Capacity of this limb rather than Essence, does the grade of the implant reduce the Capacity cost as it would reduce the Essence cost?
While it makes sense that higher-grade cyberware would take up less space, our answer is no. That's because accessories to an implant must be of the same grade as the implant (the cyberlimb). Since higher-grade cyberlimbs are more compact and efficient in design, however, they have less excess space to fill up. So while the space the accessory takes up shrinks, the space available in the limb also shrinks.
As always, gamemasters can change this if they want. It's not going to be a game breaker to stick a little more gear inside a cyberlimb.
Can you create full-body cyborgs in Shadowrun? What if a character has 2 cyberlegs, 2 cyberarms, a cyberskull, and a cybertorso? Does the character retain his original Physical attributes, or do they all drop to 3? Can such a character receive bioware augmentation?
Full-cyber-body characters aren't really encouraged in Shadowrun -- the Essence costs alone are extremely limiting -- but we will have rules for cyborgs in the upcoming Augmentation book. If a character did replace all of his limbs, then yes, his Physical attributes would be 3 (assuming the cyberlimbs are not augmented), since you use the average of the limbs' attributes. Such a character could only have bioware that replaces/augments any of his remaining physical organs -- bone density bioware, for example, couldn't be taken since the character's skeletal structure has been entirely replaced by cyberware (including ribs and skull with the cybertorso and cyberskull). As always, the GM should use common sense.
Can you still play metavariants, changelings, ghouls, shapeshifters, and drakes in SR4?
Yes, but the rules for these will appear in the upcoming Runner's Companion book. Until then, you'll have to wing it.
Can a character with the Exceptional Attribute quality buy an attribute up to 7 (or their maximum + 1) at character creation? If so, does he pay 25 BP each for both the 6th and 7th points, or just 10 BP for the 6th and 25 BP for the 7th?
Yes, as long as the GM allows it. Only the final, maximum point costs 25 BP, so in this case that would only be the 7th point.
Is the -2 dice pool modifier for getting hit by Electricity damage (see p. 154, SR4) cumulative if you are hit by multiple electricity attacks?
No, but the duration it lasts would be extended.
What attribute do critters use for Drain since they don't possess a tradition?
All critters default to Intuition when resisting Drain from power or spell use.
Not all critter powers require a Success Test or an Opposed Test, so how do you determine their effect against nonliving objects like drones? For example, does the Movement power only affect living beings, or does it also affect vehicles?
To determine if a critter power that doesn't normally call for a Success Test or Opposed Test affects a nonliving object, have the critter make a Magic x 2 (Object Resistance) Success Test. If the critter does not score enough hits to beat the Object Resistance threshold, then the object is unaffected.
Can simrigs use hot sim?
Simrigs include a sim module, so they can run in hot sim as long as they have been modified for hot sim.
Is it possible to modify a sim module to disable the emotive tracks of simsense, or is feeding your AR/VR through the various link implants (image link, sound link, touch link) the only way to avoid simsense-induced emotion?
In most cases, you can turn off any of the tracks in a sim module if you like -- sight, hearing, emotive, etc. BTLs, however, have an override that prevents the individual tracks from being turned off.
Why are there no weights listed for gear?
Because while encumbrance is a factor that a gamemaster occasionally has to take into consideration once in a while (usually only when a character is really overloaded), it seemed to be an exercise in unnecessary bookkeeping to force players and gamemasters to keep track of every item's weight (not to mention a hassle to invent and track the "canon" weights for every minor item). It's much, much easier for a gamemaster to simply benchmark the weight of a given load or set of objects as necessary, or simply look up some weights online if needed. There's no need to make players itemize weights for all of their gear -- it's boring, time-consuming, and distracts from the game.
This FAQ is maintained by Rob Boyle, the Shadowrun Line Developer. If you have suggested additions or changes, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Bull, Elissa Carey, Claw, Adam Jury, Robyn King-Nitschke, Christian Lonsing, Michelle Lyons, David Lyons, Jon Szeto, and Peter Taylor for feedback, answers, and assistance. Thanks also to all of our fans and freelancers who send in questions, comments, and errata.