Introduction: Cannon Companion
by Mike Mulvihill
Cannon Companion is the advanced weapon and combat option sourcebook for the Shadowrun game system.
This book offers new weapons - everything from firearms to missiles - advanced melee combat rules, firearm design and customization rules and skillsoft options, and expands and updates many of the combat rules offered in previous Shadowrun material.
In addition to containing a significant percentage of new material, Cannon Companion is also a compilation of material originally published in various Shadowrun books now out of print or based on previous editions of the base Shadowrun rules. Information in the Street Samurai Catalog, Fields of Fire, Neo-Anarchist's Guide to Real Life, Corporate Security Handbook, Cyberpirates, Lone Star and Rigger 2 has been revised for use with Shadowrun, Third Edition. Any references in this book to the Shadowrun rules refer to the third edition, including the main rulebook, Shadowrun Companion.
Cannon Companion begins with the weapons found in the shadows, starting with Melee and Projectile and Throwing Weapons - including rules for using common items as weapons (everything from a dwarf to a chainsaw). Firearms compiles, updates, and revises all classifications of guns and offers new weapons. This section is followed by Heavy Weapons and Special Weaons, which includes cane guns and flamethrowers.
The Firearms Accessories chapter includes laser designators, gun cameras, improved recoil reducers and other toys to mount on your gun. Ammunition and explosives has been expanded to include grenades, mortars, mines and man-portable rockets and missles. New ammo types for every kind of gun triple the number of ammo options available to characters.
Armor and Gear expands on the protection a character can wear and the toys they can pack in the shadows. Augmented versions of armor clothing and new types of gel pack, hardened and even underwater armor are now available for the discerning shadowrunner-and in designer labels. This section also provides rules for customizing your armor to resist fire, cold and acid, and describes battlefield-tested gear such as tactical communication devices.
Applied Simsense offers options from skillsofts in nearly every format to BTLs, memory wipes and other psycho-logical programming methods. The Advanced Melee Combat supply additional combat options and a detailed martial arts system for Shadowun that combines the advantages/disadvantages system used for shamans with a stepped growth process mimicking the traditional "belt" system. This section also includes rules for converting your character and rules for creating a unique martial art.
Firearm Design and Customization allows players and gamemasters to create their own guns and modify existing firearms. The system also allows characters to integrate weapons into their games that fall outside the standard FASA classes of weapons and provides information on kits and shops to help boost Build and Repair skills. The chapter ends with rules for creating your own ammo and explosives.
The Advanced Combat Rules offer a more in-depth system for almost any combat situation-from underwater combat and indirect fire to missiles, parachuting and ambidexterity.
An Appendix includes a complete weapon range table, a complete listing of weapons and gear, and new character and weapon record sheets.Developer's Say
How does one say it without getting into trouble...
Well, here goes - Guns are cool... really freakin' cool. Now, don't get me wrong: killing people is bad. Repeat - BAD!
But seeing a gun in burst-fire mode spitting out casings (always in slow motion, of course) is sooooo cool. This book celebrates that coolness.
The hard part about doing a gun book for Shadowrun is that guns-like the combat system that uses them-are an abstract.
What do I mean by that?
Well, let's begin by looking at the 1999 Gun Digest (sitting quietly on my bookshelf next to a box of gun magazines … probably more than two hundred from the last three years). The Gun Digest lists more than one thousand legal-to-own guns. If you were to select an automatic handgun at random, you would see it lists ten variations which-except for a few copyright and trademark considerations-are exactly the same as the other guns on the same page. In fact, the page I'm looking at has about 60 automatic pistols. The differences are minor-cosmetic features, slight variations in weight, various options such as sights or an extended safety-and they all fire the same rounds.
In Shadowrun, this page full of options and variations boils down to one weapon … let's say the Ares Predator, for argument's sake. That's a sixty-to-one ratio of real life to Shadowrun! Sure, we could list page after page of versions of the Ares Predator-for example, the Ruger version and all its options (chrome, blue steel, rubber handle, wood handle and so on), and the Cavalier Arms version and its options (chrome, blue steel, rubber handle … ). You get my point.
It made more sense to create as many stock guns as possible within the available range of damage codes. Thus, the Shadowrun catalog consists of three categories of pistols, each with a range of weights and options.
So, how do we open things up a bit more? Well, that's where you come in. We have created a customization and design system for firearms. This system uses a template-based plug-in system that allows you to modify the Cavalier Arms heavy pistol, for example, to actually look and feel different from the Ares Predator, which has similar stats.
We leave it up to you to continue the tradition of making things cool in Shadowrun. We've given you the abstract master template-now you can fill in the blanks. So be creative. Make cool weapons that do cool things (especially in slow motion) and remember ... please remember, killing people is bad.