Shadowrun Runner’s Toolkit Packs Critical GMing Tools

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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Image courtesy Catalyst Game Labs

I recently bought the Shadowrun Runner’s Toolkit box set by Catalyst Game Labs. I had heard that there was a kickass GM’s screen and since I run an SR game, I wanted to check it out.

Before even opening up the box I was faced with one test: The suggested retail price is $39.99. It was hard for me to imagine that I’d get $40 worth of value (or even $26 from Amazon) but I was ready to be convinced. Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard.

Let’s start with the GM’s screen. Aw, yeah, it was everything I hoped it would be, four hinged cardboard panels with charts on the inside — absolutely critical, because we’re always stopping gameplay to look up rules — and a beautiful futuristic cityscape on the other side. You can see the artwork above.

Next, there’s (IMHO) the single most important pamphlet a Shadowrun player or gamemaster can read: It’s “Anatomy of a Shadowrun,” which guides the reader through an actual adventure with everything explained along the way. Shadowrun is an extremely complex game — I’ve been playing it monthly for a couple-three years now and I still mess up the rules more than I’d like. To have a demonstration of the rules really helps educate readers about the rules.

The next thing I appreciated was the 48-page booklet featuring every single table from every book. I suggest you hand this off to a player to manage during a game, and yell at him or her to look up the relevant chart while you focus on gamemastering. The game requires a lot of lookups and having a dedicated table-looker-upper makes things go much more quickly!

The rest of the stuff is great, but excited me less. There are maps, quick reference cards, a pack of NPCs, and a basic adventure; it was padding on an already great product. Anyone who is serious about running a Shadowrun game needs this set.

Note that the Toolkit seems to be out of stock in Catalyst’s store, but you can buy the PDF version — however, I don’t recommend this because the GM’s screen is so vital to the product’s value.

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