Shadowrun: Rigger 4
Developer: Catalyst Game Labs
Page Count: 18
Release Date: 04/01/2013
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com
For the past few years, Catalyst Game Labs has treated Shadowrun fans to a free comedic PDF on April Fool’s Day. Last year it was the hilarious Street Legends: Home Edition which was not only a blast to read, but could actually be used in your game if you had the desire to. This year we have Rigger 4. I know there are some ardent Rigger fans out there who are more than a little displeased with how nerfed that character type is in 4e/20AE and may take this PDF as a bit of trolling towards them, but it’s definitely meant to be stupid lighthearted silliness. Besides, with Fifth Edition fast approaching, those who take umbrage with Fourth Edition may yet have reason to cheer anew.
So let’s talk Rigger 4. If the cover art of an Amish Troll driving a horse pulled scooter-carriage thingie doesn’t let you know you’re in for a light hearted look at Riggers, then man, I don’t know what to tell you. The introduction by Jason Hardy (line manager of Shadowrun was equally humourous and from there, the PDF gives sixteen pages of incredibly weird crap that can technically be used by your characters in Shadowrun, but will more than likely get them laughed at or killed (hey, why not both?) for using them. Still, if you’ve ever wanted stats for things like a Hoverboard straight out of Back to the Future, you’ve got them here. Hell, there are even hover SKATES! The JackPoint commentary is exceptionally snarky this time around and there’s even some non-vehicles stuff for your riggers to play with if you are so inclined.
Nothing is really safe from mockery here. The steampunk craze of the past few years is skewered. Both BattleTech (another CGL RPG line) and what seems like a subtle soft jab to the long running Ares Excalibur storyline that was pushed over the last year or two are mocked together in one fell swoop. I guess you could add Games Workshop’s seminal line in there as well considering the name of the mech. I would love to see one of these get used in an actual game just to see what happens. I’m half tempted to do it myself and then hand whatever player tries to use it my Steel Battalion controller and say, “Go to it, kid.” I can’t be the only one expecting to see this mech in an actual game considering three pages and change are devoted to it in the PDF. Even the old CRAAAAAZY used car salesman of the 1980s is parodied here. I say 1980s because I haven’t seen those style of commercials since then. They seem to have been replaced by CRAAAAAAZY infomercial guys like Ron Popeil after an 8-Ball.
Not everything in the PDF hits the mark. Like the Knight Errant mobile command center slash doughnut (or donut if you’re American) shop didn’t do it for me, nor did the “Cruller” or D-CAF variants. It’s one thing to have a bad joke. It’s one thing to keep running it into the ground. That said, the only cop jokes I tend to find funny are those in Super Troopers, which is a hilarious movie you should watch and or own. The Nadeshiko sexbot is a bit weird too, but like the Hoverboard is actually I could see being hawked in the 2070s. At the same time I could see many a Rigger using them as decoys or cannon fodder for Tomb of Horrors type situations. There are also a few jokes that may go over the heads of much younger gamers like the SK-99 Luftballon, but hey, the current version of Shadowrun does seem to skew to the much older tabletop gamer.
When all is said and done though, this is a free PDF that CGL has put out as a labour of love (or possible stress reliever) to the many fans of Shadowrun across the globe. I think I liked Street Legends: Home Edition a bit more simply because I found the whole thing funny, but this is well worth picking up if you’re a fan of Fourth Edition Shadowrun in the slightest. Unless you don’t like laughing. Or the fun you have from Shadowrun consists mainly of talking trash about it on message boards. So yeah, free Shadowrun PDF people. How can you pass that up? Especially when the often getting too gloomy for its own good Sixth World isn’t taken itself so seriously here.