Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: Shadowrun Fifth Edition Errata

Shadowrun, Fifth Edition Core Rulebook Errata
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
Cost: FREE
Page Count: 4
Release Date: 2/8/2014
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

Look, no one likes errata. NO ONE. No one likes know they paid fifty or sixty dollars for a core rulebook only to find out there are a multitude of errors that got past the authors and editors. By the time an errata comes out, rule lawyers have already found ways to exploit the errors. However, it’s the nature of the beast. Video games come out with bugs and need patches (at least in this day and age) and gaming books needing errata is something that has been around since the early days of the genre. I mean, we just now got a version of Unearthered Arcana for first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons with the errata included LAST YEAR. Of course, books can’t be patched. You can print off an errata sheet and stick it in your book, but that can be easily lost or damaged, leaving you, once again, with a messed up set of rules. This is the main reason 95% of the tabletop products I pick up these days are digital. Publishers can easily edit a PDF and send it out to the purchasers for little to no cost. Trying to tracking down all the purchasers of a physical copy and mail them a few pages of fixed up rules? Well, I don’t even want to imagine the time and cost that would entail.

It’s no surprise that Shadowrun Fifth Edition required a rules errata sheet. As I’ve said, it’s something we’ve come to expect with core rulebooks. It’s also not a surprise that Catalyst Game Labs have made the errata available on their site and on DriveThruRPG.com for free. It’s also good to see that, according to Shadowrun‘s Facebook page, “The PDF will be updated in the near future, and future printings will incorporate the errata.” Great for people smart enough not to purchase first printings or the PDF… bad for those that were the most gung ho supporters and plunked down a lot of cash for a dead tree version of 5e, no?

There are four pages to the errata, with a total of 38 categories getting corrections. Most of these are simple tweaks, such as mentioning playtesters left out of the credits or noting that the thermographic vision power was left off the dwarves’ racial bonuses. Some negatively affect characters, like Trolls having to pay double for equipment rather than 50% more, and some are positive, like Combat Sense being changed from an Active power to a Passive one. Some are just plain weird, like TEN sample characters needing their stats corrected, as you would think character design would be the easiest thing to get right. Some are slightly complicated. The Mystic Adept especially had to be tweaked because Power Points now cost 5 Karma per point instead of 2 Karma per Point. OUCH. The good news is that, while some of these changes may cause consternation because of how they change the game, a lot of them are pretty fairly self obvious and are changes you have probably already made to the game yourself because you caught the original error. Case in point, in the original book, Intimidation tests were listed as “Intimidation + Willpower[Social].” That has now been changed to Charisma + Willpower, which makes sense and it a pretty apparent oops by the writers. So on and so forth.

So, if you have a physical copy of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, you’re going to want to head on over to Shadowruntabletop.com or DriveThruRPG.com and download one of these errata sheets. It’s free and will help you out. If you have a digital copy or haven’t bit the bullet on 5e yet, there’s no need to download this, as the PDF will be corrected, and if you still want a physical copy, wait a few months and then when you go to get one, check to see what printing it is. If it’s an older model, put it back. Like Cyberware or an Ares Excalibur.

Just remember, having to have an errata sheet, much less four pages of errata, is something NO gamer likes to see, but at least CGL did one and made it publicly available for free. I’ve seen some companies that don’t even bother with errata. Just remember, it is just a game, and that while a few of these changes will drastically affect your character (hopefully you didn’t make a Troll Mystic Adept), most are common sense and feel right in the end. Still, sucks to be an early adopter, doesn’t it?

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