Here are my rules adapting Legend of the Five Rings to run Shadowrun. It made combat fast and deadly, but magic wasn't numinous, so I moved on.
This version is current as of Nov 17, 1997.
I want to send out my thoughts so far and get feedback and
comments on Shadowring, my Shadowrun/Legend of the Five Rings
hybrid. My thanks to all the people who have made suggestions so far.
Shadowring mechanics are simple - you have traits (stats, attributes)
and skills. With trait X and skill Y you roll X+Y 10-sided dice and
keep the X highest dice (summing them), then compare that to a target
number, with 5 being easy and 40 being nearly impossible. You can
raise the target number by 5 in order to get a better result.
Unlike L5R, you can raise as many times as you like.
For example, shooting someone with a gun uses Agility+Firearms dice and
keeps the dice equal to Agility. The target number to hit someone is
typically 5 x their Reflex. If the target dodges, add +10 to the
target number to hit them. Cover adds +5 or +10, Range adds +5 to
+20. You can avoid light armor with 1 raise, medium armor (lined coats
and armored jackets) with 2 raises, heavy security armor with 3
raises. Medium armor imposes a +5 penalty on physical actions
(athletics, melee or stealth, but not firearms), heavy armor imposes a
Smart goggles & laser sights add one die to your firearms roll.
Smartgun links add a keep die, and if you split your attack, you get to
add the smartlink keep die to all the attacks, after the split.
Damage is expressed as NkM meaning roll N dice, keep M and add them.
10's roll and add again (except for initiative). You never roll more
than 10 dice. Unlike L5R, if you reroll a 10 and get another 10, you
do NOT open-end again, to avoid magic bullet syndrome.
Traits are 1-5, average 2, with starting characters having 1-3. Skills
start at 1-3. If you don't have a skill you can still attempt the roll
at a +10 target number. Skills are mostly the same as Shadowrun,
Magic (instead of Void in L5R)
Existing Shadowrun characters are converted as follows; character generation
rules for new characters are given below.
Stats convert by halving and rounding up, skills convert by halving and
rounding down. If you have an odd Intelligence in Shadowrun, divide
its points between Intelligence and Perception in Shadowring.
Strength -> Strength
Quickness -> Agility
Body -> Stamina
Charisma -> Awareness
Intelligence -> Intelligence, Perception
Will -> Will
Reaction -> Reflex
Magic -> Void
Initiative in Shadowring is Reflex + 1d10 (with no reroll on 10). You
get one action at that count, and another every 10 thereafter. Wiring
and boosted reflexes either add to Reflex, give you more dice (but you
still keep only the highest), or decrease the interval from 10, or some
combination of those.
A raise can be used to add one die (not a keep die) to the damage roll.
If you don't raise to avoid armor, armor subtracts its rating from each
damage die. Your wound threshold is equal to twice your Stamina; every
number of wounds equal to your wound threshold subtracts one die from
everything you do, up to either -4 dice or -Stamina dice (whichever
greater), the next thresholds after that are Down, Out and Dead,
although note that dead is a fuzzy area if you can reach a trauma
An example may be helpful. Mr. X and Mr. Y both have Agility 2, Reflex
2, Stamina 2, Firearms 1, and leather jackets (2/0 armor; 2 vs.
ballistic like bullets, 0 vs. impact). Mr. X shoots Mr. Y with an Ares
Predator heavy pistol, which does 4k2 damage. Mr. X rolls 2+1 dice and
sums the 2 highest dice, if he gets 10 or greater he rolls 4 dice and
sums the 2 highest, subtracting 2 from each die (for the jacket). If
Mr. Y takes 4 wounds (twice his stamina) he loses 1 die from everything
he does. At 16 wounds, he loses 4 dice. At 20 he's down, 24 he's out,
28 he's dead (call docwagon). Yes, there is a definite death spiral.
Combat is quite dangerous.
There's both stun and physical damage. Currently both are tracked
together, I'm interested in whether people think stun should use twice
the higher of stamina and will, or if we should use one track at twice
stamina, or one track at the sum of stamina and will, for damage.
Opinions are solicited.
Most weapon damages convert over directly from Shadowrun 1st edition.
4k2 for heavy pistols, 4k3 for submachine guns, 5k3 for assault rifles.
A fist does (str)k1 stun, a knife does (str+1)k1, swords do (str+2)k2.
Monowhip does 6k4 but loses a damage die for each hit. If you miss
your target with it, you must make a skill check vs. target 20 to avoid
You can split attacks; for example if you have 3+4 dice with firearms
you can split 7 dice into multiple attacks, keeping 3 dice for each
attack, e.g. 3+1 vs. one target and 3+0 vs. the other, or 3+2 vs. one
and 2+0 vs. the other. Smartgun links add their keep die AFTER the split.
Automatic fire may change, but at the moment each burst adds a damage
die (but not a keep die), and if you fire more bursts in one action
than your weapon has recoil comp for, each burst over the recoil comp
requires a raise (+5 Target number to hit).
This means that with a smartlinked SMG firing 2 bursts you can do 6k3
damage (plus anything for raises), averaging 27 points (nearly killing
the average person OR putting someone with stamina 3 at -4 dice OR
severely upsetting a troll).
The decking system is still being worked on, but will be abstracted
enough that PC deckers will be possible without boring the rest of the
players. Gretchen's done a pretty decent decking system that basically
breaks deckers into two flavors - data filtering (Neal Stephenson's
"Spew" is a good image of what my 2044 environment is like), and combat
decking, the latter being akin to a master of hounds or symphony
conductor unleashing programs much faster than himself, but doing
pattern matching and analysis to add an unpredictable element. It
matches up fairly nicely with conjuring and sorcery for magic.
Shadowring Character Generation
Characters get 20 points for stats, 20 points for skills and 36 points
to spend on stats, skills, or any of the following:
16 Magic 3
12 Magic 2
8 Magic 1
21 1 million nuyen (no spells)
15 250,000 nuyen, 25 points of spells
10 60,000 nuyen, 10 points of spells
6 15,000 nuyen, 5 points of spells
4 Elf or Goblin
3 4,000 nuyen, 2 points of spells
1 1,000 nuyen
3 6 max beginning stat or skill for humans
You get 2 contacts free, extra contacts cost 1 point or 5000 nuyen each.
Metahumans buy their stats before applying modifiers.
4 Elf +1 Awareness, can buy Agility or Reflex to 4
4 Goblin +1 Strength, +1 Stamina, -1 Awareness, can swap a point of
Intelligence for Stamina
8 Troll +2 Strength, +2 Stamina, -1 Awareness, -1 Intelligence;
can swap a point of Agility OR Willpower for Stamina;
dermal armor 1, +1 reach
Stats: Agility Intelligence Reflex Awareness Strength Perception Stamina Will
Awareness is the measure of how well you interact with others, similar to
Charisma in Shadowrun.
The 3d6x1000 starting nuyen should be considered as non-combat goods
with any left over being your credit limit if you have a SIN. Cash is
pretty fluid concept in 2046; most people have their net worth invested
somewhere and draw on lines of credit linked to the investments, and
swap around currencies, frequent flyer miles, free online hours, and a
hundred other soft currencies as needed when making a purchase, which
is all abstracted as "nuyen" for the same reason most games don't make
you specify how many nickels and dimes are in the PCs' pockets.
This is a first draft, so comments are welcome.
Characters should make up appropriate flavor text for their cyberware.
Characters can have up to 6 essence of cyberware. If the character
is a mage, subtract half the points of cyberware from her magic rating.
Essence Cost Description
1 20k +1 to a stat (2x cost for mental stats)
2 40k +2 to a stat (2x cost for mental stats)
Stat boosts and category 3 wiring costs +25% for Goblins and +50% for
Trolls, because of their allergies and because there's not as much done
for them (and because it takes a lot of vat muscle to pump up a troll!).
There are lots of different flavors of wiring, which you can mix and match.
Wiring can have 1 entry each from category A B and C but all categories
have to be within 1 rating of each other, i.e. if you take 3A then
you must take (2B or 3B), and (2C or 3C). You can leave off one or two
categories if no category is above 1.
Your base Initiative is equal to Reflex + d10. You can double the
essence and cost for the Initiative bonus to make it a bonus to Reflex
as well; if you do that you can't also buy up your reflex using stat
Currently unwired people are Interval 10 (if they roll an initiative of
12, they act on 12 and 2) but that may change based on playtesting.
Essence Cost Category Description
.5 10k 1A +1 Initiative
1 30k 2A +2 Initiative
2 90k 3A +3 Initiative
1 30k 1B +1 die to initiative (NOT a keep die)
2 90k 2B +2 dice
3 270k 3B +3 dice
.5 15k 1C Interval 6
1 90k 2C Interval 5
2 360k 3C Interval 4
2 55k Wiring 1; +1 Init, +1 die, Interval 6
3 165k Wiring 2; +2 Init, +1 die, Interval 5
5 480K Wiring 3; +2 Init, +2 dice, Interval 4
1 24k Boosted 1; +1 die, not upgradable
1.5 32k Boosted 2; +1 Init, +1 die, not upgradable
3 92k Boosted 3; +1 Init, +2 dice, Interval 6
You can apply the following modifiers to the cost (with GM approval).
Somme of these cannot be taken if any part of the wiring is category 3.
-5% one turn delay to trigger
-10% chemical trigger, several turns (no category 3)
+20% buffered strain (no category 3), can't be transplanted
-10% harsh strain
+20% Low Maintenaince (no category 3)
-10% High Maintenaince
-20% Not upgradable (no category 3), can't be transplanted
-.5 2x Soft option (no category 3) -- doubles cost after other mods
+1 -20% Hard option
You don't run wired reflexes fulltime. Most wiring comes with
instant-on, but some cheaper models require a one turn (3 second)
warmup, or a chemical trigger (usually an inhalant). Older models and
police SWAT models tend to have these limitations. When you turn the
wiring off, you roll to see how much effect it had on you. Make a
Stamina+Buffer roll vs. the number of turns you ran the wiring, and the
amount you miss by is taken as fatigue, and when you're out of fatigue,
physical body. Reputable Wire can be equipped with a governor to turn
it off before it hurts you too badly; that safety feature is often
disabled on streetware. You can buy multiple levels of buffering or
harshness. Each level of buffer adds a die (not a keep die), each
level of harsh adds +5 to the target number for strain check.
Cyberware with a total below 1 should get maintained once a year (its
software patched and updated, diagnostics run, etc.) but doesn't have
Cyberware with a total essence cost of 1 or more requires maintenaince
a number of times per year equal to its essence cost. The usual target
number for a maintenaince check is 10 (routine), and it costs annually
about 10% of the purchase price. (Street prices may be much more on high
end stuff, or possibly less on low end stuff.)
Low Maintenaince Cyberware is built ruggedly and has a target of 5, and
costs 5%/year. High Maint Cyberware is tricky stuff, with a target of
20, and costs 20%/year. Badly maintained cyberware is not a good idea.
Not upgradeable (like boosted reflexes) means you can't make it better or
replace it with other wiring or rigging.
Used Cyberware automatically moves up a step on strain and maintenaince.
I'm not sure I'll actually use soft/hard option, soft may be too good
a bargain. Soft cannot reduce essence cost to 0, and you can't take
either option more than once.
I'll do Vehicle Control Rigs in a future revision.
Mages get a sorcery pool with dice equal to their sorcery skill, which
refills each turn (not action). They can add those dice to
spellcasting, drain resistance, or spell defense. If used for spell
defense, it lasts for the entire turn.
To cast a spell, use N+M dice (meaning roll N+M d10 and sum the highest
N dice), where N is the mage's appropriate stat and M is the spell's
force (equivalent to half the force in Shadowrun terms).
Element Spelltype Stat used when casting
Fire Combat Intelligence
Air Detect Awareness
Water Illusion Perception
Earth Manipulation Willpower
Target number for combat spells is 5x the target's Will, target numbers
for other spells ranges from 10 for most, up to 25 for things like
detect spells vs. astral forms.
Add 1 die if the spell can only be cast with a re-usable fetish, 2 dice
for an expendable fetish. If casting the spell on someone whose magic
rating is higher than the number of dice they're using for spell
defense, add the difference in dice. The number of dice to be added
are called the mage's Vulnerability; add to the Vulnerability the
ratings of any foci the mage has active and the number of elementals
bound or sustaining or maintaining spells on the mage.
If you use an elemental to assist the spell, it adds dice equal to its
force (keep in mind that a force 6 elemental in Shadowrun is force 3 in
Each spell has a target number for drain (calculated from its Shadowrun
drain code in a manner I'll explain in a moment). You can raise a
spell's target number to make it more effective, but that also raises
the drain target number. You can raise a spell's target number to
reduce drain, which adds an extra die vs. drain.
The target number for drain is 5 x the number of successes that would
be required to stage it to no drain in Shadowrun. I.e. L1 spells are
drain target 5, M2 spells are 20, D3 spells are (gulp) 45. Roll your
Will+(dice from pool or from raising to reduce drain) vs. the target
number. The amount you miss the target number by is taken as stun
If the spell force was greater than your Magic trait (typically 3 for
most mages) you take physical drain, not stun.
Mages can also use their Magic trait like void in L5R, adding each die
of magic as a keep die to any one roll (even non-magic skills, if they
have a good justification for it). These recover at one per night of
restful sleep. Only one die can be added to a roll, unless the mage is
casting their dying curse, in which case they can use as many points as
they have left. Magic dice expended do not affect the Magic rating for
purposes of figuring out whether drain is physical or stun.
A mage can use an action to defend herself or others in her view vs.
magic, rolling her will (plus the spell rating if she knows the same
spell) plus any dice she chooses to use from her sorcery pool, vs.
5xForce of the spell being used on the target. Each raise covers an
additional target. This is a contested roll vs. the attacking mage's
spellcasting. If the defending mage wins, the spell is blocked, but
the attacking mage must still check for drain.
We're thinking of making mages buy each elemental like a seperate
spell, so they know the right rituals to summon and so forth. If we do
that, we'll give mages more spell points to buy things with.
There are no longer material costs for Elemental summoning. Instead,
now mages spend 2xforce hours to create a circle 2xforce meters in
diameter for a given element and force. You can make a hastier circle
but each hour less raises the conjuring and drain target by 5. The
actual conjuring takes 2xforce hours, at the end of which you roll
relevant trait+Conjuring vs. 5xforce. If you succeed you have summoned
and bound the elemental. You can raise to reduce the time by an hour,
and you can raise to give yourself an extra die on control rolls (up to
your conjuring skill). You can also raise to add a die to your drain
check. If you require expendable materials that adds a die to your
summoning (like having a higher conjuring skill).
Whether you succeed or fail, check for drain by rolling Awareness vs.
5 x Force of elemental, and take stun damage equal to the difference if
you miss the target number. If the elemental's force is higher than
your Awareness, the drain is physical, not stun.
Each elemental you summon and bind to you subtracts a die from your
conjuring, and instead of getting a fixed number of services when you
summon them, you bind them to you at summoning, and then use
Awareness+Conjuring (minus one die per elemental bound) vs. 5xForce to
ask them to do things for you. Each additional request requires a
raise (cumulative). You can request multiple services at once by
raising, but be careful not to confuse the elemental. You can keep
making requests but it gets harder and harder, and if you fail to
control them, their decision whether to depart or attack is based on
how hard you pushed them. :-) You can end any request with a command to
then depart peacefully, but if you don't, you'll need to use an
additional command to send them away later.
If you're unwise enough to sleep with elementals bound to you, you must
first give each a command to guard you until you awake.
Elementals have no concept of time, and aren't good at conditional
commands or negatively phrased commands ("don't do X"); it is very unwise
to rely on their judgement, and commands should be phrased clearly and
directly and according to their nature.
Elementals have twice their force in their own element, and their force
in the other rings. Manifested, fire elementals do fK4 damage (with f
as force), earth elementals do fK3, water elementals do fK2, air
elementals do fk1. They can add their force in dice to a spell or to
resisting drain, or sustain a spell for their force in minutes. All of
those only work for spells within their own element.
When you first summon an elemental, instead of binding it to your will
you can bind it to maintain a spell of their element for days equal to
its force, each raise adds a day. At the end of that time it departs;
no further commands are possible. Binding an elemental in this manner
still subtracts a die from your conjuring and adds a die to your
Vulnerability, but it does not check for release if you sleep or are
knocked out. It does check for release if you are killed.
Calling a bound elemental to you takes one action and you can instruct
it in the same action. If using it to assist a spell, you can cast the
spell and call the elemental in the same action by splitting dice.
How to figure drain for spells.
For listed spells, 5x number of successes required to stage to nothing, e.g.
drain target is 5 for L1, 10 for L2 or M1, 40 for D2.
For new spells, use these guidelines (taken from the Shadowrun Grimoire).
Drain is 5x number of keep dice, and do 1 die plus 1 die per raise.
E.g. Mana Bolt is 1K3 and drain 15.
L1 detect living things or magical energy
M1 analyze living
M1 detect non-living things
S1 analyze non-living things
L1 minor sensory enhancement (improves physical sense)
M1 major sensory enhancement
S1 radically new or enhanced physical sense
All health spells require touch. Physical drain from magic cannot be
healed with magic, usually.
L1 obvious single sense illusion
M1 realistic single sense illusion
M1 obvious full sensory illusion
S1 realistic full sensory illusion
L1 minor mental (heighten emotion, suggestion)
L2 major mental (amnesia, mind control)
M1 minor physical change (cosmetic)
M2 major physical change (attribute change, shape change)
S1 minor environmental change (light, darkness, humidity)
S2 major enviromental change (weather, destruction)
Base drain for damaging manipulations are the same as for combat spells.
+1 drain category turns a L2 into a M2, +1 staging turns L2 into L3.
Shadowrun has drain categories above D add to staging instead, but just
pretend there are categories above D instead. For example, a minor
environment spell (S1) with area (+1 drain) and drastic effects (+1
drain and staging) would be D3 in Shadowrun (drain target 60) but
should be considered (D+1)2 for our purposes, drain target 50.
+1 drain area (radius = 2x magic attribute in meters)
+1 drain increased area (10x area)
+1 drain ranged health spell
+1 drain drastic effects (lasting impact on environment or side effects)
-2 drain caster only (cannot also take "touch required" or "voluntary")
-1 drain limited target
-2 drain very limited target (single individual, or only vs. doors, etc)
-1 drain stun only combat spell
-1 drain touch required (cannot be taken for health spells)
-1 drain treats only symptoms (for health spell)
-1 drain voluntary subject required (cannot be taken for health spells)
+1 staging drastic effects
+1 staging physical spell (default is mana spell)
+1 staging healing spell that works after first hour
+1 staging harmful health spell
+2 staging permanent non-health spell