I am new to both Shadowrun and GM in general. I want to run a one-shot of Shadowrun with four players. In that aspect I was asked, how many dice should be needed for a basic run. Based on the examples from the SR4 Rulebook and the Quick Start Rules I guess that each player won't be needing any more than 10-15 dice. Can anyone confirm? Would an extended campaign with character development/modification raise that limit?

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    \$\begingroup\$ One question: are you asking how much they should have in their characters' dice pools, or how many dice they should physically bring with them? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2012 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question was targeting the physical aspect. Some people are extremely protective of THEIR dice and won't let other players use them... I guess the answer by Undreren gave me a nudge in the right direction. I think I will run a one-shot with them to see how the mechanics work and just see that I have enough dice to go around. After that we will see, how many dice each player is going need (roughly). \$\endgroup\$
    – froeschli
    Nov 29, 2012 at 7:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok. There are some "d6 boxes" that are really good for Shadowrun. On average, they will use around 10 dice at a time, with a maximum around 20 in some occasions. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 29, 2012 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


My suggestion is to actually discuss this with the players. If you all agree on some range of dice, you can tailor runs according to their abilities.

Shadowrun is a system that is incredibly easy to break. Discussing how powerful you and the players want the characters to be is almost mandatory. Otherwise you might end up with one who might do very little to optimize their characters, while others look for ways to get that one more die to their rolls, creating a massive powergap between players.

Seriously, after my first character, I could easily make melee adepts with 21-22 dice on attack rolls.

Find your preferred "power level". No one wants to be the underpowered sidekick.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 My basic troll character (bounty hunter) from the sample sheets and with some new armour and a shield ended up with around 20 soak dice for damage. Reminded me of tunnels and trolls! \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Nov 28, 2012 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ But Shadowrun makes it reasonably easy to punish min-maxers of that sort. You have 20 soak due to armour? No problem, here's a spell (or weapon, possibly) that ignores armour. 22 dice to attack? Fine, we'll imobolize you. Or hit you first, because you'll have 0 soak. The best way to survive Shadowrun is a balanced character. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ryno
    Nov 28, 2012 at 12:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ryno I do believe that everyone would be a lot happier, if things were discussed beforehand, instead of just punishing players arbitrarily. \$\endgroup\$
    – Undreren
    Nov 28, 2012 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Underen - Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that that was a better solution than discussion, or should be applied arbitrarily. It was just a comment on how to work around gaming the system in Shadowrun (which is far too easy to do, sometimes accidentally). What that does imply though, is that you can handle just about any team with balanced encounters (for that team) regardless of how they've built their characters. Unlike some other systems, which I have accidentally broken completely, by producing unbeatable (or unplayable) characters. (Edit: use of "Punish" was probably glib...) \$\endgroup\$
    – Ryno
    Nov 28, 2012 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rendering a player helpless might dangerous for the friendship between player and GM, if not handled properly. Use such options with caution. \$\endgroup\$
    – Undreren
    Nov 28, 2012 at 14:09

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