Based on the currently available information (such as what we see over at rpg.net, reddit, a googled review, a podcast, and a youtube interview), it seems that Shadowrun: Anarchy is aimed at the narrativist gamer instead of the one who just wants to run a traditional session with way less crunch than SR5 and the game's earlier editions have to offer.

Despite having read, or at least skimmed the above linked sources (and a few others), I still am rather unsure about the new game's ability to support an "oldschool" session, and function as a traditional, simulationist yet lite ruleset, able to dodge the main flaws of 5e without forcing a narrativist approach on a party.

So, the question is, primarily to those who 1. already have the Prototype, and 2. have given it a try in a traditional vein as well:

Does SR:A:Prototype actively support a non-narrativist approach as well?

Can the narrativist rules be cut off easily, or at least smoothed into a simulationist lite gameplay (if they aren't added as optional modules by default)?

(Note, please, that in the scope of this question by "simulationist lite" I mean something like what D&D 5e does.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's described as a "narrative" game but I haven't seen much in the links that really pins it as inherently "narrativist." Can you point more specifically to what gives you that impression? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Aug 22 '16 at 20:07

On August 28, Russell Zimmerman, one of the (freelance?) developers / writers working on SR:A has posted the following on [Shadowrun] a rules lite announcement?, an rpg.net forum dedicated to the game:

In the basic Cue system, there isn't even really a traditional GM (or DM, or ST, whatever various games call it). In SRA, we've tried to hit a middle ground between that narrative extreme and the more traditional RPG style, and last I heard we're making sure it works pretty okay either way, if push comes to shove. Cue fans can play it their way without much rules tweakage, and more traditional gamers can handwave away some of the more narrative-game stuff pretty easily and run a "rules light SR" just fine, I'd bet.

So, the answer to my own question at this moment seems to be a yes (which would make me happy, for one.)

Note, please, that I'm not about to accept my own answer... yet. I'll give anyone else with a more precise / even more authentic answer a few more days.


Now that SR:A is out and we've all had our chance to check it, I think my own final answer to my question would be:

No, not really. You can play it in a non-narrativist way, but Shadowrun: Anarchy isn't really there to help you. You'll have to house-rule a lot, discarding parts of the system, and mending the holes left behind with/by rules based on common sense and stuff you've seen elsewhere.

Should you feel curious, go ahead and read some reviews, for example here, on the game's drivethruRPG page.


Actually, Shadowrun: Anarchy rules have no mechanics supporting narration (think Fate, Cortex+, Lady Blackbird, Powered by the Apocalypse, etc.).

Tags, Dispositions, Cues, Gear and Contacts are statements on your character sheet that are meant to help you narrate your actions, but they have zero connection to actual rules.

For me that's a big disappointment, but for your question it's a yes. I think it's more targeted at players such as you than actual narrativists.


Yes. A traditional GM/player relationship is not only possible, but equally as valid in Anarchy as the narrative/pass-the-stick style. It is more of a simulationist/narrative hybrid than a simulationist-light.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi @Opti ! First of all, thank you for your answer. However, you should somehow authenticate it / yourself, if you're who I guess you are -- that is, one of the devs. (I'm not familiar with the current SR staff at all, sorry. We did have working contacts with FASA, but that was a zillion years ago. So I'm just guessing based on that youtube video.) Having no way to verify your identity, your answer will get (and has already been) downvoted, unfortunately, as likely unfounded... \$\endgroup\$ – OpaCitiZen Aug 29 '16 at 20:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I fixed it? \$\endgroup\$ – Opti Oct 1 '16 at 19:45

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