Me and a group of friends want to play the tabletop RPG shadowrun 5th edition, but we're not sure what we need. Are there any books similair to the PHB in D&D? Any specific dice that we might need? If so where can I purchase them?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Many of the suggestions may forget to include "friends who want to play a system as complex as Shadowrun"... sadly those can be a bit difficult to find sometimes! haha. But do bear in mind that SR (any version) is a very complex (aka "crunchy") rules system, and it will take a while before everyone is familiar enough for play to go speedily. Which is neither a recommendation nor a complaint; some people love crunchy, and some people love to swear at it. \$\endgroup\$
    – tzxAzrael
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ well, both need no mention in the answers, as the question does not concern both of them. He has a "group of friends", and asks specifically about Shadowrun 5. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patta
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 19:05

3 Answers 3


You need only the rule book and some dice

Everything you need to play Shadowrun is contained in the rule book. It contains the basic rules and everything you need to create characters (including equipment, vehicles, drones, magic and other stuff) as well as tips for the gm.

In addition, you need some six sided dice. As Dice pools can become quite big in Shadowrun, you need 5-10 at least, more is better. They are quite cheap to get in packs of 36 though, which should be more than enough if you share. You can get those probably in any store that has rpgs or wargames, or online (e.g. amazon), they should be easy to find.


As a beginner adventure, I can recommend Splintered State (which I gmed myself as an entry to Shadowrun), but if you have a bit of experience as a gm (or feel confident enough), there is no need to rely on pre-written adventures at all.

The other books

The other core books that exist do contain a ton of stuff (of varying quality, but that is a topic for another day), but everything in those is an extension of the basic rules and only contains more stuff and sometimes additional (more detailed) rules. For example, someone who is heavily into cyberware can look into Chrome Flesh for additional options, but the basic rules contain more than enough cyberware for beginners. If you play Shadowrun for some time, you can start extending quite easily.

Quick Start rules

There are also Quick Start Rules, but I can not tell you anything about them, as I never used them. From a quick look, they seem fine, though.


The guys have given great answers already: The core book contains everything you need, many D6s (which can be bought at most department store), paper, writing implements and a lot of imagination.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom I gleaned over the years, from my own first GM.

Start simple: a group of people with limited magic and cybernetics, to get used to the world before you move on to the main stage. This will allow everyone to digest how magic, cybernetics, decking, and all that good stuff works. Avoid the pit trap of being drawn to all the shiny bells and whistles. My first GM told us not to have any decker or riggers, he provided a NPC to fulfill these roles if/when we needed them.

Do a few trial runs: Before you start into a massive campaign, run a few short missions where the players and you discover the odd elements one at a time.

Use the Templates: Have them all be from the same 'hood or gang for a few trial runs. Then when everyone is excited, familiar and happy, allow them to transfer their Karma/NuY to their permanent character. One big benefit of this? They created a bunch of NPCs you can use in future runs...

You're gonna fail: There, I said it. That's fine. Don't panic. It will happen, but learn the lessons and move on.

Keep it simple: Once more, for emphasis.


There is as Core Rulebook that contains what the PHB and DMG does for D&D 5e. I would not recommend delving into the other books until you are more familiar with the system.

You will only need 6-sided dice, but lots of them. A minimum of 10 per player is recommended.

Also, be prepared that the system is a lot more complex compared to D&D 5e.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would not say that it is more complex, rather that SR requires more GM adjudication that D&D in general. This is mostly due to elements of the game: decking, astral projecting. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:59

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