Shadowrun to follow in Paizo’s GameMastery footsteps? I hope so!

Have you ever had that moment as a Game Master when you are running some epic combat, and you realize that you have NO idea whatsoever what the spell “Arglefargle’s Malignant Zazzlefrazz of Malcontent” does? Well, I don’t either, but that’s because it’s an absolutely ridiculous example…but you get my point. We’ve all had those moments where a game comes to a halt because someone has to look up what a certain spell or ability does, or you need to know those vital stats of a weapon, or perhaps you don’t have EVERYTHING written down for those monsters the heroes are fighting.

Yes, perhaps you can take the time to write everything down, or keep a thousand and one tabs in your game books to their appropriate pages, but that puts a bunch of (in my opinion) unneeded wear and tear on your books. This problem is much worse if you’re one of those “living in the twenty-first century” kids whose entire book collections are a bunch of PDFs on an iPad. What’s a gamer to do to make things easier?
Well, the solution starts with a little company that could, did, and trashed the competition… Paizo Publishing.

Paizo is best known for their award-winning role-playing game, Pathfinder, which has out-sold Dungeons & Dragons for the past few years. When you outsell the father of the whole hobby of role-playing games, one must stand up and take notice.

Perhaps it’s perverse, but this thing actually makes you WANT to occasionally fumble just to see the result. We’ve paralyzed the game table with laughter more than once…


Paizo, aside from the Pathfinder role-playing game proper, put out a line of gaming tools befittingly called “GameMastery.” These little wonders include double-sided full color dry erase game mats, a constantly out-of-stock Combat Pad that uses dry-erase magnets that you can arrange on an initiative grid (a must-have for ANY game), “invisible” character figures, markers and tokens, realistic coins that you can use for in-game currency to give your games that extra little bit of panache. Finally, and what comprises the bulk of the GameMastery product line,  is the long list of decks of cards to enhance your game. The card decks range from simply great picture cards with blank backs for writing your own information in, to the “Critical Hit” and “Critical Fumble” decks, which add a new level of enjoyment to the game.


Headache…ELIMINATED! Better than Asprin.


I highly recommend any of these GameMastery products to anyone. While most of them are keyed to the Pathfinder RPG, some of the products, like the aforementioned Combat Pad, can really be used for just about any game. The point, however, is that these GameMastery products should be a trend. Any RPG you can name would benefit from its own set of GameMastery products.

Enter GenCon 2012 and Catalyst Game Labs…

Catalyst, the game lab that they are, has decided to try out a little experiment. As a convention exclusive, they produced two decks of Shadowrun: Gear Cards; “Guns,” and “Drones & Vehicles.”

Shadowrun: Weapon Cards – GUNS

Designed to make game play simpler, more colorful, and more fun, Shadowrun Gear Cards contain pictures and stats for a whole range of items, making it easy for players and gamemasters to reference their stats at the game table while also bringing the Sixth World to life through full-color art for each piece of gear. This deck contains 54 guns for use inShadowrun, selected from a range of Shadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition products. Deal them out and start shooting.

Shadowrun: Gear Cards – Drones & Vehicles

Shadowrunners do a lot of things, but one thing they don’t do is sit still. There are places to go, people to shoot—they need the right vehicles to get them there, and the right drones to take care of business when they arrive. This deck has 54 drones and vehicles cards, with a full-color picture and complete stats, that make it easy for players and gamemasters to reference stats at the game table while illustrating what they’re driving, piloting, or riding. With selections from a range ofShadowrun, Twentieth Anniversary Edition products, this deck will prepare you for some serious moving violations.

These were meant to be convention EXCLUSIVES, as in, if you didn’t attend GenCon, NO CARDS FOR YOU!!!

I was both very displeased and very happy to find out that they sold out on the first day, and before I arrived in Indy (I REALLY have to start going on Wednesday instead of Thursday). After a quick chat with Jason Hardy at the Catalyst booth, he mentioned that he never imagined how popular the card decks would be, and that Catalyst is now considering making them available again (hopefully, NOT as convention exclusives). I mentioned some other good ideas for card decks…

Magic Spells: Yeah, spells are pretty easy to keep track of, but I do find myself thumbing through the book every now and again. Spell cards would be a great addition.

Critter Powers: I find myself looking up Critter powers constantly. I don’t want to keep doing it. I’d rather just have a set of cards I can pull for each occasion.

Critter/Threat: Sometimes, I just want some Go-gangers to toss at my players, or perhaps have a card on hand to glance at some quick stats for a Lone Star Security patrol, and I’d certainly breathe easier if I didn’t have to keep going back to the stats for Elementals or Barghests, wendigos, or other Critters.

Contacts: Sample Contacts are another “itemized” thing in Shadowrun that would benefit the players to have some cards available to give them a good idea of what their contacts are capable of. I make these cards myself for my games (complete with illustrations), and they’re really nice to have.

Apparently, however, I wasn’t the only one who suggested not only a second run of these cards, but the alternate decks, as well. According to Mr. Hardy, I was “the fiftieth person to suggest it today.” Wise folks, them…
Catalyst seems to be pretty amiable to the idea of reprinting cards and making new decks.  Only time will tell if they go through with it, but you can rest assured THIS wizard will have his fingers crossed!

Posted on October 8, 2012, in Role-Playing Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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