history of gaming – Who were the holders of the Shadowrun license through 2017?

1989 – FASA corporation creates Shadowrun.

1989 – Beam Software acquires the license for one SNES title. 1993 it publishes the game under the title Shadowrun.

before 1990 – FanPro GmbH acquires the German Shadowrun license.

before 1993 – BlueSky Software works on a SEGA Genesis title, published as Shadowrun in 1994.

before 1995 – Compile Co. Ltd works on a SEGA Mega-CD title, published as Shadowrun in 1996 as the last Mega-CD title ever

2001 – FASA closes doors as a publisher and becomes an IP holder. The Shadowrun IP is bought by WizKids LLC. Shortly after FanPro LLC is founded by FanPro GmbH and gains a whole bundle of licenses from WizKids, including the main Shadowrun license. Separate, the German license is with FanPro GmbH.

2003 – WizKids and its held IP are bought by Topps, but still controls handing out its licenses as a subsidiary.

ca. 2004 – Microsoft trademarks Shadowrun for PC & X-Box after acquiring the game license. FASA Studio produces the FPS “Shadowrun” under this license to be published in 2007.

End of 2006 / Early 2007 – Fast Forward Enterprises (FanPro GmbH’s warehouse and shipping partner) goes bankrupt. As it vanishes with a lot of funds from FanPro GmbH, it has, in turn, to siphon funds from FanPro LLC to stay afloat. Over the months this becomes unsupportable, and starting April 2007 FanPro GmbH sells off the IP & licenses they own (for example the Dark Eye, but not Shadowrun) in a pitch to raise enough money to stay afloat longer.

February to April 2007 – WizKids doesn’t renew the bundle of licenses FanPro LLC and FanPro GmbH held, but negotiates with InMediaRes Productions LLC. Only the german Shadowrun novel license remains (possibly?) with FanPro GmbH, the rest returns to WizKids/Topps.

May 2007 – IMR founds Catalys Games LabsLLC (CGL) to hold all the tabletop licenses and shortly after sublicenses the German Shadowrun tabletop license to Pegasus Spiele GmbH (often referenced as Pegasus Press).

2008 – FanPro GmbH stops publishing the German Shadowrun novels over a dispute if they actually had retained the license or not.

2008 – Topps announces to close WizKids, retaining some IP (like Shadowrun) while selling the rest of WizKids (like HeroClix) to National Entertainment Collectibles Association in September 2009. CGL (for IMR) retains the Shadowrun tabletop licenses, as does Pegasus.

Early 2012 – Harebrained Schemes acquires the Computer license from CGL & Topps, paid for via Kickstarter, making with it the Shadowrun Returns series.

July 2012 – Cliffhanger Productions acquires the mobile & online license from Microsoft, CGL & Topps via crowdfunding. The game originally planned as Shadowrun Online is published as Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown in 2015.

shadowrun – Tracking Ammunition consistently in a Hell made of Bullets

Ranged weapons are a mainstay in many games. Most fantasy games come with arrows, bolts, and sling stones. Wild West comes with lead, powder, and percussion caps in the early times and metal cartridges in the later end of the timeframe. Modern games blow out ammunition in the dozens – even hundreds at times.

However, all those expendable items come at bookkeeping troubles: Is there still an arrow in the quiver, is the next chamber a bang or click, or can the MG put out another burst?

In computer games and playing traditional games online, this problem can be mitigated by having some kind of ammo counter on the screen for each weapon user. But table-play doesn’t offer that ease of use. Players have not unlimited floating numbers next to the head or self-updating character sheets.

At a table, the problem however is you need to update manually. In a fantasy game, my elven archer ended up needing a new sheet after the second or third session because I had erased a hole into the spot where ammo was counted. Putting the arrows on a separate sticky note made that page replaceable, but it was prone to be lost. Looking for the main copy of the inventory to make a new one was a noisy thing between the different pages of the sheet – amplified by the limited space on the table – barely more than the open pages of the core book was available to put down stuff for each player to handle the large map in the center.

But fantasy games like that usually don’t need to account for more than 20 or such arrows per player. So were absolutely needed, I had used an ammo-counter D20 for my quiver and used a holder-ring with some sticky in it to make sure it didn’t roll and wouldn’t be accidentally taken as a dice.

Tracking Ammo for the Bullet-Hell

The real problem however is when games combine many people shooting with shooting a lot and variable ammo usage. That is when shooting isn’t happening consistently. This gets us to Shadowrun: Firearms can let loose between one and 10 rounds per action of the runner, runners can have between one and four actions and could shoot akimbo. Oh, and each gun has different ammunition capacities…

In a scene that turned into a bullet hell, I was one of 5 runners. While we fought some rather resistant thing and I took a lot of drain, the other four spent several hundred bullets shooting full-auto. I am sure that at least two players lost count of what was left in their guns at some point: One recalculated twice if he had to reload using a calculator and slowing the game down, the other had a tiny post-it note upon which he just added strikes to see if he still owned any bullets and guesstimated if he had to reload or not.

How could players track the ammunition for their runners in a way that the amount of ammo left in the gun is easy to spot at a distance, fast to update, non-destructive to the character sheet, and not bound to a movable object (dice, marker) that might be accidentally shifted?

shadowrun sr5 – Is a Host/Spider aware of which file was cracked?

I understand that if a decker cracks a file, the host is immediately notified as it’s a successful attack action. My question is: Is the host aware of which file was cracked?

The scenario is that we are attempting to spy on a resident of a relatively high-security hotel. As part of the legwork our decker got into the host and editted the file to add the group’s name into the guest ledger. After the crack action, the host is aware that there was an attack, but is it (or the designated on-site Spider) aware of what was attacked?

shadowrun – How should a GM go about handling a combat encounter against an enemy team of runners?

I have a group that is about to encounter another runner team in combat. They both want to do the same job, and are going to be fighting for the package. The two thoughts I had were to make some of them (3) prime runners, but I worry that will be a significant undertaking in combat to reference sheets for each of them. The other thought was to use regular blocks of stats, but I worry that it might make the encounter too easy.

What is a good tactic for creating enemy runners teams to fight against that will hopefully deliver a significant challenge?

Is Fungitek mentioned in the official Shadowrun lore?

I was recently reading about the Ork/Seattle Underground and came across an article about the location on Shadowrun’s “Fandom” Wiki. In the article a company called “Fungitek” was mentioned, which sparked my interest for reasons unrelated to this question, and as such I tried searching for it online, and also looked for any mentions of it in the Shadowrun 5th Edition Core Rulebook but couldn’t find any mentions of it. As for my search online all I could find were some German wiki pages about it, which leads me to my question: Is Fungitek mentioned in the official Shadowrun lore, and if so, where?

shadowrun sr3 – Using pools outside of combat

Rules for Shadowrun 3e on page 43 states that:

Dice pools initially become available for use at full value as the first step of the first Combat Turn of any encounter.

I interpret it as pools being available only during combat. However, I find it very strange that i.e. casting spells is much easier during combat than outside of initiative.

Is there any other part of rules that allows usage of pools outside of combat? If not, does anybody have some coherent set of house rules governing usage of pools outside of initiative?

shadowrun – Small company owned by PC shadowrunners – which legal form it should be?


We are playing SR3 in Seattle, but all players and GMs are from Europe & not skilled in law, not mentioning USA/Shadowrun law.

We are seeking for something somehow believable in USA/SR3 context (so we can find more about that later and build on that).

PCs got and took offer from friendly NPC (which “owes” them a lot and is trusted and good positioned) to buy some IDs and small company. They want run that as legal front for their new IDs to have “legal source of income” and a way for customers to be able pay by official money somehow. The company would own some buildings, cars and equipement too. PCs have large net of NPC contacts, which are willing and able “buy services” from that company (while paid by PCs for that) to keep the company alive, if needed. PCs should be able secretly run mentioned company while posing as “only ordinaly employees”.

Antifraud and financial teams are not usually extra interested actively investigate such “small fishes”.

GM does not know, what kind of legal form that should be called (like “Freds Services, inc.” or so) and what to google for.


We play in really light “shadows”, usually just some investigations, creating chaos here and there for distractration and such, PCs already killed few humans (mostly in “really excessive self defence”), but there are no visible traces to them and it is more exception, than a rule. The setting is soft and forgiving a lot, GM helps players to win many times. We just want to have fun and cinematic, not heavy drama and strugling. The “real action” takes less than half of gaming time, the rest is spend by buiding house, repairing and enhancing gear, cooking, gardening, chatting, dog shamman hiding bones on secret places … So the following plan should succeed and work for some time and offer a lot of small activities too.

The background is, that some well hidden NPC/company collected some IDs of peoples, who died, bud was not entered as dead in system, corpses dissapeared and those IDs was “kept alive”, transfered to work for some existing company “Bettys laboratories, something” (which was build and kept just for this purpose), used for who know what for years (need a lend ID to spend a week with prostitues in resort? Here is ID for the week, for some price, so you real ID get no moral harm … style). And now the owner wants to close this “Bettys laboratories”, sell all IDs to Shadows, divide the company to many idependent smaller independent sections/branches (via net of transactions) and sell them for lot of money. He have good law suport and knows what he is doing to hide the origins, but probably wants to start something different and bigger and so he want to capitalise this “Bettys laboratories” fast and discreetly. (GMs narative, why PC can buy legally clean company and new IDs, which are basically real.)

Our idea is, that that the “Fred’s Services” will own a house, some cars, properly hire a (innoncent, not knowing) secretary to take phones and transfer messages around, fill legal forms for taxes and make a chair in companys house warm. All income of this company will be “arranged” somehow and spend for paying the house, secretary and couple of “employees”. The company would be able to officially send an invoice for some inoncent “services” (like consultations) to ABC.inc (or DEF.inc, or who is todays customer), which would pay for it and put it into official accounting, but those “services” would be simple fictional, intangible and just way to pay the real shadowruner. Basically money laundering of some kind. “Employees” would spend part of the wage to keep “conspiracy flat” paid, part for consumables (everybody needs food & groceries) and rest on “pleasures” (like prostitues, drinks, etc.) which they would then get back in “dirty money” to buy guns and other illegal equipement.

shadowrun sr5 – What does it mean for a device to be hardwired?

It doesn’t have wireless capability, meaning that its network must be physically accessed

This was confusing to research, because while I was sure I’d read something in the books on this topic it doesn’t use the word hardwired! The word hardwired appears in the SR5 core rulebook once (excepting the glossary, where it appears twice), and in a narrative section:

He knew electronics backwards
and forwards, literally inside and out, and all he had to do, all he
had to do in the world right now, was beat this maglock and the
hardwired security system supporting it. (SR5 Core Rulebook, page 15).

The term hardwired means a specific thing in the supplement Chrome Flesh, and refers to something totally different! They grant specific knowledges, similar to skillsofts. Across all of SR5, the only instances of hardwire (and variants) that I could find were that single narrative section and discussion of hardwires in (or referring to) Chrome Flesh.

The relevant section describing devices that are connected exclusively through wired connections is in the SR5 core rulebook:


It is possible for a network owner to decide to forgo
wireless connections
entirely and
instead connect
their system using
traditional wires.
This is rare due
to the inconvenience
it presents,
but still an option
for those mistrusting
of the security
wireless offers.
All Matrix devices
connect via wireless
by default,
with many of the
less expensive
ones not having
a wired connection

If an organization wants to wire a network,
the cabling must be purchased and installed throughout
the location where the network exists. This limits the
placement of devices and requires maintenance of the
proper connections. Wired networks are still vulnerable
in many of the same ways as wireless networks. If a wire
is breached and tapped anywhere along its length, the
signals can be intercepted and retransmitted via wireless

It should be noted, though, that between grids,
hosts, IC, spiders, and GODs, corporations are feeling
very confident in the security of their wireless networks.
This means that runners are only likely to encounter
wired security in the hands of the exceedingly protective
or paranoid. (SR5 Core Rulebook, page 356)

(line breaks mine)

The practical effect of this is that, to do anything with a wired-only device (like decking) you need to physically access that device or a device to which it is physically connected. A wired-only lock can’t be disabled remotely– you have to connect to the lock itself, or a device wired to it.