Review: Catalyst Game Labs – Storm Front (Shadowrun )


Storm Front
Storm Front is a supplement for the fantasy cyberpunk game Shadowrun written by Patrick Goodman, Jason M. Hardy, Philip A. Lee, Devon Oratz, Scott Schletz, Brandie Tarvin, R.J. Thomas, Michael Wich, Thomas Willoughby, and Russell Zimmerman and published by Catalyst Game Labs.
By Cape Rust

Learn more about Storm Front here
Purchase Storm Front here
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Strom Front is the Pandora’s box of Shadowrun products. Presented in quasi chat room form, this Shadowrun supplement boldly exposes some of the nastiest secrets in the Shadowrun world. This supplement is a preview for Shadowrun 5th edition as well.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better chummers! The war down south is over (sort of) Dragons have been fighting, some of them have disappeared, and one of them appears to have been taken out in that very war down south that is sort of over. Denver is a mess and some of those government mucky mucks are finally getting the drek they deserve. Is this a perfect world we live in, no but, it’s what we’ve got so we might as well make the most of it!

CONTENT

This 202 page sourcebook contains 194 pages of content with extensive information about what has been happening in the world of Shadowrun for the last few decades, and acts as a bridge between fourth and fifth edition.

OVERALL

As its namesake, most of what happens in Shadowrun is done in cold dark places where the protected dare not venture. Storm Front rips open those dark places like a child hyped up on sugar on Christmas morning. Most sourcebooks intended for GMs tend to reveal just enough information to get the GM going, Storm Front is like a season pass into the Shadowrun peep show. I say peep show because the reader gets lots of intimate details, lots of them!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
I have always loved Shadowrun art and Storm Front reminds me why it is so compelling. The world concept in itself is so intriguing and the art really makes a world where orks, trolls and dwarfs share the streets with elves and humans and technology. I have dinged Catalyst Games for using too many photo negative style pictures in their last few supplements and while I love that, they are starting to focus those types of pictures for use when things are viewed in the matrix or in the “spirit world” – there were a few that didn’t seem like that was the case or at least it shouldn’t have been the case. However, to their credit there were far less than before. One picture bothered me quite a bit, it was a picture of a man and a woman at a shooting range firing at overly large insects. If you follow Shadowrun, you know bugs are a big problem. What was so bothersome about this picture was that I swear I’ve seen this shot as a photo and it looks like the man and woman have been transposed and the bugs inserted into line art. The fact that both people are wielding current day firearms rather than really cool Shadowrun era firearms makes me even more suspicious.

I caught a few minor editing mistakes and even in a book this big a company the size of Catalyst Game Labs doesn’t get a free pass, if a small company is expected to avoid those mistakes in a 50 or 60 page product, Catalyst should be able to do it in 202. But theses minor mistakes in no way detract from the overall enjoyment of this product.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
This is another mechanics-light book from Catalyst Game Labs. There are some stats and mechanics entries at the end of the book, but there are very few and they are done really well, so there really isn’t much to say. However, I will defend Catalyst Game Labs decision to produce sourcebooks that are heavy on source and light on stats.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
If there were any more plot hooks in this book, I think my brain would have exploded! This book alone could keep players running in the shadows for years to come. The format of this book makes it an interesting read and every page means something. Many of the plot hooks could be manipulated to fit into several different settings, but they are custom made for the Shadowrun/Cyberpunk genre. There was a large verity of topics covered and the material spanned the globe, while still keeping enough love for Seattle.

Overall: 10 out of 10
I have rarely seen a sourcebook that is so open and revealing for GMs. Because this book is a bridge, it feels like the big reveal at the end of a murder mystery and what a great way to build that bridge to the next edition. As a GM and gamer I appreciate that Catalyst Game Labs is not being catty about the next edition, so many companies introduce new editions and don’t provide that bridge over troubled waters, like they have. Even with the minor mistakes this book is a great resource and a great read. Long live Fastjack!

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2 Comments

  1. David says:

    Hi, I’m the artist who painted the ‘firing range’ picture. Sorry you didn’t like it. For your consideration: http://davidroberthovey.blogspot.com/2013/03/ive-been-mentioned.html

    • Aaron says:

      I don’t think Cape means he didn’t like it as much as something just didn’t seem “quite right” with the picture, that bothered him in regards to the rest of the book. He’s making the statement as an observation rather than a point of contention with his views of the book.