Shadowrun, Rigger 5.0, Core Rigger Handbook, 5th Edition

8.6 Overall Score
Rules Clarity: 8/10
Usefulness: 10/10
Production: 8/10

Packed with new vehicles, vehicle gear, and character options.

A little light on art.

Shadowrun, Rigger 5.0, Core Rigger Handbook, 5th Edition
Catalyst Game Labs

Rigger 5.0 is exactly what you want it to be. Which makes it another hairpin turn in my emotionally dysfunctional road trip with Catalyst Game Labs and Shadowrun, 5th edition.

The book is excellent. Well organized and easy to reference, it is primarily a catalog of vehicles, drones, and their upgrades and modifications. It’s as if the writers listed every story that ever made you want to drive or pilot something, and then made sure that was in there. You want to be The Bandit? James Bond? D. Toretto? Imperator Furiosa? The Transporter? Cowboy the Panzerboy? Rigger 5.0 has got the right vehicle for you.

And don’t be misled by the title. While Shadowrun’s vehicle specialist riggers obviously benefit a lot from Rigger 5.0, there’s no reason your Chaos magician can’t cruise the enchanted streets in his own pimped-out and up-armored speed machine with a high Pilot program. This book is very useful for all players and shadowmasters.

One noticeable omission is that Rigger 5.0 lacks any new weapons at all. In earlier editions, the rigger book usually included heavy vehicle weapons like autocannons. Perhaps these will be released in a later PDF-only supplement, on the model of Shadow Spells.

Interesting rules minutia – the Gunnery skill is used to fire any vehicle-mounted weapon. So while laser weapons discourage use by pedestrians by requiring the Exotic Weapon (Lasers) Skill, you can mount a laser on your vehicle and zap away using common old Gunnery.

And now about that road trip through the abyss that I’m taking with Catalyst Game Labs.

Because I had heard rumors that Rigger 5.0 was the next major release, I was doing periodic web searches for it, to see if any new information had gone public. I did one on December 28th; there was no mention of the book at all on, or at But to my surprise, there was a Reddit informing me that the PDF had gone live on eleven days before, on the 17th. Before Christmas, which had in the meantime come and gone.

I had to go and drill for it on I could not find it on, Catalyst’s own online resource. As of this writing on January 2nd, 2016, more than two weeks after the PDF went live, there is still no mention of this major new release on Catalyst’s home page, nor on I cannot find it for sale on BattleCorps. has now got it on its landing page, though, on the Hottest Titles list.

It can only be the grossest incompetence and spectacular neglect of one of the best known game lines in the world that would cause Catalyst to release a core handbook on PDF two weeks before Christmas, but not tell anyone. Similarly, it wasn’t long ago that I was surprised to discover that Data Trails had already been released, and that Chrome Flesh was on deck. I have been playing this game since the basic book was blue. I am the target market. But somehow, Catalyst can’t inform my segment that a major new release has just hit.

This lunacy, coupled with the wildly irregular quality of the supplements – excellent entries like Rigger 5.0 and Chrome Flesh, contrasted with the unusable Aetherology, the breakup-on-landing of Street Grimoire, and the grab-bag of Stolen Souls ¬ has convinced me that it is time for Shadowrun to be put in better hands.



Author: Brian Downes View all posts by
Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke's father. You can't trust Vader's word!

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