Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheat Sheets

Small post for today, but if you aren't already doing this you might be amazed by how much time you can save yourself later with a little bit of preparation. Today, I want to talk about cheat sheets.

Cheat Sheets are something I'm starting to get a real sense of appreciation for as I come up on the next Shadowrun session every other week. They're not something I've ever had to use before, but with how complex some of Shadowrun's rules are, the fact that I only have the game once every other week, and that we're only coming up on our fourth session this week and I need all the help I can get with keeping the rules straight. Still, they're proving quite useful.

How do they work? Well, just like when you were taking a test in school, you write down the stuff that is complex but you need help with. The Runner's Toolkit comes with a cheat sheet for magical combat, hacking, ranged combat, defense, and a couple other things. I'm beginning to make some cheatsheets for myself for hacking in general (more in depth), rigging, chases, and some other things that don't fit on the back of the GM screen (which in and of itself is basically a giant cheat sheet.)

Some of my players are doing them as well. Not for rules per se, but for other aspects of their characters. One of them has notes for where all the bonuses come from - and under what circumstances - for their character's dice pools. Another has notes jotted down for the functionality of their cyber. In both cases the idea is the same: keep the information handy and reduce time spent flipping through books.

So far it seems to be working. We'll see how it goes once I get more familiar with the rules, but for now I'm quite happy with what I've got. How about you? Any one else got cheat sheets going for their games?


  1. For Shadowrun, totally. I play a hacker in one game and a low-level mage in another and I never can remember all the rules and boni, especially for the hacker.
    I also have a very detailed Excel sheet with stats for NPC archetypes for GMing Shadowrun, that is extremely helpful if you need an NPC in a hurry.

  2. I find that cheat sheets are a must for shadowrun. I have 3 that I keep with me at all times when playing or GMing: One for hacking, one for magic & summoning and one for general combat with a extras like electricity damage and grenade rules that seem to come up often.

    I find that for minor bad guys I can get away with a "crib notes" version of their stats. So I usually run them as 3-dice, 6-dice, or 9-dice bad guys, with a little variation for gear and usually able to take a number of damage boxes equal to their dice (3, 6, or 9). It seems to work pretty well for mooks.

  3. I've been doing something similar for my mooks too with a slight variation. 3 is supposedly the average for a stat, and 3 in a skill is professional training, so if the random mook is a professional they get 6 dice + maneuvers and such for things. Damage wise I've mostly just used the normal damage code (8 + 1/2Body or Will) which has worked fine for the most part. Especially since my players tend to insta-gib with semi and full auto when they've gotten into fights.

    I need to go through and make special cheat sheets for hacking and vehicle combat though as those are the current areas I need to get my noodle around. After that, it's diving into the magical realm. Magic will be rough on my group I think so I need to be cautious with it.