Combat and Movement


The world of Shadowrun is violent and hostile. Inevitably, player characters will be drawn
into combat situations. Whether the characters are spraying bullets or throwing kicks, these
are the combat rules they’ll use to get the job done.

The Combat Turn

Combat proceeds in a sequence known as the Combat Turn. Each Combat Turn is 3 seconds
long (20 per minute). The Combat Turn attempts to mimic real combat, resolving issues such as
who acts first, who is faster on the draw, what happens when one character punches another, and so on. During the Combat Turn, each player—starting with the player whose character is the fastest— takes turns describing his character’s action and rolls dice to see how well he performs it.

The gamemaster describes the actions and reactions of the non-player characters (NPCs),
as well as the final outcome of all actions. Combat Turns may be broken up into a series of
Initiative Passes if any characters have the ability to take extra actions in a Combat Turn.

The point during each Combat Turn when a specific character can act is called an Action Phase.
For ease of reference during game play, gamemasters can refer to the Combat Turn Sequence Table (p. 19).

1. Roll Initiative

Determine Initiative for all the characters, and anything else that has an Initiative attribute involved in the fight. To determine a character’s Initiative Score, make an Initiative Test using his Initiative attribute.

Add the hits to your Initiative attribute—this total is your Initiative Score. The order of Initiative Scores from high to low determines the order in which the action will take place. The gamemaster should roll for and record the Initiative of all nonplayer characters.

2. Begin First Initiative Pass

Characters involved in the combat now take their actions sequentially in the first Initiative Pass, starting with the character who has the highest Initiative Score. This character is the acting character. If more than one character has the same Initiative Score, they go at the same time.

3. Begin Action Phase

The acting character now declares and takes his actions.

A. Declare Actions

The acting character declares his actions for the Action Phase. He may take two Simple Actions or one Complex Action. The character may also declare one Free Action in addition to any other declared actions during the Action Phase.

The Combat Actions table found on each pre-generated Character Record Sheet describe which actions fall into the Free, Simple and Complex categories.

B. Resolve Actions

Resolve the actions of the acting character.

4. Declare and Resolve Actions of Remaining Characters

Move on to the character with the next highest Initiative Score and repeat Step 3. Continue this cycle until the actions of all characters have been resolved for that Initiative Pass.

5. Begin Next Initiative Pass

Once all of the characters have acted and all of the actions have been resolved for the first Initiative Pass, Steps 2 through 4 are then repeated for characters who get a second Initiative Pass due to implants, magic, or other abilities. This cycle is repeated
in full for characters who get a third pass (if any), and then for those who get a fourth pass (if any).

6. Begin a New Combat Turn

Begin a new Combat Turn, starting again at Step 1. Continue repeating Steps 1 through 6 until the combat ends.


There are two types of movement: walking and running. Characters may move at one of these two rates during each Initiative Pass, or they may choose to remain stationary. To walk
or run, the character must declare it during the Declare Actions part of his Action Phase.

Walking does not take up any actions, but running requires a Free Action.

Once a mode of movement has been declared, the character moves in that mode until his next Action Phase. In these quickstart rules, all characters have a walking Movement Rate of 10m,
and a running Movement Rate of 25m. Rates of movement are per Combat Turn, not per Initiative Pass.


Characters may attempt to increase their running distance by spending a Simple Action (rather than just a Free Action to run) and making a Running + Strength Test. Each hit adds 2 meters
to the distance they can run in that Combat Turn.


These quick-start rules include two types of combat: ranged, and melee.

Combat is handled as an Opposed Test between the attacker and defender. The exact skills and attributes used depend on the type of combat, method of attack, and style of defense, as
described in each section. Various modifiers may also apply. If the attacker scores more hits than the defender (the defender wins on ties), the attack hits the target. Otherwise, the attack misses

All combat, whether it involves firearms, knives, or magic, or whether it is a ranged or melee attacks, are resolved in the same manner. Magic combat is more fully explained starting on p. 11.


1. Declare Attack

The attacker declares an attack as part of the Declare Actions part of his Action Phase and spends an appropriate action depending on the type of attack. The defender also declares what
method he is using to defend (see Defending Against Ranged Attacks, p. 8 and Defending Against Melee Attacks, p. 8).

2. Apply Situational Modifiers

Apply appropriate situation dice pool modifiers to the attacker according to the specific attack (see the various tables on the Gamemaster’s Screen, p. 19). Modifiers may also apply to
the defender’s dice pool depending on his method of defense.

3. Make the Opposed Test

The attacker rolls attack skill + attribute +/– modifiers. The defender rolls defending skill + attribute +/– modifiers. If the attacker scores more hits than the defender (the
defender wins on ties), the attack hits the target.

Otherwise, the attack misses. If the attack hits the target, note the net hits (the number of the attacker’s hits that exceed the defender’s hits), as this is important.

4. Compare Armor

Add the net hits scored to the base Damage Value of the attack (p. 9); this is the modified Damage Value. Determine the type of armor used to defend against the specific attack,
and apply the attack’s Armor Penetration modifier; this is the modified Armor Value.

If the attack causes Physical damage, compare the modified Damage Value to the modified Armor Value. If the Damage Value does not exceed the Armor, then the attack inflicts Stun rather than Physical damage.

5. Damage Resistance Test

The defender rolls Body + modified Armor Value to resist damage. Each hit scored reduces the modified Damage Value by 1. If the DV is reduced to 0 or less, no damage is inflicted.

6. Apply Damage

Apply the remaining Damage Value to the target’s Condition Monitor (see the pre-generated Character Record Sheets). Each point of Damage Value equals 1 box of damage.


All ranged combat in Shadowrun, whether it involves firearms, projectile weapons, or thrown
weapons, is resolved in the same manner.


Using a weapon is not always as easy as it might seem. Weapon accessories, range, intervening terrain, atmospheric conditions, and the movement of the attacker and the target can apply dice pool modifiers. The Ranged Combat Modifiers Table on the Gamemaster’s Screen (p. 19) includes a list of such modifiers.

To determine the attacker’s final dice pool for a ranged attack, add up all the applicable modifiers and apply that sum to the character’s Agility + appropriate combat skill. The result is the final, adjusted dice pool. If the dice pool is reduced to 0 or less, the attack automatically fails.

In these quick-start rules, each weapon type has specified Short (S) and Long (L) ranges, along with range modifiers, listed directly on the Character Record Sheets. Distances are measured in meters.


There is no skill that applies to defending against ranged attacks—defending characters
simply roll Reaction (the defaulting modifier does not apply, however; see p. 4).


In these quick-start rules, ranged combat involves firearms that may fire in two modes: singleshot (SS) or semi-automatic (SA). When declaring an attack, the player announces whether he’ll fire a weapon in SS or SA mode.

*Single Shot Mode

Firing a single-shot weapon requires only a Simple Action, but that weapon cannot be fired
again during the same Action Phase.

*Semi-Automatic Mode

Guns that fire in semi-automatic mode can be fired twice in the same Action Phase. Each shot
requires a Simple Action and a separate attack test.

The first shot is unmodified; the second shot, if fired in that same Action Phase, incurs a –1 recoil dice pool modifier.


Whenever two or more characters engage each other in hand-to-hand combat or armed combat
that does not involve ranged weapons, the following melee combat rules apply.


Various factors may affect a character’s ability to attack, parry, or dodge in melee combat. The Melee Modifiers Table (p. 19) includes a list of such modifiers.

It is important to note that the same Visibility Modifiers used for Ranged Attacks can be applied to melee.


Defenders have three choices for defending against unarmed attacks. Melee Weapon in Hand: If they have a melee weapon in hand, they can parry the attack by rolling Reaction + the appropriate weapon skill.

Use Unarmed Combat Skill: If they have Unarmed Combat skill, they can choose to block by rolling Reaction + Unarmed Combat.

Dodge: Or they can simply dodge out of the way using Reaction + Dodge.


Involved as they are in an illegal and often hazardous line of work, Shadowrun characters get
hurt—and often.


The two types of Damage that can be inflicted during combat are Physical and Stun. Each type is tracked separately.

*Physical Damage

Physical damage—the most dangerous type—is done by guns, explosions, bladed weapons, and most
magic spells. Weapons that inflict Physical damage have the letter “P” following their Damage Value.

*Stun Damage

Stun damage—bruising, muscle fatigue, and the like—is the kind done by fists, kicks, blunt weapons, stun rounds, concussion grenades, and some magic spells. If something does Stun damage, the letter “S” will follow the Damage Value.


All weapons have Damage Codes that indicate how difficult it is to avoid or resist the damage, and how serious the actual wounds are that the weapon causes. A weapon’s Damage
Code consists of two numbers representing Damage Value (DV) and Armor Penetration (AP). These are separated with a slash, with DV to the left and AP to the right of the slash. So a weapon with a Damage Code 7/–1 has a Damage Value 7 and an Armor Penetration of –1.

*Damage Value (DV)

The Damage Value indicates the severity of the damage inflicted by the weapon—its ability to transfer damage to the target. In game terms, each point of Damage Value inflicts one box of damage to the target’s Condition Monitor.

The base Damage Value of the weapon is modified by the attacker’s net hits, ammunition type, and other factors.

*Armor Penetration (AP)

A weapon’s Armor Penetration (AP) represents its penetrating ability— its ability to pierce armor. The AP is used to modify a target’s Armor rating when he makes a damage resistance
test. If a weapon’s AP reduces an armor’s rating to 0 or less, the character does not roll armor dice on his Damage Resistance test.


Armor in Shadowrun has two stats: Ballistic and Impact. Armor is used with the Body attribute to make Damage Resistance tests. The armor rating is reduced by the attack’s Armor Penetration (AP) value. Good armor will protect a character from serious physical harm. If the modified DV of an attack causing Physical damage does not exceed the AP-modified armor rating, then the attack will cause Stun damage instead.

Ballistic and Impact armor ratings are noted as (B/I), with Ballistic armor to the left of the slash and Impact armor to the right.

*Ballistic Armor

Ballistic armor protects against projectiles that deliver large amounts of kinetic energy to a small area in short amounts of time, such as bullets, bolts, and arrows.

*Impact Armor

Impact armor protects against attacks with lesser kinetic transfer: blunt projectile weapons, explosives, melee weapons, and stun ammunition.


A character rolls Body + armor to resist damage. In some cases another attribute may be called for; Willpower is often used in place of Body, for example, against certain Stun damage
attacks. The exact armor that applies is determined by the type of attack (see Armor, above). The armor rating is modified by the attack’s AP modifier.

Each hit scored on the Damage Resistance test reduces the attack’s DV by 1. If the DV is reduced to 0 or less, no damage is inflicted.


Once the final DV is calculated, it must be recorded on the character’s Condition Monitor.
The Condition Monitor has two columns: Physical and Stun. Each point of Damage Value = 1 box on the Condition Monitor.

Damage is cumulative. For example, a character who already has 3 boxes filled in
and takes another 3 boxes of damage ends up with 6 boxes filled in.

*Wound Modifiers

Every row on both the Physical and Stun Damage Tracks incurs a negative modifier; the more
wounds, the higher the modifier. When damage is noted on a character’s sheet, those modifiers are applied for any tests until the damage is removed. All such modifiers are cumulative.

*Condition Monitor Tracks

The Physical Damage Track has a number of boxes equal to 8 plus half a character’s Body attribute (round up).

The Stun Damage Track has a number of boxes equal to 8 plus half a character’s Willpower attribute (round up).

For these quick-start rules, all four Character Record Sheets have a precalculated Condition Monitor.


When all of the available boxes in a track (Physical or Stun) are filled in, the character immediately falls unconscious and drops to the ground. If the Stun track is filled in,
the character is merely knocked out.

If the Physical track is filled in, however, the character is near death and will die unless stabilized.

*Exceeding the Condition Monitor

When the total number of boxes in a column (Physical or Stun) are filled in, and damage still remains to be applied, one of two things happens: If the damage is Stun, it carries over into the Physical column.

When Stun damage overflows in this manner, the character also falls unconscious; he or she does not regain consciousness until some of the Stun damage is healed and
removed from the Stun column.

If a character takes more Physical damage than he has boxes in the Physical column, the character is in trouble. Overflowing the Physical column means the character is near
death. Instant death occurs only if damage overflows the Physical column by more than the character’s Body attribute.

Characters whose Physical damage has overflowed the Physical column by less than their Body attribute can survive if they receive prompt medical attention. If left unattended, such a character takes an additional box of damage every (Body) Combat Turns for blood loss, and shock.

If this damage exceeds the character’s Body attribute before medical help arrives, the character dies.

Combat and Movement

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