Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/05/tabletop-review-shadowrun-street-legends-home-edition/
Home Edition is the third entry in the Shadowrun: Street Legends line. These books contain bios and stat blocks of famous or infamous characters from Shadowrun history, be it old classic FASA era characters like Tommy Talon, or brand new characters that debuted in recent Jackpoints. I reviewed the first Street Legends and the follow-up Street Legends Supplemental and found them both to be highly enjoyable. Home Edition is equally enjoyable but for very different reasons. It’s an April Fool’s joke of sorts, you see.
I’m really glad CGL did something like this. Shadowrun has a lot of comic potential. Just ask anyone who has played it. At some point in a game, a one-liner or sitcom-esque situation will happen and everyone will have a good laugh. Yet it’s rare that you see anything light hearted published with the Shadowrun license attached to it. I mean, Call of Cthulhu has more tongue in cheek or outright comedic adventures published and one could easily argue that’s the grimmest game in all of tabletopping. As I love a nice bit of comedy, Street Legends Home Edition was a wonderful showing that Catalyst Game Labs is willing to highlight the weird, insane, or downright funny people that inhabit the Sixth World – even if it’s in a free one-shot for April Fool’s Day.
Home Edition follows the same format as the previous Street Legends books in that the entire book takes place “in-character” in the shadowrunner forum known as Jackpoint. Here a character gives a biographical rundown about a famous shadowrunner and somewhere in the article you’re also given a character’s stat block. It’s all well done and a lot of fun…but as soon as you crack open the Home Edition PDF, you’ll instantly notice something is up.
For starters, the usual artwork is gone and the entire piece looks like it was a teenager from the late 90′s first attempt at making an ‘zine with InDesign CS1 or something. That’s part of the joke though. Gone is the usual awesome artwork and beautiful backgrounds. The gimmick is that these characters and the very idea for this supplement is so stupid that the art and layout teams have gone on strike. In its place you get well…something very weird but no less enjoyable. I had a big grin on my face throughout all sixteen pages of the document and I honestly thought up several ways to use each character in an adventure and/or campaign.
Each of the four characters in Home Edition gets four pages devoted to them. The first character is King, an Orc Street Samurai who believes he is the reincarnation of Elvis. He’s hilariously odd. I liked the mention of the now (in our world) defunct Church of Elvis. As an ex Portlandian, I got a bit misty there. The second article is about the McCorsican triplets. These are three identical triplets, save that one is a dwarf, one is an elf, and one is a troll. Oddly enough these guys really work as serious characters as well and from all the information detailed in their section, a good GM should have ideas aplenty about how to use these three. Also, Plan 9 comes off really well here. I think that’s a first. The third character is Sakura Kunochi and here is where things get really wacky. Sakura is a transsexual lesbian elven ninja stripper. That alone should have you intrigued. It’s a hilarious article and it also highlights some serious points about cyberware and what happens if you don’t stay in shape as a ‘runner. Also, poor stupid, stupid Haze. Finally, you have Skippy Goodheart, who is definitely going to be used at some point to annoy the ever loving hell out of my friends at some point. He’s the most chipper and dimwitted shadowrunner you’ll ever see and his old story is honestly the best in the book. It is HILARIOUS…and a bit sad too. I swear to God, Skippy is like the type of character we all KNOW exists in the Sixth World and have probably used to some degree in our own homebrew adventures but never gets mentioned in any professional or canon pieces.
I love Home Edition. It’s funny, it’s free and it’s actually an April Fool’s joke that you can use if you play Shadowrun. There’s absolutely no reason to download this. Even if you’re only a casual fan or brand new to Shadowrun, you’ll still have a nice laugh at this freebie. Go on, pick it up. Then inflict Sakura on one of your players and see their reaction when they learn the wacky truth behind her. Oh Haze. Poor, stupid, stupid Haze.