Differences Between Shadowrun 4th and 5th

Last Updated on December 14, 2021 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Shadowrun is a tabletop role-playing game that was created in 1989. The newest version, Shadowrun 5th Edition, was released on January 23rd of this year. This post will cover the differences between the 4th and 5th editions of the game with an eye towards what players should know before deciding which edition to play.

The Shadowrun franchise has always been a go-to for gamers who want to tap into the cyberpunk genre. Fantasy Flight Games is set to release their newest edition of Shadowrun in 2020, which will be entitled 5th Edition. Many changes are being made from the 4th edition that has left some fans very divided. One change is the removal of spellcasting as an innate ability and instead of having it as a skill, you can develop over time. Will this new system be enough to bring back those players who have abandoned 4th Edition?

Comparison between Shadowrun 4th and 5th

Parameters of ComparisonShadow run 4thShadow run 5th
EditionShadow run 4th is a little more in depth about the environment and how it affects runners5th edition has updated rules for vehicles, drones, cyber ware, and other gear
Good structureGenuine formatGenuine format
Extra contentDo not have extra contentDo not have extra content
PriceIs differenceDifference
FeatureHave new featureHave new feature

What is Shadowrun 4th?

Shadowrun 4th Edition is a tabletop role-playing game that was released in 2004 by Catalyst Game Labs. The system is based on the d20 System and uses dice as its primary mechanic for determining success or failure. In this iteration of Shadowrun, players take on the roles of shadowrunners, freelance agents who live outside the law and have access to cyberwar that can give them an edge against their enemies. As a player’s character grows more powerful over time they will explore new regions, find ever greater challenges, and be able to tackle bigger jobs without worrying about losing all their resources if things go wrong. Players may even decide to become gamemasters themselves so they can share their own stories with others.

Differences Between Shadowrun 4th and 5th

What is Shadowrun 5th?

Shadowrun 5th Edition is a tabletop RPG that was originally released in 1989. In the game, players take on the roles of humans and elves who have awakened to find themselves without any memories of their previous lives. You must uncover your past while surviving in this futuristic world run by powerful megacorporations called “megacorps.” Shadowrun 5th Edition has been updated with new content for today’s players, including rules for character creation; more details on magical traditions like shamanism or kabbalah; expanded hacking options, including an entirely new chapter full of cyberwar; and much more.

Shadowrun 5th is the newest upgrade to one of the best-selling tabletop RPGs in history. It keeps all of Shadowrun’s unique cyberpunk and urban fantasy elements while adding new rules that make it easier for players to get into the game. 

The fifth edition also has a streamlined setup that will help you get right into playing quickly with pre-generated characters, perfect for starting your adventures in the Sixth World.

Differences Between Shadowrun 4th and 5th

10 Differences Between Shadowrun 4th and 5th

1. The Matrix has been completely overhauled in SR5, with a new model that is more dynamic.

2. There are now two types of cyberwar – the old system from the 4th edition and an all-new one.

3. A lot of changes have been made to the combat system, including how armor works.

4. Character creation has changed drastically in SR5 – you can make any type of character you want.

5. The game’s campaign setting is also different in 5th Edition – there are no metahuman races in this version. 

6. Combat rules for vehicles have changed significantly, with vehicle damage being much more lethal than before.

7. New rules for cyberwar.

8. The Matrix has been changed to a more open platform.

9. In Shadowrun 4th, it was possible to be killed by an attack that did no damage points. 

10. In 5th Edition, the number of bullets in a clip is limited and you can’t reload during combat. 

Interesting Statistics or Facts of  Shadowrun 4th

1. The game is set in 2054 and has a dystopian cyberpunk look.

2. There’s a massive variety of weapons, armor, and other items to equip your character with.

3. You can customize your character’s appearance by changing their gender, clothing style, hair color/style, skin tone. 

4. Characters have different types of abilities that you can activate during combat for an advantage over enemies or bosses.

5. Quests are available from NPCs throughout the world as well as from main quest givers such as Decker who will give you tasks to complete which often involve killing people or stealing data files etc. 

6. Shadowrun 4th also features a karma system where if you kill too many civilians then karma will go down but if you help out citizens then it’ll go up instead.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Shadowrun 5th

1. Shadowrun is the world’s most popular role-playing game, with over two million players worldwide.

2. The average player of Shadowrun has spent $250 on the game in their lifetime.

3. The first edition of Shadowrun was released in 1989 and had a print run of 5,000 copies. 

4. In 2013, Harebrained Schemes released a Kickstarter for a new version of Shadowrun called “Shadowrun Returns” which raised 1 million dollars from backers.

5. There are currently three versions available – “Shadowrun Fifth Edition”, “Shadowrun Missions”, and “Shadowrun Classic”.

6. The newest version includes an all-new interface that is easy to use and navigate through as well as simplified rules for character creation.


The newest version, Shadowrun 5th edition has been released and is available for purchase. This new edition provides a fresh take on the world of 2077 with all-new art, layout design, plot details, and setting information. It also introduces an array of exciting changes such as more modular rules that speed up gameplay and make it easier to customize characters; streamlined combat systems so players can focus their time telling great stories rather than calculating stats; and three completely different ways for character creation which offer tons of variety in playstyle options! If you’ve never played before or haven’t picked up a copy since 4th Edition was first released back in 2004 then this latest update might just be what you need.


Resource 01: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowrun
Resource 02: https://www.shadowruntabletop.com/products/introductory-products/

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