The concept of magic and technology merging has been broached in books and short stories numerous times. Fasa, however, is the first company to implement the merge. Take Advanced Dungeons and Dragons with the setting of Cyberpunk 2020 and you'll have Shadowrun.
With both metahuman races and cybertechnology one might think that character generation is difficult. Actually, building a character is fairly simple. Character generation works off a priority point-spread system. The player rates amongst five categories of race, magic, attributes, skills, and resources. Higher priorities allot higher amounts of points to spend in that particular category.
The game mechanics work off the now common target number/success rolls for performing actions. A "target number" is chosen by the GM according to difficulty, the player rolls the same number of dice as his skill level, all the dice which are greater than or equal to the target number are counted as successes. The number of successes determines how well the player performed the given task. The largest problem with this method, specifically in Shadowrun is that the number of dice can become quite excessive, especially in computer hacking rolls.
The gamebook, while well-written, is not put together very well. Often a person will jump back and forth through the book just to compile information on one subject. However, the game is enjoyable and original enough to have captured its own following in the market.
Highs - Original, compatible with most FASA games, good additional supplements
Lows - Not well organized, can call for excessive amounts of dice
Final Call - If you've always wanted to put a machinegun in the hands of a troll or a computer in the hands of an elf, this is the game for you.
Shadowrun, second edition, FASA Corporation 1992.
List price: $30.00