As I mentioned in an earlier article, Catalyst Game Labs recently released the Parabotany supplement for the Shadowrun roleplaying-game. Now that I was able to take a look, it’s time to decide if it’s as useful and interesting as I thought.
The book contains several sections, and while most of them is acting like as a catalog of awakened plants – divided into paranormal, blighted, mutated and engineered – but also features new rules, drugs, beverages and other plant-related things.
I think that the book is nicely structured and designed (as it’s quite regular from Catalyst Game Labs), and that they included one or more pictures for every plant is a great plus.
I have to say that there is really a great range of plants are featured in the book, and it’s not only include parabotanical security systems, drugs and magical components – the three most common use – but even stranger things like metal collecting plants, walking banana trees, highly acidic weeds and wild man-eating plants. and if that’s not enough, in the end of the book you could find rules to create your own awakened flora. Even these parts of the book would worth it’s cost.
But, as I mentioned there is even more.
A short chapter in Shadowrun: Parabotany is dealing with Parabotanical Advances, which not only includes scientific breakthroughs, but also deals with those common questions as “why alcoholic beverages are so expensive ?” and the rebirth of chocolate. A very extensive list of the availability and prices of drinks from simple beer to the extremely expensive Tír Tairngire beverages is also included.
The last chapter of the book is dealing with game rules, from the physical attributes of plans to awakened properties and magical compounds. While these thing are not cheap (most often thousands of nuyens) they are quite useful.
Considering everything Shadowrun : Parabotany has few limitations and problems. Themost glaring limitation is maybe that many of the plants have effects or a source of drugs and other things which is not included in the book, nor in the core rules. From the other books, maybe the Shadowrun : Arsenal is the most referenced. Also, while an alphabetical index is presented, I think a reference by “theme” – used for security, drugs, weed, magical uses etc. – would be quite helpful.
I have to admit that I really like Shadowrun : Parabotany, and I think it’s not only a well-made supplement, but I guess it’s much more useful than one more book about weapons or corporations (which is also useful, but we have many of them). So in the end I give 5/5 points for this book.
If you are interested in Shadowrun : Parabotany you may take a look at the preview or get the whole supplement at DriveThruRPG, here.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros