All weapons cause two types of effects: Damage, and Power. Power affects the short amount of time that the target is stuck in a "wounded" pose, before being able to move again. All attack types, including guns, barehands, grenades, and spells, do a certain amount of each.
All armor has two defense ratings, determining their value against guns, and "weapons," which means grenades and barehands. Spells cannot be defended against with armor-they require magical defenses.
The third factor in determining combat ability are attributes and skills. For example, Body increases defense against physical attacks, while quickness increases both damage and the speed with which attacks are made. Skills, such as Firearms, Melee, or Sorcery, can do the greatest job of increasing combat ability, but also cost the most (24 Karma to reach level 12!).
Skills are increased through Karma (XP). Every successful Run or plot event, as well as combat (for Samurai) gives you additional Karma, which can be spent while staying at a hotel.
Cyberware and artifacts can increase abilities as well. All Melee is punching based, but if the fists have spurs jutting out of them (like Wolverine), then they do more damage and no longer stun. Wired reflexes greatly increase attack speed. Various artifacts may be purchased from magic shops to increase the powers of Shamans and Mages, that can augment the power of spells, function as armor, absorb magic drain (some spells are so powerful that they cause mental damage to the caster), etc.
Lastly, there's Posture. Posture affects the defensive and offensive ratings, and may be adjusted accordingly. Pure Offensive increases attack rating at the cost of defensive ability, whereas Pure Defensive increases defense rating at the cost of offensive ability, while the three postures in between offer more balanced mixes.
Shadowrun was created in order to provide a more "realistic" form of combat, as compared to Dungeons and Dragons, and it succeeds in the following areas:
Skill is the single most vital area for combat ability. You can have a Samurai with a tiny little pistol and no cyberware, but with 12 Firearms and Melee, and 6 strength, quickness, and intelligence, he'll be able to take out a rank ameteur armed with an SMG and heavy armor-the more so since Posture becomes less important as skill increases.
Nobody is invincible. You have two damage ratings-physical, and mental. Mental is damaged in cybercombat, spellcasting, and through stun based attacks (like bare hands without cyberware). But even when you have skills of 12 in everything, 6 in everything, and heavy combat armor, with an SMG or maxed out magic spell, you can still get yourself "killed" by a sudden ambush by hellhounds in Renraku Arcology. Unlike the PnP version, however, "killed" players always wake up in the hospital, with less cash and minus any allies. It is thus highly advised that the player keep on hand two good Runners on a permanent basis (the more so since Runners in your party increase their Karma even as you do), so that if only one Runner survives the initial assault, they can use a medkit or patch to revive the others.
Don't shoot when an ally is in the line of fire. Bullets will hit anything they touch first. Spells don't-but both grenades and grenade like spells will damage EVERYTHING they hit-including you!
A is to attack, C cycles through targets, Start brings up the inventory so you can choose a new weapon or spell. Pressing A when empty will automatically reload your gun.
When using Karma, understand that if you increase Firearms to 12, then you can always increase your secondary firearms skills-pistol, shotgun, SMG- by one more. Which means you can get your pistol/shotgun/SMG skill to 13, by only spending 13 Karma! That's the only way to get any skill to above 12, and it won't work if you already wasted Karma on raising the skill to 1-12.
(c)2006 RPGClassics.com. All materials are copyrighted by their respective authors. All games mentioned in this site are copyrighted by their respective producers and publishers. No infringement on any existing copyright is intended. All rights reserved.