These rules are currently canon for my campaign. Although they are a bit experimental.
Initiative time is split into a series of turns, with each turn representing a few seconds of in-game time. During a turn, each character gets a phase in which to do their actions. The order in which characters get phases is determined by the initiative roll.
Each combat turn runs like this:
On their phase, everyone gets one normal Complex or two Simple actions as usual, and they might also get bonus Simple actions3 (see below).
Complex and Simple actions can be freely interchanged as usual (one Complex = two Simple and vice versa.)
A character’s normal Complex action can be used for any type of action, but their bonus Simple actions can only be used to perform specific types of action (physical / Matrix / magical), depending on where the character got the bonus actions from.
Each character can take a Free action on any phase, including their own. They can do this as many times during the turn as there are phases.4
What you roll is determined by “where” your character is:
|In the physical world (including AR)||Rea + Int + 1d6|
|In VR, cold sim||DataProc + Int + 3d6|
|In VR, hot sim||DataProc + Int + 4d6|
|Astrally projecting||(Int × 2) + 2d6|
Summary table; discussion follows below:
|Wired Reflexes / Improved Reactions (etc)||Rating 1||+1 Simple (physical)|
|Rating 2||+2 Simple (physical)|
|Rating 3||+3 Simple (physical)|
|AR with DNI or cold-sim VR||+2 Simple (Matrix)|
|Hot-sim VR||+3 Simple (Matrix)|
|Initiated magician||Grade 1||+1 Simple (magic)|
|Grade 2||+2 Simple (magic)|
|Grade 3||+3 Simple (magic)|
Note that no metahuman brain can cope with the multiplicity of inputs of being active in more than one “world” at once. Hence, characters can receive bonus meatspace actions, bonus matrix actions, or bonus magic actions; but only one. If they are eligible for more than one at once, through whatever combination of gear/augments/spells/etc, they can choose freely when rolling for initiative which “world” is getting their attention and hence which bonus minor actions they will receive.
Characters can receive bonus physical actions via any sort of normal initiative augmentation: this includes wired reflexes, Improved Reflexes adept powers, and other cyberware, bioware, or magical initiative augments (including spells like Increase Reflexes). But not drugs; see below.
Example: Alice (streetsam, with Wired Reflexes III) and Bob (ganger) are fighting.
For every initiate grade from 1-3, mages get an extra Simple action that can only be used for magical actions (incl spellcasting, summoning, banishing, etc). This bonus applies equally in the physical world and while astrally projecting.
(Note that this means after their first initiation, a mage can summon a spirit (Complex action) and order it (Simple action) in a single phase.)
Bonus Matrix actions depend on the decker’s or rigger’s interface mode.
As usual, the bonus actions received can only be used for Matrix actions. These include driving tests if the character is piloting a vehicle via AR.
Drugs that increase your initiative roll do not grant extra actions. However, their effect does stack with extra actions gained from other sources. So an initiated mage using Kamikaze can go earlier in the turn and still use their normal Complex action and any bonus magical actions from initiating.
Obviously, combat drugs come with other downsides.
These rules eliminate multiple passes. ↩︎
Or keep the values same and start over without re-rolling as SR 6e does, if you prefer. I like the dynamic feel of re-rolling each turn though. ↩︎
These bonus actions replace the multiple passes mechanic of normal Shadowrun 5e. ↩︎
This restores how Free actions worked in older editions of Shadowrun. It faciliates team communications via the “speak/text/transmit phrase” option. I don’t think there are any game balance consequences to speak of, but we’ll revisit this rule if I’m wrong. ↩︎