The Matrix

By default, Sprawlrunners presents a classic ’80s cyberpunk take on cyberspace: wired decks and VR hacking. Since 4e, Shadowrun has moved away from this, blending in modern technologies like cellphones and wifi. People have different opinions about how good an idea this is, but I quite like it, so below are some houserules aimed at putting wireless devices and hacking into Sprawlrunners - while hopefully keeping it Fast! Furious! And Fun!

NB I will use Shadowrun-speak in this section ie “decker” not “operator”, “host” not “system."

If you’re reading these rules for the first time, you might like to start with this overview, which sets out the key concepts and how they fit together. The rest of the section is split into two parts; one dedicated to the rules mechanics, and one dedicated to the in-world explanation of the Matrix and how it functions.


Setting information about the wireless Matrix

How the wireless Matrix works, from an in-game perspective

Making the Matrix

What the Matrix is made of: the backbone and the local mesh; hosts and other icons

Matrix icons

How things look in the Matrix

The everyday, augmented

How augmented reality works and feels

Hacking the Matrix

Bending the Matrix to your will

Other stuff

Smaller bits and pieces, plot devices, etc

Rules for the wireless Matrix

Game rules for how the Matrix works

Matrix Actions

All kinds of things deckers can do

Sleaze hacking on the wireless Matrix

What to hack and how to hack it


Disregard stealth; brick devices instead

Combat decking

How the decker can help in combat


How the authorities catch deckers

Additional rules

Extra bits and pieces

Overview of what is possible with these rules

Game scenarios these rules attempt to capture

Comparing these houserules to Shadowrun 5e/6e

A quick list of the simplifying assumptions I have made

Last modified January 17, 2021: link to overview from index (28eb773)