Waypoint 101 — Shadowrun: Dragonfall


Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Hello, Waypoint readers! We hope you’re all ready to join us and the Waypoint staff on our delve into Shadowrun: Dragonfall, which was initially released in Feb 2014 as downloadable content for Shadowrun Returns before being released as a standalone game in September 2014. Developed and published by Harebrained Schemes, you start as a member of a team on a data heist in a near-future cyberpunk Berlin.

You can pick it up and play on PC, iOS, or Android.

To consolidate discussion, we’re making this thread to serve as the home for the Shadowrun: Dragonfall chatter around the upcoming Waypoint 101. Feel free to share your updates, current thoughts, and blog posts as we go. We hope that, by having folks talk about the game as they play it, we can all have a more enriched experience.

Articles, Podcasts, & Forum Posts

  • Jacobkosh, Post #64 – Very helpful tip post!

Questions & Answers

Q: What is Waypoint 101?

A: Waypoint 101 is Waypoint’s video game book club! This is a semi-regular podcast series, in which Waypoint staff dive deep and dig into a game in full. Rather than the crew explaining the game to one another and the viewers, the team will have all played the game and, thus, open room for a discussion based on an assumption of knowledge. Of course, it’s a perfectly enjoyable listen even if you’re unfamiliar with the game!

Q: Do I have to play the whole game at once?

A: Not necessarily – you can feel free to give us your progress reports as you go.

Q: I played this game before. Can I talk about that thing at the end? Y’know, the thing?

A: As we’re likely not to have multiple episodes about this game, you can, but I would encourage folks to let the discussion germinate and flow naturally. If you really want to talk about the thing, please tag your spoilers accordingly.

Q: Is this Shadowrun Returns as a whole or just Dragonfall?

A: Quote Austin, ‘Just focusing on Dragonfall, though I’m sure some folks in the thread and on the discord will be happy to chat about Returns & Hong Kong too! (And yeah, we’ll be playing the Director’s Cut)’. That is our policy – we’d be super happy for folks to talk Returns and Hong Kong, but tag appropriately & remember this is mainly about Dragonfall. If you want to make spin-off threads for those topics, we’d warmly welcome that.

Q: Should I play Dead Man’s Switch before Dragonfall?

A: Once again, quote Austin, 'For people asking, no, jump right into Dragonfall. I genuinely think it’s a better experience top to bottom, and it’s totally standalone.

Image Credits

Shadowrun: Dragonfall image via Harebrained Schemes press kit


Yay! I prefer HK, but I have a lot of love for this series and hope HBS returns to it sooner rather than later.


Hey if you don’t own this game (it’s really good!) you can grab a DRM free copy from both Humble and gog for $15.

If you have never played a Shadowrun game before you don’t need to have played any of the previous ones. Gameplay can best be described as a turn based RPG + light visual novel elements. As in you could potentially talk your way through a situation or just say frag it and shoot your way through it. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience playing strategy games it’s really easy to pickup and learn.

Awesome! I played a few hours of this a couple of months ago for another game club but life got in the way. I’m excited to play through this as part of W101! Great choice!

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I remember really liking Dragonfall so I guess I’m going to use this as an excuse to play it again. Either that or actually finally go back and finish Hong Kong which quite frankly is shameful of me to have not finished it.

Heck yeah.

Replayed this in May so it’s all pretty fresh in my mind. I did it back to back with the others and think it’s definitely my favourite due to characters and plot but also it’s really nice to come into off the back of Returns (Dead Man’s Switch campaign) and feels like a satisfying step up after the first game acts as a better primer to the universe. One of those games I think is playable in isolation but maybe gains quite a bit from playing the series in order (which is a bit easier to recommend due to these being quite compact for an RPG campaign). Edit to add tweet: Hmmm…

Extremely interested to see what Austin (and any of the rest of the crew who get there) think of the Director’s Cut additional (character) missions. Are any of the crew going to live under the Lodge’s sway or will their Trial Run result in an ethics-based failure? Glory as best character or will the writing not quite make the connection for someone?

Sweet, now I have an excuse to play this!

I really enjoyed what I played of Dead Man’s Switch right up until that incredible slog of a final act and lost interest. I immediately started Dragonfall having heard it was much better but I’d already been soured on the game.

I also played a really boring character because I wasn’t sure what all the systems and mechanics did, but damn if that isn’t still a fresh as hell world to set your RPG in. If this doesn’t get me to play Dragonfall and Hong Kong then I don’t know what will.

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This is my big question about this – some guidance from the thread folks who are experienced in this game (appropriately tagged) would be great. I feel like I didn’t spec my character in my initial play ‘right’ – are there some generally advised paths/builds that people would recommend?

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Dragonfall is the Godfather Part II of Shadowrun Returns.

For Dragonfall I would say your best option for content would be a mage. The class makes for a great lategame and while you can make sure you have a decker for every mission, the Berlin crew lacks a magic powerhouse, meaning your combat options can be futzy and you’re definitely missing content if your character isn’t magically inclined. cough Glory cough Absinthe cough

Oh, and Harebrained Schemes never quite ironed out how to make submachine guns work in these games so probably best to not spec your player character in them.


Missing in combat is always a bummer, so a few points into Quickness never go amiss (Spellcasting skill under Willpower determines spell accuracy, if you want to sling magic bolts and the like). Also don’t be afraid to put points into Charisma if you want to be persuasive, even if you don’t want to be a shaman.


I think one of the tooltips says something about needing to specialise (and it’s not kidding if you’re used to other RPG systems which are more about becoming good at many things). Some generic advice (for whatever people want to play as) that should also help first timers:

The class selected should guide primary stats but also everything around it is going to be quite rationed. Find your core and start thinking about how far into two trees you want to buy into for this character (and then you’ve got some cheap early skills you can think about in other trees to open up early perks/skills). Although you don’t have to invest in an entire core stat to upgrade into two sub-trees (so it seems like a cheaper investment), you’re also probably never going to have the points to really go deep into that so don’t expect to ever be accomplished with several weapon types or pick up unarmed and a weapon (unless you really sacrifice elsewhere). Look at the skill unlocks for where it’s basically the same skill unlocking in several places (in different trees, for different specialisations) and use that as a guide for trees the system doesn’t expect most players to go down both branches of.

I’d even say the race limits are rarely going to matter during this sort of campaign length (unless you’re aiming for a Charisma/talky build and roll a Troll - although that’s actually exactly what I played as recently, Cha-6 Adept Troll with a range of tongues despite that having low synergy with the class and bumping up against that very low limit; it totally works).

I found a lot of the fun of combat was finding the synergies between characters but I think there should be a lot of opportunities for that without limiting yourself to a few OP options.


Ah shit I need to rework my gaming schedule. I’ve been meaning to try one of these for years and this probably just eroded my last excuse. I’ve never played a top down Western RPG and I’ve been way into Shadowrun ever since a particular Youtuber who I won’t name because he has since had a very public and awful meltdown told some great stories about it.

Very much looking forward to playing this with you all.

Shadowrun holds a very special place in my heart as a kid who grew up playing and pouring over every detail in the FASA 2nd edition. That said, I only put a few hours into this back when it came out; not quite sure what came up that got in the way.

Jacking back in tonight.

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Dragonfall is really awesome, left me hungry for more, unlike Hong Kong where I enjoyed it but by the end of the main story I was ready for it to be done and had no interest in doing the bonus campaign.

In Hong Kong I understood the systems more, having played through Dragonfall already, so I spec’d my character a ton better and had an easier time. I made poor choices with my stats in Dragonfall which made it a little tougher. For anyone starting out I recommend spending your time with those and don’t rush throwing points into things.

Seriously though, Dragonfall is such a great game.

(I never played Returns based on comments Austin had said in the past about skipping it and going straight to Dragonfall)

As someone who has kept trying to complete returns before playing Dragonfall

THANK YOU FOR THIS! Returns is a real slog and the few hours I have played of Dragonfall were amazing. Now I have an excuse to forgo my stubbornness and play Dragonfall and never play Returns again!!!