The Third Edition of Shadowrun rulebook was released by FASA Corporation in 1998 (Real Time). Supplements for this edition were published by FASA between 1998 and 2001 and Fantasy Productions between 2001 and 2005.
Third Edition rules were very similar to those of Shadowrun Second Edition. Major changes included :
- Troll and Elf metatype could be picked as Priority C, and Dwarf and Ork as Priority D during character creation, instead of Priority A.
- Characters can have Knowledge Skills. Character creation rules grant a number of points based on the Intelligence attribute to acquire them. They can be raised using Karma as other skills, now called Active Skills, but at a lower cost.
- Defaulting no longer uses a Skill Web. Skills can be defaulted only to a given set of related skills or to an Attribute.
- During a Combat Turn, all characters would act by descending Initiative Score before subtracting 10 for additional Initiative Passes. As a result, characters with high Initiative Score would not get more than one Initiative Pass before slower character get their.
- Magical Initiation start at Grade 1, instead of Grade 0.
- Matrix Nodes of various types (CPU, SAN, SPU, etc.) were replaced by multi-purpose Hosts.
The Third Edition rulebook and supplements cover years 2060 to 2065. It starts after the dissolution of Fuchi Industrial Electronics, after Wuxing, Novatech and Cross Applied Technologies joined the Corporate Court (events that were described in Second Edition supplement Blood in the Boardroom). The final supplement for Third Edition is System Failure, which describes how Novatech Initial Public Offering, a major terrorist attack by Winternight and Deus attempt at reforming itself lead to the Matrix Crash in 2064.
Third Edition supplements include Shadows of North America, Shadows of Europe and Shadows of Asia. Work started on a supplement titled Shadows of Latin America but its release was cancelled. Those supplements were Shadowrun first attempt at mapping and covering the world and 21st century history more thoroughly (later completed by Fourth Edition supplement Sixth World Almanac).
[to be completed]