A character in Shadowrun is much like a character in a novel or film, except that the player controls her actions. Composed of a collection of attributes and skills, a character has the personality that the player injects into it. Without that personality, the character remains an it. Only when fleshed out can a character become minimally he or she, and, with good characterization, someone memorable.
Here’s a quiz which may help in creating your concept (you can come back to this later)
Characters in Shadowrun usually belong to one of five subgroups of Homo sapiens: the predominant human (Homo sapiens sapiens), elf (Homo sapiens nobilis), dwarf (Homo sapiens pumilionis), ork (Homo sapiens robustus), and troll (Homo sapiens ingentis). Non-humans are known as metahumans, while the five subgroups as a whole (including humans) are known as metahumanity. All are human beings, at least according to geneticists. Racists say differently.
In the early -2050s, humans are still the most numerous metatype populating the planet. Each of the other metatypes is represented about equally, but are scattered unevenly across the globe. In some places, humans form an extreme minority, but those tend to be areas where the other metatypes have gathered for safety, protection, and isolation.
make up the statistical standard. As characters, their only statistical bonus is to the Edge attribute
are hardier (slightly higher Body), stronger (higher Strength), and more stubborn (higher Willpower) than humans, but are also slower on the draw (lower Reaction). They have thermographic vision, which allows them to see radiated infrared (heat) energy as well as the normal light spectrum simultaneously. They have a slower movement rate than other metatypes, but are more resistant to disease. And yes, they are short.
are more agile (higher Agility) and more charismatic (higher Charisma) than humans. They also have low-light vision, which enables them to see clearly in near-total darkness.
are much tougher (much higher Body), stronger (higher Strength), less charismatic (lower Charisma), and less acute (lower Logic) than humans. They too have low-light vision.
are big and nasty. They are a lot tougher (much higher Body), less agile (lower Agility), much stronger (higher Strength), less charismatic (lower Charisma), less perceptive (lower Intuition), and less acute (lower Logic) than humans. They have thermographic vision, really long arms that give them advantages in melee combat, and extremely tough skin with bony deposits that makes them more resistant to damage.
No two shadowrunners are alike, but there are broad categories of specialization that their culture recognizes. The following external links will give a run down on archetypes utilised within the Shadowrun world.
Street Samurai: Technologically-enhanced physical combat specialist.
Adept: Magically-enhanced physical specialist.
Decker: Technologically-enhanced electronic warfare specialist.
Technomancer: Magically-enhanced electronic warfare specialist.
Rigger: Vehicle/drone control specialist.
Face: Social warfare specialist.
Mage: Hermetic Magic specialist.
Shaman: Shamanic Magic specialist.
Due to the nature of the gaming group, I am not going to be focusing on Full Immersion Matrix or Metaplanar heavy interactions. Be aware of this if you plan on playing a decker, technomancer, mage or shaman.
Recommended order to creating your character:
- Select “Magic or Resonance” Priority
Record your new Magic or Resonance starting value, if any
- Select Positive and Negative Qualities
These may change your maximum Attribute and Skill levels
- Select Metatype Priority
- Spend Special Attribute Points
- Select Attributes Priority
- Spend Attribute Points
- Select Skill Priority
- Spend free Knowledge and Language skill points (based on Intuition + Logic)
- Spend “skill group points”
- Spend “skill points”
- Select Resources Priority
- Spend Nuyen
- Select Lifestyle
- Spend Leftover Karma
- Spend Free “Contacts Karma” (based on Charisma)
- Improve skills, attributes, etc.
- Make sure you have 7 or less Karma when you’re done.
Mental Limit is [(Logic * 2) + Intuition + Willpower] / 3 (round up)
Physical Limit is [(Strength * 2) + Body + Reaction] / 3 (round up)
Social [(Charisma * 2) + Willpower + Essence] / 3 (round up)
Aside from your Concept, Metatype and the Archetype, it is a good idea to plan with the other players a team style.
The Shadows of Bearbrass can accommodate multiple styles of game. The original campaign featured a little Oceans 11 style with Dark Trench Coat style.
Here are examples of game style
Pink Mohawk This is your over the top game, think Teen Titans Go or Venture Brothers or Archer. Anything goes. Kinda like GTA with all the guns and armour.
Trench Coat or Mirrored Shades Matrix style gunplay, some Hong Kong Action Theatre style moves. Typical Oceans 11 style, the Fifth Element also fits this. More like a live action movie. Planning is important, and consequences can be brutal.
Dark Future This is Rules as Written. Think Orwell’s 1984, Bladerunner, or the Netflix Series of Daredevil/Jessica Jones. Surveillance is everywhere, but it is workable. Dystopian future with realistic physics and more believable action scenes. Streets are darker, rain is more common, and a lot of the NPCs may be corrupt.
Grim and Gritty Street level game, with high incidences of being in way over your head. Also called Cyber Noir PCs tend to have little impact on the world around them. And consequences are always deadly.
Bearbrass 2.0 will be close to a Dark Future style game. I am aiming for dystopia rising, so don’t expect to get away with much on the Pink Mohawk scale. Legwork is very important, so is the use of contacts and just plain old not being seen doing anything illegal during the job.
A quick link to a good summary of character creation external site
A quick link to the Priority Table via Omae SR5 Character Generator