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Okay, so another request: the Tech-Wiz. The original was a dwarf, but I decided to make this guy a troll for fun. He’s more of a ‘couch potato’ type of troll, but with Skills A he has a pretty large amount of variety. The bit below average Charisma I think fits a more ‘likes computers more than the outdoors’ type. His cyberdeck is flimsy-it’s only the second one on the list-but I see him using it more for stuff like media piracy or some basic overwatch than I do true decking(for now, he can always get a better one, and his skills in decking aren’t that bad.) His deal is essentially building and repairing about everything, with a big pickup to keep shops and stuff in. (I see his Low Lifestyle actually being a big warehouse or something.)

A: Skills(10/46)
B: Troll
C: Resources(140k)
D: Attributes(14)
E: Magic

Attributes:

Body: 5
Agility: 3
Reaction: 3
Strength: 5
Charisma: 2
Intuition: 4
Logic: 5
Willpower: 3
Edge: 2
Essence: 5.5
Initiative: 7+1d6

Limits:
Physical: 6
Mental: 6
Social: 5

Condition Monitor:
Stun: 10
Physical: 11

Positive Qualities: Juryrigger(10), Photographic Memory(6)

Negative Qualities: Mild Allergy(Sunlight, +10), Insomnia(+10)

+4 Bonus Karma

10: Resources(+20,000 for 160,000)
10: Edge
Remaining: 9 Bonus Karma

Ware:

Datajack(.1 essence)
Cybereyes(Rating 3), w/Low-Light, Thermographic, Flare Compensation and Vision Magnification(.4 essence)

Active Skills:

Mechanic Skill Group: 5
Hardware Skill Group: 5

Armorer: 4
Cybertechnology: 4
Locksmith: 3
Hacking: 4
Cybercombat: 4
Electronic Warfare: 4
First Aid: 2
Pistols: 3
Perception: 3
Pilot Ground Craft: 3
Clubs: 2
Etiquette: 3
Sneaking: 2
Negotiation: 2
Forgery: 3
Gymnastics: 2

4 Bonus Karma spent on Gymnastics

Knowledge/Language Skills:

Pirate Trid Broadcasting: 3
Media Datahavens: 3
Physical Sciences:  2
Metallurgy: 2
Coffee: 2
Electronic Design: 3

English: N
Spanish: 3

Gear:

Microdeck Summit
Toyota Gopher
Electronic Tools Kit/Shop
Armorer Tools Kit/Shop
Automotive Tools Kit/Shop
Industrial Tools Kit/Shop
Cybertechnology Tools Kit
Aeronautic Tools Kit
Low Lifestyle(1 month)

Browning Ultra Power w/ 50 rounds, 50 gel rounds, 50 APDS rounds and Concealable Holster
Stun Baton
Armor Jacket(with Non Conductivity 4)
Fake Sin(Rating 4)
Fake Licenses: 2 at Rating 4
Medkit(Rating 4, 2 refills)
Trauma Patch
Survival Kit
Gas Mask
Respirator(Rating 4)
Flashlight
Miniwelder
Sequencer(Rating 4)
Lockpick Set
Keycard Copier(Rating 4)
Earbuds(Capacity 3), with Audio Enhancement 2 and Select Sound Filter 1
Glasses(Capacity 4) w/Vision Enhancement 2
5 Certified Credsticks(Silver)
Micro transceiver
Datasoft(Electronic Design, Metallurgy, Pirate Trid Broadcasting and Media Datahavens):
Programs(Common): Browse, Configurator, Edit, Encryption, Signal Scrub, Toolbox, Virtual Machine
Programs(Hacking): Armor, Baby Monitor, Defuse, Guard, Sneak, Stealth, Track, Wrapper
Shopsoft(Electronics, Cyberdecks)
Hermes Ikon Commlink(w/Sim Mod)

Starting Nuyen: 1370+(3d6x60)

Contacts: 6(5 Karma added for 11)

Fixer: C3 L3
Media Pirate: C2 L3

Description: The Tech-Wiz does a little decking on the side(not much though, he more uses it for things like trid piracy or overwatch, though he does keep a nice handful of programs on hand), but his main forte is building and repairing a huge variety of things. Be it cars, trucks, bikes, planes, electronics, or even weapons and armor with some locks on the side, the Tech-Wiz can utilize a wide variety of tools and tricks to get the job done, sometimes even throwing stuff together seemingly out of nothing; he’ll sometimes lose track of time as he works on things, staying up all night. He seems to like his equipment and fixing things more than hanging out with people-he’s not mean or antisocial but he tends to spend more time in the land of electronics and the matrix than he does getting things like sunlight or ‘fresh’ air.

Ahh, the Rocker. She existed back in Shadowrun 1e, and never again. Definitely not your typical runner type, but nonetheless a lot of fun.

I took a bit of a different approach with her-she did get some light ware, but with Alchemical Preparations and the ability to do one’s own pyrotechnics, I could NOT resist the lure of a mage-Rocker, at all. So here she is and I hope you enjoy!

Rocker, SR5

Magician
Human(E Priority)
Attributes: B
Skills: C(28/2)
Resources: D(50,000)
Magic: A

Attributes:

Body: 3
Agility: 3
Reaction: 3
Strength: 3
Charisma: 5
Intuition: 4
Logic: 3
Willpower: 4
Edge: 3
Essence: 5.1
Magic: 5
Initiative: 7+1d6
Armor: 12

Limits:

Physical: 4
Mental: 5
Social: 7

Condition Monitors:

Stun: 10
Physical: 10
Overflow: 3

Positive Qualities: First Impression(11), Ambidexterous(4), Mentor Spirit(5, Fire-Bringer)
Negative Qualities: Addiction(Mild, Stim, +4), Insomnia(+10)

Mentor Spirit Bonuses: +2 Artisan tests, +2 Manipulation spells, must help out unless a Willpower+Charisma(3) test is passed.

Bonus Karma remaining: 19

Cyberware:
Voice Modulator(Rating 4)  .8 essence
Datajack 1 essence

Alchemical Preparations:(Guitar, mic stand, wand, outfit pieces like rings and necklaces, things of that nature.)

Levitate
Light
Shadow
Invisibility
Magic Fingers
Mask
Phantasm
Entertainment
Flamethrower
Animate

Active Skills:

Conjuring Skill Group: 2

Spellcasting: 4
Counterspelling: 3
Alchemy: 5
Arcana: 5
Assensing: 2
Pistols: 3
Clubs: 2
Perception: 3
Etiquette(Media): 3(+2)
Performance(Choose): 6
Gymnastics: 2
Pilot Ground Craft: 1
Throwing: 1
Computer: 1
First Aid: 1

Bonus Karma for Skills: +1 Gymnastics(4 Karma), Pilot Ground Craft, Throwing, Computer of 1 each(6 Karma), First Aid 1(2 Karma). Total: 12 of 19 Bonus Karma spent

Knowledge/Language Skills:

Music Theory: 2
Musical Composition: 3
Hot Clubs and Venues: 3
Rock Music!:  2
Visual Performance: 2
English: N
Japanese: 2

Gear/Lifestyle: (+6000 nuyen, 3 bonus Karma), 35000 left

Chosen Instruments/Stage Costumes(5000 nuyen worth)
Middle Lifestyle(1 Month)
Browning Ultra-Power w/50 rounds, 50 APDS, 50 Stick n Shock and Concealable Holster
Telescoping Staff(looking suspiciously like a microphone stand)
Stun Baton
2 Throwing Knives
Armor Jacket(w/ Non Conductivity 6 and Fire Resist 4)
5 Smoke Grenades
Fake Sin(Rating 4)
Fake Licenses(3 at Rating 4)
Renraku Sensei Commlink(w/Sim Mod and Subvocal Mic)
Magical Lodge Materials(Rating 3)

Chemsuit(Rating 6)
Gas Mask
Respirator(Rating 4)
Survival Kit
Medkit(Rating 4), 2 refills
Monofilament Chainsaw

Contacts: 15

Bouncer: C2 L4
Media Producer: C4 L3
Venue Owner: C3 L3

+4 Bonus Karma spent on Contacts

Starting Nuyen: 10+(4d6x100)

Description: The Rocker is a bit of a different breed of runner-she’s actually more of a performer. As in she gets on stage and uses her magical gifts(mostly fed through her various instruments which she can activate-fire-shooting guitars, her own pyrotechnics and even, hell, a monofilament chainsaw) to add to her rather impressive stage show. She loves the thrill of getting onstage and playing her good ol’ fashioned 2050s rock n’ roll. She makes an interesting shadowrunner though-some of her spells are held in more subtle items, and they can double as interesting distractions on a run, and over the years her bouncer buddy has given her a few lessons on shooting in his spare time(and her mic stand can double as an interesting blunt object for people who want to get too close.) Charismatic and able to hang with people well, it might just be that her love of the thrill and rather eclectic skill and spell set can come in handier to a team than one might think.

Way back in SR1, there was a Burned out Mage archetype. He was pretty awesome in a weird way. Poor guy burned out most of his magical ability on cyber, and this guy’s itching for some Focus addiction as well(which, well, he has.) It may not be the most powerful Archetype in the world but damned if it wasn’t something different and original. Alas, he was not long for the world-he disappeared after that and was never seen again. Here is my attempt to bring him back via 5e.

Sadly, due to how 5e’s rules work, he can only know his Magic x2 in spells, or 4 spells, which sort of takes away some of the oomph the old Archetype had(who had a ton of spells that he was terrible at casting.) Though once he gets in game, getting him Alchemical Preparations would probably fit as he spirals ever downward.

Magic: A
Resources: B
Attributes: C
Skills: D
Race: E

Attributes:

Body: 3(+1 Damage Resistance)
Agility: 3(4 Average, 7 in arm)
Reaction: 3(4)
Strength: 3(4 Average, 7 in arm)
Charisma: 2
Intuition: 2
Logic: 4
Willpower: 4
Edge: 3
Essence: 2
Magic: 2[+3, Force 3 Bonded Power Focus]
Initiative: 5(6)+1d6(2d6)
Armor: 16(12 Armor Jacket, 2 Cyberarm, 1 Dermal Plating, 1 Bone Lacing)

Limits:

Physical: 5
Mental: 5
Social: 4

Condition Monitors:

Physical: 11
Stun: 10
Overflow: 3

Cyberware:

Wired Reflexes(Rating 1, Alphaware) 1 Essence
Plastic Bone Lacing: .5 essence
Cybereyes(Rating 3, w/Low-Light, Thermographic, Flare Compensation, Smartlink, and Vision Enhancement 2)-.4 essence
Dermal Plating(Rating 1)-.5 essence
Cyberarm(Customized Strength and Agility 6 each), w/Strength and Agility +1, Armor +2, and Retractable Spur

Spells:

Manaball
Stun Bolt
Heal
Magic Fingers

Positive Qualities: High Pain Tolerance(1)-7

Negative Qualities: Addiction(Foci, Moderate, +9), Loss of Confidence(Spellcasting, +10)

Bonus Karma: 25+12=37

Active Skills:
Spellcasting: 5
Counterspelling: 5
Summoning: 2
Banishing: 2
Alchemy: 4
Arcana: 3
Gymnastics: 2
Etiquette: 2
Assensing: 2
Unarmed Combat: 3
Automatics: 3
Sneaking: 1
Negotation: 2
First Aid: 1
Pilot Ground Craft: 1
Cybertechnology: 1

Bonus Karma spent on Skills: Negotation(2), First Aid(1), Pilot Ground Craft(1), Cybertechnology(1)-12

Knowledge/Language Skills:

Cyberclinics: 3
Magical Theory: 3
Security Procedures: 2
Seedy Wizbars: 1

English: N
Cantonese: 3
Japanese: 2

3 Bonus Karma spent on Japanese: 2

Gear:

Low Lifestyle(1 Month)

HK227 SMG w/100 regular rounds, 60 APDS rounds, 60 Gel Rounds and Gas Vent 3

Armor Jacket(With Non-Conductivity 4)

Power Focus(Force 3, Bonded)
Spell Focus(Combat Spells, Force 2, Bonded)
Spell Focus(Manipulation Spells, Force 2, Unbonded)
Spell Focus(Fire Spirits, Force 2, Unbonded)
Magical Lodge Materials(Rating 4)
100 Drams of Reagents

Renraku Sensei Commlink(w/Subvocal Mic and Sim Mod)
Fake Sin(Rating 4)
Fake Licenses(3 at Rating 4 each)
Honda Spirit
Medkit(Rating 4) w/2 refills
Trauma Patch
Survival Kit
Gas Mask
Chemsuit(Rating 4)
Docwagon Basic Contract(1 year)

Notes: 22 Bonus Karma spent on Bonding Foci

Starting Nuyen: 50+(3d6x60)

Description: The burned out mage was once a wage-mage of great power who ended up taking a nasty wound; such is, and he got a cyberarm for his trouble. It all started there-after he realized the power it could give him(after working on tweaking it out, installing a cyberspur and the like), he realized that perhaps maybe both cyber and magic could work together in harmony. Some years later, he’s now stuck with a body with dwindling magic that’s getting stuffed with more ware, and he’s fallen back on foci to try to keep himself going. It’s not going all too well with him-stick a paperclip in him and he’ll have even less power than he does now. He’s thought about dabbling in some of that Alchemy, though…perhaps that could help out. He relies on Foci and reagants, and doesn’t know the spells he used to on top of it. Some mages pity him, others shake their heads that he wasted his great potential, but he doesn’t think it’s over yet…

So here’s a Merc, remade for 5e. My idea here was that over the years, we’ve had Merc archetypes of human, ork, dwarf(all in 1e and 2e), and troll(3e), but never an elf; so I decided to make this guy a pointy-ears to finish off the bunch. I was aiming for a pretty good balance of skills and such; he, like all the Archetypes, has plenty of room to grow however, and enough Essence left to plug some more stuff into him.

And yes, I use a lot of the Bonus Karma fund on skills for many of these archetypes; it’s a fantastic use for them.

Attributes: A
Resources: B
Skills: C(28/2)
Race: D
Magic: E

Attributes:

Body: 5(+2 Damage Resistance)
Agility: 6(8)
Reaction: 4(5)
Strength: 6(8)
Charisma: 4
Intuition: 4
Logic: 3
Willpower: 3
Edge: 1
Essence: 1.85
Initiative: 8(9)+1d6(2d6)
Armor: 15(17 with Helmet)

Limits:
Physical: 8
Mental: 5
Social: 4

Condition Monitors:
Physical: 11
Stun: 10
Overflow: 7

Positive Qualities: Will to Live(2, 6 Karma)
Negative Qualities: SINner(+5 Karma), Mild Allergy(Soy, +10 Karma)

Total: +9, 34 Bonus Karma total

Cyber/Bioware:

Synaptic Boosters(Rating 1)-.5 Essence
Muscle Replacement(Rating 2, Alphaware)-1.6 Essence
Alumunum Bone Lacing(Alphaware)-.8 Essence
Orthoskin(Rating 3)-.75 Essence
Internal Air Tank(Rating 2)-.5 Essence

Active Skills:

Athletics Skill Group: 2

Pistols: 4
Automatics: 5
Longarms: 3
Heavy Weapons: 5
Unarmed Combat: 6
Blades: 2
Etiquette: 3
Sneaking: 2
Leadership: 2
Perception: 2
Pilot Ground Craft: 2
Armorer: 2
First Aid: 1
Throwing Weapons: 1

Bonus Karma for Skills: 4(First Aid and Throwing 1), 24 (Perception, Leadership, Sneaking and Pilot Ground Craft 2), 6 more for Armorer 2
Bonus Karma Spent: 34 of 34

Knowledge/Language skills:

Military History:2
Arms Dealers:3
Military Strategy(Literature): 3(+2)

English: N
German: 3
Sperethiel: 2

Gear:

Armored Jacket(with Chem Resist, Fire Resist, and Non Conductivity 2): 12 Armor
Helmet(+2 Armor)
Katana(11P, -3 AP, 1 Reach)
Combat Knife(10P, -3 AP)
Knucks(11P Unarmed Combat)
Survival Knife(9P, -1 AP)
4 Throwing Knives

Middle Lifestyle(1 month)-5,000

Beretta 201T(Smartlinked), w/ 60 rounds, 60 APDS, 60 SnS, and Concealable Holster
Ares Predator V w/ Concealable Holster, 60 rounds, 60 APDS rounds
Ruger Super Warhawk(Smartlinked), w/60 APDS rounds and concealable holster
HK-227 SMG: 730, w/ Gas Vent 3, 100 rounds, 100 gel rounds
Ares Alpha: w/ Shock Pad, 200 rounds, 100 APDS rounds, 100 gel rounds, and 10 HE Grenades
Enfield AS-7(Smartlinked) w/ 50 rounds, 50 fletchette, 50 APDS
Ruger 100(Smartlinked) w/ 50 APDS rounds
Ingram Valiant LMG w/200 rounds of belted regular ammunition, 100 rounds belted APDS
5 Flash-Bangs
5 Smoke Grenades

Fake Sin(Rating 3)
Licenses(3 at Rating 4)

Harley-Davidson Scorpion

Gas Mask
Respirator(Rating 4)
Survival Kit
100m standard rope
Climbing Gear
Medkit(Rating 4) w/ 2 Refills
Contacts(Capacity 3), w/ Smartlink, Image Link and Vision Enhancement 1
Earbuds(Capacity 3), w/ Audio Enhancement 2
Micro Transciever
Renraku Sensei Commlink
Trauma Patches(2)
Collection of military-themed books

Contacts:
Arms Dealer: C3 L3
S-K Security Specialist: C2 L2
UCAS Officer: C1 L1

Description: The Elf Merc’s been around the block a few times, and he’s come back each and every time, with a new experience or two to share. He can do the job loud, he can do it quiet, however the customer wants. He’s got the skills and the physical conditioning, and he knows some people about as well. He’s not too old or grizzled yet, but he did a few years here and there-no red ink on his papers, either, and he’s got more skills and experience than his appearance would lead you to believe. He may even do his jobs with some class. The reason why he looks relaxed on his Harley Scorpion with a smile on his face? He’s been through a lot and lived to tell the tale. You MAY not want to question his integrity too much, though. This is a man who can successfully tie you into a pretzel with one hand while reciting passages from ‘The Art of War.’

Back in the day, in the old Sprawl Sites book, there was an Elven Mage archetype. The poor girl seemed to disappear over the years. Perhaps because she died from catching a cold from her 1 Body. This one’s healthier. This one is a mage through and through and I took some liberties to give her some new bonuses, like a Knowledge Mentor spirit to fit her theme. I think people looking for a ‘classic Magician’ archetype(while still having someone who won’t blow away in a stiff breeze) could enjoy this one.

Priorities:
A: Magic
B: Attributes
C: Resources
D: Race
E: Resources(6,000)-+20,000(10 Bonus Karma)

Attributes:

Body: 3
Agility: 4
Reaction: 3
Strength: 2
Charisma: 5
Intuition: 4
Logic: 5
Willpower: 5
Edge: 1
Essence: 6
Magic: 6
Initiative: 7+1d6
Armor: 12

Limits:
Physical: 4
Mental: 7
Social: 7

Condition Monitor:
Physical: 10
Stun: 11
Overflow: 3

Positive Qualities:  Mentor Spirit(5) [Knowledge: Hermetic title for Snake-+2 Arcana Tests, +2 Detection Spells, must roll Charisma+Willpower(3) to avoid pursuing secrets or knowledge that few people know about when hints are received of its existence.]

Negative Qualities: Allergy(Mild, Gold +5), Astral Beacon(+10)

Total: 25+10=35 Bonus Karma. 10 Spent on Resources leaves 25.

Spells:

Power Bolt
Stunball
Clairaudience
Analyze Truth
Combat Sense
Heal
Stabilize
Increase Reflexes
Chaotic World
Invisibility
Armor

Increased Reflexes: 5 Karma(20 Bonus Karma remaining)

Active Skills:

Enchanting Skill Group: 2

Spellcasting: 6
Counterspelling: 5
Ritual Spellcasting: 3
Arcana: 3
Assensing: 2
Clubs(Stun Baton): 1(+2)
Pistols: 2
Etiquette(Magical): 2(+2)
Perception: 2
Conjuring: 4
Banishing: 3
Binding: 3
Astral Combat: 2
First Aid: 1
Gymnastics: 1
Pilot Ground Craft: 1
Negotiation: 2
Computer: 1

Bonus Karma spent on Skills: First Aid(1), Gymnastics(1), Astral Combat(2), Pilot Ground Craft(1), Negotiation(2), Computer(1): 20 Bonus Karma spent

Knowledge/Language Skills:

Magical Threats: 3
Magical Groups: 3
Parazoology: 3
Magical Theory: 3
Fine Elven Spirits: 2

English: N
Sperethiel: 4

Gear:

Stun Baton
Browning Ultra-Power(w/50 rounds regular, APDS, Gel, and Concealable Holster)
Armor Jacket(w/Non Conductivity 4)

Magical Lodge Materials(Rating 6)
Reagents(50 Drams)
2 Detection Spell Formulae of choice

Middle Lifestyle(1 Month)

Fake SIN(Rating 2)
Fake Licenses(2 at Rating 4)
Earbuds(Capacity 3) w/ Audio Enhancement 1
Glasses(Capacity 4) w/ Vision Enhancement 1 and Image Link
Antidote Patches(2 at Rating 4)
Medkit(Rating 4), 2 Refills
Survival Kit
Respirator(Rating 4)
Gas Mask
3 Certified Credsticks(Silver)
Renraku Sensei Commlink(w/ Subvocal Mic)

Starting Nuyen: 150+(4d6x100)

Contacts:

Talismonger: C4 L3
Paranormal Investigator: C2 L2
Magic Librarian: C2 L2

Description: The Elven Mage is sort of a classic; she has a passionate interest in finding out how the magical world works, and is a highly educated and schooled woman, especially on all things arcane. She has a wide variety of spells and utilities on hand for a team’s every need, and is socially rather adept as well. More active than your average bookworm, her Stun Baton will give a nasty surprise to those who think she only need be casting to be a threat. On downtime, she can be found researching the plethora of magical threats about in the Sixth World or studying up on some of the paranormal critters around.

I kinda missed the old Detective. The SR2 version totally looked like a guy that would be in Law and Order: Seattle 2053, that you could imagine chewing Rolaids while he tried to go about solving the Sixth World’s crimes that the police ignored. SR3 also had the guy(and a pretty awesome pipe-smoking ork on top of it).

SR4 and 5 replaced this guy with the Occult Investigator-which while a cool concept, I don’t feel is the same unaugmented, un-magical fellow who relied on his wits and natural skills and abilities. It’s definitely never been the most powerful archetype, but I miss it, so here is my attempt to rebuild him for an SR5 Archetype.

I’m probably going to put together a few more of the old, forgotten Archetypes as well. Okay, there aren’t THAT many, but I have plans to finish the Merc(an elf this time, he’s almost done), and the Burned-Out Mage(haven’t started yet).

 

Skills: A
Attributes: B
Race: C(Dwarf)
Resources: D(50,000)
Magic: E(None)

Attributes:

Body: 5
Agility: 4
Reaction: 3
Strength: 3
Charisma: 4
Intuition: 5
Logic: 4
Willpower: 5
Edge: 2
Essence: 6
Initiative: 8+1d6

Limits:
Physical: 5
Mental: 6
Social: 6

Condition Monitors:
Physical: 11
Stun: 11

Positive Qualities: Analytical Mind(5), Bilingual(5)

Negative Qualities: Addiction(Mild, Alcohol, +4), Code of Honor(Warrior’s Code, +15)

Total: +9, for 34 total Bonus Karma

Active Skills:

Influence Skill Group: 6
Electronics Skill Group: 3

Pistols: 4
Longarms(Shotguns): 2(+2)
Clubs: 3
Unarmed Combat: 3
Tracking(Urban): 3(+2)
Sneaking(Urban): 4(+2)
Palming: 3
Pilot Ground Craft: 2
Perception(Visual): 4(+2)
First Aid: 2
Con: 4
Medicine: 2
Intimidation(Interrogation): 3(+2)
Locksmith: 2
Forgery: 2
Running: 2
Gymnastics: 2
Swimming: 1

Bonus Karma:
Running +1(4 Karma), Gymnastics +1(4 Karma), Forgery 2(6 Karma)-14 of 34 spent

Knowledge/Language Skills:

Police Procedures: 3
Underworld Politics: 2
Organized Crime Rings: 3
Pharmaceuticals(Drugs): 2(+2)
Movies of the 1900s: 2
Seedy Bars: 2

Spanish: N
English: N
Cantonese: 3

Contacts: 12+10 more Bonus Karma(22 total)

Lone Star Detective: C2 L2
Fixer: C3 L2
Bartender: C2 L3
Fence: C3 L2
Streetwalker: C2 L1

Gear and Lifestyle: 50,000(+20,000 nuyen for 10 Karma, 70,000 Total)

Low Lifestyle(1 Month)

Stun Baton
Yamaha Pulsar(Taser) w/10 Taser Darts
Taurus Omni-6(w/60 rounds, 60 gel rounds, 30 APDS rounds, and concealable holster)
Browning Ultra-Power(w/50 rounds, 50 gel rounds, 30 APDS rounds and concealable holster)
Flash-Pak
Lined Coat(Armor: 9, with Non-Conductivity 4, Chem 2 and Fire Resist 2)

Transys Avalon Commlink(w/Sim Mod and Subvocal Mic)
20 RFID Tags
10 Stealth Tags
20 Datachips
Bug Scanner(Rating 6)
Data Tap
Area Jammer(Rating 4)
Micro-Tranceiver
Tag Eraser
White Noise Generator(Rating 6)
Fake Sin(Rating 4)
Fake Sin(Rating 3)
Fake Licenses(Pistols, Longarms, both at Rating 4)
4 Certified Credsticks(Standard)
Binoculars(Capacity 2, Vision Magnification, Low-Light)
Contacts(Capacity 3, w/ Vision Enhancement 1, Image Link and Flare Compensation)
Earbuds(Capacity 3, Audio Enhancement 2)
Handheld Sensor(Capacity 3)w/Laser Microphone
Plasteel Restraints(4 pair)
Autopicker(Rating 4)
Lockpick Set
Maglock Passkey(Rating 3)
Sequencer(Rating 4)
Climbing Gear
Flashlight
Chemsuit(Rating 4)
Respirator(Rating 4)
Survival Kit
Micro Flare Launcher/4 Flares
Trauma Patch(2)
Medkit(Rating 4), w/ 2 refills
Antidote Patches(2 at rating 4)
Ford Americar

Total: 69,125(875 left)
Starting Nuyen: 875+(3d6x60)

Description: The Detective might be a throwback, but he knows what’s what on the streets. A fellow who never did get the touch of magic(though he knows a bit of it and has worked cases involving it), he has chosen to not go under the knife to augment his body, leaving him with what some might think is a disadvantage against the heavier-chromed members of the underworld. But the Detective’s style isn’t dealing with people toe to toe; he’s the type who tracks down leads, works his contacts, and uses his impressive swath of knowledge and broad skillset to get the job done. He knows what’s what in the underworld, and woe to the person who gets on the wrong side of him; while he’s not the type that would take you out for looking at him wrong, he has the knowhow and the connections to make someone’s life very, very hard. His old-fashioned ways may seem out of place at first glance, but that’s almost why they’re so valuable-it’s tough to find this kind of person anymore, and his rarity alone could be a valuable asset to those in the shadows.

Going to be posting some of the house rules I plan on using with SR5. This will be an ongoing process, and hell, some of these might end up tweaked over time.

-Karmagen setup in progress. I like this priority system, but I also like Karma Generation. (The Karmagen system’s meta prices are in the process of getting an overhaul; I’m changing the ‘negative at the start’, increasing the base costs of the Metas and having everyone buy the stats from 1. It seems fairly balanced. Starting Karma will remain between 720-730, which I feel is appropriate for the power level you get from the Priority system, with 550-650 for lower level games, and 750-850 for higher. I have made up a few characters now under Priority, and a few under the 730 Karma system(using the race costs I figured), and I genuinely feel that the power level is quite even. I do apologize this is going slowly, but I do want to make sure that I iron the kinks out of it. I feel it’s almost done, but could use a few more passes.

-For Priority based characters, they get Logic + Intuition x 3 Knowledge Skill points. This change is simply due to x2 being a silly low amount, and was an unnecessary change from the old.

Price Adjustments on some Cyberware, Bioware and Other Gear:

I’m not too fond of cyberware prices as they are. I feel they are a bit costly for what they are, and really feel they could use a

So, given I feel stuff is too much for the nuyen, I’m lowering prices on the stuff that was raised until I feel it’s more in line.

Cyberware:

Wired Reflexes :

Rating 1: 25,000
Rating 2: 100,000
Rating 3: 200,000

Muscle Replacement: Eyeballing between 18,000 and 20,000 per level. 20k would bring back the ‘old school’ price, though I think 18,000 would be more appropriate and is likely the number I’ll be running with. Rating 2′s seem a little costly, but you can, under this, get yourself an Alphaware set of Wired 2 and even have Resources B if you like playing a ‘simpler’ sam.

Visual and Audio Enhancements:

Cybereyes: 1,000/5,000/7,500/10,000
Cyberears: 1,000/3,000/5,000/8,000
Vision Enhancement: Rating x 2,000
Low-Light/Thermo/Flare Comp: 1,000/1,000/750
Audio Enhancement: Rating x 2,000
Smartlink: 2,000
Vision Magnification: 1,000
Balance Augmenter: 5,000
Damper: 1,500
Select Sound Filter: Rating x 2,000
Spatial Recognizer: 2,000

The base Cybereyes should be cheap. They are one of the most known pieces of ware, and I can’t see them being more than 1,000. I could probably lower them to 500 and it would be appropriate. The higher levels I can see costing more, but not as much as they currently are. This is stuff that gets used in mass quantitied for corps.

I decided to lower the price of Plastic Bone Lacing to about 7,000 instead. I feel the other two are well priced, but Plastic, being the lower end, I felt could be a little bit cheaper.

I am in the process of refitting Shadowtech’s old variable Datajacks to fit the new game, but it’s going to take a bit of work. I liked the idea of level 1-4 Datajacks.

Bioware:

Muscle Augmentation: 22,000/Level
Muscle Toner: 23,000/Level (1 level of each is 45k, like in the old days)
Suprathyroid: 90,000
Synthacardium: 15,000/Level
Tailored Pheromones: 18,000/Level
Cerebral Booster: 20,000/Level

I feel these prices are more suitable. Bioware is still more expensive(if you want a biosam, you’re probably going to be rocking A or B Resources). Availability is not changed, so the caps for what you can get if you play with standard Availability rules also doesn’t change. That being said, IMO, Availability should drop to Rating x4 in regards to the Synaptic Boosters, to allow cyber/bio characters to start with Level 3 Reflexes if they choose like an Adept can. (It’s allowed in our games, again, due to no Availability caps, but for those who play with it it’s a suggestion that I have that I think will quell a *lot* of the issue the cyber folks are having with adepts; ie, they can start with level 3 reflexes.)

I didn’t lower the Essence costs of anything, so people wanting to buy used for an even bigger discount are going to be taking a nasty Essence hit still.

I have done a bit of testing. A mostly Bio-Sam will have to be Resources A; but you know, that’s alright in my mind. You’re paying the the ability to be less detectable than a masked mage. But I wanted cyber folks to be able to run without spending most of their resources. With this setup, one can get 2 levels of Alphaware Muscle Replacement for 43,200, Wired Reflexes 1(Alphaware) for 30,000, a set of Level 3 cybereyes with low-light, thermographic, flare compensation, Lv. 3 Vision Enhancement and a Smartlink for 18,250, and Aluminum Bone lacing(Alphaware) for 21,600. This comes out for a total of 4.4 Essence and 113,050, which I feel is quite nice for a more ‘budget’ Samurai. They have money to spend in Resources C WITHOUT having to use Bonus Karma toward it, they still have room to grow Essence wise, and they could have probably gone for just about 100,000 nuyen if they chose to do the higher-essence non Alphaware method here.

Skillwires:

Since a Skilljack is needed now, I am dropping the price on both. Skillwires were/are a method that corps can use to plug in their members for ‘cheap’ labor. At 120,000 nuyen for Rating 3 Skillwires/Skilljack combo, this is anything but cheap. Halving these both to 10,000/level I feel would, while still be costly, be a little more appropriate.

Control Rig:

Rating 1: 25,000
Rating 2: 75,000
Rating 3: 200,000

This is just to make lower-level Riggers a little more viable. I basically matched the price to the Wired Reflexes for the 1st and 3rd levels, bringing down Level 2 a little bit.

As for Non ‘ware Gear:

Fake Sin: 1,500/Level
Erika MCD-1(Cyberdeck): 15,000
Microdeck Summit(Cyberdeck): 26,000
Microtronica Azteca 200(Cyberdeck): 70,000

Inflated Sins a bit from SR4, but Licenses didn’t inflate at all, and I feel SINs inflated too much. They weren’t as bad as they were in the old days(but, to be fair, in the old days, you could get that million.)

I wanted to offer street deckers a more affordable option for the first couple of decks. I just sorta dropped the third by a little bit to make that a slightly better option for Resource C Deckers. After that though, folks get what they pay for. ;)

I also added in a timeless classic: the Pocket Secratary, from the old days, just for fun. I like the idea of having an old-school PDA type thing mixed in there. I put it’s cost at 500 nuyen, given that it’s pretty much an out-dated piece of technology.

Quality Adjustments:

Human Looking: There will be 2 levels to this quality. 3 and 6 Karma. For 3 Karma, elves, dwarves, and orks may take it, and they can essentially pass as human. This works as the 6 point book version.
For 6 Karma, Trolls may take it. Now, in a Troll’s case, they don’t necessarily get ‘human sized’ or anything like that-but they do have a much more human appearance. Perhaps their tusks and/or horns were cosmetically removed* or are very very small in the tusks’ case or well-placed and not particularly in the way in the horns’ case. Their proportions may be more human, or their dermal deposits are bashed out in such a way they’re not very noticeable. The character is still unmistakably troll-he’s still troll height-but he might get to enjoy a bit less issue that more ‘slouchy, classic’ trolls get(in other words, more neutral attitudes, however, given the size, true racists still aren’t going to be happy about them). Of course, like others, they could also get increased animosity toward them by metas who think ‘they’re wannabe humans’, or perhaps a little jealousy from others. Trolls do pay more and don’t get the same benefit the other metas have(again, they’re more obvious), but it’s still a useful enough quality to have for a troll trying to make it in a human world. The more ‘Light’ prejudiced types are a little more likely to let their race go more if they at least look more human.

Mechanically, if dealing with someone ‘biased’ against Trolls, shift their reactions one level a bit more positive. So someone whom is, say, a little iffy toward them is more willing to be accepting(as sad as it is, beauty is skin deep for some), while a more anti-meta person is shifted more to a ‘bias’-where they’re willing to perhaps deal with them on a business-level.

*Though, with the rules for Cosmetic Modification coming in another book most likely, I imagine this Quality would be un-necessary at this point, unless it stayed to give people a choice of how they wanted to make their Troll more human-looking.

Incompetence: 10 Karma. For taking an entire group, you should certainly get more than 5 Karma. Yes, people could take Incompetent: Ferret Wrangling and get free points(if the GM allowed it, that is), but this wasn’t a fix as much as an overtune. Leave it a skill group, but give it appropriate points.

Uncouth: Uncouth is probably one of the most notorious Negative Qualities, but not in the ‘Free Points’ way that Incompetence was often seen as. It’s notorious because it’s too harsh.
‘All Social Tests to resist acting improperly or impulsively receiver a -2 dice pool modifier’ on page 85 is fine.
The biggest change is people are NOT treated as Unaware if they do not have the skill. I was toying with a change, and I feel that simply taking a -1 to ALL Social die pools is more fitting. Now, this means that someone with a Charisma of 2 and no social skills won’t get any dice to roll, but, well…don’t be Charisma 2 and no Social Skills with Uncouth if you don’t want that. (The GM is still within their rights-and encouraged-to require a roll where others might get by for free. I think that’s pretty fitting.)
On the flip side, since the hindrance is lighter, it’s now a 12 Karma quality instead.

Uneducated: Characters who are Uneducated take a -1 to all die pools regarding Academic or Professional Knowledge skills, Language skills, and Active Technical skills, and as Uncouth, a GM may require tests for some Knowledge or Logic based skills that others can take care of without a roll. Apply a +1 Threshold for any Technical, Academic, and Professional Extended Tests. This is still an 8 Karma Negative Quality.

SINner qualities: 5/10/15. They stay virtually the same in how they act, but I’m dropping the points of the 2nd and 3rd a bit. The issue is, for 25 points, the GM will feel too much pressure to keep hounding said player, potentially at a disadvantage to the rest of the group as they continually get dragged into their corporate intrigue. At 15 points, it won’t be necessary to keep slamming the player with it again and again, getting in everyone else’s way, but it will still be a fairly harsh quality that can be dealt with in creative ways.

Reskinning Mentor Spirits:

Really, just pick something that fits with a Mentor Spirit-work together with the GM to figure something out. The Mentor Spirit stays the same, it’s just ‘followed’ by a different name. This is up to the individual table, but, for example, reskinning Shark as a Love God isn’t a good idea, but as a Hunting or War God would work very nicely.

Mystic Adept Adjustment:

I do not wish to nerf the Mystic Adept too much, as this is the first edition that it’s felt really solid. All that said, I do feel that maybe it went a *little, tiny* bit too far in the other direction. While the errata will include the PP cost=5 Karma instead of 2, I will also likely be using the following adjustment:

-A Priority A Mystic Adept gets Magic 6, 1 Rating 5 Magical Skill, and 7 Spells.
-A Priority B Mystic Adept gets Magic 4, 1 Rating 4 Magical Skill, and 5 Spells.
-A Priority C Mystic Adept gets Magic 3 and 3 Spells.

This knocks them down every so slightly(and I can see it making sense that they get less spells since they split their studies), but doesn’t leave them spread *nearly* as thin as they were in the older editions.

Odds and Ends:

-When dual wielding two of the same weapon(say, two knives), you can split your die pool however you like. So if you, say, have 12 dice, and want to roll eight for one weapon and four with the other, you may do so.

-When dual wielding two different weapons, you can choose still what to use, but it’s done a bit differently. You can specify whether or not to use half and half, or 25/75% of the die pool split(rounding up.) So someone with a Blades pool of 12 and a Pistols pool of 10, they can choose half and half(rolling 6 dice for the blades and 5 for the pistols), or split them up differently(say, using 75% of his Blades pool-9 dice-and only 25% of his Pistols pool which would be 3 dice after rounding up.) This could be used, for example, to throw out some half-hearted cover fire with the pistol while focusing on a melee opponent. (Smartlinks would add to the pool first before it’s split up, so if the character in this case had a smartlink, the Pistols pool would become 12, then 1/4 of that would be 4 dice.)

Stuff I’m in the process of:

-Fixing Cyberware Wireless Bonuses to be more like actual bonuses. In other words, I’m fixing up some of the old ‘Ware and making it work like it’s always have, and coming up with meaningful bonuses for the ware itself that people can get if they use it wireless. This is to make it feel more like an actual choice, and not ‘I have to run it wireless to make it work as it always has for this character I’ve converted over time.’

-Working on adjusting Wired Reflexes and Reaction Enhancers in particular. I am thinking that Enhancers should be able to go up to level 5 instead of 3, and this will make the Wireless Bonus attractive to Wired Reflexes. (I am also considering dropping the Essence Cost of Level 3 Reflexes down to 4.5, so 1 would be 2, level 1 would add 1 essence for 3, and level 3 would add 1.5 essence for 4.5. You’d still probably want Alpha+Grade, though, particularly if you stack them with Reaction Enhancers.) My plan for Wired Reflexes is to allow their natural Reaction bonus to stack with Enhancers up to +4; using them Wireless will allow Reaction to be the one stat that stays able to accept augmentations above +4. I feel these are good trades; lots of Essence but with the ability to have an increased Reaction of +8-which is pretty monstrous-I feel they’d at least be a choice over Synaptic Boosters(limited to +3.) I’m still going to want to test this, though.

-Figuring a system for Shifters as well as some statistic things for them, to perhaps use before the Companion book comes out, though I admit with the Companion book coming at some point, this is quite a bit lower on the list.

-Finishing and tweaking the Karmagen system.

-Fixing the Reward nuyen. I feel that the base book rewards on the chart are a bit low nuyen wise; however, not all games give out lots of money. I’m fixing the chart to be more variable; rather than a +1 for things, it might read ‘+1 to +5′, depending on the actual severity of the threat. In other words, I’m simply expanding the system to allow a greater array of nuyen awards while keeping the base idea of a formula.

That does it for now. I’ll have more up as I get around to it.

I admit, whenever I see extra rules for ‘MORE WAYS TO LOP OFF THE PC’S LIMBS!’ I tend to brush over them.

As a GM, I’m fair, reasonably lenient, but at the same time, not afraid to bring down the rules-hammer or the ‘Player be Good’ hammer if something starts getting out of hand.

Now, let me first say; I’m not against death in a campaign, and players have died in games of mine. I’m not a completely soft GM. But for me, I tend to prefer games where, if death happens, it’s really due to the players messing up big time. I won’t shrink away from killing a PC who really blows it, but nor do I go out of my way to murderate the PCs.

”But don’t you have those two bouncers in Spanky’s bar who can turn the PC’s into strawberry jam?” Well, yeah, but notice how they won’t actually attack to kill unless the PCs do something immensely stupid.  Oh, I have guards who use live ammo(as well as stun, depending on the situation), and if a PC frags up and pisses off a Mafia don, yeah, they may well end up with some C-4 under their bike. I tend to leave a lot of things in the hands of the PCs.

Now, I’ve been known to fudge a die roll here and there. Other times-again, I’m a bit more strict on it, once again if the PCs dig themselves into a huge hole. It’s less ‘punishment’ and more ‘you did X, how did you not expect Y to happen.’ They’ll often have a way out, though, and sometimes those can be adventures in and of themselves.

So what is it about high Lethality games that I’m not big on? I like character and character development. Yes, I’m a numbers optimizer as well-but that doesn’t mean I don’t love character development, watching them grow and change. I do love it. I also hate to see a character with oodles of time put into them ruined with one bad die roll. Others are fine with this-and that’s cool, every table is different. But where some find the constant threat of death looming over them 24/7 while they’re gaming, I just find that not quite as fun. It makes me not want to bother doing really deep character stuff if I know they’re going to possibly buy the farm with every single roll. (When I played the Rules Cyclopedia, my characters were often stuff like ‘James the Fighter, off to find his treasure.’ If James failed his Save vs. Death roll, no biggie. Mugsy the Wizard, off to find Great Magic Power, was right around the corner. Of course they’d have SOME personality and such, but they were much more basic.)

I personally go between Low and Moderate. It’s not QUITE all the way down to Low, but it’s a *bit* more gentle in terms of PC mistreatment than ‘Moderate’. Perhaps, to get a better idea, I’ll list stuff I generally won’t do, and stuff I generally will do.

What I don’t usually do:

-Randomly kill characters due to one poor roll.

-I don’t like Glitches, as I said. I will use critical glitches, but I don’t make these fatal. Glitches, IMO, just make things annoying, and get in the way. You succeed, you don’t, or you drop your gun and it shoots of a round that makes it skitter across the floor. (Physics, I am your reckoning.)

-Rip out Magic from magic characters, or cyber from Cyber characters, unless, again, they really, really do something that simply makes me bring down the hammer.

-Make a character so useless they’ll wish they were dead anyway.

-Stuff that makes gaming Not Fun for us.

What I will do:

-Lost body parts can happen, but I give a chance, of course, to get replacements/re-attachments. There are tons of ways to do this(a debt, a loan, their own nuyen, trade a job for a new eye, etc.) They ONLY have a chance of happening on a ‘Deadly’ wound(AKA, the person is going into overflow’, or very, very, very rarely before that(and it generally needs to be pretty specific, like a critically glitched monowhip hit might take a hand off if none of the damage is resisted.) I will never purposefully leave a character crippled unless the player themselves chooses to do so(‘Bah, screw it, I wanted a cyberarm all this time anyway, now I have an excuse! I can live one-armed for a week.’)

-I will, as said, kill a character. If a character is bent on taking part in a series of unfortunate events with absolutely no back up plans or anything, making poor decisions ever single chance, despite several ‘Are you SURE?’…or perhaps they walk up and kick Herr Brackhaus in the balls or something. At that point, there’s nothing more I can do for them; they need to pay the piper. (They can, of course, burn Edge if they wish.)

-I will use things like background count and wireless intrusion, though I will not abuse those things. I’m more likely to use them to add tension. In the latter, now…if someone walks into a highly secure area, with everything on Wireless lighting up like a christmas tree in VR-land without bothering even checking for enemy deckers-welp, again, they sort of need to expect *something* bad to happen, but I’m not likely to abuse these rules.

-Do other things with poor rolls rather than death or dismemberment. Yes, I will fry a piece of gear now and then-it adds tension, but again, I won’t ‘do it just for tension.’ There will be a reason, and it WILL be preventable…and if it does happen, then I’ll make sure to set up an adventure to, for example, get the Decker a new deck or the Rigger a new Steel Lynx that just got scrapped.

-Put the PCs in some tough situations. Sure, I might put them in a ‘you’re captured and need to think your way out and get your gear’, or ‘You need to get out NOW, and you’re limited in what you can take and might need to improvise’ situation or two. Nothing wrong with having to use your brain to puzzle your way out of something or pull some McGyver heroism.

-Say, ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’ a few times. ;)

-Houserule something that I don’t think makes sense, or takes away our table’s fun.

-Work with the PCs with ideas they might have that aren’t in the rules. I am a very, very strong believer in PC-GM communication.

So as you can see, it’s not that I’m against doing harsher things, I just don’t make a habit of them-and when they do come into play, it’s usually something that the PC sort of brings on themselves. I like when things can last awhile, and I’m not against punishment; I like my games to be one part game, one part story, and one part character development and growth-and All Parts Fun for us. I’m sure our table would be too ‘wussy’ for some people, but that’s okay; I am a firm believer that every table is different and that’s cool.

I tend to run, on a scale of Pink Mohawk to Mirrorshades, a game that’s in the middle, or what I like to call ‘Mohawks and Trenchcoats.’ I have a variety of stuff-some loud jobs, some quiet jobs(or they should be), and some in between. I’m a huge fan of Second Edition’s fluff, with everyone from Matador(the posterboy for Professionalism in the shadows), and Wedge(let’s face it, he wore his mohawk loud and proud.) I liked 2e’s mix of dystopia, 1980s cyberpunk, dingy, rainy streets, noodle bars, tall imposing skyscrapers, the Universal Brotherhood-but all of this still had that glimmer of hope, pictures of brightly colored gangers riding cars, chrome cybereyes, big cyberdecks with brightly colored keys, and Spinal Tap ork toxic shaman villains. I like some down to earth stuff, I like some over the top stuff; the adventures back in the day also ran the gamut from ‘Dreamchipper’ to anything with Harlequin.

So yeah, balance is the key for me. I need a little Bladerunner, but also a little ‘over the top bang bang.’

I think there is some merit to a lower-lethality game, though I can respect that it’s not for everyone-some folks find their blood gets pumping more if they’re always afraid for their lives. I guess I’ve mellowed out somewhere. Oddly enough, we don’t use the optional ‘Low Lethality’ rules-since the preference is for something in between Low and Normal, it’s more handwaved stuff.

Generally, my house rules open up the game more. I’ve mentioned around that we never used Availability limits at Chargen. This is something that’s simply been in our games since we started, our first GM didn’t even use them(and he was the type of guy who would play gnome illusionists or chess masters; definitely not a powergamer type.) We usually run on the ‘Pick Stuff that Makes Sense For Your Character” line of thinking, and for us, it works wonderfully. It’s less to worry about, and opens up more things. Even for street level games, we simply work more on the honor system, and it’s never failed.

I also tend to go a little more ‘cinematic.’ Not necessarily ‘Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’ level of over-the-top(okay, for a weekend-shot game, maybe), but a little more on the ‘cool maneuvers, Cool Stuff Happens’ sorta way. (You can actually be cinematic, and still run a more street level game.)

I do agree with pulling some stuff back; even before the +DV damage code for bonus Martial Arts damage was instated, I had houseruled that, and I had mentioned in my last blog that I’m okay with having pulled some of the damage back. I like the idea of teamwork, as I said, so it’s cool if one person can’t kill the tank with a punch. (Unless we’re playing the weekend Fist of the North Star game and the character’s name is Kenshiro the Second.)

There are other odds and ends as well. The newest houserule that is making it in is x3 Knowledge Skill Points, that x2 rule is the bane of my fragging existence. Also, I was turned onto the idea of giving a handful of free points to everyone(I’m thinking 6) to use strictly on ‘Interest Skills.’

In SR5 news, I’ve been tinkering with some more characters I might post up soon. Different priorities and different types. All looking and feeling fun. I look forward to hopefully trying them out soon(though it will likely have to be in a PbP type game, or a forum game.) Here’s hoping!

Contacts and Places:

First a word of note: these NPCs are a bit on the ‘Higher’ side in terms of skills. The Talismonger is actually also a highly skilled and Initiated mage in her own right, for example-but that doesn’t mean, of course, that the PCs can just take *advantage* of all of that. It was more things that just sorta happened to their characters(in that case, it was ‘So, what happens when there’s a powerful mage who *doesn’t* get into corps or running? They become a talismonger, why not?’

It’s more to show that even some ‘Regular People’ can be more than what they seem, and that maybe out there, there exists people who haven’t let the dystopia completely get them. Just a little. Their character sheets will follow in another update(hopefully this weekend), along with things their facilities have to offer being listed in game-format.

Reginald ‘Spanky’ Mcgee:

Spanky is a Fomori in roughly his mid-thirties; he’s not the tallest troll around, but he’s fairly robust, perhaps with a bit of a beer gut, though he’s not particularly overweight. More stocky if anything. His full-blooded Irish ancestry gave him fair skin, plenty of freckles, and flaming red hair which he wears about to his shoulders; his ram’s horns curve around the sides of his head, and he grows no mustache, but a beard underneath his chin. Like many Fomori, he’s even fairly handsome in a cuddly kind of way. He’s got a friendly smile and is very charismatic upon meeting him. It’s kinda hard to dislike him.

Spanky is actually a very well-connected fixer; he has contacts in both the UCAS and Europe. However, he is the type where trust needs to be established before he shows ‘his best stuff’, so to speak.

Spanky deals in a lot of different things; not as much magical(that would be Mama’s domain, which he can put runners in touch with if they don’t know her), but he does have access to several different types of weapons(even some military-grade), and knows people who are involved in Beta-grade cyberclinics(Namely, one Dr. Douglas.) He can get his hands on some light magical equipment, but he’ll even tell them they’re better off going to Mama. He can find them work, but more of a ‘he can connect them to a Johnson’ sort. He himself doesn’t give the jobs-he can put the runners in contact with Johnsons who do have work. Even though he’s only in his mid thirties, he has a lot of connections around in the northwest UCAS, and even a few in the UK area(though he does not have technical ‘worldwide, anywhere’ connections.)

Spanky loves football(soccer) to the point of near obsession. Sparking up a conversation about football with him is a great way to get started chatting. He always wears a jersey of sorts in his bar; under this he usually wears an armor vest, just in case, and sticks to things like jeans and workboots. His pub-a rather large and well-taken care of place, is appropriately named ‘Goal!’(with the exclamation point at the end, of course), and serves many a microbrew that Spanky had designed himself. Spanky does *not* server soy beer in his bar-he finds the stuff vile and insulting. This does help keep some rabble out(as do his bouncers), but he does not overcharge for some of his more standard designs(though his special Coffee-Hazelnut-Chocolate Mega-Stout runs a pretty nuyen and is so thick you reportedly need to chew it.) Indeed, besides football, brewing is one of Spanky’s passions. He has a small brewery in the basement.

Goal! actually has some rather excellent security if nosy runners try to do things. The building is covered in material that is not quite kind to traveling astrally, and he has a very good ‘decker overwatch’ as well as a security system. Meeting at the pub is generally done in three ways; the ‘general’ spot, the ‘secure’ spot, and the ‘Private’ spot.

The ‘General’ spot is well in the back of the place, in the booth area. His bouncers will ensure basic privacy, but it’s still open for ordering things like dinner and the like, and isn’t 100% private, as there could be other meets and stuff there, and you will be seen.

The ‘Secure’ spot is in the ‘upstairs dining room’, and is more secure both magically and technically. The door is locked, and the crew will ensure it stays decent. However, it’s not ‘Private’ in the sense that other meets can be going on at the same time(in different parts of the room.) You do need to go through the bar to get here though, so you will be seen as well, though no one ‘unauthorized’ can get back there.

The ‘Private’ spot is reached from a different part of the entrance, and is in a specially made basement room. It actually costs considerable nuyen to ‘rent’ this, but it’s extremely secure. Spanky himself uses this for some more of his delicate deals. One of his bouncers will personally escort people down and wait for the meet to get done.

The bar is actually two levels high. The second floor is open to the public(just not the ‘secure dining room’ which needs a heads up from Spanky.) There is plenty of room to drink and enjoy what is most likely a football game playing on one of the many monitors. The bar itself is in a fairly ‘high lifestyle’ part of Seattle, though not quite that of the really high rollers. It does not look terribly out of place, but nor does it look too posh; it looks like a nice, clean, very well maintained sports bar.

Spanky’s bouncers have been mentioned. While he has some generic, ‘ordinary’ bouncers milling around, his two ‘primary’ ones are old friends of his-Huginn and Munin, a pair of seven foot tall elven twin brothers. Powerful looking, with long white hair, violet eyes and no beard-growth whatsoever, they almost even dress similar; black cargos and combat boots, with tank tops-though Huginn favors a lined leather longcoat, while Munin favors an armored leather jacket. They are roughly around thirty years old, and are extremely good at what they do, being highly experienced near street legends over in Europe(they are apparently mixed Scandinavian, though Icelandic seems to be their primary lineage, given that they sometimes speak it to one another in lieu of English or Sperethiel.)

Spanky’s cook is a firecracker; a tough, no-nonsense British human woman in her late 40s known simply as ‘Maude’(who may resemble Dame Judy Dench a bit, only younger and less refined.) Maude is completely mundane and with no cyber(some say she may also be without humor, but not in her earshot)hates nutrisoy and refuses to cook with it. She’s foul-mouthed and generally grumpy, but good hearted all the same, and is an *excellent* cook. She carries a tazer that she’s not afraid to use, though she is not a combatant. She comes from Spanky’s past, and apparently came over from the UK when he came to the UCAS. It’s rumored she was a cook for a prestigious British boarding school which got bought out and closed. (And yes, Spanky’s pub also only serves real food, but he actually has some reasonably priced burgers on his menu. The steaks will cost you, though.)

Using Spanky:

Under the rules, if he is used in your game, his Connection rating should never be more than 1 point higher than his Loyalty. So a runner can have him at C2/L1, but will have to earn more trust before Spanky shows his more ‘C3′ side, and so on. Spanky’s Connection rating has a Maximum of 7(which the player will need to get to ‘Friend for Life’ level with him to get.

To gain Spanky’s trust, they have to remember he’s more of a ‘Neutral with Good, if Pragmatic Tendencies’ type. He has some friends who have been known to be a bit on the ‘crazy’ side, but at the end of the day, out and out rotten actions are something that he does not like to be a part of. Wetwork is fine, and he’s got a fair limit to how far he’ll accept going, but there are lines.

A good rule of thumb, if the PC’s ‘earn’ Spanky as a contact, he is gotten at C2, L1. (He will give folks he’s dealt with from time to time a *small* discount on food and beer. ;)) It’s then, of course, up to the PCs if they wish to foster a relationship with him to get access to his better goodies. (For a GM note, you could also limit the Availability of gear that he will procure. C2 will be limited to Availability of 12, and then add 2-3 availability, as you feel appropriate, per Connection rating after that.) He will begin introducing his other friends to the PC’s at Loyalty 2(or, well, giving them word where to find them.) Likewise, in regards to the jobs that he can find for him-the higher his Connection rating, the better-paying Johnsons can be procured for the runners.

Note that a character can have a higher Loyalty rating with one of his friends than Spanky himself, should they choose to do so.

Given Spanky’s high Connection rating, screwing him over would be a bad, bad move. Huginn and Munin are more than his bouncers, they are two of his best friends-and he has friends with several other prime runners and more than one street legend at his physical-and magical, or Matrix based-request.

As for his, bar, Goal!, Huginn and Munin are particularly skilled and geared; each one alone would be a match for an entire team of runners. They are extremely good bouncers, in other words. Huginn(the Samurai) is loaded for bear with bioware and Beta-grade cyberware, with Munin a four-times initiated Adept(with some light bioware). Both brothers have Exceptional Attribute: Body and Strength, have max Body, Agility, and Strength base, 5′s in their other stats save Logic(which are 3 each), and have 8-10 in their primary skills, 5-6 in secondary, and 3-4 in their tertiary. (I’ll probably get their sheets into the same section I do Spanky by the numbers.)

However-given that Spanky does not like blood all over his floor(he has a few stories about that-two of the more famous involves Huginn’s decapitating of a would-be assailant with his katana and Munin discovering someone trying to poison one of the taps and curb-stomping him in the corner for his trouble), any of his bouncers, including Huginn and Munin, will generally just strike to knock out and disable people, unless an actual attempt is made on Spanky’s life. In that case, the twins tend to show their lineage’s ‘berserker’ tendencies and turn the would-be assassin into red pastey substance on the floor. (If attempts are made on the lives of the other bouncers, they also are more willing to strike to kill, but if lethal force is attempted to be used on *them*, they are more amused if anything and just perform a good lesson-teaching before depositing the runner onto the concrete outside in a ballistic fashion.)

It should also be said that Maude also helps clean the place and it’s rumored that Huginn and Munin are more wary of her yelling at them about the blood than they are what any general runner can do to them physically.

Huginn and Munin may become contacts, but use them carefully. It can be assured that they just won’t come kill stuff for a phone call. They’re very powerful, so use discretion on what you allow them to do. It’s possible to become better friends with them, but they have a personal code that they just don’t go using their heavy abilities for low reasons-these guys hit AAA-style stuff on the odd time they do it(and then would require a credstick so fat players are likely not able to pay it anyway.) These are the type of runners that *turn down* AA work as being dull, and they also always work together-so they have to be hired by the pair.

Spanky’s other bouncers are more basic. His generic bouncers are the equivalent of Professional Rating 4 with roughly similar stats, wear Armored Jackets, and have either Shock Gloves or Stun Batons and are often armed with an Ares Predator with either Stick n Shock or Gel ammo(depending on the GM’s mood.) They never strike to kill, only disable or knock out.(They have high Non Conductivity ratings on their armor. For a rule of thumb, they probably throw around 6-8 dice for stuff, and have only minor implants to GM discretion; smartlinks, maybe some dermal plating. They do have earbuds/contacts or glasses with audio/visual rating 3, to better see and hear troublemakers, and at least a good Perception score.)

He has two mages who swap shifts; a dwarf and an ork. They are more geared toward Counterspelling and Astral activities, though do have guns(with SnS/Gel rounds), stun batons, and access to Stun Bolt and Stunball spells if necessary. They are often not seen in the primary areas(and are generally made with roughly the same power as starting PCs, if GMs want a rule of thumb. Spanky’s decker friends are never seen, and are likely made with similar stat and skill levels with starting PCs, but they have excellent decks.)

Spanky himself isn’t really much of a fighter. He has some basic self-defense skills, but really, his thing ‘being a fixer.’ He keeps a shotgun loaded with gel or SnS behind the bar, along with a baseball bat, if he really needs them, but he generally dislikes fighting, and isn’t particularly good at it.

Goal’s! security is fairly tight, as said. In terms of ‘Raw’ security, assume the Maglocks are all Rating 8, with a variety of keycard or keypad readers(the tightest stuff has a Biometric lock that only Spanky, Huginn, or Munin can activate.)

Flora Hernandez, ‘Mama’

Mama is a human woman, in her middle fifties. She’s short, heavyset, and has long, slightly curly black hair worn down, streaked with gray. She wears little makeup, but tends toward big dresses(sometimes with a floral print), which gives her a slightly ‘matronly grandmother’ look. She’s tanned, and talks with a noticeable Spanish accent, though her English is fluent. She seems to like jewelry; taking to rings, necklaces, and earrings-these may or may not be foci. Mama walks with a stick at times; her age is starting to somewhat get to her, though she reacts surprisingly quickly for a woman her age. She has been practicing magic since she Awakened before a lot of runners were even born.

Mama is a talismonger, and a powerful mage in her own right, practicing Santeria, whose Patron is Legba. She has much knowledge on magic and everything therein; magical threats, groups, and she is very adept at creating talismans and foci. If she cannot create them, she knows those who can. She is also a skilled herbalist, and is a good magical healer, as well.

Her shop, ‘Elekes’, is located in a more low-key part of town; one needs to go through a few alleys to find it, and then end up going down some seedy looking stairs. It’s well protected though-she is a powerful mage, as is her son, and they can well ward the place. People popping to the Astral may see some rather scary looking spirits hanging out, looking disapprovingly at them.

Mama has a son, Joshua, who is also a practitioner of Santeria, and who follows Ghede. Joshua is an undertaker, and is a strange man for all of that; he can be a contact in his own right. He’s usually seen in black slacks that seem a bit too short, boots, a collared shirt, a jacket, and often does have a serving of of Rum on him, making him fairly obvious, if one finds out what he practices, who his patron is.

Elekes has a smell that is a mix of herbs, burnt woods, smoke(Mama has a penchant for cigarettes), and tea(which she pours and usually spikes with some rather strong liquor, but the woman can hold her drink.) It rather chaotic looking; it almost looks like a bomb hit some parts of it, but Mama can pick out what people need. The shelves are mainly full of low-level stuff like herbs and reagents, giving the shop it’s telltale smell(which isn’t all unpleasant, just a bit reminiscent of an herb attic or something.) There are some shelves full of books; actual paper ones, pharmacopoeias and the like can be found here.

Mama herself can be a bit cranky and sarcastic, but not unfriendly. She more or less has a dry way of speaking and talking, almost nonchalant. If the PC’s behave, she may even offer them some tea. If they really behave, she may offer them some of her ‘special tea.’ Which may be pretty stiff stuff for those unprepared.

Using Mama:

Mama isn’t as strict with Spanky in terms of the whole ‘Connection/Loyalty’ thing; Mama has a Connection rating of 6, but she won’t require the PCs to be super-friends with her to have access. She will, however, demand higher payments the lower Loyalty. This can range from extra nuyen(for more moderate stuff, she’ll sell off the shelf stuff for regular prices, as well as fence magical gear), to flat-out exchange of goods for the best stuff; this could mean her sending the runners out on some rather exciting material gathering adventures.

GMs can roll as they think appropriate if she has(or they want their PCs to have access to) whatever spell formula and foci they deem appropriate on hand, or if it’ll take her a bit to find some.

Joshua’s specialty has more to do with ‘Undertaker Stuff.’ Remembering that he does practice Santeria, the GM is free to be creative with what sorts of services he can provide. (Note: Gaining Mama as a contact does not make her son automatic, though gaining one or the other as a contact will, of course, make it easier to at least get in on the ground floor. Joshua is the more minor of the two; he has a Connection rating of 3 for his appropriate line of work, and is created by standard PC rules.)

As for the shop’s protections, Mama has some high level spirits on hand, bound, and ready to wreak havoc. Mama is Initiated three times, and she’s got rather high magical skills, making her a more uncommon type of talismonger. She does not like to flaunt this power though, and has no interest in shadowrunning itself; which is why she chose the job that she did. However, crossing a woman who is initiated, practices a type of voodoo and is very good at Ritual Sorcery…I’ll just say the GM should have fun with this one. Mama is very smart, and isn’t going to let herself be robbed or gunned down. She has a lot of contingency plans; one does not run a talismonger shop without them, especially with Foci valued as they are. Her Force 8 Spirits(usually several of them) will pop out and give direct attackers a very hard time, but Mama herself-while she has a couple of combat spells-is more the patient type. Again, be creative. ;)

The shop’s basic protections are high-level Maglocks and the like. Her most valuable stuff is kept in the back, under lock.

Dr. Marshall Douglas

Dr. Douglas is an ex-corporate cybersurgeon, and a very good one, who now runs a shadow clinic in one of the more middle-class parts of Seattle. Of course, the shadow part is sorta hidden; it’s a fairly ordinary clinic from the outside, and you need to know what to ask for and whom. Douglas is a man of middling height and build, and probably in his fifties; he might just resemble Morgan Freeman a little bit, with short-cropped gray hair and a bit of a beard. He often wears glasses(which are modified.) Despite being a cybersurgeon, the only ware he has himself is a single datajack.

Dr. Douglas had actually worked for an AAA at one point in his life, ‘long ago,’ though he refuses to say who it was, for safety’s sake. He had a different name then(which he also isn’t telling-though he had gotten it legally changed.) Dr. Douglas was involved in the research and creation of some new, very secret pieces of cyber and bioware before(though he also won’t tell if any of it actually made it to the market.)

Douglas is actually a fairly kindly man, occasionally known to lecture those who come in consistently for ‘repairs’(IE, people who don’t take care of themselves particularly well.) While he wishes the world were a better place, having been through some of the ‘high end’ part of it, he realises the importance of shadowrunners and how some of them at least manage to pick away at the corps enough that they don’t get even more of a foothold than they already do(and ruling almost everything, he figures, is enough of one.) Dr. Douglas, given his time in the field, knows other doctors and cyberware dealers, and can find a lot of things for people who need it. He actually has some Beta grade connections, and it has been rumored once or twice that he can find Delta grade stuff, though whether he doesn’t choose to, or just if it’s quite hard to find, no one knows. He is excellent at installing cyber and bioware, his facility is very clean and ideal to heal up in, and he is good at repairing ware as well.

Dr. Douglas does not deal much in used cyberware. It bothers him; people guess it’s again from his past, though he *will* fence it for others, he will not actually sell it. He also will not fence organs himself…though if pressed, and if in good standing, he is willing to point a runner in the general direction of where one might do that, though he tries to stay as ‘clean’ as a shadow doc can. He actually charges reasonable prices for things like healing and medicine(along with a lecture for ‘regulars’), but fairly standard for the ‘usual’ stuff.

Douglas looks tired sometimes; like his past manages to wear on him, and occasionally likes to take a shot of strong scotch, though he’s never seemed to have a problem with the stuff. Even though he seems skilled enough to be able to perhaps disappear to another country, he seems rooted here for reasons that stay unknown. In reality, he wants to sort of ‘repay’ the ‘little guy’ for the stuff he did/sold his soul out for the twenty or so years he worked for a corporation, doing some pretty nasty testing stuff.

The clinic is known simply as the Autumn Sunset Clinic, and it needs a little bit of legwork to discover the shadow side of it. Dr. Douglas does actually work there as a regular doctor as well. The receptionist knows what to listen for. The true nature of the place can be found through Spanky, or by asking around other avenues, as it’s not a Super Secret Shadow Clinic. While your general non gangers or whatnot won’t know, the ‘shadow community’ probably heard of the place.

Using Dr. Douglas:

Dr. Douglas works a little more like Spanky in terms of his ‘connection/loyalty’, though not as extreme: he is actually Connection 7 maximum, but will have a potential connection rating of 2 higher than Loyalty. (So at Loyalty 1, it’s 3, at 2 it can go up to 4, and so on.) He can get ahold of Standard grade, Alpha grade, and Regular/Cultured Bioware as anyone else can. He generally needs Connection of around 6 to net the Beta Grade, and for the people who manage to get him as a very close contact, he can point them in the direction of Delta Grade, and he’ll install it for them(if they get it, of course.)

As said, he won’t fence organs, but at Loyalty 4+ he’ll nonchalantly point runners in a direction where to unload that type of stuff.

Douglas is not a combatant at all, having only extremely basic training in a sidearm. Security at the clinic is likewise standard. However, he is a Friend for Life with Spanky and co, so crossing him will still potentially screw up the runners’ lives rather efficiently.Douglas and the clinic itself actually has a bit of gang protection. He’s been known to patch them up, and since his patching-up prices are very reasonable, gangers don’t want to lose their source of rather inexpensive healing. It’s a trade off thing.

There’s been some discussion going on about the ‘nerfing’ of unarmed combat in Shadowrun, particularly that you can’t stack the damage beyond infinity anymore.

Now, look. I’ll make it clear; I love me some unarmed characters. I mean I love the shit out of Hokuto no Ken and Souten no Ken, my favorite manga type stuff(when I read it, which isn’t often) is ‘Huge Manly Dudes with Shaggy Hair and Big Eyebrows Beating Up Other Dudes.’

That being said…in SR4, after all the sourcebooks-stuff got completely redonk. I mean Monster, my favorite super-handsome Fomori(Fomori+Cosmetic Surgery=Very Hot Fomori dude who looked like a 10 and a half foot tall Jackie Estacado with horns), could essentially pulverize anything with a kick. I mean he was completely optimized and made with the OLD karmagen system and completely ridiculous but was fun for a couple of games(he’s now a super-powered street legend in my SR world, which is the normal SR world with some different NPCs.)

But, to be honest, stuff had to be pulled back. The regular opposition couldn’t really challenge groups of runners anymore, because single runners could take them out with 20P unarmed damage codes, or, from a weapons perspective-highly customized full-auto guns loaded with AV ammo with practically no recoil that rendered Military Grade Full Body Armor into swiss cheese in one round.

So, naturally, SR5 is out now, and the power level is back to ‘Normal’, as what usually happens with new expansions, before the sourcebooks hit. And I almost guarantee we’ll be seeing ways that they help keep stuff under control-where you can still be a badass, but it might take a little bit to be the ULTRA badass.

Apparently some think that to be a useful unarmed adept you need to be able to one shot every type of enemy, regardless of armor, power, prestige, Edge, or whatnot. I’m not sure how this started. It may be a chicken/egg thing with two types of starts. Hell, it probably varies by table.

Some tables may have started with highly optimizing players, and the GM was forced to meet that, making the players improve more, etc. The other side may have seen very, very vicious GMs who put the players against such nasty stuff they felt they had to start doing crazy things. In any case, the power level is back to ‘normal.’

Here’s the thing. The sample adept I made, Downfall, hits for 11P. This is, regardless of what anyone says, extremely hard. He kicks as hard as a gun shoots someone for. There is no armor penetration on it yet(I’m guessing we’ll see Penetrating Strike come back in the Magic sourcebook), but still-he can-and I have tested in several things-take out anything up to and including Professional Rating 4 enemies single-handedly, sometimes in one round, and not even by surprise.

Now, beginning unarmed adepts are going to likely run into some trouble with stuff like Red Samurai and Tir Ghosts, with skills of 8-9, stats of 5-6 before modifications, 3d6 initiative, and full body armor and helmets. Guess what-maybe a starting character isn’t *supposed* to solo one of them right out of the gate?

I should also say-I’m someone who prefers a more ‘cinematic’ type of game, but even in over the top cinematic movies, there are enemies whom the hero has a nice ‘Boss Fight’ against. Arnold in Commando, for example, is awesome. That movie is over the top as hell. He takes out mooks, and even better mooks, left and right. But he still has his ‘Boss Fights.’ Matrix in the movie doesn’t kill Bennett instantly. He has a knockdown fight with them. Many, many highly cinematic movies have their ‘Boss Fights.’ There is nothing wrong with not being able to one-shot a tank coming down the street at you.

Also, what’s wrong with team-work? My Adept has his own strengths, and the team sniper with APDS ammo has his, for example. The team sniper? Now that character could probably, through the use of surprise and that nasty gun, be able to one-shot one of the heavy armor Red Samurai. But…well, he can’t really take that sniper rifle certain other places to take care of other targets. What’s wrong with characters having little ‘things’ they’re good at?

For example, unarmed adepts are excellent at discreetly taking out ‘soft targets’. I’ve pit Downfall against Armor Jacket wearing people-with decent Dodge and Body to boot-and he can one shot them. Sometimes two if they get luckier on the roll. They CAN deal with heavier armor foes(I should note that, in the SR4 book, the only NPCs that come with the Super Armor with Helmets are stuff like Red Samurai and the like-standard cops and security-even BETTER security, even Knight-Errant Lieutenants-use armored jackets), but they need to get the element of surprise on them to tip things in their favor.

The ‘Gun-Nuts?’ They have strengths. They deal in things like cover-fire, and when it comes to the actual shootin’, they deal very nicely with ‘harder’ targets. Heavy weapons folks deal with the Really Hard Targets, like vehicles. Is a regular gun specialist useless because they can’t one-shot a vehicle like the Heavy Weapons specialist? Guys, people have their specialties. Others might have a more generalist spread.

But apparently being unable to kill anything with a punch anymore makes you a ‘scrub’ in some people’s eyes. I have no idea, besides the guesses I took above about dealing with extremely harsh GMs who pit endless armies of power-armor wearing, Panther-Cannon wielding Prime Runners against regular Shadowrunners.

Now, let me jump on the other side a second; the loss of potential unarmed damage does have a *couple* of drawbacks. For one, it sort of makes the Old Wuxia Master a little more obsolete. He can’t quite get a lot of damage anymore. Now, a high skill could help with staging it up, but he definitely isn’t what he used to be. Yes, a harder hit is more damaging in reality, but in this case, I kinda think heading a little away from reality might have been better, though it would have been rough to try to balance out the ‘Old Wuxia Master’ with ‘Musclebound the Musclehead.’

The other small drawback IS that weapon adepts are more damaging now, flat out, than unarmed. Now, again-yeah, they’re using weapons, and I don’t think this instance of realism is *so* bad, since Weapon adepts pretty much were second fiddle for an entire edition. Weapon Adept’s advantages at the moment are A. Extra damage and possible reach and B. Armor penetration. Their disadvantages are A. Needing a weapon focus to do things that unarmed adepts can do with Killing Hands, and B. Needing a weapon itself, which means you need to conceal and hide the thing. Unarmed melee adepts are essentially the reverse. They might not do the sheer damage or have armor penetration(at the moment, this could be equalized), and B. NOT needing a weapon or active focus to do what they need to. It’s a trade-off, though I think what’s happening is this:

People had a power shift in their characters, and are chafing against it. It’s understandable, sure. It does suck when an old concept doesn’t work anymore in a new system, and I always hope that at least most can make it out.(Here’s a note: Not being able to kill everything you come across with one roll does not mean a character is ruined. If you think it does, then perhaps a different game would be more your thing; a Supers type game, perhaps. I don’t say that as snarky, either-I say that as genuinely, ‘Maybe you’d like a crazy Supers system.’) I remember between SR2-3 and SR4, when Dikote disappeared, weapon-based melee adepts feeling some of that sting. In SR3, I will say, the tables were a little more even than 4. Dikote was insanely powerful for melee weapon folks. In older editions(for those who didn’t get to play them), damage was sort of a ‘Power’ and ‘Damage Code.’ The Power was what you had to roll against, and the Damage Code was how much damage it did-which used to be a condition monitor with Light, Moderate, Serious, and Deadly. Everyone’s Monitor was 10 boxes long. A Deadly wound would fill in all 10. Serious would fill a base 6. Moderate 3, and light 1.

Dikote added +1 to the Power and +1 to the Damage code of a weapon. So a Katana(which was normally Str+3M in those days), would become Str+4S. Against Vehicles or hardened armor, melee weapons would take a -1 to their Damage Code(and I believe use half power, but it’s been awhile.) Dikote meant they’d do *regular damage* which is where you heard about Street Sam+Dikote Combat Axe vs. Armored Truck stories where the sam won. Dikote was vicious stuff.

Now Unarmed adepts in those days used to choose the ‘level’ of their Killing Hands-L, M, S, or D, for .5, 1, 2, or 4 Power Points.

Now, in the older days, it was a bit rarer that magically active people took cyber or bioware. They took some, sure, but they were generally a little less augmented in those days than in SR4. Often they’d take maybe an Essence’s worth(boosted reflexes, cybereyes, or a smartlink or something, but remember with the old Priority system, Full Mage was prio A, Adept/Aspected Magician was Prio B, period, so they often didn’t have a ton of money.) Now cyber folks? They could hang-Dikote worked for them like anyone else, and unarmed cyber folks took Bone Lacing.

I just wanted to give a little background, btw, of how power has shifted over time a little bit. Dikote was removed in 4e, and yeah, weapon adepts sorta suffered-and then unarmed types were boosted through the roof.

Now people actually have, well, things they’re good at, and things they might want to rely on other team-members for. Remember Teamwork? Was that so bad? I don’t just mean ‘the decker decks, the rigger rigs, the mage mages, and the combat people combat’, I mean more in there. Maybe Mage 1 is more into conjuring and Mage 2 is more into spellcasting. Maybe the unarmed combat specialist has his strengths of being able to paste soft armor targets quickly, while the sniper/longarms expert takes care of harder targets, and the rigger has his mounted heavy weapons to take care of those pesky vehicles. Sure people can have backup skills and that’s awesome.

Runners can still be ‘one man Armies’ like Matrix in Commando. Just perhaps they might *actually* have to deal with a ‘boss fight’ once in awhile that they can’t blow past in one roll.

And once again a disclaimer: This was written by a person who A. Loves unarmed combat on characters in Shadowrun, and B. Prefers cinematic games and has houserules that help with them. (Hell, I’m knocking down the prices on some cyber and bioware because I feel they’re a bit too expensive, for example.)

Also-for the record, if you don’t like it that much-if you can’t stand the fact that runners can no longer one shot anything or anyone in melee from the getgo-then houserule. Use the old variant of Critical Strike. Bring the old Martial Arts rules back(they’d drop into SR5 perfectly.) Bring back Dikote if you want. It’s your table, do what you want with it. No one is going to break down your door and stop you.

I wanted to edit this with a comment- I’m not saying ‘don’t make characters who can do other things’. By all means, make a weapons adept who can hold his own if he loses his sword and can fight a little at ranged if need be. Make a decker who can pull out a staff and hang in melee if it comes to it. Give them all some backup social or repair skills or something. I wasn’t speaking of that as much as ‘Don’t be so hasty to call an unarmed character useless because he can’t take out super heavy armor targets instantly like the Sniper can or blow up vehicles like the Heavy Weapons specialist can.’

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