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Tag Archives: Character Generation

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 am changing the Race setup as follows:

-Race Cost so far will be 35(Elf), 55(Dwarf), 65(Ork), and 130(Troll.) All stats are purchased from 1. No minuses, but then the new stats are added on. In-game, stats are purchased the same. So at chargen, it costs an Elf 25 Karma for Agility 4. (3+1=4.) In game, if he wants to buy it to 5, he’ll pay 20 Karma(since a 4 would be 20 Karma normally.) A Troll buying Body 6 at chargen pays 10 Karma. In-game, they’ll pay 15 Karma for a 7. They’ll pay 25 Karma to raise their Charisma to 3 at the start. If they buy their Cha to 2 at chargen, it’s 10 Karma, the 3 in game will cost 15. So all costs are the same, solving that issue. Yes-this means Humans purchase Edge as if it were one point lower; their 3 edge at Chargen will cost 10 Karma, or their 3 Edge in game will cost 10 Karma.

To put it short, if a stat would have a minus, it’s purchased as normal in game or in chargen. If a stat has a bonus, it’s purchased at a level of ‘Current Stat-Bonus’. It will still cost a Troll who wants to get maxed-out Body; yes, his Body 10 will cost the same in game as a Human 6, but the Human also started with more Karma.

Metahuman Costs were adjusted appropriately, using the formula I had whipped up in a lower post. With a higher cost at the start, it’ll help counterbalance the attribute costs in game. It will also make it so people aren’t pushed to play a ‘stereotype’ for a certain race, but they won’t be penalized if they wish to, either.

Whew. Again-this is the first draft. I’m still tinkering with concepts to ensure certain concepts don’t end up destroying or not. It’s going to take more time to perfect.

EDIT 1: Changed Race costs and how that’s purchased. No more minuses. Currently: Draft 2. Took out examples since they were made under the old draft.

New Concerns: Trolls may still be undercost. Other races feel fine. Concern for Trolls being able to raise their big stats super fast in game, though it won’t be cheap to do so in any case(a Troll who starts with Body 8 and wants a 10 in game will still need to pay 25 for the 9, and 30 for the 10, and 55 Karma is nothing to sneeze at. I don’t think it sounds that inappropriate, but tables who heap on extraordinary amounts of Karma awards may find them progressing quickly.)
Next up, I did some testing to see if the 730 starting Karma was appropriate.
Now-I know you can’t do 100% conversions. But, I DID at least convert the archetypes to Karma. I did this for a reason; I wanted to at LEAST get a ballpark together. The only way, IMO, to get a ballpark of a good Karma starting point, is to convert the characters. Yes-I know it’s not 1 for 1 for 1. But it is, IMHO, a very good way to at least see ‘Am I giving enough Karma to these characters that will enable them to hang properly with other Archetypes if people pick them, as well as not completely overshadow Archetypes if people use them at a table. Also, since the game is tuned roughly with Archetypes in mind, the amount of Karma given should be something around what the Archetypes are built with. (In SR4, I agree that 600-650 was good enough, since 400 BP characters were under what this new Priority system gives, but with the boost in power out of the gate, so there has to be a boost in Karma, to ensure the characters are equipped to deal with the ‘median’ of challenges that a GM might use.)

Another thing I had to factor in, Karmagen gives no freebies. All that free Edge and Magic and stuff needs to be compensated for, since it needs to be purchased.

As I suspected, 730 is a pretty good pick. They ranged of course-the lowest was under 650, the highest was actually well over *800* Karma.

Again, folks can pick a number that works for their table, but I’m of the opinion that a number of Karma that equals *roughly* what you can make with the Priority system is over 700 and under 730. I took the highest and lowest and removed them; I think they were sort of ‘fringe builds’ that could get what it needed on low(FWIW, that one was the Combat Mage at around 630), and high with insane skills(the Decker clocked in at 838 Karma.)

Also, sticking with the 410-420 absolute max Attributes I think is another good plan-several of the Archetypes have over 375. Some go to nearly 400.

Essentially, after looking them all over-730 feels right. Keep in mind, these numbers were found doing A. Buy from 1, no minuses on stats, and B. Using the following Race costs: Troll 130, Elf 35, Ork 65, Dwarf 55.

For those curious of the numbers(NOTE: There are some rougher numbers here: Assume each build is +/- 10 karma due to things like Bonus Karma on Resources-I counted Resources as the minimum you get in the Prio in calculating karma. So E Resources was 3 Karma, though they may have gotten more with Bonus Karma.)

Also factor in, due to *not* giving Bonus Karma with the Karmagen system, rolling it into the actual Karma is another reason for the Starting amount.

Bounty Hunter: 697 Karma
Smuggler: 731 Karma
Drone Rigger: 785 Karma
Gunslinger Adept: 706(Note: My rebuild clocked in at 692)
Technomancer: 721
Decker: 838
Tank: 701
Face: 746
Weapons Specialist: 716
Combat Mage: 626
Street Shaman: 704
Occult Investigator: 729-769(depending if Alchemical Preps count as spells)
Covert Ops: 671
Sam: 706
Physad: 745
Sprawl Ganger: 626

I highlighted some of the more ‘exceptional’ outliers on the low and high end. Only 4 of the 16 clock in under 700 Karma(and only 2 of those are under 650, the other 2 are closer to 700.) 10 are between 700-750. 2 clock in over 760(with a potential 3rd, I actually forgot the part about the Alchemical Preparations vs. Spells, so I’m going to need to re-read that.)

Again, using a very rough guideline, I think we found a good starting amount.

The Gunslinger Adept: Reborn

Out of all the archetypes, out of looking them over, two stood out at me a bit much. (Besides the lack of a 3rd dwarf, but that would just require getting a picture of that Mafiaoso Cigar-Smoking Dwarf slapped over the Brawler Adept and some stat adjustments. ;)) I had mentioned in my review about one, but the more I looked at it, the more I really wasn’t pleased with out it turned out.

It was the Gunslinger Adept. I felt that…he just didn’t seem to make much sense. His physical stats were way too low for a guy who did mad Gymnastics and had things like Natural Athlete. A new player would be suffering from extra recoil due to low Strength. Mistakes, thanks to his average Body(fine for a non-combat character, for a combat character, it’s a bit low and some of the less combat characters are harder-bodied…and no, the Technomancer and Occult Investigators are both human, not Orks), would be pretty harsh on the dude.

A lot of the archetypes are very well made this time around, but this guy definitely jumped out as ‘If I were new, I’d pass this guy over most like or want to build my own.’

I decided to rebuild him to a setup that I felt was more solid. Most of the stuff is staying the same-I’m keeping knowledge and language skills generally as they are, and so on. I’m mostly keeping his Active Skills the same, though they’ll need some adjustments.

First off, his new Priority setup:
A: Attributes
B: Race(Elf, 6 SA points. 4 to Magic, 2 to Edge.)
C: Skills(28/2)
D: Magic(2)
E: Resources: 6,000

Attributes:

Body: 5
Agility: 7
Reaction: 5(7)
Strength: 5
Charisma: 3
Intuition: 4
Logic: 2
Willpower: 3
Edge: 3
Magic: 6
Initiative: 9(11)+1d6(3d6)

Limits:
Physical: 7
Mental: 4
Social: 5

Physical Condition Monitor: 11
Stun Monitor: 10

Needless to say, MUCH MUCH better now, IMO. The guy has a little more in the Mental department, he has an extra Physical and Stun Monitor, he has Strength to get rid of some Recoil, higher Reaction and Intuition both for Initiative, and even a higher Agility to help out those skills. His Limits are nicer, to boot.

Adept Powers:

Attribute Boost(Agility 4, 1 PP)
Combat Sense(1, .5 PP)
Enhanced Accuracy(Pistols, Automatics-2, .5 PP)
Improved Reflexes(2, 2.5 PP)
Mystic Armor(2, 1 PP)
Spell Resistance(1, .5 PP)

Active Skills:

Survival Skill Group: 2

Automatics: 5
Pistols: 5
Longarms: 3
Unarmed Combat: 3
Gymnastics: 4
Running: 2
Sneaking(Urban): 3(+2)

Perception: 3
Etiquette: 2
Con: 2
First Aid: 1
Pilot Ground Craft: 1

Knowledge/Language Skills: 12 free points

Egyptian Ceramics 2, Weapon Manufacturers 4, BTL Dealers 1, Lakota N, English 4, Sperethiel 3

Qualities-Addiction(Mild, BTLs), Code of Honor(Assassin’s Creed), Natural Athlete
(20 Negative-7 Positive=13 more Bonus Karma, bringing total to 38)

3 Bonus Karma: Sperethiel 3

Bonus Karma Left: 35

Okay, to get more Bonus Karma for skills, he lost the Guts quality. But he did gain better attributes to help resist that stuff-I felt it was a good trade-off in general.

Contacts:

Black Market Gun Dealer: C3 L3
Target Ranger Operator: C 3 L 2

2 Bonus Karma: Used on Contacts

Left: 33

10 Bonus Karma: 20,000 nuyen(for 26,000 total)

Left: 23

Skills purchased or upgraded:

Etiquette 2(6 Karma)
Con 2(6 Karma)
First Aid 1(2 Karma)
Pilot Ground Craft: 1(2 Karma)

Left: 7 Karma

Perception: raised to 3(6 Karma)

1 Bonus Karma left. I used this to give him ‘BTL Dealers’ at 1, to match his Addiction.

Now, he’s going to lose some gear. But this guy I think had resources higher than he really needed to. We can make 26k work for this fellow rather easily.

Low Lifestyle(1 month)
Armor Jacket(1,000)-with Chem 2, Fire Res 2, Non Conductivity 3
Contacts(Capacity 3, w/ Smartlink and Vision Enhancement 1)
Earbuds(Capacity 3 with Audio Enhancement 1)
Fake Sin(Rating 2)
2 Fake Gun Licences Rating 4
Gecko Tape Gloves
Medkit(Rating 3, 2 refills
Sony Emperor Commlink

Knucks: 100(Unarmed Damage: 6P)

Ares Predator 5(w/ 100 regular rounds, 60 APDS rounds, Concealable Holster)

Ingram Smartgun X(w/ 100 rounds, 70 Stick n Shock)

PJSS Model 55 (w/50 regular, 40 Fletchette rounds)

Ruger Super Warhawk(w/ 60 Regular Rounds, Concealable Holster)

AK-97(Smartlinked,  w/ Gas Vent 3, Shock Pad, 100 Regular Rounds, 50 Gel Rounds, 50 APDS Rounds)

25,960 Spent

Starting Nuyen: 40+(3d6x60)

Okay, I had decided to swap out the Machine Pistol. I felt his Predator and Ruger were fine for pistols, and wanted to give him  2 Pistols, 2 Automatics, and a Shotgun. This character is, as his powers say, more focused on the former; though he is very capable in the Shotgun/Longarm department if need be. He’ll get himself a Sporting Rifle at some point later on(the book one, for what it’s worth, did not start with a rifle either.) He’s got a good Knowledge skill I think to find someone to get a reasonably low-Availability, low cost Machine Pistol.

Here we go, the updated Gunslinger Adept Archetype. IMO, this guy is a lot better for an archetype/sample character for a new player; I think his attributes and skills make more sense together with his physical skills, he holds up better, moves faster, and in general he’s got a nice range of stuff.

We have the first draft so far. Will likely need more tweaking and fine tuning, of course.

I’m running with *730* Karma. After considering the freebies people got in the line(and they’re taken out, so you need to buy Magic and such), as well as some changes here and there, and the Bonus Karma, it was between 700-750, and I decided on 700+Bonus Karma and then rounded up 5 more for 730.

I’m nixing the freebie points; no free Magic or Skills. As cool as they are, it’s give and take, and Karmagen gives up the bennies for what is essentially complete character control. It’s a fair enough trade, IMO.

Meta costs I’m tentatively setting at 50(Trolls), 35(Orks) 40(Dwarves) and 25(Elves.) After doing some Mathy Things, I felt these costs would keep them from being ‘The Autopick over a Human’, but not making them so prohibitive that people won’t want ot pick them. (See below though for how I am handling stats.)

-Nuyen will be on a 1 for 2,000 basis, capping at 450k. Which means up to 225 Karma can be spent. (Debating up to 500k. I might go with 500k. Need to consider. It’s 250 Karma, so it’s a over a third of it, which sounds pretty fair to me. Or 470k, reflecting what one can get with Bonus Karma included. That would be 235 points worth. Still waffling on the maximum here.)

-Attributes cost as the book, New Rating x 5. See the next section, though, for how I deal with modifiers in this. You are allowed to spend up to 420 Karma on Attributes. Special Attributes are not counted in this, but you don’t get the freebie points either, remember. You can still only have 1 at the natural max(again, special attributes not counted.)

-Skills are skills. They cost skill cost from the book.

-Under Karmagen, as said, no more freebie points for Magic or other Special Attributes-they’re going to come right from the pool, but NOT count against the max allowed Attribute Points.

-Magic, Adept, and Technomancy should have a cost, but I don’t feel this should be excessive-20 Karma for a Full Mage or Mystic Adept, 10 for an Adept or Technomancer is what I’m playing with.

-Going to be giving free Knowledge and Language, as well as Contact Karma. Knowledge/Language Karma, I saw how much Karma it would cost to take 4 Knowledge Skills at Rating 3, Plus 1 Language at 3. That’s 30 Karma. This, IMO, is appropriate for someone with 3’s in Intuition and Logic. 3+3=6×5=30, so I think Int+Logx5 Knowledge and Language Karma is pretty solid.

-Contacts. I think a cost of Loyalty + Connection x2 works for the Contact Costs. Under standard rules, a 3 Charisma nets 9 Contact Points. I’d say Cha x 6 Karma would equalize it. Since 9 contact points would come out to two Contacts, one 2/3, one 2/2. Under Karma, these guys would cost 10 and 8 each. 3×6=18. Works out well.

-Spells cost 5 Karma each, up to twice a person’s Magic is allowed.

-Mystic Adept Power Points costs 5 Karma each, up to their Magic rating.

-Technomancer Complex Forms are 4 Karma each as per the book.

Okay, now for another rundown.

With Metas, I decided to have a Minimum of 1 point required in a stat. This means ANY Race with a ‘minus’, needs to ensure that stat is bought UP to at least one. Which means Trolls MUST put at least a 2 in their Agility, Reaction, Intuition, and Logic, and at LEAST 3 into their Charisma. A Dwarf must buy a Reaction of at least 2. Yes, they have to buy their races too. They get plenty of bennies to go with that. A 7 is a 7, regardless of who has it, and a troll can get a 7 very easily.

In other words, in order:

1. Stats start at 1.
2. Stats are purchased.
3. Bonuses-and penalties-are added or subtracted to stats.

Looking at Trolls, here’s a sample, ‘Balanced’ Troll Karma-Wise.

Body: 45 Karma(4+4=8)
Agility: 45 Karma(4-1=3)
Reaction: 45 Karma(4-1=3)
Strength: 25 Karma(3+4=7)
Charisma: 70 Karma(5-2=3)
Intuition: 45 Karma(4-1=3)
Logic: 45 Karma(4-1=3)
Willpower: 25 Karma=3

So our Troll here spent 345-almost half his Karma-and ends up with 8, 3, 3, 7, 3, 3, 3, 3. I don’t think that’s too bad at all, to be frank. Now let’s take a Dwarf, who gets less minuses. He’ll spend the same amount of points; 345. He gets 6, 4, 3, 6, 5, 4, 4, 4. His highs aren’t as highs, and his lows aren’t as lows. An Elf would be  4, 5, 4, 3, 7, 4, 4, 3.

Okay, let’s go back to Trolls. It is, I feel, important to be *somewhat* fair to the big guys and not force them to take really low stats in their big scores if they don’t want. But it should ALSO cost them, like it does everyone.

The Troll in question here-he can spend, by this rule, up to about 75 more points on Attributes. That’s actually pretty hefty. But keep in mind, he’s already spent 50 on his Race…and he hasn’t bought anything else. Give and take, that’s how it always is. I think a troll *should* be able to get big stats, but I also think they need to *pay* for them.

No free rides, no free lunches, and as people can see, you can *still* make a perfectly good meta, WITH big stats in their primary stats with this method. Yes, it costs. But that’s what stuff does. Cost. I understand this method is ‘but I need to pay for something I don’t use.’ It worked that way for years, and I think it’s about time it comes back. Those 5’s you start with in two stats? They are no worse than any other 5’s. And honestly, this way is *way* less brutal than the old way. I didn’t think the other way was harsh enough though.

So let’s say he’s like ‘I want to be Mr. Body.’ Looking at above, he popped 45 on his Body. He wants Body to be his one Max Stat, so he buys it up to a 6, which is another 55 Karma. He’s up to 400 Karma spent(plus his race), and he’s got 280 left as it is. Again, no Resources or Skills spent yet. He finally bites the bullet and adds 1 more to his Strength(he’ll stay a tank), spending another 20, so now he’s down to 260 Karma. He has a 10/3/3/8/3/3/3/3. Oh yeah-he hasn’t bought any Edge yet, either. He CAN spend another 20 on an attribute, but he decides to leave it well enough alone so he can get some other stuff.

He’ll raise his Edge by 1 point to 2, bringing him down to 250 Karma. Actually, he’s a tank. Tanks don’t live on 2 edge. Make that a 3, so he’s down to 235.

To buy an Active Skill of 6 is 42 Karma. An Active Skill GROUP of 6 is a whopping 105. Specializations cost 7 Karma now.

Now Mr. Troll here COULD just go and spend a bunch of Karma on, say, Skills of 4. 4, I always found in Karmagen, is a great middle ground. A Skill of 4 would run 20. A Skill Group of 4 is 50. Let’s say he decides to spend 200 Karma on Skills. He gets Close Combat 4, Firearms 4, and then picks 5 more skills at 4(Etiquette, Gymnastics, Sneaking, and 2 others.) This leaves him with 35 Karma. If he blew it ALL on Resources he’d get 70k, but he might want more Contacts or something as well.

But he’s not getting much ware at that point since he’s now officially down to 45 Karma, so any Combat Die pools are actually *not* going to be very impressive, when you think about it. That 3 Agility links to them. He’ll have 7 dice in any combat skills. Which actually for a Street Troll is pretty good. If he was to start dumping 6’s in things, he’s going to be giving up a lot for that, and he’ll pay for it, like anyone does who ditches stuff.

(And when it comes down to it, there’s no way to really prevent all hyperspecializing around the world; I am of the opinion eventually one needs to let it go and let the GM bring down the gavel when something gets out of control. People can balance a system as much as possible, but too much and it starts to feel shackley like 4e(and it’s not like 4e didn’t end up as Hyper Specialized Ork Land.)

If he had stuck with his first spread, he’d have had a lot more left for Resources, or more Edge. The first spread cost him 345 Karma, and he would have 75 more Karma to spend on Resources and Skills if he’d have stuck with it. Not unbalanced, though-by any means, since that first spread wasn’t all that high. He COULD dump all that into Resources and get 150k, which he could spend on ‘ware to boost his die pools a bit, but with +2 Agility, his 9 Combat Pool dice aren’t anywhere near out of place, and his other stats are more generalist, as well.

Let’s see a Human Sam-he wants ALL the money, so pops 225 Karma on it for the 450k, leaving him with 500. He goes with 4, 5, 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 3,. That’s 325 Karma. Well below his limit. But now he’s only got 175 Karma for Skills, and his Edge is a Base 2. It’s pretty much up to him now what he wants to do with this.

For an example of a Hacker ‘I don’t care about Body and Strength’ troll, we have this:

Race: Troll(50 Karma)

Remaining: 680

B: 5(0 Karma, 1+4)
A: 3(45 Karma, 4-1)
R: 3(45 Karma, 4-1)
S: 5(0 Karma, 1+4)
C: 3(70 Karma, 5-2)
I: 4(70 Karma, 5-1)
L: 4(70 Karma, 5-1)
W: 5(70 Karma)

Total Karma: 370 on Attributes.

Remaining: 310

Edge: 3(25 Karma)

Remaining: 285

Skills: 200 Karma

Remaining: 85(Resources=170,000)

As I’m testing with these builds, it really isn’t a problem with the whole stat thing. I’ve built a Heavy Troll(and yes, this cost most points, but that’s how it IS if you have a lot of higher stats), a Middle Troll, and a Smart Troll. Of course the Middle Troll has the most to spend extra, but guess what-so does a Middle Human. I do respect that some may be twitchy at having to pay for stats they lower, but again-no freebies here. I wanted to go back to 1-1=0, not 1.

[Notes on Side: I did, under this method, consider free Metas due to minuses, making the minuses what you had to pay, but…well, you can blame Orks and Dwarves for that. They really do get far too much and have to pay far too little to not pay at all, and they would have, I’m afraid, become the absolute best pick for anything. I also didn’t want some to be free and some not. Trolls also do get other good things like the dermal armor and Reach. (They’ve generally been the problem race when it comes to balancing, though I’ll be fair here, and it was Orks and Dwarves that made me not want to give free metas. However, when paying, I also don’t feel they should pay AS much, but I felt that 30 Karma was pretty appropriate for them.]

In fact, I’ll sketch up a dwarf. We’ll say a Full Magician.

Dwarf: 40
Full Magician: 20

Karma Left: 670

Body: 4(10 Karma, 2+2)
Agility: 3(25 Karma)
Reaction: 3(45 Karma, 4-1)
Strength: 4(10 Karma, 2+2)
Charisma: 4(45 Karma)
Intuition: 4(45 Karma)
Logic: 5(70 Karma)
Willpower: 6(70 Karma, 5+1)
´
Total Base Attributes: 320
Left: 350

Edge: 3(25 Karma)
Magic: 6(100 karma)

Karma Left: 225

Active Skills:

Spellcasting: 5(30)
Counterspelling: 5(30)

Conjuring Skill Group: 4(50)

Assensing: 3(12)
Perception: 3(12)
Pistols: 3(12)
Gymnastics: 2(6)
Clubs: 2(6)
Artificing: 2(6)
Etiquette: 2(6)

Spells(50 Karma)

Choose 10

Left: 5 Karma(10,000 Resources)

Now, he of course hasn’t spent or gotten any Bonus Karma. I think we have a good, functioning Dwarf mage, with strengths and weaknesses. He could have, for example, dropped Edge by a point to save 15 and gotten more spells or skills, or gotten more Resources. I just got some very base stuff here(covering all of his magical skills, for example.) His Resources are a bit low. Pistols 2 might be appropriate enough to drop for that.

Another test: Stabby the Ork. He has spikey red hair and likes swords. Adept. The test here is to see how much a Hyperspecialist holds up, and if they lose *enough* for hyperspecializing.

Ork: 35
Adept: 10
Qualities(Aptitude/Equal Negative, to zero out)

Left: 685

Body: 8(70 Karma, 5+3)
Agility: 6(100 Karma)
Reaction: 4(45 Karma)
Strength: 7(70, 5+2)
Charisma: 2(25 Karma, 3-1)
Intuition: 4(45 Karma)
Logic: 2(25 Karma, 3-1)
Willpower: 3(25 Karma)

Magic: 6(100 Karma)
Edge: 2(10 Karma)

Total Spent on Primary: 405
Special: 110

Karma Left: 170

Blades(Swords): 7(+2)(63)
Gymnastics: 4(20)

Spent(On Primary Skills here, just to show the hyperspecialization): 83. He has 87 Karma to buy other skills and use on Resources. Now he could spend 15 to drag his Charisma up to 3 to throw more backup Social dice or something, but that will only leave him with 77 Karma. That’s enough for 3 more skills at 4 and 1 at 3, or a bunch of 2’s, but he won’t be particularly good outside his specialty.

Now, one can spend up to 420 on Attributes. 8 4’s come out to 360. I wanted to give specialists a little more wiggle room. 420 allows 2 5’s and 6 4’s.

A Human, Elf, Ork or Dwarf could be a pretty good ‘budget samurai’ with this setup(their extra Resources could at least get some of the ‘Sammy Standard’ Wired Reflexes and Muscle Replacement, though heavy Bioware is probably out of the picture) , but I don’t think they’d be overpowered.

My main goal with this is to be able to make a character without feeling like your scrimping left and right, but give some limitations, of course. 730 felt the best Karma wise-I tried out 700-750, and beyond 730 felt like a bit too much, but 700 felt like I could make better characters under the Priority System.

Now, naturally, one needs to see some of the ridiculous stuff to see just how bad it is:

[spoiler]Elf-25
Attributes: 410 (5, 6, 4, 4, 6, 4, 4, 4)
Total
Edge: 3(25)

270 Karma Remaining

Influence Skill Group: 4
Firearms Skill Group: 4
Close Combat Skill Group: 4
Stealth Skill Group: 4

(200 Karma)

70: Resources(140k)

Well, this guy looks pretty scary. He can afford Wired 1(39k), Muscle Replacement 2(50k), and that’s about 2/3 of his Resources. Dare I say though he’s not OP. 10 dice for Influence skills, 12 dice for combat skills, and Agility Linked stealth skills. He doesn’t have any Perception or Gymnastics, though, to help him out with combat.

Again I want to touch on the minuses. I tried other things. Stat Bonus Point Total x10, for example, would make Elves cost 30, Orks 70, Dwarves 50, and Trolls 80. I feel Trolls are undercost with this. See, the stat caps, IMO, aren’t disadvantages if you never plan on using them. I mean, a Human or Troll leaving a 2 in Charisma will have the same social issues, yes-but the Troll gets two free 5’s, where the human doesn’t. (Yes, Edge is good, don’t get me wrong.) Now, at the same time, x 20? And metas are suddenly too expensive. At 60, 140, 100, and 160? Yeah, that’s too harsh. Might as well do the old Companion method at that point.

Now, I considered x 15. This would put the costs at 45, 105, 75, and 120, but those…eh, something just doesn’t feel right about them. Elves are still a bit too expensive, and Orks are, IMO; pretty damn expensive under this one.

When it came down to it, I felt the minuses were the most balanced way to do this. It’s not crippling. You can still make a wide variety of metas. It’s simply a cost.

‘So why not take the cost of what it would take to bring those stats up to 2, add that to the base Karma costs, and run with that?’

Well, this is why. It costs a Human 140 points to get 2 5’s like a Troll. To get their other stats at 2, it would cost 60. That’s 200 Karma. Say a Troll cost 100 Karma. They get the 2 5’s…and then, to raise all of their other stats to 2-by the non minus rules-would run them 40 points for Agility, Reaction, Logic, and Intuition(total), and another 25 for Charisma, meaning they’d get the same stats for 165 Karma total. It felt too cheap.

Under this method, it costs the Troll a total of 205 Karma, but they get other things as well, making it not an ‘autopick’. You can still pick the race you want and you’ll be fine. I’ve really made up several characters of different races here-both playing for type and against type, and these minuses are not nasty.

Okay-Humans get that Edge point, so it would cost a Troll a total of 215 to get the 2 5’s, all 2’s and an edge of 2, where a human it would cost 200 to get that. But with the other benefits(reach, etc), I feel it evens out.

For a final attempt, I’m going to try an Adept Generalist. No *glaring* weaknesses, but no massive specialities, either.

Human: 0 Karma
Adept: 10 Karma
Left: 720

Attributes:
B 4
A 5
R 4
S 4
C 4
I 4
L 4
W 4

Total: 375

Left: 345
Edge: 3(15 Karma)
Left: 330

Magic: 6(100 Karma)-6 PP’s worth of assorted generalist powers

Left: 230

Active Skills: 210

Stealth Skill Group: 4(50)
Athletics Skill Group: 3(30)
Influence Skill Group: 3(30)
Blades: 5(30)
Pistols(Semi-Automatic): 4(+2)(27)
Longarms: 3(12)
Perception: 3(12)
Pilot Ground Craft: 1(2)
Unarmed Combat: 3(12)
Electronics Skill Group: 1

Left: 20

(He’d get 40 Karma for Knowledge and Language skills, and 24 Contact Karma.)

Resources: 20(40,000 nuyen)

Well, I dunno-I think it works. Once again, not too OP, fits a generalist.

Whew. Again-this is the first draft. I’m still tinkering with concepts to ensure certain concepts don’t end up destroying or not.

So, now it’s finally time for the ‘Normal Mode’ character. This is the character that’s made with the standard Priority system in SR5, to see how it rolls. The character in question is going to be a big Elven unarmed Adept fellow.

A:  Attributes(24)
B: Race(6 Special Attribute Points)
C: Skills(28 points, 2 skill group points)
D: Magic(Magic Rating 2)
E: Resources(6,000)

Attributes: A(24)

B: 5
A: 6
R: 4
S: 7
C: 4
I: 4
L: 2
W: 3

I see this guy as being extremely strong, tough, and physically imposing; an elf of rather enormous size. Taking attributes for A in this case, getting 24 points, and thinking ahead(I want Exceptional Attribute: Strength for him to show just how strong he is.) He’s also very agile, which is kinda scary on a big dude. Charisma is at a 4; it’s less ‘elven charm’ and more ‘scary magnetism’ in his place, he’s not particularly the type who spends a lot of time in the likability department. Everything else is average or above average, save Logic; he’s more street smart than book smart, though he’s not stupid, so I wanted at least a 2 there, showing it’s more something that he doesn’t particularly focus on(though he does own books about fighting history and technique, so this is something that could get improved later on.)

Now to fix his special attributes. His magic seems low for now, but no worries; with 6 Special Attribute points, we’re going to stuff 4 into Magic(bringing it to the max of 6), and another 2 into Edge, giving him a respectable 3.

Edge: 3
Magic: 6
Essence: 6
Initiative: 8+1d6

Active Skills I decided will be C, for 28 points. This will give him enough skills I feel that will make him good at what he does, and let him get a few other rounded skills as well. He also gets 2 Skill Group points, which will come in handy.

Athletics Skill Group: 2

Pistols(Semi-Automatics): 3(+2)-4
Etiquette(Street): 3(+2)-4
Intimidation(Physical): 3(+2)-4
Sneaking(Urban): 1(+2)-2
Unarmed Combat(Savate): 6(+2)-7
Pilot Ground Craft(Wheeled): 1(+2)-2
Perception: 3-3
Free Fall: 2-2

His skillset is fairly broad and well enough taken care of. While he’s definitely specialized, he has some other things he can do. I specialized him in Savate; a style that suits his huge frame and long legs(being a heavily kicking oriented style), though I imagine he had some decent Carromeleg training growing up(though it’s not his actual ‘specialty’ so to speak.) The two probably mix for a pretty impressive looking style, though his hits are *hard* and brutal. If he grounds someone-especially if they tried to use excessive force on him-he’s not one to let them get up again. He learned to shoot pretty well, as it’s a helpful skill to have if you end up in combat with people that have ranged weapons. He’s not terrible in the social department either if need be.

His Logic of 2 and Intuition of 4 gives him 12 Knowledge/Language skill points. After some thought, these ended up fitting:

Underground Bloodsport Rings: 3
Magical Theory: 2
Underground Clubs: 2
Industrial Metal Music: 2
Fine Spirits: 1

English: N
Sperethiel: N
German: 2

Being Bilingual(see Qualities), he has two fluent, native languages which can come in very handy. He picked up some German in his old studies, though he’s not particularly fluent, he can get around. He knows where the bloodsport rings are, and he’s started to get more into magical theory, given that he is magically active. He also knows spots to hang out and his favorite music. As for fine spirits, he can’t drink the soy stuff, after all!

Moving onto the Magic side, being an Adept, he gets to pick 6 Power Points worth of Adept Powers. Looking them all over, I give him this set:

Killing Hands: .5
Imp. Reflex 1-1.5
Critical Strike(Unarmed 1)-.5
Imp. Ability(Unarmed 1)-.5
Combat Sense 1-.5
Mystic Armor 1-.5
Improved Strength 2-2

Picked powers, of course, for what I see him with. It’s a very ‘basic’ set. There of course were some considerations; more levels of Critical Strike(Unarmed), but with his 9 strength and that he’s hitting like a sledgehammer anyway. The extra ability point to Unarmed gives him 15 dice to roll in his specialty. Improved Reflexes is expensive but extremely useful for a combat character, doubly one in melee. Killing Hands is probably something he had developed while in the bloodsport rings, along with light Combat Sense and Mystic Armor.

Finally, since the theme of ‘this character is fragging strong’, developing some levels of Improved Strength(and that tattoo on him might just turn into a Qi focus for more of that…) seemed fitting and natural despite the high cost.

Now, it’s time for Qualities.

Thinking about Qualities, I knew I wanted Exceptional Attribute: Strength. For a character bit, I wanted Bilingual. He’s completely fluent in both English and Sperethiel, having grown for awhile in the elven areas before he decided to leave them behind(his family was a bit too supremacist for him, and he’s actually very cool with the rest of the races. He doesn’t see himself as better for being an elf. Shock! But due to this, I can see this character having both languages as fluent.)

Positive Qualities:

Exceptional Attribute: 14(Strength)
Bilingual: 5
total: 19

For negative, given the resources he’ll end up with (E, AKA: Priority Broke Ass) , a Mild Soy allergy is actually kinda harsh. Unless he starts making more money quickly, he’ll be eating stuff that leaves him with a serious stomach-ache. Having been born into a proper household, SINner fits him. His Bad Rep around underground gambling comes from his underground ring fights. He had a habit of coming into fights where he was placed as the underdog and literally killing the competition, costing some high gambling people a lot of money; he’s not well liked in some of these circles(even though it’s not *his* fault that they bet against him.) He would like to try to figure out a way to shed this rep, but he wasn’t about to start losing to do it, since underground gambling crime rings aren’t exactly uncommon.

Negative Qualities:

Allergy(Mild, Soy): 10
SINner: 5
Bad Rep(Underground gambling rings): 7

Total: 22

Karma Left: 28

With 28 Bonus Karma, that gives him a wide array of stuff he can do. Given his physical skill, and the amount of martial arts type stuff he does, thinking about it, I think he’d be fitting if I broke the Athletics Group up and increased Gymnastics to 3, with 6 of those 28 Points. So he’d have Gymnastics 3, Climbing 2, and Running 2. He’d probably have put a little more time into the Gymnastics, but his natural monstrous strength helps him along with the other two(perhaps he relies too much on it, in fact, rather than developing proper form.) [Note: The SR5 book does NOT have breaking skill groups on the ‘Additional Restrictions’ chart, nor does it specifically forbid it in any of the pages I can see, so I’ll be doing it with this sample character.]

This leaves him with 22.

Bonus Nuyen:  He’s really broke at the moment having bailed his partner out of a bad situation, along with his fights drying up since the gambling dens seem to have a problem with him winning a lot. However, perhaps he came into a small windfall somewhere(maybe he ‘accidentally’ tripped over an angry bookie’s face several times after he was attacked, and grabbed his cred.) He’ll convert 5 Karma into 10,000 Nuyen, giving him a more respectable starting total of 16,000 to take care of business with.

That leaves him with 17, which after some thought, will be spent:

Extra Contact(2C 1L)-3 Karma: Jackson, Club Owner. Frequenting industrial-style clubs these days on his spare time, he got to know one of the owners. While he’s still getting to know him, there is a chance, after developing just a bit more trust-he’s got a bit of a violent reputation in the underground, after all-that he could start doing some bouncer work there.)
Computer: 1-2 Karma(He’s a regular Sixth World citizen and is naturally somewhat literate in this)
Knowledge Skills(3 Karma): Taking Japanese at 2 to show that he’s brushed up on that, since it’s a useful language to have(and sort of showing how he’s trying to expand his academic knowledge a bit).
Blades 1(2 Karma) : While he much, much prefers the visceral edge of unarmed combat and is much better at it, given his upbringing, I can see him having dabbled in swordplay. He may decide to do more with the katana he had picked up on a whim one day when he had more nuyen coming in.
First Aid 2(6 Karma): A handy skill to have, he’s got some very basic ideas of what to do, though he’s definitely not going to put anyone completely broken back together again. Stuff picked up from having to do some basic fixing to himself after a ring match.
Realizing he should have a Fake SIN, and they’re more expensive now, 1 Karma goes to more Nuyen, for an extra 2,000.

That takes care of his Bonus Karma. He has a pretty good skillset; specialized but with some extra things to help out here and there. His 1’s will be able to turn into 2’s with some Karma expenditure, but he’s at least started on them.

He has 18,000 nuyen to spend on equipment. Like the others, I’ll do the complete list at the end. His Lifestyle is going to be Middle, despite his shorter resources-he needs that real food and needs to buy extra on his own. After rolling, he will be starting with 2,065 nuyen(he had 65 left after all of his purchases.

Contact time! His Charisma of 4 gets him 12 points free. He’ll grab:

Spanky: C4 L3 Fixer, Spanky. He had met Spanky through his partner, and is getting to know him better. Spanky is actually quite well connected, though his ‘connections’ seem to match his ‘loyalty’ in the sense that the better he knows you, the more ‘connected’ he seems. So he’s working his way up. He’s ‘almost pals’ with him at the moment. (For the record, Spanky is the main fixer and a very prominent NPC at my Shadowrun table. Which is why the whole gang has him in particular.)
Derrik: C1 L5-A tall human male of about 25 years, he frequents the clubs. He counts as a contact since he does seem to have some information here and there. They have not dug too far into each other’s pasts, Derrik actually has some physical augmentations for sports(he seems to play football, which Spanky fully supports), though he looks(and really acts) nothing like a jock and everything like a rivethead, much like Downfall. They are kind of an item, despite such a thing sometimes being a little dangerous in the shadows. He doesn’t seem to mind this dude is more than a head taller.
And he has his bonus, Jackson, at C2, L1.

So, what’s the whole thing look like?

Name: Gaelorite Tighearnach
Alias:  Downfall
Race: Elf
Gender: Male
Height: 7’7”
Weight: 365lbs
Age: 28
Hair: Long, black
Eyes: Ice blue

General Appearance/Personality:   Downfall is a massive man; what a large professional basketball player might be next to an average human, he is next to an average elf. While he does still have a bit more of the ‘elven slender’ build, calling him slender would be a misnomer, he’s built like a powerful martial artist. He wears his black hair long, and is naturally rather pale. He has a very much ‘industrial/gothic/rivethead’ look in his appearance and dress; cargos, huge, steel-reinforced combat boots(oft used in his Savate to nasty effect), tank tops and longcoats(though an armor jacket is worn when protection is needed.) Downfall can be downright scary at times, though both Derrik and Spanky have seen the nicer side of him, which does exist. He’s not too picky about the work he takes though-yes, even the dirty, nasty jobs that turn you into a cold hearted bastard. He’s not one to take threats against his person(or those close to him, but don’t tell anyone), and he’ll respond with sheer brutality if lethal force is used(note: what he perceives as lethal force), but he knows the importance of Not Doing Really Bad Stuff In Broad Daylight, so he’s far from an uncouth liability. He just sometimes needs to get a favor from Spanky to clean up some(literal)mess from time to time.

Attributes:

B: 5
A: 6
R: 4(5)
S: 7(9)
C: 4
I: 4
L: 2
W: 3

Edge: 3
Magic: 6
Essence: 6
Initiative: 8(9)+1d6(2d6)

Physical Monitor: 11
Stun Monitor: 10
Overflow: 5

Armor: 13

Positive Qualities: Exceptional Attribute(Strength), Bilingual
Negative Qualities: Allergy(Mild, Soy), SINner(Normal), Bad Rep(Underground gambling rings)

Limits:

Physical: 8(9)
Social: 6
Mental: 4

Active Skills:

Climbing: 2
Running: 2
Gymnastics: 3
Pistols(Semi-Automatics): 3(+2)
Etiquette(Street): 3(+2)
Intimidation(Physical): 3(+2)
Sneaking(Urban): 1(+2)
Unarmed Combat(Savate): 6(+2)[7+2]
Pilot Ground Craft(Wheeled): 1(+2)
Perception: 3
Free Fall: 2
First Aid: 2
Blades: 1
Computer: 1

Knowledge/Language:

Underground Bloodsport Rings: 3
Magical Theory: 2
Underground Clubs: 2
Industrial Metal Music: 2
Fine Spirits: 1

English: N
Sperethiel: N
German: 2
Japanese: 2

Adept Powers:

Killing Hands
Improved Reflex(1)
Critical Strike(Unarmed, 1)
Improved Ability(Unarmed, 1)
Combat Sense(1)
Mystic Armor(1)
Improved Strength(2)

Equipment and Lifestyle:

Middle Lifestyle(1 month)
Fake Sin Rating 1
Katana(Acc 7, Reach 1, 12P, AP-3)
Knucks/Bootknucks(Str+1 Damage)
Unarmed Strike(11P, Limit 9)
Combat Knife(Acc 6, 11P, AP-3)
Survival Knife(Acc 5, 11P, AP-1)
Ares Predator V(Acc 5(7), AP -1, 8P, 15(c))
4 spare clips
60 rounds APDS ammo(-4 AP)
Concealable Holster
Armor Jacket(12 Armor)
Leather Duster(4 armor)
Sony Emperor Commlink w/Hot Sim Mod
Subvocal Mic
Certified Credstick(Silver)
Capacity 3 Contacts
w/Vision Magnification, Flare Compensation, and Thermographic Vision
Survival Kit
Chemsuit 3
Climbing Gear
Medkit Rating 3
Medkit Supplies(1)
Gas Mask

Starting Nuyen: 2,115

Contacts:

Jackson(Club Owner): C2/L1
Derrik(Partner): C1/L5
Spanky(Fixer): C3/L2

Background: His legal name alone pretty much marks him as a red-blooded member of Tir, though he could care less either way. He’s not ashamed of his heritage, nor does he particularly embrace it, except for speaking the language fluently(and for him it’s just something that’s useful.)

After breaking away from Tir after an unfortunate altercation with a family rival’s son, he made his way to Seattle, being kinda happy he was away from his parent’s not-quite-racist but not-particularly-welcoming ways. He was being groomed for high level security work before he left since he was an early teenager(magically active? Check. Exceptionally large and strong for his age? Check. Wealthy family? Check), being eighteen when he left home he had quite a bit of skills under his belt, but no money to speak of(and discovered that the nutrisoy that was more common in the lower rungs made him kinda ill.) He needed money, so he turned toward fighting in underground rings.

He found he won fight after fight, and his sort of retro-gothic rivethead appearance and brutal tactics won the crowd over. Over the years, he ended up tied up in the nastier bloodsport rings after getting an unscrupulous ‘manager’, which he began pulling in bigger winnings with. One of his more famous brutal kills came when his own manager had set in to throw the fight. The other guy pulled a gun, and all bets were off; no matter how much the manager tried to call him off, the opponent was killed in a spectacularly messy manner in the ring, though not with a machinegun, but with a series of rapid hits from Downfall’s hands, knee, and finally his giant, steel-laced boot.

After he started costing some of the other managers far too much money(in both bets AND dead fighters), his reputation in the ring soured. (Oh, the managers knew their fighters were probably destined to either die or be maimed horribly…but not THAT quickly or THAT often.) His way of earning money drying up, he began to take what odd jobs in the shadows he could. Through a guy he was(and still is) seeing, he met a fixer by the name of Spanky, who began to set him up with work. Spanky also serves real alcohol in his sports bar, which is of an extra benefit.

Final Verdict: The standard rules can make very, very good characters. Allowing myself to make a comparison, I always felt held back in SR4. This could be a result of our typically more cinematic-style games, but I just didn’t like what I felt were the artifical limiters(only one skill at 6 or two at 5, the extreme cost of maxing an attribute felt like less balance and more arbitrary(really, it was ONE die, and it takes 3 dice to average a success in this system), as well as the rather low limit placed on attributes. In this, you have a lot of freedom picking-is your character naturally very talented? Are they rich? Are they skill monkeys? You get enough points IMO not to feel stifled, BUT still you don’t get enough to feel like there is nowhere to go-which I also think is important. As much as I loved SR3, I felt that with some character builds(namely, mundane orks and dwarves, thanks to their fairly beefy bonuses and low priority) you could get about everything you wanted and have to strain to figure out what else to get. The bonus skill(s)-as with the Street level mage I made-is wonderful, and I’m glad it’s in.

As a runner, I feel like Downfall here has what he needs to be successful at what he does, even though he’s specialized. His main duty would be heavy-hitting front line brutality, but he’s got enough other skills to back up his team-mates and be far from a liability, which is important I feel for a ‘regular’ power game. Now, of course, people can still end up building a super-specialized character even in the most cinematic of rules, but I found that I had enough to get him what I wanted him to be really good at, as well as extra things. I somehow feel that, despite skills going up to 12, smaller skill die pools for backup skills feel more viable again(and skills aren’t terribly difficult to raise so it’s always something to work toward.)

I actually feel like I can make a character with attributes in any priority-even E. However, I feel that the lower the Attribute priority goes, the more valuable the ‘bigger stat races’ get. I mean sure, take a high bonus stat race with high Attributes and you’re sitting nice, but where the real value gets seen are low. I can make Handsome Bob(Short for Bobert), Troll Face, with Attributes in E, and his base Body and Strength of 5 will still make him plenty tough and able to handle himself with a club if need be. Hell, you can make a damn good Ork/Dwarf/Troll combat character with lower attributes; remember, that 7 in Body may be average for a Troll, but it doesn’t make it any less a 7. Also-and this is important to keep in mind-even though die pools can potentially get pretty nice-sized when you start buying that Blades skill up to 8, 9, and 10, it does take time; and a Physical Limit past 10 I don’t see too many people needing to worry about. You’d need to get more than 10 successes a pop, and if you’re in a situation where you DO need to worry about getting more than 10 to do anything, you might want to be looking at that Edge anyway. (Of course, I sorta broke this a bit with Downfall here, but it was more for character purposes. If I wanted to optimize 100% rather than some light to moderate minmaxing, I’d have probably done something else with those 2 power points.)

Skills I feel are good. While I haven’t done Priority A or B yet with Skills(perhaps I will for another fun test), at FIRST I thought maybe D and E were a little too low even for the ‘Below Average’ and ‘Broke Ass’ priorities. However, then I gave it some more thought. If you’re taking skills at a lower Priority, it’s probably either A. Character purposes-your character just isn’t a skill monkey, in other words-or B. You may be magically active, in which case you get a free skill(or even two, my Shaman got a whopping 10 points of free skills.) So I think at the end it works out.

I would say this ranks eight and a half Mohawks out of five. It DOES lose a bit-while this character does not have cyber, I feel that Beta grade cyberware should be allowed at the start; the +4 to Availability under the book rules would balance out itself, I think, preventing the ‘big nasties’ from being available for too cheap.

Well, that was fun. I’m actually tempted to do some character fiction now.I’ll probably be doing some more testing of this with these characters as well in situations for the blog, which I’ll be watching SR5 closely for.